"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!'"
August 14, 2013
My sister, Janie, her adopted son, Devin, and I took a trip to Orlando together from August 1-11. Janie was asked to work at the Assemblies of God General Council as an interpreter, so she asked if I'd go with her to watch Devin while she was working.
On our way home, we stopped in Monroe, LA to eat dinner. Someone had recommended a cajun restaurant to us, but when we got there they were closed until the end of August. We found a Cracker Barrel and decided to stop there and eat. We walked around and shopped a little before being seated in the restaurant. Once we were seated, it was as if the waitress forgot we were there and it took a long time for someone to come and take our order. So, with the first restaurant we went to being closed and us having to drive to find another restaurant, then the extra time it took for us to get our food, we ended up eating a lot later than usual.
Janie had seen a t-shirt that she wanted to buy for her grandson, so I told her that I was going to run to the restroom while she finished shopping. A lady and two young children were headed into the restroom the same time that I was, and we had spoke to one another. I had noticed that the younger boy was rather loud, but I've been around little kids and know how they can sometimes act up in public, usually to the distress of their parents, so I was kind of laughing about his enthusiasm.
Afterwards, I was standing in line behind Janie to pay for my meal, when this same lady noticed Devin signing to me and she came up and asked how long he had had his cochlear. Janie finished paying, then she and this lady began visiting.
It turns out that the loud boy, who was in the restroom with her, was her 5 year old son and she had recently found out that he was deaf in one ear. She was feeling very frustrated dealing with his deafness. The boys grandmother refused to keep him because he was so loud, and she blamed it all on bad behavior and had no understanding of how the deafness affected him. Janie explained that it wasn't his fault, because he couldn't hear how loud he was being; and encouraged the mother to keep working with him, and it would get better and improve. This lady had a lot of questions, and having gone through raising a deaf son from the age of 5, Janie was able to really minister to her and help.
Coincidence? No! Janie and I both believe that our steps were ordered by the Lord. God knew exactly what this lady was dealing with and that she needed someone to talk to about her son and the frustrations she was having. He cared enough about her and her situation that He placed Janie right in the middle of her path, so that her questions could be answered and she could be encouraged. We believe that everything from the timing of when we arrived at Cracker Barrel, to the slowness of our service there, to me being in the restroom at the same time as this lady, to her then seeing me and Devin signing to one another, to her being able to open up and talk with Janie, was ordained by God.
During the conversation, this woman mentioned something about her church. So likely, she had been praying that God would help her in dealing with her son's deafness and give her direction on what to do.
Psalm 37:23 tells us that, "The Lord directs the steps of the godly. He delights in every detail of their life."
God directed the steps of Janie so that she would be at Cracker Barrel at the exact time as this lady, so that she could help and encourage her. He used Janie and the knowledge she has gained by being a mother to Devin these past few years to answer the many questions this lady had and to offer support. And this mother walked away with renewed hope.
Matthew 10:42 says, "If anyone gives even a cup of cold water to one of these little ones who is my disciple, truly I tell you, that person will certainly not lose their reward." Another version words it, "If you give even a cup of cold water to one of the least of my followers, you will surely be rewarded."
We find a variation of that same scripture in Mark 9:41. "If anyone gives you even a cup of water because you belong to the Messiah, I tell you the truth, that person will surely be rewarded."
I believe that the word water here translates to whatever the need may be that someone has at a specific time. If we offer help to meet the need of someone, then we will be rewarded by the Lord. It may not be something that we would consider to be a big thing or may not be noticeable to anyone other than the one who has the need, but if we are willing to give something as simple as a cup of water, the Lord sees and will honor us for that.
Several years ago, Janie and I had been to Arkansas to visit our dad. On the way home we decided to stop at a gas station in Springdale to fill the car up with fuel. There was an older lady standing at the gas pump, and she was feeling helpless and frustrated. Her husband had recently passed away and he had always been the one who took care of filling their vehicles up, and she had never pumped gas before. Her kids had told her that they would do it for her, but she didn't want to be dependent on them or be a burden to them, so wanted to learn how to do it herself. But after getting there, she couldn't figure out how to work the gas pump. We showed her what to do and walked her through it. She was so gracious and appreciative. She had prayed before going to the gas station that God would send someone to help her.
Once again, God timed our paths to cross at the exact time that she needed someone. The water that she needed at that time was a kind person to show her how to pump gas.
