THE NEW EWE

"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!'"

Luke 15:4-6

July 16, 2014

LIFE IN THE FOLD:

Have you ever said or heard others say, "Well, that's just life; so deal with it!" or "That's just the way things are, so all you can do is make the best of it and go on!" Perhaps the comment was made regarding something you personally were dealing with, or about something that someone else was going through.

Many times we are so accepting of circumstances and seem to feel that there's nothing that can be done, so we just have to handle it and muddle through the best we can. We feel that it's just part of life, so all we can do is make the best of it. Therefore, we deal with it and never ask God for help in intervention. We seem to think that it's mundane and just how things are, so why bother Him?!

It looks like I would finally learn, but I have done that very thing over and over again. I wait until I reach a point where I feel overwhelmed before I cry out to God.

From about April or May of this year, it seems like one thing after another has happened. In and of itself, none of them would be a major ordeal, but when they're all added together it feels like a lot. Even though we may not have been happy with the circumstances at times, Jon and I just kept plugging along and dealing with them as they came.

I'm sure you can relate to this, even though it was likely different things that bombarded you, than what we have dealt with.

Within probably three weeks time we had to replace our kitchen stove, have our dryer checked out, and our upstairs air-conditioning unit repaired. My cell phone has been messed up where I can hear people, but they can't hear me. At least, that's the problem most of the time, but other times it just does flaky stuff. Generally, if I put it on speaker phone then it will work okay. But when you're out in public you don't want to have a conversation on speaker phone! I've taken it in to be checked out and repaired twice, and both times it worked perfectly and they couldn't find anything wrong with it -- which is frustrating.

The vacation we had planned didn't pan out like we wanted and we had to end up canceling our reservation for the Smoky Mountains. The couple days we spent at the beach, the water was dirty and rough due to recent rains, so it really wasn't pretty. And the beach was a lot more crowded than we had expected for the time that we went. We went to my family homestead in Missouri to spend a couple days. We arrived on a Sunday afternoon and there was a major water leak in the bathroom, that we were unaware of. Jon had no tools with him and was concerned that part of the floor would need to be removed to fix it; so we turned back around and made the 3-1/2 hour drive back home. We went back a couple days later, arriving earlier in the day, so that Jon could work on the leak. He got it fixed in a reasonable amount of time, but when he turned the water to the bathroom back on, there was another leak beneath the sink. He repaired that, turned the water back on, and there was a leak somewhere between the shut-off valve and the pipes beneath the house. That was more involved than his plumbing skills, so we tried to call in a plumber and no one was available. So once again, we loaded back up and made the drive back home the same day!

Occasionally we may have a day with no mail, but that rarely happens. There's generally a sales paper or credit card offer or other type of junk mail, if nothing else. We noticed that we had gone three days without receiving any mail. I called the post office and found that they were short-handed, so our regular mail carrier was filling in as a supervisor and they were using a lot of temporary mail carriers. We went over a week without receiving any mail, which has never happened. What concerned me the most was that it was the time of month that we usually start getting our monthly bills. We still don't know what happened, but after talking to our regular mail carrier and her doing some checking, it finally got straightened out.

Then during the trip I recently took with my sister, Janie, to California, my shoulder started hurting during the trip. After getting back home, I went to see my chiropractor and found that the muscles in my left shoulder had locked up and kept seizing up. After two weeks with lots of prayer, six chiropractor appointments, a massage, lots of Advil, and ice packs it finally started feeling normal and I was able to sleep a couple nights through without having to get up and come downstairs to the recliner -- or walking around trying to relieve the pain. I was so excited that it was healing and doing well and was feeling rather normal again. Then Jon and I made another trip to Missouri. The reason we went is because the two of us haven't had a chance to spend the weekend since last fall, and with other family using the house and things we have scheduled here, we weren't sure how long it would be before we had another opportunity to go back again. Friday night, I woke up and my shoulder was hurting again. I was up and down from about 1:30 AM till morning because no matter how I held my arm, it would hurt. Saturday night was basically the same thing, except I slept till around 2:30 that time. It was so frustrating that I just wanted to cry! In addition to that, Jon's back felt like it had a pinched nerve and he was hurting.

Saturday morning before Jon woke up, I was sitting in the living room praying and it occurred to me that I hadn't really been praying about everything that had been happening for the past 2-3 months. Yes, I had prayed about my shoulder because it was hurting, but not so much about the other things, that in and of itself seemed mundane and unimportant. Everything that had been happening came to mind, and it suddenly dawned on me that it had all been an attack of the enemy (Satan). Our faith and trust in God was being tested.

When Jon woke up, we were sitting outside and I told him what had come to mind. We took some time, held hands, and prayed together. We resolved that regardless of what had happened or would happen, we chose to trust God and put our faith in Him. We chose to love God and not question Him or His love for us. We chose to honor God by keeping our focus on Him, and not on our circumstances.

