What Do You See Outside YOUR Open Window Today?

What Do You See Outside YOUR Open Window Today?
Remember: "When God closes a door, He always opens a window!" You never know what might be out there waiting for you!

Thursday, November 29, 2018

Friday Foto Friends Already?

It's been a rather busy week and Friday Foto Friends kind of crept up on me! Here it is Thursday night, and it just hit me that I really haven't planned anything for this post.
So I will start out with some photos of a few of the Christmas decorations I've been doing this week.
If you are a Facebook friend, you've probably already seen some of these.

As you enter our foyer of our house, this is what you will see. I want Jesus to be the focus of our Christmas decorations.

We've had some chilly weather this week, and our little electric "wood stove" has felt pretty good, especially early in the morning...

I absolutely love this cabin picture that lights up, with the deer standing on the snowy banks alongside the frozen stream.   I've said that I'd love to live there...but maybe just for a little while...not sure I really want all that ice and snow to deal with at this stage in life.

When you step up on our front porch, this is what you will see...our little wild grapevine wreath, made with our very own grapevines the first year we moved to this house in the forest.

Here is how it looks at night....

And again, "Jesus is the Heart of the Holiday"

Changing scenes a little bit...Just a few pictures from the week...
Out on our road someone put up this new sign below the speed limit sign.   Our road has a different street name now, but for many years it was known as Kerr Key Road, as it winds around through the woods out to a "key" into beautiful Lake Kerr. We live at the beginning of the road, not out on the lake.  But it is still beautiful, and I can understand why it could be called "Paradise".

Okay, on a different note, I may have shown this picture below before....it was an unripe persimmon:

Well, we visited this place again, and here is that same persimmon...looks like it is ripe for the picking now....
And I thought these azaleas were lovely...it may be a little early for them to bloom, but I believe these are the type that bloom throughout the year.

I've mentioned that we are anticipating selling our house sometime in the near future, and this week we have had some serious "lookers", but no contract yet. Someone will be here tomorrow (Friday) about the time you are reading this, so please say a little prayer that if they are they ones who will love this house like we do, then they will make a reasonable offer that we cannot refuse.

Because it is becoming more apparent that our house could sell all of a sudden and catch us with no place to go, we have been seriously thinking about what to do. We can't buy anything until our house has a solid contract on it.  We don't want to get the cart before the horse and get ourselves in a bind if things don't work out.  However, that doesn't keep us from "looking". There is one particular house that we have had our eye on for a little while...the same one where that persimmon is ripening and the azaleas are blooming... anyway, as we decided to take a little ride just to go look at the house again (from the outside), we noticed this big "X" up in the sky as we rode along.  Hubby and I both were remarking about it being "X Marks the Spot", and wouldn't it be funny if it was over that house?  Well, at first it appeared that it was way too far to the west of where that house would be, but as we got closer, we realized that it was pretty much right over the house...

Pretty interesting, huh?  Well, time will tell if this was truly a "sign" from God or just a funny "coincidence".  Gave us a good chuckle anyway.

Today we read in our morning devotions about "signs in the heavens..."  Luke 21:25-28 is where we were reading about the return of Christ to earth at the close of the tribulation.  We are not in the Great Tribulation yet, but there are many signs that would lead us to believe that the Lord's return could be soon. Luke 21:29-33 explains it this way:

"Then He (Jesus) spoke to them a parable: 'Look at the fig tree, and all the trees.
When they are already budding, you see and know for yourselves that summer is now near.
So you also, when you see these things happening, know that the kingdom of God is near.
Assuredly, I say to you, this generation will by no means pass away till all things take place.
Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will by no means pass away."

Now look back at verses 27-28:

"Then they will see the Son of Man 
coming in a cloud with power and great glory.
Now when these things begin to happen, 
look up and lift up your heads, 
because your redemption draws near."

