"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!'"
June 26, 2013
There is an old story that goes something like this:
A daughter watched as her mother cut the end off the ham before putting it in the roasting pan. She questioned why her mom did this and was told, "This is how my mom always did it; ask her." The daughter went to the grandmother and asked why she always cut the end off the ham before cooking it. "That was how my mom always did it; ask her." The girl went to visit the great-grandmother and told her that her mom and grandma always cut the end off the ham before cooking it, and she was wondering why they did that. The great-grandmother replied, "I don't know why they cut the end off their ham. I always had to cut it off; otherwise it wouldn't fit inside my roasting pan."
Sometimes we can do things because that's what we saw someone else do, but we have no idea why we're doing it.
A while back, Jon told me that he had heartburn and needed to eat some jalapenos or spicy food to get rid of it. My surprised reply was, "Really?! I have never heard that." Jon said he thought that was something that everyone knew, and he had been told that years ago. I asked who had told him, and he said it was his older brother. I laughed and said, "Just because your big brother told you that when you were a kid doesn't mean that it's true!" Likely, Jon's older brother told him that, trying to talk Jon into eating something particularly hot and spicy; thinking it would be funny!
There are times when we believe something to be true, not because the fact has been proven to us, but because someone we trusted told us it was true, or we saw someone we respected do something a particular way.
Jon's father began teaching Jon at an early age about work ethics and how to perform various duties. He was shown how to safely use power tools, do repairs, care for equipment, as well as a variety of other beneficial skills, that has helped Jon throughout his life. He is able to figure out how to repair most things, how to build whatever project we may take on, and knows how to use a wide variety of machinery and power tools. Many times, he has mentioned various things that he learned from his dad.
When we are shown how to do a particular thing, or are told something, or observe someone do something, our mind takes that information in. Young children don't necessarily have the ability to discern right from wrong; therefore, they believe whatever adults tell them. But as individuals mature and age, there comes a point where they have to decide for themselves what is truth or fiction.
Although we may consistently be learning new skills or taking in new information during our entire lifetime, we have the responsibility to filter what is correct and useful and what's not. Everything we hear and see isn't always going to necessarily be true or honest. We have to find a balance between being being open-minded and receptive, to being skeptical and uncompromising. Not everything that we are exposed to is going to be a good idea and something we should readily accept; but neither is everything necessarily going to be something we should ignore and stubbornly oppose.
That's when we have to use wisdom. There will be times when we may be unsure, and that's when we should pray for God to give us direction and wisdom.
James 1:5 (NLT) says, "If you need wisdom, ask our generous God, and He will give it to you. He will not rebuke for asking."
Verses 6-8 continue: "But when you ask Him, be sure that your faith is in God alone. Do not waver, for a person with divided loyalty is as unsettled as a wave of the sea that is blown and tossed by the wind. Such people should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. Their loyalty is divided between God and the world, and they are unstable in everything they do."
When we ask God for wisdom regarding various situations or whether something is right or wrong, then we have to be obedient to believe and respond to what He shows us. If we question or doubt what God has shown us as truth, then we likely are not entirely focused on God. Sometimes we may not like what God shows us so continue praying, "Okay, God if that is REALLY You, then I need You to do this or that,"...... or "I need You to confirm it to me again, to make sure I heard You right,"..... or "Well, so and so are doing it and I respect them, so it must really be okay, and I must be misinterpreting what I think God is telling me."
God gave us a conscience, and most times if we will listen, God is nudging us and we know what is right and wrong, and we know what we should or shouldn't be doing.
There are a lot of different ideas and opinions and teachings that the world will throw in our face. Some may sound good, but if it in any way deviates from the Word of God, then we need to walk away from it and not be swayed to believe untruths, no matter how inspiring or great it may seem.
Many will attend church because that is what their parents did; but they do it out of tradition, not because they have made a personal commitment to God. Others will believe something, because someone that they trusted told it to them as truth. But there comes a point where we have to discern for ourselves what is right and wrong; and God's Word is the only source that is always going to be 100% correct.
God often places people in our life to help and encourage and support us. We can learn from listening to them and observing their actions. Not everyone around us are bad people that should be ignored or disregarded as negative influences. There are many wonderful, wise, humble individuals that will cross our path; and we can be taught much from spending time with them.
Let us make sure that we are the wonderful, wise, humble individuals that God uses to teach, encourage, and help others; and strive to never be the negative thorns that will cause someone to stumble or be led astray from truth.
Ezekiel 18 talks about passing sin from one generation to another. In verse 1, God quoted an old proverb that had been passed around Israel: "The parents have eaten sour grapes, but their children's mouths pucker at the taste". It was a popular belief that if a parent sinned, the children deserved to be punished, too. And if a parent was honorable, the children should be rewarded, too. But God told Ezekiel that isn't true. Each person is accountable for his own faithfulness or unfaithfulness.
We may inherit a lot of misconceptions from the last generation. Even now, many people punish kids for what their parents did wrong. But we don't inherit their salvation. And we don't inherit their sins. Please, decide for yourselves.
Homemade Hot Fudge Sauce for Ice Cream
1 cup Sugar
1/2 tsp. Vanilla
2 Tbsp. Cocoa
1/3 Tbsp. Butter
1/3 cup Milk
Mix cocoa and sugar in a small saucepan. Add milk and stir. Heat over medium heat until it comes to a rolling boil. Boil for 1-1/2 to 2 minutes. Remove from heat and add vanilla and butter. Great over vanilla ice cream.
Jon's brother had a pet squirrel when he was around age 10 or so. He really liked that squirrel!
One day, Jon and his mom were home alone, and the squirrel attacked Diane; hanging onto her arm. She was terrified and was screaming at Jon (who was 4-5 at the time) to run into the closet and close the door for safety. Jon was puzzled why she was so scared and wanted him to hide!
Jon's brother had to get rid of the squirrel after that happened. But it was as if the neighborhood squirrels knew that Diane was scared of them, and they would terrorize her! She would come home, and they would sit in the middle of the sidewalk staring at her, blocking her path to the door. When any other member of the family was outside, the squirrels would run up the tree and not bother them.
To try and help her fear of squirrels, Diane started buying squirrel related items and reading information about them. The bad thing is, there were lots of pecans in the yard, which meant there were always a lot of squirrels running around!
The squirrels also liked to terrorize an ugly long-haired tabby they had. She would try to stalk one squirrel while the others were on guard. When the cat got close, another squirrel would chatter behind her, then they would all run past her while she ran back and forth trying to reach one.
Truth is not always popular, but it is always right. - unknown
We love you!
Loretta & Jon