"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 1, 2008
Something that Jon and I will probably never agree on, or that Jon will never understand, is why women need more shoes than men. When we married, I think Jon may have had two pair of shoes, if that many. He just didn't get it why I would need more than that. I've tried to explain to him that women can't wear the same shoes with jeans as they do with dresses; well, if they want to look nice they can't. Tennis shoes doesn't look good with dress pants or a dress. And we need different colors and styles of shoes to match different outfits. I don't go overboard on buying shoes like some women are prone to do, but I do like shoes.
This past weekend Jon and I were spending the weekend with his brother and sister-in-law. We were getting ready to go meet them Saturday morning, and I saw Jon put on his old tennis shoes. I asked if those were the shoes he was going to wear. His response was, "I was planning on it, unless you tell me different." I told him if he wanted to wear them that was fine, but they were filthy and at least needed to be washed off. He had worn them a few weeks ago when we had dozer work done and he had planted grass. They are black and were heavily covered with dirt and grime. He answered that the wind would blow some of the dirt off. It wasn't that going to be that windy! So he obliged his wife, and got a wet rag and wiped them off.
During the course of the weekend, both he and his brother brought up the subject of shoes more than once. They both have the same opinion where shoes are concerned, and gave us two ladies a hard time. We knew they were joking (well, mostly), and that no matter what we said in our defense, they would stick together and stubbornly not change their minds.
I started thinking about the Israelites making the trek from Egypt to Canaan, and how for forty years their shoes never wore out. I cannot imagine wearing the same pair of shoes for that many years. It is inconceivable to me that those women had to keep the same shoes for their whole journey.
In many ways our society is very spoiled. We are accustomed to having so much materially, and having many choices in everything we want to purchase. When you go out to eat, whether it be a fast food or sit down restaurant, there is usually a big selection on the menu in which to order from. When buying groceries, there are a wide variety of choices in pretty much any food item. When buying anything from a car to toothpaste, there is a huge selection in which to choose.
I recently was running errands, and while I was out decided to do a little shopping. I stopped by a particular shoe store, and went inside just to look around. I was walking around and thought to myself, "There are so many shoes in here, that it's really overwhelming." I normally don't go to this particular store, unless I'm looking for something in particular and can't find it anywhere else. They have aisles and aisles of shoes, and it would take a long time to get through the store if you looked at every shoe. It really wasn't even fun to be in there because there was so inventory and too many choices. In fact, after a short time in there, I found myself feeling uptight and stressed. I started thinking about how I was feeling. It made me wonder if that is why individuals feel so overwhelmed and on edge so much of the time. Every time we go out to eat or to Walmart or grocery shopping or clothes shopping, etc., we are constantly bombarded with all these choices.
That great desire for being given choices and having our every whim catered to, has also entered into many churches across our nation. I'm not saying that some of these things are particularly wrong, but that we aren't happy unless we are given a choice in what we want in a church. Many churches offer both a traditional and contemporary service on Sunday mornings, so that people can choose which style best fits their taste. Everything from coffee bars, to motorcycle poker runs, to "come as you are" casual, to home cell groups, to elaborate presentations, to hiring professional musicians and singers to lead worship are being offered in order to try and give people enough choices; hoping that something they offer will draw people into their church. Just having the "regular" church services with preaching and singing aren't enough anymore. It's almost like you have to bribe or entice people to attend church.
We hear where people are trying to proclaim that Jesus is just a common man; having total disregard for His deity and holiness. Some are even denying His existence. They preach that you can live however you want while on earth, and since God is such a loving Father, He will accept you into Heaven when you die. They blindly choose to forget the sacrifice that Jesus paid on the cross so that we can have forgiveness of sins. All scriptures that say that the one and only way to Heaven is by asking Jesus to forgive you of your sins and accept His forgiveness are being completely ignored by some. Some even teach that we can become "gods" ourselves. By being good and doing good works, there are different plateaus we can achieve. There are doctrines to fit anyone and any lifestyle.
People want to be in control and be given a choice in all areas of their life. All mankind is given a choice in whether or not they accept God's gift of salvation for themselves. But they are not given a choice in how to receive the promise of eternal life with God. There is one, and only one way to Heaven, and it is only through Jesus Christ. Too often scriptures are twisted and taken out of context in order for people to teach a new doctrine, or try and cover their sins. Men and women cannot adapt the Bible to fit their personal choice of lifestyle or beliefs. They cannot rewrite the scriptures so that it will read how they want it to. Man has tried, but when they stand before they judgment seat of God, all their attempts will be in vain. The Bible was "God breathed" (or inspired) by God Himself, and anyone who tries to add to or take away from what He had written will suffer the consequences.
