A Thanksgiving Story

TurkeyforkToday I want to share a Thanksgiving story with my readers. It is not an original story. I have read that Don Evans, a professor of philosophy at the University of Wales, told one version of this tale but I have read other similar stories. I am taking liberties and creating my own version. I think there is a good lesson to be learned from the story and I have created it to be applicable for the Thanksgiving holiday. Please read with me.

The table is prepared for a Thanksgiving feast. It is time to gather together and give thanks to the Lord for His provision during the past year. Looking at the abundance of food upon the table, it seems that God has been faithful to provide above and beyond all that has been needed. First, there is a cornucopia filled with fruits and vegetables as the table’s centerpiece reminding everyone of the harvest season. The golden turkey is the other focal point upon the table but there is also an abundance of other dishes including mashed potatoes, gravy, stuffing, sweet potatoes, green beans, squash, cranberries and probably a few other items. The table is laden with delicious food. Twelve people are to be seated around this table, so there are twelve place settings of plates, glasses and silverware. The unique thing about the silverware is that the handle of each fork is so long that a person cannot pick it up without hitting the person beside them in the head. A person cannot manipulate the fork in order to place food on it or get any food into one’s mouth. Hmmm. What can be done? All this delicious food and no way to eat it! Finally, the family discovers that one person can take the long fork and place food upon it from the plate of the person sitting across from them. Then they are able to feed the person across the table as well. The food is devoured and stomachs are filled, but most of all, everyone has a new appreciation for the person sitting across the table from them. They are thankful for food but they are also thankful for relationships with aunts, uncles, cousins, children, grandchildren, parents and grandparents.

There are two things I learn from this story. First, I want to be sure to not just feed my face and stomach during our Thanksgiving dinner. I desire to feed upon the fellowship that we share as we gather around our dinner table. Secondly, I want to be ready to receive what others offer to me. I don’t want to just take the platter of turkey from the person I am sitting next to, but I want to be aware of and thankful for the fulness of my life resulting from the love of family members with whom we are celebrating this holiday.

This story also reminds me of the gratitude I have for family members who have helped me during the past year. I am thankful for food but most of all I am thankful for family. The Lord provides all! I will enjoy the delicious food that will be on our Thanksgiving table, but even more I will treasure the love of the family members seated around our table. I may not need to be fed by my daughter who sits across the table from me, but I will be grateful for the memories of meals she has previously prepared for us this year. My grandchildren who range in ages from 8 to 15 no longer need me to feed them, but I am blessed when they come to visit us and take time to share a meal with us that I have prepared.

As we all celebrate Thanksgiving this Thursday, may we take time to thank the Lord for His faithful provision. He provides gifts of family and friends as well as gifts of food. My Reader, what are you most thankful for this year? I encourage you to take time to give thanks to the Lord and also to express your appreciation and love to the people surrounding you this holiday.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Joyfully,
Cheryl
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Creation in the Canadian Rockies (People)

 

 

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Last week I shared about the beauty of nature we experienced while on our trip to the Canadian Rockies. This week I am reflecting upon the people who comprised our group of travelers. We enjoyed the beauty of the people as well as the beauty of nature during our ten-day motor coach tour. God is our Creator whether I think in terms of the natural wonders of the world He created or the people He created who live within His world. While reading Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians, I realized that our group was a personification Paul’s description of love in I Corinthians 13.  Our group exemplified love in several ways.

Love is patient, love is kind
I Corinthians 13:4a

One of the things that impressed me most about the people of our group was that everyone was always courteous and punctual. Everyone was considerate of those around them. For example, when getting on and off the motor coach, there was no squeezing into line ahead of someone else. However, if one person needed to get ahead of another person, there was no problem to accommodate their need.

(Love) is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant
I Corinthians 13:4b

One of the ways we became acquainted with each other was sitting together around a table sharing a meal. The topics of conversation were significant to me. No one boasted of job or financial success. No one had an “I am better than you” or “Look at me” attitude. Primarily, the discussions were directed toward other travel experiences or life experiences in general.

