Monday, December 28, 2009

Changed Forever

The angel Gabriel appeared to the virgin, Mary and said, "You will be with child and give birth to a Son, and you are to give Him the name Jesus." (Luke 1:31)  An angel also appeared to Joseph, a righteous man and said, "Do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit.  She will give birth to a Son, and you are to give Him the name Jesus, because He will save His people from their sins." (Matthew 1:20-21)

From that moment on, the lives of Joseph and Mary would forever be changed.  Any plans they had made or dreamed of together would be changed forever.  They were chosen to be the earthly parents of God's Son and they accepted God's plan for their lives.

We dream and make plans, sometimes on our own without God's input, but God has His own plan for our lives.  "For I know the plans I have for you . . . . . . . (Jeremiah 29:11).  When Jesus becomes our Savior and Lord, He changes our lives forever.  God continues to change the lives of those who invite Him into their hearts.

Christmas Day has come and gone but let us focus on the many lives the birth of Jesus has changed, beginning with Joseph and Mary.  Let us focus on His plan for our lives instead of going our own way.  God's plan for our lives is perfect.  As the New Year approaches, may we allow Him to change our plans, our course in life, to His plan.  May we be as obedient as Joseph and Mary.

Serving Him,
Kay Martin

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Feeling a Little Depressed

Several days ago, I received an e-mail stating that one of my favorite cousins had passed away suddenly.   That afternoon, I realized I was a little depressed.  I had been reflecting on Tony's life and the thought had crossed my mind that he wasn't much older than I am. 

Tony was a godly, Christian man who was dedicated to his family and his church.  Life was not always easy for him as he lost part of his arm in a farming accident when he was a young man.  He continued his sweet disposition and always seemed upbeat.  Most farmers are hardworking, honest men and Tony fit that description.  The angels are celebrating in heaven.

As I gave thought to being a little depressed, I picked up a Christmas devotional book I had been reading daily during the month of December.  That particular morning, I had read the Scripture and then laid it aside to come back to it later.  The subject of the devotional - depression.  God knew I would need to read this in the afternoon rather than that particular morning.  Mary, the mother of Jesus, was the example given for how to overcome depression.  In Luke 1:46-49, after the angel left her, Mary exalted and praised God instead of slipping into depression concerning what was about to happen to her.  If I am praising the greatness of God, how can I stay depressed! 

If I choose to focus on my depression, I won't be able to focus on God's goodness and greatness.  Praising God will cause sadness and depression to leave and joy to fill our hearts.  (I am not talking about serious depression that sometimes requires medical attention.  I am focusing on sadness and mild depression.) 

Will I still be sad because of the death of my cousin?  Yes!  But if I focus on praising God and exalting Him as Mary did, I won't wallow in depression.  When I focus on God through difficulties, I am reminded He is Sovereign and He never leaves me or forsakes me.

My prayer is for God's comforting and healing hand to be on all who have lost loved ones, especially during the Christmas season.  I ask God to help us focus on Him and not on ourselves and our circumstances.

"Praise the LORD.  Praise, O servants of the LORD, praise the name of the LORD.  Let the name of the LORD be praised, both now and forever more.  From the rising of the sun to the place where it sets, the name of the LORD is to be praised."  Psalm 113:1-3

Serving Him,
Kay Martin

Monday, December 14, 2009

Recipes for NOGS Reunion

Dear NOGS Bible Study Group,

Below find the recipes I used for our reunion.  Hope you enjoy!  May we never forget the summer we studied No Other Gods together.  What a blessing the study and our fellowship together were to me.



1 Beef Brisket (5-6 pounds)
3 oz. Liquid Smoke
Celery Salt, Onion Salt, Garlic Salt
Worcestershire Sauce
Salt and Pepper
BBQ Sauce

Place meat in shallow pan or dish.  Pour liquid smoke over meat (pierce both sides several times with fork).  Sprinkle with salts.  Refrigerate overnight, covered.  Sprinkle both sides with salt and pepper, pour on worcestershire sauce (about 2-3 T).  Cover with foil and bake at 275 degrees for 5 hours.  Uncover - pour BBQ sauce over meat.  Bake uncovered for approximately 1 hour.  Remove meat to platter.

