My (Sermonette) Thoughts

(Repeat Post with a few comments added)

It’s hard to believe this is the Monday before Thanksgiving. The year seems to have flown out the window somehow and left me behind in its dust.

Window days

 

I haven’t done a Thankful Journal this year. Truth be told, I haven’t done one in several years. (I didn’t do it this year either!)

As I reflect overall I have to be thankful for, I realize I am really good at saying (or printing it) but not so good at really believing it. Somehow I feel we all fall into this trap.

In this free country of ours, it is easy to lose sight of all we genuinely have to be thankful for.

I have noticed people, myself included, tend to add qualifiers to their thankfulness.

Not really surprising when one thinks of how the last few generations have been raised. Or more accurately, what previous generations have absorbed when the message that everything is all about us has bombarded them through the media, school, government . . . you name it.

“You deserve a break today!” goes a popular jingle. “What about ME?” one song says and “What About Us?” another one says. “You deserve brighter eyes!” “You deserve affordable housing!” “You deserve a better job, or car, or whatever!”

Everywhere you look, everywhere you go there is a sign with the message, “You deserve . . . : And we all fall prey to this insidious message.

New Car DeserveNew HouseNothing seems to be enough. The government even declares that people can be impoverished AND still have a car, air conditioning and TV. How do you think the poor homeless veteran living on the street feels about this, or the poor child that has no food, a cold house, no shoes and no hope for a change? Do they “deserve” what they have just like we “deserve” what we have?

In truth, no one deserves anything (except eternal death and damnation). We’re all only here by God’s good mercy and grace.

I really didn’t mean to have a sermon, but this is what I have been led to say.

God loves each and every one of us.

Bible 2

Luke 12:7 Indeed, the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.

He doesn’t desire that one of us be hungry or cold or any of the other realities of this fallen, sin-filled world.

Matthew 6:26 Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?

Luke 12:24 Consider the ravens: They do not sow or reap, they have no storeroom or barn; yet God feeds them. And how much more valuable you are than birds!

He’s provided a way for us to come to Him.

Ephesians 2:8-9 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast.

John 14:6 Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.

It’s simple to come to Him. Just pray and ask Him into your heart. Then find a good church to help in your new life and to continue with following His commandments and fellowshipping with other believers.

I leave you with these verses on thanks and thanksgiving; there are hundreds of examples of verses citing thanks and thanksgiving.

1 Chronicles 16:34 Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his love endures forever.

Ephesians 5:20 always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Philippians 4:6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.

Bible

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Thursday Throwback

The Chocolate Diaries by Karen Scalf Linamen

The Chocolate Diaries by Karen Scalf Linamen is a book for all women who have been on this journey called life.

Karen does an excellent job in The Chocolate Diaries of injecting her own life’s battles; such as bouts of depression along with life’s joys.

She believes in using lists to guide her and keep her on track. After one disheartening experience with her lists, she decided to always start her list with: Eat chocolate, thereby ensuring at least one thing on her list would be done every day.

At times lighthearted and at other times reflective, the book features real women with real stories and ways each coped with their situations.

Karen draws her analogies from extensive interviews with friends and family and peppers the stories throughout the book.

Each chapter has, in addition to the story, Sweet Secrets which poses the question to different women “What’s your secret to a sweeter journey on the rocky road of life?” and gives their answer, Food for Thought which asks the reader questions based on the chapter and finally at the end of the chapter is Because Real Women Don’t Need a Cookbook which highlights reader-submitted recipes.

I think this book would be great for a study group ending each session with the Food for Thought questions and then making the recipes.

Real people with real stories GENEROUSLY sprinkled with chocolate. Nothing is much better than that! I received this book from Blogging for Books. However, I was under no obligation to post a review.

Thursday Throwback!

This post showed up on my FB memories page yesterday.

It’s interesting how God orchestrates things sometimes. This article ties into a feature I’ll be doing midweek next week. Also, I’ll have some exciting news next week!!

