Though the fig tree should not blossom
And there be no fruit on the vines,
Though the yield of the olive should fail
And the fields produce no food,
Though the flock should be cut off from the fold
And there be no cattle in the stalls,
Yet I will exult in the Lord,
I will rejoice in the God of my salvation.
The Lord God is my strength,
And He has made my feet like hinds’ feet,
And makes me walk on my high places. —Habakkuk 3:17-19
This Mishmash Monday is brought to you by the pain I live with every day. There are several things I’m going through this week that will make it difficult for me to work on my blog regularly for the next couple of weeks, so I’m scheduling several inspirational image posts to remind you how much you are loved by Jesus Christ, the One who loves us so much He died for our sins.
Even though I endure pain on a daily basis, I always look to my Savior and Lord, Jesus Christ, for “the peace that passes all understanding” (Philippians 4:7). And I absolutely “consider it all joy…when [I] encounter various trials” (James 1:2).
How is this even possible? Because I know where my true joy lies: in the knowledge that one day I will no longer be in any kind of pain as I enjoy life in my new heavenly home.
So, here’s my mishmash of images that describe (in a way) how I feel on any given day.
If you have trouble viewing the Casting Crowns video above, here are the lyrics to the song, “Praise You in This Storm”:
I was sure by now
God You would have reached down
And wiped our tears away
Stepped in and saved the day
But once again, I say “Amen”, and it’s still raining
As the thunder rolls
I barely hear Your whisper through the rain
“I’m with you”
And as Your mercy falls
I raise my hands and praise the God who gives
And takes away
And I’ll praise You in this storm
And I will lift my hands
For You are who You are
No matter where I am
And every tear I’ve cried
You hold in Your hand
You never left my side
And though my heart is torn
I will praise You in this storm
I remember when
I stumbled in the wind
You heard my cry to you
And you raised me up again
My strength is almost gone
How can I carry on
If I can’t find You
But as the thunder rolls
I barely hear You whisper through the rain
“I’m with you”
And as Your mercy falls
I raise my hands and praise the God who gives
And takes away
I lift my eyes unto the hills
Where does my help come from?
My help comes from the Lord
The Maker of Heaven and Earth
I normally share devotionals by my friend and mentor, Patricia Knight, on Treasure Tuesdays because Pat is such a treasure in my life. But I am also extremely thankful for her presence in my life so I wanted to share one of her “thankful” devotionals with you today. This devotional is from her book, Pure Joy.
Give Credit Where Due
“Give credit where credit is due.” That maxim is as old as most of us and still good advice. It simply means thanking the person who has done something nice for you, congratulating a person for a job well done, or recognizing the ability of someone whom has made a discovery. There are many other instances to describe the adage. Not only should be understand the meaning, but also apply the principle we learn.
There is something troubling about the above phrase. Why are we so reticent to thank God and give Him credit and honor for all that He creates, maintains, and sustains? If a friend presented us with a painting of a beautiful sunset, we would give prolific gratitude. God creates a new sunrise and sunset each day. Their explosion of color in the sky is nothing short of miraculous. Surely each of us has seen an occasional display of God’s palette in the sky. In a sunset, sunrise or a rainbow we are reminded of the Master Artist. More importantly, we need to thank Him for the beauty, the peace and serenity the color display creates within us. God deserves credit for splashing His vibrant colors throughout the world. Let’s give Him credit by worshiping Him.
God is the Creator of every living and non-living item on earth. He spent a whole six days making the world and everything in it. We are His greatest creation because we were formed specifically to fellowship and communicate with Him. Then, He placed all His other creations under us, to use, enjoy and care for them. (Genesis 1:30).
Repeatedly in Genesis after God had completed creation for the day, we are told, “And God saw that it was good” (Genesis 1:31). If God was pleased with all He made ought we not to be the first to praise Him? We could choose an item a day for which to give thanks and we would never exhaust the supply!
An awareness of God is all we need. Think of His contribution in our lives and put Him first in our thoughts, our thanks and our worship. As we admire the intricacy yet simple pleasures of a rose, we need to stop to thank God for His creation. Who else but God could create the softness and delicate rose petals with perfume that further attracts us to the bush? But then we discover the thorns, which protect the plant. God creates contrasts of beauty and harshness, softness and prickliness. God sprinkles wild flowers throughout the woods, marshes, and pastures of the world. He has created natural flower gardens for our pleasure and surprise.
What is lovelier than a baby’s soft skin and sweet smell? Children are a direct gift to us from the Heavenly Father, who treasures them. He further instructs us to have the faith of a child (Mark 10:13-16). Contrast the lovable baby with a formidable raging thunderstorm that rattles our bones, confuses our senses and demands our attention. When the storm is past, the earth smells refreshed and renewed. God is the Creator of all things great and beautiful.
God created vegetables, fruits, and all green plants (Genesis 1:29). He showed great imagination when He formed a cluster of grapes. A vineyard with thousands of clusters of grapes is a wonder to behold. Compare the rough exterior of a cantaloupe with the inner succulence. God’s humor is evident when we examine an ear of corn. Ever wonder how God so perfectly lines up those straight rows of corn? Consider the many textures of a tomato or the luscious taste of wild blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, and strawberries occurring from God’s own nourishment and tender care.
God formed the tiniest one-cell animal and the hundred pounds of whale. The oceans are teeming with life for our use. Even the lowly seaweed has numerous uses in food manufacturing and processing. The lobster is a delicacy but quite an ugly-looking creature. It will never win a beauty contest even though it changes costumes mid-program!
