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

November 14, 2007

LIFE IN THE FOLD:

A few years back, I received the following and I would like to share it with you:

Put the Glass Down

A professor was giving a lecture to his students on stress management. He raised a glass of water and asked the audience, “How heavy do you think this glass of water is?” The students' answers ranged from 20g to 500g.

It does not matter on the absolute weight. It depends on how long you hold it. If I hold it a minute, it's okay. If I hold it for an hour, I will have an ache in my arm. If I hold it for a day, you will have to call an ambulance. It is the exact same weight, but the longer I hold it, the heavier it becomes. If we carry our burdens all the time, sooner or later, we will not be able to carry on, the burden becoming increasingly heavier. What you have to do is to put the glass down, rest for a while before holding it up again.”

We have to put down the burden periodically, so that we can be refreshed and are able to carry on. So before you return home from work tonight, put the burden of work down. Don't carry it back home. You can pick it up tomorrow.

Whatever burdens you are having now on your shoulders, let it down for a moment, a day, or even a week if you can. Pick it up again later when you have rested...... rest and relax. Life is short, enjoy it!!

FROM LORETTA:

There are burdens that we all must carry from time to time. It may be family difficulties, job stress, financial worries, or any number of things. But at times the burden can seem overwhelming and too heavy to carry. We may look at others and wonder why they seemingly have such an easy life while ours is filled with one problem after another. The truth is, some have burdens that are obvious to those around them, while others carry loads that may be more private and easily hidden.

We know that the Bible says that God will not put more on us than we can bear, but sometimes we wonder if He realizes how heavy our load really is. I believe that there are two kinds of burdens; the kind we put on ourselves, and those things that God allows in our lives.

Sometimes our load seems heavy, but it's due to us taking on more responsibilities than we should, being unable to say “No” when asked to do something, or by making things harder on ourselves than they really need to be. I used to have a real problem with this. I had a hard time refusing when asked to fill a position, and I ended up overworked and overstressed. At one time, I was the bookkeeping and teller supervisor at the bank where I worked, I did account payables, typed up the newsletter for our monthly staff meetings, filled in when someone was out, plus a really long list of other duties. At that same time, I was the secretary/treasurer at my church, taught Sunday School, played piano, took my turn as a door greeter, and various other things. Usually, I was the first one at church and unlocked and turned all the lights on, and was the last to leave because I had to take care of the offerings or ordering of supplies that anyone needed. I played piano and sang at funerals and weddings for people I knew and even a few I really didn't know, because I hated to say no. I was single during this time, so also had sole responsibility for taking care of my home.

After a long while of doing this, I became so stressed! It was difficult at times trying to schedule days off and vacation at work. Being off was almost not worthwhile, because when I got back there were problems and paperwork stacked up on my desk.

I also began dreading going to church. It became a drudgery to me, instead of something that I enjoyed and looked forward to. I felt like everyone wanted a piece of me, and I just didn't have anything to give anymore. I finally spoke to the man who was my pastor at that time, and told him that something was going to have to give. He got upset and told me that there wasn't anyone else to do the things that I was doing. I missed one Sunday to go visit a sister, and I got a lecture for not being there. Knowing that some changes had to be made, I finally had to take a stand and began letting go of some things. When I did, there were other people there to take them over. I had to decide what things God wanted me to do, and what things I was doing because I was being pressured. Was I carrying those burdens during those few years because God put them on me? No! I was carrying them because I had taken them upon myself.

I have found that saying “no” can be very freeing. I haven't quite reached the point where it's always easy to say, and I sometimes still give in when I really don't want to do something, but I am getting much better at it. My life has become less stressful and I am enjoying things much more.

On the other hand, we may sometimes be in situations where God is urging us to do something and we resist. Our resistance and stubbornness can be burdensome. It's like when a child is living in rebellion. They know what their father's desire is, they know the right thing to do, yet they are determined to go their own way. It not only causes the father sorrow, but the burden of guilt and rebellion is a heavy one for the wayward child to bear. But once the prodigal repents and returns home to their father, that load is lifted. It's the same with our Heavenly Father.

There may be times when God allows us to go through times of testing. Probably the greatest example of that is in the book of Job. God allowed Job to endure hardship and difficulties. He wasn't doing it to destroy Job or to make him fail, but to strengthen Job's faith and determination. Yes, Job went through periods of discouragement when he felt alone, and there were times when his wife urged him to curse God and die, and his friends offered very little comfort. Yet Job endured and was blessed more in the latter part of his life than he was in the former.

