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!'"
December 5, 2007
Isaiah 7:14 says, “Therefore the Lord Himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a Son, and shall call his name Immanuel.”
Isaiah 9:6 says, “For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given; and the government will be upon His shoulder; and His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Prince of Peace.”
As a prophet commissioned by God, Isaiah began his ministry in 740 B.C.. He prophesied forty or more years and was martyred by being sawn in two around the year 680 B.C. Isaiah received visions from God, which allowed him to see coming events in God's plan of salvation.
Isaiah received the prophesy regarding the birth of Jesus 700 years before it occurred. I'm sure when his words were first heard, they were received and believed by some. But as years and time passed and there was no sign of the Messiah, many probably wrote Isaiah off as being a false prophet. As the promise of a coming Savior was read from the scrolls, in the synagogues by priests, generation after generation heard what had been written, yet they died without ever seeing the scriptures fulfilled. As each generation heard the words penned by the prophet Isaiah, without a doubt there were those who had hope that “this will surely be the time when the prophesy will be fulfilled, and the Messiah will come.” On the other hand, there were many who didn't believe the prophetic words; while others wondered if they had somehow missed His coming. No one knew what to expect. Many expected Christ to be born as royalty. They certainly never expected a humble birth in a manger. And it was inconceivable that a virgin could possible become pregnant and have a child.
But after years of waiting and expectation, God honored His word and sent His only Son to this earth in human form, as a newborn baby.
Luke 2:1 begins, “And it came to pass...” 700 years after waiting and anticipating the birth of Christ; it came to pass. After hearing the prophesy read from Isaiah's writings generation after generation; it came to pass. Parents had taught their children about the promise of a coming Savior; and finally it came to pass. After all the hoping and waiting and watching and anticipating; it came to pass! The time had finally arrived for the Prophet Isaiah's word to be fulfilled; it came to pass. God chose that particular time in history to send His son to earth to live, teach and minister; it came to pass. The ultimate sacrifice had come to take our sins upon Himself and die in our place; it came to pass. God's word that He had spoke through His servant 700 years before, came to pass. The waiting was over; it came to pass!
Just as God had promised, a virgin conceived and bore a son. Just as she was instructed, she called His name Jesus. He spent 33 years on earth among man, teaching and instructing them in the way they should live. He offered hope to all who believed. He was the fulfillment of God's promise.
Isaiah also prophesied the crucifixion of Jesus. Isaiah 53:5 says, “But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement for our peace was upon Him; and by His stripes we are healed.”
Jesus fulfilled that prophesy when he was rejected by man, tormented and beaten, and crucified. He took the punishment that was due us, and paid the penalty for our sins. These words spoken 700 years earlier, also came to pass.
This should fill our hearts with such hope! Before Jesus ascended to His Father in Heaven, He gave us a promise. In John 14:1-3 Jesus says, “Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me. In My Father's house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also.”
Wow, what a promise! Don't become so overwhelmed by circumstances in life that you lose hope. Just as the words of Isaiah was fulfilled of a coming Messiah, the words of Jesus will also be fulfilled. Each generation since that time have looked for and waited with anticipation for the second coming of Christ.
Today we mustn't become weary and lose sight of that promise. We must continually hope for and wait for the fulfillment of God's Word to come to pass. Some day, just as 1 Thessalonians 4:16,17 says, Jesus will return.
“For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus shall we be with the Lord.”
1 Corinthians 15:52 says that it will all happen in the twinkling of an eye. It's hard for my mind to comprehend how it will all happen. But I don't have to figure it all out beforehand, all I have to do is believe! If God says that's how it will take place, then that is exactly how it will occur.
I also can't explain how Mary, being a virgin, conceived. All I know is that that was God's plan, that's what took place, and His word was brought to pass.
We don't have to understand the how and why of God's plan. All we have to do is believe that if that is what He says will happen, then that's how it will be! Generation after generation have waited for the promise of the second coming of Christ to occur. Some have doubted, given up hope, lost sight of the promise, and no longer believe that it will take place. Yet, just as the birth of Christ came to pass, so will the second coming of Christ. Some day, the headlines will read, “It came to pass...”
Regardless of what you may be facing at this time in your life, know that God's word will be fulfilled. Perhaps you've prayed and prayed about something in particular and seemingly there is no answer, and you've begun to lose hope...God has not forgotten you and your answer will “come to pass”. Don't lose hope, don't get overwhelmed by your circumstances and don't give up. One day, in God's timing, it will come to pass.
