"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!'"
November 7, 2018
My mom passed away in 1981 when she was 48 years old. I have often thought about how much our family and the world has changed since that time.
The month before she passed away, Ronald Reagan was inaugurated as President of the United States. Cell phones and the internet were unheard of. Few people owned computers. Now almost everyone owns cell phones, iPads or tablets, and laptops or home computers. We have email, texting, messaging, and Facebook. People can pay bills online, do online banking, and pay for products using bank or credit cards. Online shopping is very popular.
Homes have changed greatly over the past 37 years, too. Almost all homes have attached garages. Appliances such as dishwashers, microwaves, refrigerators with built in ice makers (and most have water and ice dispensers) are common place. I have wondered what Mama would think if she saw the houses that my sisters and I all live in. They are all big and nice, compared to the best house that she ever lived in. She never had any of those things listed above; in fact, no one we knew had them at the time that she passed away.
In 1981, only two out of Mama's five daughters were married. The only grandchildren that she ever saw or knew were my oldest sisters four sons. Now, all four of my sisters are grandmothers themselves.
It's somewhat overwhelming to think of how many changes have taken place these past 37 years! But sometimes life brings about changes somewhat slowly; other times, things seem to happen very quickly.
My sister's husband passed away six years ago. It's somewhat mind boggling to think of all the changes that have happened in the interim. Janie is now pastor of the deaf church where the two of them had pastored for many years. Their youngest son is now married with he and his wife now going through mission training. The other son is now out of the military and is a school teacher. Their daughter has finished her masters degree. Their adopted son now has his drivers license and is in high school. Two new granddaughters have been born, two granddaughters adopted, and one in the process of being adopted. My sister has gone through a house fire and a rebuild; and fostered two boys off and on for a couple of years. I'm sure that there have been more life events that I haven't listed.
Life is constantly changing. It never remains the same, no matter how much we may want it to do so.
We can all think about changes that we have seen take place during our life time, regardless of our age. There have been births, deaths, illnesses, marriages, divorces, career and job changes, pastoral and church changes, houses bought and sold and moves made, etc.
As many changes as we've seen in our lifetime, can you even begin to imagine the changes that Methuselah saw during his 969 years of life? It is difficult to even comprehend how much he had to have seen and the changes that he was witness to in the span of almost a thousand years on earth!
There are two truths that are guarantees. The first is that life will bring about changes and nothing will remain the same. Ecclesiastes 3:1 tells us that "There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens." A time for births and deaths, tearing down and building up, weeping and laughing, mourning and dancing, being silent and speaking, war and peace, etc.
I have held newborn babies and marveled at their perfection; and I have stood beside a graveside with my heart breaking. I have wept and I have laughed; mourned and danced. I have seen times of war in our world and peaceful times. I have seen times of people joining together in unity; and times of great division.
Through it all, I can hold onto a declaration of the Lord over my life, and you can do the same. "For I know the plans I have for you; plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." (Jeremiah 29:11)
The second truth is this: Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever! (Hebrews 13:8) Jesus is the same today as He was hundreds and thousands of years ago; and He will be the same for all eternity. He is steadfast, unshakable, and is the One constant that we can depend on.
Deuteronomy 31:6 says, "Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; He will never leave you nor forsake you."
God is always present! There is nowhere that we can go to leave His presence, for He is everywhere and never takes His eyes off us. We are never alone, for the Lord promises to never leave or forsake us.
James 1:17 tells us that every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights. The very last part of that verse says, "Who does not change like shifting shadows."
Life will change... that's a given. But the One whom we need most, promises that He does not change and to never leave or forsake us. We can depend on His faithfulness and constant presence; and really, that is Who we need most regardless of what each day may bring.
We've been watching a lot of older TV shows. It's interesting, and a little depressing, to see how much things have changed.
It seems like shows from the 50s and 60s don't mention God very often, but it's just an assumption that almost everyone goes to church regularly, and believes in God. By the 80s and 90s, a few people go to church, but not most. And now, there are only a few shows where people believe in God, and in many of those, the ones who do aren't respected.
It's easy to believe that's something out of our control. To some extent, that's true. But we can easily control what we invite into our own homes and our own minds. We are able to reject shows that defy and insult God, and watch only things that are wholesome, or even watch nothing at all. I know it sounds pretty radical. But we are still free to choose, and can exercise that freedom.
3 cans Minestrone Soup
or 1 package dried Minestrone Soup Mix
2 cans Shewpeg Corn
(or regular corn can be used -- or frozen)
1 can Rotel
1 can Ranch Beans
1 can Chicken Broth
1 pound hamburger or shredded chicken (cooked)
1/2 package Taco Seasoning
Fritos & Cheese, for serving
Cook hamburger; drain. Or you can use shredded or canned chicken. Place all ingredients (except for the Fritos and cheese) in a crockpot. Serve over Fritos and top with shredded cheese.
Monday, November 12th, is Veterans Day. We all know men and/or women who have served, or are currently serving, in the military. Too often we take our freedom for granted, and fail to think about those who have served our country throughout the years; many who have been deployed and been separated from loved ones. This Veterans Day, think of those you know who have served or are currently serving, in the military, and take a moment to thank them. Make a call, send a card, buy them a meal, or find some way to tell them that they are appreciated.
Sometimes you have to let go of the picture of what you thought life would be like
and learn to find joy in the story you are actually living. - Rachel Marie Martin
We love you!
Loretta & Jon