2 Timothy 3:16, 17 says, "All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness; that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work."
Deuteronomy 4:2 says, "You shall not add to the word which I command you, nor take from it, that you may keep the commandments of the Lord your God which I command you."
Revelation 22:19 says, "If anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part from the Book of Life, from the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book."
Proverbs 30:5, 6 says, "Every word of God is pure; He is a shield to those who put their trust in Him. Do not add to His words, lest He rebuke you, and you be found a liar."
Choosing to disregard God's Word, or trying to add to or take away from it to fit your own thoughts and beliefs, are much more consequential than choosing shoes or which box of cereal to buy. Buying a new pair of shoes may result in my husband being unhappy for a short time about me spending money. My buying the wrong box of cereal may result in Jon not enjoying his breakfast as much, until he finishes off eating all the cereal in the box. Choosing a car may result in buying a lemon or being stuck for a few years with something you wish you had never bought. But none of those things are life changing or will alter your future. They may make you unhappy or miserable for a short period of time, but you'll move on and get over it.
But spiritual choices are the most important choices we will ever make while upon earth. They are life changing and will determine our future. Choosing to be disobedient to God or disregarding His commandments have serious consequences. Making the wrong choice will effect your whole eternity. The thing about eternity is that once yours begins, you can't go back and change your choices.
May each of us make a commitment as Joshua did in Joshua 24:15, "Choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve.... but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord."
(From Loretta) My sweet husband is having to work late tonight, so won't have a chance to write anything this week. Our normal Tuesday evening routine is that Jon will read and edit what I have written, write something for his paragraph, then publish the newsletter to our website. So if you find any errors in the newsletter this week, please overlook them and know that it was because Jon didn't have time to read over and correct my mistakes. Jon ran into some problems at work that he's been trying to iron out and find a solution to. He began work at 7:30 this morning. It's almost 8:00 in the evening now, and he has just called to say that he is on his way home. Perhaps next week he'll write twice as much as usual in order to make up for this week... then again, maybe not!
Cherry Pie Surprise
9 inch unbaked pie shell
½ cup sugar
1 can cherry pie filling
3 (3 oz.) pkg soft cream cheese
½ tsp. Vanilla
1 cup sour cream (or cool whip)
Preheat oven to 425. Prepare pie shell in pie pan. Spread half of the cherry pie filling in bottom; set rest aside. Bake 15 minutes until crust is golden brown. Remove from oven. Reduce oven to 350. In a small bowl beat cream cheese, sugar, eggs and vanilla until smooth. Pour over hot pie filling, bake 25 minutes. Filling will be soft in center. Cool completely. Spoon sour cream around edge of pie. Center with remaining cherry pie filling.
*Cherry pie filling can be substituted for blueberry. Can also use Cool Whip instead of sour cream.
(I've changed the title to this section. It's difficult to always come up with a humorous story, so I've decided to change this to a section of sharing a story of remembrance or current happening.)
This past weekend Jon and I and Jon's brother and sister-in-law went to the harvest festival at Silver Dollar City in Branson, MO. The theme for the first half of the festival was "A Salute to the American Cowboy". I believe when we were there was going to be the last weekend of the cowboy celebration, before they changed it to "A Salute to the American Farmer". We all really enjoyed seeing the different displays and crafts. But a highlight of our day was having the opportunity to talk to Buck Taylor, who played the part of Newly O'Brien in the old TV western Gunsmoke. He is an artist and does water color paintings. He had a framed painting that he had recently done of Festus, which was an exact replica and captured the personality and expression of Festus perfectly. I believe that Buck Taylor and James Arness, who played Sheriff Matt Dillon in Gunsmoke, are the only survivors left of the main cast. I asked if he kept in touch with James Arness, and he said that they rarely got to see each other since James lives in California and he lives in Texas, but they do talk on the phone fairly often. Buck Taylor also had a drawing of himself and his father. I learned that his dad was Dub Taylor, who was in over 500 shows. I recognized him immediately when I saw the picture, and had no idea they were father and son. One of the last roles I remember seeing Dub Taylor in was an episode of Little House on the Prairie; but do recall seeing him in many western movies and TV shows.
Jon and I had a great weekend with his brother and sister-in-law. and thoroughly enjoyed having an opportunity to spend time with them.
"You can't keep trouble from coming. But you needn't give it a chair to sit on."
We hope everyone is enjoying this fall season. Hard to believe it's already October!
We love you!
Thank you so much for taking the time to read our newsletter. We appreciate you very much.
Loretta & Jon