Monday, August 25, 2008
Today as I was commenting to my husband that I wished the pain would hurry up and go away I was reminded of an article I read a while back. It was about a little boy who was born with a rare disorder that causes him to feel NO pain at all. That caught my attention! At first I thought, “Wow, that would be great to never feel pain!” (That is because pain is number one on my list of Things to Avoid !) But then as I read more of the article and saw how no pain at all was actually a disadvantage, it made me start readjusting my attitude. The little boy in the article could get hurt....sometimes severely… but it never caused him any pain when it happened. Therefore his parents had to constantly monitor his movements to keep him from getting hurt. (This problem was caused by a rare genetic disorder.)
King David said in Psalm 139: 14, “I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvelous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well.” God wonderfully made our bodies and He included pain receptors for our benefit. Without pain we would not know when we were injured or sick. Loss of pain is one of the symptoms of the dreaded disease of leprosy. A leper may lose toes or fingers because they injure themselves so much unknowingly. Without physical pain we could be mortally injured and still not seek medical help because we were totally unaware of our wounds.
Spiritual pain is much the same way. Sometimes we call this type of pain “conviction” or “conscience”. I remember when people used the expression “My conscience hurts me”. There’s an example of that in the Bible when the scribes and Pharisees brought unto Jesus a woman taken in adultery. He wrote on the ground and then said to them, “He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her.”(John 8:7) Then we see that their conscience bothered them and they left, knowing that none of them were without sin. (“And they which heard it, being convicted by their own conscience, went out one by one” John 8: 9)
This spiritual pain or “conscience” is a good thing. It keeps us on the right track and prevents us from becoming consumed by the disease of sin. If we constantly ignore these spiritual pains we can reach a point that our conscience becomes hardened or “seared” over. Sometimes when I am cooking, a recipe will tell me to “sear” the meat first. This just means to get it really hot, really fast, so that all the juices will stay in the meat. When our conscience is “seared over”, it can no longer be easily penetrated by the convictions of the Holy Spirit. It may feel better to us when we’re not convicted, but it is definitely not in the best interest of our spiritual lives. The scriptures warn us of the consequences of having a seared conscience where we feel no spiritual pain. (“Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils; Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron;” I Timothy 4: 1-2)
If you can feel pain…both physically and spiritually…..you should be thankful to God! That means you are still healthy and your pain receptors, both physically (nerve endings) and spiritually (conscience) are in good working order!
I'm still looking forward to my back being pretty much pain free again someday but after giving it a lot of thought.....I never want to completely lose the ability to feel pain. Physical pain tells me that I need to change something that I am doing or else see the doctor. Spiritual pain also tells me I need to change something or else see ...the Doctor! God doesn't necessarily want us to remain in pain....He just gives us pain so we can know there is something wrong and we can work toward getting it fixed!
May God bless and comfort you if you are going through pain right now....whether physical, spiritual, or emotional. He's the Great Healer there's no doubt!
Wednesday, August 20, 2008
But we couldn’t keep going up and up forever. We had to come down the mountain sometime. And then we saw the valleys! Beautiful green valleys! Picture book looking farms and churches were nestled down there with the mountains all around seeming to keep watch over them. If I had to live in mountain country, I believe I would want to live in one of those peaceful looking valleys. On the other hand, my children, who are more adventurous, would most likely choose to live hanging out over the side of a mountain !
After safely arriving back in good ole Mississippi, I began to think about the mountains and valleys I had seen on vacation. So often in my life the Lord uses His creation to teach me lessons. Most of us think we would like to constantly be having a “mountain top experience” in life. Not many would chose a “valley experience” because we normally equate a valley with bad things. But this is not always so. We saw beautiful expensive homes on top of the mountains but these were only SUMMER homes. The weather up there is too bad to live there in the winter. On the other hand, the valley can be a place of warmth and safety in the winter.
We must all face the mountains and valleys that come into our lives. How wonderful if we could just be content to live where the Lord puts us. If it is on a mountain…..He will be there to share the beauty of the view with us and He will also be there to help us down the steep mountain path as we head for our valley. If we are now in a valley…..He will be there to show us the hidden streams and flowers and the beautiful mountains all around us. Remember….God is faithful and will not put us anywhere where He is not already there.
“I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help. My help cometh from the Lord, which made heaven and earth.” Psalm 121: 1 (KJV)
“Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.” Psalm 23: 4 (KJV)
May God bless each of you today is my prayer!
