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 17, 2018

LIFE IN THE FOLD:

There is a cycle to deception. First the ultimate deceiver, Satan, will plant deceptive lies in someone's mind; then that person begins believing them and becomes deceived; then they take on the role of a deceiver and begin to deceive others.

Many, many years ago my sister and brother-in-law had a young man in their youth group whose father had a job traveling; I can't remember if he was a trucker or salesman or exactly what his occupation was. This teen and his mother were faithful members of the church. They found out that the husband/father had been leading a double life for several years and had two families. He had a home with this particular wife and son; but also had a completely separate family in a different state -- a second wife and children with her. When she found out, the first wife (that had the teenage son) divorced him. I'm not sure what the outcome of their story was; if the son ever saw his father again or if the second wife ever found out about the double-life and stayed married to him, or exactly what happened.

I also know of another similar story where a man had a wife and three children; but also had a woman-friend and a separate life with her. His wife died and he ended up marrying the woman he had been having an affair with. But as time passed, they ended up going to church and receiving salvation and having a good life together.

I was recently talking to Jon and one of my sisters about these stories. All of our thoughts were along the same line: how could you live a double-life and deceive your "families" without messing up? It looks like you would occasionally slip up and mistakenly call the women by the wrong name, or call the kids by the wrong name, or say something to give yourself away. How would you file taxes; especially the man who was married to two different women and had children by them both? It was hard to wrap our minds around living with that much deception and having to constantly be on guard. It seems as if you would never really be at peace or happy or able to relax, because you would always have to remember your lies and be aware of which story belonged to which lifestyle.

There is a quote from a poem written by Sir Walter Scott that says, "Oh, what a tangled web we weave, when first we practice to deceive."

A lie often requires more and more lies to try and cover up. Life can become very complicated when people begin lying and deceiving others. It becomes a web that ensnares the one who is weaving it. There is never a good outcome for someone who has made a lifestyle of deceit.

Many times, that person never recognizes that they are the problem and that they are being deceptive. They always have someone else to blame or a reason why they did what they did or act like they do or why something happened. That's part of the entrapment. Satan is very clever when it comes to lies and deception and he is weaving his own web around individuals who are tangled up inside weaving their own deceptive web.

A young woman can dress promiscuously and flirt and give men the impression that she is an easy target and wants their attention; and she does as long as they are stroking her ego and spending money on her and giving her positive attention. But if they get the wrong impression about what she is offering and she decides that they're not someone that she would like to be in a relationship with, then she often can't seem to "understand" why they get upset with her; and rarely will take the blame that she deceived them by her words and actions. She gets involved with the wrong type of men over and over again, in and out of relationships. The web of deceit becomes so tangled that she will make the same decisions over and over again, with the same results, never learning and never taking responsibility or changing her lifestyle. The web of deceit that has her entangled, as well as the one that she weaves around others, becomes very ugly and a type of bondage.

Many times, circumstances may change where the deceiver becomes the one being deceived.

In Genesis chapters 25 through 27 we read the story of Jacob. Jacob and Esau were twin boys born to Isaac and Rebekah. Esau was born first and was Isaac's favorite. He was an outdoorsman and a hunter. He also would inherit the birthright of his father, since he was the first-born. Jacob, was his mama's favorite. He was quieter and stayed around home.

One day, Esau comes home tired and extremely hungry after a hunting trip and asked Jacob for a bowl of the soup that he was cooking. Jacob sees it as his opportunity, and says that he will give his brother something to eat in exchange for his birthright. Esau bargained away his future by deciding to give his brother his birthright for a bowl of soup. Jacob takes advantage of Esau's weakness -- his hunger and exhaustion -- and extracts from his brother a binding promise.

I read a quote that said, "Esau values stew more than his birthright, while Jacob values the birthright more than his own integrity."

Hebrews 12:16-17 (TPT) says, "Be careful that no one among you lives in immorality, becoming careless about God's blessings, like Esau who traded away his rights as the firstborn for a simple meal. And we know that later one when he wanted to inherit his father's blessing, he was turned away, even though he begged for it with bitter tears, for it was too late then to repent."

When Isaac was nearing the end of his life, he was bedridden and nearly blind. Rebekah overhears Isaac telling Esau to hunt some venison and cook it for him, and then he will receive the blessing of the firstborn before Isaac dies. She decides that this must not happen.

While Esau is gone hunting, Rebekah tell Jacob to trick his father into giving him the blessing instead of Esau. She tells him to cook a meal for his father, then to wear Esau's clothing when he went in to take the food to him. She told him to put goatskin pieces on his arms and neck to duplicate his brother's hairiness.

