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

June 6, 2018

LIFE IN THE FOLD:

This past Sunday was a special celebration for our church. In December 2014 we purchased our own property, instead of renting space from another church. This was a long-time dream of Pastor Jimmy, before he went to be with the Lord, as well as other members of the church. The property that we found had an older house, as well as a large metal building that had been used as a workshop.

The goal was to use the house as Sunday school rooms, office, and kids church; and to have the large building as our main sanctuary. The building needed to have a lot of remodeling done, as well as have bathrooms installed.

To shorten a long story, there were some details that we were told when we bought the property that didn't match up with the paperwork. For three-and-a-half years, we have had to hire architects, get the zoning straightened out, get city permits, and seemingly deal with one issue after another. We have been patient, been frustrated, cried, rejoiced, been taken advantage of, lied to, seen progress, progress stopped, hired workers not show up when they say, people working above and beyond; a whole spectrum of emotions and issues.

In addition to all of this, our pastor had a house fire and spent a year renting while having the entire interior of her home rebuilt. There were seven children that went from being foster to adopted by members of our church. A long-time member of our church passed away. We were heartbroken by a situation caused by the sinful decisions of a member. There were many personal issues that our church family dealt with during this time. We had times of victory and celebration, but also times of hardship and Satan trying to bring division and skew our focus.

But.... it came to pass!! We still have quite a bit of work left to do, but this past Sunday we were able to finally move into our new sanctuary. It was a time of rejoicing as we worshipped and thanked God for His blessings upon us. It was overwhelming to remember back to Pastor Jimmy's dream, and finally seeing it being fulfilled. Our hearts were overflowing as we remembered all that we had endured, and finally being able to worship in our new sanctuary.

Often, people are of the opinion that if God is in a situation or decision, then nothing wrong will ever go wrong and it will all be smooth with absolutely no bumps in the road. We look for a rose-strewn path that is cleared for us, with no obstacles. But that is often not the case. Sometimes God will place us in a situation and we have to work to accomplish the plan that He put us there for; but He will be with us, guiding us with wisdom, and strengthening us beyond what we can do within ourselves.

We knew that this was the property that God had led us to buy, but never dreamed that the process of getting permits would take so long; nor did we imagine that there would be so many roadblocks in our path or hardships that we would have to endure. At times, we had to make the conscious decision to tenaciously hold onto hope and not give up.

Over the past few months, we have had individuals from our church who have worked above and beyond what they thought they were capable of. Individuals who would work all day, then come in the evenings and work on the church; who would work all week at their job, then sacrifice their Saturdays to go work on the building. People who learn how to do new tasks, such as drywall mudding and sanding and texturizing, because we didn't have the money to pay to have it done professionally.

I have people make the comment that they must have missed God's will or misheard Him, because they are dealing with hardships or have tripped over bumps in the road. That isn't necessarily so! Sometimes God places us in a place where He wants to teach and test us. Other times, He may know that we need to come to a place where we fully trust Him and that only way that we will do so is by going through times of facing tough decisions or difficult circumstances. It doesn't mean that we've messed up or done something wrong or missed God. It just means that God is working. It may be that He loves us so much that He doesn't want to leave us in the same old place that we've always been, but wants us to grow and mature in our relationship with Him.

If God has made you a promise, don't despair and give up if it has not yet come to pass. Don't lose your faith and hope in God. Don't question if you've somehow failed, so God is punishing you or withholding His blessing. If there is something that needs dealt with, allow the Holy Spirit to show you what it is, and then respond. But don't allow Satan to fill you with guilt or self-loath or condemnation. God loves you and only wants His best for you!

Proverbs 3:5-6 says, "Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. Seek His will in all you do, and He will show you which path to take."

Whatever we are going through, we must trust in the Lord with all of our heart, not looking at the situation through our own eyes and understanding. But we need to seek God's will and acknowledge Him, submitting fully to Him, and allow Him to direct our path.

The birth of Jesus was prophesied hundreds of years before it happened. Israel went through times of repentance and blessing, then would backslide and begin worshipping idols and turn their back on God. Mankind had looked for the promised Messiah, hoping and praying that their generation would be the one who would welcome Him.

Finally, in Luke 2:1 we ready, "And it came to pass....." The long wait was over! The Messiah had been sent to earth to bring about redemption once and for all.

That is probably the one time that that passage is used that most people are familiar with. But it was used over and over again in the Old Testament. In the King James Version, the phrase, "It came to pass," is in the Bible 120 times.

I want to encourage you today, that if you are facing a situation that seems to be endless and you are losing hope, know that God has not forgotten you. There may be some bumps in the road and things may not always happen as you would like or had planned, but there will come that moment when you, too, will be able to say, "And it came to pass!"

JON'S PERSPECTIVE:

You can learn love by showing and receiving love. That's great. You learn a great virtue, and get to enjoy the process.

And learning to hope can be exciting, and fun. You get to look forward in great anticipation.

But patience is tough. The way to learn a little patience is to have to wait. Sure, you get to hope for something, but you also have to wait for it. Then, to learn great patience, you have to wait for a very long time for something you are eager for.

We've been taught quite a bit of patience. But maybe not enough, just yet. One of our last steps is to mud the walls, then spray texturing and then paint. But any time you skimp on the mudding process, the walls don't look great. So, we need just a little more patience right now.

But God has brought us to the brink of the promised sanctuary and church. It's great to finally be able to make use of it, and to feel that glimmer of hope come to reality.

ON THE MENEWE:

Creamed Spinach

1 stick butter

9 tablespoons flour

1/2 medium onion, finely diced (I use less)

3 cloves garlic, finely minced

2 cups milk

salt and pepper, to taste

1 pinch ground nutmeg

3 tablespoons butter

24 ounces baby spinach

Melt 1 stick of butter in a pot. Sprinkle in flour and whisk together. Cook over medium heat for five minutes or until golden brown. Throw in finely diced onion and garlic, cooking for another minute. Pour in milk, whisking constantly, and cook for another five minutes while you cook the spinach.

To cook spinach, melt 3 tablespoons butter in a separate pan. Add spinach in increments until all incorporated, and cook until wilted but not soggy, about 4-5 minutes.

Season the cream sauce with salt, pepper, and nutmeg. Add spinach to the cream sauce, stirring gently to combine. Serve immediately.

THIS, THAT AND THE OTHER:

By the time I was a kid, Table Rock Lake had been built. But our family never went to the lake to swim, but would always go to the creek. I don't think Mama knew how to swim, and Daddy only did a little. The creek was only about knee deep, so we'd go wading and splash around in the water, enough to get wet and cool off. This wasn't something that we did often, so was a treat when we did go. One of my mom's younger brothers lived across the highway from a creek for several years. When Janie and I would spend the night with a couple of his daughters during the summer, we would sometimes walk over to the creek to swim. Creek water is much colder than river or lake water! It will cool you off very quickly on a hot summer day!

THOUGHT TO PONDER:

If we allow others to tell us what we are and are not qualified to do,

we will limit what God wants to do with us. - Christine Caine

OUR HEARTFELT THANKS TO YOU:

We love you!

Loretta & Jon

http://www.graysheep.org