"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 23, 2014
This past Monday morning I had the following conversation with my great-nephew, Jax:
Me: "Guess what tomorrow is?"
Jax: "It's my birthday!"
Me: "I know! You'll be 5!"
Jax: "I'm a little bit scared."
Me: "Why are you scared?"
Jax: "Because I've never been 5 before."
Jax has had people telling him what a big boy he's going to be. He and his cousin, who just turned 6, had a conversation that now that she is 6 and he's (almost) 5 there are some things they're going to have to give up...... one being, that they can't wear silly shirts anymore. Jax has probably been thinking about all this and wondering what being 5 was going to really be like. He may think that there are going to be a lot of changes being made and he's unsure about whether or not he's really going to like them. Little does he know that his entire life is going to be made up of changes.
When a child is young, they can't wait to get older. Elementary kids can't wait until they get to be in middle school. Then they can't wait until they turn 13 and become a teenager.... then it's turning 16 and getting their driver's license..... high school graduation.... college or getting a job.... Then comes a career, marriage, kids, and decisions on buying a house.
Sometimes people can think that they have their life all mapped out, but along comes those unplanned circumstances that we have to deal with. It may be sickness or death of a spouse; job loss; career opportunities; or things not panning out as planned. Sometimes those events can cause us to be a little bit scared, and other times it can be exciting.
The Bible is full of stories and examples of people who had their circumstances change, some for good and some not so good.
Job was a very wealthy man who had seven sons and three daughters. He had a vast number of livestock and a very large household, and was the the greatest of all the people in the East. All in one day, Job lost everything that he owned, as well as all his children and servants. In addition to that, Job became afflicted with boils that covered his body. Job's wife told him to curse God and die. Then three friends show up that tried to figure out why all this had happened and accused Job of sinning, said that God was chastising him, and told him that he needed to repent. That was a lot for Job to have to deal with! But the scriptures say that in all this, Job never sinned. In the end, God blessed Job with twice as much as he had before, so that he had more in his latter years than he did before all this happened.
God spoke to Jonah and told him to go to Nineveh, which was filled with wicked and evil people, and preach. But he didn't want to go, so got on a ship and tried to go to Tarshish instead. But the Lord sent a big wind and because of the severity of the storm, the ship was about to be broken up. Jonah knew that it was his fault, and that others were going to die because of his disobedience. He told the men that he knew the storm was caused by him being onboard and if they threw him into the sea, then the storm would calm. Even though Jonah had disobeyed God and tried to run from him, God didn't forget His original plan for Jonah. So God prepared a great fish to swallow Jonah when he was tossed overboard. Jonah stayed in the belly of the big fish for 3 days and 3 nights. It took that long for him to repent. God caused the fish to vomit Jonah onto dry ground. He spoke once again and told Jonah to go to Nineveh and preach. Jonah obeyed and the people listened and repented.
Peter and his brother, Andrew, were two ordinary men who made their living by being fishermen. Jesus came by one day when they were out fishing and called them to be His disciples. He then saw two more fishermen, James and John, and also called them to follow Him. These were men who had fishing boats and supported their families by selling the fish they caught in their nets. Following Jesus and traveling with Him was a complete change for these men. They spent the rest of their lives preaching and teaching and telling others about Jesus. This was a total departure from what any of them probably ever dreamed of doing.
Proverbs 3:5-6 says, "Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not to your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths."
When we fully trust God and allow Him to direct our steps, then we can have certainty that whatever happens, God will take care of us. Job didn't do anything wrong or commit a big sin or deserve all those bad things to happen to him. But when he was tested, he remained strong in his faith and continued to trust God, even though his wife and friends weren't supportive and encouraging. He came through his trials being blessed with more than he could ever have imagined possible.
Jonah ended up thrown overboard and spending three days inside of a big stinky fish because of his own willfulness and disobedience. When we choose to blatantly disobey God and try to go our own way, drastic things may happen to get us back on track so that God can use us and accomplish the purpose He has for us. When Jonah finally repented, God blessed his ministry and the city of Nineveh was saved. God can bless us when we choose to walk in obedience.
Jesus didn't go to all the temples and choose the best priest to be His disciples. They were common, ordinary men who had careers and jobs and families. Matthew was a tax collector, Luke was a doctor, and the four men mentioned above were all fishermen. The background of all the men are unknown (as far as the information I could find), but from the area 2-3 of the other men were from, they were believed to possibly also be fishermen by trade. Leaving behind their careers and families in order to travel with Jesus, as well as go and preach themselves, was a huge change for these men.
Whatever changes God has for us, we can know that He will be with us and will guide our every step; as long as we keep our faith and trust in Him. It's when we rebel and disobey God that we need to worry. We may never understand some of the situations that we go through in life. But knowing that God is always with us should give us a sense of peace. We don't have to be "a little bit scared" about what lies ahead and dread the unknown.
It's difficult to not try and figure things out and lean on our own knowledge and understanding. That's when we have to choose to trust God with all our heart and know that His thoughts and ways are far beyond our comprehension.
We watched "God's Not Dead" recently, which brought up some interesting arguments to try to prove or disprove the existence of God. The truth is, if someone could come up with a definitive proof for whether God exists or not, it wouldn't have been argued for 6,000 (or so) years. But there are a lot of people who think they have new information that changes things.
There are several arguments against God that all have the same flaw. They treat God as if He is part of our time. They say that there is no way that God could have created the whole universe in just 6 days, especially when the big bang theory says the universe has been around for billions of years. They say that God was wrong when He told us Jesus would come back 'soon'. They say He got the order of creation wrong.
But God is the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the ending. (The Greek alphabet starts with Alpha, and ends with Omega). He isn't just the Alpha and Omega because the Bible says so. It's because He is God--not some powerful alien messing with us--God. One paper a professor wrote as a rebuttal against "God's Not Dead" made an interesting analogy of our lives as books. Once the book is written, the beginning and ending are both in the book, and exist at the same time. I'm not sure how he was trying to make that an argument, but it makes an interesting way of looking at both God and us. Imagine God is like a book (The Book, if you like) with both beginning and ending at the same time, but never going away, but we only catch glimpses of pages. And imagine we--all of history, the universe, etc.--are also a book for God to write, review, and edit from beginning to ending, and back again.
The story of creation takes place over 6 days. But in Genesis, God didn't create the sun and moon till the fourth day. It should be obvious that the first 3 days weren't our sun rising and setting, since it didn't exist yet. But as the Alpha and Omega, God's days aren't ours.
2 cans corn, drained
1 tsp. Cumin
1 can Ro-Tel, drained
1 tsp. Garlic Powder
1 pkg. Cream Cheese, softened
1 tsp. Chili Powder
Mix all ingredients together. Serve with Fritos.
I was a horrible traveler when I was a kid. We didn't go long distances very often. But my oldest sister got married a few weeks before my 6th birthday and moved to western Kansas. During the 2-3 years that they lived there, we went out to visit them a few times. I was one of those kids who would constantly ask, "Are we almost there?" "How much further?" "Where are we?" We had those big old cars, with no air conditioning, so would ride with all the windows rolled down. It was Daddy, Mama, my three other sisters, and I in the car..... which totals 6, if you don't want to do the math. At least one time, we took one of our cousins with us on the trip. So we had a full carload of people! I think we usually would leave late afternoon after Daddy got off work; so Mama would make up sandwiches or fry some chicken or something to eat on the way for supper. I'm pretty sure we girls were probably talking and/or singing the majority of the trip..... our poor, poor parents!
All I have seen teaches me to trust the Creator for all I have not seen. - Ralph Waldo Emerson
We love you!
Loretta & Jon