"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

September 5, 2007

We're publishing early this week because the rest of the week is so uncertain. Please pray for Loretta's whole family. We received a call at 4:25 Tuesday morning letting us know an ambulance was on the way to pick her dad up because he had problems breathing. We received another call saying that they had trouble finding a pulse. We received a final call about 5:15 to let us know that he had passed away. So, please pray. We need strength, guidance, and love.


There are many scriptures that speak of Christ's love for children. In Mark 9:13-16, we see where young children were being brought to Jesus, so that He could touch and bless them. The disciples rebuked those that brought them. When Jesus saw what was happening, he was very displeased, and said to them, “Suffer the little children to come unto me, and forbid them not; for of such is the kingdom of God. Verily I say unto you, 'Whosoever shall not receive the kingdom of God as a little child, he shall not enter therein.” Then Jesus took the children up in His arms, put His hands on them, and blessed them.

Why does Jesus say that we are to receive the kingdom of God as a little child? He wants us to accept it in such a simple, humble, trustful, and wholehearted manner that we turn from sin and receive Christ as our Lord and Savior. He longs to receive, love, and bless us.

There are many things we can learn from observing children. One, is that children are very trusting. They trust that when they hold out their arms to Mommy or Daddy, that they will be picked up and held. Have you ever stood a child on a table or something, then took a step back and held out your arms, and told them to jump to you? That child will leap towards you with their arms outstretched, trusting that you are going to catch them. When they fall down and skin their knee, they trust that they can run to Mama and she will put a band aid on it, and kiss it and make it better.

That's the same kind of trust that God wants us to come to Him with. To trust that when we reach our arms out to Him, He is right there ready and willing to hold us. When God asks us to step out and do something that we maybe have never done before, or trust Him to meet a specific need, He is not going to allow us to jump and hurt ourselves, but is there to catch us. When we experience hurts and disappointment, God is there to comfort and “kiss it and make it better.”

Children are also very honest in what they say. They haven't yet learned that there are certain things you talk about and things you don't. They are very open in speaking up and saying what they want, repeating what they hear, and telling about things they observe. If you have ever taught a children's Sunday School class, you know that children can be very outspoken. They will request prayer for anything and everything.

Years ago my mom was teaching a class for four and five year olds, and a little girl requested prayer for her mom, because her dad had given her razor burn on her face when he kissed her. Probably not something the mother would have wanted mentioned. Kids will want prayer for everything from Mommy and Daddy fighting, to a boo-boo they have on their leg, to a pet being sick. They have faith that when they pray, God will hear and answer.

That is the honesty and faith that God wants us to come to Him with. We sometimes have this misconception that God is not interested in everything that concerns us. It's easier for us to tell someone else about our problems, needs, or concerns than it is to bring them to God. I have heard people say that they don't want to bother God about a certain issue for various reasons. I've also heard it said that God is either too busy or not interested in what they have to say. All of that thinking is so totally wrong. God wants us to come to Him openly, honestly, and with faith, about every single detail of our life. He also wants us to not give up and become discouraged in our petitions to Him.

When my nephew, Mark, was real small, my sister would have prayer with him and his brother every night before they went to sleep. She would ask the boys if they had anything they wanted to pray about. From several years, beginning when Mark was probably around age three, every single night his prayer request was, “Aunt Loretta have a boyfriend, husband.” I was in my early twenties at that time and it took many, many years, but God finally honored the prayers of that sweet nephew. Not knowing that I wouldn't get married until I was almost forty, I had told Mark that he could be the ring bearer at my wedding. I have a niece the same age as him, and I had promised her that she could be the flower girl. By the time I got married, they were about the same age that I had been when Mark first started praying for me a boyfriend/husband. In fact, Janee' had already been married a couple of years. They both reminded me that I had promised me that they could be the ring bearer and flower girl. I have a cute picture taken at my rehearsal where they were goofing around, and Mark is walking down the aisle holding a bed pillow with the rings on it and Janee' is holding his arm carrying a basket of flowers. When Jon and I got married, I remembered to thank Mark for all the prayers he prayed for me for so many years.

Children will also show emotion, and don't keep their feelings bottled up or try to hide them. When they are disappointed or hurt, they will cry. When they're excited their eyes will light up and they'll jump up and down. When they're happy they will giggle and laugh. When they get mad, you will know it! They will freely give hugs and kisses.

