"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 30, 2014
We all go through times when we begin to grow tired and weary; physically, emotionally, mentally, and/or spiritually. We may be doing everything right and praying and working and taking care of our family and all those things that are part of our daily life; but we just become exhausted and need restoration.
Sometimes we may go through a particularly difficult situation that after a while it begins to take a toll on us. We eventually become burdened down and worn out.
Other times the busyness of life begins to drain us. We may feel like we spend all our time doing for others, and don't have time to take care of ourselves. We are running to and fro and always have something that needs done or somewhere we need to be, and there finally come a point where we become overly tired and weary.
Perhaps we are praying about something in particular and have prayed and prayed and fasted and believed and waited and hoped and done all the right things, but it seems like nothing happens. We may have even been given a word of confirmation that God was going to answer that prayer, but we continue on and wait and keep praying and see no results. After a time, it can cause us to feel discouraged and we begin to feel our hope slowly ebbing away.
It is during those times that we have to choose to trust God and allow Him to restore and renew our strength. Sometimes our circumstances are beyond our control, and we have to choose to either give up or we put our faith in God. Putting our faith in God and trusting Him is not always something we just do one time and it's done; but it may be something we have to do hourly, daily, or weekly. Whenever we feel ourselves begin to grow weary and discouraged or disappointed, we need to stop right then and turn to God and allow Him to work in our heart and mind.
Jon and I recently were experiencing this. As I have mentioned before, there is something we have been faithfully praying for and believing God to do. We were given words of confirmation through scripture, family, and a minister. We have been filled with hope and excitement and anticipation for the past few weeks. Then last week, we both began to grow weary and felt hope slipping away and were experiencing feelings of disappointment and discouragement. It's easy to tell others to have faith and trust God when they're going through a difficult time; but when we're the ones who are daily battling something and it's our faith being tested, it's harder to continually put those words into action.
Sunday morning, neither Jon nor I really wanted to go to church. He had woken up during the night with his back giving him a lot of pain and had not slept well, trying to find a comfortable position where it didn't hurt. I had woken up that morning with my stomach cramping and aching. Not feeling our best, on top of our weary state of emotions, didn't particularly make us gung-ho for church attendance. But we choose to go anyway. I half-heartedly mentioned to Jon that perhaps God had something special in store for us. During worship, God began to move and speak to the hearts of people and the Holy Spirit began ministering and touching lives. It was one of those services where God took control and we continued in prayer and worship, the pastor didn't get to preach his prepared sermon, and we ended with communion. It was exactly what Jon and I both needed. We left the service feeling restored, refreshed, and filled with hope and faith once again. We needed that, God knew that, and He responded.
Psalm 23:3 says, "He restores my soul....." Another version reads, "He renews my strength."
Isaiah 40:31 says, "But those 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."
So how do we run and not be weary? How do we soar on wings like eagles? How do we walk without feeling faint? By waiting, or trusting, in the Lord and allowing Him to renew our strength. When we put our trust in our own methods and abilities, we will end up messing things up and making our situation even more burdensome than necessary. Fear and worry will be our constant companion. But when we rest in the Lord, we will find new strength. That's when we will experience God's peace, that exceeds anything we can understand; and His peace will guard our hearts and minds. (Philippians 4:7)
When we do so, then we will truly experience what David writes about in Psalm 23:
"The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He makes me to lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside the still waters. He restores my soul; He leads me in the paths of righteousness for His name's sake. Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; For You are with me; Your rod and staff, they comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; You anoint my head with oil; My cup runs over. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life; And I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever."
Galatians 6:9 encourages us with these words: "Let's not get tired of doing what is good. At just the right time we will reap a harvest of blessing if we don't give up."
It's difficult to show patience when there is something you want or need. It seems sometimes like God isn't keeping up with our timetable. I think the biggest problem is that we look at it from one end, and can only guess at what lies between now and our deadline, and might dread what might happen after that deadline. But God is the Alpha and the Omega. He sees our problems, needs, and hopes from both ends. Only He knows what will be if we do get our hope and if we don't get our hope. Only He knows for sure whether we should really get our hopes, and when it's best to receive them. It's hard to live with, but take peace in knowing that He loves us, and wants the best for us in the end.
Bacon-Wrapped Green Beans
(My husband is not much of a veggie eater -- especially if they are green.
This is the one and only way that he will actually eat green beans.)
"Bacon is good for you. Because bacon is a spice."--Ken Gray (I hope I quoted that about right)
4-5 cans green beans, any brand
1 stick butter
1 pkg. thick cut bacon
2 cups brown sugar
Cut bacon strips in half (I usually try one piece cutting into it into thirds because this seems to work for me most times). Bundle green beans together (5 to 6 green beans in each bundle). Tightly wrap each bundle of green beans with the cut strip of bacon and place fold side down in baking dish. Once all green bean bundles are completed, set aside and prepare the glaze. Begin melting a whole stick of butter in small non-stick pan. Once melted, add brown sugar; blend together until glaze has a syrup consistency (don't overheat). Pour glaze over green bean bundles and bake at 350 for 35-34 minutes or until bacon looks thoroughly cooked.
*** This recipe is for a 9x13 pan, which is a lot. You can adjust the quantities to make smaller amounts. If I'm making half a recipe, then I just use half a stick of butter and 1 cup of brown sugar for the glaze. You can use either whole or cut green beans.
It is fun to watch the difference in how little boys and girls play.... and think. My nieces foster daughter has a stroller for her baby doll. She enjoys playing with her dolls and taking care of them. On the other hand, one morning she was already gone to daycare, so my great-nephew was playing with the stroller; only he was pushing it and pretending that it was his race car. He would stop occasionally and pretend to fill it up with gas, and was pushing it back and forth between the living room and kitchen as fast as he could go while pretending that he was racing. I put his hoodie on him so that he'd be ready to go when his daddy got ready to leave. He had me put his bicycle helmet on him, too, and was pretending that he was wearing a racing uniform. Imaginations are great! Little girls can take a stroller and pretend that she's a mommy pushing her baby around, while a little boy can take that same stroller and pretend to be driving a race car!
What appears to be patience may be simply the inability to make a decision. - unknown
We love you!
Loretta & Jon