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

May 12, 2010

LIFE IN THE FOLD:

We have all heard the saying, "Out with the old and in with the new." Many times it's said referring to the beginning of a new year. The new year begins, whether we want it to or not, and we have no choice but to accept the passage of time. There are those who anticipate the beginning of a new year for differing reasons. Some may have had a wonderfully blessed year and they are anxiously anticipating more of the same; while others may have had a lot of turmoil and seemingly bad things occur in the old year and they're looking forward to a new one, hoping that things will turn around and be better.

But sometimes "out with the old and in with the new" refers to something wearing out or tearing up, and us needing to replace it with something new. Jon and I were given a set of sheets as a wedding gift. We really liked the feel of them, so ended up using them almost all the time, only taking them off to launder. So after using them night after night for almost five years, needless to say, the fabric wore thin. But we really didn't realize just how thin they were getting. One night, recently, we went to bed and were lying there reading when I moved my foot downwards. When I did, I felt my toe catch on something. I got up and pulled the covers back, and to my surprise the fitted sheet was absolutely worn to shreds! I hadn't noticed it a couple days earlier when I had changed the sheets on the bed. All I had to do was pick the sheet up and it literally shredded apart in three or four different places. We had to get up and change the sheets. The time had come to throw the worn sheets out, and get new ones.

Of course, my smart aleck husband had his own version of why the sheets were shredded in the area where my feet lie! His comment was, "See honey, I told you that your heels were rough! Now I have proof -- your heels ripped the sheets to shreds." What a funny man he is! Of course, washing them over and over again and sleeping on them night after night couldn't possibly have had anything to do with it.

As old and worn as the old sheets were, how silly it would have been for me to try and repair all the rips. As thin as the fabric had gotten, it would have been useless to try and sew patches on the shredded areas. The material wasn't strong enough, and it probably would have caused other worn places to begin tearing. The best solution was to throw them away and replace them with new ones.

Matthew 9:16 says, "No one sews a patch of unshrunk cloth on an old garment, for the patch will pull away from the garment, making the tear worse."

Years ago, I remember my mom patching tears in my dad's work pants. She had to use patches that were sturdy and would last on the worn out places. How foolish would it have been for her to use thin cotton fabric, that she used to make our summer dresses out of, as patches on heavy denim pants? How long would the patches have lasted? Not long! Plus I don't think Daddy would have appreciated having flowered material sewn on his pants as patches. Mama had to use heavy duty patches that were strong enough to hold when Daddy was out working. Instead of repairing the smaller ripped places, my mom would be adding to the problem if she used the wrong type of fabric and didn't repair it correctly.

If you got a nail in your tire and went to have it repaired, would you want them using a bicycle patch to cover the hole? No, you expect them to use something that is strong and made specifically for repairing car tires.

When I had my gallbladder removed the surgeon made four small incisions. Would it have been enough for him to just pull the skin back together and cover it up with a band-aid? No, he had to first staple the skin together so that the incision would grow back together and heal; then he put a band-aid over the top.

When you "sew a patch" or make a repair, you have to use the right technique in order for it to be done correctly. Otherwise, you'll end up adding to the original problem. Something worth fixing, is worth taking the time to do it right.

Patching something or making repairs is fine; we don't always have to replace broken things with something new. We've all had to have home and car repairs done. You don't run out and buy a new house because your roof leaks. You don't go out and buy a new car if you have a flat tire or your battery goes dead. You replaced what's broken and go on.

But there does come a time when you need to get rid of the old and replace it with something new. Clothes and shoes wear out and there comes a time when you need to get rid of them and get new ones (Jon). There comes a time when you're putting more money into a vehicle than it's worth, and you need to get something more reliable. New isn't always a bad thing, as long as you can afford it.

The Bible talks about getting rid of the old and taking on the new. We were all born sinners. Small children have no problem getting into things and disobeying. And they learn at a very early age what they can and can't get into, and they all have the tendency to go for the "no-no" things. They will crawl over to those very things, then turn around and look at you. So doing what we're not supposed to is not a problem for any of us.

