"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!'"
January 2, 2013
Happy New Year!!
I recently read a quote that said, "Sometimes burning bridges isn't a bad thing.... it prevents you from going back to a place you should never have been to begin with."
There are times when we don't like to burn our bridges, so to speak, because we think we "may" want to go back if what lies ahead doesn't work out or we are afraid of losing a connection with someone. But more times than not, you really can't go back; and often we really shouldn't.
I've seen people in hurtful, abusive situations that finally get free of them, only to go back later; or will go from one abusive situation to another. There are individuals who will work hard to overcome an addiction, then if life becomes difficult, they will once again go back to their old habits.
Or it may be an individual or couple who will save and cut corners in order to pay off debts, then as soon as they find themselves debt-free, something will come up and they will once again begin putting purchases on credit cards or buying without having the means in which to pay for it, and will fall into heavy debt once again.
Sometimes we may involve ourselves with people who we think need us or who seem to need friendship, only we find ourselves caught up in their personal situation that we have no business being a part of. They will confide in us, which strokes our ego, but if we really listen to what they are saying, they are generally griping and complaining about others and will often affect our opinion of someone that we used to respect and trust. More times than not, negative people will drag us down to their level; we seldom nip their pessimistic attitude in the bud and change them into positive upbeat people.
There are individuals who seem to relish living in the past, and will rehash their past failures and mistakes or childhood pain or broken relationships or heartaches over and over again to whomever will listen. They never move forward because they use their past as a crutch for attention or as an excuse for not succeeding or whatever the case may be.
Paul, in the Bible, had a horrible past before surrendering his life to Jesus. People feared him and he had been a man of power, who persecuted christians. I'm sure there were times when he had a hard time forgetting his sin and actions of the past and all the hurt and pain he had caused. The man was a murderer! Yet, with the help of Jesus, Paul burned the bridges behind him and moved forward to becoming a great man of God.
In Philippians 3:13-14 Paul wrote, "Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus."
People will often try to excuse themselves for holding onto the past by saying, "Well, you don't know what all I've done; how bad I was!" Or they will say, "You don't understand what it was like for me growing up and everything I had to put up with and deal with." And that is very likely true. Many of us probably don't understand or know.
But God saw it all and He is all knowing and He understands. Yet He is standing with arms wide open, waiting for each of us to come running to Him for forgiveness and to bestow upon us healing from our past so that we can move forward.
As we begin a new year, I encourage you to "forget what is behind". There is nothing you can do to change it. It's over with and those days and years are finished. But you can do something about your future. You can "strain toward what is ahead, and press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called you heavenward in Christ Jesus".
Burn any destructive or hurtful bridges that are behind you so that you don't keep trying to go back and revisit those old devastating, heart-breaking, destructive places in your past. Instead, focus your eyes on what lies ahead and journey forward.
It isn't always a simple matter to let something go. It may sound like an easy thing to just declare that this year, I won't fret about it. It may be easier to say that I won't worry about it today. But even that doesn't always work.
Try this: don't think about the color brown. Not just the word, but the color, or things that are that color, like wood, dirt, mud, rusty old trucks, otters, moles, or freckles. Don't think about brown or anything that is brown for a minute. If that's what you're trying to do, it's almost impossible.
Philippians 4:8 says, "Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things."
Now try this: think about blue. Look at the color of the divider bars here. Look at the shade of the titles. Imagine a clear morning sky, a clear mountain lake, an iceberg, or a bluebird. You could probably spend several minutes thinking about blue things without once thinking about anything brown.
If you focus too hard on not thinking about one thing, that's all you think about. But if you can think of something pure instead, it's easier (not perfect, but easier). You might be able to think about something you dream of someday. But I think more often, it's better to think of great things of your past instead. Or dream of what heaven will be like. It isn't a perfect solution, but may help.
Bacon Wrapped Green Beans
5 cans whole green beans
1 stick butter
2 pkg. Thick cut bacon
2 cups brown sugar
Cut bacon strips in half (the bundles of green beans should be made small enough for half strips to wrap them nicely.) Bundle green beans together (5 to 6 green beans in each bundle). Tightly wrap each bundle of green beans with one half strip of bacon and place fold side down in 9x13 glass dish. Once all green bean bundles are completed, set aside and prepare glaze. Begin melting whole stick of butter in a small non-stick pan. Once melted, add brown sugar; blend together until glaze has a syrup consistency (don't overheat). Pour glaze over green bean bundles and bake at 350 for 35-45 minutes or until bacon looks thoroughly cooked.
NOTE: You can adjust the amounts to accommodate how much you want to cook. I've halved the recipe or even made a quarter recipe depending on how many people I'm serving. These are really delicious and everyone I've served them to think they are wonderful.
Several years ago, someone (I can't remember if it was a friend or relative) found a picture at a yard sale and bought it for my dad. It was of the back of a man, wearing overalls and a cap, standing by a fence. It was the exact replica of Daddy! My dad always wore his cap tilted to one side, and that's how it was in the picture. It looked like someone had taken a photo of my dad and had it blown up and framed. I checked the artist and it was some random person from another state.
My sisters and I have all loved that picture, which my stepmom still has hanging above the stove in the living room. This past Christmas, I asked my stepsister, who is very artistic, if she would paint something for me and my sisters and I would pay her. I left it up to her what she would paint, and assumed it would be a landscape type picture. She surprised me by painting that picture of Daddy for each of us. He is opening a gate, with his old green tractor in the hayfield. When she showed me, I just about cried! This is a wonderful keepsake to have, and means even more that it was painted by our stepsister.
Minds are like beds -- they don't stay made up. - from the old TV show, Hazel
We love you!
Loretta & Jon