"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 3, 2008
Jon and I have often laughed at how deceiving the wording of many commercials on TV are. We've come to the conclusion that advertisements aren't written to be completely truthful, but are aimed at making people feel that they need that particular product. Often they will flash fine print on the screen that is so small that there is no way you can read it that quickly. They will do whatever it takes in order to sell their products. Their goal is to appeal to the senses of the consumers.
On some of the medication that is advertised, the list of possible side effects are worse than dealing with the original problem. Products are advertised as being, "Must haves" for every individual. Diet pills and plans promise if you will just try that particular product or plan, then you are guaranteed to lose weight and look great and be happy. But if you read the fine print that they all flash on the screen, as they show a before and after photo of an individual who supposedly lost several pounds in a short amount of time, it will say something to the effect, "Results not typical for everyone."
Jon and I were recently watching a commercial for a particular product and the spokesperson said that it was a "must have for everyone." Jon was being a little sarcastic when he commented, "If everyone MUST have it, then we need to run out and buy one!" After all, if they say it on TV, then it must be true! If they advertise that we need it, then we better go get it.
I don't care to admit that I color my hair, and have for half of my life now. I started getting a lot of white hair when I was in my early twenties. When you buy the box of hair dye, you can buy semi-permanent that washes out fairly quickly. What I buy says that it is permanent color. Now when you look at the definition of what permanent means, you would think that this would be something that I would only have to use one time, and it would last forever. But that's just not true. I suppose it would be permanent if I never washed my hair or my hair didn't ever grow. But hair does grow, and after three or four weeks I have white roots showing all over my head, and I have to use the "permanent" hair dye to color them up again and again and again.....
Some soft drinks are advertised as being the "Thirst Quencher". If you're thirsty and drink a bottle of their product, it may quench your thirst for that moment of time, but I guarantee that in a few hours you'll be thirsty once again.
There is nothing material that lasts forever. You can build a house out of the finest materials and use only the best quality of products. But even though the home is cared for, eventually things will wear out and need to be replaced.
You can have your car serviced regularly and take great care of it, but I can promise you that it's not going to last forever. The day will come when things will begin wearing out and need replaced. Jon and I have two cars; one is fifteen years old and the other is ten years old. We're running into that with both of our cars now.
Even in nature, we see that things die and decay. Some trees may live for over a hundred years, but all it takes is one ice storm, tornado, fire or disease to destroy it. On mountains and hillsides you can see rocks that have held steady for who knows how many years suddenly give way and crumble. There is erosion that takes place over time. Even bodies of water can become contaminated and polluted.
In families, no matter how loving and close they may be, the day comes when death comes and takes away members. No matter how much you may exercise or how healthy you eat, there is nothing you can do to stop it. I think of my mom and her brothers and sisters. They were probably about as close as any family could be. Yet today, out of ten siblings, only three are still living. I adore my husband and have a special relationship with my sisters. I cannot even stand the thought of anything ever happening to any of them. But I know that unless Jesus returns and we are all caught away together (which would be my choice), then at some point in time, death will come and separate us while we're on earth.
So what can we count on in this life? Is there anything at all that is lasting?
In John chapter four, Jesus was traveling and left Judea and started making His way back to Galilee. During His journey, He needed to go through Samaria. Jesus was weary from His journey, and stopped by Jacob's well to rest. A Samaritan woman came to draw water, and Jesus asked her for a drink. Jews had no dealings with Samaritans, and the woman asked Him how it was that He, being a Jew, would ask for a drink from a Samaritan woman.
Jesus answered her, "If you knew the gift of God, and who it is who says to you, 'Give Me a drink,' you would have asked Him, and He would have given you living water."
The woman said to Him, "Sir, You have nothing to draw with, and the well is deep. Where then do You get that living water?"
Jesus answered her, "Whoever drinks of this water will thirst again. But whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst. But the water that I shall give him will become in him a fountain of water springing up into everlasting life."
The woman said to Him, "Sir, give me this water, that I may not thirst, nor come here to draw."
This woman and Jesus continued conversing, and Jesus revealed her past. He asked her to bring her husband to Him. She answered that she had no husband. Jesus revealed that He knew that she had had five husbands, and the one whom she lived with at that time was not her husband.
Needless to say, the woman was amazed and perceived that He was a prophet. She told Jesus, "I know that Messiah is coming (who is called Christ), and when He comes, He will tell us all things."
Jesus told her that He was the Messiah.
The woman left her waterpot, made her way into the city, and said to the men, "Come, see a Man, who told me all things that I ever did. Could this be the Christ?"
Many Samaritans believed in Him, and knew that He indeed was the Christ, the Savior of the world.
I believe that each individual is created (or born) with a need for God in their life. There is a void inside them, that only God can fill. Not everyone acknowledges that God is what they are longing for. Many will try to fill that void in their life with many different things. Some will try to fill it with drugs, alcohol, sex and other immoral acts. Some think that if they are successful and can accumulate wealth and material possessions, then that void will be filled and the emptiness inside will be gone. Others try to ignore it by keeping busy. Then there are those who think if they help others and do good works, then they will be fulfilled. Many will struggle for years, searching for peace and fulfillment. Yet it will never fully come to their life until they surrender their heart to Jesus. That void was created by God within mankind, therefore only He is the One who can fill it.
