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

October 9, 2019

LIFE IN THE FOLD:

I babysit my nephew's 1-year old daughter. She is one of the most tenacious, determined little persons that I've ever seen. She has learned how to pull up by herself and "thinks" that she can stand alone, without hanging on. Over and over again she has pulled up, then let go..... while turning around to look at something, or trying to lean over and pick something up.... or wanting to walk alone. When I or someone hang onto her, she will often try to push our hands away. She has finally learned how to bend her knees and sit from a standing position, so doesn't fall over as much as she did in the beginning. She is filled with confidence, even though she has fallen many times. Although she may bump her head and cry, or become frustrated, she will determinedly turn around and do the same thing again.

She has not yet learned, "I can't!" I adore the fact that she doesn't see her limitations and is willing to try to do whatever she wants. In her mind, she doesn't know that she can't. Even when she falls and gets hurt, she continues getting back up and persevering; which in turn is making her stronger and more steady on her feet.

Sadly, there comes a time when we inadvertently begin thinking, "I can't" and stop trying new things. We fear failure, think we are incapable, have the mindset that we won't like something or can't do it so don't even try. As adults, we seldom outgrow or lose the "I can't" mentality; but it stays with us and often prevents us from new experiences that we may find out that we'd actually enjoy. It can even stagnate our growth as a christian.

Often we excuse or justify our choices by thinking, "It's just how life is.... it's my personality and how I am.... I can't help it that I feel like this....." and on and on. More times than not, we don't know whether we can or not, because we've never tried; or we tried one time and failed, so think we can't do something. We don't have the tenacity to get back up and try again.... and try again.... and try again. Fear often plays a large role in preventing us from doing something; whether it be fear of failure or fear of what someone might say.

When Jon and I were preparing for our trip to Singapore several years ago (work for him and pleasure for me), I researched ahead of time on what all there was to see and do while there. My first initial reaction was, "I don't think I can do that!" to some of the things that I saw. I had this internal argument with myself and finally decided that fear was not going to prevent me from experiencing new adventures. I knew that this would be the only time I'd ever have this opportunity and didn't want to return home with regrets; so decided that I was going to override fear and take advantage of everything I possibly could while there.

Therefore, while there Jon and I spent all of his free time sight-seeing and doing as much as we possibly could. There were a few things that I did that Jon was surprised about, thinking that I would be too afraid to try. I was so proud of myself for enjoying the adventure. One time when we got ready to do something, I knew if I hesitated that I could possibly talk myself out of it; so as soon as we arrived, I walked right in and did it before I could overthink the situation. I was nervous, but was so thrilled afterwards. We tried new foods, as well, and some were not very palatable and some were adventures in themselves; but we enjoyed the experience and were able to laugh about it. I can honestly say that I arrived home with no regrets.

There have been other times when I've allowed my "I can't" attitude to prevent me from doing things. I've allowed it to prevent me from being adventurous, prevented me from learning new things, prevented me from talking to people about my faith, prevented me from participating in activities.... and so many other things.

Granted, I understand that not everyone has the same talents and abilities and we all are very different. What may come easily to one, may be a struggle to another. And there may be times when we simply do not want to participate in an activity. What I'm speaking of is living a stagnate life because we think that we can't do or learn new things.

The "I can't" mentality will also hinder our spiritual growth. It will also prevent us from sharing the gospel or praying one-on-one for others; as well as limit our faith. I believe many times it also keeps us from seeing the magnitude of the power of God and believing Him for the impossible.

Galatians 6:9 says, "Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up."

If we truly want to be used in the kingdom of God, then we have to be tenacious in our faith and not give up. We have to be bold in sharing our testimonies and in showing the love of God to others. We each have a story to share, and there are people who need to hear what God has done in our lives. There are many who need someone to speak encouraging words and pray with them.

We can't see ourselves as being insignificant and incapable of sharing Jesus with others. If someone rejects or pushes us away, we can't take it personally and refuse to ever share the good news of what God can do in a person's life and the changes He can bring about in their situation. But we get up again.... and again.... and again.... and refuse to give up. Each time, we will become more and more strengthened, instead of growing weary. We are promised that we will reap a harvest if we do not give up!

JON'S PERSPECTIVE:

I've seen other people going through tough situations, and thought "I couldn't bear up that well. I think I'd crack." But I wonder if they would have thought the same thing. It turns out that when we get stuck into a situation, God also gives us the strength to get through it. We might have to hold His hand, or lean on His side, or even crawl up into His lap. But He will help us through it.

We don't have to be going through something tough to hold His hand, or to lean on His side, or even to crawl up into His lap. He invites us to in the good times, too.

ON THE MENEWE:

Crockpot Chicken Fajita Soup

1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts

2 cans cream of chicken soup

1 cup salsa

2 cups frozen corn

1 can black beans, drained and rinsed

1-1/2 cups water

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1/2 teaspoon dried cilantro

1 cup shredded cheddar cheese

Add chicken to the bottom of the crockpot.

In a medium sized mixing bowl mix cream of chicken soup, salsa, corn, black beans, water, cumin, and cilantro. Pour over top of chicken.

Cook on low for 4-6 hours.

Remove chicken and shred with two forks. Place back into the crockpot and add the shredded cheese. Continue cooking until cheese has melted; about 15 minutes.

Serve with your favorite toppings: tortilla chips/strips, sour cream, shredded cheese, sliced avocado

**This recipe serves approximately 4 people. Recipe can be doubled if needing to cook for a larger family or group.

THIS, THAT AND THE OTHER:

My great-niece, age 5, has her first loose tooth. She would like to lose it, but doesn't want anyone to touch or pull it. I think she's a little nervous that it may hurt when it comes out. Of course, she has heard of the tooth fairy leaving money underneath her pillow in exchange for the tooth.

She asked her grandma, "Are you the tooth fairy?" Her grandma told her no, she wasn't. Then pushing just a little further she asked, "Well..... is your daughter (her mom) the tooth fairy?" Her grandma told her that she couldn't answer that question.

THOUGHT TO PONDER:

You are free to choose, but you are not free from the consequence of your choice. - unknown

OUR HEARTFELT THANKS TO YOU:

We love you!

Loretta & Jon

http://www.graysheep.org