When I think of forgiveness, my first thought is naturally of Christ’s forgiveness toward us but what about our role in forgiveness.

Forgiveness, I believe, is one of the most misunderstood and misconstrued precepts of the Bible (also one of the hardest to follow).

Most of our issues for forgiveness stem from a wrong done by someone we care about i.e. family members, church family and friends-which is what I am focusing on today. Because of this, it is especially hard to let it go sometimes and forgive. Yet the Bible tells us to forgive.

Just a few examples of our call to forgive are:

 Matthew 18:21, 22(KJV)

Then came Peter to him, and said, Lord, how oft shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? till seven times?

Jesus saith unto him, I say not unto thee, Until seven times: but, Until seventy times seven.

 Luke 17:3, 4

Take heed to yourselves: If thy brother trespass against thee, rebuke him; and if he repent, forgive him.

And if he trespass against thee seven times in a day, and seven times in a day turn again to thee, saying, I repent; thou shalt forgive him.

We do not want to let the person(s) off lightly so we stew, fret and create an imprisonment of bitterness within our hearts and life.

The thing that we forget and is easy to discount is forgiveness is not for the other person(s) but for us. Forgiveness starts to thaw our frozen heart and allows us to grow.

Forgiveness is NOT an emotion but a very intentional choice we must make.

Forgiveness does not mean the other(s) have to forgive, too.

NO, forgiveness is for us, for our growth and maturity and our peace of mind.

 

 

Say It Ain’t So (But I Know it IS!!)

Have you heard of the fall/winter, Thanksgiving/Christmas (may as well throw in New Years, too) 20? No? (Maybe I made it up, I think!!) It’s that time of year, much like when freshman start college, when you gain 20 lbs-or if you are really, really lucky you gain even more!

I know our ancestors from long, long ago needed to do this in order to survive the long winters when food was sparse. I also know we are fortunate to live in a country where food now is available in abundance, which makes it hard to refuse extra helpings.

I know, too that I love cooking and baking lots of food and goodies during the holiday season. It’s one of those Southern thangs (pronounced as written), where cooking and feeding food and eating said food equals love. (I also know, I got an overabundance of both of these genes since others in my family seldom, if ever cook, and most don’t gain weight, either.)

So, as I ruminate on all these thoughts of food (is anyone else getting hungry?), I will thank the Lord that we have food during this holiday season, along with thanking Him for a roof over our heads, heat to keep us warm and many, many other things. Because I know, from first-hand experience as a child and from what I see walking along downtown streets, that those blessings aren’t and weren’t always available.

This prayer applies to the entire holiday season, I believe.

A Thanksgiving Day Prayer

Lord, so often times, as any other day
When we sit down to our meal and pray

We hurry along and make fast the blessing
Thanks, amen. Now please pass the dressing

We’re slaves to the olfactory overload
We must rush our prayer before the food gets cold

But Lord, I’d like to take a few minutes more
To really give thanks to what I’m thankful for

For my family, my health, a nice soft bed
My friends, my freedom, a roof over my head

I’m thankful right now to be surrounded by those
Whose lives touch me more than they’ll ever possibly know

Thankful Lord, that You’ve blessed me beyond measure
Thankful that in my heart lives life’s greatest treasure

That You, dear Jesus, reside in that place
And I’m ever so grateful for Your unending grace

So please, heavenly Father, bless this food You’ve provided
And bless each and every person invited

Amen!

-Scott Wesemann

Love at First Fight: 52 Story-Based Meditations for Married Couples by Carey and Dena Dyer

Love at First Fight

Love at First Fight: 52 Story-Based Meditations for Married Couples by Carey and Dena Dyer

About the Book

Love at First Fight is a book that will give your marriage encouragement and hope if you find that the once endearing, charming, and distinct qualities that once attracted you to your spouse are now a source of stress and conflict. In sharing humorous, personal stories from both the male and female perspective, husband and wife writing team Carey and Dena Dyer will help you discover that a fun, resilient, fulfilling marriage can be realized through hard work, forgiveness, God’s grace, and a sense of humor. Learn how to strengthen your marriage with these fifty-two conversational meditations that begin with scripture, end with prayers, and include practical action steps to develop a deeper connection with your spouse.

