Week 45

Think of a person or family that is not struggling today. Can you? I don’t think I know anyone that is not close to a struggle.

I can give you a dozen Bible verses to encourage you, and here are a few of my favourites to help me begin thinking right. Thinking right always brings about positivity in my life. If you are not in the right “frame of mind,” Bible verses are not likely to help. We have to be able to receive.

“Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.” (John 14:27)

“And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.” (Romans 8:28)

“Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things. Those things, which ye have both learned, and received, and heard, and seen in me, do: and the God of peace shall be with you.” (Philippians 4:8-9)

“Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.” (Hebrews 4:16)

“Happy is the man that findeth wisdom, and the man that getteth understanding. For the merchandise of it is better than the merchandise of silver, and the gain thereof than fine gold. She is more precious than rubies: and all the things thou canst desire are not to be compared unto her.” (Proverbs 3:13-15)

The Bible is  a deep wellspring of encouragement and wisdom for all our needs. If we fail to drink from it, we should not be surprised when we, though children of God, do not feel positivity. When we feel hopeless – and we all do sometimes – the answer is to find our way to the truths of Scripture as soon as we can. This requires faith and it requirers quiet. It is human nature to share our problems with others. We are human, but in Christ, we have what we need. He is enough. Take it to Him first, with expectation.

Those verses I wrote are real examples of verses that I turn to when I am discouraged, negative thinking and without hope. As I quiet myself to meditate upon them, it is truly as if I feel my life blood returning to me and positivity returns.

Ladies, I will tell you something personal and real. When I came back from India in August, my physical and emotional health began to deteriorate and I knew it. My mind raced day and yes, even many nights. I was not getting good rest. Weariness and negativity turned my days into drudgery. 

I continued reading my Bible and going through “the motions.” My mind was not entirely engaged. I’d experience moments of awakening to hope, but could not seem to stay there

Eventually, I did experience a bit of a crisis that I believe was related to not taking care of myself over a period of months. I know better than this and one day, quite by accident, I told my pastor and his wife that I knew what to do about this. 

I explained that – at some point – I might ask their opinion on the logistics of some things I was thinking of, but that I did not want to discuss why I was struggling because I did not want to open the proverbial can of worms. I further explained that I believed that God could and would help me. 

Sharing that testimony of faith – saying those words out loud – rather put me on the spot, but in a good way. I knew what to do and I needed to do it. There are times that the most important thing we can do to allow God to be heard in our life is to slow down and be quiet. 

It has been good to spend quiet and meaningful time with the Lord again. I live alone so it appeared to be quiet each time I communed with God in recent months. But it was not, for my mind raced with concerns that kept interrupting the truths that God was showing me each day. 

I sense God telling me regularly, “You need this for your life.” When He leads us this way, His counsel is worthy of meditation and consideration regarding application to the life we have stewardship of. 

As previously stated, nearly everyone is struggling at this time for a variety of reasons, but they all fall into one category. This, my friends, is a fallen world. The good news is THE GOOD NEWS In Christ, we have the victory already. 

I believe it is important for each of us, as believers in Christ and the power thereof, to be where we need to be spiritually. This is important for ourselves but also as we reach out to others. We want to be of value to others. While I am in the throes of a few difficulties at the  moment, I am not cast down entirely. And because I have strengthened and grown spiritually for years I think I have a reserve, that while I suffer, positive, truthful thoughts are never far away.

Being cast down is the opposite of positivity. One morning I asked myself why I felt distraught and cast down. I decided to do a phrase search in my Bible. The results were interesting: I saw three verses very much the same and all three very close in proximity in my Bible.

“Why art thou cast down, O my soul? and why art thou disquieted in me? hope thou in God: for I shall yet praise him for the help of his countenance.” (Psalms 42:5)

“Why art thou cast down, O my soul? and why art thou disquieted within me? hope thou in God: for I shall yet praise him, who is the health of my countenance, and my God.” (Psalms 42:11)

“Why art thou cast down, O my soul? and why art thou disquieted within me? hope in God: for I shall yet praise him, who is the health of my countenance, and my God.” (Psalms 43:5)

I encourage you to read those Psalms – 42 and 43.

So, Ladies, I close today with a brief thought. If you are struggling, study to be quiet. Quiet is usually necessary to hear God’s leading, but I learned – or was reminded – that praise, a genuine attitude of praise is equally important to living with positivity.

“While I live will I praise the LORD: I will sing praises unto my God while I have any being.” (Psalms 146:2)

And an appropriate quotation for this time of the year:

We would worry less if we praised more. Thanksgiving is the enemy of discontent and dissatisfaction. Harry Ironside (former pastor of Moody Bible Church in Chicago.)

CRUMPETS:

Since Thanksgiving and Christmas are upon us, I decided to share a wonderful recipe that is quite healthy. Instead of pumpkin pie and coffee, enjoy this, share this pie. You won’t need to make apologies or explanations for the flavour or texture. This needs no apologies. It is a recipe from George Stella, a chef that happens to live in Florida too.

Oh! And did I say “EASY?”

Pumpkin Pecan Streusel Pie

For the crust, you will need:

2 Tablespoons butter, melted

1/2 cup finely chopped pecans

1/2 cup sugar substitute (I use Trim, Healthy Mama Gentle Sweet.)

1/8 teaspoon salt

1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon

For the filling:

1 (15-ounce) can of pumpkin puree

3/4 cup sugar substitute

1 Tablespoon pumpkin pie spice

1 1/4 cups heavy cream

4 large eggs

For the Streusel Topping:

3 Tablespoons butter, softened

1/2 cup Almond Flour

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/4 cup sugar substitute

How to Prepare:

  1. Preheat oven to 350°. Mix all crust ingredients together and press it down evenly over the bottom of a 10-inch pie pan. Bake for 5 minutes and remove from oven.
  2. Turn the oven up to 425°. Whisk together all the filling ingredients and pour into the baked crust.
  3. Combine the streusel topping ingredients with a fork, and crumble evenly over the top of the pie. Bake for 15 minutes at 425°.
  4. Reduce the heat to 350° and bake for an additional 50-55 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out mostly clean. Cool on the counter for 30 minutes, and then chill for at least 3 hours before serving.
  5. Finally, Enjoy!