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!'"
June 25, 2008
I sometimes have trouble differentiating between need and want; which is pretty common for most people. We loosely throw the word "need" around so much that it has lost its true meaning. The words need and want have become so interchangeable that we don't ever really stop and think about the difference.
I may look at the sale ads and see something I would like to have, so in order to justify spending the money, tell me husband that, "I need some new shoes" or whatever it may be. Or I may want to go to Wal-mart or Lowe's (my two favorite stores), so say that I need to go pick up a particular item. There may be times when we're out of groceries or have to have something in particular from those stores, so it really is a need, but that's not always the case.
There may be occasions where what I say I need would benefit me, but it's not particularly a necessity. I've often commented that, "I need a haircut." It may be that getting a haircut would make me look and feel better, but it's really more of a want than something that I have to have.
Many times I have heard people say, "I have to have ......" Sometimes it may be absolutely true. But more times than not, if you really listen to what they're saying, it's more of a desire of theirs. If they don't get it, it may impact their life somewhat, but it's not a life and death situation that will destroy them if it doesn't come to pass.
Personally, there have been occasions when I've wanted something so desperately, that I just knew that what I wanted had to be God's desire for me. After all, why would I want it so badly if God didn't want me to have it? I would pray and pray and just knew that God was going to let me have my heart's desire. There have been times when I was sure that whatever it was, would come to pass. When it didn't, and God answered in another way (or said no), it was sometimes hard to accept as being God's will.
Philippians 4:19 says, "And my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus."
That's very true! God will supply our every need. But we have to be careful, when we're praying, that we know the difference between need and want. We have to know the difference between desire and wishes, and true need.
One of the worst moments in my banking career happened several years ago. I was the bookkeeping and teller supervisor at the bank where I was employed. We had a situation arise, which I ended up being in the middle of. What made it so bad was that I personally knew, and was related to, the couple involved, and all my co-workers knew that.
A loan officer and my supervisor came and talked to me about a particular situation that was occurring. This young couple had stopped paying the loan payment on their house. When called on it, they said that they believed God was going to send the money to pay off their mortgage, and the bank should have the payoff any day. They had no idea how this would happen, but that someway, somehow the money would show up at the bank. The wife kept writing checks, without making deposits to cover them, believing that God was going to give them the money needed. When she kept receiving insufficient check notices in the mail, which stated that the bank was returning checks and charging their account, she became very upset. I explained to her that yes, I do believe that if God promised them money to pay off their house loan that He could provide that for them. But until that happened, they were still responsible for covering any checks they wrote and for making their monthly house payments. It was as if they felt that I was hampering their faith by saying that. It ended up being a big ordeal before it was over. I believe that they finally ended up getting caught up on their loan payments and bringing their checking account to a positive balance. As far as I know, the money never came to them or showed up at the bank, to pay off their mortgage.
They were very sincere in what they believed for that period of time. And I'm not sure what had occurred in their life to make them feel that God was going to send the money to them. But from my perspective, it seemed as if they got their own desires and wants confused with hearing from God. At times, it's easy to get our emotions intertwined with our desires, and be mislead or even deceived. Other times, we hear people testify about what God has done for them, and want the same thing to happen for ourselves so badly. I know that God does miracles and can supply every one of our needs, desires, and wants. He can open the windows of Heaven and pour such a blessing upon us, that we cannot even contain it. But I also know that God may not always respond the way we want. He knows what's best for us; and always giving us everything we desire isn't always in our best interest.
I'm sure most everyone has heard the story of the man who was in a flood. The water kept rising up, and he ended up on the rooftop. He kept praying for God to come and save him. A boat come by and offered to rescue him, but he refused saying that God would come to his rescue. A helicopter came along and threw down a rope to pull him to safety, but he told them to go on and help someone else because God would save him. The man ended up drowning. When he got to heaven, he asked God why He hadn't come and save him. God told him that He'd sent a boat and a helicopter.
Probably more often than not, we miss God's answer to our prayers because it doesn't come in the form that we are looking for. We're waiting for God to come and transport us off the rooftop, but instead, He sends a boat and helicopter. We think we know best about what we need, and when God sends another answer, we refuse to even consider the possibility of it being from God.
