"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 22, 2014
When Jon and I got married, we rented our house from his parents, then a couple years ago bought it from them. Something that I desperately want to purchase is a new kitchen stove. The one we have still works, although the oven is a tad flaky and doesn't seem to heat to the correct temperature at times. Jon's parents bought the stove approximately 25 years ago; and Jon thinks it should last another 25 and we shouldn't buy one until this one completely stops working. I have a differing opinion, although I do realize that it probably is the wisest decision not to buy something new while the old still works. I don't like it, but do understand Jon's thinking.
I have picked out the type of stove I want to buy. I want white, because all our other kitchen appliances are white, and personally I'm not a big fan of the stainless steel look. I want it to have a convection oven, which has a fan inside for more even cooking. I want it to be a gas stove. I was raised with electric, but after getting used to gas, that's what I prefer -- plus it's already set up for gas there.
My sister told me about an appliance store that had moved to a new location, so were having a huge one-day only 50% off sale at their old location. I convinced Jon to go and "just look". My thought was, if we could get a really good deal on a stove like we wanted, it was better to get it cheaper now than to pay full price later. Plus I had high hopes that we would find one exactly like I want and I could get my new stove now.... without waiting any longer.
The sale started at 9:00 AM and we arrived shortly thereafter. The parking lot was packed, with cars parked on the grassy areas and across the street and anywhere they could find. There was a line of people wrapped around the side of the building, waiting to get inside the door. Two of my nephews got there a little before 9:00 and waited over and hour just to get inside the building. A couple of other men I know had gotten there at 7:45 to wait for the doors to open. We had NO idea it would be like that! When we saw how packed it was and the long line of people, we opted to drive on by and not stop. I did talk to my nephews, who were there to get a new refrigerator for a rent house my sister just purchased, and asked if they would just look and see if there were any stoves left like I want, but by the time they got inside most were already gone. So I will continue waiting and dreaming of a new stove!
I am always astounded at how willing people are to stand in line and wait, for however long necessary, to find a potentially good bargain. I guess I'm just not that patient; or else, there's just not anything I want bad enough to have to stand in line for.
Each year on Black Friday you will see news broadcast of those who will pitch a tent or sat outside in the cold for hours and hours, sometimes even overnight, to make sure that they're one of the first ones inside the store door to get that sale item they want. Others will miss a night of sleep, or get up at 2:00 or 3:00 in the morning to go shopping. And I supposed that there are some that find this fun; although I have a hard time comprehending that. I suppose I'm either too lazy, or want to sleep all night, or just am not that much of a shopper to go to those lengths to get something on sale. To me it's not worth the hassle of dealing with so many crazy shoppers. But that seems to be what floats others' boats!
On the other hand, we will often complain if a church service lasts longer than we want; especially if there's something else we'd rather be doing or have plans for afterwards. We seem to have no problem of waiting on anything or anyone else, but put limitations on God. If He doesn't come through as quickly as we want, or people are lingering around the altar praying and interrupting our schedule, or we pray about something and not receiving an immediate answer then we get impatience. We will get up and leave a service before it ends, instead of praying for those who are seeking God at the altar, not knowing what burden they may be carrying. We will try and figure out how to do things on our own, if it seems as if God isn't going to answer our prayer soon enough. We don't like waiting on God!
Isaiah 40:31 says, "But those who wait on the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint."
There are examples in the Bible of those who got tired of waiting on the Lord and tried to create their own solutions.
Abraham was promised a son. When he started growing old without that promise being fulfilled, Sarah decided to help out and offered her handmaiden to him. But that was not the promised son that God had intended and it caused Abraham problems and heartache. But in his and Sarah's old age, she became pregnant and had the promised baby boy that God had said they would have. I don't know the mind or timing of God, but have wondered if perhaps that promise would have been fulfilled earlier had Abraham not tried to force it to happen himself and sinned. (Genesis chapters 15-21)
The prophet Samuel gave specific instructions to King Saul. But when things didn't happen immediately on the seventh day, his armies started abandoning him, so Saul panicked and disobeyed the command that God had him through Samuel. When Samuel showed up and saw what Saul was doing, he told him, "You have made a foolish choice. You have no obeyed the commandment that the Lord your God gave you. Had you done that, the Lord would have established your kingdom over Israel forever. But now your kingdom will not continue. The Lord has sought out for Himself a man who is loyal to Him and the Lord has appointed him to be leader over His people, for you have not obeyed what the Lord commanded you." (I Samuel 13:8-14)
But there are also examples of what happens when people obey and wait.
