Archives for : November2017

What God Means to Me

Thanksgiving: From the Ridiculous to the Sublime by Sharon Sheppard     Last week I shared with you in alphabet form a lighthearted list of a few of my favorite things.  Some of them were frivolous, some not.

This week, I invite you to pull up a chair and sit down at my Thanksgiving table as I offer a rich feast from the pages of The Holy Bible.  The preparation has taken a while.  After losing my cherished husband to cancer several years ago, I spent a period of time grappling with what it means to be alone. Gradually I discovered in a new way some old truths.  One of the most profound is that I’m never alone!!!

What God means to me

He is my . . .

A      Advocate  1 Jn. 2:1a-2  If anybody does sin, we have one who speaks to the Father in our defense—Jesus Christ, the Righteous One.  He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins…

B       Burdenbearer  Ps. 68:19 Praise be to the Lord, to God our Savior, who daily bears our burdens.

C       Counselor  Jn. 14:16 & 26  And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Counselor to be with you forever…but the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things.

D       Defender  Ps. 27:1  The Lord is my light and my salvation—The Lord is the stronghold of my life—of whom shall I be afraid?

E       Encourager  Rom. 15:5  May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you a spirit of unity among yourselves as you follow Christ Jesus, so that with one heart and mouth you may glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.

F       Friend  Prov. 18:24…but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.

G       Guide Jn. 16:13  But when he, the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all truth.

H       Husband  Isa. 54:5 For your Maker is your husband—the Lord Almighty is his name—the Holy One of Israel is your Redeemer; he is called the God of all the earth.

I        Immanuel   Mt. 1:23  The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel—which means, ‘God with us.’

J        Justifier   I Cor 6:11  But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.

K       King  1 Tim. 6:15b-16  God, the blessed and only Ruler, the King of kings and Lord of lords, who alone is immortal and who lives in unapproachable light, whom no one has seen or can see.  To him be honor and might forever.  Amen

L       Lover  Song of Songs   Jer. 31:3  I have loved you with an everlasting love.

M      Messiah   Jn. 4:25-26  The woman said, “I know that Messiah” (called Christ) “is coming.  When he comes, he will explain everything to us.”  Then Jesus declared, “I who speak to you am he.”

N       Name-above-all-Names  Phil. 2:9-11   Therefore God exalted him to the  highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow…and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

O       Overcomer  Jn. 16:33  In the world you will have trouble.  But take heart!  I have overcome the world.

P       Protector   Jn. 17:11   Jesus said, “Holy Father, protect them by the power of your name—the name you gave me—so that they may be one as we are one.”

Q       Quietener  Zeph. 3:17  The Lord your God is with you, he is mighty to save.  He will take great delight in you, he will quiet you with his love, he will rejoice over you with singing.

R       Redeemer Eph. 1:7-8   In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace that he lavished on us . . .

S       Savior  Ps. 89:26   You are my Father, my God, the Rock, my Savior.

T       Teacher  Jn. 14:26   But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things . . .

U       Upholder  Ps. 37:24 . . . though he stumble, he will not fall, for the Lord upholds him with his hand.

V       Vindicator  Rom. 8:31-34  If God is for us, who can be against us?  He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?  Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen?  It is God who justifies.  Who is he that condemns?  Christ Jesus, who died… is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us.

W      Way   Jn. 14:6   Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life.

X       Example   Jn. 13:15   I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you….Now that you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them.

Y       Yoke-bearer  Mt. 11:28-30   Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.  Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.  For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.

Z       Zenith  Ps. 8:1ff  O Lord, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth! You have set your glory above the heavens….When I consider your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars which you have set in place, what is man that you are mindful of him, the son of man that you care for him?  O Lord, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth!

Thank You, God, for a few of my Favorite Things

At a time when complaining is rampant, I choose to be thankful, By Sharon Sheppard

Psst…One of the Secrets to Happiness is Gratitude

 

“Be joyful always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”  1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 (NIV)

Thanks, God, For a Few of My Favorite Things…

A       Apple pie (the taste and aroma trigger warm memories of home)

B       Books (I just finished reading Kristin Hannah’s The Nightingale:  It’s excellent!)

C       Chocolate (dark or light, gooey or chunky; brownies and Reeses Peanut Butter Cups)

D       Daydreaming . . .

