Thanksgiving Popcorn

popcorn kernerl mfThanksgiving lind pdpopcorn popped mf

Tomorrow, we as Americans will be celebrating Thanksgiving.  I wonder what really is in the forefront of our minds.  Will the majority of us make “giving thanks” a priority or will we be consumed with preparing food for family and friends to consume?  Our family will eat its share of turkey, but we will also have one item on our table that will not be part of most Thanksgiving feasts.  We have unpopped kernels of popcorn!  Above each family member’s dinner plate will be a small paper cup of popcorn kernels.  After all the dishes of food have been passed around, I will begin to pass around an empty dish. Into this dish, I place one kernel of popcorn while mentioning a specific thing I am thankful for.  Each family member shares something for which he or she is thankful and places a kernel in the bowl as it is passed around the table numerous times.  Some of our sharings are serious or sacred while others may be silly. However, one rule is that there are no repeats.  Every person has to be creative about their thankfulness.  After the dish has been passed around several times, someone will usually say he or she is thankful for everything and dumps all of their remaining kernels into the dish.  Everyone concurs and all paper cups are emptied into the dish. Our popcorn platitudes of thankfulness are concluded, but we are not finished with our popcorn activities.  Later in the day, the grandchildren pop the corn and string it on thread to make a garland. This garland of popcorn will become a decoration upon our Christmas tree to remind our family to be thankful during all seasons.

Our kernels of popcorn help our family focus upon the true meaning of Thanksgiving, but now I want to look at some spiritual symbolism regarding our popping of the corn with my old air popcorn popper.

For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of.”
Matthew 12:34

Our popcorn kernels are representatives of the thankfulness in our hearts that became spoken words at the dinner table.  Now we place approximately one-fourth cup of the golden kernels into the air popper. The popcorn popper represents our hearts that are filled with kernels of thankfulness.  The popper has the ability to spill out the kernels of corn just as we have the ability to speak out the words within our hearts.

Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven
and filled the whole house where they were sitting.  They saw what seemed
to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them.
All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit.”
Acts 2:1-3

In this scripture, the Holy Spirit is referred to as being wind and fire that can be compared to the air and heat in the popper.  When the heat and air generated by electricity are applied to the small kernels of corn, changes take place just as the form of our words may change when the fire and wind of the Holy Spirit are at work within us.  When the Holy Spirit warms our hearts amazing things begin to happen!  The popcorn will exude from the popcorn popper just like words will flow from our mouths.

Now, our God, we give you thanks, and praise your glorious name.”
1 Chronicles 29:13
Enter His gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise;
give thanks to him and praise his name.”
Psalm 100:4

The actions of thanksgiving and praise are often linked together in scripture.   Thanking God for what He has done is like golden popcorn kernels.  However when the fire and wind of the Holy Spirit are applied to our thanks, we not only thank God for what He has done, but praise Him for who He is.  For example, I give thanks for how God has helped heal my arm this year, and this will cause me to praise God for being Jehovah-Rapha, my Healer.  My giving thanks evolves into praise with the help of the Spirit of God within me.   Both thanks and praise erupt from the words of my mouth originating in my heart – similar yet different.  The same is true with the popcorn. After the heat and air of the popper are applied, the hard little golden kernels burst into white fluffy blossoms of popped corn – same yet different.  The volume of the popped corn is much larger than the small amount of kernels we started with.  In a sense, I believe praise is greater than giving thanks even though both originate in the same heart.

Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good;  His love endures forever.”
Psalm 107:1

While celebrating the national holiday of Thanksgiving tomorrow, may we all take time to fill our hearts with thanks as well as fill our stomachs with food.  Just as little golden popcorn kernels have the potential to become larger white, fluffy, edible masses of grain, so do our words of thanks have praise possibilities.  Popcorn may not be on your Thanksgiving feast menu, but I pray you will share thankfulness as you gather around the table.  And, if your hearts swell with praise, do not restrain it, be willing to express praise as well as thanks. Scripture tells us to thank God because He is good.  In addition, we can praise Him for His the goodness of His nature.

Happy Thanksgiving!   