Have you ever been really thirsty on a hot day, and your mouth feels parched? No matter how much you drink, it seems as if your thirst is never completely satisfied. I have had days like that when I'm mowing the yard. It may be extremely hot and humid out, and I am sweating so much while mowing, that it leaves me feeling dehydrated. I can drink water, tea, Pepsi, or lemonade by the glassful; yet I still feel thirsty.
That's how we are spiritually. Our lives feel parched, and we need something to hydrate us. We can try all kinds of activities, listen to motivational speakers, read books, become entangled with various vices, or any number of things. Yet that feeling is still there. The one and only thing that is going to refresh our spirit, is drinking that "Living Water". Only Jesus can satisfy our soul. Only He can completely quench our thirst. That emptiness will remain until we allow Jesus to come into our heart and fill that void.
If you are spiritually thirsty today, don't go running away from God; but run to Him. Don't go searching for something or someone to fill the emptiness and void in your heart. You're never going to be fully contented and at peace, until you submit your life to Jesus and ask Him to forgive your sins and come live inside you. Once you do, that void will suddenly be filled and your thirst will be quenched. Your life will be filled with that living water (Jesus), and you will never thirst again.
Revelation 22:17 says, "And the Spirit and the bride say, 'Come!' And let him who thirsts come. Whoever desires, let him take the water of life freely."
"The end is nigh!" We've heard it before. I've heard that many people thought Hitler was the anti-Christ. And I'm sure a lot of early Christians thought one Caesar or another was the anti-Christ. And now, there are many who say that the last few prophesies are taking place now. "But of that day and hour knoweth no one, not even the angels of heaven, neither the Son, but the Father only." [Matthew 24:36] So, be cautious if someone says they know when Jesus will return. I'm sure He is coming soon, maybe within five years, maybe within ten, maybe even this week.
Jesus' return is an event many people are scared of. It's part of the 'end times', which includes earthquakes, famine, war, and death. But the common belief is that those who believe will be taken up into Heaven (the Rapture) before the Tribulation begins. The Bible doesn't come out and say so as plainly as I'd like, but I might try to describe why I and so many churches agree in another newsletter. But as I've been re-reading The Revelation, I've noticed that after John is given instructions and messages for several churches, he observes elders and creatures rejoicing and worshiping God. It's a time of joy first.
Peanut Butter Balls
3 sticks butter, melted
1 bar paraffin wax
2 lb. Powdered sugar
12 oz. Chocolate chips
1 ½ cup peanut butter (creamy or crunchy)
Mix butter, powdered sugar, and peanut butter together. Make into small balls. Melt paraffin and chocolate chips together, using a double boiler pan; stir until smooth. Using a toothpick, dip the peanut butter balls into the melted chocolate mixture. Set on waxed paper and let cool.
On Thanksgiving day, Jon and I went to Missouri and spent the day at the family homestead with three of my sisters and some of their families. Before lunch, Jon and one of my brothers-in-law and three of my nephews all decided to walk down into the woods. It came time to eat, and they still weren't back to the house. I knew that Jon had probably got down to the spring, and had become sidetracked. Sure enough! They had taken a rake and were cleaning out the spring and had built a small dam across it. Of course, there is no cell phone signal down where they were. We were honking the car horn and yelling for them, but they heard nothing. One of the neighbor boys heard us and started yelling back, "What? What do you want?" And we heard a wild turkey gobbling at us, but that wasn't the response we wanted. So we saw that wasn't going to work! Finally, they made their way back up to the house.
So on Thursday evening after we got back home, I was looking through that morning's newspaper and all the ad's for the big "Black Friday" sales. I found a sale on Walkie Talkies at a particular place on Friday morning, so Jon and I ran there and bought a set. Hopefully, whenever we go to Missouri they'll work and we can talk to each other when Jon heads down into the woods.
After charging them, we wanted to try them out Friday evening. Okay, we don't have kids so we had to play with them ourselves! I went upstairs and Jon stayed downstairs, and we were talking to one another. Jon kept informing me that I was supposed to say, "Over" when I finished saying something, so he would know that I was through talking. Then on Sunday morning I had to run an errand (I didn't have anything to fix for breakfast, so went to McDonald's). I had taken one of the walkie talkies with me and Jon kept the other one at home. We were talking on them while I was sitting in the McDonald's drive-thru. We just wanted to see how far we could get a signal between them. How old are we?!
"When you drink from a well, remember the men who dug the well." - Old Proverb
Can you believe that we are in the final month of 2008? How quickly this year has gone by. As you make preparations for Christmas, don't become so busy that you forget Christ. It may be redundant, but Jesus is truly the reason for the season. And we must keep "Christ" in Christmas.
We love you!
Thank you so much for taking the time to read our newsletter. We appreciate you very much.
Loretta & Jon