Accepting God's will is not always an easy thing to do. We may be praying for something big, and we know that God is capable of doing it for us. After all, doesn't the Bible say that nothing is too hard or too difficult for God to do? So we believe that those things which we ask for will be answered the way we are praying they will be. But what if God says, "No. I'm going to do something totally different." Can we still accept that as being God's will, or will we allow it to weaken our faith?
Matthew 8:2 says, "And behold, a leper came and worshiped Him, saying, "Lord, if You are willing, You can make me clean."
The man didn't doubt the abilities of Jesus. He had likely seen the other miracles that Jesus had performed. He, without a doubt, knew that Jesus could heal him of the leprosy. Therefore, he didn't question whether or not what he was asking was impossible for Jesus to do. He didn't say, "Lord, if You can" but said "Lord, if You are willing."
Nothing that we ask of God is too difficult for Him to do, so His abilities should not even come into question. But can we honestly pray and say, "Lord, if you are willing.....," and then accept the answer if it's different from what we're asking?
Before His death, Jesus was in the garden praying to His Father. He said, "Father, if it is Your will, take this cup away from Me; nevertheless, not My will, but Yours, be done.
In this situation, the will of the Father was for Jesus to suffer and die for our sins. He was not willing to take the cup away. But even though Jesus petitioned His Father to remove it from Him, He was also willing to accept the will of God.
It's easy to pray, "Not my will, but Yours, be done," if we think we're going to get what we are asking for. But it's harder to say and really mean it if we think the answer may be different from what we want.
I believe that God doesn't always give us what we ask for because He knows that we either can't handle it, or He knows that it is not in our best interest. Sometimes He may give us what we ask for, only to have us turn right back around and get ourselves in the same mess He just delivered us from.
Several years ago I was working with a lady whose sister was in a very abusive marriage. This couple had twins, and it was a horrible situation for the wife and children. My co-worker talked to me about it various times, and mentioned that the family were all praying that her sister would be able to get away from the husband and get her life back together. People stepped in to help, and place her and the twins in a safe environment, and eventually the marriage was dissolved. The lady and her kids did really well for a while, and seemingly got their lives back on track. A couple years later, this woman was remarried to another guy and back in the same situation she had with her first marriage. The family was upset with her for knowingly getting involved with someone who treated her badly, yet still marrying the guy. The comment made was, "It looks like she would have learned her lesson the first time."
I have seen situations where people will be in over their heads financially. Circumstances change, they get their debts paid off or at least paid down, then they turn right back around and get back into the same mess they were in to begin with. They think they can responsibly handle money, but when they have it, they spend unwisely and end up with debt hanging back over their heads. I wonder if perhaps that is the reason that many people aren't handed large amounts of money and aren't blessed with excessive finances. God knows that they aren't wise or responsible enough to handle it. And I've heard people say, "Yes, but I sure would like to be given the chance to have a lot of money, and see if I could handle it!"
When I was single, there were numerous times when I struggled financially. There were even times when I didn't know how I was going to pay all my bills, or an unexpected expense would occur. I would pray for a financial miracle. I would quote every scripture I could find about God meeting my needs and causing me to prosper. Many times I've thought, "It would be so nice to open up my mailbox and find a big check in there from someone." That never happened. But God did supply what I needed. Sometimes the answer came through me having to work overtime, or someone asking me to babysit or do some type of job that they paid me for. Sometimes it came through God showing me where I was throwing money away unnecessarily or spending unwisely, and me having to make some changes. A few times, someone would hand me money and say that God had impressed them that I needed it. Once I was putting gas in my car, and my uncle paid for mine as he was paying for his.
Every single time, God did supply my needs. But it was never in the way in which I expected. And it was never more than what I needed. Oh, there were times when I wished for more and thought I needed more than what I got; but God would supply the need that was present.
Whatever your need may be or whatever it may be that you are praying for, know that God hears and will be faithful to answer. But open your heart and be ready and willing to accept whatever His answer may be. If something happens and it's not what you were expecting or is not what you think you need, stop and ask God if that is His will before disregarding it and tossing it aside. Don't be like the man standing on his rooftop with flood waters surrounding him, and turn away the helicopter and boat because it's not the answer you were expecting from God.