As we enter this Advent Season, we are focusing on the first Advent of Christ to the earth as a humble little baby in a manger. We remember how the Wise Men saw the star in the sky, and they followed that star until they came to the place where the Christ Child was born. Little did they know at the time that He would be the very same One, returning to the earth at the end of the age, coming in a "cloud with power and great glory", and that He would be the One Who would redeem our souls from death and hell.  Yes, we need to be watching the skies for the signs of the Second Advent of Christ's return...and to be sure that our hearts and souls are ready to meet Jesus.  That is what Christmas is truly all about...preparing our hearts to make room for the Savior to enter in, for eternity!

Is there room in your heart for Jesus this Christmas? Are you watching the signs for His return?
Some things to ponder as we prepare for Christmas...

Okay, friends...I do hope that you have had a wonderful week and that you will be blessed in every good way today.  Now let us travel over to Deb's place at Breathing in Grace and see what our other Friday Foto Friends have been up to this week.  

Tuesday, November 27, 2018

"I'd Still Like to Go to Grandma's House for Christmas"

This morning I was enjoying some special cooking time in my kitchen. It was a chilly morning, and our "kids" (The Newlyweds) were coming over for lunch...

So I decided to make a pot of "Hobo Stew" (See recipe below)

And as I was working in the kitchen, I thought it would be a good time to start listening to some Christmas music, so I pulled out some favorite cd's and started singing along...
And then one of the songs on the "Joy to the World" CD with the Gaither Homecoming Friends was
"I'd Still Like to Go to Grandma's House for Christmas"
You can listen along here:
"Oh I'd still like to go to Grandma's house for Christmas
I can hear those happy Christmas carols ringing in my ear
Oh I'd still like to go to Grandma's house for Christmas
She always sang a happy song, Christmas was a happy time of year
I still remember going through her front door Christmas day
I'd see a proud and peaceful smile on her tired and wrinkled face
I still can smell those pumpkin pies a'coolin' by the stove
But the thing that I remember was when Grandma'd squeeze me close

With all the family gathered, we were sure to have a crowd
My uncles talked about hunting and my aunts just talked real loud
But that didn't bother Grandma, she was glad we all were there
She was queen on Christmas, crowned with silver in her hair

But now she's gone and we all spend our Christmases at home
You see, all the aunts and uncles have grandkids of their own
Lord, let our homes be filled with love and joy like Grandma knew
'Cause I know she'll have a merry Christmas celebrating there with You

Oh I'd still like to go Grandma's house for Christmas
I can hear the angels singing, I hear Grandma loud and clear
Oh I'd still like to go to Grandma's house for Christmas
She's there singing a happy song, Grandma's home for Christmas this year"

And of course I started thinking about my sweet mother-in-law, "Nanny", who loved to listen and sing along to gospel music all the time, and who will be celebrating Christmas in Heaven for the first time this year:

And I really started missing her...Because ever since we moved to this house she was a frequent "guest", most every weekend for about six years, as most of you know. She would spend the weekdays with her other son and his family, and then we would meet 1/2 way and bring her home to our house for the weekends, usually Friday-Monday.  This continued until she finally reached a point where she needed more complete care, and she went to live in a very nice nursing home for the last year of her life.  But during her days here, we made lots of memories together...and many of them were in this kitchen together.
While she was able, she used to help me any way she could...drying dishes and putting them away, helping mix up cookies and watching how I baked things...she loved being here in the kitchen with me, and I enjoyed her company.  I often wish she was still here to chat with while I'm cooking.
 She loved peanut butter cookies...and of course had to sample the results:
Here she is all decked out in her Christmas top, with a necklace that had little twinkling Christmas bulbs on it. She loved showing that off!

And here's a flashback to when our three sons were little and we loved going to "Grandma's House for Christmas"....You can see they were all very excited to be together!!!  (Don't you love that fancy tree?)  Now, looking at this picture, I just realized that "Nanny" is standing behind our son Matthew, with her arms wrapped around his waist, and they are both probably making a very loud noise...and then also Granddaddy is sitting down there on the floor in the front...and now they are all up there in heaven together, where it's Christmas every day!!!

