THE NEW EWE

(welcome)

"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

April 11, 2007

(flock)

LIFE IN THE SHEEP FOLD:

Last October, Jon and I decided to get away for the weekend and just drive around to look at all the trees and fall colors.  We chose the perfect day.  The weather was sunny and warm and the trees were absolutely beautiful.  We left on Saturday morning and drove to Wilburton, OK to Robbers Cave State Park.  We walked around and climbed over the huge boulders at Robbers Cave for a couple of hours.  After leaving there, we drove to Talihina, OK and took the Talimena Scenic Drive, which was fifty miles of breathtaking scenery.  The mountains  and brilliant colors of the trees were gorgeous.  We ended up in Mena, AR where we planned on spending the night.  It didn't take long for us to realize that we had make a huge mistake.  We had failed to call ahead and make  reservations.  It looked as if there were some type of motorcycle convention taking place, and there was not a vacancy to be found.  We drove all over the town and stopped at every single motel, only to find that no one had a room available.  By this time it was starting to get dark.  What had been a relaxing, perfect day suddenly changed.  We were getting tired, I needed to find a restroom and was hungry, and we were both weary from riding all day.  After driving around town for an hour or so, we started getting short with one another.  Neither of us were mad at the other, but aggravated at ourselves for not calling ahead and reserving a room.  But the end result was us taking out our frustration on one another.  Jon finally pulled into a Taco Bell so I could use the restroom and we could get something to eat.  He didn't even want to stay there for five minutes and eat, so we took our food with us and took off driving again.  We headed towards the next biggest town, which was several miles away.  Upon arrival, we found that an air show was in town, therefore, no rooms were available there either.  By that time, we both just wanted to go home.   

On the drive back to our house, we realized that because our plans had changed and things hadn't gone as we thought they would, we were letting that spoil what had been an otherwise perfect day.  Our problem of not finding a place to spend the night suddenly overshadowed everything we had seen and experienced the rest of the day.  Our focus was directed on the problem instead of the blessing.

In our lives, we may go along for a period of time where everything is going great.  Then all of a sudden something happens to disrupt our life, and we immediately start taking our frustrations out on God.  We momentarily forget how God has blessed us and our family.  We don't remember how He has provided for our every need.  We become so focused on the problem, that we no longer see God involved in our lives.  In other words, we perceive the problem as being bigger than God. 

Also, there may be times when we want something so badly, it's hard to accept when God's answer is no.  We run into problems, and try to finagle and work situations so we can get our way.  God may let us have our way, but the end result will not be satisfying or as pleasurable as we thought it would be. 

Although there are many issues that can get our focus off God and onto our problem, it seems like health and finances are two big ones. 

Jon and I by no means have a lot of money, but have fared okay financially since we have been married.  Last week we figured our taxes, and are ending up having to pay in both federal and state.  It is putting a bit of a strain on our checking account, and the tendency has been to panic, and try to figure out how we're going to manage.  I quit my job the end of last year, and both Jon and I had prayed about it and know that I did the right thing.  But now that we're faced with this time of financial testing, it is easy for me to start wondering if perhaps I should go out and look for another job.  Even though I know in my heart, that I am where God wants me and doing what He wants me to do, it is so easy to get my focus on the problem and start trying to figure out how I can fix it.  The verse, Philippians 4:19, keeps coming to mind, "And my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus."  I know that our need is a whole lot smaller than God's riches in glory.  When I get my eyes off the problem and onto God, the amount we owe in taxes doesn't seem so overwhelming and I am assured that He will provide and care for us.

If you are experiencing blessing right now, then don't forget to give God thanks.  If you are going through difficulties and your problems seem burdensome, give them to Jesus and begin focusing on Him instead.  I know that it's tough to do.  One of the easiest ways to get your eyes off your problems, is by counting your blessings.  Surely you can think of something!  A good family, a home and car, food, health, clothing, job, finances, a beautiful yard, a safe neighborhood, etc.