There was a story I once read, about a man who was complaining to God about how heavy the cross was, that he was having to carry. He was disgruntled because it seemed as if his load was heavier than those around him, and that God wasn't being fair. God told him that he could put down his cross and choose another one that seemed lighter and easier. The man began walking around, picking up other crosses to see if they fit him. They all felt too heavy or cumbersome and were more than he could carry. He finally found a cross that fit him, and told God that he would choose that one. God looked at him with love and said, “Son, that was the cross that I had already chosen for you.” The man realized that from the beginning, God had designed and chosen the one that was perfect for him, only he hadn't realized it. He picked it back up once again, realizing that God had already equipped him with what he needed to carry it.

If your life has become weary and burdensome, know that you can lean on God. You don't have to bear your burdens all alone. It may be time for you to lay them down and find rest. If you continue trying to carry them all by yourself, you will soon become overcome with despair and worry. They will weigh you down until you feel you can no longer go on. Just as the story stated in the beginning of this devotional, you can only hold a glass of water for so long before putting it down. The weight of the glass doesn't change, and the water will actually evaporate over time, yet the longer you hold it the heavier it feels. That is the same with your burdens.

Matthew 11:29,30 says, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”

Jesus is the great burden bearer. He will be there to help you each step you take. When you become too weary to go on, He will pick you up and carry you until you regain strength. Surrender your burdens today, and find the rest that you are in need of.

JON'S PERSPECTIVE:

Sometimes I feel dragged down with burdens. Right now, I have a huge number of projects and commitments. Are those burdens from Jesus? No. The only true burdens I carry now are to love God and others around me. Usually, that's a pretty light load. And unlike the water, it feels lighter the longer I carry it. (But it seems to get heavier if I drag it.)

I feel a desire and a calling to work on this website and other (far future) computer related ministries. But I don't feel that those are burdens I have to carry. I have an opportunity. I've picked up this burden because I choose to.

I've picked up a lot of other burdens that I don't need, too. I might go on carrying the extra burdens because some of them seem worth it. But it helps me to stop and see which burdens are real and which burdens are my own.

ON THE MENEWE:

Pumpkin Roll

3 eggs

2 tsp. cinnamon

1 cup sugar

1 tsp. ginger

2/3 cup pumpkin

½ tsp. nutmeg

1 tsp. baking powder

½ tsp. salt

1 tsp. lemon juice

¾ cup flour

Preheat oven to 350. Mix dry ingredients and set aside. Beat eggs and sugar at high speed for 5 minutes. Add pumpkin and lemon juice; fold in dry ingredients. Pour into 10x15-inch pan that has been lined with wax paper or greased and floured. Bake 15 minutes. As soon as taken from oven, put on wet cheesecloth and roll up, starting at narrow end of the cake.. (You can also turn out on a tea towel sprinkled with powdered sugar; then roll cake and towel up together.) Put in refrigerator to cool for 15 minutes. Unroll, take off cheesecloth or tea towel, and spread with filling. Re-roll and refrigerate until served.

Filling:

1 (8 oz.) cream cheese

1 cup powdered sugar

4 Tbsp. butter

½ tsp. vanilla

Beat ingredients together.

Slice roll in ½ inch slices when ready to serve.

RAM-BLING IDEAS:

My sister recently had a baby shower for her daughter-in-law, who is expecting her first baby. In lieu of playing party games, she bought a scrapbook and some scrapbooking supplies. She had each of the ladies at the shower decorate a page, using the babies name or a scripture or a saying such as, “Abigail is sweet”, or “Abagail is blessed”, etc. Each decorated page also has room on it for a picture of the baby. So the mother now has a keepsake from the baby shower, made by all the attendees, which she can use for a picture album after the babies birth.

For decorations, my sister used baby blankets and children's storybooks as the centerpieces on each table, which were all given to the mother following the shower.

The scrapbook/photo album could be done at a wedding shower, graduation party, or anniversary celebration. It allows everyone to participate and makes a nice keepsake.

LAUGHING LAMBS:

My oldest sister and brother-in-law pastored a church several years ago where a few family members attended. One particular service, my brother-in-law was praying for my mom's oldest brother, who hadn't been feeling well. Several members of the congregation were gathered around, joining them in prayer. When Nathan started praying, he lifted his hands. When his hands went up, his pants slid down! Nathan hurriedly grabbed them and pulled them back up. Those who saw, (my brother-in-law being one of them) continued praying, but had a hard time controlling their laughter. Thereafter, Nathan never wore waist pants again to church and would only wear overalls.

THOUGHT TO PONDER:

Take your burdens to the Lord, and leave them there.

We enjoy hearing from you! May each day be filled with blessings.

Loretta & Jon

E-Mail: shepherd@grayengineers.com

http://www.graysheep.org