"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!'"
April 18, 2018
I have to be honest with you, there are some weeks when I sit down to write the devotional for the newsletter and the thoughts and scriptures easily come and I have it written in a short amount of time. I feel inspired and as if I have something worth sharing. Other weeks, I sit and stare at the computer screen, hoping that inspiration will come! I pray and read the Bible, and try to think of something to write.... and stare at the computer some more.... and listen to worship music and pray again.... then open my laptop, hoping for an inspired thought to come... and then start getting a tad nervous, because the deadline is coming up and I still haven't written anything! This is one of those latter weeks this week.
It's Monday, and Jon publishes our newsletter online every Tuesday evening. I know that tomorrow I will be babysitting all day; then Jon tutors our nephew in science in the evening. So I really need to get the newsletter finished today, so that Jon can read and edit it this evening. But it's as if I have no spiritual thought in my head and I cannot think of anything of great significance to write about.
So I'm going to share about the goodness of the Lord this week!
Many times, God blesses us and takes care of us in ways that we either fail to recognize or take for granted. I believe that there are even times when God does something of significance for us that we are not even aware of.
For instance, a few days ago one of my sisters asked another sister if one of her sons and his family were okay. They had been on her heart and she had felt burdened to pray for the them. As far as she knew, the mom thought everything was fine. But those prayers weren't wasted! God placed them on my sisters heart for a reason, and because of her prayers, a need may have been met that they were unaware of or protection from danger that they never knew about.
This past winter it seemed as if there were many people who were sick with the flu or various viruses. I took care of several sick kids (the children of my niece and nephew) during that time; as well as help out with my sister, when she was sick with the flu. Jon was also sick for a week, having to stay home from work, and I took care of him. But God protected my health, and I never one time got sick! There was one morning when my stomach felt upset, but I was never really sure if it was a touch of a virus or something I had eaten. Thank God, I never got sick with the flu or any of those viruses that so many people were sick with! It really was amazing that I was around so much sickness, yet never got sick myself. God protected my health, and I am so grateful! Also, each spring it seems as if I tend to get sinus infections due to allergies. This spring so far, I haven't even had a sniffle! Thank you, Jesus!
My mother-in-law has been having some issues with her eyes, and due to that, made the decision that she really shouldn't be driving herself, so decided to sell her car. There is a single lady who attends our church who was in desperate need of a dependable vehicle. She takes care of her cars and is a good steward of her finances, but never had the money to buy a decent vehicle. Out of the blue, she unexpectedly gets a call telling her about this car and a way that she can buy it, which was an answer to prayer for her. She was ecstatic! God provided for her needs, but has also been providing transportation for my mother-in-law. He's just good like that!!
Last week, Jon was honored by the owner of the company for which he works for 10 years of service. There have been times when we didn't know how the job was going to pan out and there have been many changes over these past ten years of Jon's employment; but it seems as if when work seems to be running out, God will bring in new jobs for this company. God has faithfully blessed Jon with a good relationship with the customers whom he serves. He has a good reputation for being knowledgeable in his field and has had customers ask specifically for him; and God has honored Jon for his honestly and integrity and showered His favor upon him. And bonus; upon his 10 years of employment, he moves from three to five weeks of paid vacation yearly!
Jon and I both seem to do quite a bit of driving. For Jon, it's driving back and forth to work and going to job sites. For me, it's driving to my niece's home to babysit and running errands. We drive to church twice a week, which is about a 25 minute drive. Generally, we go visit Jon's mom once a week. Every single day, we are on the road driving here and there. But neither of us have been involved in an accident, nor have we had car problems this year. We are so thankful for God's protection upon us each and every day!
