"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!'"
March 4, 2020
I cannot even tell you how excited I am right now! The exterior work is wrapping up on our home and we are starting to see how very beautiful it is going to look. Honestly, we knew that the old cedar siding was starting to look bad, but didn't really realize how bad until they got the new siding up on back and was ripping the old off one end and I took a picture where you could see the old compared to the new. It made the old look horrible! Now that the paint has gone on and we can see the end results, it's given our home such a much needed updated look. It's absolutely beautiful!
During this project, the workers have found several problems that were covered up by the old siding. We had no idea that they were there until the old was torn off and what was underneath was revealed. But now, those issues have been addressed and taken care of; which makes for a more insulated and efficient home.
Even though the house ended up costing much more than we had initially anticipated, God met our need and we didn't have to go in debt to pay for the work. This siding should last longer than we do; and hopefully, we are finished with the exterior and will never have to pay for anymore work on the outside of our home after this. Yay!
As excited as we are with our home and how beautiful it looks now that the work is completed, can you imagine how excited Jesus is with the homes that he is now preparing for us?
John 14:1-3 says, "Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me. In My Father's house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also."
In Jewish tradition during Bible times, when a couple became betrothed (engaged), the man would leave his future bride and would go to his fathers home to build on a room for himself and his new bride to live after their marriage. When he finished, he would return to the home of his intended and they would marry, then he would take her with him to their new dwelling place, within his father's home. The woman had no idea when her bridegroom would appear, so she had to prepare herself and stayed prepared.
Thus the parable of the wise and foolish virgins found in Matthew 25:1-13.
"Then the kingdom of heaven shall be likened to ten virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom. Now five of them were wise, and five were foolish. Those who were foolish took their lamps and took no oil with them, but the five wise took oil in their vessels with their lamps. But while the bridegroom was delayed, they all slumbered and slept. And at midnight a cry was heard: 'Behold, the bridegroom is coming; go out to meet him!' Then all those virgins arose and trimmed their lamps. And the foolish said to the wise, 'Give us some of your oil, for our lamps are going out.' But the wise answered, saying, 'No, lest there should not be enough for us and you; but go rather to those who sell, and buy for yourselves.' And while they went to buy, the bridegroom came, and those who were ready went in with him to the wedding; and the door was shut. Afterward the other virgins came also, saying, 'Lord, Lord, open to us!' But he answered and said, 'Assuredly, I say to you, I do not know you.' Watch therefore , for you know neither the day nor the hour in which the Son of Man is coming."
Right now our bridegroom, Jesus, has left to go to His Father's house to prepare a place for us to live with Him. He is readying an eternal home in which to bring His bride. It's a home that will never rot or wear out or need repair! It won't have cedar siding rot, woodpecker holes, old torn tarpaper underneath, missing boards or missing insulation. It won't need repainted or re-roofed every few years. It won't need new carpeting, paint, or remodeling on the inside! Hallelujah!!!
But when Jesus ascended back to Heaven, He went back to His Father's house to prepare dwelling places -- homes -- for His bride. And He promised to one day return, and we will forever live with our Bridegroom in those beautiful homes. I don't believe that there are even enough descriptive words that will be able to describe the splendor and beauty and majesty of our eternal dwelling places. Our earthly homes will greatly pale in comparison.
We must be ready, at all times, for our Bridegroom to return for us. We don't know the day nor the hour in which that will take place; but we have the promise that it will happen. We can choose to live foolishly and allow our spiritual oil to run out, thinking we have plenty of time to prepare later; or hoping we somehow have warning before the Bridegroom grows near, so we can hurriedly get ready at the last minute.
The better and wiser choice is to always live prepared for our Bridegrooms return. We must keep our spiritual lamps filled and burning bright at all times. Then when He does return, we are watching and waiting and ready to go! We are prepared to go with Him to His Father's house, where we will see our new homes!
With as much work and cost as I've invested into the house, I'd be pretty upset to move or anything. Even if I got to move to a much better house, I think I'd be reluctant to leave this one.
But when it comes time to leave this life for the next, I plan to go running and jumping. I don't want to even be tempted to glance back. All the electronics, games, house, and plans I have in this life won't be worth a thing compared to my new home.
I'm hoping it's something like the difference between childhood and adulthood. I remember so many of the things in life that were life-shatteringly critical, like getting to control the TV when my favorite cartoon was on, that I can look back on, and see how trivial they really were. I remember that when I was around 8, I thought it was so important that people knew I was 8 & 1/2, not just 8. Now, I often forget whether I'm 48 or 49, and don't really care about the difference. I thought having my own TV gave me total control over my life and all that mattered. Now I see how the TV was more in control of me than I of it.
And when we meet in heaven, I fully expect to look back and wonder why I didn't see this or that as trivial, and those other things as the real importance. Our perspective will be totally different, and we'll be glad to be rid of all this junk. I can hardly wait.
2 cups dry pinto beans
4 cups water
4 cups (32 oz) chicken broth
Ham hock or hog jowl or bacon
Salt and pepper, to taste
1 tsp. Garlic salt
1 tsp. cumin
1 can Rotel
Cover beans in water in a covered dish and soak either overnight or all day. Drain and rinse. Place bean in crockpot with all other ingredients. Cook for 8-10 hours on low overnight or all day. Serve with cornbread.
Growing up in church, things were much different when I was a little kid than they are nowadays; which makes for good memories. We didn't have water fountains, so mama would often take a pint mason jar of water (with a lid) for when I got thirsty. Our church didn't have a nursery, so when I got restless, sleepy and cranky, or was being a pickle (didn't happen often), Mama would take me out to our car. I remember falling asleep underneath the wooden pew or curled up beside Mama with my head in her lap. These are just a few memories that come to mind; but I'm sure there are many more, if I were to take more time to think about it.
We're called to build God's Kingdom, not our own castle.
We love you!
Loretta & Jon