"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!'"
August 29, 2018
A week ago this past Sunday night, I had the weirdest dream. Jon and I had gone out for a late dinner with one of my sisters and some of her family after church on Sunday evening. When I awoke I told Jon, "I just had the strangest dream! No more late night eating for me!" For the next three or four days I would occasionally think about it, but my thought were more along the lines of why I would have dreamed about that particular person.
Around 4:30 AM on Friday morning I woke up and the Holy Spirit immediately brought that dream to mind and gave me the interpretation of what it had meant. I suddenly knew that it hadn't been a random "I ate too late" type of dream, but had been given to me by God.
I dreamt that I was in our family home where I had grown up. A few other people were there, too. But there was a man there who told me that he needed to have a private conversation with me, so we went to one of the back bedrooms. In my dream the man's name was David Letterman (who used to have a late night talk show) and that was supposed to be who he was. That's what I found odd, because I had never been a fan and had rarely even seen his show during those many years when it was on; and I definitely never had a crush on him or thought that he was nice-looking. The version of him in my dream was a much younger, better looking man.
In my dream, he was very seductive and passionate; telling me how beautiful I was and how much he loved me and wanted me. He wanted me to go away with him and marry him. He was very flattering. But I told him, "We have absolutely nothing in common! It would never work!" In my dream he wasn't a late night talk show host, but was connected to someone else whom I can't remember. He told me that he was very wealthy and would take really good care of me and that I could have whatever I wanted. He was being very persistent, touching me seductively and whispering words of flattery. He was offering me the moon! I told him, "No, I'm not interested. We are from two completely different worlds! We would never be happy because we have nothing in common with one another."
Early Friday morning when I was awakened, Holy Spirit gave me the immediate interpretation of that dream:
Satan wears many disguises and will try to present himself as someone that he's not.... just like David Letterman said that was who he was and it kind of looked like him (only a better version), but he was connected to someone else instead of his real career. Therefore, there are lies that we can catch Satan in if we are alert and observant! Satan will try to use seduction and appeal to our senses, offering things that look palatable and that appeal to our flesh. He whispers words of flattery. He will often offer us things that it seems that we will get no other way; and make it seem easy.... we can have it if we will only come away with him.... only we don't know that's who it is, unless we are rooted and grounded in our relationship with Jesus.
The truth is, we have absolutely nothing in common and are from two different worlds!! Satan will try to destroy relationships and families, drawing husbands and wives away from one another; often using sly methods.
Satan will often offer us things that may feel or seem that God is withholding from us.... good things.... things that would seem to make our life easier and much better.... even things that we may have been praying and believing for. But if we take the counterfeit, then we will miss out on experiencing God's true riches.
Satan entices and often will try to appeal to our ego, our flesh, our pride, whispering seductive words that flatter our senses. "Come away with me and I will give you your heart's desire! Everything you would ever want will be yours. I will take care of you and give you the world."
But if we give in, things turn ugly fast and we find ourselves in a huge mess! We find ourselves out of God's will and guilt-filled for not resisting temptation. We find that we had been deceived. The easy way is seldom the best way!
Satan will also often take situations that are difficult to understand, because we prayed and believed God for intervention and provision and just knew that a miracle was going to happen; but it seemingly didn't happen. Satan will slip in and will lie and try to persuade us that God doesn't truly care of understand; otherwise, He would have answered our prayers and honored our faith. When we are perhaps questioning why things happened as they did and not fully understanding why God hadn't intervened as we thought He would, the voice of Satan will try to entice us away from our faith.
Matthew 7:14-17 says, "But the gateway to life is very narrow and the road is difficult, and only a few ever find it. Beware of false prophets who come disguised as harmless sheep, but are really vicious wolves. You can identify them by their fruit, that is, by the way they act. Can you pick grapes from thorn-bushes, or figs from thistles? A good tree produces good fruit, and a bad tree produces bad fruit."
In Matthew 24:4, Jesus told them, "Watch out that no one deceives (or misleads) you."
1 Peter 5:8 says, "Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour."
We have to constantly stay alert and be vigilant! If not, Satan will attack and do his best to devour us. He can use others to mislead and deceive us, disguised as a harmless sheep. As in my dream, the man used flattery in order to entice me. He wasn't vicious or mean, but whispered sweet words that appealed to my flesh. That is the type of tactics that the devil uses to try to draw us away from the Father.
My reply to the man in my dream that it would never work, because we had absolutely nothing in common and were from two different worlds. That is so true! We have nothing in common with what Satan offers us. It may sound attractive at first and as if it's what we desire, but the truth is, all the devil has to offer are counterfeits and is never genuine. If we give in, it would never work and we'd never have peace and joy.
In John chapter 17, Jesus is talking to the Father. Verses 14-16 says, "I have given them your word. And the world hates them because they do not belong to the world, just as I do not belong to the world. I'm not asking you to take them out of the world, but to keep them safe from the evil one. They do not belong to this world any more than I do."
1 Peter 2:11 again verifies the fact that as children of God, we don't belong to this world. "Dear friends, I warn you as temporary residents and foreigners (some versions call us sojourners, pilgrims, strangers, aliens, and exiles) to keep away from worldly desires that wage war against your very souls."
