"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!'"
September 19, 2012
Jon and I have an acquaintance who is always coming up with big ideas; only they never follow through and actually do any of them. In the 5-6 years that we've known them, we have heard many of their plans but have never seen any of them accomplished. We've been told everything from moving their mailbox, to painting their house, to fixing the roof, to putting in a circle drive, to installing a new gate on their fence.
I'm sure that each time they've told us their plans, they had every intention of following through and doing it. But for whatever reason, nothing has yet been done. When mentioning all these things to us, they haven't said, "This is something we'd like to do sometime down the road," or "We're saving up money to do this," or "We think this would be nice to do at some point in the future;" but they will say, "We're getting ready to do ......." and make it sound as if they will be beginning the project soon.
I do understand that sometimes we begin projects and things happen that will delay its start or keep it from being finished when planned. We can't plan for life's unexpected circumstances, and we may need to first take care of something that is more important.
Jon and I began building a gazebo on our property in Missouri last year, and had intended on finishing it this year. But there was a family situation that was much more important than a gazebo, and we were needed elsewhere. That was fine, and we were glad that we were in a position to be able to pitch in and help out. The gazebo will be there later and it really doesn't matter when it gets finished. Family is much more important!
So I do comprehend that sometimes it is not feasible to follow through on something we've started or said we would do. But that is not going to happen every single time.
If we make a practice of saying things, then not ever following through, there will come a point when people will realize that they can't believe what we tell them or trust our word. It's come to a point that when these particular people tell us something that they are going to do, we don't believe them and let it go in one ear and out the other. They have yet to prove to us that they will follow through on anything they tell us. Maybe someday they will surprise us!
We like these people and don't think that they are particularly lying to us at the time that they tell us something, because I think that they really plan on doing the things they say. But we are not in their home and don't know them well enough to know why they don't ever follow through on any of their various projects. We have suspicions, but are only guessing.
Numbers 30:1-2 says, "Moses said to the heads of the tribes of Israel: 'This is what the Lord commands: When a man makes a vow to the Lord or takes an oath to oblige himself by a pledge, he must not break his work and must do everything he says."
God required His people to keep their promises to Him and to others. Insincerity, lying, and hypocrisy had no place among God's people. And it hasn't changed over the past several thousand years; God still wants us to keep our word, not only to Him but to others as well.
We have all heard people comment, and may have even said this ourselves, "Well, I'm not really lying. I'm just stretching the truth a bit."
Lying can become a habit. I have known people who habitually lie, and there comes a point when they don't seem to know when they're fabricating a false statement/story or when they're telling the truth. They have made things up, whether to try and cover up their own tracks or to make themselves seem more interesting, for so long that they have become a compulsive liar. And they don't seem to realize that other people see that in them and know that they are lying. No one believes what they are saying anymore.
Another problem that many people have is one of exaggerating the facts. That also can become a habit, where they will exaggerate when there really is no need. Did you know that another word for lying is exaggeration?
I knew someone many years ago who would do this; and it drove me crazy! The two of us would do something or go somewhere one time only, and I would overhear her telling someone, "Loretta and I do this ALL the time!" I was standing there thinking, "No, we don't! We did it once." And usually, the person she was talking to couldn't care less what we'd done. There was absolutely no reason for the exaggeration of the facts.
Exaggeration is a sin; especially is it's something that is done habitually and compulsively. We all will exaggerate something from time to time when we're retelling a story or something exciting that happened. "I almost got hit by a car. It was just inches from my bumper!" When in truth it may have been 2 feet away; but was too close for our comfort. But we need to be careful that we are not consistently overstating or embellishing the truth. Exaggeration is another term for lying.
Acts chapter five shares a true event that lets us know just how seriously God takes lying.
"A man named Ananias, together with his wife Sapphira, sold a piece of property. With his wife's full knowledge he kept back part of the money for himself, but brought the rest and put it at the apostles' feet. Then Peter said, 'Ananias, how is it that Satan has so filled your heart that you have lied to the Holy Spirit and have kept for yourself some of the money you received for the land? Didn't it belong to you before it was sold? And after it was sold, wasn't the money at your disposal? What made you think of doing such a thing? You have not lied to men but to God.' When Ananias heard this, he fell down and died. And great fear seized all who heard what had happened. Then the young men came forward, wrapped up his body, and carried him out and buried him.
"About three hours later his wife came in, not knowing what had happened. Peter asked her, 'Tell me, is this the price you and Ananias got for the land?' 'Yes,' she said, 'that is the price.' Peter said to her, 'How could you agree to test the Spirit of the Lord? Look! The feet of the men who buried your husband are at the door, and they will carry you out also.' At that moment she fell down at his feet and died."
