My Thanksgiving Overcooked Turkey
By Rev. Dr. Teresa Allissa Citro
I wrote this Thanksgiving Day. God told me not to release it then. Today is the day. Please private message me. I know God is speaking to someone today. It’s long but I am to leave as it is. I was going to make it shorter. God said, “Leave as is!”
“Then during the third year, King Jehoshaphat of Judah went to visit King Ahab of Israel.”-1 Kings 23:1-2
“Now Samson went down to Timnah, and saw a woman in Timnah of the daughters of the Philistines.” -Judges 14:1
“Now Samson went to (A)Gaza and saw a harlot there, and went in to her.” -Judges 16:1
Today, God used my turkey cooking experience as an unforgettable Thanksgiving Remembrance. I have just finished a chapter in my new book, “Can You Miss the Will of God?” I wrote about Samson.
I’m sure we all have our own unique ways in celebrating Thanksgiving. I grew up in Italy so my experience for celebrating Thanksgiving wasn’t from the start. However, we celebrate Thanksgiving in a really big way in my family. Except this year. We can’t all get together.
I grew up in a home where most of the holidays were celebrated at my parents' house, and still do. This year with just my Mom. My Dad is now in Heaven.
Everyone came to my parents' house. As kids, we couldn’t wait, especially when the clan came from New York. Nobody stayed at hotels. In fact, when my parents built our home, they took into consideration how many bedrooms and bathrooms to have because family was coming from New York. As teenagers, we partied all night long in the family room, while our parents were in the formal living room, while the men gathered in the dining room.
We kids ended up falling asleep on sofas, floors, and air mattresses, sharing blankets, and pushing the other off the couch. We didn’t care. All that mattered was we were together.
This tradition was kept even after we got engaged and married. As young married couples, it was understood. When we get there, girls are going to sleep in one area, guys in another. As we each arrived, bags were just thrown everywhere. The celebration dance broke out the minute we entered the door. It was party time, and party we did. We stayed up all night long, walking like zombies on Thanksgiving Day, being yelled at for staying up making noises all night long, leaving a complete mess in the kitchen. We ate cereal in the middle of the night, bowls everywhere and leaving empty milk cartons, but our mothers loved that we were together.
One Thanksgiving, my dad played a terrible trick on my aunts. Food was being prepared in our home. Mind you, I’m Italian, I grew up having two full stoves. Not talking about double ovens. I’m talking about two actual full stoves, two refrigerators, and a deep freezer. Yep, you read that right. Yet, even with all that, we still needed other food to be prepared at my aunt’s house. My Mom’s sister was in charge of the turkey. Everyone was arriving. I was helping my aunt bring the food out of her car. She didn’t just make the turkey, you understand? There were the million other Italian foods, and her famous ice cream rolled Nutella cake.
While we were taking in the food, my dad went out the back door and stole the turkey. When we went back to grab the rest of the food, my aunt started panicking. The 27 plus pound turkey is not here. She went inside to ask my uncle, who was helping bring the food. “Where’s the turkey?” Of course, he said, “In the trunk.” “It is not there!” My aunt replied all in a panic. “Yes, it is! I put it there.” My aunt and uncle going back and forth. Everyone was outside now. My dad and the rest of my uncles knew my dad had the turkey. This is just a glimpse into some of our holiday celebrations. Oh the good old days. Now all our dads are celebrating in heaven as of this year. My dad was the last to go. I can only imagine them waiting for my dad at his entrance. I can see the smiles, and hear their words. “Anto, sei arrivato!” “Antonio, you have arrived.”
For us still on planet earth, the chair at the head of the table was empty. He was not here to sneak a piece of turkey behind my Mom’s back. I couldn’t have him taste the gravy and tell me if it needed more salt. No dad to carve the turkey, and no dad to give my half eaten food of my plate to because it’s too fattening to eat all of it, and worse, the chestnuts he peeled for me to eat while they were steaming hot never took place. I peeled my own chestnuts this year.