E       Excellence in the art, music, and literature of creative artists past and present

F       Family & Friends: what a gift!

G       Grandsons!

H       Husband: sweet memories of the one who was my all-time best friend

I        Imagination

J        Joy…the everyday kind

K       Kisses: chocolate, or otherwise

L       Love: God’s unfailing love, and the love of others

M      Mother:  My sensitive, caring role model

N       Nature:  God’s creation: lapping lakes, flaming autumn leaves, stars against an inky sky

O       Offspring: Jonathan and Caroline, who bring me so much joy

P       Piano: from a childhood of yearning to an adulthood with time to play whenever I please

Q       Quietness: I lap it up and savor it

R       Rice Pudding (City Cousin Mary’s is the ultimate)

S       Sonnets, symphonies, and Scrabble

T       Thanksgiving Day: an annual reminder of what we should do every day

U       Unscheduled time

V       Variety

W      Writing, words

X       Xylophone:  a whimsical gift from my husband–and time to play!

Y       Yelp: The lively online opinions of customers who help me make shopping decisions

Z       Zest for life that nips in the bud any inklings of depression

 

Butterscotch Cheescake

As I write (Mary) we are almost into November. Hard to believe how time marches on. When I think November, I think of my daughter and my father who were born on the same date. Their birthdays on the 25th often fall on Thanksgiving Day. I also think more of being thankful. I think of warm fires and a good Thanksgiving dinner with all the trimmings. If your family is like mine, we don’t think pumpkin pie that day, it isn’t even on the menu. Typically, it is apple pie or pecan pie. If you are up for trying something new, this recipe at first glance may look complicated, but it is not. Compliments of Betty Crocker, this Butterscotch-Maple Torte is a knockout. Enjoy!

Butterscotch-Maple Cheesecake Torte

3 packages (8 oz. each) cream cheese, softened

¼ cup sugar

1 can (14 oz.) sweetened condensed milk (not evaporated)

1 package (11 to 12 oz.) butterscotch chips (2 cups), melted

4 eggs

2 teaspoons vanilla

Maple Cake

1 box Betty Crocker™ SuperMoist™ butter recipe yellow cake mix

Water, butter, and eggs called for on cake mix box

2 teaspoons maple flavoring

Maple Frosting

2 containers Betty Crocker™ Rich & Creamy vanilla frosting

2 teaspoons maple flavoring

Butterscotch-Maple Drizzle

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

½ cup sweetened condensed milk (not evaporated)

½ teaspoon maple flavoring

¼ cup butterscotch chips

 

Preparation Steps

Heat oven to 300°F. Grease 9-inch springform pan, and line the bottom with a circle of  parchment baking paper.

In large bowl, beat cream cheese and sugar with electric mixer on medium speed until fluffy. Add 1 can condensed milk, and beat again until well combined. Add melted butterscotch chips, and mix well. Add 4 eggs and the vanilla; pour into pan.

Bake 60 to 70 minutes or until puffed around edge and center still jiggles slightly when moved. Cheesecake will puff up around the edges and then sink when taken out of the oven. Allow cheesecake to cool 1 hour at room temperature, then refrigerate 4 to 6 hours or until chilled. Level top of cheesecake with large serrated knife.

Meanwhile, increase oven temperature to 350°F (325°F for dark or nonstick pans). Generously spray bottoms and sides of two 9-inch round cake pans with baking spray with flour. In large bowl, beat Maple Cake ingredients with electric mixer on medium-high speed until well combined. Pour into pans. Bake 20 to 25 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pans 10 minutes, then turn out on cooling racks to cool completely, about 1 hour.

In large bowl, place contents of both frosting containers. Beat in 2 teaspoons maple flavor with electric mixer on low speed. Remove 1/3 cup of the frosting, and place in decorating bag fitted with large star tip; set aside. Place 1 cake layer on serving platter or cake stand; frost top with thin layer of frosting. Top with cheesecake layer, and frost top with thin layer of frosting. Top with final cake layer, and frost entire side and top with remaining frosting. Pipe icing stars around top edge of cake.

In 1-quart saucepan, heat Butterscotch-Maple Drizzle ingredients over medium-high heat until melted and mixture can be stirred smooth with whisk. Let cool until barely warm but still pourable. Drizzle mixture over cake.

Enjoy! If there are any leftovers…cover and refrigerate them.