For Gravy -  let liquid from meat cool and remove excess fat.  Add 2 T. flour and 1/2 cup water.  Cook until gravy thickens somewhat.

This recipe came from Carolyn Wilson Tyler many years ago.


I used enough romaine, baby spinach, and spring greens for a large salad bowl.  (Can use any mix of greens.)
1/2-3/4 cup dried Cranberries
1 Granny Smith or other Apple, chopped
1 cup pecans, coarsely chopped
1 package Ramen noodles, crushed (discard seasoning)
1/2 stick butter

Melt butter in skillet, add nuts and ramen noodles.  Cook on low heat until lightly toasted.  Set aside to cool.
Place greens in salad bowl.  Add cranberries, apple, and nuts/ramen noodles.  Drizzle with Sweet Paprika dressing just before serving.  (You can use oranges, mandarin oranges, or fresh strawberries instead of cranberries and apple.)


2 1/2 T. Cider Vinegar
2 1/2 tsps. Honey
1/2 tsp. Lemon Juice
1/2 tsp. Paprika
1/3 cup Sugar
1/2 tsp. Dried Mustard
1/2 cup Canola Oil

Mix all ingredients in a pint jar, except oil.  Heat in Microwave for 30-45 seconds.  Add Oil and shake well.  May be refrigerated.  Heat again in microwave and shake before serving.  (This recipe was origianally in Mississippi Magazine, but I made a few adjustments.)


4 cups Water (substitute 1 can Chicken Broth for part of water)
1 tsp. Salt
1 cup uncooked Quick Grits
3 cups shredded Sharp Cheddar Cheese
1/4 cup Butter
1 tsp. Pepper
1 tsp. Worcestershire Sauce
1/4 tsp. Hot Sauce (I use Trappey's)
2 large Eggs, lightly beaten

Bring water and salt to a boil and slowly add grits.  Return to a boil, reduce heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, 5-7 minutes or until thickened.  Add cheese and next 4 ingredients, stirring until cheese melts.  Remove from heat; let stand 10 minutes.

Stir in eggs, and pour into a lightly greased 11 X 7 inch baking dish.  Sprinkly with paprika.

Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour or until set.  (8-10 servings)


Shell:  6 Egg Whites, 1/2 tsp. Cream of Tartar, 1/2 tsp. Salt, 1 3/4 cups sugar

Heat oven to 275 degrees.  Butter a 13 X 9 X 2 inch pan.  Beat egg whites, salt, and cream of tartar until frothy.  Gradually add sugar. Continue beating until stiff and glossy, about 15 minutes.  Spread in pan, bottom and sides.  Bake for 60 minutes.  Turn oven off and leave the meringue in oven for 8-12 hours. (Overnight works.)

Filling:  1 cup Sugar, 2 cups Whipped Cream, 1 tsp. Vanilla, 2 cups Miniature Marshmallows, 6 oz. Cream Cheese.

Mix cream cheese with sugar and vanilla.  Fold in whipped cream and marshmallows.  Spread over meringue and refrigerate until set.

Topping:  1 can Cherry Pie Filling, 1 tsp. Lemon Juice, 2 cups sliced, sweetened Strawberries

Stir together and spread over filling.  Serve chilled.

(This recipe came from Lynn Dye many years ago when she was my neighbor.  I have this recipe in her handwriting, but I also saw it in Mississippi Magazine with her name - possibly last year.  It apparently has been published in the cookbook,
Look Who Came to Dinner.)

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Finding Pleasure and Satisfaction

In the book of Esther, King Xerxes bestowed a high honor on Haman - an honor higher than all the other nobles.  We do not know why the king chose to honor Haman, but honor him he did.  Everyone was to bow down to Haman to honor him and everyone did except for the Jew named Mordecai.  (Mordecai was Queen Esther's relative and adoptive father.)  Haman had everything going for him by the world's standards.  The king had honored him, all the people bowed to him and gave him honor, but one man would not bow the knee and this caused Haman to be in a quandry.

