God, Trials

Where Are You God?

A number of years ago I was at the end of my rope. I was frustrated, discouraged, and looking for answers. I had prayed all the right prayers and read all the right Bible verses, yet things were not going the way I wanted.

Where are you, God?

In an instant, I saw large red fingerprints on everything. My family, my home, my children, my problems, and concerns all had fingerprints. They were God’s fingerprints. He showed me that He was in fact at work in my life. From the smallest detail to the largest concern, God’s hands were holding it all together. I just hadn’t seen it.

I was so busy looking at my problems that I took my eyes off of God. He graciously reminded me that He was there the whole time. He was always there. My problems did not disappear that day. Something bigger happened. I was encouraged. My hope was restored. Peace came back in my heart because I knew God was handling it all.

God did not shake His head at me, and tell me, “How dare you!”. He lovingly showed me His presence in my life. God’s patience and kindness is overwhelming.

There are times when I know in my head that God is omnipresent, but I don’t always feel that in my heart. I am not always going to feel it, and that’s O.K. I have learned when I don’t feel God, I can trust the truth of His word, the Bible.

“For I, the LORD, do not change” Malachi 3:6, NASB

God never changes, ever. We can trust God fully and completely knowing He is constant.

“and I give them eternal life, and they will never perish; and no one will snatch them out of My hand. My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand.  I and the Father are one.” John 10:28-30, NASB

We cannot be taken out of God’s hand. Jesus and the Father are one. Those of us in Christ cannot be taken out of His mighty hand.

God has said, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.” Hebrews 13:5b, NIV

God will never leave us, ever. God will never abandon us or give up on us.

These are the verses that come to mind when I don’t necessarily feel God. The Holy Spirit reminds me through His word, the truth. God is omnipresent. God loves us. God will never abandon us. God is always working in our lives, even when we can’t see it.

I have also learned to press in to God when I can’t see Him. I know He is my source for everything. I know when I ask Him to help me, He will. God is faithful. God’s love and care does not change based on my feelings. I’ve heard it said that if you do not see God that He did not move, you did.

When we feel far from God it is an opportunity for our faith to grow. Every time I go looking for Him when I can’t see Him clearly, He shows up.

God is as close as your next prayer.

Love you all,

Meghan

Heavenly Father,

You are perfect, awesome God. Thank you for your love and grace. I lift up all those who feel far from you today. May they experience your amazing presence and peace. Touch their hearts and lives. Give them eyes to see You.

In Jesus Name,

Amen

Christmas

A Christmas Without Decorations

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Photo by Karolina Grabowska on Pexels.com

My in-laws garage was packed floor to ceiling with our stuff. We moved into their house a few weeks before Christmas that year. They had generously offered for us to stay with them while Tom finished school. I stood there with my two young boys looking at the big pile of boxes that represented our life. Buried in that pile were all of our Christmas decorations. 

There would be no normal Christmas that year. I was sad. I love Christmas. I love the decorations. I love the lights. I love it all. I was looking for something that was familiar in all of the change. Anything that was secure was gone, except for my husband and kids. Christmas and all of the decorations had always brought me so much happiness. That year it was missing.

As much as I wanted to be surrounded with all of my favorite Christmas things, I couldn’t. It wasn’t even possible. I had to come to terms with where my life was at that moment in time. A choice had to be made. I could feel sorry for myself, or I could make the best of the situation. I chose my faith over my feelings.

We bought an inexpensive artificial tree. Dylan, my oldest son, and I made a red and green paper chain for garland. We made ornaments cut from construction paper and covered in glitter. Our very simple tree was beautifully decorated. The boys were happy, and a new memory was made. No, it wasn’t a fancy, perfect, from a magazine kind of tree. It was made with love and a little creativity.

Christmas came and went that year just like it does every year. Though it was not the holiday I had dreamed of, we were all together and that was what mattered the most. I held on to the fact that we would have a normal Christmas again one day. It took a couple of years, but it did happen.

Your Christmas may not look ideal this year. You may be grieving the loss of a loved one, or dealing with illness. Our entire world was turned upside down because of a virus, and nothing has been normal. We can still celebrate the birth of the Savior. He is worthy to celebrate.

Maybe you’ve just got a simple paper chain like I did for your tree. It’s still beautiful. You may have the best of every kind of Christmas decor. Your tree is Instagram worthy, yet you are hurting, or sad, or lonely. Jesus came to save us. He can comfort you in your pain. No matter where you are at in your life. If you call on Jesus He will answer.

The year I had no Christmas decorations God met me in my sadness. God lovingly showed me that He is still there no matter what. It’s not about the decorations. It’s all about Jesus Christ. 

Jesus came into this harsh world as a vulnerable baby. He was born in a feeding trough. Not ideal. Jesus was not born in a palace, or a hospital birthing suite. Jesus was born where animals eat. The King of Kings came to us in the most lowly, humble circumstances. No fancy decorations. Precious Jesus was a tiny baby among animals and dirt. 

The angels rejoiced over Jesus’ birth. 

Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,

“Glory to God in the highest heaven,

    and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests.”   

Luke 2:13-14, NIV 

We can rejoice over Jesus’ birth too. No matter our circumstances. We can choose to focus on Jesus. It’s not always easy, but it is always worth it. Jesus is worth it.

Love you all,

Meghan 

Food

Mini Pumpkin Cheesecake

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It’s the most wonderful time of the year. That’s right, it’s pumpkin time. If you are a pumpkin fan then you will enjoy these mini pumpkin cheesecakes. They are scrumptious. Not too much pumpkin for the non-pumpkin fans, yet just enough for the pumpkin lovers. 

This pumpkin cheesecake is light and perfectly sweet with just the right amount of spice. Toasted pecans add fantastic flavor and texture to the graham cracker crust. Each bite of these tiny goodies has the perfect mix of creamy and crunchy. 

The portions are the ideal size for a sweet treat. No fork required. These would look so beautiful on a cake stand for Thanksgiving. But you don’t need a special occasion to make these mini cheesecakes. Every day is a reason to be thankful so why not celebrate with pumpkin cheesecake. 

Make this simple yet impressive dessert for the holiday season or any time of the year. Experience the delight of cheesecake without all of the fuss. Enjoy this delectable small dessert. 

Happy Eating!

Seek the LORD and His strength; Seek His face continually. Psalm 105:4

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Mini Pumpkin Cheesecake

Yield: 24 cheesecakes

Crust

1 and a half sleeves of graham crackers (approximately 12 graham crackers)

½ cup butter – melted

6 tablespoons brown sugar

1 teaspoon  cinnamon 

¼ cup toasted pecans

 

Pumpkin Cheesecake

16 oz. cream cheese – room temp

15 oz. can pumpkin puree

2 tablespoons sour cream

2 eggs – room temp 

1 cup sugar

2 tablespoons flour

1 teaspoon vanilla

½ teaspoon ginger

½ teaspoon nutmeg

½ teaspoon cloves

1 teaspoon cinnamon

 

Instructions

Make the crust

  1. Preheat oven to 350°
  2. Line muffin pan with paper cups. This recipe makes 24.
  3. Toast pecans in the oven on a baking sheet for 7 to 8 minutes.
  4. Place toasted pecans and graham crackers in a food processor and make fine crumbs. (If you don’t have a food processor you can place the graham crackers and pecans in a large plastic bag. Pound them with a rolling pin until crumbs form.)
  5. Place the graham cracker crumbs and pecans in a mixing bowl. Add melted butter, brown sugar, and cinnamon. Mix with a spoon or fork until combined.
  6. Put two tablespoons of the crust into each paper baking cup.
  7. Take a small glass or measuring cup and firmly press the crust in place.


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Make the cheesecake

  1. Blend the cream cheese in a stand mixer with whisk attachment, or hand mixer, until smooth.
  2. Add the pumpkin and sour cream. Mix until well blended.
  3. Add the eggs. Blend until smooth.
  4. Add sugar, vanilla, flour, ginger, nutmeg, cloves, and cinnamon. Mix well.
  5. Using a large baking scoop or ice cream scoop, fill the crust lined cups with one full scoop each of cheesecake batter. About ¾ full. 
  6. Bake cheesecakes for 18 to 20 minutes. Turn the oven off, then leave the cheesecakes in the oven for an additional 20 minutes. Remove from the oven and let the cheesecakes cool completely. Store in the refrigerator. Top with fresh whipped cream and cinnamon or nutmeg. 


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Notes

  • The mini cheesecakes will last for 3 days in the fridge or 2 months in the freezer.
  • If you don’t want pecans in the crust, just use 2 full sleeves of graham crackers.
  • You will have a little extra batter and crust to make an additional 4 to 6 cheesecakes.
  • The cheesecakes will puff up in the oven and get some cracks. These will go away once they cool completely.


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Go to Mustard Seed Sentinel for this recipe and more. Check out my monthly column, Meghan’s Corner. 

https://www.mustardseedsentinel.com/post/meghan-s-corner-mini-pumpkin-cheesecake

 

Prayer

Keep Asking, Seeking, and Knocking

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Have you stopped praying? Maybe you didn’t get what you wanted, or you don’t see the point in prayer. It’s time to start praying again.

God loves His children. So much so, that He delights in answering our prayers. We are to ask, seek, and knock. This is one of my favorite passages of scripture in the New Testament. I have worn out this page in my Bible since I have read this time, and time again. The message is powerful, and true.

7 “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. 8 For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.

9 “Which of you, if your son asks for bread, will give him a stone?10 Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? 11 If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him! 12 So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.

Matthew 7:7-12, NIV 

Jesus spoke these words as part of The Sermon on the Mount. He said a lot in this awe inspiring sermon, and these few verses are just one part of it. 

Prayer is important. Jesus tells us to pray. These three steps of asking, seeking, and knocking are different aspects of praying to God. 

Ask humbly and confidently.

Seek with a hunger and a desire for God’s will.