In 1 Samuel we read the story of Hannah. She desired a child but was barren. Her husband had two wives, and the other wife, who had sons and daughters, provoked Hannah because she had no children. Year after year Hannah would go to the temple with her husband and his family to worship and offer a sacrifice. Her heart was heavy and she would weep in anguish. One year she made a vow to God that if he would allow her to bear a male child, she would give him to God all the days of his life. The priest, Eli, spoke with her and told her the Lord had heard her petition. She bore Samuel, and as soon as he was weaned she took him to the temple and gave him to Eli to raise in the house of the Lord. How difficult that must have been to fulfill her vow and leave her small child that she had yearned for those many years. But she was so grateful for God giving her the desire of her heart that she was willing to do what she had promised. She had waited many years for a son, and God came through and fulfilled that desire.
Jesus instructed His disciples to go to the upper room in Jerusalem and wait for the promise of the Holy Spirit. They had no idea exactly what that meant or how long they would have to wait. But there were about 120 that gathered in that room and prayed.... and waited for the fulfillment of the promise Jesus had given. Acts 2:2 says, "Suddenly there came a sound from heaven as a mighty rushing wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting. There appeared to them divided tongues, as of fire, and one sat upon each of them. And they were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues as the Spirit gave them utterance." Had someone in the group gotten tired of waiting and decided to go home, then they would have missed out on this extraordinary experience.
Waiting on God is often difficult. But there are often consequences to pay when we don't and blessing to receive when we do!!
I read Joel recently, and it got me thinking up a parable. In short, Joel describes a coming destruction, and urges Israel to repent and avoid it. But also says that the nation of Israel will recover. After a long drought, the fig tree and vine will yield fruit.
Two neighbors had fig orchards. After more than a year of drought, they were both desperate for money to buy food. Even before the drought began, God promised them both that the drought would not last forever, and that He would deliver them. One neighbor decided that God must have meant that he would still have wood from the fig trees that he could sell for firewood. He cut his orchard down to stumps, kept some wood for his family, and sold the rest to buy food, but could not raise enough to feed his family through the winter.
Even though winter was setting in, God's promise came to pass. The trees sprouted, and grew figs for both neighbors. The one who had cut all his trees had a very small harvest from twigs growing out of the stumps, just enough to feed his family for the winter. The neighbor who waited on God had more than enough for his family and to sell to the hungry cities.
Chicken Tortilla Soup
4 chicken breasts, cut into bite-sized pieces
4 oz. can chopped green chilies
2 (15 oz.) cans black beans
14.5 ounce can tomato sauce
2 cans Mexican stewed tomatoes or Rotel tomatoes
1 cup salsa
Shredded Cheddar cheese, for topping
Sour Cream, for topping
Combine all ingredients (except for tortilla chips, sour cream, and cheese) in crock-pot. Cook on low for 8 hours. Serve with tortilla chips, cheese, and sour cream to garnish.
Jon and I have both had really dry skin this winter. I have tried a couple different lotions and different shower soaps, but our skin still itches. I recently found this recipe for making your own lotion, so tried it, and it works great! It does have a bit of a scent to it, but does really help moisturize the skin -- and a little bit goes a long way, so it will last a long time.
Dry Skin Cream Recipe
13 oz. Pure Petroleum Jelly (Vaseline)
16 oz. Baby Lotion (not oil)
16 oz. Vitamin E Cream (not lotion)
Either using your hands or a mixer, combine all products in a large container until smooth and vaseline is not lumpy. (Some people put the vaseline in the microwave for a few seconds to soften it up.) Store in covered containers. Storage: You can use clean margarine or Cool Whip containers. You can also buy wide-mouth plastic squeeze bottles at Walmart. Or you can buy cute glass containers with lids from the Dollar store. You can also use wide-mouth canning jars. Wide-mouth containers work best.
*** This recipe was created by a doctor and nurse who recommended using the Family Dollar store brand products. But if you don't have a Family Dollar store close, any brands are fine as long as you use the correct amounts. Someone commented on this recipe and in their opinion thought that Dollar General Vitamin E was the best and cheapest, but that Johnson's Baby Lotion worked best. I'm sure that any brand is going to be fine. I did use the Vaseline brand, Johnson's baby lotion (I believe it now comes in 15 ounce instead of 16, but worked fine), and whatever brand of Vitamin E Cream that Dollar General carried.
You know you're on the right track when you become uninterested in looking back.
Looking ahead in 2014!! - Betty K Parton
We love you!
Loretta & Jon