I recently ran across my grandmother’s handwritten “recipe book.” In it I found the following story:
“As the story goes, a Scotchman bachelor-farmer residing in one of the rural districts of New England was sitting on the ridgepole of his house during a flood, watching the waters as they swirled past and whistling a cheerful tune. A neighbor who owned a boat rowed in close to the house and called:
‘Hello there, Sandy!’
‘Hello, MacFarland,’ replied the other pleasantly.
‘All your fowls washed away by the high water?’
‘Yes,’ answered Sandy, ‘but the ducks can swim, so they’ll be all right.’
‘Apple trees gone too, eh?’
‘Yes, but the late frost killed the blooms, so was not expectin’ much from the orchard this year.’
‘Potatoes all drowned out, I suppose?’
‘Yes, but they said the crop would be a failure anyhow.’
‘I see the river’s reached above your windows.’
‘That’s all right, MacFarland. The windows needed washin.’
“Really, optimism is a priceless treasure. It brightens the darkest experience and cheers the gloomiest day. There is always something for which to be thankful. There is always a hint of silver in the lining of the darkest cloud. Nothing is ever so bad that one way or another it couldn’t be worse.”
A few years ago I read the book, One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp. The author decided to make a list of new blessings each day with the goal to get to one thousand. Each day she saw new things to be thankful for—mostly small things that we take for granted. She ended up listing many more than one thousand.
God, help me to be thankful for the little blessings You send my way each day.
has been a member of the Hood View Church for 42 years. She is the wife of Roger, mother of Heather and Bob, and grandma of Nate and Natalie. In her “spare” time she likes to make quilts, cross-stitch and read stories.
God’s Continuing Love for Israel
1 “When Israel was a child, I loved him,
And out of Egypt I called My son.
2 As they called them,
So they went from them;
They sacrificed to the Baals,
And burned incense to carved images.
3 “I taught Ephraim to walk,
Taking them by their arms;
But they did not know that I healed them.
4 I drew them with gentle cords,
With bands of love,
And I was to them as those who take the yoke from their neck.
I stooped and fed them.
5 “He shall not return to the land of Egypt;
But the Assyrian shall be his king,
Because they refused to repent.
6 And the sword shall slash in his cities,
Devour his districts,
And consume them,
Because of their own counsels.
7 My people are bent on backsliding from Me.
Though they call to the Most High,
None at all exalt Him.
8 “How can I give you up, Ephraim?
How can I hand you over, Israel?
How can I make you like Admah?
How can I set you like Zeboiim?
My heart churns within Me;
My sympathy is stirred.
9 I will not execute the fierceness of My anger;
I will not again destroy Ephraim.
For I am God, and not man,
The Holy One in your midst;
And I will not come with terror.
10 “They shall walk after the Lord.
He will roar like a lion.
When He roars,
Then His sons shall come trembling from the west;
11 They shall come trembling like a bird from Egypt,
Like a dove from the land of Assyria.
And I will let them dwell in their houses,”
Says the Lord.
God’s Charge Against Ephraim
12 “Ephraim has encircled Me with lies,
And the house of Israel with deceit;
But Judah still walks with God,
Even with the Holy One who is faithful.
Ephraim’s Sins Rebuked by God
1 “Ephraim feeds on the wind,
And pursues the east wind;
He daily increases lies and desolation.
Also they make a covenant with the Assyrians,
And oil is carried to Egypt.
2 “The Lord also brings a charge against Judah,
And will punish Jacob according to his ways;
According to his deeds He will recompense him.
3 He took his brother by the heel in the womb,
And in his strength he struggled with God.
4 Yes, he struggled with the Angel and prevailed;
He wept, and sought favor from Him.
He found Him in Bethel,
And there He spoke to us—
5 That is, the Lord God of hosts.
The Lord is His memorable name.
6 So you, by the help of your God, return;
Observe mercy and justice,
And wait on your God continually.
7 “A cunning Canaanite!
Deceitful scales are in his hand;
He loves to oppress.
8 And Ephraim said,
‘Surely I have become rich,
I have found wealth for myself;
In all my labors
They shall find in me no iniquity that is sin.’
9 “But I am the Lord your God,
Ever since the land of Egypt;
I will again make you dwell in tents,
As in the days of the appointed feast.
10 I have also spoken by the prophets,
And have multiplied visions;
I have given symbols through the witness of the prophets.”