I began in September not feeling to celebrate the holidays. It started with my birthday in August. I told my kids "Don’t do anything please. I don’t want to celebrate." However, my sister-in-law made me a beautiful cake. I didn’t want to be rude. Kids were excited, but I asked for no candles, and don’t sing Happy Birthday. So, with the rest of the holidays fast approaching, I wasn’t in the mood to do anything and definitely not to cook a turkey.
Last month, God spoke to me very clearly. “You are to be happy for the holidays. You are not to cry, you are to celebrate with joy, and you are to be genuine about it. Do you understand?” Of course, I was taken back. Before I could answer came command number two. “Don’t you dare not celebrate the holidays. And don’t you dare be sad. And don’t try to pretend either. I know the intentions and the motives of the heart. You are to showcase genuine joy.” I knew God was speaking. I said, “Yes, God, I understand.”
Then it all happened. Last night, I prepared the turkey. I was beginning to lose it because my heart was not in it. “Remember what I told you.” Came that still small voice. “Change your attitude.” Came the warning. Trust me. God does not have to tell me something twice. I straightened myself up very quickly. I put that attitude under my feet.
However, there was still something I was not doing. I wasn’t paying attention to how long I needed to cook the 18 pound turkey.
I had just spoken to a friend. I told her the size of the turkey. She told me what time to cook it at, and for how long. Next she texted me all the info. Then, came another person. “Oh no! It needs to cook more than that. Here’s the right time.”
This was not the first time, I made a turkey. It was my third time. I should have known better, but I listened to the second person and that caused me to overcook the turkey. You can clearly see it in the picture, it carved itself. The whole thing came apart. No silver carving knife was needed. Not to mention that I almost dropped it when I went to take it out of the pan. So where am I going with this? What’s my point?
As I was trying to take this turkey out of the pan, God began to speak to me. “This is what happens when people refuse to listen to me, and the godly people I place around them. When people go their own way and do not take my warning, they will fail and fall. They will make a mess of their lives. Sometimes the mess is not fixable, and they destroy their destinies.”
People, I stood there stunned. My daughter and my Mom were calling out to me. I was too stunned to move. I was completely shocked by what God just told me. This had nothing to do with me. He was just showing me what I had just wrote about in my book. Just in case anyone is wondering.
Then, He brought these two people to my mind: Jehoshaphat and Samson. Both these guys had three things in common, leading them to terrible disasters.
They went to places that God never told them to go to.
They aligned themselves to the wrong people.
They had no communication with God.
Not only was God not in their choices of places they were going, but God was also not with the very people they made friends and alliances with. They thought they were with God, but in reality, they had no communication with God. You know what they had? Only rituals. Like me going through the ritual of cooking the turkey. I wasn’t following the directions of a cook book. Do I have to be clearer than this? You can read the Bible, preach it, and yet not follow it.
You see, the alliance King Jehoshaphat made was with wicked King Ahab, the King of Israel. He was evil. Yet, King Jehoshaphat gave his child into marriage. How can this be? I’m a thousand percent sure that was not the will of God. This alliance and this going to visit with King Ahab almost cost him his life. We remember while there, King Ahab convinced him to go to war. Bad decisions lead to terrible consequences.
Then there’s Samson. He makes the same mistake, not once, but twice. He went where he wasn’t supposed to go, and made an alliance with the very people he was born to defeat in order to liberate his own people from the bondage of the Philistines. Then the first woman he fell in love betrays him. He had no business marrying her. Then he made a fatal mistake. He went again to same people, and this time he went for a prostitute.
Seriously? Samson, did you lose your mind? Yes, people, he did. He was bent high, as Jehoshaphat, to do that which he wanted to do. Both of them did that which pleased them, not God. You see, sin blinds you. You think you are in a good place when you’re not. Ever go swimming in the dark? You don’t want to dive into water in the dark. You might not be able to swim back up. You can’t see the top when underwater at night; that’s the point.