(Love) does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own,
I Corinthians 13:5a

Everyone was friendly. We were able to talk with anyone at anytime. When my husband and I would go to breakfast, we would be happy to share a table with two, four or six other people. There was one gentleman who was traveling alone and if two or three couples were together and this man came by, we always asked the hostess to add an extra seat at the table so he would not be alone. On the other hand, if a particular group of people wanted to be by themselves for some reason, their wish was respected as well.

(Love) is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered,
I Corinthians 13:5b

Although I am not aware of any specific instance, there were probably some words spoken or actions done occasionally by individuals that were inconsiderate of another person within our group. This happens because we are all human and we all make unintentional mistakes. If something of this nature happened, it was not evident to me. This makes me think that if a person was offended for some reason, he or she was not provoked to the point of making it known to the whole group. If someone was wronged, he or she must have been quick to forgive because I never heard any gossip about something of this nature.

And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.
I Corinthians 13:13

I believe faith, hope and love abounded within our tour group. Before we left on our trip, I had prayed that the Lord would place us with the people He wanted us to spend significant time with during these ten days. As we left our hotel room the first evening to go to the welcome dinner, we noticed another couple coming down the hall from the opposite direction. Our first conversation with John and Margaret began in the elevator as we asked each other if they were part of the Canadian Rockies tour. Yes, we were! That was the beginning of a special friendship for the week, and we continue to be in touch today. While sharing one of many conversations over the next ten days, Marge and I found out that both of us had prayed for a special couple with whom to spend time. Our Christian faith was a common bond between the four of us. God’s love was evident.

In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.
Genesis 1:1
God created man in his own image; in the image of God he created him;
male and female he created them.
Genesis 1:27

Our trip consisted of natural wonders of God’s creation and people who were God’s creation. As well as there being a unique beauty in each geographical site we visited, there was a unique beauty in each person with whom we shared our adventures. I commented last week that I sensed each location of the Canadian Rockies we encountered revealed an aspect of God’s nature to me. This week I want to emphasize that each person with whom we shared the trip reflected particular aspects of the character of God as well. The Hand of God is in the midst of all creation. He reveals His character and nature through all He has created. In nature, God’s character is exhibited through an outward beauty while with people, His attributes are affirmed through their inward beauty. He places bits and pieces of Himself within all of His works whether it involves the formation of land and water or the personalities of men and women.

People are important to God. People are important to me. I want to experience God in everything and everyone who surrounds me. There are times when I get so busy that I do not take time to be aware of God’s presence. When I had the privilege of going on a vacation and getting away from the busyness of life, I sensed His nearness and beauty more acutely. Every mountain and lake we saw was diverse in shape and size and color. Each person we interacted with had a unique personality. No two people were alike whether by appearance or by personality. However, each and every thing and person originated with God. We are all made in His image. We all reflect His glory.

I take time today to ask myself if I will allow my eyes to see Christ in each and every person I encounter within the next eight to ten hours. I also take time to evaluate my actions and interactions to see if others see Christ in me. While pondering these questions, one line of a hymn keeps singing in my heart, “Let the beauty of Jesus be seen in me!” This hymn was written by Rev. Tom Jones and the complete verse of it is as follows: “Let the beauty of Jesus be seen in me. All His wonderful passion and purity. O Thou Spirit divine, all my nature refine till the beauty of Jesus be seen in me.”

My Reader, how about you? Do you see Christ in others? Do others see Christ in you?

Joyfully,
Cheryl

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Creation in the Canadian Rockies (Nature)

 

dscn1906In August, we took a trip to the Canadian Rockies and viewed amazing sites of nature. We were blessed to be in the center of God’s awesome creation. While amidst the picturesque beauty of nature, three quotes of creation were in the forefront of my mind. Today I am reflecting upon these words as well as remembering the exquisite scenery we beheld.