Whether it's a miracle you're waiting for, a prayer to be answered, or the second coming of Christ...look up, have hope and know that the day will come when “IT WILL COME TO PASS!”
I remember the morning of our wedding. I had a lot to do to keep myself occupied. That was a good thing because I might have gone nuts with the anticipation. After all, I was about to get married! It was a little like waiting for a first date, only much more permanent and much better. It was all I could think about.
There are several scriptures that refer to Jesus' return as being like a wedding. When I really think about it, I feel the same kind of eagerness. But I confess, I have to stop and make myself remember. Christmas makes a good time to focus on His return. In the same way the shepherds in the field were excited to hear that Christ had been born, we should be excited to hear that He's coming back.
This fudge recipe was given to my sister by her husband's grandmother. It is very good, and really easy to make. This also freezes well, if you put waxed paper between each layer. When my sister and her husband lived away for several years, Granny Schwyhart would make a big batch of fudge for them every Christmas and send it to them in a shoe box, with waxed paper between each layer. They would eat part of it, then freeze the rest, taking out a piece as they wanted a special treat. This is one of the best fudge recipes I have ever used, and I look forward to making a batch each year during the Christmas season.
Granny Schwyhart's Fudge
1 can evaporated milk
4 ½ cups sugar
Mix the evaporated milk and sugar together in a pan and bring to a boil. Boil for 6 minutes, stirring occasionally to keep from scorching. After 4 ½ minutes, stir constantly for the remainder of time.
Put the following ingredients in a large bowl ahead of time and pour the boiling mixture over it.
2 (12 oz.) packages semi sweet chocolate chips
2 cups nuts (pecans or walnuts)
1 pint marshmellow cream
1 stick butter
1 tsp. vanilla
Stir until stiff and glossy. Pour into a buttered pan. (This makes a lot, so I usually pour it in 2 dishes.)
Cut into squares when cooled.
***My husband doesn't care for eating nuts, so I pour half of it in one pan, then stir the nuts in and pour the remainder in another pan.
It's easy at times to look at other people's creative talents, and feel inferior or think that we have no talent, because we can't do what they do. Some of the best gifts are those that are handmade. Just because you may be unable to do what someone else does, doesn't mean that you have no talent.
One of my sisters use to embroidery when she was a teenager, but hasn't done so in many years. This year she decided to see if she could remember how, and surprisingly it all came back to her and she found it to be fun. She has embroidered a set of pillow cases to give away as a gift.
Last year, my brother-in-law handcrafted a fountain for his wife for Christmas. He made a lot of it from copper and cut each piece by hand. It is beautiful and something his wife has cherished.
After we were married, Jon made up a scrapbook containing all the cards and movie stub tickets and memorabilia from our months of dating and gave it to me as a gift. It is a keepsake, I'll always have!
One of my other sisters enjoys baking cookies. She will spend a day prior to Christmas baking several varieties. She then wraps them up or puts them in a decorative tin for her kids to give to their Sunday School teachers; or she and her husband gives them to their church board members.
When I was supervisor at a bank, there was an older retired widowed gentleman who would come in each month and have me balance his checkbook. He was a retired optometrist and enjoyed tinkering around with crafts. Each Christmas he would bring me in some small handmade craft that he had made for me. I still have them and will always remember him.
I made and canned salsa using tomatoes from our garden this summer. From one of my batches, I had enough leftover to fill a cute little 8-ounce jar. I'm giving that away as a gift for Christmas.
These are just a few ideas for you to consider. But whatever your talent may be, be creative and think of idea's you can use in your gift giving. It doesn't have to be a big project such as handcrafting a fountain (although most wives would love it if their husband would make something along those lines for them), but it can be something as simple as baking cookies or making a small craft, etc. Be imaginative and have fun!
When I was growing up, there was an old man who lived alone in a little old house at the end of our dirt road. He drank a lot and was not mentally stable. My Grandpa Horton would walk up and visit with him regularly, but we kids were all scared of him. There are a couple of stories that I remember hearing about him when growing up, but whether or not they are really true I will never know.
One of the stories is that Clyde looked through a catalog and picked out a woman and thought he was ordering her, but ended up with the clothes instead. The other story is that he attended church one time. At the end of the service, someone asked him if he would like to go to the altar and get saved. They asked him, “Clyde, don't you want to go to heaven?” He answered, “I”d like to, but I already promised Loren Garrison that I'd go to Idaho with him.”
When dealing with difficulties and hardship, know that it didn't come to stay...but it will pass.
We love you!
Loretta & Jon