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!'"

Luke 15:4-6

November 25, 2009

HAPPY THANKSGIVING

LIFE IN THE FOLD:

Last week I wrote about having the heart of a servant. This week is a continuation of that theme; while hopefully interweaving a Thanksgiving message along with it.

Serving others and blessing individuals has been a subject that has been on my mind for the past few weeks. I've come to the conclusion that this is an area where God is trying to get my attention. I know that there have been times when I've been so wrapped up in my own little world that I have lost sight of the needs of others, reaching out to individuals, or caring for someone that is hurting or needs encouragement.

It's not that I'm used to being waited on hand and foot, and expect others to serve me. But too often I get so wrapped up in my daily life that I become so focused inward that I forget to look outward. God is teaching me here lately that life is not all about me! It's about what God can do through me in order to touch others.

I read a quote recently that said, "God not only supplies all our needs, but He gives us extra so we can meet the needs of others."

There have been many times throughout my life where I've struggled financially, and didn't have any extra money to give to help others. During those times, it's easy to think, "Well, I would help, but I just don't have the means to do so." But God has been showing me that serving others and blessing individuals is not always all about the money. Sometimes it's about time. There are so many avenues in which we can encourage and serve others. And I've found that the more I reach out and bless others, the more I want to do so.

God has blessed me and Jon in the past year or so where our finances are to the point where we can help when we see a financial need. We're by no means wealthy, but not having kids or a lot of debt helps. Although we do tithe and give to the church, God has shown us that there other methods in which we can bless others.

Here are just a few examples, that come to mind, of how we can reach out to those families who may be going through a tough time financially. We can give them money (even do it anonymously, if possible) to buy a new outfit or shoes for their children. One of the hardest things for a parent is seeing your child with a need, and not having the money to take care of that need. And I'm not talking about buying all the latest and greatest video games or computer gadgets. I'm talking about shoes or clothing; things that are a real necessity.

With Christmas coming up, we can ask our pastor if there is anyone in our church who may could use some extra help. We can buy groceries and donate so families who otherwise won't be able to have a nice Thanksgiving or Christmas meal can enjoy a nice celebration just as we are. Some electric companies will allow you to go in and pay the bill of someone who may be out of work and struggling. Be creative! There are countless ways in which we can reach out and help others.

But it's not always financial help that is most needed. Sometimes it may be driving someone somewhere. It may be cutting firewood for a family. Perhaps it's baking a pie and taking it to a shut-in. Maybe there is someone who would be spending their birthday home alone, and you can invite them to your house and bake a birthday cake for them. The list is endless and so varied.

Something that God has placed in my heart personally is a way in which I can help my niece and her husband. I babysit my great-nephew three days a week at their home. The husband works long days at a full time job, and she teaches morning classes at a private school. Her baby is sweet and cute as can be, but he's a lot of work. I know that between caring for him, grading papers, working on lesson plans, cooking, grocery shopping, etc. that my niece has more duties to do than hours in the day. The baby generally takes a morning nap. So as soon as he falls asleep I try to put a load of laundry in to wash, fold clothes that may be in the dryer, empty or fill the dishwasher and clean the kitchen, pick up the living room, or whatever I have time to do during his nap. It's not much, and I'm there anyway. But I know that anything I do to help is appreciated and is just one less things that my niece has to try and do. Also, hopefully it frees her up so she has a little more time to spend one on one time with her baby and with her husband in the evenings. My niece has never asked me to do this; in fact, she has told me that she doesn't expect me to do anything extra other than care for her baby. But I know that this is a small way in which I can serve.

A scripture that comes to mind is Matthew 5:41. "Whoever compels you to go one mile, go with him two."

It means that we don't just do enough to get by or just enough to ease our conscience or make us feel good about ourselves. But with a grateful and thankful spirit, we go that second mile. Not to bless ourselves and try to get brownie points from God, but to bless others and serve them. Not so that we can be filled with pride and have man's applause and attention. We do it as an offering unto God. God blesses us, and we bless others in return.

I read a quote recently in a book that said, "As Christians, aren't we supposed to go the extra mile when others won't?"

It may require us to do something that no one else wants to. And it may be something that we don't particularly want to do ourselves. But if we feel compelled to do it, then we can know that God will be with us and give us the strength and help that we need. Like I said earlier, it's not about us and our comfort; it's about reaching out and serving and blessing others.

Colossians 3:17 says, "And whatsoever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him." Verse 23 continues, "And whatsoever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men."

Why do we do it as if we are doing it unto the Lord? Because if we have the wrong attitude and are doing it for the wrong reasons, then we'll either end up disappointed or aggravated or hurt. We'll be disappointed because perhaps that person doesn't respond in turn as we think they should. Or perhaps they don't seem as appreciative or thankful as we think they should be. The time may come when we're the ones in need of help and we become hurt that we reached out and helped others, yet it seems as if God is deserting us and just letting us struggle. There are so many reasons and ways in which we can struggle with this, if our hearts aren't in the right place and we're doing it for the right reasons. But if we're doing it out of obedience to God and as a thankful offering unto God for his blessings upon us, then it doesn't matter what that person does or how they respond. We will have peace and be grateful and thankful, because we obeyed God and served someone out of the abundance with which God has blessed us with.