Knock with expectancy and fervency,

We are not knocking on a wall. We are knocking on a door, God’s door. That door is meant to open for His children. 

Do you ever feel like you are pounding on a brick wall when you are praying? You are knocking on a door. “To the one who knocks, the door will be opened.” 

“His doors are meant to open: they were made on purpose for entrance; and so the blessed gospel of God is made on purpose for you to enter into life and peace. It would be of no use to knock at a wall, but you may wisely knock at a door, for it is arranged for opening.”  -Charles Spurgeon

How much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him! 

God loves to give good gifts to us. Even more than that, He loves to give beyond what we have asked of Him. God loves to bless His children. How amazing is God! More amazing than anyone or anything. He is perfect, Holy God.

When my children are hungry, and ask me for something to eat, of course I am going to give it to them. I am an imperfect, sinful person and I like to give good things to my children. Yet God, who is perfect, will give us more than just a piece of bread. Sometimes it is just the bread, the basic necessities, and sometimes it’s a whole lot more. 

Needs and desires are an opportunity for us to come to the Father. To lay all our requests at His feet with expectation of an answer. The answer may not be immediate, or may not be what we want. When we release our desires to the Father we are giving Him full control over the outcome. God only does what is good for us, so we can trust our prayers in His mighty, sovereign hands. God is God, and I am not. 

So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.

I love how this passage ends with Jesus reminding us to treat others the way we want to be treated. It takes the focus off of us and our needs. We are to put others above ourselves. We do not treat others the way they treat us, we treat others the way we want to be treated. The only way we can live out “The Golden Rule” is by asking, seeking, and knocking. We can’t be seeking God, and asking Him for help, and then treat others terribly. 

God is available to His children 24/7. His door is ready to be opened for those who knock.

There are blessings with your name on them from God. Keep asking, seeking, and knocking!

Love you all,

Meghan 

Please leave me your prayer requests. I’d love to pray for you!

Spiritual Warfare, Trials

When Fear Wakes You up in the Middle of The Night

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I stared into the shadows of my darkened bedroom. After being sound asleep, I was suddenly wide awake. Every problem, concern, and worry flooded my mind. 

Oh no Lord! What am I going to do about ………

This happens to me from time to time. I fall asleep completely fine, and then I am awakened with the reality of overwhelming problems, and things I need to take care of. My mind will go into high gear doing something that is very dangerous, thinking. Overthinking. 

This used to keep me up for hours as I tossed and turned, just thinking and thinking. Not anymore. It took some discipline, and the grace and mercy of God, to not let the middle of the night overthinking stop me. The reality that God is watching over me helped set me free of my night time anxiety.

God is in the watches of the night.

The Roman military divided the night into four watches. A soldier had one of those night watches lasting three hours. The soldiers were keeping watch for the enemy to prevent a surprise attack. They were ready to defend any invaders and alert of potential trouble.

God has all four watches of the night. All night. Every night. He is working and watching over us. When we wake up in the middle of the night, and the fear wants to take over, He is there. God is aware of potential trouble and knows about every surprise attack. It’s no surprise to Him.

God does not clock out when we go to sleep. He’s not on our human schedule. God is always at work. God works at night while you are sleeping, or tossing and turning. It doesn’t matter if you are awake or not. Our problems do not prohibit God. He is limitless. 

I lay down and slept; I awoke, for the LORD sustains me. Psalm 3:5

The LORD will guard your going out and your coming in From this time forth and forever. Psalm 121:8

The eyes of the LORD are in every place, Watching the evil and the good. Proverbs 15:3

When you lie down, you will not be afraid; When you lie down, your sleep will be sweet. Proverbs 3:24 

To stop my night time anxiety I do two simple things.

The first thing I do is listen to the Holy Spirit. He is always speaking, we just need to listen. He reminds me of the truth and will put scriptures in my head. Here’s one that came to mind the other night as I was overthinking.

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Philippians 4:6-7, NIV 

I just say that verse in my head until I fall back asleep. It’s the truth. We are not to worry and be anxious. Yes, we will all suffer from normal human anxieties and worries, but we do not have to stay stuck there. Even if I can only say the first part of the verse, that’s what I do. It really helps and has been my most powerful weapon in fighting my own thoughts. 

Prayer is powerful too. When you are up in the middle of the night with an overactive mind like I’ve got, pray. Honest prayers are the best. Ask for help. God is always willing and able to help us. He is faithful to hear and answer our prayers.

If fear wakes you up in the dead of night, be encouraged today. Do not let those fears and negative thoughts stop you. The Lord will help you overcome. God is always working and He takes the night shift. God loves you so much! Trust Him to care for you even while you sleep. Amen.

Love you all,

Meghan 

Father God,

Thank you for your unending love. You are awesome, holy God. I lift up all who are struggling with night time anxiety. May your peace flood their hearts and minds. Give each person restful sleep. When they wake up in moments of fear, comfort them and speak to their hearts and minds the truth that you are with them. We praise you and thank you!

In Jesus name,

Amen

All scripture quoted is from NASB.

Photo by Sam Kolder on Pexels.