The skies are the domain of the mighty eagle (Isaiah 40:32) and the midget hummingbird. It is a privilege to watch the flying abilities of each species. God has taught His creation to swim, hop, slither, fly, leap, and run. He matched all the stripes of a zebra and fashioned a carrying pouch for the mother kangaroo to cradle and transport her young. He provides sheep for wool, cows for milk, and the horse family as beasts of burden and for transportation for many cultures.
God is mighty and loving, creative, and protective. He fiercely loves and provides for His children. He is also a jealous God and craves our worship and admiration (Exodus 34:14). If we know a person who is an artist, a seamstress or a carpenter, we would not hesitate to compliment them for creative expression, original ideas, and work well done. It is time to sensitize our thoughts and words for the most excellent God, the only God in the universe. He has created the world and everything in it. Then, He does not abandon nor manipulate His creation for His benefit. He sacrifices His life and love for us, that we may live eternally. Let us “give credit where credit is due.” Keep God in your constant thoughts and thank Him at every opportunity for His love, greatness, and grace.
Thank you again, dear Pat! I know you’ll be as blessed as I am to have Pat’s book, Pure Joy. If you’re interested in purchasing a copy of Pure Joy, please let me know by commenting in the section below this post.
Exactly one year ago today, I enjoyed a day completely free of pain. I know this because it was so remarkable that I made a note of it on my calendar. Why? So that I would be able to express my thankfulness to God—every year on this day—for that special, pain-free day in 2012.
And to remember that it is good for me to be thankful for everything in my life.
Enter His gates with thanksgiving and His courts with praise. Give thanks to Him, bless His name. —Psalm 100:4
Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe. —Hebrews 12:28
While I’m in this thankful attitude, I’d like to update you a bit on my ongoing health issues. The new medication I started in December did absolutely nothing except make me feel worse, so I ended that trial run in mid-February. This is typically the way Rx meds work for me—they don’t! I believe that is part of the many sensitivities I have from FMS, which include light, sound and chemicals.
I was very discouraged by the failure of this medication, but more so because even though I was no longer taking it, I started feeling much worse—and I didn’t know that was even possible. Since last May, I have been eating gluten-free and dairy-free, and slowly discovered that I also cannot tolerate soy and peanuts. These foods cause extreme GI distress plus nauseous migraines.
My most recent gut-wrenching (literally) allergy discoveries were onions and garlic. Both my parents were born and raised in Italy and immigrated to the USA in the late 40′s. I was raised in an Italian household where tons of garlic and onions were included in the wonderful food Mom made for us. So I was very sad to have to give up these savory foods. How does one cook great Italian food without being able to add onions and garlic anyway?
Around that same time I had a very bad reaction to eating popped sorghum, which is very similar to popped corn but much better for me according to the glycemic index. And then I had a light bulb moment. I had been having several really bad days, so I searched through my food diary and realized I had eaten the popped sorghum for a snack two days in a row. And then on a hunch, I checked out the ingredients list of a crunchy cereal I have been eating practically every day since last May.When I saw that sorghum was the main ingredient, I knew I had been slowly poisoning my body with sorghum.
You see, sorghum flour is slightly sweet and a good addition to many gluten-free foods and baking mixes, and I had been adding a crunchy sorghum cereal to my regular cereal—I absolutely love me some major crunch in my cereal!
Most people who have to eat gluten-free can easily tolerate sorghum, but apparently not yours truly. I like to have cereal for breakfast because it is easy and doesn’t require any cooking—a must for this definitely UN-morning person! And the only time I vary that routine is if I’m away from home, which is not that often.
So I had been consuming some sorghum almost every single day for a good 10 months! Plus I had eaten the popped sorghum as a snack for several days in a row.
My body was absolutely rebelling, and now I know why.
It has been about 3 weeks since I stopped eating any kind of sorghum and I had to give away about a dozen different gluten-free baking mixes that contain sorghum. BUT what a huge improvement in how I feel! I still have migraines when we’re experiencing a nasty weather front up here in the mountains, but my energy level is improving and I am not sleeping as much of my life away these days.
I’m starting to feel like I have the “new normal” me back—you know, the one with those chronic illnesses but who is still able to get through most of my days without feeling like I am constantly being run over by a semi.
Thank You, Lord!
Rejoice always; pray without ceasing; in everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. —1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
Beloved, how about you? What are you thankful for today?
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.
It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.
Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.
It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
Love never fails…
—1 Corinthians 13:4-8a
I know this looks like a Thanksgiving image and it is nowhere near Thanksgiving but I am so thankful for God’s forever kind of love. And since this is another Thankful Thursday, what better way to celebrate God’s eternal, enduring love?
Beloved, have you ever thought about how the ocean is like God? For one thing, when we look toward the horizon, the ocean seems to go on forever. The rising and crashing of the waves keep occurring in a constant and mighty display of God’s power. This is not very surprising, considering the fact that He is the One Who created the oceans in the first place.
Consider some of God’s attributes:
unchangeable … infinite … eternal … omnipresent …
and several names we associate with Him:
everlasting … living … mighty … eternal …
Some of these designations could describe the ocean’s characteristics, but all of them depict a God Who is unchanging and always there for us, no matter what is going on in our lives. All of us have times when we feel like the world is crashing in around us. There are days when we are convinced that no one understands our situation and what we’re going through.
That’s exactly when we need to lean on God and remember that not only does He completely and intimately understand everything we’re going through, but in spite of our failings and limitations, “His love endures forever.”
This should make us all immeasurably thankful!