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

January 14, 2015

LIFE IN THE FOLD:

I read a devotional a few days ago, written by Jon's cousin. One of the lines he wrote struck a chord within my heart. He said, "Just because Jesus is working on someone else's stuff doesn't mean that He's not working on mine." I know in my heart and mind that that fact is true, but sometimes I don't feel as if it's true.

There have been times when I've been praying for something, yet it seems as if Jesus keeps getting distracted answering other people's prayers, and they are receiving their answers ahead me. It doesn't feel like it's fair. I feel like I'm praying with all the faith that I have within me, I'm trusting God, I'm holding fast to the promises that God wrote in His Word...... yet, I hear testimonies of God answering the prayers of others, while my request is being ignored. Can you relate?

But if you noticed what I just wrote, it is all based on my feelings. It doesn't "feel" like it's fair...... I "feel" like I'm praying with faith..... What I feel and what is reality is often very different. God's answers aren't based on my feelings, but in His timing and how He chooses to best answer my prayers.

In Mark chapter five, there are two stories that happen simultaneously. Two very different people had two very different needs. Both needs were important to each individual, and they both were in need of miracles. But when you read the story, it seems as if the first request is the most urgent, and Jesus could have told His disciples to keep tabs on the second person and He would go talk with her later.

In Mark 5:21-43 we read this story. Jesus had traveled across a lake, by boat, and was met by a large crowd on the shore when He arrived. It was there that a leader, named Jairus, from the local synagogue, found Jesus. Due to his status, perhaps the crowd allowed him to pass through so that he could reach Jesus. Perhaps they thought that these two religious leaders would have a debate or deep discussion about the scriptures and they would get to listen in. But that was not Jairus' intent.

When Jairus saw Jesus, he fell at His feet, pleading fervently with Him. "My little daughter is dying! Please come and lay Your hands on her; heal her so she can live!" This man was desperate for a miracle; and he needed one very quickly. His twelve year old daughter was very sick and on the brink of death. Perhaps Jairus had been praying that Jesus would travel to his hometown, lay hands on his little girl, and heal her before it was too late. When he heard that Jesus had arrived, I'm sure that he ran as fast as he could to find Jesus. Time was running out and he needed Jesus to hurry and get to his home quickly.

Jesus agreed to go with Jairus and they were walking towards the man's home. The crowds were all around them, following them. Perhaps they thought that they would be witness to a miracle, or were just going out of curiosity or nosiness, or had never been inside the synagogue leader's home and thought they would get to go inside and look around since Jesus was there, or maybe they just wanted to be where Jesus was so that they didn't miss out on anything He said or did while in their town. Some may have wanted to meet Him in person, so they could go back to their family or village and brag about it. Others may have been in need of a miracle themselves. I'm sure there were a few who just wanted to shake Jesus' hand and introduce themselves and have Jesus acknowledge them. Whatever reason, all the people were crowding around Jesus and following Him to Jairus' home.

There was a particular women in the crowd who had been waiting for this opportunity of having Jesus visit within walking distance of her home. She had suffered for twelve years with constant bleeding. During that time she had tried everything she possibly could to get well. She had suffered a great deal from many doctors, and over those twelve years had spent everything she had to pay them. In fact, her health had gotten worse instead of better. This woman had grown desperate, and was in need of a miracle.

The Bible doesn't give her name, but that doesn't mean that she or her need was any less important than the synagogue leader or his daughter. Both Jairus' daughter and this woman were in need of healing. This woman had suffered for the twelve years that Jairus' daughter had been alive.

This woman had heard about Jesus and likely felt like this was her one and only opportunity to receive a miracle. She desperately inched her way through the crowd, knowing that she needed to get to Jesus now, before He arrived at Jairus' house and went inside. Once He went inside, perhaps He would end up eating there or spending the night, and she may miss out on ever again getting close enough to touch Him. She thought to herself, "If I can just touch His robe, I will be healed." She had no big expectations of talking personally with Jesus or having Him lay His hands on her, as Jairus had asked Jesus to do for his daughter. She likely was considered unclean due to her constant bleeding, and may have thought that Jesus wouldn't want to touch her. But this woman had just enough faith to believe that all she had to do was touch Jesus' robe, and she would be healed.

