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

July 17, 2019

LIFE IN THE FOLD:

Jon and I recently watched an episode of 'Father Knows Best'. Bud, the son, had ordered some plastic gravy boats, thinking to sell them door-to-door and make money. He had seen an ad about how much money could be made, and was convinced that he would get rich. But he found out that sales was not his forte', and he was horrible at it. The father is an insurance salesman and was convinced that Bud would be excellent at sales since he was. He had grandiose dreams of his son one day following in his footsteps. He gave Bud a daily quota to meet; thinking that the son needed an incentive and was just giving up and not trying hard enough. The son truly did try, but it was like trying to put a square peg in a round hole.

The father had been asked to write a comedy sketch by a friend. He thought that it would come easily and that he'd be able to sit down and write it without any difficulties. But time and time again he tried, only to rip the paper out of the typewriter and toss it onto the floor. During his frustration at not being able to do this, he realized the pressure that he had been putting on Bud to excel at something that he wasn't cut out to do. He finally became aware of the fact that just because sales was something that he was really good at, didn't meant that this was something that his son would enjoy and be skilled at.

How many times have we had expectations of people to be able to excel at something, simply because it comes easily to us; then to be disappointed or frustrated when they fail?

I've seen this happen between parents and children many times. The father was very athletic and skilled at playing sports; so assumes that his son will be the same. Yet the son has no athletic ability and would rather be in the band. Perhaps the father loves hunting and fishing, and dreams of the day when his son will be old enough to join him; only to find that the son has absolutely no interest.

A mother may have musical talent and envisions someday singing with her children at church; yet her kids either have no ear for music, or refuse to sing in front of others. Perhaps they'd rather do gymnastics than take piano lessons. Reading may be her favorite pastime and she can't wait until her children are old enough to read novels so that they can read and discuss the books together; but that never happens. The child would rather play video games or do anything else, other than read a book.

Perhaps a parent dreams of their child following in their footsteps. They may own a business and work hard at building it, thinking that one day their son or daughter will run the company. The parents may be a pastor or missionary and have high hopes that their children will grow up to be involved in full-time ministry. But those babies grow up and choose a completely different career. Sometimes that can cause conflict and both the parent and child end up both feeling frustrated and disappointed.

Regardless of the life situation, expectations are not met by the child in one area or another, then they are made to feel as if they are a disappointment or failure to their mom and/or dad. These type of expectations can happen in every day life in all types of situations.

When a typical pattern isn't followed, it often causes people to not know how to respond. So many times, they will say things that cause an individual to feel as if they must be doing something wrong or are considered a failure.

When I was a senior in high school I took a sewing class. We were to buy a pattern and make a dress or other article of clothing. I chose what should have been an easy dress to make. But there was a huge problem! I wasn't built so that a normal pattern fit me. If it fit me well on the top half, then the bottom half was too small; but if I bought a pattern that fit me on the bottom half, then the top half would be much too large. So the pattern had to be adjusted in order to fit me; which was a lot of work, and probably why I hated sewing for so many years.

The average size of a woman's ring finger is a 5 to 7. But I've never had a normal sized ring finger. My senior ring when I graduated high school was a size 9. I'm not even sure what size my wedding ring is. Not the typical "normal" pattern!

When I was single I cannot even tell you the number of times over the years that I was asked, "When are you getting married?" "How come you're not married yet?" "You can't get no man to marry you?" "Maybe you're just being too picky!" Really?!? For one thing, there was no one to be picky with. Secondly, it was my life, and I wasn't going to settle for someone just so I could get married. But as the years went by, I wasn't fitting into the typical pattern of getting married and having children by a certain age, that is thought of as being "normal". I was given all sorts of well-meaning helpful advice, which often left me feeling as if something must be wrong with me, because I wasn't married with children.

There is something within all of us that we want to be loved and accepted by others. We don't like feeling as if we are disappointing someone. So often we will do things that we really don't want to do, make choices that make other people happy instead of being fulfilled ourself, and compromise in order to try and please everyone.

But when we do so, we end up being miserable and feeling unfulfilled and not at peace. It's hard to say no when someone has expectations of us, but we want to do something differently. The truth is, it is impossible to always be a people pleaser. At some point, we're going to do something that someone isn't going to appreciate or like. What we all have to do is come to the point of realization that obeying God is more important than anything. Period!