My Review

Carey and Dena Dyer have given a thought-provoking and candid look into their marriage. In addition to the story-based meditations, the chapters are subtitled with He Says/She Says, Taking Off the Gloves, and Tips from the Pros. There are five sections to the book, and each section includes an area for notes.

The Dyers have drawn from their personal life, in all its grittiness, in order to assist couples in realizing a universal truth-every couple has ups, downs and moments of frustration. The frustrations usually result in questioning, occasionally, if the hassle is worth it.

Love at First Fight is frequently humorous, sometimes painful and at all times honest. The narrative is easy to read, and the lessons are easy to apply. I feel Love at First Fight would make a great gift for any married couple, whether just starting out or long time married. The format is such that it could be a daily devotional read alone or with your spouse.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Barbour Publishing in exchange for my honest review.

Saturday Supper & S’More

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Too Stressed Cookbook

About book stressed

Feeling overwhelmed by life’s daily demands? Could you use some encouragement and inspiration in the kitchen? The Too Blessed to Be Stressed Cookbook to the rescue! Each of the 100-plus recipes can be prepared in 20 minutes or less, plus you’ll encounter some fabulous tips and suggestions as well as funny foodie quotes, scripture selections, humorous stories of cooking misadventures, and more, along the way. Recipes are arranged into 4 categories–Heart-Healthy, Soul-Fed, Time-Wise, and Company-Happy–and are accompanied by appealing full-color photographs. You’ll cheer as you soak up the joy Debora M. Coty brings into your life and home!

My review stressed

Too Blessed to Be Stressed is a great cookbook for those of us so busy we seem to meet ourselves coming and going.

Debora Coty has divided the book into four basic sections that include:

Time Wise

Soul Fed

Heart Healthy

Company Happy

There is also an introduction at the beginning and menu suggestions and grocery lists at the end.

The recipes are easy to read, follow, understand and most importantly, they are quick, using food items most people have on hand already.

Scattered throughout the book are notes about the recipe, handy hints, photos, Bible quotes and cute/funny stories titled Chuckle Breaks.

I really enjoyed the book (except for the Kindle formatting, which won’t be a problem for others as it is available as a hardback copy only).

Some of my favorite recipes are Deb’s Famous Chicken Salad (I love any chicken salad with grapes and nuts in it), the Chocolate Brickle (which has a surprise ingredient), Sweet Potato Home Fries-OK, who am I kidding, I pretty much like all of them I’ve tried so far!!

If you are looking for a way to streamline and de-stress mealtimes, Too Blessed to Be Stressed is definitely a book you want to check out!

I received this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Monday’s Mention

Sand in My Sandwich: And Other Motherhood Messes I’m Learning to Love by Sarah Parshall Perry is the true raw, unadulterated view of the life of a mother of three children, two with special needs.

Sarah Perry is a previous neat freak, attorney and now mother of three. She chronicles her “escapades” and those of her children, in a very real and laugh out loud way. Even if you don’t have special needs children, all mothers can relate to Sarah’s life.

Sarah’s reality, even without her children, is a challenge. She struggles with depression and was diagnosed with an autoimmune disorder, but her sense of humor helps to see her through. In addition, her abiding faith shores her up in her darkest days. She says, “The hardest stuff is the quickest way to God.”

As you read Sand in My Sandwich, you are given glimpses into Sarah’s life, from her days a single woman to her current days as a wife and mother.

Sand in My Sandwich isn’t a how-to manual but a how-I-did-it chronicle. Sarah is an encouragement to every mom, helping us realize that some things we may have thought were unique to us, in our worst moments, are actually experienced by all moms.

Once you start reading, you are not going to want to put Sand in My Sandwich: And Other Motherhood Messes I’m Learning to Love down.

I received this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Sand in my sandwich