"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!'"
April 17, 2013
Psalm 91:11 (NLT) says, "For He [the Lord] will order His angels to protect you wherever you go."
Mark 4:35-41 tells the story of Jesus calming the storm for the disciples. It was Jesus' idea for them to get into the boat and cross over to the other side of the sea. Then He fell asleep in the back of the boat, resting His head on a pillow, when a fierce storm arose. The disciples became fearful, and were a little put out that Jesus was sleeping through the storm. Waves were beating against the boat and water was splashing over the side. They woke Jesus up shouting, "Don't you care that we're going to drown?" Jesus rebuked the wind and told the sea to be still.
Although the disciples didn't realize it at the time, Jesus was protecting them from harm. Even though He was in the same boat as them, they were scared and thought the boat was going to capsize and they would all drown.
Today, although we can't physically see Jesus in our situation, He is always right there with us. So many times, Jesus is protecting us and we don't even realize it. He has ordered His angels to protect us.
Sometimes when our plans change, it can be disappointing. Then something happens to make us aware of the fact that it changed because Jesus was watching out for us.
This past weekend, Jon and I had planned on going to our property in the country. We had been planning this trip for probably 2-3 weeks. Jon ended up having to work out of town on Friday; getting up at 5:00 AM and not getting back home until 8:30 PM.; and he also was going to have to go back to that same location on Monday. But he decided that he wanted to go ahead with our plans. We woke up Saturday morning and it was raining. On the radar, it looked as if the band of rain was heading right to where we were going. So we decided to stay home and do some much needed yard work.
On Sunday, we drove to Jon's parents' and had lunch with them, as well as Jon's brother and sister-in-law. That evening, my sister asked if we would want to meet her and go walking. We did, and were headed home when I suddenly smelled something hot. I glanced over at the temperature gauge and it was as high as it could go. I told Jon, and about that time steam started coming out from beneath the hood. Thankfully, we were by a church, so Jon pulled over into the parking lot. He opened the hood and immediately saw that there was a big crack in our radiator. We called AAA to have them send a tow truck, called my sister to have her come where we were, and she took us to her house so I could borrow her van since Jon would need our truck to go out of town the next morning.
Had we gone to Lampe, we would have driven the truck and very likely wouldn't have gotten home until Sunday evening; therefore, we wouldn't have met my sister and gone on a walk. Jon would have taken off in our car at 5:30 AM on Monday morning, and would have ended up being stranded along the side of the road somewhere; very likely along the turnpike or interstate, with no nearby towns. That would have been a big hassle for him to deal with. We are thankful that things occurred as they did, and feel that God was looking out for us. We had driven the car earlier in the day to Jon's parents' house. Yet the breakdown happened when we were close to home so that the car could be towed to a nearby garage, and it was convenient for my sister to come meet us. Jesus was "in the boat" with us, so to speak.
I remember my aunt sharing this story many years ago. She was headed home from work and kept feeling impressed that she needed to stop and get a loaf of bread. She kept thinking, "Why do I need bread? I'm sure I have some at home." But that urge to stop and get bread wouldn't let up, so she pulled into a store and went in and bought a loaf. A few miles down the road she ran upon a serious accident, where there was a fatality. It had happened about the time she would have been in that exact spot, had she not stopped at the store. She knew that it was God urging her to stop and get the bread in order to protect her. Had she not obeyed that inner voice, she likely would have lost or life or been seriously injured. Jesus was "in the boat" with her, protecting her.
My sister bought a new car several months ago. A few weeks back a light came on. It is similar to a light that we get in our truck when a tire is low on air, so she assumed that one of her tires was probably a little low. She had a busy schedule and had not been able to take it in to have it checked. In the meantime, the two of us took her car to Arkansas, she had gone to work a job twice that was a two hour drive each way, plus driving it all over the Tulsa area for church and work. She finally had a day off so took her car in to have it checked. They found that she had a nail in her tire. Thankfully, she hadn't been stranded beside the road with a flat tire at some point! Jesus was "in the boat" with her, protecting that tire.
I'm sure we all can think back to a time when we knew that Jesus was protecting us and had His angels watching over us. But at times, it's easy to become fearful, much as the disciples did, and get our focus on the storm and not on Jesus. "Lord, we're drowning! Do you not care?"
Jesus response to the disciples was, "Why are you so fearful? How is it that you have no faith?"
When we lose our focus and our problem becomes greater than God, then we begin to lose faith. It is so easy to become distracted and allow our emotions to surface.