Read Psalms 23.  The Lord will be there when you're lying down in green pastures and everything is going well.  He will lead you beside still,quiet waters.  But He will also be there when you walk through the valley of the shadow of death.  You don't have to fear evil, for God is with you and will comfort you.  Even when you are in the presence of your enemies, He will prepare a table there for you.  God's goodness and mercy will follow you all the days of your life.

There are no times nor situations, when God is not right beside you, watching over and caring for you.  Redirect your focus and allow God to become bigger than what you're facing.


Jon's Perspective...

There is an interesting phenomenon in the Rockies.  At the boundary between the mountains and plains, you can look up and see these huge mountains.  But it turns out these are really only foothills.  The real mountains are behind the foothills.  And they are much, much bigger.  In fact, from the top of some mountains, you can see for hundreds of miles.  From there, the foothills seem small and insignificant. 

The Bible refers to our problems as mountains:  "...you will say to this mountain, 'Move from here to there,' and it will move" (Matthew 17:20). 

But it also refers to God as a mountain, Zion, or the Mountain of the Lord (Isaiah 2:3).  Just like Loretta wrote above, when we look at the foothills from below, they look huge and seem to block out the real mountains.


THOUGHT TO PONDER:

Magnifying the Lord doesn't make Him bigger, it makes your perspective bigger.


(happy sheep)

ON THE MENEWE:

Dirt Pudding

8 oz. cream cheese

1/2 stick margarine

1 cup powdered sugar

2 small boxes french vanilla instant pudding

3 1/2 cups milk

16 oz. Cool Whip

1 pkg. Oreo cookies

Let cream cheese soften.  Cream together with margarine and powdered sugar.  Set aside.

In another bowl combine the pudding, milk and Cool Whip.  Let stand a few minutes.

Combine this with the cream cheese mixture.

Crush the Oreo cookies.

Start with Oreo's and layer alternately with the pudding mixture, ending with the Oreo cookies.

Refrigerate several hours until good and firm.

(You can layer this in a large flower pot, just put saran wrap or something in the bottom of the pot if there is a hole.  Decorate the top with silk flowers and gummy worms.)


RAM-BLING IDEAS:

This is the time of year where people start thinking about gardening and yard work.  If you are looking for a honeysuckle to plant in your yard, last year Jon and I planted a Purple Leaf Honeysuckle (Lonicera Japonica 'Purpurea'), which is very pretty and we've had great success with.  It is a vigorous growing shrub-vine with rich purple-tinted, dark green leaves.  The foliage turns deep purple in winter.  It produces fragrant flowers, which are purple-red on the outside, white inside, turning to yellow.  We planted ours too late in the season last year to produce blooms and it is too early yet this year, so we have not actually seen what the flowers look like.  We have read where this particular honeysuckle starts flowering in mid-May.  It is a really pretty vine though, even when there are no flowers on it.  You can plant it in sun to shade.


(super-lamb)

LAUGHING LAMBS:

My sister and brother-in-law, Janie and Jimmy, recently returned from a mission trip to Nigeria in South Africa.  They traveled with a team of seven others and ministered in deaf schools while there.  One evening, Janie, Jimmy, and another man on the team visited an African church, where Jimmy preached.  At the end of the service the pastor said, "Now we are going to do some of our music and show you how we worship God."  They had drums playing while they danced and sang.  When they worship God, they worship Him with their whole body.  One of the ladies came over and started showing Janie the dance steps.  Jimmy was standing in front, watching them, and trying to follow what they were doing.  The other man from the team went up front and starting playing one of the drums.  Finally, Jimmy said, "Janie, I don't know what I'm supposed to do.  Am I supposed to be following you?"  Janie told him no, he was supposed to be following the men, who do a different dance than the women do.  They had so much fun while they were there.  Afterwards, Janie found out that when the man, who was with them, went up front to play the drums, he had sat his video camera on a table and left it running.  She was standing directly in front of the camera.  It was only about three feet away from her backside.  One of the steps in the dance the women do, is to bend down and shake your hips.  Needless to say, Janie's whole "African dance" experience was caught on tape. 


(I love ewe)

May your week be blessed and filled with all the very best that God has for you.

Loretta & Jon

www.graysheep.org

E-Mail: shepherd@grayengineers.com

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