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Today is the beginning of creation.
context of words spoken by Ken Burns

While on our motor coach traveling from one destination to another, we listened to documentaries about the national parks by Ken Burns. The words written above have stuck in my mind. I may not have the exact wording of the quote, and for this I apologize. However, the challenge I received from the words of Ken Burns was that creation is always being created because it is always changing. Each day we were on our trip, we experienced the beauty of natural wonders of creation we had never seen before. They were new sacred scenes to us because we had never been in this part of North America before. However, the countryside was also new simply because the formations of the earth are constantly changing. Today nothing looks exactly like it looked yesterday. I desire to look upon each day as an opportunity to enjoy God’s creation. I desire to daily be aware of and appreciate the newness of the beauty surrounding me. I want to proclaim the words of Psalm 118:24, “This is the day that the LORD has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.God created this day and I want to experience His creation to the fullest of my ability.

As each day is new, so is there something new for me to observe within the earth’s terrain each day. A glacier is a large mass of moving ice and snow that is a minimum of 100 feet deep and covers an area of at least 25 acres. Experts say that in another 20 to 30 years there may no longer be a glacier in Glacier National Park in Montana. Because ice melts and avalanches occur, the appearance of the landscape changes. While in Glacier National Park, we saw photographs of what the terrain looked like in the early 1900s displayed beside pictures of the present day appearance. The changes were amazing! What will it look like in another thousand years? Only God knows! The Creator has given life to His creation to allow for new creation and recreation.

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In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.”
Genesis 1:1

God is the Creator of all creation! Nothing that we saw during our trip to the Canadian Rockies would exist if it were not for the hand of God. As I looked upon the splendor of the brilliant turquoise color of Lake Louise, I realized God was the creator of such beauty. The composition of glacier flour and the lake’s water resulted in the creation of this unique color. The loveliness of the lake was accentuated by the marvelous mountain peaks surrounding it. The clarity of the water allowed the lake to be a mirror reflecting the mountain peaks. Mountains above and mountains below with Lake Louise in the middle! Sites of natural beauty were within our view throughout the Canadian National Parks of Jasper and Banff as well as at Lake Louise. I was reminded of the words of David in Psalm 8:9, “O LORD our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth!” I was captivated by the splendid beauty of nature created by God in this part of the country.

dscn1931In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God,
and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning.
John 1:1-2

In this scripture, “He” refers to Jesus. As the Son of God, the second person of the trinity, Jesus was present at creation when God said in Genesis 1:26, “Let us make man in our image.” I am amazed when I consider the fact that Jesus was involved in the creation of the earth and now He chooses to live with me as one of His created beings. I make this statement based upon Galatians 2:20, “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me.” and II Corinthians 5:17, “Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come.” I like the words of Sarah Young in Jesus Calling when she writes as if Jesus is saying, “I am the Creator of the entire universe, yet I choose to make My humble home in your heart. It is there where you know Me most intimately; it is there where I speak to you in holy whispers.” While in the Canadian Rockies, I heard not only holy whispers but sacred shouts revealing the glory and majesty of God, my Creator, who chooses to be alive in me as well as in His creation of the world. God’s natural wonders are amazing, but the realization that Jesus chooses to live in me is even more incredible.

I encountered a renewed nearness to God while we enjoyed the environment of God’s creation in this part of the country. However, I must also remember that I can experience His closeness anytime I choose because Christ lives in me and He promises to always be with me. God formed the earth and He continues to transform me into His likeness. This is God’s design and declaration through the spectacular scenery of His creation as well as His pattern and plan for my life.

Joyfully,
Cheryl
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Autumn and Apples

 

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This is the first week of November and I am still enjoying the fall season. Autumn and apples go together for me. Apples and Proverbs 25:11 also go together for me. In the Amplified Version of the Bible, this Proverb says, “A word fitly spoken and in due season is like apples of gold in settings of silver.” The phrase “in due season” seems to tie in with my reference to the season of autumn. So, where do my thoughts take me as I begin to write a blog today?