Sometimes when those "life" situations occur it may not be about an appliance not working, or your car needing repaired, or vacation not happening as planned, or whatever it may be. But it may be about our response.

Will we trust God to be our provider when something needs repaired and we don't have the money in the bank to have it done? Will we have a good attitude and enjoy time with loved ones, even though the plans may not be what we desired? When it seems like one thing after another happens, will we get frustrated and start blaming God for not taking care of us, or will we hold fast to faith and trust God to be with us?

Psalm 34:3 says, "Oh, magnify the Lord with me; and let us exalt His name together."

When we look at something through a magnifying glass, it becomes larger than everything else around it. It actually, doesn't change in size, but our perspective of it changes. When we magnify the Lord, then He doesn't change, but our perspective of Him becomes larger and bigger than everything around us. On the other hand, when we magnify our problems, they don't change in size, but our perspective of them changes and they seem more overwhelming and bigger.

James 1:2-4 (NLT) says, "Dear brothers and sisters, when trouble of any kind comes your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a change to grow. So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing."

I don't like it when trouble comes my way and I have to go through various trials. I don't enjoy it when my faith is tested. It's hard not to feel overwhelmed and frustrated. But I do want to be complete in Christ. I want to grow in every area of my spiritual life. In order for that to happen, then I have to be willing to endure times of having my faith tested. That's how I will become fully developed, as a christian.

The next time you face something and feel like responding, "That's just life, so I'll have to deal with it" or "That's just how things are, so I'll just have to make the best of it", look at it as a possibility of growing in your faith. Don't think you have to handle it all alone or that it's too mundane to pray about. God is interested in every aspect of our life; both the big and small.

JON'S PERSPECTIVE:

We discussed the topic of magnifying God at church one Sunday night. Joe mentioned that when we look through a telescope the right way, we magnify what we are looking at. But looking the other way shrinks or diminishes what we look at. So if we use it to magnify God, we let ourselves appear smaller at the same time as God appears larger. That sounds like the very definition of humility.

God has done so many great and awesome things for us, for our family, and for close friends that it is obvious He is greater than us. But sometimes it helps to stop and remember that. But too often, we still try to manage miracles for ourselves. We may need to do our part, acting in faith. But we still need to let ourselves be small, let God be huge, and give our problems over to Him.

ON THE MENEWE:

Peach Cobbler

1 stick butter

1-1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1 quart of peaches

dash of salt

1 cup flour

2/3 cup milk

1 cup sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla

If using fresh peaches, peel and slice about 9-10 medium peaches. Put in a bowl and sprinkle some sugar over the top; set aside. This will help them make natural juice. I also like to sprinkle in some cinnamon to add a little flavor; but that is optional. Melt butter in a baking dish. Pour peaches over butter. In a bowl, mix dry ingredients; add milk and vanilla. Pour mixture over peaches. Sprinkle top with cinnamon. Bake at 350 for 35-45 minutes or until crust is golden brown. (If crust looks like it's still doughy and not done, bake a little longer.)

THIS, THAT AND THE OTHER:

My 12-year old nephew was bitten by tick a few months ago. The tick bite has caused him to have horrible allergy issues. The allergist did blood work that came back showing that yes, it was caused by the tick bite. He cannot eat any meat from a 4-legged animal, which means no beef or pork. It has also caused him to have severe dairy allergies; which means he can't eat anything with any milk or butter or cheese or any other dairy products. If he even eats anything that is meat from a 4-legged animal or contains even a hint of dairy, or anything that has been cross-contaminated, his lips or tongue swell. There are many store-bought products that have milk or dairy products in them. For instance, Ritz crackers are made with butter. If he even touches a piece of toast that has butter on it, his hands will start itching. When you go out to eat, you never know when the chicken has been cooked on the same grill as beef or pork. It is to the point that he is very limited on the foods he can eat. He has to carry an epi-pen with him at all times. The allergist told my sister that they are seeing more and more people come in from this particular allergy. The particular tick causing this particular allergy is called the "lone star tick". It is reddish brown and has a white/yellow spot on its back. You can go online and see a picture of it and read about the allergies these tick bites can cause. He will not outgrow these allergies and they will not get better. We are praying for a miracle of healing for Devin.

All that to say: If you or your children are going to be out in the woods or hayfield or camping or someplace where you could get a tick bite, please always spray with a tick repellent beforehand. Sprays containing DEET repels ticks. There may be some other brands you can buy online. After seeing the repercussions that Devin has had from being bitten by the lone star tick, it has made me realize the importance of always using insect repellents; especially when being at our home place in the country.

THOUGHT TO PONDER:

Prayer doesn't get man's will done in heaven; it gets God's will done on earth. - Ronald Dunn

OUR HEARTFELT THANKS TO YOU:

We love you!

Loretta & Jon

http://www.graysheep.org