"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 21, 2019
Have you ever taken a walk in the woods and got burrs stuck to you? They easily stick onto your shoes, socks, and pants; and are not easy to remove. About the time you think they are all pulled off, you will look down and see more. They tend to get buried into your socks and shoestrings, and can be time-consuming to get rid of. At times, I've thought I had them all taken out of my socks and washed them, only to find that the next time I wear them there is a burr buried in the fabric and it will scratch my foot.
When walking through a wooded overgrown area, none of us intentionally thinks, "I hope those little sticker burrs get all over me so I can pick them all off later; it will give me something to do!" But no matter how careful we are, they tend to attach themselves to us. And if one gets buried inside our sock, it can cause us discomfort later when we wear them and try to walk.
We have an area behind our church that tends to get overgrown with weeds and vines. Jon has done some weed-eating back there from time to time, and will always end up covered in those sneaky little burrs. In fact, one time his socks were so covered, I just threw them in the trash. I would rather buy him a new pair of socks and not have to pick out burrs.
Sometimes things can unintentionally attach themselves to us and can later cause us discomfort and rub a sore place on our heart. We may not always realize that we took on words or actions and allowed it to attach itself to us; and the affect that it had on us -- sometimes lasting for many years.
I'm going to give you a personal example. I have struggled with my weight since I was a teenager. From comments made throughout the years by numerous people, I began to think that since I was overweight, then that must mean that I'm a glutton. I mean, if I weren't a glutton then I'd be slim and trim. People sometimes made me feel as if they judged me to be a glutton due to my size; so if that is how people viewed me, then it must be true. Their words attached themselves to me and made me think of myself as a glutton.
For many years, I repented and cried and prayed for deliverance from gluttony. But God finally showed me something: I am not a glutton! That is not how He sees me and not how He thinks of me. That is not who or what I am. I had allowed this title to attach itself to me, to the point of thinking that it must be true; I must be a glutton.
The definition of a glutton is: an excessively greedy eater. That's not what I am. Regardless of what may be perceived by my size, the truth is, I'm not a gluttonous overeater. In fact, most days I only eat two meals a day... I very rarely eat second helpings... I rarely snack between meals... I drink a lot of water... I seldom make desserts for me and Jon. I may not always make the healthiest choices, but I'm no glutton.
How often do we allow the opinion of others to affect how we perceive ourselves? Someone makes statements and judgments that a person is not good at something, so they begin thinking that and won't even try it. "I can't do that!," is their response and attitude, so they go through life thinking a certain way about themselves that may very well not be true.
This carries over to people's perception of living the christian life many times. "It's too hard... too much is expected of me... I can never be good enough... I've tried before and failed." They think that others have certain expectations of them and they can't live up to them, so they don't even try; or half-heartedly put forth an effort.
The truth is, we need to see ourselves as God sees us and stop allowing the negative words of others attach themselves to us. We need to care more about God's perception of us, and less about what mankind thinks.
We also need to stop judging our present and future according to our past deeds; and don't do that to others. Just because a particular sin was attached to us in the past doesn't mean that it will always have a stronghold on us. When we repent of it, it's broken off from us. The lies, strongholds, shame, condemnation are broken off from us and cannot hold us in bondage any longer.
2 Corinthians 5:17 says, "If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has gone, the new has come."
Really, it doesn't matter what other people say about us or our past. Their words and opinions and judgements should never attach themselves to us, making us feel inferior or unworthy or guilty or whatever the case may be. What Jesus says about us is first and foremost the only thing that matters. Pleasing Him and being the person whom He created us to be is what should be priority over everything.
Perhaps we need to de-burr ourselves and get rid of anything negative that has attached itself to us. That's a heavy load to carry; as well as unnecessary. Ask the Holy Spirit to show you things that you are carrying around that have attached itself to you. Then ask God to remove them and set you free! Let's lighten our loads and allow God to show us how He sees us; then to begin to see ourselves the same.
Attaching the label "glutton" to someone wouldn't be right, even if it were true. But not only is Loretta not a glutton, she doesn't even eat all that much in the 2 meals she eats. In fact, most meals, she eats less than I do. But that didn't stop the label from getting stuck for years.
When I finished working through the weeds, I picked off a lot of the burrs I could see. I had to get Loretta to pick off more on my back. It took both of us to get them all.
In the same way, some of those labels that get stuck on us take more than one to get it off. You might need help finding exactly where it is, and getting hold of it. Together, you can work out the root, and pull it loose.
Fresh Corn Casserole
8 ears fresh corn
2/3 cup heavy cream
3 tablespoons salted butter
1/2 teaspoon salt, to taste
ground pepper, to taste
Remove the corn from the husks. In a large, deep bowl, slice off the kernels of corn. With the dull side of the knife (or a regular dinner knife), press and scrape the cob all the way down to remove all the bits of kernel and creamy milk inside.
Add heavy cream, salt, pepper, and butter to the corn; mix well.
Pour mixture into a banking dish. Bake at 350 for 30-45 minutes or until thoroughly warmed through. Don't overcook or the cream will dry out and the corn won't be crunchy.
I had been feeling impressed that there was something that God was leading me to do, but wasn't sure exactly what. Last week I received clarity on what that was. If you are on Facebook, I have started a new page entitled "Praying For Ewe". It is a place where I can offer encouragement; as well as a way for individuals to contact me if they have a prayer need. I have been amazed at the response I've already had -- people "liking" my page, as well as reaching out to me for prayer. If you have not done so, I invite you to "like" my page, and feel free to recommend it to others.
In Christ, your past is settled; your present is covered; and your future is secured. - unknown
We love you!
Loretta & Jon