THE NEW EWE
"What man of you, having a hundred sheep, if he loses one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the wilderness, and go after the one which is lost, until he finds it? And when he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders, rejoicing. And when he comes home, he calls together his friends and neighbors, saying to them, 'Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep which was lost!'"
October 31, 2007
There are several states you can go to and find Civil War battle sites. Even though the Civil War was just one event, it was made up of many different skirmishes and battles. The entire war lasted from 1861 through 1865, crossed the borders of several states, and covered a large territory of land. Each battle had to be fought one at a time in order for eventual surrender and a victor of the war to be declared. Some of the fights were won by the north, others by the south. But eventually the Yankees surrendered to the Union, and the war was won.
In the life of a Christian, we spend our days fighting spiritual warfare. This spiritual war we fight is sometimes for ourselves, sometimes for family members or friends, it could be for our church, community or nation. The way we fight is through persevering prayer and using the Word of God against our enemy, Satan. Carnal (worldly or fleshly) weapons such as human ingenuity, talent, wealth, abilities, or personality are inadequate to pull down the strongholds of Satan. The only weapons adequate to destroy the fortresses, lies and deceit, and false teachings of Satan are those which God gives. We must hold to the truth of God's Word, believe and have faith. We must act and speak in love. And we must continue praying until we receive victory.
Ephesians 6:11,12 says, “Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil's schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.”
2 Corinthians 10:4 says, “The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds.”
During this spiritual warfare, we will be called upon to fight in many battles. It may be us dealing with sickness, disease, financial difficulties, depression, job layoffs or insecurities, family problems and difficulties, or any number of things. We may be called upon to fight for that son or daughter who is rebelling against God and headed down a road to destruction. Perhaps it's your church that is being torn apart by rumors and hurts, or that pastor that has failed or is struggling and under attack. It may be that beloved family member that has been lied to and deceived into believing that their homosexual lifestyle is okay and approved by God. You may be battling for that loved one who is facing a prison sentence; or for the negative stigma attached to them for the rest of their lives due to the nature of their crime. You may be fighting warfare for that parent or spouse or child that is dealing with alcohol or drug abuse; knowing that they are on a downward spiral that is causing pain and hurt to themselves and their family. Perhaps you're fighting for your child who is going through the hardship of a failed marriage and is now facing divorce. Maybe it's for an abuse situation that is heartbreaking and causing concern. It may be for a family who is dealing with the effects of a suicide.
We are called upon to hold one another up in prayer and to encourage one another. At times when you are the one who is in the midst of the skirmish, it is difficult to see anything but the smoke around you. All you hear is the sound of weapons going off and the sounds of pain surrounding you. You need someone who will step in and say, “I'm here to support and pray for you until this battle is over. I will stay by your side, regardless of how ugly it gets or how difficult. You do not have to go through this by yourself.”
When Israel was fighting with Amalek, as long as Moses held his arms up, Israel would prevail. But as soon as he let his arms down, the enemy would begin winning. Moses' arms grew weary, but Aaron and Hur came and put a stone under Moses for him to sit on. Then Aaron got on one side of Moses, and Hur on the other, and they held up (supported) his hands, holding them steady until the going down of the sun, when the battle was won.
I'm sure that Aaron and Hur's arms grew weary and tired as they supported Moses' hands. But they were determined to stay there beside Moses, offering aid and support until the battle was over. (story found in Exodus 17:8-16)
It's easy for us to initially offer support and say, “I'll be here to hold up your hands as long as you need me.” But then times goes by, we begin to grow tired and weary ourselves, so we let go of their hands and go on our way. We justify our actions by saying that we have our own life to live, or that we didn't know the battle would last that long, or hoping that perhaps someone else will come along and take our place. We ease our conscience by thinking that they should just be grateful that we stayed with them as long as we did. Or else we think, “Well, they know where they can find me, if they should need me again.”
The truth is, we all need one another. There will be times when I need my family and friends standing by my side, supporting me and holding my hands. Then there will be those times when roles will be reversed and I will be the one lending support and prayer for someone as they face a battle.
Each and every one of us will face difficulties. We will all go through times of fighting battles. There will be times when we may feel like giving up and quitting. But we must stand strong and not ever give in to the temptation to surrender to the enemy. Yes, there will be times when we may wonder if it's worth it and get tired of the fight. But I guarantee you that once victory is declared, and you see God win the battle either in your life or the life of your loved one, you will be dancing and shouting and celebrating! Everything you endured will be worth that moment when you see your prayers answered. Not only will you be grateful that you never gave up, but the one you held up in prayer and fought for, will be overwhelmed with thanksgiving for your perseverance in prayer in faith.
We can never give up on ourselves, never give up on others, and most importantly we must never give up on God. Every life is worth fighting for and saving. There is no lost cause with God.
In the Bible, Paul considered his Christian life as a fight. He had spent years fighting against Satan, Jewish and pagan vices, immorality in the church, worldliness, and sin. He had been imprisoned, beaten, forsaken by friends, faced great discouragement, and suffered much affliction. Yet he knew what his life was prior to Christ, and recognized that it was worthless and vain. He considered the Christian life as the only fight worth fighting.
In 2 Timothy 4:7,8 Paul wrote, “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day; and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing.”
We all have that hope that our earthly warfare will one day be ended, we will fight our last battle, and we will hear Jesus speak the words, “Well done.” So don't despair, don't give up, and keep fighting the good fight with faith and perseverance.
God never gives up on us. Even at a time when I thought He should give up on me; even when I had given up on Him; He never gave up on me.
In the same way, we should never give up on Him. Several scriptures say something like, “Pray without ceasing.” One take on that is to pray 24 hours per day. The other is to pray, even when we feel like giving up, even when the prayer hasn't been answered when we expected it to. Continue to pray.
1 cup sugar
½ cup light corn syrup
1 cup pecan halves
¼ cup melted butter
1 (9 inch) unbaked pie shell
Beat eggs slightly. Add sugar, corn syrup, butter, and pecans; stir well. Pour into pie shell and bake at 375 for 45 minutes.
One of the hardest things for me to do is shop for clothes out of season. When I buy something, I want to be able to wear it right away. But the most practical and cost effective way to purchase clothing is at the end of each season, when the stores start putting items on clearance and run sales in order to reduce inventory. I have been finding huge bargains, saving up to 75% to 90%. I can store these items away, and next spring when the weather warms back up, have Christmas all over again when I bring out all my new clothes. I plan on shopping in a few months for winter clothing when they start putting those items on clearance. Shopping at the end of the different seasons will save you a whole lot of money.
(I received this poem from my niece a few days ago and thought I'd share it. It gives you food for thought!)
I was shocked, confused, bewildered
as I entered Heaven's door;
Not by the beauty of it all,
not the lights or its decor.
But it was the folks in Heaven,
who made me sputter and gasp--
the thieves, the liars, the sinners,
the alcoholics and the trash.
There stood the kid from seventh grade
who swiped my lunch money twice.
Next to him was my old neighbor,
who never said anything nice.
Herb, who I always thought
was rotting away in hell;
was sitting pretty on cloud nine,
looking incredibly well.
I nudged Jesus, “What's the deal?
I would love to hear your take.
How'd all these sinners get up here?
God must've made a mistake.
And why's everyone so quiet,
so somber – give me a clue.”
“Hush, child,” He said, “They're all in shock.
No one thought they'd be seeing you.”
Ships may be safe in a harbor, but they weren't meant to stay there.
We hope you are enjoying this fall season.
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If there are any prayer needs you would like us to join in agreement with you, we would be happy to do so.
Loretta & Jon