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

February 20, 2019

LIFE IN THE FOLD:

Recently, Jon and I attended a special service at an area church where a visiting minister was speaking. He made a comment that made us both really think. God had spoken to this man and said something along the line of, "You shouldn't always have to hear My voice, but you can be guided by My eye."

Does that sound unreasonable or too difficult or unfeasible? The truth is, this is actually scriptural.

Psalm 32:8 says, "I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will guide you with My eye."

Here is an excerpt from a sermon by Rev. Maurice Roberts : "There is a way in which the eye helps us. We give guidance to people with our eye. Perhaps we don't always realize this, but a master gives guidance to his servants at a feast. The master's servants are standing at attention at the side of the room. He guides them with his eye. They know what he means just by a movement of the head or a gesture of the finger. His eye is upon them and so they come."

That wouldn't be something that a new, inexperienced servant would know how to do, but would have to be learned and practiced. The head servant would have to know your master very well to be able to read his eyes and understand what his gestures mean, so that they in turn can train and teach others how to interpret them as well. Then the longer the other servants, who have been trained, work in that position, they will learn to decipher and know the movements of the master for themselves.

When a married couple has spent a lot of time together and love one another, they can know what their spouse is wanting or know their mood or how to respond by their eyes or a very subtle gesture that no one else may never notice. The longer they are married, the more in tune they become to one another where words are not always needed.

Jon and I can be somewhere and instinctively know when the other is ready to go. Sometimes it's a very slight movement and sometimes we can look at one another and just know. We can tell the mood of each other, without speaking words. We can let the other know that we love them without saying it; although we do speak the words, too. Our eyes can express so much to one another. We can see when each other is upset, frustrated, or irritated. We can laugh and show joy with our eyes. There is so much that can be expressed without using our voice. There's something very intimate to be able to communicate with someone whom you deeply love in that way; and completely understand one another.

I have seen parents communicate with their children with their eyes and facial expressions. No words are communicated, yet the message is very clear. That doesn't always mean that the message is well received and obeyed, but it was obviously conveyed and understood.

God can direct us with His eyes. You may think, "How is that even possible? We can't actually see God's eyes, so that doesn't make sense!" But when you have a deep love relationship with God, you "get" it. God doesn't always use His voice to speak to us, but we get those nudges and promptings in our spirit that lets us know exactly what He wants us to do. It's up to us to respond and obey. If we don't then He may have to use louder methods to get our attention.

The problem is, many people have a difficult time recognizing God's voice. They will hear clear instructions given to them, and then will spend the following days (or longer) questioning whether or not what they heard was really God. They want a sign. Fear of being in the flesh holds people back from obeying His voice. Fear of messing up and making a mistake cause individuals to waiver and question and hinder them from responding to what God is asking them to do. "If it's REALLY you, God, then tell me again so I'll know." He does, then we still hesitate and pray again, "Well, I'm still not sure! If it really is You and not just my flesh, then give me a sign so I'll really know it's You." This can go on for days and weeks.

If children questioned and hesitated and disobeyed their parents like we do God, they would be in big bad trouble! "You need to get your homework done before you play video games or talk to your friends on the phone. If not, you will be grounded." "Do mom and dad really mean that? They probably mean that I can play a game for a short time, as long as I get my homework done. Maybe they were talking to my brother! They probably didn't mean me. What if they were serious? If they really mean it, then they'll tell me again!" Mom and dad ask if they are working on their homework, so communicate that they are serious. "Oh, they probably really do mean it. But they probably wouldn't mind if I had a snack first. And I might as well go outside and get some fresh air while eating it, because they are always telling me I spend too much time indoors. It isn't going to take me that long to get my homework done, so I'm fine." The parents see the child meandering outside and get upset because the child is disobeying, so yell at them to get inside and get their work done. "Oh, well, I guess maybe they are serious. If I go to my room, they'll think I'm working on it; especially if I open my book and get a pencil out. I don't know why they're so upset! I just wanted to make sure that they were talking to me and not my sibling. They should have known that I would get it done!"

Get the picture?! We hear God, but fail to respond quickly.

If every time Jon called me I were to ask, "Is this really Jon? How do I know for sure? I'm going to hang up and you call back and let it ring three times... then hang up.... then call back again and let it ring twice... then call a third time and give me the date of our anniversary and what time our wedding was, so I'll know that it's really you!"; how do you think Jon would respond? Especially if he were to constantly give me reassurance and assure me of his love. I'm sure after a while he would begin to question my love and how committed I really was to our relationship. It would feel as if our marriage was very one-sided and pretty shallow. We have known one another for over 16 years, will celebrate our 15th anniversary in June, and know one another better than anyone else. Jon doesn't have to identify himself when he calls, because I know and recognize his voice.

When we've been in a relationship with God for a long time, we shouldn't have to question whether or not it is His voice that we hear. We should know it, and respond immediately without question. Period!