 "Oh I'd still like to go Grandma's house for Christmas
I can hear the angels singing, I hear Grandma loud and clear
Oh I'd still like to go to Grandma's house for Christmas
She's there singing a happy song, Grandma's home for Christmas this year"

Vivian Ruth Martin Steiner, "Nanny", 7/23/1923-8/13/2018  

Here's the Recipe for Hobo Stew:  (Nanny loved this too!)

Hobo Stew
Cook a couple of slices of bacon, chopped into smaller pieces, in the bottom of a large soup kettle or dutch oven.
Brown 2 lbs. ground chuck in the pot, and drain off fat.
Add 1 medium chopped onion to the meat and cover and cook until onion is tender
Add 1 can diced stewed tomatoes (I used the ones with green pepper & onion added)
Add approximately 3 cups of water to the pot, cover and let simmer while you chop up the next ingredients:
Add four medium, peeled and cut potatoes
Add four or five peeled and sliced carrots
Add two cups of chopped cabbage.
Add salt and pepper and garlic powder to season.
If needed, add more water, cover and let cook until all vegetables are tender.

(All ingredients can be added according to how much you want to make! This will make a nice dutch oven pot full of stew)
Serve with fresh, hot cornbread. We like to crumble our corn bread onto the stew.

We used to make this in Girl Scouts, and would put all ingredients in a large metal coffee can, cover tightly with foil, and bury under the coals of our campfire and let it cook all day. It would be delicious for supper!

Monday, November 26, 2018

Sermon Notes: "Church: A Life Saver or a Live Taker?"

After our choir sang the above anthem, "Our Grateful Praise!"  (it was a workout, but we made it through!), the Pastor started out his sermon sharing some excerpts from the following article in Christianity Today, "Boring Church Services Changed My Life", by Daniel Darling.

This sounded so familiar to me...I believe I have read this article before on Facebook and it struck me then just as it did now, hearing our pastor quoting some of the key points:

"God changed my life using routine worship services in which I sang hymns I didn’t quite understand and heard messages I didn’t quite grasp."

"This repetition built in my heart a deep reservoir of theology. And now, as a husband and father and pastor, whenever I stand and sing these hymns, I can barely contain myself. At times I cannot sing; I can only weep. Some choruses evoke memories: My father serves communion while “Jesus Keep Me near the Cross” plays faintly in the background. Dad fights back tears as we sing “Jesus Paid It All.”

"These rituals train our hearts. We sing to ourselves songs, hymns, and spiritual songs. We hear the same gospel preached to us, over and over again. We lift the cup to our lips and the bread to our tongues remembering, again, our place at the King’s table. Through these practices, God takes our hearts and seals them for his courts above, to paraphrase another hymn writer, Robert Robinson."

"When I think back on the simple routines—the liturgies—that changed my life, I’m encouraged in my own pastoral role. I’m reminded afresh that the work of ministry is not so much about finding new, tantalizing ways to make people excited about Jesus, but about the timeless rituals that shape their hearts...

Because somewhere in your congregation are children singing words they don’t know, listening to Scripture they don’t understand, and fighting sleep during a sermon that doesn’t hold their interest. They don’t realize it yet, but the Spirit of God is pressing the gospel message, through yet another “boring” church service, deep within their hearts."

