"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!'"
March 9, 2016
DON'T FORGET TO SET YOUR CLOCKS BACK AN HOUR THIS WEEKEND!
In Exodus chapter 3, we read the story of Moses and the Burning Bush. One day Moses was tending sheep for his father-in-law, and had led the flock far into the wilderness and came to Sinai. There the angel of the Lord appeared to him in a blazing fire from the middle of a bush. Moses stared in amazement, for although the bush was engulfed in flames, it didn't burn up. Moses said to himself, "This is amazing! Why isn't the bush burning up? I must go see it."
When the Lord saw Moses coming to take a closer look, God called to him from the middle of the bush. "Moses! Moses!" "Here am I," replied Moses.
The Lord said, "Do not come any closer. Take off your sandals, for you are standing on holy ground. I am the God of your father -- the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. I have seen the oppression of my people in Egypt. I have heard their cries of distress because of their harsh slave drivers. Yes, I am aware of their suffering. So I have come down to rescue them from the power of the Egyptians and lead them out of Egypt into their own fertile and spacious land. It is a land flowing with milk and honey. The cry of the Israelites has reached me, and I have seen how harshly the Egyptians abuse them. Now go, for I am sending you to Pharaoh. You must lead my people Israel out of Egypt."
But Moses protested, "If I go to the people of Israel and tell them, 'The God of your ancestors has sent me to you,' they will ask me, 'What is His name?' Then what should I tell them?"
God replied to Moses, "I AM WHO I AM. Say this to the people of Israel: I AM has sent me to you."
I have to be honest with you, that has always somewhat confused me and I've often had a hard time reconciling what this exactly means. I AM WHO I AM??? I AM has sent me to you??? Why didn't God refer to Himself as their Deliverer, or their Savior? Why did He refer to Himself as I AM? I remember hearing this story from the time I was a young girl, and this thought generally would pop into my mind: "I AM....... what?!" But God didn't need to explain Himself or give Himself a title to describe what He was going to do or who He was. He was an all-compassing God who was everything that the Israelites needed for their deliverance and the journey thereafter. I AM was all the Israelites needed to know. I AM -- because that's who God said He was!
In the book of John, there are several scriptures where Jesus gave descriptive titles referring to who He was. I AM: the Bread of Life; the Resurrection and Life; the Door; the Light of the World; the Good Shepherd; the Way, Truth, and Life; the Vine. Yet He referred to Himself to Moses as I AM.
It's kind of like a parent. They have their name that their parents gave them at birth. They also may be known as son/daughter, brother/sister, uncle/aunt, father/mother, grandpa/grandma, boss, employee, pastor, teacher, etc. To their children they are dad/mom. But they could also be known as protector, provider, teacher, cook, chauffeur, etc. When their kids need discipline they may be reminded, "I am your father/mother!" When the kids need to be reminded who pays the bills and furnishes a home for them to live in they may be reminded, "I am the head of this house!" When the kids need to be reminded who is in charge they may be told, "I am your boss!" They are whatever their child needs at whatever given moment. That is how God is; He is whatever and whoever we need at any given moment!
Not only do we want God to explain Himself and tell us what I AM means in every situation we face, we also want Him to explain His decisions. It is often difficult for us to accept God's will and answers when we don't understand why things are happening as they are. Adults expect kids to accept and trust their decisions, yet we have a really hard time giving that same level of obedience to God.
A phrase that probably all parents have used at one time or another, that all kids hate to hear, is, "Because I said so." The son or daughter will ask to do something or go somewhere, and the parents says no. "But why?" "Because I said so!" That is frustrating to the child, because they feel like they deserve an explanation; yet the parent ends the conversation with those words, expecting full obedience.
Perhaps the parents knows something about the situation that the child knows nothing about, and they don't feel that it is wise to share those details. Perhaps the parent knows of very real and potential dangers that their child could face, yet they know that no matter how much they try to explain, their child is not going to understand or accept their words; thinking their parent is being over-protective. Perhaps the parent knows that their son or daughter could get into trouble and the possible consequences that could occur. Perhaps the dad or mom did something similar when they were their child's age, therefore, has first-hand knowledge why they must say no. Dad and mom are looking out for the best interest of their child, and trying to make the best and wisest decision possible, but know that no matter what they say, their little darling is not going to accept their explanation and will argue.... and argue... and try to convince them to change their minds; therefore, they say, "Because I said so!" End of discussion, end of argument.... you must do what you are told.... whether you like it or not.... whether you understand our decision or not. In other words, "I am dad and/or I am mom, and that settles it; that's all you need to know!"
