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

October 22, 2014

LIFE IN THE FOLD:

This week I'm going to talk about a subject that is nasty, smelly, and not something that is generally discussed. Don't get grossed out by the topic, but hang with me and hopefully we can learn something together. The subject is....... vomit. And yes, there are scriptures that speak of this topic!

A couple weeks ago, Jon and I were going to take a mini-vacation. Our original plans were that Jon would work until noon on Wednesday, I would go ahead and babysit Jovie that morning, then we would leave town by early afternoon. I had our bags packed, gas tank in the car filled, car washed, someone lined up to keep Sammie (our dog) for us, and everything ready to go by Tuesday evening. We went to bed that night excited and anticipating a fun trip.

But then something happened. I woke up around 4:30 that morning with an upset stomach.... and also, horrible diarrhea. I still had hopes that it was just something minor and I'd be feeling fine by noon. But as the morning progressed, so did my stomach issues. It turned into a full-blown nasty stomach virus. By afternoon, the vomiting part of the virus had hit me. I hadn't eaten all day. Jon stopped and get some 7-Up on his way home from work and I tried drinking a glassful, as well as eating a couple of Saltine crackers. The only other thing I had had all day was some water. I was unable to hold down the water, 7-Up, or crackers. To be honest, I don't handle throwing up very well; and that is putting it mildly. Jon and I have jokingly said that we would never have to be concerned about me ever being bulimic because of my hatred of throwing up. I will mentally try to force myself not to vomit; I will try to force myself to burp to keep from vomiting; I will lie as still as possible; I will do whatever I can to try to keep from throwing up.

After my gallbladder surgery, I was feeling fine, until I got up to dress so that I could go home. As soon as I started moving around, I started getting very nauseous. The nurse told me that I would probably feel better if I'd go ahead and throw up. To put it bluntly, when I throw up, it is generally very violent and I lose all bladder control -- and yes, I'm sure that is too much information! All I could think of was, "If I throw up, I'll pop every staple out that they put in the three small incisions from the surgery.... plus have an accident and wet my pants!" I told her that she didn't understand (okay, keep in mind that I'd just had surgery and been under anesthesia), I would not feel better if I threw up! They had already given me something for nausea prior to the surgery, but went ahead and gave me something else, as well as an IV drip, and in a few minutes I was fine..... without having to vomit.

A couple days ago, I was cleaning the kitchen and Sammie had just eaten. A few minutes later, he kept coming up beside me whining and whimpering, then would run towards the backdoor. I went over and let him outside, and he ran out into the yard and immediately started eating grass as fast as he could. In case you don't know this, which I didn't know until I became a dog owner and my sister who has owned a few dogs told me, when dogs feel sick, they will eat grass to make themselves throw up.

He ate and ate grass, then finally vomited -- a lot! Sammie made the most pitiful, heart-wrenching sound as he was emptying his stomach. He immediately started eating grass again right beside where he had just thrown up and I was a tad concerned that he would try and eat the vomited grass and purged stomach contents. I grabbed his pooper scooper and moved him to the side and scooped up the huge pile he had just expelled. He ate more grass and was in the middle of the backyard, but when he got ready to vomit again, he went back up beside the porch to the exact same spot as before. I was ready that time and scooped it up and threw it away as soon as he finished. I was thankful that I'd gotten rid of the first pile of vomit, since he chose to go back to that same place the second time.

You are probably wondering if I've lost it or am desperate for a topic or why I chose to write about something so disgusting and nasty. And I agree, vomit is disgusting and nasty and not a hot topic of conversation. But as distasteful as it is to read or talk about and as much as we dislike hearing details, God tells us that this is how He feels when someone refuses to committing their heart and life fully to Him -- He feels like vomiting them out of His mouth. People who are in and out of church, in and out of their relationship with Him, trying to ride the fence and hang onto the world but still be spiritual enough to make it to heaven, makes God feel ill enough to vomit.

Proverbs 26:11 (NLT) says, "As a dog returns to its vomit, so a fool repeats his foolishness."