Daniel Darling is the vice president for communications for the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention (ERLC). Previously, he served as senior pastor of Gages Lake Bible Church in the northwest suburbs of Chicago.
I guess the reason this article touched my heart when I first read it, and then again in hearing our Pastor expound upon it is because I grew up in a church that followed a certain liturgy and ritual each Sunday, and even though as a child I didn't quite understand everything that was being said or prayed, or the songs that we sang...they were teaching me nonetheless. The words were seeping into my heart and planting seeds that took root and grew and developed as I matured into a young woman seeking God in my life. When the time came that I was confronted with my own sinfulness and recognized in myself to be in need of a Savior, the words, prayers, and songs of the formative years found a home in my heart, and the Lord opened my eyes to understand His truth and purpose for my life.  And it is interesting that in the ensuing years I not only embraced Jesus Christ as my Savior and King, but He also found many ways to use my life to serve Him in His church and kingdom. I can honestly say along with the author of the above article:

"This repetition built in my heart a deep reservoir of theology. And now, as a husband and father and pastor,  Wife and mother and retired pastor's wife, whenever I stand and sing these hymns, I can barely contain myself. At times I cannot sing; I can only weep. Some choruses evoke memories: My HUSBAND serves communion while “Jesus Keep Me near the Cross” plays faintly in the background. He fights back tears as we sing “Jesus Paid It All.” 

Back to the sermon notes from our Pastor:

Scripture Passage was read from Revelation 22:10-11

"And he said to me, "Do not seal the words of the prophecy of this book, 
for the time is at hand.
He who is unjust, let him be unjust still; 
He who is filthy, let him be filthy still'
He who is righteous, let him be righteous still;
He who is holy, let him be holy still."

  • God is empowering us...He wants to use us
  • God is alive...He is working...He wants you to know Him on a personal level.
  • The church needs to be honest and sincere about what it means to be the church of Jesus Christ in today's world.
  • What are we doing?  
  • Can we do it better?
  • Where do we fall short?
  • We live in a secular time...but that is not a reason to give up, but a reason to get up and get going to share the Gospel.
  • We need to BE the Church of Jesus Christ...We need to LIVE  the church of Jesus Christ
  • Jesus is the ONLY hope this world has.
  • The church is not the building...You are the church. We are the church.
  • This is our place at the King's table...what are we going to do about the world beating on our door?
Another quote from the article:  "The work of ministry is not so much about finding new, tantalizing ways to make people excited about Jesus, but about the timeless rituals that shape their hearts."
But before we can share these timeless rituals of the faith with them from the reading of God's Word and the singing of songs and choruses and prayers that shape the heart and soul to receive the Lord, we have to bring them in. We, who are "The Church", have to reach out to the lost and dying souls around us and welcome them into God's House.  
Sermon Notes from FUMC, Interlachen, FL. Pastor A.C. Myers, 11/25/2018
Please Note : I want to repeat this disclaimer here...the notes, outline, and content included here are based upon my own personal understanding of the message that was being given. I am not attempting to completely quote or reproduce this message or any other message I've shared previously. Just as each person reading these notes may glean insights and thoughts that seem to directly apply to one's own situation and interpretation, my own delivery of these messages is skewed by my hearing and translation of what is being said. Some may read my notes here and wonder if they were hearing the same message as I...and I say, God speaks to each of us as He wills...there are things He is trying to get across to each individual that may be entirely different than what the person sitting next to you in the pew is needing to hear... That is how the Holy Spirit works! He knows what we need to hear and how to apply it to our hearts. So it is with that understanding that I present these sermon notes to you.

Saturday, November 24, 2018

Something to Be Thankful For...I took a bath. UPDATED 11/24/2018

I just reread this post that I originally wrote about five years ago, apparently on the evening following a long Thanksgiving Day.  It's funny to me, because we had our Thanksgiving dinner yesterday, (Friday), and last night after our family and friends had all gone home,
(Our wonderful family gathering, Thanksgiving 2018)

 my hubby suggested that I should go "take a bath" in our tub and just relax.  Well, I remembered this experience from five years ago, and I knew that I would not be any better at getting in and out of that tub today than I was five years ago...possibly it would have been even funnier and crazier than this...so I reluctantly declined the suggestion and just took a nice long, hot shower instead.

