A Cornucopia of Gratitude

November 28 is when the people of the United States of America will celebrate Thanksgiving in 2019. A cornucopia is a common symbol of the Thanksgiving season. Merriam-Webster’s dictionary describes a cornucopia as “a curved, hollow goat’s horn or similarly shaped receptacle (such as a horn-shaped basket) that is overflowing with fruit and vegetables.  It is used as a decorative motif of abundance.” It is also known as a horn of plenty.

Historically, one of the first Thanksgiving celebrations took place in 1621 when the Plymouth colonists and Wampanoag Indians shared an autumn harvest feast. This was after the colonists’ first successful corn harvest. I can imagine a goat’s horn filled with an abundance of harvested crops placed in the center of the table. It probably was a horn filled with plenty of corn, squash and pumpkins. Everyone expressed their thankfulness.

As a child, I remember my mother placing a cornucopia on our kitchen table during the Thanksgiving season. It was a horn-shaped wicker basket filled with artificial grapes, apples, and pears. (We ate the real fruit.) It was our horn of plenty. It was a reminder of God’s bountiful provision. We were thankful.

Today, I imagine myself being a cornucopia in the flesh. I am filled with an abundance of gratitude to God. I do not look like a cornucopia but my heart is overflowing with thanksgiving. A musical horn produces a pleasant melody when it is played. Maybe I am a human horn of plenty vocally expressing praise and gratitude to God for His bountiful blessings.

The following scriptures are examples of the spiritual fruit that is flowing out of my carnal cornucopia.

I give thanks to the LORD, for He is good;
His love endures forever.
I Chronicles 16:34

I will give thanks to the LORD because of His righteousness;
I will sing the praises of the name of the LORD Most High.
Psalm 7:17

I will give thanks to You, LORD, with all my heart;
I will tell of all
Your wonderful deeds.
Psalm 9:1

I will come before His presence with thanksgiving,
I will shout joyfully to Him with psalms.
For the LORD is a great God
And a great King above all gods,
Psalm 95:2-3

I will praise the LORD. I will give thanks to the LORD,
for He is good; His love endures forever.
Psalm 106:1

Let me give thanks to the LORD for His lovingkindness,
And for His wonders to the sons of men!
Psalm 107:8

And whatever I do, whether in word or deed,
I do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus,
giving thanks to God the Father through Him.
Colossians 3:17

Thanksgiving is more than just the name of the holiday when we gather together for a feast of food. As we look at the cornucopia, may we be reminded of the true meaning of our Thanksgiving. May Thanksgiving Day be a day of giving thanks.

 

Find Him in the Hallway

Everyone occasionally encounters dark and difficult situations while walking through life. In the following paragraphs, we will look at the same situation from two different perspectives.

Walking down a dark hallway alone:

You have been living a comfortable, enjoyable life. Suddenly you are pushed out of your comfort zone. The loss of a job – a devastating health report – a rocky relationship. You are shoved into a hallway. The door behind you slams shut. You are in a dark corridor. You can’t perceive what is next. You are afraid.

You cannot see where you are going. Which way do you turn? Do you go to the right or to the left? No open door. Wait a minute. One door is ajar. Is there a glimmer of light? Is there a ray of hope? You shove the door open. A job interview – a new treatment or procedure possibility – a text from the estranged person that sounds encouraging. However, it is only a dim daydream that does not materialize. The little light is snuffed out. Into the dark hallway again.

It seems darker. You feel your way down the hallway. You try every doorknob you encounter. All are unyielding. Then your hand touches a familiar shape on the wall. It is a light switch. You flip the switch’s little lever. Light!

You are immersed in light. A stairwell is directly ahead of you. You do not tumble down the stairs. You see a way up and out of the darkness. You progress up the stairs! There is a sunbeam beckoning you to a higher level.

Relief floods your mind. This encounter has not been fun. It has been worrisome. You wonder where the corridor will lead next. You are out of the dark hallway and into the light for now. Life continues.

Walking down a dark hallway with the Lord:

You may encounter the loss of a job – a devastating health report – a rocky relationship. You may feel like you are shoved into a dark hallway. It is scary walking down a darkened corridor.

II Corinthians 5:7 NKJV reminds you that you walk by faith and not by sight. Darkness need not scare you. The Lord is with you during the dark and doubtful times. Psalm 37:23 NLT assures you, “The LORD directs the steps of the godly. He delights in every detail of their lives.” Isaiah 30:21 says, “Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, ‘This is the way; walk in it.’”

You may describe your dark hallway as a dark valley. Psalm 23:4 says, “Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you (the Lord) are with me.” You remember the words of Isaiah 41:13, “For I am the LORD your God who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, ‘Do not fear; I will help you.’”

A switch takes place when you reach out for the spiritual light switch. Your frustration can turn into faith. Your light switch – your source of light is Jesus. John 8:12 says Jesus is the Light of the world. Jesus says in John 12:46, “I have come into the world as a light, so that no one who believes in Me should stay in darkness.”

You remember Philippians 4:6. You say, “I will not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, I will present my requests to God.”

Now you proclaim Colossians 1:13-14, “For He rescued me from the domain of darkness, and transferred me to the kingdom of His beloved Son, in whom I have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.

You remember Proverbs 16:9, “In their hearts humans plan their course, but the LORD establishes their steps.” You will be able to echo the words of Psalm 18:28, “God turns my darkness into light.”

Your testimony may include Isaiah 9:2. “The people who walk in darkness will see a great light; Those who live in a dark land, the light will shine on them.” You can share Ephesians 5:8 saying, “I was once in darkness, but now I am a light in the Lord. I will live as a child of light.”

You can declare Nehemiah 8:10, “I do not grieve, for the joy of the LORD is my strength.”