The instant that she touched the cloth of Jesus' garment, the bleeding immediately stopped, and she could feel in her body that she had been healed of her terrible condition.

Jesus realized at once that healing power had gone out from Him, so He turned around and asked, "Who touched My robe?" I believe that He already knew who had touched Him, but wanted her to come to Him so that He could acknowledge her faith. His disciples said, "Look at this huge crowd pressing in around You. How can You ask, 'Who touched Me'?" They may have thought that Jesus was getting overly tired, because prior to this, He had been on the other side of the lake and had cast a demonic spirit out of a man. They may have had a long day and were exhausted themselves, so assumed that Jesus must be weary, too. With so many people crowding in around them, probably many wanting to introduce themselves to Jesus, or shake His hand, or touch Him, how could He possibly know that one person in particular had touched His robe?

But Jesus stopped and looked around to see who had done it. The woman, frightened and trembling at the realization of what had just happened to her, came and fell on her knees in front of Jesus. She confessed what she had done. It must have been embarrassing for her to confess in front of Jesus, and all those people surrounding Him and listening in to their conversation, about her personal constant bleeding issue; yet she was willing to do so because she had to have been so overwhelmingly grateful that it had finally stopped after twelve years.

Jesus said to her, "Daughter, your faith has made you whole. Go in peace. Your suffering is over."

Being a woman, myself, I can imagine how utterly thankful and excited and relieved she had to have been!!! I am sure that she went away rejoicing, with a light heart and a dance in her step and a radiant countenance.

But wait, did Jesus get distracted from His original destination?! Why would He stop and take the time to talk to this lady when down the road there was a twelve year old lying in her bed dying? The woman had received her healing; wasn't that enough without Jesus stopping and waiting for her to come out of the crowd so He could talk with her? Why would He delay when Jairus had approached Him first about going and laying hands on his daughter?

While Jesus was speaking to this woman, messengers arrived from the home of Jairus. They told him that his daughter was dead, so there was no use in troubling Jesus now. I can only imagine how Jairus must have felt at that moment. If only Jesus hadn't stopped and talked to this woman.... if only that woman had waited until after Jesus had healed his daughter to touch His robe..... if only he had of sent a messenger to find Jesus and bring Him back to his house instead of leaving his daughter's bedside and going himself; perhaps the messenger would have gotten there faster...... or he could have been with his wife when his daughter died..... if only! Perhaps he was a little aggravated at Jesus for stopping and taking the time to talk to that woman. At that moment, in his grief, Jairus probably felt a lot like Martha did when her brother, Lazarus, died and Jesus arrived three days after the fact. Her response was, "If You had of been here, my brother wouldn't have died!"

This is hard to comprehend, but an emergency on our part doesn't constitute an emergency on God's part. His delays aren't always His denials. When we feel like He is taking His own sweet time and meeting the needs of everyone around us, while ignoring us, that's not what God is doing at all. Perhaps He is giving our faith a chance to grow, or is testing our trust, or has something much bigger in store than we could ever imagine and that can only happen if He delays His intervention and answer.

Jesus told Jairus, "Don't be afraid. Just have faith." I believe that if we would listen, that would be His response to us when we feel like our situation has deteriorated to the point of nothing good coming from it. That is His response when we feel as if He is dragging His feet and getting side-tracked and we feel that our situation is getting out of hand and we need His immediate intervention . "Don't be afraid. Just have faith."

Jesus stopped the crowds and only allowed Peter, James, and John to go with Him. When they got to the house, Jesus saw much commotion and weeping and wailing. Jesus went inside and told those who were there, "Why all this commotion and weeping? The child isn't dead; she's only asleep." The people's response was to laugh at him. They probably thought, "They say that this man is the Messiah?! He must be crazy! We know that that little girl died a little while ago."

So Jesus made all those who were there leave the house. That must have caused quite a ruckus among the people. Can't you just hear them whispering and gossiping as they left the house and stood outside in the courtyard?!

Jesus took His three disciples and the girl's parents in the room where she was lying. Holding her hand, Jesus said to her, "Little girl, get up!" The girl immediately stood up and walked around! The parents and three disciples were totally amazed. Jesus told the mother and father to give her something to eat.