 Joyfully,gold apple (MF)
Cheryl

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Slow Down!

yellow light mgAll of us will soon be involved with the busy season between the holidays of Thanksgiving and Christmas. As much as I enjoy this time of year, I need to have the right mindset in order to keep everything in perspective.  I need a flashing yellow light in my life reminding me to slow down. Originally the middle yellow light of the traffic signal meant for drivers to slow down and be ready to stop when the light turned red. Unfortunately, today many people either ignore the warning or interpret the yellow light to mean hurry up.  Hurrying up can be my tendency during the upcoming busy season.  I tend to think I have too much to do to set aside time to be alone with the Lord.  However, the truth of the matter is that if I take time to slow down and sit at the feet of Jesus, when I get up I my feet will move faster and accomplish more than if I tried to do everything under my own power. God’s blessings can flow into my life only when I take time to be in His presence.  I need a yellow light and I need to heed its warning with the proper interpretation.

I should follow the example set for me by my slow cooker that is currently preparing our dinner for this evening.  Earlier this morning I followed the directions of the recipe listed below for a pork roast.  Now the meat must slowly cook in the slow cooker for the next 6-8 hours.  During that time, the meat will become more tender and the flavors of all the ingredients will blend together nicely.  Slow cooking allows time for the flavors of all ingredients to be incorporated into the meat. Spiritually, what may be happening is that when God appears to be working at a slow pace in a situation in my life, He really is blending together circumstances not only for me but for others around me as well.  Not only do I need to take time to read God’s Word, but I need to look for a way to apply the scriptures to my life during the next 6-8 hours while our dinner is cooking in the slow cooker or crock pot. This way I will fully benefit from my quiet time with the Lord.  The words of scripture must seep into my spirit so they can be become a part of me and how I live.

I just checked on my slow cooker and I noticed something.  On the front of the crock pot there are three little lights.  Red shows when the crock pot is turned off.  Yellow shines when it is cooking on a slower speed while a green color is emitted when it is cooking faster.  This takes me back to my original analogy of the traffic light and the meaning of the yellow color. Hmmm, I guess the Lord wants me to get the message to slow down!

I hope you will try the following recipe for pork roast with apples.  It does take time to make, but the tenderness of the meat and the flavors of the whole dish are worth it.  I also  encourage you to take time to slow down on a daily basis and allow for some quiet time with the Lord.  I have learned that doing so makes my heart more tender to the Lord and more patient with other people.

slow cooker wmPork Roast with Apples
In the evening:
Season 3-6 pound pork roast with salt, pepper and garlic.  Wrap in clear plastic wrap and refrigerate over night.

In the morning:
Lightly brown the pork roast with garlic in an electric skillet.  Then place meat in a crock pot with 2 apples peeled and cut into chunks, 1 orange sliced but not peeled, ¼ cup orange juice, and ¼ c brown sugar.

Cook in crock pot on medium heat 6-8 hours.

Remove meat and discard orange slices.  Place remaining meat juices and apples in a sauce pan.   Mash the apples and then heat to make a sauce.  You may add water to thin the sauce or corn starch to thicken it according to your desire.

Slice meat to serve.  You can serve the sauce on top of the meat or in a gravy boat to be passed separately.

Joyfully,
Cheryl

yellow complete wmScripture for the week: “But those who wait (yellow light – slow down) on the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run (green light – go) and not be weary (red light – stop), they shall walk (green light – go) and not faint (red light – stop).  –  Isaiah 40:31 with my additions and adaptations.

Prayer Talk

prayer- hands mfLike most days, I started today talking with the Lord in prayer.  However, now I am thinking about the whole concept of prayer.  How do I perceive prayer in contrast to what God designed prayer to be? Yes, I include praise and thanksgiving in my prayers, but there are times when I hurry through this portion of my praying so that I can present the Lord with my needs and the needs of others.  My tendency can be to allow prayer to become a grocery list of requests rather than a two-way conversation with the Lord. I tend to limit God because of my limited concept of prayer.  Is it not amazing that God who is so high bowed so low in order for me to be able to draw near to Him in prayer?  This fact in itself should cause me to bow my head and heart in prayer.  God loves me so much that He wants to have an intimate conversation with me through prayer!  He wants me to talk to Him, but He also wants to talk to me.  Actually, God most likely wants to answer my prayers more than I want to take the time to pray the prayers.  He wants to bless me with His presence and His voice.