God may answer in unexpected ways, and it may be hard to comprehend why He's doing what He is. And it may not be what you were wanting. But if it's God's answer, then He will work out all the other details. We don't have to figure out ahead of time how everything is going to work out. God may not explain everything to you ahead of time. He may be wanting you to trust Him. And as you accept His will and His answer, and place your situation into His hands, then He will work it all out for you.
There are far more accounts of Jesus healing people than I could count. Some verses simply say that He healed people. In the stories that stand out the most, Jesus told the person in need to do something. He told a group of lepers they had to walk to the synagogue. He put mud on a blind man's eyes, and sent him to wash in the river. One woman had to argue with Jesus that He might as well heal her even though she wasn't Jewish. Several simply had to show faith.
Sometimes, we have to obey, too. Come to think of it, aren't we supposed to obey God all the time? We may have to share our healing (or other answered prayer) with others. Sometimes, we may have to work many hours of overtime for prayers about finances to be answered. Or, we may have to ask humbly. That is, we need to know that an answered prayer is a gift from God, not something we're owed.
1 can pizza crust
2 egg yolks
1 Tbsp. Parmesan Cheese
1 tsp. Garlic Powder
1 tsp. Parsley
1 tsp. Oregano
1 Tbsp. Oil
Spread the crust out; cut in half. Cover each half with the mixture. Add any desired toppings such as: sausage, pepperoni, onions, mushrooms. Sprinkle with Mozzarella cheese. Roll each half up like a jelly roll. Brush the egg whites on top. Put on a baking pan and bake at 350 until brown (approximately 25-30 minutes). Slice. Spoon heated pizza sauce over the top (I let everyone do it individually).
Jon and I spent the past weekend in Lampe, MO at my old family home. It was very relaxing for us and we had a great time.
We were sitting outside enjoying the peace and quiet, when I looked up the drive. I saw something across the end of the road and thought it might be a snake, then thought perhaps it was a shadow from a fence post. It started moving, so I knew my first inclination was correct. Yuck! I hate snakes no matter how small or large, or whether they're poisonous or otherwise. I am actually very terrified of them, and don't even like to see them on TV. I think they're just creepy. Jon said he would kill it and started running across the yard. I hollered and asked what he was going to kill it with, and he said his hands. Needless to say, that idea didn't sit too well with me. The snake had crawled into some weeds by the time he got up there, so he grabbed an old pole from a metal swingset that the former renters had left at the edge of the drive. He knelt down and poked the pole into the weeds, trying to get the snake to come out. Instead, the snake crawled up inside the pole. Jon just turned the pole upside down enough for the snake's head to fall out, then slammed down onto the pole. It almost severed the head completely off, but didn't kill the snake. It's tongue was still flicking in out out really fast and it's head was moving up and down. It was disgusting and gross! Finally it died. I hadn't seen the whole snake up close, just from long distance. Later we were talking and I measured about 3 feet with my hands and said it was a big snake. Jon started laughing and said it was much bigger than that – more like 6 to 7 feet long.
On Sunday morning, we had woke up for just a minute and then fell back asleep. It must have been a little after dawn the first time. The second time we woke up, we both thought we had slept a whole lot longer. It looked really light outside and we just knew that we had slept in, and that it was probably around 8:30 or 9:00. We never sleep that late and thought the country air must have really relaxed us. There wasn't a clock in the bedroom. I got up to head towards the bathroom and looked at the kitchen clock. It was only 6:20! We were both wide awake and ready to get up, so we went outside and sat for a while.
While in Missouri last weekend, I talked to one of my cousins. He told me that his oldest grandson had joined the National Guard and was scheduled to go to Iraq in January. He had told his grandson that that sounded like a good way to get himself killed. The grandson's reply was, "The same God that's with me here, is the same God that will be with me in Iraq. Just because I change locations doesn't mean that God changes." How do you argue with that?!
May the blessings of God rest upon your life.
We love you!
Loretta & Jon