"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 26, 2012
"Never say, "Never!" That saying became a reality for me this past week. For many years I have said that there is no way I would ever have a house dog. In fact, I've asked my sister, who has had a house dog for several years, why in the world she liked having a dog in the house. I was very anti-house pet!
The truth is, I have a bit of a reputation in our family: "If you have a dog you want to get rid of, let Loretta keep it for a couple days and it will run away!" My oldest sister and her family were moving, probably 15-16 years ago, and asked if they could leave their two cocker spaniels (which were outside pets) with me until they got settled. They brought them to me, and instructed me to keep them tied up for a couple days so they would get used to being there, then slowly leave them untied for short periods of time, to let them run and get some exercise. So that's what I did. I fed them and even petted them and sat outside with them. But as soon as I let them loose, they ran off into the woods. The first time that happened, my cousin found them and brought them home. The second time that happened, they ran away, never to be seen again. I really did feel horrible about it and dreaded having to tell my sister and her family that I had lost both of their dogs. And no one has ever forgotten this incident!
My sister, Janie, had been without a house dog for the past few months and began wanting another one. My first thought was, "Why do you want another dog? They're a lot of work and you have to either take them with you or find someone to keep them if you go out of town." She researched and found the exact type of puppy she wanted: a bichon frise and poodle mix. They have hair instead of fur and are non-shedders. They are also very smart and supposedly easy to train.
She started searching online and was having problems finding one that was affordable. One evening, out of boredom and just because I'm a good sister, I decided to look online and see if I could find one for her. I found one that was much cheaper than the others she had found, and it was at a kennel close to our property in Missouri. The kennel owner was certified and had been in business for over twenty years. One of the puppies available was white with a big black spot around one eye, and a couple other black spots; and it was absolutely adorable! I sent her the info and she called on it the next day and bought it. The more I looked at the pictures of those puppies and thought about it and listed to Janie talk, the more I decided that I wanted a puppy! At first, Jon thought I was just joking; and I kind of was at the time. But the longer I looked at the pictures and thought about it, the more I wanted one of those puppies. I thought it would be company for when Jon has to travel and work out of town; and that the two of us would enjoy having a puppy around the house.
The only other one that was available was a chocolate brown with some white spots. I decided that if it was still available when we took Janie to pick up her puppy, that I would try to convince Jon to buy it for me. Janie called the day before we were to pick the puppy up and found out that the puppy had just sold. I was a little disappointed. She asked if the lady had any more bichpoo puppies and was told that she had one from another litter that was gray and cute as could be but "just looked different". We were thinking that "looking different" probably meant that it had something wrong with it and was a defective little guy.
When we picked up Janie's puppy, she asked about the gray one. The lady said that she hadn't bathed it and it had been outside so was a little dirty, but she could go get it if we wanted to see it. We actually were more curious than anything. He was absolutely adorable. He and Janie's little girl puppy have the same father, but different mothers. He was the only one in his litter. His hair is completely different from Janie's puppy; his is more fluffy and curly and the little girl has silkier, straighter hair. That's what the lady meant by a different look. He was the cutest little guy I've ever seen, and I wanted him!
We are now puppy owners! This is the first house pet I have ever had in my entire life!! We had to go buy everything required for caring for a puppy. Little Sammie has brought us a lot of smiles and we have both already grown quite attached.
Jon gave me a hard time saying that I had vehemently sworn that we would never have an animal in the house, and that if he let me get the puppy, he was helping me go back on my word. So by saying no, he was helping me keep my vow. My argument was that sometimes situations change and we change our opinions about things, so I wasn't lying but had had a change of heart. I reminded him that there have been times when he has changed his mind about something; and he had to agree.
People change their minds every day. We solemnly swear that we will never do something, or buy something, or have something; but at some point will adjust our viewpoint and decide differently. When cell phones first became popular there were many who said that there was no way they'd ever carry a phone around; there was no one or nothing so important that they couldn't wait and use their home phone. Now, they not only have a cell phone, but have upgraded over the years to get one that has more and more "have to have" features on it. And not only do they have a cell phone, but have a laptop and iPad!
I've also heard people say, "When I become a grandma/grandpa, I'm not going to be one of those grandparents that go on and on bragging about my grandkids and show off pictures to everyone!" But then that grandbaby comes along, and they suddenly have a change of heart. That grandchild is suddenly the cutest, smartest, funniest, greatest kid in all the world, and they want everyone to know!
We live in a world where changing our minds and having others change theirs is so common that we no longer think anything about it. We tend to have a nonchalant attitude that that's just the way it is, and that's the norm.
Perhaps that's why we, at times, have a hard time comprehending that God's word is sure and steadfast and unchangeable. We're so used to people going back on their word, or changing their opinion, or backtracking in order to please others, or changing their minds depending on the circumstance, that even though we may say that we know that God's word is unchanging, we act as though we don't fully believe that.
God's promises don't adapt to situations, emotions, or even to our understanding. They are consistently the same, just as they have been for thousands of years. God doesn't change His mind just because we change ours or decide that we no longer believe what His Word says.
