Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving!!

The original thanksgiving celebration was held by the Pilgrim settlers in Massachusetts during their second winter in America in December, 1621. The first winter had killed 44 of the original 102 colonists. At one point their daily food ration was down to five kernels of corn apiece, but then an unexpected trading vessel arrived, swapping them beaver pelts for corn, providing for their severe need. The next summer’s crop brought hope, and Governor William Bradford decreed that December 13, 1621, be set aside as a day of feasting and prayer to show the gratitude of the colonists that they were still alive.These Pilgrims, seeking religious freedom and opportunity in America, gave thanks to God for His provision for them in helping them find 20 acres of cleared land, for the fact that there were no hostile Indians in that area, for their newfound religious freedom, and for God’s provision of an interpreter to the Indians in Squanto. Along with the feasting and games involving the colonists and more than 80 friendly Indians (who added to the feast by bringing wild turkeys and venison), prayers, sermons, and songs of praise were important in the celebration. Three days were spent in feasting and prayer.From that time forward, Thanksgiving has been celebrated as a day to give thanks to God for His gracious and sufficient provision. President Abraham Lincoln officially set aside the last Thursday of November, in 1863, “as a day of thanksgiving and praise to our beneficent Father.” In 1941, Congress ruled that after 1941, the fourth Thursday of November be observed as Thanksgiving Day and be a legal holiday.Scripturally, we find things related to the issue of thanksgiving nearly from cover to cover. Individuals offered up sacrifices out of gratitude in the book of Genesis. The Israelites sang a song of thanksgiving as they were delivered from Pharaoh's army after the crossing of the Red Sea (Exodus 15). Later, the Mosaic Law set aside three times each year when the Israelites were to gather together. All three of these times [Unleavened Bread (also called the Feast of the Passover) (Exodus 12:15-20), Harvest or Pentecost (Leviticus 23:15-21), and the Feast of Ingathering or Tabernacles (Leviticus 23:33-36)] involved remembering God’s provision and grace. Harvest and Tabernacles took place specifically in relation to God’s provision in the harvest of various fruit trees and crops. The book of Psalms is packed full of songs of thanksgiving, both for God’s grace to the Israelite people as a whole through His mighty deeds, as well as for His individual graces to each of us.In the New Testament, there are repeated admonitions to give thanks to God. Thanksgiving is to always be a part of our prayers. Some of the most remembered passages on the giving of thanks are the following:"Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you" (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18)."Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God" (Philippians 4:6)."Therefore I exhort first of all that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks be made for all men" (1 Timothy 2:1).Of all of God’s gifts, the greatest one He has given is the gift of His Son, Jesus Christ. On the cross of Calvary, Jesus paid our sin debt, so a holy and just Judge could forgive us our sins and give us eternal life as a free gift. This gift is available to those who will call on Christ to save them from their sin in simple but sincere faith (John 3:16; Romans 3:19-26; Romans 6:23; Romans 10:13; Ephesians 2:8-10). For this gift of His Son, the gift which meets our greatest need, the Apostle Paul says, "Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift!" (2 Corinthians 9:15).We, like the Pilgrims, have a choice. In life there will always be those things that we can complain about (the Pilgrims had lost many loved ones), but there will also be much to be thankful for. As our society becomes increasingly secular, the actual “giving of thanks to God” during our annual Thanksgiving holiday is being overlooked, leaving only the feasting. May God grant that He may find us grateful every day for all of His gifts, spiritual and material. God is good, and every good gift comes from Him (James 1:17). For those who know Christ, God also works everything together for good, even events we would not necessarily consider good (Romans 8:28-30). May He find us to be His grateful children.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

This says it all

check out this website -be prepared to laugh

Do you feel blogging is addictive? Not just the posting, but the reading of other blogs and all the other that must be said about it? I may need a 12 step program before this is over.
I just burnt 2 large pans of cornbread because of blogging. I only wanted one pan of cornbread in the first place, but since I was thinking about my blog while preparing the cornbread I accidentally doubled the amount of liquid and put it in my dry ingredients. So when the stuff was still like water while I was whisking it, I realized what I did. So, I had to make a double batch. And the said cornbread didn't burn because I was posting or reading blogs, is was because I was talking on the phone about -yep, blogging. Robin and I were just chatting away about our blogs, she sure is a fast learner. Anyway, when I got off the phone with her I called my husband, accidentally, because I was trying to call his Mom and check on her. (And yes, it was because I was reading blogs online, just various ones. I found this cute one with brand new kitty's on it, oh sorry...) Since I had him on the phone, I decided to see what he wanted for dinner when he got home. It was then I smelled the cornbread --burning!! To make matters worse, since I doubled it, I used all my mix that I had on hand so I couldn't start over...and this was for work tomorrow. Everyone is counting on me. Oh, the pressure. I know they won't want to hear me tell my excuses...I'll tell them to read it on my blog.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Thoughts to Think on

These are thoughts on Forgiveness. I do love thinking on things of God. I don't mean things that the world thinks about God, but what God thinks about His Son. Here are a few questions to get your thoughts turning on Him. And then I will tell a story.