A nice hot cup of chamomile tea would have been a good idea too...this picture was from a few years ago...I wish I'd thought of that last night...but the brain is going...going...going...not gone yet...but going...

 I hope you have had a wonderfully relaxing and peaceful Thanksgiving.  This is a picture of me today, relaxing in the rocking chair on the front porch... The tee shirt is a new one, a late birthday gift from my sister, and it is a "Life is Good" shirt that says "This is My Happy Place"...so here I am...

Okay, so here is the original post from 2013.  I hope you enjoy it as much as I enjoyed the "experience".... It's okay to laugh if you want to...I did when I re-read it today...

ORIGINAL POST, 11/29/2013:

I did something tonight I haven't done in over ten years...I took a bath! Now before you start thinking about how unclean and uncouth a person I must be, let me clarify.  I take a shower every night whether I need it or not! (I always need it, whether or not I am dirty...)  And no, there are no pictures to go along with this post. I can't even find a free clip art pic to insert...so let me just describe this event.

The last couple of days have been rather busy.  I love Thanksgiving.  I love visiting with friends and relatives and eating turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes and gravy, green beans, dinner rolls, butter, cranberries, pumpkin pie smothered in whipped cream, ....well you know the routine.  You eat until you can't possibly stuff another bite into your mouth, and then someone tells you it's time for dessert!

It's a wonderful ritual we go through every year. But all of this eating and spending quality time with our families has a flip side....Someone had to cook all of that food and get the house cleaned and the table set just so, with the little Pilgrim Salt and Pepper shakers filled and the fall flowers, candles, little turkey figures arranged attractively on the table.  Now I am not suggesting that I did all of that by myself...I did have some help from my family...and a lot of help cleaning up from our guests...and others brought food to share as well. But the burden of cleaning and preparing and having things just right in time for our guests to arrive did take a lot of planning and work.  On my feet, back stretching, shoulder/neck aching work.

And so tonight I didn't just take my usual shower and go to bed.  The very ordinary common bathtub beneath my feet began to look extremely inviting as I stood there letting the warm water pour over my tired, aching muscles and joints. I thought to myself, "why not just sit down in that tub and let it fill up around me and sit there and soak awhile?"  And so I did.  I plugged the drain, poured some "Bath and Body Works" Lavender and Chamomile foaming body wash into the tub, and anxiously awaited the tub to fill up deep enough to cover the parts of my body that were hurting. Well, actually not quite THAT deep...remember, this is just a common, ordinary bathtub...not one of those fancy soaker tubs with jacuzzi jets and contours that hug your back and neck in just the right places.  And it wasn't all that easy to ease myself down into that common ordinary tub, but once I got down...I stayed until the water turned cold.  And then I had to figure out how to get myself back up and out of that common ordinary tub all by myself. Because who wants to admit that she can't get herself back up out of the bathtub?  Not me...and have my hubby come in and laugh at me shivering and stuck inside the tub while the last of my soothing, warm soapy water swirls down the drain? No sirree! This old gal slipped and slid and flipped herself around on her hands and knees and held on to the sides of the tub and tried not to pull the shower curtain down on top of herself and somehow managed to pull herself up and rinsed off and got out of the tub without nary a slip or fall!

And I thought to myself, "I just know all my friends out there in blog-land would LOVE to hear about this!"  So here I am, although the bath has left me sufficiently relaxed and drowsy and my eyes are going shut as I write, so this may not even make sense to you. But I want you to know that taking a bath once in every ten years is a worthwhile experience...even for old folks like us.  The only thing that would have made it better would have been a few candles burning, a bigger, deeper tub, some jacuzzi jets, and a toasty warm- fresh- out- of- the- dryer bath towel to wrap around myself ...aaaahhhhh.."Calgon, take me away!"

All in all, I must say, this was a great way to end an already picture perfect Thanksgiving  celebration...Yes, I do have a lot of somethings to be thankful for...and a bath to boot!