And we can't change His word, or make up our own rules to fit our own personal desires or beliefs. 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."
Individuals can say that they believe that if you are a good person then you will go to heaven, and they just don't believe like "religious" people believe. But there are absolutely no scriptures that back up that thinking. No where does the Bible say that only really evil, vile people will go to hell and "good" people go to heaven. That is a man-made way of thinking that makes people feel better about not accepting Jesus into their hearts or repenting of their sins. If that were the case, then God wouldn't have sent His only Son to earth to die for our sins. There would be no need for God giving His Son as a sacrifice for our sins and us receiving salvation if all it took to spend eternity in heaven was to try our best to be good and do what's right. It is a free gift, but it's one that we have to each believe in and accept for ourselves. It's not just an all-inclusive gift that covers everyone, whether they accept salvation or not; but we must pray and ask forgiveness of our sins and repent, and accept this gift of salvation. And there are many scriptures that back that up and verify it as truth.
A scripture often quoted is Romans 8:28, "And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose." Yet, when tragedy enters our life or we are faced with adverse situations, do we still believe that God is working it all out for our good? Or do we only believe that scripture when we're being blessed and things are going the way we want them to?
Isaiah 40:8 says, "The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God stands forever." Matthew 24:35 says, "Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will by no means pass away."
God's words are truth and unchangeable. What He says, He means. We can try to change the meaning to fit our own thinking and try to appease our conscious at time, but that doesn't change the truth of what God has said. We can even try to find loopholes to make ourselves feel better and justify our actions or thinking, but that doesn't change God's word.
A mother can bake cookies to have for dessert after dinner and tell her child, "Do not eat any cookies before dinner or you'll spoil your appetite." Later she looks and the child is eating potato chips. She may say, "I told you not to eat before dinner," to which the child will respond, "You said not to eat cookies; you didn't say that I couldn't have chips."
We do that exact same thing and have that same mentality when we don't like what God says about a particular thing and want to defend why we think we should be able to do it. Too often, we're like kids, from toddlers to teenagers, in our relationship with God. We can pester Him with, "Why.... why.... why????" And sometimes His response may be, "Because I told you so, and that's the way it is!" We can try and bargain with Him, "If I do this for You, will you let me do this or do something in return for me?" We have that same childish mentality, trying to find loopholes and reason away our behavior, like earthly children do with their parents. We see how much we can get away with and try to get just as close to disobeying as we can, without crossing the line and getting into trouble.
Jesus is the same yesterday, today, and forever. He cannot, will not, and has not changed. God has always been in existence and has no beginning, and has no end. He is wiser and smarter than we'll ever be, and we need to accept that and learn to trust Him. God loves us and is always watching out for us, even when we may not feel like it. He is always with us, and has promised to never leave or forsake us. And if that's what He's said, then He will stand by His word and never change.
I've heard several people make claims about God's law changing over time. "Society is different, now. That's just not so important." For example, it used to be common for people to preach that women and girls should wear skirts or dresses, but never pants. But that's not important, now. I really don't believe that rule was from God. God hasn't changed. But our interpretation of His rules has.
We don't feel convicted ourselves that we must not eat pork. But God did tell the children of Israel not to. It isn't that God has changed, but He does sometimes have different rules for different people.
How do we know the difference? That's where the Holy Spirit comes in. When Jesus visited the apostles in Acts, He shared the Holy Spirit with us all, so we could know God's will for ourselves.
Crockpot Hawaiian Chicken
1 cup pineapple juice
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/3 cup soy sauce
2 lbs. chicken breast tenderloins
Combine the pineapple juice, brown sugar, and soy sauce. Place the chicken breast tenderloins in a crockpot; pour the mixed ingredients over the top. Cook on low 6-8 hours.
There are times when words come out of my mouth that really don't make a lot of sense; but it seems to keep Jon entertained. Last week, the two of us and my sister, Janie, spent a week vacation in Missouri. One evening we were driving down the road and her phone dinged to alert her that she had a text message. We were talking and I wasn't sure whether or not she had heard it. What I meant to say was, "Your phone ding-a-linged." What came out of my mouth was, "Your phone dung-a-lung". As soon as I said it, I knew it was wrong! We all laughed and laughed..... and some laughed longer than others!! I told them that the phone had finished ding-a-linging, so I was using the past tense.... it had dung-a-lung!! And this is probably one of those things that was much funnier at the time than it is reading about it -- had to have been there to find the humor. The term "dung-a-lung" kept finding it's way into our conversation for days afterwards, in many different contexts.
Several years ago, Janie and her family were living in Spokane, Washington and the two of us were visiting on the phone. She was telling me about something they were dealing with at the time and once again I mis-spoke. I meant to say, "It'll all coming out in the wash." What I ended up saying was, "It'll all come out in the washing machine!" The two of us still use that saying nowadays.
Before you act, listen.
Before you react, think.
Before you spend, earn.
Before you criticize, wait.
Before you pray, forgive.
Before you quit, try.
- Ernest Hemingway
We love you!
Loretta & Jon