"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!'"
October 8, 2014
This week's devotional is a copy of something that someone gave to my sister, Janie, many years ago (I think when she was in high school). I recently ran across a copy that I have saved for these thirty-plus years. I think it's a good read and gives us all something to think about. I have no idea who originally wrote this, for there is not an author's name written on my copy. I hope you enjoy this and that it will give you something to think about as you allow Jesus to search your heart.
The title is "The House That is My Heart":
There is within me a house that is my heart. Is is not elaborate and I do not live alone.
I shall never forget the time a stranger knocked upon the door of my heart. When I first met and knew the Master, I knew that I wanted Him to live with me and I wanted to follow Him; for with Him would come warmth, and light, and joy. And so it was that Christ came to live with me in the house that is my heart.
I showed Him the rooms where we would live. "This is the library," I said. In this room were the books I had read. On the walls were the pictures of my mind. In the files were the thoughts of my soul. They were all the works of a life before meeting Christ. I thought He would be pleased, but there was a frown on His face.
"Child," He said, "These are not the books I would have you read. I would have you read books of Truth, of Love, and of Life. And the pictures on the walls of your mind must be changed. The file must be filled with Christ-like thoughts. The "old" will not do. The library must be different now that I have come to live with you." I said, "Lord, I understand."
Then I took Him to the dining room. The room of my wants, desires, and appetites. As I enjoyed a meal to which I had been accustomed I noticed the Lord was sitting quietly. Very gently, He said, "Child, I see here the wants and desires of an appetite before meeting me. Now they must be changed. With Christ everything must now be whole and clean." I replied, "Lord, I see. From now on, the dining room of my house shall be filled with fruits of life lived for you, and with the meats of opportunity for Christian service."
Now came the quiet room. "I like this room," He said, "for it is here that I shall meet you each morning. We will read the scriptures and together we will pray to our Heavenly Father." But one morning I was late. I rushed right past the quiet room. The next day was the same. Soon, I had forgotten all about meeting Christ there. One morning I came by slowly and I glanced in. There, in the corner, sat Christ. "Lord, have you been waiting for me each day?" "Yes," He replied. "Lord, forgive me," I cried. "In the hustle and bustle of activities, I have not meant to leave you out. I have not put You first in my life. Please forgive me."
It was then that a new happiness came into my heart. My life was more complete after my daily reading of the scriptures and talking personally with God.
I took Christ to my workshop. "There is my Sunday School class. I work with my class and we have a love offering and we do things for those in need. Of course, sometimes it isn't much." His eyes were fixed upon me in sorrow as He asked, "Child, is that all you have done for me? Where are the hours you have spent in prayer? Where are the newcomers you have invited to church? Where are the absentees you have visited?" Then He asked, "Where are the souls you have won?"
Then it was as if my accomplishments became as nothing before my eyes. He had come so eagerly to see me and what had I done in return for Him? My workroom was practically empty. "Forgive me, Lord," I said. "I will spend hours in prayers, strangers I will encourage to come to church, and absentees I will visit. Soon my workroom will be overflowing with tasks done for Thee."
When Christ saw the recreation He said, "You and I will have happy times here," - and we did. Better than I had ever had with anyone else. Then one evening I had a social engagement. To me it was important. A lot depended on how I dressed and how I acted. As I came down the hall full of anticipation, there stood Christ. "Where are you going," He asked? "Oh, just out with some friends. I'll be right back," I replied. "Wait and I'll go with you," the Lord exclaimed. "Oh no, Lord, You'd spoil everything. You wait here. I'll go to church with You tomorrow."
The Lords eyes filled with disappointment as He replied, "This was not our agreement when I came to live with you. Everything we do, we must do together; but if you do not want me, I'll go." "Forgive me, Lord," I replied. "Temptation has blinded my vision. Please stay in my heart." Then all seemed happiness in the house that is my heart.
One day as I came in, the Lord met me and said, "Child, there is something hiding in the closet." Of course, I knew what it was, but it was just one of those things. "Now Lord, You are going too far!! You've gone over every room in my house and You have taken over my social life. Now You are trying to move into the dark corners of my life." Kindly, He replied, "Everything I do, I do for you. But if you do not want me, then I will go."
Bowing my head, I heard my lips reply, "Perhaps that would be best, if You are going to run my life for me."
Silently, He took His suitcase. As I saw Him walk away, I saw His back -- the back that had borne so many cares for me. I saw His feet that had walked the lonely road to Calvary; and the hands that had held me so lovingly. I knew that when God walked out that door, with Him would go all of the warmth, the light, the joy -- with Him would go my whole life.
I rushed after Him crying, "Lord, please forgive me. I have not done my part. Stay in my house, clean it throughout, but Lord please stay in my heart." Straightway, He rushed back to me. I never knew my house could be so radiant, so shiningly clean as when Christ moved in to stay. Now, Christ and I share together, the house that is my heart.
When Jesus met a sinner, He often told them first that He forgave their sins, then told them to go and not sin again. We don't have to clean our own hearts out, and cleanse ourselves of sin before Jesus is willing to talk to us. Instead, we can invite Jesus into our lives first. When things come up that are sinful in our lives, He will help us to see it, and help us to turn away. It may still be a difficult choice each time. But God gives us a peace beyond understanding, and will help us through each temptation.
Baked Potato Soup
(This is my favorite potato soup recipe!)
6 large potatoes, peeled and chunked
8 oz. Velveeta
2 chicken bouillon cubes
8-10 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled
1 stick butter
1 bunch green onions, chopped (optional)
1 pint sour cream
Salt and Pepper, to taste
Peeled potatoes and cut into chunks. In a large saucepan, put the potato chunks and bouillon cubes. Add enough water to cover the tops of the potatoes. Cook over medium heat until potatoes are tender and break easily with fork. Do not drain the water! Break up the potatoes with a fork, but do not mash. Add butter, Velveeta, and cooked bacon that has been crumbled. Lower heat and simmer until cheese melts. Add green onions (if desired) and sour cream and cook until onions are scalded. Add salt and pepper, to taste. The next day, the soup is even better when reheated.
I love it when kids use their imaginations! When I was a little girl, I remember playing pretend and by using my imagination I could have all kinds of adventures. I had a small set of plastic farm animals and I remember playing in the dirt and building a big farm. I would use sticks for my fences. Mama would give me jar lids that I would fill up with water and that would be my ponds (I did that after I figured out that digging a hold in the dirt and filling it with water didn't stay!). That was one of my favorite things to play. One or two of my older sisters loved playing paper dolls, only they didn't have/like real paper dolls, but would cut them out of the catalog. They would find the right woman as the mother, a man as the dad, and then cut out however many kids they wanted in their family.
My nephew told me that his little boy has made himself a cell phone out of paper. He has drawn buttons on front of it for his apps, and told his dad that he has downloaded a lot of different apps. He pretends to put stuff on his calendar app. My nephew and his son are going to be home alone Friday evening and the son has been planning out what they're going to do and putting it on one of his apps. My nephew told me that they have an old iPod and he could download some of those apps (for real) on it, but his son is having so much fun with his paper phone, so he's just letting him play with that instead. He will carry his paper pretend phone around with him. He told his dad, "I just love my phone!"
That old law about "an eye for an eye" leaves everybody blind. - Martin Luther King
We love you!
Loretta & Jon