This was a little different than my usual Thanksgiving messages...but full of thanks-giving for sure. I am praising God tonight for ALL His mighty blessings...way beyond the bathtub. Too many to number.

Well, the lavender and chamomile has done its work...I am sufficiently sleepy and more than ready for bed. Good night my friends... Now, go take a bath!   And remember to "Give Thanks"always!!!

Pleasant Dreams!!

Friday, November 23, 2018

Friday Foto Friends: Thanksgiving Blessings

Well, Friends, today (writing on Thursday) was Thanksgiving, and I'm sure most of you gathered around your table with loved ones and friends and enjoyed a day filled with feasting and blessings.  I thought about you today...as I was still preparing for our Thanksgiving Feast, which will be on Friday...so when you read this Friday morning I will be busily cooking our turkey, peeling potatoes, and getting things ready for our family gang of approximately 21 people arriving for dinner!  That's right...while you are out shopping on Black Friday (for those of you who dare to brave the crowds) we will be sitting down to a wonderful feast, enjoying the laughter and joys of the day that hopefully you already celebrated today!   While you were feasting on turkey and all the trimmings, I was arranging our table for tomorrow (Friday) and doing all the last minute cleaning and other projects that should have been done sooner...

So as I write this tonight, Thursday, while you have already cleaned up your tables and put away all the leftovers...I'm just getting primed and ready:

 I wanted to mention this cut glass turkey dish above.  Our neighbor behind the fence gave this to me...no, he didn't leave it on the fence post as he has other items lately. He brought this over himself to give me, as it belonged to his mother (who is now in a nursing home, suffering from Alzheimer's). He said that he remembers her always putting the cranberry sauce in this dish...and so that is my plan for tomorrow...and yes, our neighbor will be a guest here at our table. I think he is really looking forward to seeing that dish filled with sauce again the way his mother did. I am honored and pleased to be able to do so.  I'll try to remember to take a picture of it when it is filled.

As I said, we are expecting 21 people, so these are the tables...and yes, folks, I am using paper and plastic. I honestly thought about using real dishes, as I do have enough of the blue Currier and Ives plates, but the family wants to have more time to visit and enjoy each other, and not so much time cleaning up...so paper and plastic will be just fine with me.

This is the scene in the foyer as you enter the house:

"Welcome to our neck of the woods...where life is good...Fresh Air, Star Gazing, Quiet Spaces"

Here is the table that is set in the living room..."the kids' table", but the youngest kid is 13 and the oldest kid is 24, plus a few more of the next generation will join them...

I love this little couple of praying children...

Back to the foyer again...Please be sure to sign in on the guest book!

Okay, one last look at the tables in the dining room, where the "older adults" will be sitting...

One more thing...our son the "baker" is baking the family tradition specialty: Orange Cookies. This was a special recipe of my mother's, and she always baked these cookies anytime the family was gathering. Now her grandchildren carry on that tradition whenever the family gets together.  Click HERE for more about the history and significance of these cookies.   Everyone will be thrilled to enjoy these cookies when we get together tomorrow (Friday).

This morning (Thursday), we took a walk at the break of day.  This was something amazing...our little apple tree in the front yard has a blossom...

And a bud of another!  We have never had any apples on this tree, probably because we don't have the right kind of "mate" tree to cross-pollinate. But it has provided us with lovely little blossoms at the strangest times. I am counting this as one of my Thanksgiving blessings today...

 Also, as we were starting out on our walk, I noticed this woodpecker way up in the tree. Actually there are two of them here, but you really can't see the other. I knew this was a different kind of woodpecker from the ones we usually see...I believe this is a Northern Flicker.  They are not here all of the time, so I was especially excited to see them today! Another Thanksgiving blessing!

As we began our walk, I looked up at the sky and this is what I saw....

And by the time we came back to our yard from our walk, this is how the sun appeared, breaking through the clouds:
I knew it was going to be a glorious day...and it was!