AAA had given Jon an approximate time of when to expect the tow truck. When that time came and went, I started getting really impatient. I don't like waiting and I wanted Jon to make a call and check on things. We waited for about an hour until the truck finally arrived. While we were waiting, Jon and Janie were chastising me for my lack of patience. Jon reminded me that the time he had been given was only an approximation, not exact.
When we pray and God doesn't answer how or as soon as we want, it's easy to lose heart and let our faith begin to weaken. Often I have to remind myself that God's ways are not mine, nor are His thoughts my thoughts. Even when we don't understand or things make no sense, God sees the whole picture and knows better than we do.
When He says wait, we need to wait. When something happens to interrupt our plans, we need to be flexible. It could be that God is protecting us or has a much better plan.
Last year when Jon found out that he was being sent to Germany for a job, we were excited. But the timing of our trip changed 3-4 times. We were greatly disappointed each time. We ended up going the end of April/first of May. Upon our arrival we discovered that it was a perfect time to be there. Had we gone earlier, many things in Celle (the town where Jon was working) would have been closed. There are shops and restaurants that close during winter and don't reopen until April. I believe that Jesus was "in the boat" with us, and the delays were orchestrated by Him so that Jon and I would have the perfect experience.
So the next time you get delays in your life or plans change, consider the possibility that Jesus may have something better for you or may be protecting you. Jon and I still had car trouble and had to pay the expense of having repairs done, but we're grateful for the timing of when it happened. None of us like paying for repairs, but next time something happens think about the "what ifs" and consider the possibility that Jesus was "in the boat" with you and taking care of you.
Those "storms" that rock our boat are not enjoyable, but never forget that Jesus is in right there with you. It may seem as if He sleeps and is unconcerned about your situation, but He is there and is aware of what's going on.
I think I understand part of how the disciples felt in the boat. There have been dozens of times that Loretta has woken me up just as I fell asleep, or after I was deep in sleep. When I get startled awake, I have a much harder time getting back to sleep. Sometimes it takes a few hours, especially when I'm trying to hold still to avoid disturbing Loretta. But after Loretta apologizes for waking me, she usually starts snoring contentedly within seconds. It's frustrating to be woken up with such important questions as, "What do you think I should cook for dinner next Saturday?" It's worse to be up for hours trying to get back to sleep. But the most annoying part is that the one who woke me up gets to sleep so peacefully the whole time. And if she missed too much sleep, she could always nap the next day, but I have to go to work no matter how exhausted and tired I am.
But the Bible tells husbands to love our wives as Jesus loves the church. So, if I have to sacrifice a night's sleep once in a while so Loretta can sleep peacefully, knowing what she might prepare for dinner, I'll do it.
1 Corinthians 13 has a lot to say about what love is. Among them, "Love suffers long and is kind", "bears all things", "endures all things."
I guess I got off track. The short version is: I understand how the disciples felt when they were all stressed, and Jesus was snoring away peacefully.
Chicken Breast, chopped
Red Grapes, split in half
Boil chicken breast; cool, debone and chop. (You can also used canned chicken or buy a rotisserie chicken from a deli and debone it and chop the meat.) Add Hellmann's Mayonnaise (the real stuff taste so much better than Miracle Whip or other...), chopped celery and grapes that have been cut in half. Mix until good consistency. Amounts are to your own liking. Spread on croissants and enjoy.
I am an ice tea drinker. Jon and I both enjoy flavored teas. I recently read this hint and have tried it a couple times: When you are making tea and are letting the tea bags seep in the water, use a couple bags of regular tea and one bag of flavored tea. It will add flavor to the tea without being overbearing. Granted, we have had a few hits and misses with our experiment. I tried a wild berry teabag and it was great; but also tried a citrus mint and neither of us cared for the flavor it added to the tea.
I've also added fresh fruit to my glass of tea. I don't particularly like leaving fresh fruit in a jug of tea for a long period of time. I've tried slicing up a fresh strawberry and thought it was good. It had to sit in my glass a few minutes before I really got the full flavor. Probably my very favorite iced tea is putting in a fresh mint leaf and a lime wedge in my glass. We first had that at a mexican restaurant in San Antonio, TX a few years ago and really liked the flavor.
It all comes down to experimenting and finding what you like and don't like. This is something that we enjoy trying and have fun with it.
He who talks without thinking runs more risks than he who thinks without talking.
We love you!
Loretta & Jon