When Haman saw that Mordecai would not bow to him or pay him honor, he became enraged (Esther 3:5).  We again see that Haman was filled with rage when he saw Mordecai would not show fear in his presence (Esther 5:9).

Haman had much wealth, many sons, and honor from the king, so much so, that he called all his friends together for the purpose of boasting about all he had.  Yet, Haman could find no pleasure and satisfaction in his family, friends, wealth, power, and status because Mordecai refused to honor him.  Haman thought it was Mordecai's fault that he was not happy and satisfied.  Whom are you blaming for your unhappiness, dissatisfaction, and discontent?

Where are you seeking pleasure and satisfaction?  True pleasure and satisfaction will never be found in things or people because there will always be a "Mordecai" who will not bow the knee to you and there will always be someone who has more than you do.  True pleasure and satisfaction will be found in Jesus Christ alone because Jesus alone satisfies.

"Praise the LORD, O my soul . . . . . . . . . . who satisfies your desires with good things . . . . . . . (Psalm 103:1a, 5a)

David said in Psalm 16:11, "You have made known to me the path of life; You will fill me with joy in Your presence, with eternal pleasures at Your right hand."

Serving Him,
Kay Martin

Thursday, December 3, 2009


Why do I do the things I do?  Am I busy doing what God has called me to do, or am I doing what I do to look important, to be busier than anyone else, etc.?

A devotional in Journey magazine suggested that some of us have made our busyness a prideful thing.  (Ouch!)  We want to say I do this, I do that, or I'm busier than you.  The devotional also suggested that some of us are busy because we have an unconscious need to feel important.  (Ouch!)

Many of us are too busy at times, especially as we near Christmas.  "But God doesn't want us to be so busy that we are overwhelmed." (Journey, December 2, 2009)

I don't know about you, but I have certainly been so busy at times that I have felt overwhelmed.  It is time to take account of how we use our time.  We need to ask ourselves:  Why do I do this or why do I do that?  Is it something to feed my ego or is it something God has called me and equipped me to do?  Am I doing this for the right reasons?  Am I too busy to spend time alone with God?

Our prayer might be to ask God to show us what He wants us to do with our time.  Ask Him to help us get our priorities right in this area.  Each of us has the same amount of time - 24 hours each day.  How we choose to use those hours makes the difference.

I desire to use my time in obedience to Him, not so I can feel important or to feed a prideful spirit.  This requires some time at the feet of Jesus, listening and then doing what He tells me to do.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009


This Thanksgiving, did you sense that a certain relationship wasn't what it should be, or like you desire it to be?  (I know many of you experienced this because of your comments to me.)  This is very common during the holiday season when families get together.  We are often tense and on edge, and might I add, a little tired, during this time of year and relationships are sometimes strained.

Most of us desire the ideal in our family relationships.  We would like our families to be picture-perfect but many times, they are not.  Why?  Because families consist of flawed individuals, that includes you and me, and there in lies the problem.

One way to help in a not-so-perfect situation is to be the one with the good attitude.  Also, be the one who is accepting of the ideas and ways of others.  Our way of doing things is not necessarily the best way, and is certainly not the only way.  Overlook the little slurs, the lack of respect, and continue to love the person and treat them with kindness.  Oh, you may think they really don't deserve it, but I'm just saying if we continue to treat with kindness those who mistreat us, we will be the one who has peace.  Try it.  It works.

In the last part of Micah 7:6, the prophet states, "A man's enemies are the members of his own household."  Many of you know this to be true, but it is sad.  In Matthew 5:44, Jesus tells us to "Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you."  This is what we must do in our strained relationships.

We must do what God commands us to do and then thank Him for His many blessings.  If we focus on what we do have (the really good relationships), then what we do not have will be minimized.  Remember to always seek direction from God for His will is "good and pleasing and perfect." (Romans 12:2)

Serving Him,
Kay Martin