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

January 6, 2010

LIFE IN THE FOLD:

When we think of taste, the meaning that is most associated with the word is, "The sensation of flavor perceived in the mouth and throat on contact with a substance." Or to put it more simply, the flavor we are aware of when we eat or drink something.

Many times when Jon and I go out to eat, I will order sweetened iced tea to drink. After my first sip, I will often tell Jon whether or not I think it's good tea. I like good iced tea! When we were in Singapore, we consistently had some of the best tea I've ever had. We concluded that it must be because they used fresh tea leaves and not the dried variety like we have here. Even their bottled tea tasted fresh and much different than what you buy in the stores here. I'm not usually a huge fan of flavored teas, but the lemon and peach teas they had were wonderful. The peach tea tasted like they'd taken a fresh peach and squirted juice directly into the tea. It was exceptionally good.

Jon is more apt to try new foods than I am when we go out to eat; although I am getting much better and more experimental than I used to be. When we were in Singapore, I did try several new foods. There were some places where chopsticks were all that were offered, and I even became fairly adept at using them; which isn't always easy when it's noodle dishes.

We were eating at a Food Hawkers Market and Jon ordered duck and noodles, and I ordered Thai beef and noodles. Jon's food was delivered first, and it was really good. I was excited to try mine when it came. I took one bite, and immediately felt as if my insides had been set on fire! Neither of us knew that Thai food was spicy. I'm not talking just moderately spicy, which I can handle. It was tears rolling down your cheeks, sweat popping out on your face, innards set on fire from you mouth to your belly kind of hot and spicy! The meat had a good flavor and it would have been delicious if it had been dialed back a few notches. I knew there was no way I could eat it. Jon can eat food a little spicier than me, so we traded bowls. But he even had sweat running down his face and his eyes were watering; and he couldn't eat very much of it. We ended up sharing the duck and noodles.

Another day, we were in Malay Village and were going to get something to eat at another Food Hawkers Market. We found a booth selling fried fritters. They looked really good, and we thought they were some type of fish or seafood inside. Jon ordered six fritters, and the lady gave us a variety of different flavors. We each took one out of the bag and took a bite, expecting to taste something really good. Boy, were we ever shocked! I honestly have to say, they were the nastiest tasting food I've ever had inside my mouth!! Neither one of us could eat them, and we ended up throwing them away. They were truly disgusting. We weren't sure whether or not we wanted to know what was inside. Jon later described them to a co-worker in Singapore and found out that it was some type of flavored bean curd inside them.

It's very surprising when you eat or drink something, expecting one thing and getting another. I'd much rather have happy surprises with my food!

Psalms 119:103 says, "How sweet are Your words to my taste, sweeter than honey to my mouth."

Have you ever heard someone say that a certain individual just left a bad taste in their mouth? It doesn't mean you bit that person and got a bad taste in your mouth. But it was words spoken or actions by that person that didn't sit quite so well with you.

But we can read the Word of God and it will leave a sweet taste in our mouth. It will leave us feeling sated and contented. It will leave us feeling as if we've just eaten honey.

Some seem to feel that reading God's Word is like eating a lemon. They think the Bible is full of so many do's and don'ts that it takes all the joy out of life. But it's all about perspective! If your heart isn't where it needs to be with God, and your carrying around a load of guilt and condemnation, then that probably is how it seems. But once you accept Jesus into your heart as Lord and Saviour, your perspective changes and you realize that what He writes is to keep you on the right path and to protect you.

It's kind of like a parent and a teenager. Most teens reach an age where they think they're mature and know it all. They're sure that they know much more than their parents do, and that their parents are old fuddy-duddy's who are behind the times and don't understand. What they don't realize, until they actually do mature and grow up, is that the rules their parents have is for their own good. The parents are trying to protect them and keep them safe; not prevent them from having a life. If only people would realize that the rules God has for us it to protect us and give us a real life worth living.

There's also another meaning for the word "taste". It can mean "A brief experience of something, conveying its basic character" or "to have experience of".

For instance, I grew up in the country and we lived on a dirt road. When I was probably 12-13 years old, my older sister would sometimes let me drive her car from our house to the end of the dirt road. It gave me a "taste" of what it was like to drive a car, and slowly got me used to handling a vehicle before getting out onto the highway. Much to my dad's dismay, she started letting me drive on the highway some when I turned 15. Before I got my drivers license and started driving on my own, I slowly got these tastes of what it would be like.

When Jon and I first started dating, we spent as much time together as we could. We got to know one another, and learned the other persons habits and personality, and got just a small "taste" of what it would be like to spend our lives together. Throughout the 13 months that we dated, our character was conveyed and we got a taste of what being married to one another would be like. Then after marriage, the "taste test" was over and done with, and we got to experience what living with each other 365 days a year was really like! And it's been awesome.

Psalms 34:8 says, "Oh taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the man who trusts in him!"

What does it mean to "taste and see that the Lord is good"? I believe it means that we experience the Lord. How do we experience the Lord? By having an encounter with Him. None of us will have a face to face encounter with Him until we get to Heaven. But we can experience a heart and mind encounter with God while on earth. We can experience God by reading His Word and seeing what He has to say to us. We experience and encounter God through prayer. We can experience God through attending church and hearing the sermons He gives to pastors for the congregation. In these ways we can "taste and see that the Lord is good."

Then once we see and acknowledge the goodness of God, then we realize that we can trust in Him. We can put our faith and confidence in Him.

Let us all "taste and see that the Lord is good!"

JON'S PERSPECTIVE:

Not too long ago, Loretta gave me a nice big glass of apple juice. I didn't get to drink it right away, but I did see the glass. And until I got to sit down and drink it, I started looking forward to it. I could almost taste the apple juice. When I finally had time, I sat down, and took a big swig of it. And I almost gagged. It was sour, and just plain wrong for apple juice. It was good for white grape juice. But for apple juice, it was horrible. The second swig was good. But that was because I knew it was grape juice.

What we receive from God is often similar. We (and mostly, I mean 'I') can easily over-think our future, and try to guess what should come. Then, we can start to expect what was recently just a speculation. But God usually has His own plan. Even if we don't see it for many years, God's plan for us is still very good. Even better than what we expect. But when it isn't what we expect, it can seem sour.

ON THE MENEWE:

Chicken Tortilla Soup

4 cups chicken broth (or water)

3 boneless chicken breast (or canned chicken)

1 can cream of chicken soup

1 can Rotel

1 cup milk

12 oz. Velveeta cheese

1/4 cup chopped onion

1 tsp. Garlic powder

1 tsp. Chili powder

1 tsp. Salt

1/2 tsp. Pepper

3 medium tortillas, torn or cut into small pieces

Boil chicken in broth or water until tender. Cut into bite sized pieces and return to broth. Add remaining ingredients, except tortillas. Lastly add tortilla pieces and boil until soft; about 15-20 minutes. Stir soup often while cooking to keep from scorching.

LAMB TALES:

When Jon's parents first got married, Diane had very little experience cooking. Stan told her that he liked mayonnaise on his sandwiches. So the next time she made him a sandwich she brought him a sandwich made out of two slices of bread with mayonnaise as the filling. Stan asked if they were out of lunchmeat. Diane's reply was, "Oh! You wanted meat on it, too?!?"

THOUGHT TO PONDER:

Pray like everything depends on God; work like everything depends on you.

OUR HEARTFELT THANKS TO YOU:

Our prayer for you is that 2010 will be filled with God's blessing.

We love you!

Loretta & Jon

E-Mail: shepherd@grayengineers.com

http://www.graysheep.org