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 28, 2015

LIFE IN THE FOLD:

There is a very big difference between knowing someone personally and knowing about them. I can tell you facts about various people, without having ever met them, but that doesn't mean that I really know them. Most of us can list off facts about our favorite actors/actresses, TV personalities, or athletes; but that doesn't mean that we really know them.

For example: One of my favorite cooking shows to watch is "The Pioneer Woman". Every few days I go onto her website and read her blogs, look at any new recipes she has posted, look for giveaways that she sometimes has, etc. I can tell you that her name is Ree Drummond. She calls her husband "Marlboro Man", because he reminds her of the man that used to be the Marlboro man in the cigarette ads. She and her husband live in Pawhuska, OK on a cattle ranch, which has been in her husband's family for many, many years. Her husband and his brother, Tim, divided the ranch when their dad turned it over to them, not because they didn't get along, but because they never wanted there to be any problems down the road between their kids when they became adults and perhaps took over the ranch. Ree has a weekly cooking show on the Food Network; she recently released her 4th cookbook; and she also released a line of cookware/dishes last month which can be bought at Walmart. She and her husband have four children -- two girls and two boys -- and their oldest daughter is in her first year of college at Texas A&M. Ree home-schools her children because of the distance between the ranch and the public school in town; and they belong to a home-school coop in Tulsa. Her dad is a doctor in Bartlesville.... the family attends church in Pawhuska.... they periodically take ski trips to Vail, Colorado.... they have a dog named, Charlie.... I could go on and on for a while.

As you can see, I know a lot of facts about this woman! I can tell you a whole lot about her, but since I have never met her or spent time with her, I really don't know her. Everything I know about her is from reading her blogs or watching her TV show.

Sometimes we may feel like we know someone because of the knowledge we may have of them. But there is a vast difference between having a personal relationship with them and knowing facts about them.

I got to know Jon pretty well over the thirteen months that we dated. I thought I knew him very well when I married him in June of 2005. I found out after we got married and were living together on a daily basis that I had a few more things to learn about him! It's different dating someone and spending a few hours with them 3-4 times a week, then it is living with them every single day and having them in the same house with you 15-16 hours a day. Now, I can say that I probably know Jon better than anyone else knows him. But that only came through us talking and spending time with one another and building a strong relationship.

There are a lot of people who believe that they "know" God, because they know about Him. Sadly, they never learn the difference between having an intimate, personal relationship with Him and knowing facts about Him.

Most people can tell you that God created heaven and earth in six days, and rested on the seventh day. They know that God sent His only Son, Jesus, to earth as a baby to die for our sins. They know that Jesus was the earthly son of Mary and Joseph and that He was born in Bethlehem. They know that Joseph was a carpenter by trade. Most know that Jesus started His ministry at the age of 30, had twelve disciples who traveled and ministered with Him, and only ministered for three years. They know about the torture, crucifixion, death, and resurrection of Jesus; and that He then ascended back to heaven. They know that there is forgiveness for sin when we repent. They know about heaven and they know about eternity. I daresay that pretty much everyone knows about the love of God, therefore, assume that His love is unconditional and they can live how they want and that love will never be severed.

Let me give you an example that hopefully will clarify the point I'm trying desperately to make:

I have already written about how I have a deep, strong relationship with Jon and have spent time with him, therefore, I truly know him. I know his likes and dislikes, what makes him happy and what ticks him off, and that he is not a picky eater except that he hates any green veggies. I know Jon's dreams and goals and what activities he enjoys doing in his free time. I honestly can't think of anything about him that I don't know. If I didn't know, I'd ask!

On the other hand, I don't know those things about Jon's siblings. Jon's sister lives close to Houston, TX so we don't get to see her very often; and when we do see her, it is for limited time and there are generally other people around. We see Jon's brother more often, but again, there is generally a purpose in the time we spend together. I honestly don't know them nearly as well as I do Jon or his parents.

I know that Gayla was a girl scout leader for many years.... that she seems to enjoy taking classes to learn new things.... that she enjoys making things.... that she stays busy most of the time.... that she and her husband teach a Sunday School class for kids.... she likes to eat sushi (like Jon and Ken).... she likes to read.... she is deeply devoted to her kids and is a good mom.... she graduated from TU with a degree to teach deaf education, but gave up that career when she married to become a housewife (and later a mom).... she is smart and has kind of a quirky sense of humor and likes puns and jokes (takes this more after her dad)....

I know a little more about Ken because I've been around him more often: I know that he owns his own business.... that he enjoys riding his horse.... that the cool, old house he owns once belonged to Will Rogers' sister.... that he likes it when I make him homemade bread -- especially banana nut bread.... that he and Jon share a lot of the same mannerism and sense of humor.... that he likes to stay close to home and rarely leaves Chelsea, OK.... that he doesn't fold his laundry but wears his clothes straight from the dryer.... that he has a tender heart.... that he is very smart.... that he loves his kids and grandkids.... that at his business he has made parts that are were the space shuttle and are on the international space station.... that he likes to watch Dr. Who and Mystery Science Theater (like Jon!).... he has a dog named "Black Dog" (it's a black dog and he didn't want to keep it, so never gave it a name).... when we go out to eat breakfast with his mom to go ahead and take the grits that comes with my meal and give them to him to eat with his eggs.... we both graduated in 1983 and he is exactly 7 months older than I am -- and his birthday is January 1st which was the same day as my dad's was.....

