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 16, 2013

LIFE IN THE FOLD:

I'm sure we've all heard the saying of an individual having someone "follow them around like a little puppy dog". It may be a child that follows on the heels of a parent or grandparent, or a teenager that has a crush on someone and follows them wherever they go, etc.

This saying has taken on a whole new meaning after having Sammie these past almost 4 months. Sammie likes to be wherever we are, and hates it when we go somewhere and leave him at home alone. When I'm in the kitchen cooking or emptying the dishwasher, he will be right on my heels most times. If he's laying down napping on one of our recliners and I happen to get up to go to another room, he will jump down and follow right behind me. When we go upstairs, here he comes.

When he goes outside, he wants one of us with him. We've been working on trying to get him to go out alone, but haven't had a whole lot of success yet. He will generally stand on the step right outside the door until we cave and go out with him. Sometimes he will go out into the yard by himself, as long as we are standing where he can see us. But even though he may run (and chase squirrels or birds) or play, he will look back towards the porch every few seconds to make sure we're still there. Sometimes I step back inside the house to try and get him used to being outdoors alone, and when he sees that, he will come running as fast as he can and want back indoors where I'm at.

Sometimes in the evenings Sammie will lay on the couch between us, but even when he gets bored with us and gets down, he will usually go somewhere in the room where he can watch us. At night, he sleeps on the love seat in our bedroom where he can see us.

When I'm doing laundry, Sammie will either lay down on the floor and watch me (or else try to sneak a sock and run to the other room), or if he leaves the room he will come back every few minutes and check to make sure I'm still there.

It really confuses him when one of us is upstairs and the other one downstairs because he's not sure which one of us he's supposed to be with. Jon was not feeling well a while back so went to bed early a couple nights. Sammie wasn't sure if he needed to be downstairs where I was at, or if he needed to go to bed, too, so that he could be upstairs with Jon. He stayed downstairs with me for a while, then ran upstairs and laid down on the love seat.

After we've been gone and have left him at home alone for a while, when we walk in the door he gets so excited and will jump and jump at our feet. We can hardly walk across the room without tripping over him.

So having said all that, having Sammie and seeing how much he really does follow on our heels all day, every day, gives a whole new insight to the saying, "followed around like a puppy dog". He wants to be where we're at and will follow us wherever we go.

We have taught him to recognize our names and when we say, "Where's Jon?" or "Where's Loretta?" he will run to that person. Sammie recognizes our voice and will [generally] come when we call and obey. When the doorbell rings and someone comes that Sammie doesn't know, he will bark. If someone tries to pick him up or pet him that he's not acquainted with, he will come to me or Jon to be protected and held by us.

In John chapter ten, Jesus is speaking of sheep and gives the illustration of Him being the shepherd and us being the sheep. Verses 1-5 says, "I tell you the truth, the man who does not enter the sheep pen by the gate, but climbs in by some other way, is a thief and robber. The man who enters by the gate is the shepherd of his sheep. The watchman opens the gate for him, and the sheep listen to his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he has brought out all his own, he goes on ahead of them, and his sheep follow him because they know his voice. But they will not follow a stranger; in fact, they will run away from him because they do not recognize a stranger's voice."

A shepherd works to protect his flock from thieves coming in and stealing them away. He will speak to his sheep so that they will hear his voice, therefore, they will learn to recognize it when he calls for them. If someone else sneaks in and calls for them, they will not recognize the stranger's voice and will run away. But they build a trust with the shepherd, so will follow him wherever he leads them.

The people whom Jesus was speaking too didn't understand what He was saying to them, so He explained it to them (verses 7-10).

"I tell you the truth, I am the gate for the sheep. All who ever came before me were thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not listen to them. I am the gate; whoever enters through Me will be saved. He will come in and go out, and find pasture. The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full (or abundantly)."

Verse 14 says, "I am the good shepherd. I know my sheep and my sheep know me -- just as the Father knows me and I know the Father -- and I lay down my life for the sheep."

When we have a relationship with Jesus, He will speak to our heart and through His word so that we can learn His voice and recognize when He speaks. If a stranger tries to speak lies and untruths to us, we will not recognize the voice and run away.

Not only will we discern the voice of God in our heart, but we can have the peace and assurance that He is protecting and caring for us. In fact, Jesus gave His life for us, so that we wouldn't have to die in our sins and could have eternal life.

In John 12:26 Jesus is speaking and says, "If anyone serves Me, let him follow Me; and where I am there My servant will be also. If anyone serves Me, him My Father will honor."

We are called to follow Christ. We often follow Him only if it's convenient for us or somewhere we want to go. But we are called to trust Him and go wherever He leads. We are to "follow Him like a little puppy dog". The truth is, we should pursue His every step and desire to be wherever He is at all times.

Sammie is loyal to us, he trusts us to provide and care for him, and enjoys being with us on a consistent basis.

We should have that same attitude of commitment to Jesus. We should determine in our heart to be loyal to Him, trust Him to provide and care for us, and enjoy constantly being with Him.

JON'S PERSPECTIVE:

At first, Sammie didn't care who he was following around. After weeks with no one but us, he would mostly follow us, even if someone else was around. If someone else offered him a treat, though, we would lose him in an instant.

Now, he can still be lured away with a treat. But he's slower to go to someone else, even with a treat. Having that time with just the three of us has helped to train him to know and trust us, and to know the difference between us and other people.

Sometimes we need to have some time away from all the treats offered by the world, and get where we can spend time alone with Jesus, and our Heavenly Father. We don't necessarily need to be all alone. Loretta and I take a weekend once in a while to be together, but away from TV, away from home, away from our usual daily cares. We don't really practice Sabbath every 7 days, but it's like what a Sabbath is supposed to be.

If you have trouble hearing God's voice, or knowing it's Him, try taking a day or two without TV.

ON THE MENEWE:

Cheesy Potato and Ham Soup

6 potatoes, peeled and cubed

Onion, chopped

6-8 carrots, peeled and chopped

1/2 to 1 lb. Ham, small cubes or shredded

4 stalks celery, chopped

1/2 to 3/4 box Velveeta cheese

2 cups Chicken Broth

Salt and Pepper, to taste

In a large soup pan put potatoes and vegetables; cover with water and cook until getting soft. Add ham and Velveeta. Add in the chicken broth. Salt and pepper to taste. Simmer until Velveeta is melted. Add or decrease ingredients to amount you want to make; but leftovers reheat well.

THIS, THAT AND THE OTHER:

My oldest sister is the one who seldom gets her foot in her mouth or speaks without thinking; so when she does, it makes it quite humorous. Several years ago, one of my uncles passed away. Following the funeral at the church, the family were gathering at the cemetery for the graveside service. Close by my uncle's gravesite was a compost pile where the cemetery places old flowers, etc. Someone had apparently thrown a dead animal onto the pile, and it was smelling pretty rank. My sister was standing beside some of her sons (which made it worse because they will never ever forget and will repeat the story!), and without thinking she said, "Something stinks! It smells like something died!" To make matters worse, she made that comment just as they were taking the casket out of the hearse..... and my uncle's grandsons overheard. The Parton's have a great sense of humor, and hearing Joyce's comment cracked her boys and my uncle's grandsons up and they all had a good chuckle over it!!

THOUGHT TO PONDER:

I might look like I'm doing nothing, but in my head I'm quite busy! (author unknown)

OUR HEARTFELT THANKS TO YOU:

We love you!

Loretta & Jon

E-Mail: shepherd@grayengineers.com

http://www.graysheep.org