May each of us strive to be always alert and guard our heart and mind, so that we aren't deceived. The Holy Spirit will give us insight and show us inconsistencies in Satan's attempts to sidetrack us and lead us away from what is good and right. He will also give us the boldness to resist Satan and tell him no... go away! We can stand firm in our faith, saying, "We have absolutely nothing in common! We are from two different worlds! I'm not interested!"
Satan seems to use the same tactics as advertisers. Of course, Satan has had much more experience at it, so is even more talented. I see one ad after another where the first 10 seconds they tell one mostly-truth after another, like "everyone gets tired of pillows that wear out" or "pillows keep going flat after just a few uses". Sometimes they phrase it more like questions, like "do you feel tired after a long day?" or "do you wake up in the night to use the bathroom?" I find myself answering "yes" over and over for that intro. After all, I do wake up in the night every time I use the bathroom (thankfully).
After that, they often start with the mostly-untruth that most people won't catch, like claiming a pillow feels nice and cool because it doesn't conduct heat (a coat doesn't conduct heat; that's why it isn't cool), and prove it by trying to catch it on fire (flammable and heat conductive have nothing to do with each other). Most people probably keep thinking "oh, okay".
Finally, many ads throw in the complete lies. You might not believe it, but it's legal the way most of them do it. "It's a great quality product" or "a $150 value for only $30". At that point, most people hopefully start to think "no, doesn't look that great to me" or "$150 value? To who!?" But as long as 1 in 10,000 buy it, it'll probably pay for the ad.
Satan uses a lot of truths. Many think that because Satan is the "father of lies", that he can't tell the truth. If that was the case, it'd be a lot easier to catch him. But he seems to find ways to tell a lot of truth with just one or two lies mixed in. We might start saying "true, true", and forget to watch for the big lie at the end.
Hissy Fit Dip
1 pound pork sausage
16 ounces sour cream
8 ounces cream cheese, softened
8 ounces Velveeta, cut into small cubes
4 ounces Muenster cheese, grated
2 tablespoons minced fresh chives
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon dried ground sage
Preheat oven to 350. Coat a 9x9 baking dish with non-stick cooking spray.
In a skillet cook the sausage, crumbling it as it cooks; drain. Allow to cool for 5 minutes.
Add the sausage and all the remaining ingredients to a medium bowl and stir until well blended. Transfer the mixture to the prepared baking dish, spreading it into an even layer.
Bake for 1 hour, or until bubbly and golden brown.
Serve warm with tortilla cheese, crackers, or veggies.
Note: This dip can be assembled in advance, up to one day, covered and refrigerated before baking. You may need to add 5 minutes to the baking time -- just keep an eye on it and bake until browned and bubbling.
We've all done silly things, often unintentionally. We've also inadvertently had things happen that were embarrassing. Life is made up of moments, and some are often funnier after the fact than they are when it is happening. A key is to learn to lighten up and laugh at ourselves. I've had my share of such moments!
This past Sunday I wore a new dress. It was fitted to the waist and then flared to the knees. One side the neck was rounded and the other side was v-neck and laced down about 6 inches. From looking at it, I thought the v-neck was the front, so that is how I wore it. On the way to church something was scratching my chest and when I looked I saw that the tag, which is always in the back, was sewn right there on the lining by where the dress laced up. Oops! Thankfully, it looked fine that way. But when I got home I turned it around and found that it did fit much better the other way. So I wore my dress backwards to church!
A couple years ago I was walking into Walmart. I was wearing a dress and flip-flops. The toe of my flip-flop caught on the edge of the sidewalk right by the entrance and I went flying.... stumbling until I finally fell flat on my face. I'm sure my dress tail was flying in the air and I have no idea what was or wasn't exposed! A lady with her baby in the cart saw the entire thing happen and she ran over to help. I jumped up, trying to pretend as if nothing had happened!
Years ago I had bought a new brassiere that had a front closure. I was up front at my home church playing piano, and we had a packed house of probably 125 people that Sunday. All of a sudden in the middle of worship, something felt wrong.... oh, so wrong! The clasp had come undone! I had to finish out playing piano, as if nothing were wrong, until the pastor began his sermon; then walk down the side aisle to the back of the sanctuary to the foyer, where the bathrooms were located. My new purchase went into the trash as soon as I got home!
One time my sister was in front of a Sunday school class before time to begin, chatting with one of the older men in the church. All of a sudden she felt something around her ankles and looked down to find that her slip had fallen all the way down. My cousin was walking out across the parking lot to a local convenience store in her home town, which is small where a lot of people know one another.... and is also located right by the main highway that runs through the town. The back of her skirt tail had got caught up in her underwear and she was mooning everyone! Someone saw her and told an uncle, who never let her forget about it and teased her often about the incident. When I was single, one of the men from my church who was on the worship team wore his wife's pants to church one Sunday morning.
Life happens! Laugh and don't take yourself too seriously!
Hardships often prepare ordinary people for an extraordinary destiny. - C.S. Lewis
We love you!
Loretta & Jon