Tuesday, August 12, 2008
Whew! This is one of my 'busy-times' of the year when I hardly have time to catch my breath it seems! Today I have been busy working with peaches. I have 2 gallons sitting in a pot with sugar and vinegar right now. Just sitting there waiting. On me? No. On time to pass. That's the recipe. I cut them up, pour on the sugar and vinegar, stir and then wait. Later tonight I will cook them over a low flame for several hours until they are thick and have turned dark brown. Then I will can them in pint jars. The recipe calls them "Evaporated Peaches" and they're used just as you would use cooked dried peaches to make a Deep South favorite....fried pies! Yum Yum! While these beauties are sitting in their pot getting ready, I have been peeling and slicing the ripest peaches to put in the freezer to have later by themselves or over cake or ice cream.
And did I mention that I am making Pepper Sauce.....another Southern condiment to pour over Turnip Greens......from the abundance of the jalapeno peppers in our garden? Oh, yeah! This is especially for hubby who loves anything with pepper in it!
Tomorrow or the next day I will start on the pears. Right now they are hanging very heavy on the trees outside. The branch in the picture is dragging the ground! I will start out making canned pear halves with the sweetest pears that are ripe right now. Then later I will make pear relish or pear preserves from the firmer type of pears on the tree in the front yard.
I don't really have any spiritual application to go with today's post I don't guess. But I did write a short article a few years ago during canning season which has been newly published in the current August issue of "Journezine" online magazine. I hope you will go and check it out by clicking HERE. I have titled it "Preserved". And of course, it talks about how we are preserved for all time through salvation.
I better get back to work now. Just taking a break. Oh the life of a country girl in the time of harvest! :)
Monday, August 11, 2008
Our granddaughter L. spent Saturday and Saturday night with us and as usual, I took several pictures while she was here. As I looked through them and saw this picture I thought about one of the songs that she and I like to sing...."You are my sunshine....my only sunshine....you make me happy....when skies are gray. You'll never know dear.....how much I love you....please don't take my sunshine away!"
She truly IS like a little ray of sunshine in our lives! Oh to be like a child and be so aware of our surroundings, so awed at something simple, so energetic , so demonstrative of love, and so eager to learn new things! Jesus must have thought we would be better off seeing things through the eyes of a child, too! Just look at what he said in Luke....
"And they brought unto him also infants, that he would touch them: but when his disciples saw it, they rebuked them. But Jesus called them unto him, and said, Suffer little children to come unto me, and forbid them not: for of such is the kingdom of God. Verily I say unto you, Whosoever shall not receive the kingdom of God as a little child shall in no wise enter therein." Luke 18: 15-18 (KJV)
Thankful for the illumination of "SON-shine" today!
Friday, August 8, 2008
Wednesday, August 6, 2008
Monday, August 4, 2008
"God is great, God is good....." How many times I have heard that phrase? And yet I wonder just how many of those times I have really thought of what it means? If you have children, then you probably did the same as I did and taught them the table grace that starts with that same phrase. But do we really listen to what comes out of our own mouth?
"God is great...."....how far and beyond the realm of our imagination this goes.
Job 36:26 Behold, God is great, and we know him not, neither can the number of his years be searched out. (KJV) Job hit the nail on the head in this verse. God is indeed great, yet we cannot know the bounds of his greatness. His greatness goes beyond anything we can think or imagine while we yet live in this human flesh.
"God is good".........this should cause us to think of all the goodness the Lord shows to each of us daily. James 1:17 Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning. (KJV) How many times each day do I take for granted all the good and perfect gifts sent down from the Father? Does it take me seeing a loved one or a friend suffering in pain from some disease or accident to make me appreciate my own health? Do I have to listen to a friend cry on my shoulder about a husband of 30 years walking out of her life with another woman before I am truly grateful for my own faithful Christian husband? Just the goodness of our God alone should be enough to bring us to our knees in repentance, recognizing that one so good should love sinners such as us. In fact, Jesus loved us so much that He paid the sin debt for each and every one of us when he hung on
I hope the next time one of us hears a little child praying before his meal and saying, "God is great, God is good, let us thank Him for our food.....", that we will remember how great and how good our God truly is. Matthew 21:16 ......And Jesus saith unto them, Yea; have ye never read, Out of the mouth of babes and sucklings thou hast perfected praise? (KJV)
Thankful today to be a child of such a Great and Good God!
(***Addendum: I do apologize for the layout of this post....I have tried for over half an hour to make it let me put spaces between the paragraphs but no matter what changes I make it still comes up just like this! I hope you can read it all right.***)