Welcome It is Two For Tuesday and a short holiday week. I pray for everyone to have a safe and blessed Thanksgiving holiday. I’ll be back to sharing scripture and encouragement on Monday. Today I’m sharing my perspective about coincidences, along with two of my personal favorites for Thanksgiving sides…”My Green Beans” and “My Cranberry Sauce.” I call them “mine” because I make them differently than anyone else in the family, not because no one else out there has made them. Thanks for joining me today. Note–I may receive a small compensation from affiliate links found on this blog post. For further information, please see my Terms and Disclosure page.
Food For Thought I don’t believe in coincidences, not really anyway. I might say things like, “what a small world” or “well that’s a coincidence,” but it’s just a figure of speech to me. You see, I have a personal belief that every choice we face or event that comes about in life has the potential to be part of a bigger plan. My study of scripture has brought me to believe that our God is a master designer and creator. After all, His creation was planned with not just awesome and majestic beauty, but also logic and organization. God would certainly not create sea creatures before water or plants before land. And while our world has always been somewhat of a chaotic mess, God takes the chaos and makes amazing things happen. Do each of us get to know every single outcome from any given event? No, we are not meant to know everything, God made that clear in the Garden with Eve. But I have such a sense of peace knowing that God is in control of each situation, and ultimately in control of my life.
This strong notion of “no coincidences” is what allows me to be thankful in all circumstances (Philippians 4:12-13.) I haven’t always found this easy, and I certainly have my “pity party” moments because I’m not perfect. But my studies have brought me time and time again to scriptures that assure me that God is in control of my life and I can relax, knowing He cares for me (1 Peter 5:7.) And speaking of studies, I don’t think it’s a coincidence where I am led during my time in the Word. I don’t always plan what I’m going to study or what inspirational words I’m going to pick up when I start my daily devotional time. I think this works out best for me, as I have found so often that God will provide the words I need to hear on any given day. When I was worried about money and finances, I was led to Matthew 6. Times when my marriage has needed divine intervention, I have been led to Ephesians 5. And I frequently get brought into Colossians 3 when I need to get my personal behavior and attitude in check. I must always remember that God knows what I need before I even know I need it and in that sense, there are no coincidences. The people we meet, the words we hear, the places we go…all part of the interconnectedness of our existence with the universe. It has meaning. What just happened was for a reason…either a personal blessing, a lesson that brings about spiritual growth, or to benefit someone else and meet their needs.
I realize that not everyone is going to be on board with this idea of no coincidences. That’s okay, but I have found the more time I spend in scripture, the more strongly I believe this idea. And it is very cool when something happens, seemingly unconnected and random, but I know that was God in action. Do you have any experiences like this?
Today’s Scriptures While I have always had this belief of “no coincidences,” I contemplated it more closely recently when I was reading chapter 9 in Romans. The heading for this chapter in my NIV Bible says God’s Sovereign Choice. That makes me think that His choices are part of a grand plan. I recommend reading the entire chapter, but the following verses seemed to connect with me most on this topic. I have underlined what I consider to be key words in each verse.
Romans 9:16-18 “It does not, therefore depend on man’s desire or effort, but on God’s mercy. For the Scripture says to Pharaoh, ‘I raised you up for this very purpose, that I might display my power in you and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth.’ Therefore God has mercy on whom he wants to have mercy and he hardens whom he wants to harden.”
Romans 9:22:23 “What if God, choosing to show his wrath and make his power known, bore with great patience the objects of his wrath–prepared for destruction? What if he did this to make the riches of his glory known to the objects of his mercy, whom he prepared in advance for glory.”
I looked up a couple other verses that I thought would further explain this idea.
1 Corinthians 14:33 “For God is not a God of disorder but of peace.”
Ephesians 2:10 “For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.”
Ecclesiastes 3:14 “I know that everything that God does will endure forever; nothing can be added to it and nothing taken from it. God does it so that men will revere him.”
Today’s Recipes I have two traditional Thanksgiving sides for you today, but prepared in a new and EASY way. They have quickly become holiday favorites at my house. I do NOT like green bean casserole. I personally describe it as green slimy mush, which is interesting, because I like all of the components to green bean casserole, but I don’t like it all together. So my go-to holiday green bean dish is some fresh green beans enhanced with bacon, onions, and walnuts. I also like cranberry sauce, but not the jelly that plops out of the can in that magical cylinder shape that appears it will slide right off the plate. My cranberry side starts with similar convenience, but uses a can of whole cranberry sauce, not the jelly type. Give ’em a try!
Green Beans with Bacon and Walnuts
- 2 lbs fresh green beans, stemmed and washed
- 1/2 lb thick cut bacon
- 1 red onion, sliced
- 1 cup walnut halves
- salt and pepper
Place prepared green beans in large pot, add water to cover and salt. Bring to a boil on high heat, then reduce heat to medium low, continuing to cook an additional 10-12 minutes. In large skillet, cook bacon crisp and place on paper towels to drain. Remove all but 2 teaspoons of bacon grease from skillet. Add onion slices to skillet and fry until golden brown. Add walnuts to skillet and continue to cook 2-3 minutes. Drain green beans. Add onion and walnut mixture to green beans. Crumble bacon into beans. Add fresh cracked pepper to taste. (I don’t add any additional salt because of the saltiness of the bacon.
Cranberry Orange Sauce
- 2 cans whole cranberry sauce
- 1 whole orange, zest and juice
- 2 tsp Penzey’s baking spice, or a blend of cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, and cardamom
Place cranberry sauce, orange zest and juice, and spices in large saucepan. Simmer on medium low for 10-12 minutes, stirring occasionally. It will be more saucy than solid. I like it on my turkey, ham, or fresh hot bread! It also makes a great addition to waffles or pancakes.
When preparing Thanksgiving or other holiday meals, I can have all four of my burners going and both ovens. On the stove top, you are most likely going to see Calphalon cookware. I am not sponsored by Calphalon, but they are my preferred brand of cookware. Here are a few of the items I used in today’s recipes. (verified 11/21/17 at 12:50 p.m., CST):