Summary:

You will encounter hallways while walking through life. Some of these corridors will be dark. I have heard it said that it is hell in the hallway. No! Allow hallways to lead you to heaven. Shut out your human imaginations and reach for the spiritual reality. Jesus is the light that overcomes the darkness.  He is with you no matter what your circumstances.

Sarah Young is the author of the devotional book Jesus Always. Hear Jesus speak the following words. “As you journey through life in this dark world, I am with you each step of the way. I provide Light not only to your path but also to your mind and heart. I delight in giving you Joy – now and throughout eternity. Your brightest moment on earth will one day look very dark in comparison with the Glory-Light of heaven!”

YET

YET is a little 3 letter word I keep in the pocket of my heart. Frequently, I pull it out and apply it to my life. I can say, “I don’t have it YET.” (definition: up until the present time) Or, I can say, “YET I will praise the Lord.” (definition: nevertheless)

According to II Corinthians 1:20, I know God’s promises are yes and amen. Hebrews 11:1 tells me, “Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.”
When I have a need, I find a scriptural promise and ask God to fulfill it. I believe He will answer. However, I do not always see the manifestation of God’s answer as quickly as I would like.
So, I pull out this powerful little word, YET, from my pocket.

For example.
I need a physical healing.
In Exodus 15:25, God says, “I am the LORD, who heals you.” According to Matthew 4:23, Jesus healed every disease and sickness among the people.
I claim and pray. However, my aches and pains do not immediately disappear.
Does this mean I ignore my physical limitations? Certainly not.
Does this mean I cannot claim healing? Not at all!
I pull out the concept of YET from my heart and proclaim, “I do not see or feel my healing YET.”

YET reveals my faith in God’s ability to hear and answer my request for healing.
I walk by faith, not by sight. (II Corinthians 5:7)
I believe in healing.
I also believe God answers in His time. (He has made everything beautiful in its time. – Ecclesiastes 3:11)

Another example.
There are family members who are not walking with the Lord.
I claim the promise of Acts 16:31. “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved–you and your household.”
No immediate turn around by the wayward ones after I pray.
I verbally state, “These individuals have not accepted Jesus Christ as their Savior YET.”
I am still believing. I trust in the Lord with all my heart and lean not on my own understanding. (Proverbs 3:5)

Kris Vallotton has said, “between the promise and the palace, there should always be a process that is natural and needed.” He goes on to say, “If you’re in the middle of the process, what I really want you to hear today is that this time is just as purposeful as when you will one day be in the palace.” This is where I pull out my YET. No immediate answer to my prayer does not mean God is not answering. He has His way. (“For My thoughts are not your thoughts, Nor are your ways My ways,” declares the LORD. “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, So are My ways higher than your ways And My thoughts than your thoughts.” – Isaiah 55:8-9)

Since I have the word YET out of my pocket, I use it another way.

In Habakkuk 3:17, the prophet describes his current circumstances. There are no figs or fruit or olives. The fields produce no food and the flocks are deteriorating. Not good! However, he then says in verse 18. “Yet I will exult in the LORD, I will rejoice in the God of my salvation.”

My application.
Although I may still feel physical pain, I will declare, “YET I will praise the Lord for He is God. He is my Healer.”
O
r, I may admit that my loved ones have not changed their paths of life. YET I praise the Lord because He is God. I know He is at work.
I demonstrate my belief in the promise through praise.

I cast my cares on Him according to I Peter 5:7. I choose not to worry as I’m told in Matthew 6:34. I worship – not worry. Like Paul in Philippians 4:4, I will rejoice in the Lord. According to verses 6 and 7, I will “be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving I will let my requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard my heart and mind in Christ Jesus.” I rejoice in the Lord always. I rejoice in God – not my problems.

I keep the little word YET handy in the pocket of my heart. I use it often. It is a powerful word.

My Reader, is YET in your heart’s pocket?

 

God’s Word is Alive!

The Bible. It is not simply words about God – it is the Word of God. It is not just printed ink on a bunch of pages – it is the voice of God in print. Graham Cooke says, “God’s Word is living and active. It contains divine energy, always moving and accomplishing His purposes.”

I quote numerous scriptures in most every blog I post. I use scripture verses to support what I write. Today, I want to share verses that validate the power of God’s Word.

The sum of Your word is truth [the total of the full meaning
of all Your individual precepts]; and every one
of Your righteous decrees endures forever.
Psalms 119:160 AMP

The grass withers, the flower fades,
but the word of our God will stand forever.
Isaiah 40:8 AMP

Indeed I have spoken it; I will also bring it to pass.
I have purposed it; I will also do it.
Isaiah 46:11 NKJV

So shall My word be that goes forth from My mouth;
It shall not return to Me void, But it shall accomplish what I please,
And it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it.
Isaiah 55:11 NKJV

Then said the Lord to me, “You have seen well,
for I am alert and active, watching over My word to perform it.”
Jeremiah 1:12 AMP 

For with God nothing is ever impossible and no word from God
shall be without power or impossible of fulfillment.
Luke 1:37 AMP

All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching,
for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness;
so that the man of God may be adequate,
equipped for every good work.
II Timothy 3:16-17

For the word of God is alive and active.
Sharper than any double-edged sword,
it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow;
it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.
Hebrews 4:12

But the Word of the Lord (divine instruction, the Gospel) endures forever.
And this Word is the good news which was preached to you.
I Peter 1:25 AMP

Do you believe these words from the Word? According to Hebrews 6:8, it is impossible for God to lie. Romans 4:21 reminds us that Abraham was convinced that God could do whatever He promised. We can have the same confidence. II Timothy 2:13 AMP declares, “He remains true (faithful to His Word and His righteous character), for He cannot deny Himself.”

There is no doubt in my mind that God’s Word is true and powerful!