Recently a friend had two of her brothers come and help build fences at her home. Their only request for payment was pinto beans and cornbread. They blessed her by giving her the needed help; and in turn she blessed them by cooking the meal that they specifically requested.

Blessing others doesn't always have to be something big. And it doesn't always have to be financial or something that will cause a huge impact. It can be something as simple as cooking beans and cornbread for someone!

Matthew 10:42 says, "And whosoever gives one of these little ones only a cup of cold water in the name of a disciple, assuredly, I say to you, he shall by no means lose his reward."

Sometimes all we need to do is give someone a cup of cold water. That doesn't seem like much, but if that's what their need is, then that's the best way we can bless them at that time.

There are those who act as if it's beneath them or a waste of their time if they can't do something grandiose and noteworthy. But that may not always be what the need is. Sometimes those small acts of kindness can mean more to someone than anything. That's their need at that time, and something big and spectacular is not going to minister to them as much as just doing that small act of servitude.

Many of us have been blessed over and over again. Blessings go far above finances. Blessings include God's daily protection upon us, health, security, family and friends, a home and car, a loving marriage or loving family, and the list could go on and on and on.

This Thanksgiving don't only take the time to give God thanks for His blessings upon your life and your family, but take time to reach out and do something for someone. It may be buying a turkey for a family who is struggling, baking a pie for someone, calling and telling someone that you love them and are thinking about them, etc. Take the time to go that second mile with/for someone.

This is my prayer of blessing for you this Thanksgiving:

"The Lord bless you and keep you. The Lord make His face shine upon you, and be gracious to you. The Lord lift up His countenance upon you, and give you peace." (Numbers 6:24-26)

JON'S PERSPECTIVE:

Please don't deny others the blessings that come with helping and serving.

It's hard for many of us to receive help. It can be a blow to our pride to ask others to help out. But it can also be hard to accept help that's freely offered.

But how does that affect the person offering? Sometimes it can be hard to go to someone and offer our time, our energy, and ourselves. But it feels good to be able to help someone out; until they refuse.

So, please, when someone wants to help you in any matter, accept graciously.

ON THE MENEWE:

When my family gets together for Thanksgiving, we always have this for dessert. I will admit that I have never made it myself because usually either Janie or Shirley (my sisters) will bring one.

Pumpkin Roll

3 eggs

2 tsp. Cinnamon

1 cup sugar

1 tsp. Ginger

2/3 cup pumpkin

1/2 tsp. Nutmeg

1 tsp. Baking Powder

1/2 tsp. Salt

1 tsp. Lemon Juice

3/4 cup flour

Filling:

1 (8 oz.) cream cheese

1 cup powdered sugar

4 Tbsp. Butter

1/2 tsp. vanilla

Preheat oven to 350. Mix dry ingredients and set aside. Beat eggs and sugar on high speed for 5 minutes. Add pumpkin and lemon juice; fold in dry ingredients. Pour into jelly roll 10x15 inch pan that has been lined with wax paper and greased and floured. Bake for 15 minutes. As soon as taken from oven, put damp cheesecloth on top and roll up. Put in refrigerator to cool about 15 minutes. Mix all filling ingredients together and beat until smooth. Unroll pumpkin roll and spread filling on top. Re-roll and refrigerate. Slice and serve.

LAMB TALES:

The first time Jon went to Singapore on business, he initially thought that an acquaintance from another company would be joining him on the trip; but it ended up this guy didn't need to go. But after being there a few days Jon received a text from him that read, "Whr r u?" Jon thought, "Oh, maybe he got to come after all." So Jon responded with a text that read, "@ hotel, u coming?" He never received an answer, and it ended up that this man was not in Singapore after all. Jon thought it was a little odd, but blew it off and didn't think that much about it; until later! A few weeks later, Jon received another random text from this same guy that read, "Cld I have rice with fish?" Jon was thinking, "I really don't care what you eat with your fish! If you want rice, than eat rice." After this text he was puzzled, and couldn't figure out why this guy, that he really didn't know that well, would sent those two odd text to him.

Thankfully, Jon has a smart wife (yep, that's me)! I figured out that this guy's wife's name more than likely came alphabetically after Jon's name on his phone. He had probably recently added Jon's name to his contact list on his cell phone. Before that he may have just pushed the first letter in his wife's name to pull her phone number when he wanted to call her; but after adding Jon's name to his phone he would pull Jon up instead. That was why Jon was getting those random texts. We were wondering what the guy thought when he text his wife that first time asking where she was, and her response was, "At the hotel. Are you coming?" Hopefully, when he received that response he looked at the number and realized he had text Jon instead of his wife!

THOUGHT TO PONDER:

Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift! II Corinthians 9:15

OUR HEARTFELT THANKS TO YOU:

Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family. We hope you all have a wonderful day and enjoy time with family and/or friends. Take time to give thanks for all God's many blessings. And take time to reach out to someone.

We love you!

Loretta & Jon

E-Mail: shepherd@grayengineers.com

http://www.graysheep.org