*What does it mean to you that your sins have been taken away?
*Understanding that confession is agreeing with God, and that it is always a healthy practice; what does it mean to you that forgiveness is not dependent upon your memory and ability to confess every sin?
*What does the phrase "once for all" mean to you? Read 1 Peter 3:18a
*How do we sometimes lack confidence in the "once for all"? Read Hebrews 10:3
*Should there really ever be guilt associated with a free gift?
*How are asking and thanking different?
*Why is thanking God for forgiveness more in line with Scripture? Read Colossians 3:15

Here's a true story: It was Gavin's 1st birthday. Everyone the family knew was at his party. His proud Daddy put him on his shoulders and began telling everyone how much he loved Gavin. How Gavin brought him so much happiness and he told of all the cute and wonderful things Gavin did everyday. How much joy his son brought into his life. The Dad went on and on about how much his son pleased him. While he was speaking someone from the back shouted out, "I have a drinking problem." On the heels of that comment, someone else muttered. "I've got a critical spirit." Yet another confessed, "I struggle with lust." Soon, chatter gave way to more chatter and the whole focus of the event had shifted. No longer was anyone concerned with Gavin and what his Father had to say about Him. Instead, everyone seemed to be consumed with their own issues.
How ridiculous! How inappropriate.
Of course, this event never really occurred. But I tell the tale to tell a truth. To illustrate a point that God has lifted His Son high, seated at His right hand. God has declared that His Son's works are awesome and that we should marvel in them. The central purpose of our lives is to focus on the Son, and in so doing, we please the Father.
As the father in the story hoped that all would genuinely celebrate his son on his birthday, God the Father desires us to be obsessed with His begotten. We are to eat of His flesh, drink of His blood and relish His finished work on Calvary.
Sadly, some Christians are so self-consumed that it's nearly impossible to get them to talk about anything other than their sins. It's as if their sense of importance stems from the fact that they are dealing with struggles. These struggles enable them to think about themselves, converse about themselves and even obsess about themselves - sometimes with a spiritual label on it all.

Well, now you know some of what I have been thinking about...I hope you too are thinking on things of God. Namely, His Son.

Soon I will share thoughts on the fact that Jesus is sitting at God's right hand.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Easiest Ever Brownies

My daughter told me that I'm way behind on my blog. I think she and I are the only ones reading it and we talk often so I haven't worried to much about it. But, for posterity, I wanted to put a recipe on my blog for all the world to see. So here is a recipe for the easiest, fudgiest, richest, most delicious brownies I've ever tasted. The thing is they can be so personal too. Because the ingredients are somewhat already prepared for you, you can choose the flavors you want to use. After you read the recipe I'll give you some ideas for variations; if you can't handle the chocolate...

Fudgy Brownies

1 small box instant chocolate pudding

2 cups cold milk

1 box chocolate cake mix

1 bag chocolate chips

(nuts, coconut, chopped candy bars, caramel, toffee chips – any add-ins you like)

In mixer bowl combine pudding mix and milk, blend 1 minute. Add dry cake mix and when moistened stir in chocolate chips. (Here is where you stir in any extras you want)

Spread into a 9x13 baking pan, which has been sprayed with non-stick spray. Bake at 350 for 30 to 35 minutes until set. It may still be just a little itty bit jiggly in the center, because you want to watch the edges so they don't get overdone.

These are wonderful right out of the oven, maybe with a scoop of ice cream... but they are also delicious when cooled. They stay very moist and are almost fudge-like. Once they are cooled you can frost them if you wish, but they are quite good just by themselves.

Here are some ideas to change it up a bit...

German Chocolate: Use the chocolate pudding, with a German chocolate cake mix, and milk chocolate chips. Add in some coconut and pecans before baking. And/or use a coconut-pecan frosting on top.

Dark Chocolate: Use the Chocolate Fudge pudding mix, a Dark Chocolate cake mix or something very rich, and use Dark Chocolate Chips. Try using chocolate milk just to go over the edge with it.

Holiday Spice: Use a French Vanilla pudding (or Pumpkin Spice if it's in season), a Spice cake mix and White Chocolate Chips. And perhaps some chopped pecans or walnuts, and maybe even some finely grated carrot for a carrot cake taste. A cream cheese frosting would put these over the top.

Lemon: Use a Lemon or Vanilla pudding, Lemon cake mix, again with the White Chocolate Chips. This should be simple enough, but some powdered sugar sifted on the cooled bars would be extra special.

Black Forrest: Use the chocolate pudding and cake mix and chips as the recipe states, but add in some cherries, maybe maraschino or dried. Or you could just serve the original recipe of brownies with some canned cherry pie filling on top.

Peanut Butter Cup: Follow the recipe above but swirl in some peanut butter before baking and you could even chop some peanut butter cups and add those in at the add in stage with the chocolate chips.

Mocha: Dissolve some instant coffee granules in the milk before mixing.

Like I said...the possibilities are endless!!!