"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 18, 2020
We are living in a time right now where fear of Coronavirus is sweeping across our land. People are stockpiling, schools are closing down for extended periods of time, large gatherings are being cancelled, people are being encouraged to stay home as much as possible, etc.
Fear is nothing new, and has been around almost since the beginning of time. Perhaps that is why there are so many scriptures telling us not to fear; but know that the Lord our God is with us. At times fear may be something that is only fleeting or could be something that is consuming that lasts for a prolonged period of time.
Parents can often calm the fear of young children by their presence. Sometimes, just knowing that daddy or mama is there makes things better.
Growing up, I shared a bedroom (and a bed) with my sister, Janie. When we first started sharing a bed, sometimes Mama would lay beside me until I fell asleep. Understand, I was just a little girl at the time! Some nights if I was laying still and not crying for Mama, Janie would say, "Loretta, are you scared? Do you want Mama to come lay by us?" If that didn't work, she would think of something to say to scare me, then would holler, "Mama, Loretta is crying and wants you to come in here." She felt like she was too big to admit that she was scared herself and wanted Mama. Mama would come and either lay down beside us, or would stand beside the bed and gently rock the mattress with her knee as she sang to us. Having her there gave us peace and we'd fall asleep.
Sometimes we may be going along in life, taking care of daily business as usual, when something suddenly happens that causes us to feel fear. Luke chapter two tells the story of the birth of Jesus. A group of shepherds were out in the field watching their sheep, as they probably had, night after night for many years. Same ol', same ol' routine. But suddenly an angel appeared and the glory of the Lord shone all around them, and they were afraid.
The first words the angel spoke, before giving them the good news of Jesus' birth, was, "Fear not!" Perhaps the angel knew that the shepherds were afraid, and in order for them to hear and receive the message, their fears had to be first calmed and put to rest.
Today, whether you are concerned about the Coronavirus or something else, don't let fear consume your thoughts. When we do, then the message that God wants to speak to us cannot be easily heard over those fearful thoughts that flood our mind.
God is saying to us today, "Fear not!" Don't be afraid, don't be stressed, don't panic! Then when our fears are alleviated, then God can speak truths into our hearts.
All we have to do is call upon our Father, and He comes and "rocks" our bed and sings over us. Being in His presence gives us peace and we can be at rest.
Mark 4:35-41 tells the story of the disciples and Jesus in a ship out in the middle of the sea. It was evening and Jesus was lying in the back of the ship asleep. A huge storm hit and the disciples became afraid. They woke Jesus up and asked, "Do you not care that we are perishing?!" Jesus rebuked the wind and spoke to the sea, "Peace, be still." The wind ceased and there was immediately a great calm. Perhaps when Jesus said the words, "Peace, be still," He was not only speaking to the storm, but was also speaking to the disciples fear. Jesus then asked why they were so fearful; then said that it was because of their lack of faith.
In the midst of any storms we face in life, whether it be internal or external, if we will place our faith and trust in God, He will alleviate our fears and speak peace.
The storm probably rocked Jesus to sleep. Instead of the swaying and rocking of the ship inspiring fear, Jesus could see His Father rocking him in the same way Loretta's mother gently rocked her bed.
Even as Jesus faced Pilot and was being prepared for the cross, and even being raised up, He didn't seem to show even a hint of fear. I imagine He was sad, and probably disappointed in the Hebrew people who condemned Him. But He didn't try to fight it, run, or even argue against His fate.
At every step, Jesus knew that His Father was with Him. He knew that God was holding Him in His hands. And that was all that was important.
2 cups dry pinto beans
32 ounces chicken broth
4 cups water
Ham hock or hog jowl or bacon
1 can Rotel
Little salt and garlic salt
1 tsp black pepper
1/2 to 1 tsp. cumin
Soak beans in water in a covered container in the fridge overnight or all day. Drain and rinse. Place beans and all other ingredients in a crock pot. Cook on low overnight or all day. Delicious served with cornbread. Leftovers are delicious reheated.
This story still makes me laugh every time I think about it!
Several years ago, my dad decided to take my stepmom, June, to visit a retired minister and his wife, who had been his former pastor. She had never met the couple and he had not seen them for several years. It was about a 3-4 hour drive, and they finally pulled up in front of the house. An older couple welcomed them inside and told them to make themselves at home. Daddy thought they looked a little different than what he remembered, but thought he must have forgotten what they looked like. June sat down, took her shoes off, and got comfortable. After visiting for a short time, Daddy realized that he had no idea who this couple was. The older man and woman were glad for the company and invited them to come back and visit again. Embarrassed, Daddy left and drove straight home, without trying to find the home of the couple they had really wanted to go visit.
Plenty of people miss their share of happiness;
not because they never found it, but because they didn't stop to enjoy it. - W. Feather
We love you!
Loretta & Jon