John 10:2-3 (TPT) says, "But the true Shepherd walks right up to the gate, and because the gatekeeper knows who he is, he opens the gate to let him in. And the sheep recognize the voice of the true Shepherd, for he calls his own by name and leads them out, for they belong to him."

As sheep (christians), we should recognize the Shepherd's voice when He calls out to us. There shouldn't be this continuous question on whether or not we've heard correctly, and the ongoing fear of hearing wrong and messing up. I daresay that the Shepherd would much rather His sheep respond quickly and make an occasional mistake, rather than always questioning and not readily responding.

Once we have that heart-connection with the Shepherd and know His voice, we should grow in our relationship with Him to the point where all He has to do is give us a nudge in our spirit, guiding us with His eye, and we readily respond. No fear, no worries, no questions! Just a continual, "Yes Lord!" as we walk in complete submission and obedience. Our greatest desire should be to know our Father so intimately that we can hear His heart and be guided by His eyes.

JON'S PERSPECTIVE:

Several times, I've answered the phone, and knew from the caller ID which family was calling, and I could tell it was a kid calling for Loretta. But many times I couldn't tell which kid it was. In several cases, I couldn't tell if it was the sister or the brother calling. It isn't because I didn't know them, or didn't care about them. I just didn't know their voices by spending hours every day listening to them.

Even when Loretta and I first started dating, we always knew it was the other calling. Not because we knew each other's voices right away, but because we didn't get many competing calls. We didn't get where we could communicate so much with a simple glance or nod right away. Truthfully, it took years. I'm sure there were quite a few times we tried the smile & nod, but turned out we were agreeing to completely opposite things.

In time, Loretta and I got to know each other so well, we could usually guess what the other was thinking, and what they wanted, without needing to communicate. Now, all we really need is to simply confirm "Yeah, you know what I want."

We can't get to that point with God without spending hours together, and learning what He thinks. Until we get to the point where we know His voice, we do get to read His word. Eventually, we can learn to know what is His voice because it fits with His word, or what must not be His voice because it contradicts His word.

ON THE MENEWE:

Slow Cooker Creamy Tortellini Soup

1 pound ground Italian sausage, browned

Onion, chopped

2 carrots, chopped

2 stalks celery, chopped

4 cloves garlic, minced

1 tablespoon Italian seasoning

2 teaspoons beef bouillon powder (or chicken)

1/2 teaspoon salt

4 cups broth (beef, chicken, or vegetable)

1/4 cup cornstarch dissolved in 1/4 cup water

36 ounces evaporated milk or half & half

12 ounces three cheese tortellini

5 cups fresh baby spinach

1 cup milk

Brown the Italian sausage; drain. Place the sausage, onion, carrots, celery, garlic, Italian seasoning, beef (or other) bouillon powder, salt, and broth in a 6-quart slow cooker. Cover and cook on high for 4 hours or low for 7 hours.

Uncover and skim any fat that is sitting on the top of the soup with a spoon; discard. Stir in the cornstarch mixture with evaporated milk (or half and half or cream). Add the tortellini and mix well. Cover again and cook on high for a further 45 minutes until the soup is thickened and the tortellini is soft and cooked through.

Add the spinach, pressing the leaves down to completely submerse into the liquid. Cover again for a further 5-10 minutes until the leaves have wilted.

Pour in milk in 1/3 cup increments, as needed, to reach your desired thickness and consistency (about 1 cup). Taste and season accordingly, if needed.

Serve with warm crusty bread.

THIS, THAT AND THE OTHER:

Throughout our marriage, there have been a few things that I've had to educate Jon on. Sometimes he knows what I'm talking about and other times he's had to try and figure it out. Growing up in southwest Missouri everyone pretty much talked the same, so we understood one another perfectly!

We always referred to soft drinks as either "pop" or a "coke", regardless of what kind it was. The mid-day meal was referred to as lunch or dinner, and supper was the evening meal. A ravine or deep valley or gully or hollow is called a "holler". I had to work with Jon on that one for a while to call it by the right name and pronounce it right. The trunk of a car was called the turtle hull.

Foods that we ate were somewhat different, also. I grew up eating cocoa gravy over biscuits for breakfast. We called no-bake cookies, Wackies; which is still one of my all time favorites. I remember my uncles coming to our house for a visit and if we had any leftover cornbread, they loved eating it crumbled up in a glass of milk. My parents really liked that, too. They also liked it eaten in a glass of buttermilk. I had Jon try it one time because he had never heard of it, but he wasn't a fan. But he really doesn't like cornbread that much. Fun memories!

THOUGHT TO PONDER:

Anyone can find the dirt in someone.

Be the one who finds the gold. - unknown

OUR HEARTFELT THANKS TO YOU:

We love you!

Loretta & Jon

http://www.graysheep.org