Then in 2 Peter 2:19-22 (NLT), Peter uses this proverb. He writes, "They (false teachers) promise freedom, but they themselves are slaves of sin and corruption. For you are a slave to whatever controls you. And when people escape from wickedness of the world by knowing our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and then get tangled up and enslaved by sin again, they are worse off than before. It would be better if they had never known the way to righteousness than to know it and then reject the command they were given to live a holy life. They prove the truth of this proverb: 'A dog returns to its vomit.' And another says, 'A washed pig returns to the mud.'"

When I vomit, I clean it up immediately. I flush the toilet, wash out the sink, throw away the trash bag.... whatever it may be. If I throw up in a trash bag, I will tie it closed and take it out to the dumpster as soon as I can and get rid of it. I don't want it nearby to have to smell it or look at it or as a reminder; and I certainly don't want Jon to have to handle the bag or smell it. How gross and disgusting would it be if I reopened that bag with vomit in it and examined the contents and smelled of it and carried it around with me?! It would be even more repulsive if I carried it around with me and wanted other people to look at it and smell it!

But that is how people sometimes can be with sinful habits or lifestyles. They know right from wrong, they confess their sins and at that moment determine that they're going to live for Jesus and allow Him to be Lord of their life. But then time goes by and they keep the same friends who haven't repented and are still living lives of sin, and many times end up being persuaded back into their old lifestyle, instead of persuading their old friends to accept Christ. That doesn't mean that the people they used to hang out with are bad people, but they are still consumed by the same sinful habits because they have not yet received Jesus into their heart. They get discouraged or something happens that causes them to be depressed or they fail to keep their relationship with Jesus strong......... and they go back to their old habits and lifestyle. Peter says that those who have escaped a life of sin, then go back to it and become entangled by sin again, are worse off than someone who had never known the way of righteousness. They are the same as a dog that returns to its vomit.

If given a choice between being clean or rolling around in a pile of mud, a pig is going to choose the mud. It doesn't matter if it's a show pig that has won ribbons and been to fairs and competitions; it would rather live in a sty filled with a bunch of mud. You can clean it up and make it look as pretty as pig can look, but if it sees a pile of mud it's going to run to it as fast as it can and wallow in it.

That's how some are with sin. They can dress up, go to church, carry a Bible, read their Bible, say a prayer now and again -- but if given an opportunity they will choose sin over a life of holiness. They may try to be good for a short time, but then will run back to the pig sty and wallow in sin the first chance they get. Why? Because they never really fully committed themselves to following God. Or else, they tried living the christian life on their own, without daily prayer and communion with God, or without fellowship with other believers who could help and encourage them in their faith. They try to straddle the fence with one foot in the world and one foot in christianity, and that doesn't work for long. Something is going to pull you one way or the other; and sadly, sin wins out more than it should.

Too many times, people have things or habits in their life that they think they have to give up when they get saved. They are so focused on whether or not they'll be able to do so, that they neglect to realize that all Jesus asks of them is repentance and a heart that desires to follow Him. They don't have to clean up their life and get rid of their sin under their own strength. But once they accept Jesus into their heart and fully commit themselves to Him, He will help them make whatever changes need to be made.

As Christians, we need to be sure that we're not pointing fingers or telling people, "You know if you get saved, you're going to have to change and give up........" We need to be praying for salvation for those who need salvation, and allow Jesus to take care of any restoration and clean-up that's needed afterwards. We can do more harm than good if we make others feel that we are judging their sin or their habits or their lifestyle. The Holy Spirit can do a much better work at gently showing people what and how to change, than we ever could. Our job is to keep our own hearts clean and our focus on Jesus; and praying for those who aren't living committed lives to God, that they will realize that they need God before it's too late. We also need to make sure that we don't become lukewarm or stagnant in our own relationship with Jesus.

In Revelation 3:15-16 (NLT) Jesus is speaking and says, "I know all the things that you do, that you are neither hot nor cold. I wish that you were one or the other! But since you are like lukewarm water, neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth!" The NKJV says, "I will vomit you out of My mouth."