That's how God, our Heavenly Father, is with us sometimes. We will pray, and then don't like the answer that God gives. "But why God? This doesn't make sense! I need to understand why this is happening! This isn't fair!! Why!!" God answers, "Because I'm your Father, and I said so! That's all you need to know." He knows that no matter how much He tries to explain, we're not going to understand. No matter how many details He gives us, we will still argue. But He knows details about the situation that we may never know. God can see what lies ahead of us, and may be protecting us from potential danger and harmful consequences. He knows things about our circumstances that we will never know or understand. God is making the wisest and best decision for our own benefit, but we argue and whine and pout..... yet God, being the perfect Father says, "I AM is in control of your situation; and you need to obey and trust Me!"
I AM compasses every single detail that involves each of our lives. God isn't just a Father, Deliverer, Defender, Healer, Comforter, Savior, Provider...... He is much larger than that! God has always been, and will always be. He is much more than a title. He is whatever we need Him to be in our life, regardless of our situation.
Therefore, when life may seeming to spin out of control, circumstances occur that we don't like or understand, difficulties arise that are hard to deal with, burdens seem too heavy to bear..... when we pray and ask God why and He doesn't give an answer or doesn't answer to our liking, that's when we need to realize that I AM will be there with us every second of every day. Some moments we may need peace and then other moments need comfort; I AM will be there with you during each of those times. God doesn't allow hardships to try and break us and tear us apart; nor does He allow those things to occur, and then turn His back on us. He doesn't answer, "Because I said so," to be cruel or try and hide His wisdom from us. He wants us to recognize and worship Him as I AM, in each and every situation that we face in life.
I was probably one of the more annoying kids who had to know "Why?", or I wouldn't do whatever I was told to. But if "Because I said to" didn't work, then "Because I'll spank you if you don't" usually did. I'm glad God doesn't usually do that.
To be honest, sometimes I still drag my heels unless I am worried about a negative outcome. I probably wouldn't fill out my taxes at all, if I didn't expect worse problems if I didn't. And I probably wouldn't have finished our fireplace if I didn't expect a negative outcome.
But life would be much easier if I would always obey God as soon as He pushes me to do something. This Sunday, for example, I felt like I should speak up at a particular moment, but put it off. I finally did speak up, but it was much later, and much more awkward than it needed to be.
Responding quickly doesn't always feel natural. But I wish it would. I would like to reach the point where I simply obey God as soon as He pushes me to. Maybe then, He would speak to me more.
BBQ Shredded Pork
Salt & Pepper, to taste
1 can Dr. Pepper
1 small bottle BBQ Sauce
Place pork roast in crock-pot. (I personally like the picnic roast for this.) Sprinkle salt and pepper over the meat. Pour a can of Dr. Pepper over the top. (If it's a small roast, I either use a small can of Dr. Pepper or not quite all of a larger can.) Cook on low for approximately 5-6 hours, or on high for 4 hours; until meat is very tender. Use 2 forks and shred the meat; taking any chunks of fat or bone out beforehand. Serve on a bun as a sandwich, or however you'd like!
Periodically, we've found a dead squirrel or bird in our yard. Generally I will allow Jon the privilege of burying them! One time, Jon was gone out of town when I found a dead squirrel in our backyard. I really needed to mow, so gathered my courage and buried it. I kept thinking, "What if it's not really dead? What if I dig a hole and start to put the squirrel inside and it starts wriggling a little and isn't all the way dead?!" But I managed to quickly bury it and it didn't move whatsoever.
This past Sunday afternoon, Jon and I were walking around in our backyard with our dog. I was picking up limbs when Jon saw that our neighbors dog, which is a rottweiler, so he had left our yard to take it back home. He found that the big dog looked fierce, but was a big baby. Anyway, while Jon was doing that, I saw something on the ground behind our shed that looked like a pile of feathers or fur all lumped together. As soon as Jon came back into our yard I hollered and told him that there was some kind of dead animal behind the shed; so he go the shed keys out of our house so that he could get the shovel. I was trying to keep Sammie away from it, so had walked away several feet when I heard Jon give a startled, "OH!!" He had stuck the shovel into the ground beside the pile of.... whatever..... to start digging a hole, when he saw it move. He used the shovel to scrape across the top of the feathers/fur to see what it was. It was a nest of tiny baby rabbits burrowed into the ground! The mama had apparently made a nest in the ground for the babies, then covered it with her hair that she had shed. Jon couldn't tell exactly how many babies were all nested together there in the ground. We keep watching to see if the mama is coming back to take care of her babies. Jon really wanted to hold the babies (yes, we know that if humans handle the babies, the mama tends to smell that and then will abandon her little ones), and feels responsible for taking care of them; especially if the mama isn't coming back to do so!
Faith isn't something that keeps bad things from happening;
faith is what helps us get through bad things when they do happen. - unknown
We love you!
Loretta & Jon