But there does come an age where we have been taught right from wrong, and we have to make our own decisions on what we're going to do with that information. Daddy and Mommy aren't always going to be there to slap our hands and tell us "no-no". We have to make choices for ourselves. And when we go ahead and do things anyway, even though conscience is saying "no-no", we then have to live with the consequences of those decisions.

It may be taking up a bad habit; gossiping about someone and them finding out about it and being hurt, and maybe even severing a friendship; speeding and getting a ticket which goes on our record and hikes up our insurance rate, or even worse getting into an accident; acting or speaking out of hurt or anger; or any number of things. We think it's not a big deal, until something happens and either we or someone else ends up hurt.

Thankfully, there is consolation that even though we sin and mess up our lives, we don't have to live under guilt and condemnation. If we confess our sins, Jesus is faithful and just to forgive us of our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness or wickedness. We don't have to stay under the heavy burden of guilt that what we did was too bad or that we messed up too many times for God to love us and forgive us.

But when we come to Him and repent, God wipes the slate clean and gives us a new beginning. How cool is that?!?

2 Corinthians 5:17 says, "Therefore, if anyone (and anyone means you, me and everyone else in the world) is in Christ (meaning we've confessed their sins and accepted the forgiveness of Christ), he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all (and all means absolutely ALL) things have become new."

"Out with the old, and in with the new" takes on a whole different meaning for us when we've accepted Jesus as our Lord and Saviour. When we come to Jesus and confess our sins and ask for forgiveness, we become like a new person inside. Jesus takes His blood and covers up all the old sins and failures of our past. No longer is our heart black with sin. But once He applies His blood to our lives, our heart becomes white as snow. All the old nasty, ugly, filthy things are washed away. We become a new person. How awesome!

Jesus doesn't just throw a patch over the broken areas of our life, but he gives us a brand new beginning. He doesn't just repair the damage and hope for the best, but we become new creations. All the old sin and junk is in the past, and all things become new. Out with the old, and in with the new!

JON'S PERSPECTIVE:

Last Sunday, our preacher spoke very strongly against several sins. In our society, some of the things he was saying would be considered controversial. I was glad he didn't shy away from speaking the truth. But I wondered if he might alienate some members or guests.

The fact is, he was right to condemn the sin. He was talking about things that we shouldn't do. But there may have been people there who were doing the same things, or had done them in the past. He could have been reinforcing the guilt they probably already feel. They could easily feel like everyone around they was looking down on them.

But Jesus is quick to forgive our past, as long as we are willing to turn away. Jesus can forgive their worst sins. And the rest of us can't look down on them. It isn't that we can forgive them; it's that we don't have anything against them that needs forgiving.

If you or any friends are reluctant to go to church because of past sins, please go anyway. When you are ready, let Jesus wash your past away.

ON THE MENEWE:

Beef and Noodle Casserole

Shredded Roast Beef or Browned Ground Beef

2 cans Cream of Mushroom Soup

1 soup can of milk

1 small package egg noodles

1 cup shredded cheddar cheese

Cook egg noodles according to packing directions; drain. Add remaining ingredients to the noodles and pour into a casserole dish. Bake until cheese is melted in 350 oven; approximately 20-30 minutes. This is an easy and delicious way to use up leftover roast beef. For variations you can saute chopped onion and/or chopped celery in butter until tender, then add to mixture before baking.

LAMB TALES:

Jon and I, and his brother and sister-in-law, took his parents out to eat this past Sunday to celebrate Mothers Day/Fathers Day. While visiting, Jon's mom shared a story about one of her grandsons. When he was small, he was visiting their house and they were getting ready to go somewhere. He was anxious to leave, but she told him that first she needed to put some makeup on. She went into the bathroom to do so, and when she came out he looked up at her and said, "You don't look no better!" Oh the honesty of little kids!

THOUGHT TO PONDER:

For he who lacks these things (faith, virtue, knowledge, self-control, perseverance, godliness, brotherly kindness, love) is short-sighted, even to blindness, and has forgotten that he was cleansed from his old sins. 2 Peter 1: 9

OUR HEARTFELT THANKS TO YOU:

We love you!

Loretta & Jon

E-Mail: shepherd@grayengineers.com

http://www.graysheep.org