11 Though Gilead has idols—
Surely they are vanity—
Though they sacrifice bulls in Gilgal,
Indeed their altars shall be heaps in the furrows of the field.
12 Jacob fled to the country of Syria;
Israel served for a spouse,
And for a wife he tended sheep.
13 By a prophet the Lord brought Israel out of Egypt,
And by a prophet he was preserved.
14 Ephraim provoked Him to anger most bitterly;
Therefore his Lord will leave the guilt of his bloodshed upon him,
And return his reproach upon him.
Relentless Judgment on Israel
1 When Ephraim spoke, trembling,
He exalted himself in Israel;
But when he offended through Baal worship, he died.
2 Now they sin more and more,
And have made for themselves molded images,
Idols of their silver, according to their skill;
All of it is the work of craftsmen.
They say of them,
“Let the men who sacrifice kiss the calves!”
3 Therefore they shall be like the morning cloud
And like the early dew that passes away,
Like chaff blown off from a threshing floor
And like smoke from a chimney.
4 “Yet I am the Lord your God
Ever since the land of Egypt,
And you shall know no God but Me;
For there is no savior besides Me.
5 I knew you in the wilderness,
In the land of great drought.
6 When they had pasture, they were filled;
They were filled and their heart was exalted;
Therefore they forgot Me.
7 “So I will be to them like a lion;
Like a leopard by the road I will lurk;
8 I will meet them like a bear deprived of her cubs;
I will tear open their rib cage,
And there I will devour them like a lion.
The wild beast shall tear them.
9 “O Israel, you are destroyed,
But your help is from Me.
10 I will be your King;
Where is any other,
That he may save you in all your cities?
And your judges to whom you said,
‘Give me a king and princes’?
11 I gave you a king in My anger,
And took him away in My wrath.
12 “The iniquity of Ephraim is bound up;
His sin is stored up.
13 The sorrows of a woman in childbirth shall come upon him.
He is an unwise son,
For he should not stay long where children are born.
14 “I will ransom them from the power of the grave;
I will redeem them from death.
O Death, I will be your plagues!
O Grave, I will be your destruction!
Pity is hidden from My eyes.”
15 Though he is fruitful among his brethren,
An east wind shall come;
The wind of the Lord shall come up from the wilderness.
Then his spring shall become dry,
And his fountain shall be dried up.
He shall plunder the treasury of every desirable prize.
16 Samaria is held guilty,
For she has rebelled against her God.
They shall fall by the sword,
Their infants shall be dashed in pieces,
And their women with child ripped open.
Israel Restored at Last
1 O Israel, return to the Lord your God,
For you have stumbled because of your iniquity;
2 Take words with you,
And return to the Lord.
Say to Him,
“Take away all iniquity;
Receive us graciously,
For we will offer the sacrifices of our lips.
3 Assyria shall not save us,
We will not ride on horses,
Nor will we say anymore to the work of our hands, ‘You are our gods.’
For in You the fatherless finds mercy.”
4 “I will heal their backsliding,
I will love them freely,
For My anger has turned away from him.
5 I will be like the dew to Israel;
He shall grow like the lily,
And lengthen his roots like Lebanon.
6 His branches shall spread;
His beauty shall be like an olive tree,
And his fragrance like Lebanon.
7 Those who dwell under his shadow shall return;
They shall be revived like grain,
And grow like a vine.
Their scent shall be like the wine of Lebanon.
8 “Ephraim shall say, ‘What have I to do anymore with idols?’
I have heard and observed him.
I am like a green cypress tree;
Your fruit is found in Me.”
9 Who is wise?
Let him understand these things.
Who is prudent?
Let him know them.
For the ways of the Lord are right;
The righteous walk in them,
But transgressors stumble in them.
The Lord the Defense of His People
A Song of Ascents. Of David.
1 “If it had not been the Lord who was on our side,”
Let Israel now say—
2 “If it had not been the Lord who was on our side,
When men rose up against us,
3 Then they would have swallowed us alive,
When their wrath was kindled against us;
4 Then the waters would have overwhelmed us,
The stream would have gone over our soul;
5 Then the swollen waters
Would have gone over our soul.”
6 Blessed be the Lord,
Who has not given us as prey to their teeth.
7 Our soul has escaped as a bird from the snare of the fowlers;
The snare is broken, and we have escaped.
8 Our help is in the name of the Lord,
Who made heaven and earth.