The third thing was that they never asked God should they be affiliated with those people, and should they be going down to hang out with them? There’s no prayer, there’s no command from God to go, and hear me clearly, there was no warning don’t go. This should be ringing the loudest to you. Why didn’t God warn them? Because they already knew they weren’t supposed to go there. They made unholy alliances and brought themselves into friendships and vacations on their own. They had no business going there to begin with. God pulled out and allowed them to fall. There’s a book called the Bible that leads us to pleasant and real blessed places. There’s a cooking book with directions to cook delicious foods to eat and enjoy. However, the directions must be followed.
Let me tell you point blank. My turkey overcooked because I never looked for myself to know how long to cook it for. Nor did I bother to look in my cooking book. God was trying to show me by using my friend. God sent me someone to tell me what temperature, how long, and even what time to put it in. She even took another step and sent me a text message. The fault was completely mine. I ignored it.
Secondly, I listened to the misinformed person, the wrong voice. Hear me clearly. Listening to the wrong prophetic words will destroy you. Isn’t that what happened with these two people? Samson didn’t listen to his parents when they told him, “Pick a wife from our people!” And Jehoshaphat didn’t listen to the prophet when he told him not to go to war. Imagine he had the audacity to ignore the prophet of God! Talk about the mercy of God, who spared his life. One thing was for sure, his relationship with God at this moment was null and void. Why? He made an alliance with the wrong person. King Ahab, who died that very night just as the real prophet of God said.
Friends, Samson died a terrible death, and his eyes were gouged out, and Jehoshaphat was almost killed in battle. How stupid and foolish were they? Arrogant, unteachable, hotheaded, and bent on doing things their way. Let me tell you, doing things your way will always land you into irrevocable and deadly mistakes. Don’t fool yourself. Only fools do.
God gave us a life. This life is precious. We have a destiny to fulfill. We have plans and purposes that we were created for. They are to give us a perfect and wonderful life. So many people miss it because they go where they are not supposed to go. They make unholy alliances with people they don’t even know. They never ask God, or if they do, they don’t hear what He has to say because they want what they desire.
In both these cases, they knew from the very beginning God’s will. They chose not to believe the prophetic word given, and they chose to deliberately disobey God. It’s like God allowed them to be completely stupid so that they could not even discern any longer right from wrong. Be very careful you don’t become like them. God does pull back and allow your will, not His.
My turkey disaster is nothing compared to a Nazarite man, who was to be holy but married a heathen, who betrayed him. He was only married for a few days before he left her. As if that wasn’t bad enough, he goes back and sleeps with yet another woman. However, this woman was going to bring him down. And he died.
Then there’s Jehoshaphat. He was to show holiness and bring his nation into God’s purposes. He gave his child in marriage to a heathen and evil king’s son, destroying his own seed, and almost dying in a war God told him not to fight. We are talking about King Jehoshaphat, a king who had, at one point, God’s favor. How does this happen? Free will and free choices.
Friends, no pun intended here. Don’t be a turkey. Watch what you do carefully. Listen to God and listen to the people who God sends into your life. You slap the face of God when you reject the words of His prophets. How do you think God warns? You reject His voice by ignoring what you feel in your heart and spirit. You ignore His written word, the Bible. Then, He sends the prophets and you tell them they heard wrong, ignoring what God told them to tell you. You’re not hurting anyone but yourself. Foolishness is not looked at favorably in God’s word. In fact, it says, “Don’t be a fool.”
Is it Joseph who you aspire to be? Second in command of Egypt? Or Samson, who was to be a great man but died being made fun of before his enemies? It’s all about being humble and having a listening spirit.
Stop! Think! Repent! God has so much better for you. Reject that which is evil. Aspire to go and get the best. Fulfill your destiny, purpose, and plan by obeying.
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