Harvest

“Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good. His love endures forever.” Psalm 136

Thanksgiving, that most American of holidays, where we spend two days cooking a meal that will be devoured in less than 30 minutes to commemorate the pilgrims’ surviving their first year in the wilderness after fleeing religious persecution in the 1600’s. Fifty pilgrims and 90 Native Indians attended that first celebration which took place after gathering in a bountiful harvest. Prayers of thanksgiving, feasting and games marked the three-day gathering and set the tone for the national holiday we enjoy today.

This week, although most of us did not gather in a harvest from the soil, families and friends will gather again for a Thanksgiving feast of vast quantities of turkey and all the fixings. The Macy’s Parade will kick-off the games as football is played in yards and parks while the TV broadcasts college and professional football all day long. A prayer of thanks may be offered before the Thanksgiving meal, but God will often be forgotten in the festivities of the day. In the three days that follow, thanksgiving will be shelved until next year. Christmas decorations will be put up, and shopping will become a contact sport as we frantically fill out carts with gifts, trying to beat the shortages and increased costs predicted by the media.

I confess I have grown weary of the frenzy and long for the simplicity of gratitude to scent the air of my home more than the aroma of roasting turkey and the lingering perfume of cinnamon infused pinecones. This year, I want to be truly thankful on Thanksgiving, and I want to harvest an ongoing attitude of gratitude to supplant the media-hype necessity of “more and better” equaling contentment. I’ve lived long enough to know that isn’t true, and I’ve lived long enough to know this type of harvest requires a sacrifice.

Psalm 136 seems to provide the tools necessary to uproot the entitlement mentality that threatens a bountiful harvest of gratitude. The psalmist tells us to “Give thanks!” The word used for “thanks” means praise and worship with outstretched hands. Complete abandonment with empty hands reaching heavenward and a heart focused on nothing but giving thanks. These thanks are not so much for what we have been given but it is thanks to the LORD for who He is. It is praise for His goodness and greatness as the God of gods and Lord of lords, sovereign over all, Creator, Redeemer. He does good because He is good. His wonders and His excellency are all around us; the warmth of the sun, the brilliance of the stars; His mighty hand of protection and deliverance from our enemies; His provision and care, and His sheltering presence in our lives. God is good. It’s who He is.

Also, in this psalm, we are reminded that, “His love endures forever.” Different translations of this verse replace love with “mercy,” “lovingkindness,” and “faithfulness.” The repetition of the phrase reminds me of the absolute, irrefutable truth that His mercy, His love, His kindness, and His faithfulness towards me NEVER ends. This is the abundance of an eternal harvest that should invoke continual gratitude, praise, and worship. Regardless of our circumstances, whether this is a season of drought or plenty, stability or uncertainty, rest or persecution, God’s love endures forever and for that we can always give thanks.

It becomes a sacrifice when we confess His goodness with our mouths even when our circumstances feel less than good. We bring Him the first fruits of our lips, not our possessions, and this is not always easy. When my husband was diagnosed with glioblastoma, we made a deliberate choice as a family to receive this as a gift from God. It wasn’t the gift we wanted, it wasn’t easy to thank Him and praise Him in the midst of our sorrow and grief, but it was the sacrifice God asked from us. It will not be easy to celebrate this third Thanksgiving without him, but God is still good and His love endures forever, so I am choosing to bring a sacrifice of praise to the table. He alone is Worthy.

I want to invite you to join me as I challenge myself this season, between now and Christmas day, to harvest gratitude by focusing on a different attribute of God each day and spending sacrificial time in praise, thanking Him for who He is. I have listed some attributes below as examples, and I would love to hear from you about the harvest you reap if you decide to join me in the fields of Thanksgiving.

  1. Elohim – Creator God; Full of strength and power; Genesis 1-2
  2. Good – The embodiment of all goodness; Psalm 119:68
  3. Jehovah – The Self-Existent One; Exodus 3:13-15
  4. El Elyon -God Most High, Possessor of Heaven and Earth; Genesis 14:18-22
  5. Infinite – With no beginning and no ending; Romans 11:33
  6. Love – A love so great He sent His only Son to redeem me from slavery to sin and death; I John 4:7-10
  7. Adonai – LORD God, Master; 2 Samuel 18-20
  8. Shield – Protector; Genesis 15:1
  9. El-Shaddai – God Almighty, All-Sufficient and All Beneficent; Genesis 49:22-26
  10. Comforter – The God of all comfort; 2Corinthians 1:3-4
  11. El Roi – The God Who Sees us no matter where we are; Genesis 16:13
  12. Holy – Totally separated from sin; Revelation 4:8-11
  13. Sovereign – All-Knowing and All-Powerful, in control of every event; 1Chronicles 29:11-13
  14. El-Olam – The Everlasting God; Genesis 21:33
  15. Jehovah Jireh – The God who Provides; Genesis 22:8
  16. Grace – Unmerited favor; Ephesians 1:5-8
  17. Faithful – True in all He says and does; Psalm 89:1-8
  18. Jehovah Nissi – God is our Banner of victory and protection; Exodus 17:8-15
  19. Merciful – His compassions never fail
  20. Omniscient – All Knowing; Psalm 139:1-6
  21. Jehovah Raah – The Lord our Shepherd; He guides us and cares for us; Psalm 23
  22. Omnipresent – Present everywhere all the time; Psalm 139:7-12
  23. Light – Exclusive source of life and spiritual light; John 1:4
  24. Savior – John 3:16
  25. Jehovah Rophe – The God who heals physically, emotionally, and spiritually; Exodus 15:22-26
  26. Just – Holy and Righteous, Fair in all He does; Psalm 75:1-7
  27. Jehovah Shalom – The God of Peace; Judges 6:16-24
  28. Jehovah M’Kaddesh – The God who Sanctifies; Leviticus 20:7-8
  29. Bread of Life: Sustains and Nourishes us; John 6:35
  30. Immanuel: God with Us; Isaiah 7:14 ©

Published by thistleplaid

Introductions are always awkward. What words can capture the essence of character and personality? And yet, we all long to know and be known, so let me introduce myself to you. I am an introverted "fun girl" who is passionate about Jesus, family and intimate friendships. I am a wife of 50 years, whose husband now resides in heaven (widow does not define me!). I am a mother of three daughters and three sons-in-love, a Gram to eight grandchildren, and a Great-Granny to one adorable baby girl. With Scottish ancestry, I love all things plaid, bagpipes and thistles. I love tea and books and rainy days; mountains, ocean waves, and sunshine' lavender, Golden Doodles, bagpipes and country music. Most importantly, I am the daughter of the King of Kings, on the journey of being conformed to His image and desperately in need of His mercies every day. My goal with this blog is to meet other women on this journey and encourage them to see and seek Encounters with Mercy and Glimpses of Glory that will challenge and nourish their souls.

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