 My Reader, my desire today is to share two kinds of statements with you in the form of couplets.  The first statement will help us grasp a better understanding of what prayer can be through the words of people.  The second statement is from scripture which is God’s Word, God speaking to us Himself, revealing His desire for prayer.  I pray these thoughts will help you in your personal prayer life.

You cannot find time for prayer, you have to make time for prayer.”
by Josiah Cruz
Be earnest and unwearied and steadfast in your prayer {life}, being {both} alert and intent in {your praying} with thanksgiving.
Colossians 4:2 Amp.

 The secret of praying is secret prayer –  an invitation to love Him more…
to go more deeply into His heart.”
by Lenard Ravenhill
But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father,
who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.
Matthew 6:6

Praying helps me remember that the Lord is in charge.
from A Light to My Path by Lynn Austin
Speak, Lord, for your servant is listening.
I Samuel 3:9

All prayer is to change the human will into submission to the divine will.”
by Frederick W. Robertson
In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what
we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans.
Romans 8:26

“My mother said that if there are any tears shed in heaven, they are going to be shed
over all the answers to prayer for which no one ever bothered to ask!
What blessing is God waiting to give you, but you haven’t asked Him for it?”
by Anne Graham Lotz
Be earnest and unwearied and steadfast in your prayer {life}, being
{both} alert and intent in {your praying} with thanksgiving.
Colossians 4:2 Amp.

The answer to prayer depends on the faithfulness and power of the One
who hears the prayer, not of the one who prays the prayer.
by Ann Voskamp
Lord, let your ear be attentive to the prayer of this your servant
and to the prayer of your servants who delight in revering your name.
Nehemiah 11:1

Spiritual lust makes me demand an answer from God,
instead of seeking God who gives the answer….
The meaning of prayer is that we get hold of God, not the answer.
Oswald Chambers
Hear, O Lord, when I cry with my voice, and be gracious to me and answer me.
 When Thou didst say, “Seek My face,”
my heart said to Thee, “Thy face, O Lord, I shall seek.”
Psalm 27:7-8

Don’t waste time worrying – spend time praying.  If I start thinking bad things
or being afraid and worrying, then I know it is time to start praying.”
from A Light to My Path by Lynn Austin
Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.
Philippians 4:6-8

As I contemplate on what I have learned about prayer, I come to the conclusion that when I pray I am acknowledging that God is in control and that He is with me.  I also realize that prayer is having faith to ask God for something. If I did not believe that God would listen and answer me, why would I bother to pray?  However, I can say with David in Psalm 34:4, “I sought the Lord, and he answered me.”  I believe in prayer, and I believe it to be more than a grocery list of needs.  My Reader, I want to close with a challenge for you with a quote by Ann Voskamp, “Imagine if each time you had the urge to text, tweet, email, log onto Facebook, or phone a friend to share some heartfelt need, you stopped and prayed instead.  Really prayed, trusting God to answer.”  Try it this week!

Joyfully,
Cheryl

Holey, Wholly, Holy

small treble clef (WM)The hymn Holy, Holy, Holy!, words by Reginald Heber and music by John B. Drake, has always been a favorite of mine whether it be sung as the traditional hymn or as a contemporary praise song.  It is based upon Revelation 4:8-11 with emphasis upon the words of the last part of verse 8. 

Holy, holy, holy
is the Lord God Almighty
who was, and is, and is to come”

Another scripture verse referenced with similar words is Isaiah 6:3.

Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts;
the whole earth is full of His glory,” 

What do I mean when I sing, “Holy, holy, holy”?

holy heart (MF)To me, “holy” speaks of God’s perfection and purity.  While singing Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty!”, I have an awesome awareness of the Lord’s presence. I also sense His omnipotence and eternal nature. In A Heart Ablaze, John  Bevere says that “holy, holy, holy” is the response of angels when they are in God’s presence in the heavenly throne room.  These angelic beings are not just singing or saying words that have been written for them to repeat.(p. 158)  Personally, these words connect my heart with God’s heart.

