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

March 21, 2018

LIFE IN THE FOLD:

Maybe I'm the only person who does this; but have you ever made things harder than necessary on yourself, because you don't utilize what's available to you?

I remember one hot summer day I was driving in the car and thought, "I am so thirsty!!" I believe that I was headed home from somewhere at the time, and didn't want to take the time to drive through a fast-food restaurant or get out and go inside a store to buy myself something to quench my thirst. But I felt parched, my mouth was dry, and I desperately needed a drink. When I was almost home, I looked down and there was a bottle of water in the cup holder between the front seats! I had completely forgotten that I had brought that water with me. I was allowing myself to go thirsty for no valid reason.... there was water right within my reach.

We have a 5-gallon water dispenser at our home and it is rare that we run out of water, before refilling them. Generally, we almost always have sweet tea or juices in our fridge. But there have been times when I've been sitting in the living room or out mowing or cleaning house and think, "I sure could use something to drink!" It's not that we have nothing to quench my thirst at our house, but rather me not taking the time to get myself a glass of something to drink.

I can be trying to repair something at home and not be using the right tool and Jon will ask, "Why aren't you using...." I may be driving or riding in the car and the sun will be shining right in my face, and instead of putting sunglasses on, I'll be squinting. My skin has been itchy this winter and there have been times when I've laid in bed at night and scratch and squirm, instead of getting up and putting lotion on.

There have also been times when I've tried to do things by myself, instead of allowing someone to help me, for various reasons. I didn't want to be a bother.... they have their own family and home to take care of.... I'm too proud... I don't want to admit that I can't take care of it by myself.... Even though there may have been a person who volunteered to help, and they genuinely wanted to help, I refused and didn't accept their offer.

These are just a few simple examples. I'm sure that there are a whole lot more, if I took the time to think about them.

The truth is, we can often carry this same attitude over into our spiritual life. We don't utilize all the numerous helps that God has given to us; to make our lives easier, to help us grow spiritually, and to deepen our relationship with Him. We make life much harder on ourselves than necessary, due to this.

One of the greatest gifts that God gave us was the Holy Spirit. "Likewise the Spirit also helps us in our weaknesses. For we do not know what we should pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered." (Romans 8:26) How awesome is that?! During those times when we really don't know how or what to pray, the Spirit makes intercession to the Father on our behalf. It may sound like groaning and crying and wordless to us; but the Holy Spirit takes that and intercedes to God for us.

[Jesus speaking] "I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper (Advocate, Comforter, Counselor), that He may abide with you forever." (John 14:16) Then again in John 16:7, Jesus says, "But I tell you the truth, it is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper (Advocate, Comforter, Counselor) will not come to you; but if I go, I will send Him to you."

We have been given the Holy Spirit to be our Intercessor, Helper, Advocate, Comforter, and Counselor. But do we really allow the Holy Spirit to be those things to us; or do we stubbornly try to do things on our own or look to others to be those things to us? The Holy Spirit is always present; but do we allow Him to do His work, or like I have done when I'm thirsty and go without water, do we disregard and do without Him?

We have been given direct access to the Father and can pray always, knowing that He hears and listens to each and every word we speak, but do we always utilize prayer? Or do we sometimes worry, fret, stress, try to work out all of the what ifs, see what we can figure out and do on our own first; and then if nothing else works, we use prayer as a last resort? Is prayer sometimes an after-thought?

I just want to encourage you to utilize everything that God has given us. We have been given salvation and forgiveness of our every sin; we have been given prayer and communion with the Father; we have been given the Holy Spirit.... and as a result, we can have peace, joy, love, comfort, and whatever it is that we have need of. Don't let the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit be within your grasp yet disregard them.

JON'S PERSPECTIVE:

I have had co-workers and customers both ask me why I don't call tech support when I run into an issue. That one is easy to explain: unless it's a licensing issue, or something similar, most tech support has been nearly worthless.

But truthfully, I am usually reluctant to ask for help, even if I think it would really help. Even if I need help carrying a sheet of drywall, far too big for anyone to carry alone, I'm slow to ask for help. Sometimes it's because I don't want to impose, and want to wait for a moment that is the most convenient for the other person. Sometimes, I want to overcome the challenge of whatever I'm facing. And sometimes, I just let my pride overcome me.

But sometimes, I do consult with a co-worker, or even (only if I can't help it) tech support. Sometimes, they do give me the answer I'm looking for. Sometimes, they help me in the right direction to the solution. But even when they don't, sometimes it's good to discuss my problem with someone.

God can be like that for all of us. Sometimes, He does give us the answer right away, or leads us to the answer we need. Other times, He is still someone to talk to.

ON THE MENEWE:

Easy Beef Roast

(This is the easiest way to make a roast, but also the most tastiest! This is my very favorite way to cook a beef roast!)

Beef Roast

1 package Au Jus Gravy Mix

1 stick Butter

Place the beef roast in a crockpot. Sprinkle the dry Au Jus gravy mix over the top of the meat. Place the stick of butter on top of the roast. Cover and cook until tender. Delicious!!

If desired, you can place small potatoes, baby carrots, and pearl onions in the roast juice and cook until tender.

You can either slice the roast when done and put in the juice with the potatoes, carrots, and onions and serve; or take the meat and veggies out of the crockpot and use the juice to make a gravy. Either way is very good!

THIS, THAT AND THE OTHER:

Can you believe that Easter is coming up so soon?! Do you have any favorite Easter traditions or memories? I will be sharing some of mine this week and next.

Having a new dress for Easter used to always be a tradition and was a really big deal. For several years, Mama would sew new dresses for herself and we five girls. As my sisters learned how to sew, they would make their own dresses. As I got older and didn't have Mama or my sisters around to sew for me, I would get a store-bought dress. We would also always get a new pair of summer shoes; generally white shoes or sandals. My very favorite Easter dress was a peach colored dotted-swiss cotton fabric that Mama made for me when I was probably 7-8 years old.

One year, when I was probably in my late-20's or early-30's I really wanted a new dress for Easter. But I was single, lived alone, and didn't have the money for a new dress. One of my aunts and uncles surprised me and gave me the money to buy myself a new Easter dress. It was a sage green dress with a double row of buttons down the front to the hips. I wore that dress for many years; until it got a tad too tight!

Nowadays, I still enjoy getting a new dress and shoes for Easter. There is something very special about it that always reminds me of the good memories I have of Mama, my sisters, and me always doing that.

THOUGHT TO PONDER:

I believe in Christ, like I believe in the sun -

not because I can see it, but by it I can see everything else. - C.S. Lewis

OUR HEARTFELT THANKS TO YOU:

We love you!

Loretta & Jon

http://www.graysheep.org