"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!'"
August 8, 2012
Jon and I have watched various programs, usually on the history or discovery channel, about archeologist finding the remains of lost cities. We've also seen a special about treasure hunters who dive and find ships that were loaded with expensive items or gold that at some point in time was lost in a storm or went down in some type of perilous situation.
Due to the items found or the architecture of the ship or dwelling, they can usually pinpoint what era they believe their findings are from. They can search historical records and sometimes locate information about their discoveries, but there are times when they really have no idea. They don't know the group of people who may have lived in a particular area and can't find any records that tell them. Sometimes the treasure divers will search records of lost ships throughout history and try to pinpoint whether or not their findings could possible be one of those. But there are times when they can't find anything that matches and can only speculate and guess.
I was reading Psalm chapter 9, and verses five and six made me think of those programs that we have watched. "You have rebuked the nations and destroyed the wicked; You have blotted out their name for ever and ever. Endless ruin has overtaken the enemy, You have uprooted their cities; even the memory of them has perished."
It made me wonder if perhaps some of those lost cities, that have been discovered but have no record of them, are perhaps ones that God allowed to be destroyed because of the wickedness and evil of those who dwelt there. Did God blot out their name for ever and ever? Was their city uprooted, where even the memory of it and those who lived there has perished?
I think we tend to often think that those who do evil get away with it. And when someone does something to harm us or someone we love, or take advantage of us, or whatever it may be, we want to repay them evil for evil and make them pay for their actions.
In Leviticus chapter 19, God is giving Moses the laws for the Israelites to live by. Verse 18 says, "Do not seek revenge or bear a grudge against one of your people, but love your neighbor as yourself. I am the Lord." Then in Deuteronomy 32:35, God again has Moses tell the people, "Vengeance is Mine, and retribution. In due time their foot will slip; for the day of their calamity is near."
Lest we get the idea that this was just an Old Testament law, these words are repeated in Romans 12:17-19: "Never pay back evil for evil to anyone. Respect what is right in the sight of all men. If possible, so far as it depends on you, be at peace with all men. Never take your own revenge, beloved, but leave room for the wrath of God, for it is written: 'Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,' says the Lord."
Getting even and making others pay for their sin is not our responsibility, but belongs to God alone. It's not always easy to step back and wait for God to repay for the evil deeds some do. Often He doesn't respond as quickly as we'd like and it seems as if others end up getting hurt in the process. But God is sovereign and knows what He's doing, even when we don't understand.
So if revenge isn't our responsibility, what is?
Romans 12:20, 21 tells us. "On the contrary; If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head. Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good."
This is not an easy thing to do! We've all heard the saying, "Kill them with kindness." But in doing so, are we doing it with a godly attitude or are we doing it with a resentful heart? It may begin as being one of the hardest things we've ever done and we may have to work on our attitude, but if we continue to practice repaying evil with good and showing kindness, we will eventually find a change in our own heart take place. We may or may not see a change in the one who has been unkind or done hurt to us, but we will realize that their attitude and actions are not our responsibility. But our attitude and actions are our own responsibility. And if we've done all that we can to repay evil with good, then we can have a clear conscious and be at peace within ourselves.
When we hear stories of murders and wicked acts done against others, we often ask ourselves, "How could they have done such a thing? What were they thinking?" But those individuals didn't start out as being capable of performing such evil acts. Something happened that eventually led to them being able to committing such wickedness. Perhaps it was allowing bitterness to build until it became pure hatred in their hearts, or unforgiveness causing them to become habitually angry, where they felt the need to avenge something that may have happened in their past. Perhaps it was a drug habit that caused them to do things that they would never consider dong, if not in a drug induced state.
We've all heard about the Hatfield's and McCoy's feud. They hated each other for something and were going to shoot anyone from the opposing family that stepped foot on their property. They passed that hatred down to their children and their children's children, who had no idea what the origination of the feud even was! They just knew that if they were a Hatfield they were supposed to hate anyone with the last name of McCoy, and visa versa. What originally happened had nothing to do with them, yet they were taught to carry that grudge in their heart.
Do we ever teach our younger generations to hate or carry a grudge against someone because of something that happened to us years ago; or something that may have happened to our family? Are we harboring unforgiveness in our heart towards someone for something that didn't even involve us? What are we teaching our kids and grandkids (nieces and nephews) about forgiveness and letting go of grudges? Are we teaching them with words only, or by our own actions?
Younger generations pick up on our words and attitudes. We need to listen to what we're saying and take inventory of our heart and ask ourselves, "Would I want my kids or grandkids or great-grandkids to be just like me?" If we want them to be better individuals, then we need to show them by example.
Parents can pass hatred to their kids by example. Parents can also pass fears along to their kids. I've heard of several families where the parents were scared of something, and taught their kids to be scared of it, too.
I believe it was my own mother whose mother disliked swimming and whose father was nervous about deep water. I doubt it had much to do with his height. So she learned to avoid deep water, without having any conscious reason. She learned to overcome it, but not comfortably.
Loretta is scared of snakes. I'm not sure she learned it from her parents or not, but most of her family is, too. It's definitely because she thinks about them too much. One day months ago, a snake had worked its way to the top of our back door. When Loretta went through the door to light the grill, the snake fell right on her head. She shook it off, and backed away fairly calmly. As soon as she looked at the snake, coiled up and hissing at her, she freaked. To her credit, she freaked out well. She jumped, backed away, and called me very urgently, but she didn't run or scream. A nephew of hers did scream and run when he saw a snake on the sidewalk a few weeks ago.
Teaching fears to kids isn't always bad. My parents taught me to fear God. Not a terror or fear that God is out to get me. But an awe, a respect, and a reverence.
Okay, that doesn't really fit. Sometimes there's nothing like a great connection between two thoughts. I think this is one of those times: it's nothing like a great connection.
Fresh Corn Casserole
8 fresh ears of corn (if unavailable)
2/3 cups heavy cream
3 tablespoons butter (salted)
1/2 teaspoon salt, to taste
ground pepper, to taste
Remove the corn from the husks. In a large, deep bowl, slice off the kernels of corn. With the dull side of the knife (or a regular table knife), press and scrape the cob all the way down to remove all the bits of kernel and creamy milk inside. Add heavy cream, salt and pepper to taste; mix well. Pour mixture into a baking dish. Dot butter on top. Bake at 350 for 30-45 minutes or until thoroughly warmed through.
Uses for wax paper:
To keep bathroom fixtures temporarily spotless, rub them with a sheet of wax paper after cleaning them. The wax that transfers will deflect water droplets like magic -- at least until the next cleaning.
Help keep your garden tools rust free by rubbing a piece of wax paper over the entire surface. The roughness of the wax paper will loosen the dirt and grime buildup while the wax lubricates the tools to prevent rust.
Use wax paper to decorate cakes like a professional. Cut a piece of wax paper the size of your cake, using the cake pan as a guide. Write directly on the paper instead of the cake and freeze it. Gently peel the frozen letters and words off the paper and place them on the cake.
To prevent rust from forming on your cast iron skillets, rub a sheet of wax paper over your skillet after washing, while it's still warm.
Rub the edge of your snow shovels with pieces of wax paper. The wax coating will keep the snow from sticking.
Use wax paper to unstick pages. Insert wax paper between wet pages of a book. When dry, they'll be good as new.
Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I remember. Involve me and I learn. - Benjamin Franklin
We love you!
Loretta & Jon