I begin by checking to see how faithful I am to fulfill Proverbs 25:11 through this blog each week. After all, my website is based on this scripture verse. Are the words I share accurately spoken in order to be of benefit to my readers and to glorify God? Are my words like the juicy, fresh apples I enjoy eating during this season? I value my readers as being silver vessels into which I impart the words that have been spoken into my heart by the Lord. It is an awesome responsibility to be accountable for words I speak or write whether it be through my blog or living daily life. Psalm 19:14 says, “Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight, O LORD, my rock and my redeemer.”

While reviewing blog posts over the recent months, I become aware that it has been a long time I shared an apple recipe with my readers. I think it is time for me to do so this week. I found several different online versions of a fun apple snack recipe. Below you will find my own variation.

APPLE BITES
1 tube of crescent rolls
1 or 2 Granny Smith or 20 Ounce apples
Melted margarine or butter
Mixture of sugar and cinnamon

Cut 8 apple wedges approximately ¾ inch thick – cut our seeds.
Lightly brush triangles of crescent rolls with melted margarine.
Sprinkle desired amount of sugar and cinnamon mixture on crescent rolls.
Roll up each apple wedge in one crescent roll. (You may add an extra apple wedge to each roll if desired.)
 Bake for 10-12 minutes at 350 degrees.
Enjoy!

While looking at this recipe, I find some spiritual lessons for myself.

First of all, I picture myself as being the apple. Not only am I an apple but I am the apple of God’s eye. This describes God’s favor available to me. The Psalmist asks of the Lord in Psalms 17:8, “Keep me as the apple of the eye; Hide me in the shadow of Your wings.” This is a comforting verse to me because it speaks to me of the watchfulness of the Lord over my life.

Next I think about the sugar and cinnamon mixture. Instead of sugar, honey is mentioned as a sweetener in the Bible. Proverbs 25:27 says, “It is not good to eat much honey, nor is it glorious to seek one’s own glory.” Okay, I don’t want too much sugar not only because it is not good for me but if there is a connection between sweeteners and my desire to seek glory for myself, I do not want it! However, a few sprinkles of sugar upon my apple of life will not be harmful, especially if it is mixed with cinnamon. According to Exodus 30:23 cinnamon is listed as one of the spices in the perfumed holy anointing oil. It had a sweet-smelling aroma and was applied to objects and people for consecration, dedication, healing etc. I want to say with David in Psalm 23:5, “You (the Lord) anoint my head with oil.” If I have the Lord’s anointing upon my life, then I identify with Paul who says in II Corinthians 2:15, “For we are to God the pleasing aroma of Christ among those who are being saved and those who are perishing.” The aroma of the sugar and cinnamon mixture on the apple snack while it is baking is definitely pleasing. I want the fragrance of my life to be the same!

The final ingredient of this apple snack is the crescent roll wrapped around the apple wedge. I compare the crescent roll to the robe of righteousness mentioned in the Bible. First of all, Romans 3:9 says, “None is righteous, no, not one.” I agree! By myself, I am not capable of always saying and doing the right thing. However, I want to do what Job said he did in Job 29:14, “I put on righteousness, and it clothed me.” This is possible because of Isaiah 61:10, “I will rejoice greatly in the LORD, My soul will exult in my God; For He has clothed me with garments of salvation, He has wrapped me with a robe of righteousness.” This is what I envision happening in the spiritual realm while I wrap my apple wedge in a triangular piece of dough in the physical realm.

Now I need to summarize and conclude this week’s blog. Personally, my daily focus is to see the supernatural in the natural. I also want to help my blog readers see our extraordinary God in our ordinary surroundings. I try to use simple words that have the potential to become golden apple nuggets of truth placed within the lives of my readers. I want others to know that I envision them as refined vessels of silver highly valued by the Lord we all serve.

My Reader, can you identify with my comments about spoken or written words being like apples of gold? Do you enjoy apples being the primary ingredient of an autumn snack? Are you reminded of what it means to be a Christian while you prepare the recipe I have shared today? Would you like to join me for an Apple Bite while thinking about the spiritual message the Lord is sending to you through the physical image of the snack? If you can give a positive response to any of these questions, then I have accomplished my purpose for today.

Joyfully,
Cheryl
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