What do the angels mean when they cry, “Holy, holy, holy”?

diamond 2 USE - WCAccording to the dictionary, “holy” means separated or sacredI have heard it explained that the angels cried “Holy” every time another facet of God’s glory was revealed, so consequently there is the repetition of “holy” in these scriptures.   As the angels received greater revelation about the attributes of God, they more fully comprehended the Lord’s uniqueness and His separation from creation.  To refer again to A Heart Ablaze, John Bevere points out that only once in scripture is an attribute of God mentioned three times in succession.  He also notes that holiness is the characteristic that is emphasized; it is not love or faithfulness or power. (p. 158-159)   

Holy, holy, holy!”  From the literary style of the Hebrew language, I have learned that repetition is used as a form of emphasis.  In contrast, when I emphasize something in my blog, I will use italics, quotes or underlining.  Frequently the Hebrew language repeats a word twice for emphasis; seldom is a word repeated three times.  In the original Hebrew text, “holy” was most likely spoken reverently rather than repetitively.

What effect do the words “holy, holy, holy” have upon me?

paper cup (WM)As I praise and worship God with the words “holy, holy, holy” I sense God’s worthiness and my unworthiness.  For myself, the progression of the word pronounced “ho-le” has 3 different spellings and 3 different meanings.  First, I am “holey.” I see myself as a paper cup that God created with the potential to be filled with His Spirit.   If I am filled with His presence, then I am like a paper cup filled with water.  However, each time I make a mistake, or commit a sin, a hole is punctured in my paper cup of life and water flows out the hole.  In other words, God’s presence seeps out of me because He cannot reside where sin is present. Throughout my life I have allowed many holes in my cup, so I am holey, or full of holes. Romans 3:23 says, “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.”  That includes me! 

 My desire is to be “wholly” committed to the Lord.  If I confess my sin, God not only forgives me, but also repairs the holes in my cup of life so that I can be wholly, or fully, committed to Him.    I John 1:9 says, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.”  I Kings 8:61 says, “But your hearts must be fully committed to the Lord your God.”  Full commitment is my desire. 

My next step is to be holyActs 2:4 says, “they were all filled with the Holy Spirit.”  My cup of life is no longer “holey” but is “wholly” committed to the Lord and I can become “holy” as I allow the Holy Spirit to fill my cup.   I cannot do this on my own because Zachariah 4:6 says, “’Not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit,’ says the Lord Almighty.”  I Peter 1:15-16 says, “But just as He who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; for it is written: ‘Be holy, because I am holy.’”  This is an amazing promise! 

What effect did the words “holy, holy, holy” have upon John and Isaiah?

I believe that the writers of Revelation and Isaiah were echoing the words of the angels as they were recording their heavenly visions. However, I want to focus upon the transformation in the life of Isaiah right now.

BURNIBG COALS 2 USE - MFI want to make an analogy between Isaiah’s experience and my personal feelings that I shared in the previous section.  I quoted Isaiah 6:3 at the beginning of today’s blog regarding the holiness of God.  Now in verse 5, when Isaiah comprehends God’s holiness, he says that he is a man of unclean lips. (he is holey). Then in verses 6-7 an angel touches Isaiah’s lips with a burning coal from the altar to remove his guilt (he is now wholly committed without sin).  Finally in verse 8 God asks who He can send with His message and Isaiah responds “Send me” because he has allowed God’s Spirit to fill and equip him. (he is now holy for the Lord)  I guess Isaiah and I have something in common!

Holy, Holy, Holy” or “Holey, Wholly, Holy”?

Now I need to ask myself a few questions.  Do I proclaim holy, holy, holywhen I comprehend new QUESTION MARK USE WCfacets of God’s character?  Am I so overwhelmed with His attributes that it is impossible for me to adequately emphasize a single word – should I be using italics or bold type?

 Do I sing Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty!with a sincerity that causes me to cry out “holey, wholly, holy” regarding my nature?   I wholeheartedly believe in the holiness of God.  However, it blows my mind to think that I have the potential to be holy. Once again I quote I Peter 1:15-16,

“But just as He who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do;
for it is written: ‘Be holy, because I am holy.’”

 I feel I must go back to the definition of “holy.”  I think there needs to be a distinction made between the meaning of God being holy and my being holy.  For God it means that He is separate from me because He is perfect and I am imperfect.  For me it means that I am separate from the ways of the world when I am living for this perfect God.

 God is holy; my Reader, you and I may be holey but we can also be holy.  Will you join me in the following saying?

Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty
Holey, wholly, holy am I

golden apple #2(MF)Joyfully,
Cheryl