In our devotions we read Psalm 150:

"1.  Praise the Lord!
Praise God in His sanctuary;
Praise Him in His mighty firmament!
2.  Praise Him for His mighty acts;
Praise Him according to His excellent greatness!
3.  Praise Him with the sound of the trumpet;
Praise Him with the lute and harp!
4.  Praise Him with the timbrel and dance;
Praise Him with stringed instruments and flutes!
5.  Praise Him with loud cymbals;
Praise Him with clashing cymbals!
6.  Let everything that has breath praise the Lord.
Praise the Lord!"

One more special thing happened this week.  We celebrated the birthday of our dear friend Sharon, who is battling lung cancer. Many of you have prayed for her throughout this past year, and she is most appreciative and thankful for your prayers, as are we, her friends.  She didn't want any big celebration for her birthday as she tires so quickly. So hubby and I took over some dinner for her and her sister (current caregiver) and her son.  We had a very special time together.
Here is Sharon, holding up the candles. We didn't have cake as she doesn't eat sweets...but we still had to sing!

And here, something that is so typical when I spend time with Sharon...she always finds a way to bless me, instead of me being the one doing the giving.  Here my hubby and I and Sharon are holding up a lovely quilted vintage tablecloth, which was quilted by one of her sisters. It is a lovely wall-hanging, and I am waiting to hang it in our new house in a place of honor.  The back story is that Sharon's sister made this for her, but Sharon is in the process of cleaning out her home and giving away treasures to special friends and family. So this is a very bittersweet time and gift. Her sister suggested that she give it to me, and I am so very humbled and blessed to receive this gift. I will always treasure it, as I treasure this very wonderful friend that God blessed me with several years ago. I believe we have only known each other about ten years, but it seems as though we've known each other forever. Some friendships are like that, aren't they? They don't happen often, but when they do, it is always a gift to be thankful for. Sharon has been a gift to our family from God, and so on this Thanksgiving day, I want to give thanks to the Lord for His blessing to us.

Okay, dear Friday Foto Friends...while you are enjoying your day after Thanksgiving, I'll be enjoying a wonderful visit with my brother and his family from N.C., and my sister and her family from here in Florida, along with our kids and our neighbor and some other precious friends. God is good...all the time, God is good!  

Now let's go join our other Friday Foto Friends over at Deb's place at Breathing in Grace.  Have a blessed and wonderful Thanksgiving weekend!!

Sunday, November 18, 2018

Sermon Notes: Stuck In Between

In case you didn't know it, this week is Thanksgiving!
(Sermon Notes 11/18/18)
It seems as though Thanksgiving is being forgotten, stuck in the middle between Halloween and Christmas. If you went to the stores in August and September and October, you saw lots and lots of Halloween decorations and costumes.  And then about mid-way through October (or maybe even sooner) they started putting out Christmas decorations.  If you looked hard enough, you might find a few things that had to do with Thanksgiving, but not really very much. It was either Fall or Christmas, but not much emphasis on Giving Thanks.

Perhaps we don't think we have much to thank God for...perhaps the material world has gotten to us, and we don't stop and think about where everything came from...or to Whom we should give thanks.

Our scripture for today is:

Psalm 100 (NKJV)
1.  "Make a joyful shout to the Lord, all you lands!
2.  Serve the Lord with gladness;
Come before His presence with singing.

3.  Know that the Lord, He is God;
It is He who has made us,

and not we ourselves;
We are His people and the sheep of His pasture.

4.  Enter into His gates with thanksgiving,

and into His courts with praise.
Be thankful to Him, and bless His name.