The root of the sin of Ananias and Sapphira was their love of money and the praise of others. In order to gain glory and recognition, they lied to the church about their giving, and God considered their lie a serious offense.
No one asked them to bring the entire proceeds of the sale of this property and donate it to the church. This was not a criteria for membership into the church, neither was it a criteria for salvation. Perhaps they wanted people to be in awe of them and their generosity, thinking that they'd sold this piece of personal property and unselfishly donated the entire proceeds to help out the ministry of the church, not keeping any of it for themselves.
And if they were truly doing this with humility and a generous spirit, why would Ananias make a big show out of laying the money at the feet of Peter, telling him where the money had come from? If they were doing this with the right attitude and spirit, wouldn't they have secretly given the money to the apostles, instead of doing it where others could see their act?
When we say and do things for personal attention, then we have a pride issue that needs to be dealt with. Even if it's an exaggeration of a fact, if we are not speaking complete truth, what are we hoping to gain from it?
We need to be careful of our words and listen to what we're saying. Speaking hastily and not thinking about what's coming out of our mouth can cause problems. First of all, it displeases God. He wants us to speak truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. God doesn't take pleasure in His children bending the facts, exaggerating, or down-right telling lies. It doesn't matter what name we attach to it, if it's not truth, then it doesn't honor God. It can also hurt other people. And it can do harm to our testimony to others.
We have become too hasty to speak without thinking, thinking that it's no big deal. But it is a big deal. Ananias and Sapphira thought their lie was no big deal either, and it resulted in their death. We may not die or be struck down for our words, but that doesn't mean that God excuses or overlooks what we're saying. He hears each word that proceeds from our mouth, and He sees the intent of our heart.
If you have a problem with speaking without first thinking it through, or exaggeration, or lying (doesn't matter if it's a little white lie or a fib or a stretching of the truth a big old black outright lie), don't excuse your behavior that, "That's just the way I am! I tell it like it is and you can either take me or leave me." That attitude is not Christ-like! Instead, each morning (and noon and night, if necessary) make Psalm 141:3 your sincere prayer, "Set a guard over my mouth, O Lord; keep watch over the door of my lips."
I've gotten something of a reputation among my friends at work. If I say "Someday I hope to...", it means it won't be done till I retire. Maybe later. I've also frustrated some customers because I almost never say, "I'll be there on that date", unless it's only a day or two away.
It doesn't feel natural to constantly add phrases like "I plan to", or "unless something goes wrong" to almost every plan I make. I've had to work at it and practice for several years.
But with my bad habit of overcommitting myself, and having to backtrack often, I'm glad I've gotten into this habit. We all have habits. Sometimes, it's easier to start a new habit to compensate for another habit than it is to stop a habit.
This is an awesome marinade for meat:
Mix together peach jam (1/4 to 1/2 cup -- or more, depending on the amount of meat you're cooking) and 1-2 teaspoons of Worcestershire or A-1 Sauce or Soy Sauce -- or more or less to taste. You can use this as a marinade or as a basting sauce. It gives the meat an awesome flavor! Here are some of the ways we've used this:
This is great as a marinade on pork chops -- then grill or bake. When grilling, brush on more marinade as you turn the meat to keep it moist. This is our new favorite pork chop recipe!
Use as a basting sauce for a ham when cooking. Gives the ham a wonderful flavor!
My sister recently tried this recipe and said it was delicious: Wrap boneless chicken breast in bacon. Brush both sides with the peach sauce and bake in the oven.
A few nights ago, my sister, Janie, and I planned a "fun" night with her adopted son, Devin, and grandson, Jax. We took them to the food court in the mall and let them choose what they wanted to eat. Afterwards we let them ride the merry-go-round, then play in the children's play area. We then took them back to Janie's house and after their baths, let them have popcorn and hot chocolate with marshmallows while watching a Curious George movie.
While eating, Jax suddenly looked at Janie and closed one eye and twisted his mouth to one side and said, "Arg, Grandma! I'm a pirate!" He was waving his hand and pointing one finger (he tends to use his middle finger to point with! ha). Janie asked if that was his sword and he said no -- it was his hook. We told his mom, and she had never seen him do that before. Since then, he's been pretending that he's a pirate from time to time. While showing his new talent to his mommy, he said, "Arg! Mama, you have to walk the plank!" What's really funny is his facial expressions and pirate voice that he uses.
My nephew, Jordan, and his wife have a 4-year old daughter and a 2-month old son. You never know what Abigail (the 4-year old) will say! They got some formula samples in the mail and since they don't use them, Shelby left them out for Jordan to give away at work to those who have babies and uses formula. Abigail found them and said, "Mom, when your milk machine stops working, is this what you will feed Owen?"
You never know what kids will say - but they sure can be fun and entertaining!!
If your mouth is out of order so is your life. - unknown
We love you!
Loretta & Jon