More times than not, I would say that we don't understand God's timing or why He's doing things the way He does. Sometimes it just doesn't make sense. Sometimes it feels like Jesus is headed to our house to bring about a miracle, then He gets distracted by someone else on the way there. It's easy to feel, at that time, that perhaps He thinks that person is more important than us or that their need is greater. In our eyes, we see our situation as being more dire and in need of immediate attention, yet it seems as if God is taking His own sweet time. Doesn't He love us and care that we're hurting or sick or desperate? Doesn't He know that we've been faithful to Him and have tried to do everything right? Doesn't He know our plans and that time is running out? Why isn't God answering and where is He?

In the midst of all this, the key is to hold onto trust and just keep believing. When we feel like God is delaying His answers and it looks like He's waited too long to take care of our situation, if we listen closely, we will hear Him speak the same words to our heart that He spoke to Jairus, "Don't be afraid. Just have faith!"

JON'S PERSPECTIVE:

I've heard a 4-year-old say "It's not fair. She gets to go to 2nd grade. I should, too." But I've also heard the 7-year-old say, "It's not fair. She doesn't have to do homework. Why do I have to?" Kids have such a hard time understanding what "fair" really means. They can't see that it really is fair that when each kid is 4, they don't have homework, and when each kid is about 7, they go to 2nd grade.

I mentioned last week that my siblings and I were given great opportunities, but that they were all very different. I might have complained that it wasn't fair that I didn't get paints like my sister. In truth, I really did complain a lot of times that I didn't get to have a pet snake like my brother. But I enjoyed having electronics more than pets. And pets ate enough to stay alive with my brother. And I had no skill with painting.

Not that everything kids think is totally unfair is just a misinterpretation. Sometimes life just isn't fair.

It's hard for kids to accept that parents are wiser than kids, and have a better understanding of what should be. Sometimes, it seems like adults have an even harder time accepting that God is wiser than we are. It's true that sometimes things just aren't fair. We, as a people, have let so much sin into the world that 'fair' just doesn't cover everything. And since sin is deserving of death, we shouldn't be chasing after 'fair' so hard. But God does give out blessings in a way that is more fair than we can possibly understand. And He doesn't withhold or delay blessings to be unfair, even if we can't see the wisdom in that, either.

ON THE MENEWE:

My Favorite Meatloaf

1 cup whole milk

4-6 slices white bread

2 pounds ground beef

1 cup freshly ground Parmesan Cheese

1/4 teaspoon seasoned salt

3/4 teaspoon salt

black pepper

parsley (1/3 cup minced, is using fresh)

4 eggs,beaten

10 slices thin/regular bacon

Preheat oven to 350. Pour milk over bread slices. Allow it to soak in for several minutes.

Place the ground beef, milk-soaked bread, Parmesan, seasoned salt, salt, black pepper, and parsley (I generally use the bottled parsley you get in the spice section, not fresh) in a large mixing bowl. Pour in beaten eggs.

With clean hands, mix the ingredients until well combined (using your hands is the very best way to get this mixed well). Form the mixture into a loaf shape on a broiler pan, which will allow the fat to drain. (Line the bottom of the pan with foil to avoid a big mess.).... (Again, I don't have a broiler pan, so just use an oven-proof pan.)

Lay bacon slices over the top and sides, tucking the ends underneath the meatloaf.

Sauce:

1-1/2 cup Ketchup

1/3 cup Brown Sugar

1 teaspoon Dry Mustard

Make the sauce: add ketchup, brown sugar, and mustard (I generally use the yellow or dijon mustard) in a small mixing bowl. Stir together. Pour half of the mixture over the top of the bacon. Spread evenly over the top (and sides, if you want) with a spoon.

Bake for 45 minutes, then pour the rest of the sauce over the top. Bake for another 15 minutes. Slice and serve.

This is great with mashed potatoes!!!

THOUGHT TO PONDER:

God's delays are not God's denials. - unknown

OUR HEARTFELT THANKS TO YOU:

We love you!

Loretta & Jon

http://www.graysheep.org