I've mentioned several times about taking up sewing quilts about a year ago. I had been using my sister's sewing machine; she had two. I had wanted my own sewing machine, but they are expensive and I think Jon wanted to make sure I was going to stick with it before investing money in buying me my own! I really like the machine that I have been using that belongs to Janie, so from time to time would look on Amazon to check prices. Recently, I was looking once again, and found the exact same sewing machine for $200 less than I had ever seen it priced before. Jon agreed that it was a good time to go ahead and order it. So I now having my own sewing machine, as well as have a sewing room set up in my house so that I don't always have to drive to my sister's house whenever I want to sew. Plus, Jon is in the process (well, he has the supplies bought!) of making me a cutting table. I feel incredibly blessed!
There are times when we begin to feel as if everyone else is more blessed than we are. When that happens, it's generally because we have began focusing on what's wrong in our lives, not what's right. We may be focusing on lack of finances, health issues, home or car repairs, taxes or insurance coming due, problems going on in our community or state (oh, Oklahoma, you need a miracle!), remodeling projects at the church that seems to be unending and we see our finances for it diminishing (okay, so that one was for me), relationship issues, and so many other things that can get us depressed or side-tracked or worried. We can become so blinded by the negative, that we lose sight of the blessings that God pours out upon us daily.
If you are feeling weary, stressed, frustrated, depressed, or sad, take time to stop and think about the goodness of God. Think about what He has done and is doing for you. This isn't only something we do on Thanksgiving, but something that we can do daily. When we do, we will find our soul being refreshed. Over and over in the Psalms we are encouraged to give thanks to God. Let us allow this to be our mindset at all times and put this into continuous practice!
Psalm 75:1 (TPT) "God, our hearts spill over with praise to you! We overflow with thanks, for your name is the 'Near One.' All we want to talk about is your wonderful works!"
Psalm 100:4 (NLT) "Enter His gates with thanksgiving; go into His courts with praise. Give thanks to Him and praise His name."
Psalm 107:8 (TPT) "So lift your hands and thank God for His marvelous kindness and for all His miracles of mercy for those He loves."
Psalm 103:1-5 (NASB) "Bless the Lord, O my soul, and all that is within me, bless His holy name. Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget none of His benefits; Who pardons all your iniquities, Who heals all your diseases; Who redeems your life from the pit, Who crowns you with lovingkindness and compassion; Who satisfies your years with good things, so that your youth is renewed like the eagle."
Sometimes when someone asks how I'm doing, and I don't feel like "Okay" is an honest answer, I'll just say, "Well, I'm still breathing." It's honest without giving more of an answer than the person asking really wanted to hear.
It's good to focus on the blessings we receive frequently. And sometimes it can be hard to think of many. But if we start at the most basics, it turns out we have a lot to be grateful for. "I got to eat yesterday and today." "I had time to sit, rest, and watch a TV show last week." "I can still walk to the bathroom by myself."
I don't mean to think in terms of "At least I'm not as bad off as that guy." That isn't quite the same. Focusing on avoiding the negative isn't the same as focusing on positive.
Sour Cream Coffee Cake
1 yellow cake mix
1 cup sour cream
3/4 cup oil
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1/2 cup sugar
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 cup chopped pecans
Mix cake mix, oil, sugar, eggs, and sour cream together. Pour half of batter into a greased and floured bundt pan. Mix brown sugar, cinnamon, and pecans together; sprinkle over batter. Pour remaining cake batter evenly over the top. Bake at 350 for 1 hour. Can sprinkle powdered sugar over the top after the cake has cooled, if desired.
I recently read these stories "Out of the Mouths of Babes":
On the first day of school, a first-grader handed his teacher a note from his mother. The note read, "The opinions expressed by this child are not necessarily those of his parents!"
A little girl had just finished her first week of school. "I'm just wasting my time," she said to her mother. "I can't read, I can't write, and they won't let me talk!"
A little boy opened the big family Bible. He was fascinated as he fingered through the old pages. Suddenly, something fell out of the Bible. He picked up the object and looked at it. What he saw was an old leaf that had been pressed in between the pages. "Mama, look what I found," the boy called out. "What have you got there, dear?" With astonishment in the young boy's voice, he answered, "I think it's Adam's underwear!"
Compassion is never compassion until you cross the street and do something about it.
We love you!
Loretta & Jon