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

February 26, 2020

LIFE IN THE FOLD:

Sometimes things just doesn't go as we have planned; but they can turn out even better than what we had in mind.

Last week I mentioned that we had a bid for replacing some of the siding and all of the facia on our home. We could see that the facia around the roofline was obviously rotted. We had cedar siding and could see that some of the pieces were obviously rotted, and that woodpeckers had feasted on some of the siding pieces. So we got a bid for replacing those pieces of rotted siding and the facia; then a week ago this past Friday they came to begin the work.

The carpenter soon realized that there was a much bigger issue, and that all of the cedar siding was rotted where it overlapped.... in addition to the woodpecker holes and other obvious rot on the wood. When he tried to pry the siding off of our house, the wood would crumble and fall apart.

So as the PBS kids show Super Why (I watch a lot of kids shows babysitting toddlers these past several years!) says, "We had a super big problem!"; which required a super big solution.

Most of the siding was original to the house, which is over fifty years old, which a few pieces being replaced many years ago. So it had lasted a good long while, but had ran its course and needed to be updated.

Jon and I discussed it, knew that we really didn't have a lot of options because it needed done, so gave the go ahead. With the new siding, there needed to be new underlayment installed underneath, new trim, new soffit, as well as the new facia; then it will finally get new paint. Needless to say, that increased the cost considerably from what we had initially thought it would be. But God provided the funds (as I wrote about last week), and it didn't put us in a financial bind or in debt to have the work done.

I am listening to the work being done on the outside of my home as I sit here writing this devotional.

We can already see the changes being made to the outside of our home and can see that in the end, it is going to look much more updated and beautiful than it was before. But those changes didn't come without a cost; nor are they coming without hard labor (in the cold temperatures some days) and time put in by the workers.

It wouldn't just happen without Jon and I paying the bill; nor would it happen with just the carpenters doing the work. It takes everyone working together to make this project happen.

Many times we want God to do something spectacular in our lives, but don't want to make the changes or pay a price or take the time or do the work to make it happen. We want to continue on as we are and God supernaturally make it happen in the blink of an eye. God is God and He can do that with no problem! But really, we grow and mature and appreciate it more when we have to go through the process. We don't like the process and what is required of us and the time it takes, but God sees that it's necessary to accomplish what needs to be done in our lives.

Through it all, we cannot give up. If Jon and I thought, "Oh, this is taking too long and costing us too much!"; then told the construction team to stop work on the house, our house would look unfinished and only be halfway completed. It would be ugly and the beauty never seen or appreciated. In fact, places where the siding has been removed and not yet replaced would rot and it would cause water damage to our home. Water would be able to leak inside and cause even more expensive damage to the interior. Then we'd really be in a mess!

Several months ago, Jon and I were sitting in the living room one evening when we heard an odd noise. We had no idea what it was, then it sounded like something crashing upstairs. Jon got up to look to see what had happened. In the bathroom at the end of the hallway upstairs (which we seldom use), the tank on back of the toilet had just suddenly cracked in half and broke. Water came spilling out, running all over the floor and leaking down onto our kitchen ceiling.

Had Jon and I said, "That's too much work to clean up! We don't want to mess with it!"; then it would have ended up causing even more damage to our kitchen ceiling and the flooring in the bathroom upstairs and who knows what. Instead, we both ran upstairs and shut the water off to that toilet and began cleaning up the mess. We had to replace the broken toilet and cover the stain that was on our kitchen ceiling.

When God begins working in our life, it sometimes seems like a long process and a lot of work and it's not always easy. We can't see the finished result and don't know exactly how things are going to turn out. We have to trust Him! We have to trust in His love and have faith that He always has our best interest at heart. He has a plan for our live that doesn't always coordinate with what we want. Life can take turns and twist that are much different from what we visualize and have planned for ourself.

Isaiah 64:8 says, "And yet, O Lord, you are our Father. We are the clay, and you are the potter. We are all formed by your hand."

In Jeremiah 18:1-9, the Lord told Jeremiah to go down to the potter's shop and He would speak to him there. So Jeremiah obeyed and found the potter working at his wheel. But the jar he was making did not turn out as he had hoped, so he crushed it into a lump of clay again and started over. The Lord gave Jeremiah this message: "O Israel, can I not do to you as this potter has done to his clay? As the clay is in the potter's hand, so are you in my hand."

Romans 9:21 says, "When a potter makes jars out of clay, doesn't he have a right to use the same lump of clay to make one jar for decoration and another to throw garbage into?" Another version says, "To make from the same lump one vessel for honor and another for common use?"