Jesus feels very strongly about those who are lukewarm christians. He says that He would rather you either be hot or cold; choose one life or the other. Of course, His desire is that all repent and choose a life of salvation. But if you're trying to stay in the middle and ride the fence without ever fully surrendering your life to Him, Jesus says that He will vomit you out of His mouth.

Verse 20 of that same chapter in Revelation tells us that Jesus is standing at the door (of each person's heart) and knocks. He doesn't just knock one time, then if we neglect or refuse to answer He goes away. But Jesus will repeatedly knock on the door of our heart. He goes on to say, "If you hear my voice and open the door, I will come in, and we will share a meal together as friends." Verse 21 says, "Those who are victorious will sit with me on my throne, just as I was victorious and sat with my Father on his throne."

No one has to choose a "dog's life" of returning to their sinful vomit over and over again. But through Jesus Christ, we can all be victorious over sin. It comes down to us each making that choice, and praying each and every day that God will help us and strengthen us to stay faithful to Him.

JON'S PERSPECTIVE:

Sammie threw up in the house later. He did it so quietly that neither of us knew what he had done. From behind him, it looked like he was just nibbling on some food he had dragged away from his bowl. But it turned out he was trying to eat up his vomit. It's hard to guess what was going on in that tiny mind of his. One guess is that he liked eating it the first time, so wanted to have it again. The other guess is that he thought he would be in trouble, so was trying to hide the evidence the only way he could. In hind-sight, we always act disappointed when he throws up, especially if it is on our bed. We mean to be sympathetic to our poor little puppy, but he might think it's disappointment in him.

Either way of thinking is like how we treat sin. Loretta already mentioned about returning to sin. We liked it fine the first time, and even though it had horrible consequences, we want to try it again, to see if it'll be better this time.

Sometimes when we sin, and have horrible consequences, we want to cover it up and hide it, even if it means repeating the sin, and risking making the consequences even worse. We shouldn't parade our sin around, and show everyone, but just like Sammie can rely on us to help clean up for him, and Loretta could let me help her clean up, we don't have to hide it from Jesus, and we don't have to hide it from those we trust most. And just like we were able to smell Sammie's vomit, Jesus and those close to us can tell when we're living in sin, whether they call us on it or not.

ON THE MENEWE:

Easy Chicken Tortilla Soup

Chicken, shredded

1 quart Chicken Broth

8- oz. Velveeta Cheese

1 can Rotel Tomatoes

1/4 Onion, chopped

1 can drained Corn (optional)

You can either cook 2-3 chicken breast, or use a couple cans of canned chicken, or buy a rotisserie chicken; shred the chicken or cut into bite-sized pieces. Heat the chicken broth in a large saucepan; add chicken. While that is heating, saute some onion in butter until soft; add to the broth mixture. Add the can of Rotel tomatoes and also the corn (can used canned corn or frozen). Heat the ingredients until hot. Add in Velveeta cheese and stir until melted. To serve, put soup in individual bowls; crunch up tortilla chips and put on top; can add a dollop of sour cream if desired.

THIS, THAT AND THE OTHER:

Two of my nephews have daughters who are 9 months apart in age. The two girls don't get to see one another very often, but are like two peas in a pod when they do. They both march to the beat of their own drum and are a mess when they are together. What one doesn't think of, the other will. This past weekend my sister preached at my brother-in-law's church and took her granddaughter with her so she could play with her cousin. The two girls decided that they wanted to get up on the stage at church on Sunday morning and sing a song together. My brother-in-law told them they could sing if they would practice first. They didn't want to do that. They wanted to make up the song as they went along! I have no idea how they thought that they would be able to sing a song together if they were going to make it up as they went. And knowing the two girls, no telling what the song would be about or how long it would end up being. My brother-in-law told the girls no, they couldn't sing! Probably for the best in that situation!!

THOUGHT TO PONDER:

Small deeds done are better than great deeds planned. - Peter Marshall

OUR HEARTFELT THANKS TO YOU:

We love you!

Loretta & Jon

http://www.graysheep.org