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

August 1, 2012

LIFE IN THE FOLD:

Two of my nephew's wives have both recently written a post on Facebook that were very thought provoking. I think both post were excellent and I'd like to pass them on for you to contemplate.

The first comes from Nicole: "Sometimes I look around -- wherever it is that I am, but this usually happens when I'm away from home -- and I wonder to myself. 'Am I making a difference here? Am I just here for vacation -- or can I, do I, fulfill God's purposes for me in every situation?' It is easy to believe that vacations are a break from everything, but living for God has no pause button. I need to be mindful all the time."

Wow! That is an awesome observation. Upon reading it I had to ask myself, "Am I making a difference in my daily life, wherever I may be; at home, with my family, at the grocery store, on vacation, with my neighbors....?" I had to admit that I'm very likely not fulfilling God's purposes for me in every situation. I don't even know most of my neighbors very well, so it's doubtful that they even know that I'm a christian. When I'm at Walmart or the gas station or wherever it may be, I'm usually single-minded on doing what I am there for and getting in and out as quickly as possible. When we're on vacation, we have a loose agenda of what we want to do and see but don't think about God having a purpose for us.

I like what Nicole wrote, "It is easy to believe that vacations are a break from everything, but living for God has no pause button."

Jon and I have have DVR with our DISH network, and have got into the habit of recording any TV shows or movies we want to watch. The main reason being so we can fast forward through commercials, or pause what we're watching for bathroom breaks, or to stop the programming to go get something to drink. We've gotten so spoiled from using the DVR and being able to watch things at our convenience and not having to endure commercials and political ads, that we find ourselves reaching for the remote and trying to fast forward out of habit when we're watching live TV.

Sometimes we try to DVR through our relationship with God. We don't like having to go through the boring, tough, tedious times and want to fast forward. There are times when we want to just relax and enjoy ourselves and not go to church, pray, witness, work in the church, read our Bible, etc. and want to hit the pause button for a short period. But as Nicole said, "Living for God has no pause button."

I have read what Nicole wrote over and over and it makes me stop and think each time I do. I, too, need to be more mindful all the time.

The second comes from Kara after nursery duty on a Wednesday evening: "While in the nursery at church, one of the little ones said, 'My mom said you need to thank God everyday.' I told her, 'Your mom is right.' Then she asked, 'Do you?' I almost said yes, but then realized that I don't thank God like I should, so I said, 'Sometimes I forget'. She said, 'Yeah, me too. But we are only gonna be here for a few hours and then POOF! God is gonna come back for us!' Her little message really touched my heart."

Psalm 8:2 says, "From the lips of children and infants You have ordained praise." Jesus quotes this in Matthew 21:16. Verse 15 says, "But when the chief priests and the teachers of the law saw the wonderful things He did and the children shouting in the temple area, 'Hosanna to the Son of David,' they were indignant." Prior to this Jesus had just healed the blind and lame who came to him at the temple. Perhaps the children were responding to the miracles of healing they had just seen Jesus perform.

"Do you not hear what these children are saying?" they asked Him. "Yes," replied Jesus, "have you never read, 'From the lips of children and infants You have ordained praise?"

Those chief priests and teachers were annoyed that the children would dare shout praises to Jesus within the temple area. I'm sure they felt that those young boys and girls were being disrespectful, and may have even felt that they shouldn't even be inside the temple. That Jesus would actually defend those little ones gave these dignified officials yet another reason to hate Him and want Him destroyed.

We can often learn a lot from children, if we take the time to listen and observe. But too many times we're busy criticizing parents for allowing their kids to boisterously worship God or sing praises to Him, thinking they should silence them and put them in a another room of the church separate from the rest of the congregation. And let me say, I am not condemning Children's Church programs or other activities for the kids. Those are wonderful and allow children to be taught on their level. I also think there should be times when the kids join the adults and be in church together as a family. That's just my opinion. But when that happens, are we blessed when we hear kids sing out loudly or clapping or jumping up and down in their worship or do we cringe?

A few months ago, Jon and I visited my brother-in-law's and sister's church. We were blessed and happy to see the kids all gathered to one side of the platform beside my brother-in-law playing tambourines and drums. They were exuberant in their worship. It made my heart smile!

The little girl that asked my nephew's wife, "Do you thank God everyday?" wasn't trying to be nosy or put a guilt trip on Kara. Her mom had told her that this was something she should do every day, and she was curious if Kara did that also. When put on the spot, the immediate reaction was Kara to respond positively. But she thought about it and realized that she doesn't thank God like she should. Therefore, she was honest in her reply that sometimes she forgets.

How many of us would, without hesitation, immediately reply, "Yes, I thank God everyday," without putting any thought into our answer? But if we are truly honest with ourselves, how many of us actually take time to thank God daily? Too often we give pat answers without thinking about it and are not completely truthful in our quick replies. And we think that we have to be good examples to kids so too often give the expected answer, not the honest one.

When I read this story that Kara posted I had to ask myself, "Do you thank God everyday?" and had to honestly say that I don't. I may pray and ask God for things. I may even say a quick habitual thanks that is part of practiced prayer, such as, "Thank you for this food..." or "Thank you for this day..." But do I really sincerely thank God for His blessings upon my life every day? I have determined that I'm going to start doing so. God used this little child's question to not only touch my nephew's wife, but my heart also, and hopefully it will make you think.

JON'S PERSPECTIVE:

I've found myself annoyed by the distractions of kids in the Sunday Morning Service. A toddler running across the sanctuary can be pretty disruptive. But I decided that it's worth a few distractions to know the kids grow up seeing how adults worship God. And I think it's very important for kids to know how adults pray, grieve, love, and worship.

But then I started wondering: why would kids only see their parents worship in the Sunday Service? Shouldn't other people (like kids) see us worship at home? when we sit down to have a meal? or other times?

ON THE MENEWE:

Starbucks Iced Lemon Pound Cake Copycat Recipe

(I have not yet made this, but my nephew's wife has and she said that it is one of her new favorites.)

1 box yellow cake mix

4.3 ounce instant lemon pudding mix

1/2 cup vegetable oil

4 eggs

1/2 cup milk

8 ounces sour cream

6 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice

Preheat oven to 350 and spray 2 loaf pans generously with cooking spray. Place all ingredients in no particular order in a bowl; mix with an electric mixer until well combined, about 1 1/2 minutes. Divide cake batter between two prepared loaf pans, spreading evenly. Bake for 45-55 minutes, until golden brown and cooked through. Remove and let cool for 15 minutes before removing from pans.

Icing Recipe:

2 1/2 cups powdered sugar

3-4 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice

Place powdered sugar into a large bowl. Drizzle in lemon juice, stirring until smooth and thick. Should be a good drizzling consistency. Drizzle icing over cakes and let set for 20 minutes for a firm icing.

Note: You can make this same recipe into cupcakes, small loaves, or a layered cake. Adjust baking time accordingly.

THIS, THAT AND THE OTHER:

More Church Bloopers:

A new loudspeaker system has been installed in the church. It was given by one of our members in honor of his wife.

I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, even though he diets, yet shall he live.

There will not be any Woman Worth Watching this week.

Men's Prayer Breakfast: No charge, but your damnation will be gratefully appreciated.

If you choose to heave during the postlude, please do so quietly.

THOUGHT TO PONDER:

Comparison is the thief of joy. - Theodore Roosevelt

OUR HEARTFELT THANKS TO YOU:

We love you!

Loretta & Jon

E-Mail: shepherd@grayengineers.com

http://www.graysheep.org