The thing is, even though I know about Gayla and Ken fairly well, I don't really have a close, intimate relationship with them. I don't know their dreams or goals or if they have anything on their bucket list that they'd really like to do someday. I don't know if they have a favorite food or if there are foods that they really don't care for. I don't know how they spend their free time or what their favorite activity is. I don't know what pushes their buttons and upsets them. I also don't know what makes them really, really happy. I don't know what their quirks are; nor do I know their pet-peeves... or whether or not they have any. Although I do know things about them, I don't really know them in a close personal way.

That's how many people are with God. They know facts and can tell you all kinds of things about Him, yet they've never cultivated their personal relationship with Him, so are missing out on having a deep, intimate relationship with God. Many also think because they know who God is and know things about Him, then they know Him. They are deceived into thinking that is enough.

Matthew 7:21-23 says, "Not everyone who calls out to me, 'Lord! Lord!' will enter the Kingdom of Heaven. Only those who actually do the will of my Father in heaven will enter. On judgment day many will say to me, 'Lord! Lord! We prophesied in your name and cast out demons in your name and performed many miracles in your name.' But I will reply, 'I never knew you. Get away from me, you who break God's law.'"

(Luke 13:24-27): "He replied, 'Work hard to enter the narrow door to God's Kingdom, for many will try to enter but will fail. When the master of the house has locked the door, it will be too late. You will stand outside knowing and pleading, 'Lord, open the door for us!' But He will reply, 'I don't know you or where you come from.' Then you will say, 'But we ate and drank with you, and you taught in our streets.' And He will reply, 'I tell you, I don't know you or where you come from. Get away from me, all you who do evil.'"

It's easy to read those verses and think, "I'm not breaking Gods' law or doing evil, so I'm doing okay!" We may even think that we're doing good works and all the right things. Although we know we're not perfect, we feel that the love of God will cover our lack and He will appreciate our good efforts. But there will come a time when we will all stand before God and hear Him say either, "Well done" or "I never knew you."

Does God know you? I'm not talking about Him knowing your name or where you live or what you do or the good works you do; but is there a personal, intimate relationship between you and Him? You can tell others about God and even say a prayer, but do you really know Him -- or just know about Him? If you truly don't have that deep personal relationship with Him, and truthfully answer that what you have is a lot of facts about Him, it's not too late to do something about it. Get to know him! You do that through prayer, reading His Word, listening to solid Bible-based teaching, and fellowship with other believers.

JON'S PERSPECTIVE:

It takes two to get to know someone. If I was to be fake or hide my true nature from Loretta, she wouldn't really know me. And if she ignored everything I say or do, she wouldn't know me.

God may not reveal Himself to anyone all at once. But He doesn't hide or lie to us, either. We have to be willing to pay attention to Him, and want to get to know Him. If we will read His Bible, and listen closely, we will get to know God.

God also wants to get to know us. True, He can see through any lies or deception we might try. But we need to be honest with Him, and we need to share ourselves with Him, so He can get to know us on a personal level, too. When Jesus says "I never knew you" to someone, it won't be because He didn't know who the person was, or because He couldn't see the person's heart (or He would never say it). It will be because the person didn't want to be truly known.

ON THE MENEWE:

Sausage, Potato, and Kale Soup

2 bunches Kale -- picked over, cleaned, and torn into bite-sized pieces

12 whole red potatoes, sliced thinly (no need to peel the potatoes)

Onion, chopped

1-1/2 pound Italian Sausage

1/2 teaspoon Red Pepper Flakes

2 cups Low Sodium Chicken Broth

2 cups Whole Milk

4 cups Half-and-Half

Splash of Heavy Cream

Fresh or Dried Oregano

Black Pepper, to taste

Prepare the kale and set it aside. In a medium pot, boil the thinly sliced potatoes until they are tender. Drain and set aside. In a large pot, crumble and brown the Italian sausage. Drain as much of the fat off as you can. Stir in the red pepper flakes, oregano, chicken broth, milk, and half-and-half. Simmer for 30 minutes. Give it a taste and adjust seasonings as needed. Add the cooked potatoes, a splash of heavy cream for richness, then stir in the kale. Simmer and additional 10-15 minutes, then serve.

THIS, THAT AND THE OTHER:

There are differing opinions within the church regarding halloween and dressing up and trick-or-treating. Honestly, I grew up dressing up and trick-or-treating, and it was all done in good fun and I have a lot of good memories. One year when I was about 10 years old (I'm guessing), one of the older teenagers in our church had a party in her parents' detached garage. It was great fun! There were people there from my age to couples probably in their thirties. There were hay-bales for us to sit on, lots of refreshments, games, and everyone dressed up.

Being the youngest in my family, I was, of course, the last to go trick-or-treating. My older sisters would drive me around to houses of relatives and neighbors until I got a big sackful of candy. Then we would go back home and the whole family eat the candy. I remember one year I felt like I was getting too old to go trick-or-treating and my two sisters who were still unmarried and living at home convinced me that I should at least go to a few houses. I'm thinking they wanted candy and were using me as a means in which to get it! We knew which houses where we could get the best candy. Great memories!!

THOUGHT TO PONDER:

"God can do in a second what you have been unable to do alone for years!" - Christine Caine

OUR HEARTFELT THANKS TO YOU:

We love you!

Loretta & Jon

http://www.graysheep.org