There are many individuals in the Bible who didn't follow the typical pattern of what was expected. I'm sure that many times they were misunderstood and underappreciated by others. They didn't meet the expectations of those around them. But they had matured spiritually to the point of recognizing that really obey God was all that really mattered.

Hosea's story is not your typical love story! God told him to marry a prostitute, in order to be an illustration to Israel of how they were prostituting themselves and not being faithful to Him. They have three children together and then she leaves him. But in chapter three, God told him, "Go and love your wife again, even though she commits adultery with another lover. This will illustrate that the Lord still loves Israel, even though the people have turned to other gods and love to worship them." So Hosea bought her back for fifteen pieces of silver and five bushels of barley and a measure of wine; and he took her back home with him. Can you imagine the gossip and embarrassment and humility that Hosea suffered? Yet he did everything that God commanded him to do. That took a lot of spiritual maturity and faith!

Time after time, Jesus was misunderstood and people took offense, because He didn't do things the "normal" way of what was their custom. It often went against their religious traditions and they tried to bring accusations against Him. Jesus didn't fit the pattern of what they thought their Savior, their King, the Messiah would be like. They found His words and actions confusing. Jesus was often misunderstood and not accepted when He was teaching and doing miracles. In fact, He left his hometown and moved on because of not being accepted there. But Jesus didn't change to please the people and make them happy. He accomplished the purpose that the Father had sent Him to earth to do. That meant being denied, spit on, having His garments stripped from Him, beaten, having a crown of thorns thrust into His scalp, being mocked, and crucified. But Jesus endured it all out of love for us!

Romans 12:2 says, "Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is -- His good, pleasing, and perfect will."

We weren't created to be conformist. We're not robots all created to be exactly like one another. God created us to be unique and special and we each have a purpose that no one else can fulfill. But that doesn't mean that it's always going to be easy to fulfill that purpose and that everyone is going to applaud and cheer us on. Sometimes we may run into obstacles. Sometimes people may hinder us with their words. There may be those who don't understand us or think that we should be doing something else. Some may want us to follow in their footsteps and be like them. We will have to learn how and when to say no to people and yes to God!

Refusing to conform to the pattern of this world and what is expected of us only will happen when our minds are renewed. When we are transformed by God, then we will be obedient to following His good, pleasing, and perfect will for our lives.

JON'S PERSPECTIVE:

I've heard "stress" defined as the difference between expectations and actuality. I think it would be better to define it as the difference between intention and actual results, because we could expect the worst and wouldn't stress over not getting it. But the point makes sense either way. We get all these mental expectations about our futures or the future of others. If we keep our expectations or intentions simple, like "I hope my child grows up healthy and happy", that's great. But more often, we get these dreams of "I plan to retire before I'm 40!", and when it doesn't come true, we generate all this stress that we didn't need in the first place.

So, once in a while, we should take a little time to review all the stress we have in our lives, and see if we have any faulty expectations at the root. If so, don't try to change others, but change ourselves, or our expectations.

ON THE MENEWE:

Little Smokies

2 pounds Little Smokies

1 (10 oz) jar grape jelly

1 (12 oz) bottle chili sauce or 1 can chili with no beans

Put smokies in crockpot. Pour chili sauce (or can of chili without beans) and grape jelly over the top. Heat until smokies are hot through. Stir well before serving.

THIS, THAT AND THE OTHER:

Church bulletin bloopers:

The Pastor would appreciate it if the ladies of the congregation would lend him their electric girdles for the pancake breakfast next Sunday morning.

Ushers will eat latecomers.

Ladies, don't forget the rummage sale. It is a good chance to get rid of those things not worth keeping around the house. Bring your husbands.

Smile at someone who is hard to love. Say "hell" to someone who doesn't care much about you.

THOUGHT TO PONDER:

We must mirror God's love in the midst of a world of hatred.

We are the mirrors of God's love, so we must show Jesus by our lives. - Corrie ten Boom

OUR HEARTFELT THANKS TO YOU:

We love you!

Loretta & Jon

http://www.graysheep.org