There is an older hymn that says, "Have thine own way, Lord; have thine own way. Thou art the potter, I am the clay. Mold me and make me after Thy will. While I am waiting, yielded and still."

Allowing God to mold and shape us, while we remain yielded and still, is not always easy! Seeing others seemingly being molded for honor, while we are being molded into a vessel for common use is not always easy. But the truth is, each vessel is important and has their place and are needed.

A trash can is a necessity! But so is a pretty jar that is used to hold beautiful things. All have their use and function, just as we all have our use and function in the body of Christ. Sometimes we may not want to conform to what the Master Potter is shaping us into and we try to resist, so He has to crush us into a lump of clay again so that we can be reshaped and molded according to His will.

Let yourself be shaped and molded, and something beautiful be made from your life. We don't want to live lives that are filled with rot; even hidden rot that may not be seen immediately by those around us. The rot in our siding was mostly hidden where the pieces overlapped; but it was still there. Just because it wasn't seen didn't make it go away or non-existent. And if left, it would have eventually caused other problems to our home.

Allow God to get rid of anything in your life that needs to taken away. It may take time, there may be a cost, and work may be required; but in the end, it will be more beautiful and precious than you can even imagine. Let's be moldable and allow our Father, the Potter, to shape us into the vessels that He wants us to be.

JON'S PERSPECTIVE:

Before we started the siding replacement, we had a house that looked pretty good from a distance. It was only when you got close that you could notice the woodpecker holes, peeling paint, and warped spots. Most areas looked pretty good, even close up. Even where it was rotting underneath, the paint held it together, and looked fairly good.

Right now, it looks terrible. The back is put back together, but unpainted. One end is little more than heavy plastic wrap over backer-board. The other end and most of the front is still original, but with parts hanging loose.

There would be no possible way to get from where we started to a completed house with new siding without tearing off the old, fixing the layers underneath, then putting up fresh (but unpainted) siding. It may be possible to only tear off small bits and replace them and paint them as we went, but it would take many times longer and more cost.

Similar is true of pottery. When a pot is fresh, and still wet, it isn't a big deal to punch it down and start over. But when it's been dried, it may have to be soaked for a long time, and possibly even ground up before it can be re-worked.

People are much the same. We might look good from a distance. We might even look good from some angles close up. Only close up, do the real character flaws show up. Makeup can cover some things, but not the deeper, flaws in ourselves.

But for God to really do a good remodel in us, He may have to tear off the siding first. And we may look terrible for a while till He can rebuild us.

ON THE MENEWE:

White Chili

3-4 chicken breasts, shredded

2 can white beans

1 tsp. Oregano

1 tsp. Cumin

1-2 cans chopped green chilies

1 Tbsp. Garlic salt

1 jar Alfredo sauce

8 oz. Mozzerra cheese

Boil chicken until tender; cool, then shred. An alternative to cooking the chicken is to place the thawed chicken in a 9x13 pan and season it with garlic salt on both sides; bake at 350 for 45 minutes until tender; shred. Or you could also use a rotisserie chicken. Mix all ingredients together in a crock pot (except cheese). Simmer all ingredients until heated thoroughly. Add cheese on top of chili before serving. Note: Sour cream, tortilla chips, and sliced jalapeno peppers are also good served on top, too. You could also eat with Mexican cornbread.

*** The recipe calls for 1 can of cream of chicken soup and 1 can of enchilada sauce which can be added when cooking, if desired.

THIS, THAT AND THE OTHER:

This past Saturday marked the 39th anniversary of my Mama passing from this life to eternity. Most times it feels like it was a lifetime ago, which it was over two-thirds of my lifetime that she's been gone. I miss her so much and my choice would have been for her to have been healed so that she could have been present to see me grow up and become an adult.... to reach that stage or not only being mother and daughter, but becoming friends.... of having her influence and wisdom and guidance and opinions throughout the years.... and so much more. But God chose a different plan for both of us. I'm so grateful that I had her for 15 years and for the gift of memories. I'm thankful for the influence that she had on my life during those few short years that we had together. But most of all, I'm beyond thankful (can't even think of a word big enough to describe how I feel!) for that blessed hope and promise that one day we will be together for all eternity and never know separation again!!

THOUGHT TO PONDER:

A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones. Proverbs 17:22

OUR HEARTFELT THANKS TO YOU:

We love you!

Loretta & Jon

http://www.graysheep.org