I was in the pharmacy department at Walmart a few years ago. It was late in the evening, and there was a young father standing there, looking helpless and frustrated, as he stared at all the selections of children's medications. He asked if I could please help him. He and his wife had a child who had started running a fever and the wife had sent him to the store. This was their first child and he had no idea what to get. Thankfully, I had heard my sisters and nieces talk enough about what they gave their little children when they were sick and running a fever, that I was able to help him choose something. That was the cup of water that he had need of at that time.
Another time while shopping for groceries, a lady stopped me and asked if I possibly had an extra pen she could use. She had a rather lengthy grocery list and couldn't find a pen in her purse to mark off the items as she shopped, in order to make sure she didn't forget items. Simple? Yes. But it was the cup of water that she needed at that particular moment.
God can use all of us to give out those cups of water, in His name, if we are willing to be used and allow Him direct our steps. It may mean a change in our schedule, or waiting when we want to hurry, or stopping what we're doing to take time to visit with a stranger, or whatever it may be. But the Lord will see and reward us, if we are willing to allow our life to be interrupted, and hand out those cups of cold water, when needed.
Some people go to church week after week without ever getting to know anyone, and without ever trying to. For them, even reaching out to welcome them, and making sure they are wanted there could be the kind act they need.
We have an elderly member of our church who loves to shuffle among the whole congregation each week, and let everyone know how happy he is that they came. I'm usually in the sound booth, and Loretta is at the piano when we have our hand-shaking time each Sunday. But he always takes time before or after the service to track us down. And even at his fastest shuffle, it takes a lot of time to chase us down, so we always know he made an effort to tell us he's glad we came.
Please be sure to go to church. And when there, make sure to let others know you really are glad to see they came, too.
(This was my mama's recipe.)
1 stick butter
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 qt. peaches
dash of salt
1 cup flour
2/3 cup milk
1 cup sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
Melt butter in baking dish. Pour peaches over butter. In a bowl, mix dry ingredients; add milk and vanilla. Pour over peaches. Sprinkle with cinnamon, if desired. Bake at 350 for 35-40 minutes or until crust is golden brown. (Make sure crust is done -- you can check with a fork or toothpick.)
You can use canned, fresh or frozen peaches. For fresh or frozen, add a little sugar (amount depends on how sweet you want your filling.) and let set for a while to make juice. I used frozen when I made this and sprinkled sugar over the peaches, as well as added some cinnamon and a little splash of vanilla; then stirred the peaches before pouring into pan.
My sign language skills are not great! But after being with Devin for a week and a half, they have improved. I had asked him if my signing was getting better and if he could understand me, and he said yes. And with his cochlear, he has recently begun to be able to understand speech and utilize it somewhat. So we were able to communicate really well; which was great, considering that Janie was gone most of the day and evening interpreting at General Council.
There was only one time when he just couldn't seem to make out a single word I was signing or saying! Or at least he pretended not to understand, because he was afraid he was in trouble and knew he was guilty. He knew perfectly well what I was asking him!!
I had walked across the parking street from our hotel to a Walgreens and bought a box of Krispy Kreme chocolate donut holes for the three of us to have for breakfast. Devin had woke both of us up around 5:30 or so. He was restless and making lots of noises. I think he had woken up and couldn't go back to sleep. About the time Janie and I fell back asleep, Devin woke her up to tell her that he was going to the bathroom. We heard him get up, then apparently both fell back into a sound sleep.
When Janie and I woke up a little later, Devin was sound asleep. Janie got ready to go work at General Council and was going to eat before leaving. Low and behold, our donut box was almost empty! Devin had apparently decided that he was hungry after he got up to use the bathroom, so helped himself to the donut holes. He had a full tummy, so was sleeping good!
Later I was asking him when he had eaten the donut holes, and why he had eaten almost all of them and not saved some for me and Janie, etc. Devin stared at me with a blank expression on his face like he had no idea what I was asking! I told him to put his cochlear on. He understood that! Then I signed and voiced and asked again, and he just couldn't seem to make out a word I was saying!!
Devin really is a good kid, and he normally doesn't overeat or snack that much, and is pretty obedient. But he's 11 1/2 -- and acts 11 1/2. Enough said!
Do not have your concert first and tune your instruments afterward. Begin the day with God.
- James H. Taylor
We love you!
Loretta & Jon