5.  For the Lord is good;
His mercy is everlasting,
and His truth endures to all generations."

God warned the children of Israel in Deuteronomy 8:10-11 not to forget Him when they entered into the land which He had given them:

10.  "When you have eaten and are full, then you shall bless the Lord your God for the good land which He has given you.
11.  Beware that you do not forget the Lord your God by not keeping His commandments, His judgments, and His statutes which I command you today..."
(you can read the rest of that chapter for the full story)

God is not just talking to the Israelites in the 100th Psalm...see verse 1:
"Make a joyful shout to the Lord, ALL YOU LANDS!"

And He is not just speaking to the people in Bible times...see verse 5:
"For the Lord is good;
His mercy is everlasting,
and His truth endures to ALL GENERATIONS."

The Meriam Webster definition of Thanksgiving is:

1. a: capitalized : THANKSGIVING DAY
b: a public acknowledgment or celebration of divine goodness
2: the act of giving thanks
3: a prayer expressing gratitude

  • When we live with an "attitude of gratitude" it has been said that those who frequently feel grateful have more energy
  • Are less likely to become depressed
Don't leave your "attitude of gratitude" at the Thanksgiving table.
Acknowledge and remember that God has blessed us in mighty, mighty ways

Sometimes we get in the habit of complaining instead of expressing our thankfulness.
We have become so spoiled.  When we have to take an airplane flight somewhere instead of exclaiming about the miracle of "Wow! We're Flying!", we instead complain about how cramped the seats are, or the long lines we had to wait in at the airport, or that the WiFi didn't work on the plane...Things that we never even heard of not too many years ago, and now we are so spoiled we complain and gripe when we are delayed or uncomfortable for an hour or so.

People in Jesus' time were no different...In the book of John chapter six, just after Jesus performed the miracle of feeding the five thousand with five loaves of bread and two small fish,  the next day Jesus said to the multitude who chased after Him to the other side of the sea, 

in John 6:26-27
"Most assuredly, I say to you, you seek Me, not because you saw the signs, but because you ate of the loaves and were filled.
27.  Do not labor for the food which perishes, but for the food which endures to everlasting life,
which the Son of Man will give you, because God the Father has set His seal on Him."
The people came with an attitude of entitlement, expecting Jesus to keep feeding them, rather than acknowledging and giving thanks for the miracle of the blessing of the bread from heaven, which does not perish, but gives everlasting life.

The Biblical antidote to a complaining, demanding spirit is 
  • to give thanks...express thanksgiving to God
  • Read God's Word daily
  • come together as a community of faith to encourage one another
  • Draw closer to God
Recognize that we are all flawed, but when we do these things we will see that this will become the basis for our Thanksgiving.  When we begin to praise God and give Him thanks for all He has done we will find that our "attitude of gratitude" will become the norm rather than the exception.

Here are some words to reflect on as we enter this week of "Thanksgiving":

"Holy God, we thank You for the promise of Your Presence.
You call us to be part of Your new creation.
Loving Christ, we celebrate Your call to join You in God's new creation.
We come to join the harvest,
to help carry Your news out into the world.
Empowering Holy Spirit, we give thanks that You encourage us to respond with joy.
Come fill us now, as we gather to share Your Presence in the bread and cup."

Ephesians 1:3
"God has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ."

Amen! And Happy Thanksgiving!

Please Note : I want to repeat this disclaimer here...the notes, outline, and content included here are based upon my own personal understanding of the message that was being given.  I am not attempting to completely quote or reproduce this message or any other message I've shared previously.  Just as each person reading these notes may glean insights and thoughts that seem to directly apply to one's own situation and interpretation, my own delivery of these messages is skewed by my hearing and translation of what is being said.  Some may read my notes here and wonder if they were hearing the same message as I...and I say, God speaks to each of us as He wills...there are things He is trying to get across to each individual that may be entirely different than what the person sitting next to you in the pew is needing to hear...  That is how the Holy Spirit works! He knows what we need to hear and how to apply it to our hearts.  So it is with that understanding that I present these sermon notes to you.

Sermon Notes: FUMC Interlachen, FL, Pastor A.C. Myers, 11/18/2018