"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!'"
April 24, 2019
There are things about myself that most people know. They know that I sing, play piano by ear, cook, worked in a bank for several years, colored my hair for many years, learned to make quilts a couple years ago, and adore my family. People who know me a little better know that I am an avid reader, drink sweet tea, vanilla ice cream is my overall favorite flavor, and that I prefer cookies or cake over pie; just to name a few things.
But there are little known things about myself that only a few people know; and some things that I'm not sure anybody really knows. Rain is one of my very favorite sounds of nature. I find rain very relaxing. Listening to rain when falling asleep is awesome. When I was a kid, we didn't have central heat and air, so opening windows during warm weather was how we tried to cool our house. I loved laying by an open window, listening to the rain while reading a book; I still do.
Odd I know, but I like the sound of a washing machine. It brings back memories from my childhood. My mom was diagnosed with cancer when I was eight, and for seven years there were good and bad days for her. Hearing the sound of the washing machine made things seem normal and as if all was well; or so it felt that way to a kid. So even now, doing laundry and hearing the washing machine makes things feel as if they are normal and all is well at home.
Another sound I love is humming. Mama hummed a lot; whether she was cooking, ironing, canning, or whatever she may have been doing. A few years ago, my sisters and I were talking about this memory and all said that we have the tendency to hum as we cook and do various duties throughout our day. We all, also, tend to stand with our hands on the side of our hips. Once when we were together, a casual picture was taken of us standing in a group talking, and we were all standing the same.
Many times, especially while driving/riding down the road, I randomly will see or hear something that will trigger a song. Jon used to think that I was making up a lot of these songs, because I tended to come up with a song to match various subjects or something we'd see; but they are all real songs.... some silly childhood songs, some old hymns, some songs I grew up hearing, etc. When my sister, Janie, and I have taken trips together, one of us will often break out into a song and the other join in. Often, they are old songs from long ago that we hadn't thought of for many years, but they will come to mind, for whatever reason; and we often will remember all of the words.
I am terrified of snakes! It doesn't matter if they are poisonous or non-poisonous.... doesn't matter that I was raised in the country and am still a country-girl at heart.... I hate snakes! I don't even like looking at them in cages, like at the zoo or in a pet store. Silly I know, but I don't even like seeing snakes on TV or in movies.
I don't like playing games, don't really like group activities, and am more comfortable one-on-one or being with 3-4 people, unless it's family. I hate playing baby shower or wedding shower games. I'm generally uncomfortable with idle chit-chat with people that I don't know. I'm very much a homebody!
I'm sure that I could go on and on with useless information about myself. But my point is, there are things about myself that not everyone knows; as there is with each of us. Only those who know me best, whom I know intimately, are those who understand me best and know little-known details about me. The only way that we can truly get to know the heart of someone, hear their secrets, and know every little detail about them is to spend time with them, build trust, and establish a close friendship and relationship that is solid and unshakable. When we do so, there is a depth of love that nothing can ever sever.
Many people know about God, but have never really gotten to know Him intimately. They know that He is the creator of the heavens and earth, know that He sent His only son, Jesus, to die on the cross, know that God loves them, knows that we can pray to Him...... they have all of the facts about him down-pat. In fact, they may even be able to quote scriptures about God.
But they have never established a real heart-connection to God. They have no idea who He is or how deep His love truly is for us. They fail to hear Him speak to their heart. They pray to Him, but their prayers involve them telling Him what they need or asking for help. It's a one-way communication with them doing all of the talking; but never take the time to listen to what God wants to say to them.... and He has a lot that He wants to say to each and every one of us!
In Philippians chapter three, Paul was writing that he once obeyed the law without fault. Starting with verse 7, he writes, "I once thought these things were valuable, but now I consider them worthless because of what Christ has done. Yes, everything else is worthless when compared with the infinite value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have discarded everything else, counting it all as garbage, so that I could gain Christ and become one with him. I no longer count on my own righteousness through obeying the law; rather, I become righteous through faith in Christ. For God's way of making us right with himself depends on faith."
Verse 10 continues, "I want to know Christ and experience the mighty power that raised him from the dead."
Paul's deepest desire was to know Jesus and become one with him. Compared to that, nothing else mattered. He didn't just want to know about Jesus, but wanted to know everything about him and experience the mighty power that raised him from the dead. Compared to that, everything else was worthless.
In Matthew 22:37 Jesus said, "You must love the Lord your God will all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment."
In order to obey this greatest commandment, we have to not just know about God, but we have to truly know him. We have to spend time with him, getting to know his heart and everything about him; not only talking to him, but taking time to listen. We have to build trust, establish our faith. We must get to know him as Father. As our relationship grows and matures, God will share his heart with us, and tell us his secrets. We will have a solid foundation that is immovable and unshakable, and nothing can sever our relationship.
I encourage you to nurture your relationship with God. Don't just know about God, but get to truly know Him. Have a passion to get to know everything that you can about Him; a passion to spend time with Him, where He is always the first one who comes to mind when you awake in the morning and the last on your mind before falling asleep. A love so deep for God that throughout the day you are constantly thinking of Him and communing with Him. We are constantly on God's mind, always in His heart; and He wants us to feel the same about Him.
I've heard a couple cases recently of people telling someone they don't really know, "I love you."
It's hard enough for me to say that to someone I'm married to, or related to. I can't imagine saying that to someone I don't know intimately.
But so many people tell God, "I love you", when they haven't really taken time to get to know Him.
Cheesecake Layer Cake
1/2 cup butter
8 ounces cream cheese
1 cup flour
1 large package instant chocolate pudding
1 cup chopped nuts
1 small container Cool Whip
1 cup powdered sugar
Layer 1: Crust -- Blend flour and butter in 9x13 pan. When well blended, pat to cover bottom of pan. Press chopped nuts into crust. Bake at 350 for 20 minutes until lightly browned. Cool crust completely.
Layer 2: Mix softened cream cheese with powdered sugar. Stir in 1 cup Cool Whip. Spread on cooled crust.
Layer 3: Mix instant pudding as directed on package. Spread over the second layer.
Layer 4: Spread remaining Cool Whip evenly over the top. Sprinkle with chopped nuts.
Chill for at least a couple hours before serving.
My sister babysits her granddaughter, Bonnie, who turned five in December. A few days ago, Bonnie came into the room and told her granna that she thought she had a coin in her ear. My sister knew that a coin wouldn't fit in her ear, but knew that she probably did have something there; so looked and saw something purple. Bonnie's hair was wet. She had been in the bathroom and thought if she put water in the opposite ear that it would make what was in the other ear come out! My sister took her to the clinic where her daddy works, so he could take her to urgent care. He is office manager for a group of surgeons. One of the surgeons, who was free at the time, offered to look at Bonnie's ear, and he got out a little plastic purple ear that was off from a toy. They were having lunch together in the cafeteria and the surgeon came by and asked Bonnie if she could hear him. Her dad said, "Well, it's a little hard without that third ear!"
God didn't give you the strength to get back on your feet
so you can run back to the same thing that knocked you down. - TobyMac
We love you!
Loretta & Jon