Jacob follows his mother's instructions and thus begins the deception. Isaac asks if he was really Esau, and Jacob answers, "I am." So Isaac blesses Jacob with a blessing that he had meant for Esau.

Later when Isaac is speaking to Esau, he calls his deceit. He said, "Your brother came deceitfully and took your blessing." Not only did Jacob received the birthright, but he also took Esau's blessing.

Jacob flees to the home of his uncle Laban, in fear of Esau. Upon his arrival, he falls in love with Laban's daughter, Rachel, and agrees to work seven year in exchange for her hand in marriage. After the wedding ceremony, he finds that his new father-in-law had deceived him and he had married the older sister, Leah, instead. Jacob has to work an additional seven years for Rachel. I don't know how old she was when Jacob met her, but she was 14 years older, before she actually became his wife.

Eventually, Jacob and his wives and children leave and head back to Canaan. After being gone for twenty years, he meets up with his brother, Esau, and the two embrace and reconcile.

The story ends well for Jacob, but he spent a lot of years paying the price for his deceit. He runs away from home and is estranged from his brother. He is deceived by his uncle and ends up marrying sisters. He did get the birthright and blessing from his father, but had to use deception to do so.

Just as his parents played favorites with him and his brother, which caused division and problems, Jacob did the same exact thing with his sons. He chose Joseph as his favorite son, which caused jealousies and Joseph being sold into slavery by his own brothers.

Deceit will never come to a good end. It is never a good idea. It is a tactic created by Satan, it will entrap people and they will become tangled in it's web, and will never end well. Only God can obliterate that web of deceit and bring about deliverance and freedom. It cannot be done by our own personal skills or willpower.

JON'S PERSPECTIVE:

I know some people believe kids can only lie if they have been taught how to. But I'm convinced that lying comes naturally. It usually starts with someone saying something like, "Whoever broke the lamp is in big trouble. Was it you?" Most kids will know that if they say "Yes", they will be in big trouble. But if they say "No", they won't be in trouble, at least not right away. I've known of several kids who would lie, and say "No", but then if they were asked if they were lying, they would say "Yes." Younger kids take to lying right away, but don't seem to understand committing to the lie.

It seems so natural to lie as a self defense. And as you grow older, you learn to commit to the lie, and tell more to back it up. And then we learn to lie to avoid hurting people's feelings. And we easily learn to lie to get what we want.

What is harder to learn is how to show the integrity to tell the truth, even when we know we'll get in big trouble. That's the thing that doesn't come naturally.

God knows the truth in every situation. Practice honesty by telling God your truth. You won't get into trouble for it. And there's no point in lying to Him. Even if it is angry, ugly, or humiliating, practice being blunt and honest with God. It can make it easier to be honest with others once you get used to it.

ON THE MENEWE:

Moist Banana Bread

(This is the best banana bread recipes I've ever used. I got it from a Mennonite cookbook.)

3/4 cup butter

2 teaspoons baking soda

3 cups sugar

2 teaspoons vanilla

3 eggs

1 (12 ounce container) sour cream

6 ripe bananas

4-1/2 cups flour

1/2 teaspoon salt

Cream butter and sugar together; add eggs, mashed bananas, sour cream, and vanilla and mix well. Then add salt, baking soda, and flour; mix well. Pour into 4 greased loaf pans. Bake at 300 for 1 hour. Freezes well.

THIS, THAT AND THE OTHER:

More church bulletin bloopers:

Next Sunday Mrs. Vinson will be soloist for the morning service. The pastor will then speak on "It's a Terrible Experience."

During the absence of our pastor, we enjoyed the rare privilege of hearing a good sermon from J.F. Stubbs.

The eighth-graders will be presenting Shakespeare's Hamlet in the church basement on Friday at 7 p.m. The congregation is invited to attend this tragedy.

Don't let worry kill you off -- let the church help.

Miss Charlene Mason sang "I Will Not Pass This Way Again" giving obvious pleasure to the congregation.

The church will host an evening of fine dining, superb entertainment, and gracious hostility.

Potluck supper: prayer and medication to follow.

THOUGHT TO PONDER:

Your value does not decrease based on someone's inability to see your worth. - Unknown

[Isn't it ironic that we like this quote, but don't know who wrote it?]

OUR HEARTFELT THANKS TO YOU:

We love you!

Loretta & Jon

http://www.graysheep.org