Earlier this summer I spent a couple of days at one of my nephews' home. At that time, he and his wife had a newborn baby girl, plus a little boy who was eighteen months. The mama had dentist and doctor appointments and needed help. She took the baby with her and I babysat Winston. I live three hours away and haven't been around him very much, so wasn't sure how he would do with me. He was so good and took right up with me. He had his Great-Aunt Loretta wrapped around his little finger. He's a little doll with blond hair and brown eyes. He just stole my heart! When I would get him up in the mornings or after a nap, he would cuddle up and put his arms around my neck. He would sit on my lap and look at books or I would take him outside and pull him all over the yard in his wagon. When he gave me hugs it just made me melt. But Winston also made it well known when he wasn't happy with something!

Imagine then how it must make God feel when we spend time with Him. How His heart melts when we tell him that we love Him and how wonderful we think His is! But we also don't have to try to hide from Him when we're upset or angry about something. We can come to Him in honesty and openness.

As adults, many of us have gotten quite good at hiding our emotions and feelings. We only allow other people to see what we want them to see. I've know grown ups who have forgotten how to laugh or have fun. After all, that's just a waste of time when you're a mature, hard working adult, isn't it?! Some never want anyone to know that they are hurt, or have a problem, or are facing difficulties. Many families have “matured” past giving hugs or saying “I love you” to one another. After all, everyone knows how you feel about them. I believe in all of these areas we could take a few lessons from children.

One last observation about children, is that they believe promises made to them. If one of their parents tell them that they are going to buy something for them, or spend time with them, or take them somewhere, the child will take them at their word and count on it. If Daddy tells his little boy that they will go outside and play ball together when he gets home from work, that little boy will talk about it and look forward to it all day long. Sadly enough, many times words and promises get broken.

We are called the children of God in the Bible, and one thing we can count on is that God will never break His word or promises to us. He's not going to disappoint us or go back on His word. When God says that something is so, we can count that that is exactly how it is. God has promised to never leave nor forsake us, and we can know 100% that that is true. He has promised to provide for our needs, therefore we can know that He will. He has promised that He would send his angels to protect and guard us, so we can be assured that they are always with us. God has also promised eternal life in Heaven to all those who believe in Him. What hope and assurance that promise should give us. How awesome it is to be a child of God!


There are those who say that a saint with faith will never pass away. I have so many responses to that, I don't know where to begin. “The apostles didn't believe that. Especially after the first few were gone.” Or, “Then, who is in heaven?” Paul put his faith in God. He said that if he died, that was fine, he would be able to see his savior in person! And if he lived, he could carry on His ministry. Granted, change can be pretty scary. But why should we be so terrified to go home?


Cheese 'n Ham Spirals

1 egg

1 sheet frozen puff pastry (½ of the 17 ¼ oz. pkg) – thawed

¼ cup grated Parmesan Cheese, divided

¼ tsp. ground red pepper (cayenne)

8 slices smoked or brown sugar ham - shaved

Preheat oven to 400. Beat egg and 1 Tbsp. water with wire whisk until blended; set aside. Unfold pastry on lightly floured surface. Roll into 14x10-inch rectangle; cut in half lengthwise. Brush both pastry halves lightly with some of the egg mixture.

Sprinkle 3 Tbsp. of the cheese and the pepper evenly over 1 of the pastry pieces; cover with ham slices. Place remaining pastry piece, egg side down, over ham. Brush with additional egg mixture. Roll gently with rolling pin to seal.

Roll in jelly-roll fashion to make a 14-inch log. Cut into 24 equal slices. Place, cut side down, on parchment-covered baking sheet. Brush with remaining egg mixture; sprinkle with remaining 1 Tbsp. cheese.

Bake 13-14 minutes or until golden brown. Serve warm or at room temperature.

**NOTE: This appetizer can be made weeks in advance. Just prepare, wrap securely and freeze. Defrost and bake as directed, prior to serving.


If you enjoy cooking, go online to: to sign up for a free subscription to the “Kraft Food and Family” quarterly magazine. This is a free publication to everyone who signs up, with no strings attached! Every three months you will receive a magazine, which is filled with lots of good recipes. My sisters have been receiving their copies for years and signed me up when I got married. When you go online, you can also sign up for free subscriptions to be sent to any friends who you think would enjoy it.


My two oldest nephews are just seven and eight years younger than me, so growing up they felt more like my little brothers. They spent a lot of time at our house when they were young, and after I got out on my own, they would spend the night with me and I would take them different places. They were known to be a little ornery at times though!

When I first lived on my own, I lived in a little bitty, run-down, dilapidated mobile home. And that is not an exaggeration! It was always hot in the summer and cold in the winters. There were also holes and places for “critters” to occasionally get inside the house. The front door would lock (somewhat) from the inside, but not from the outside so whenever I went anywhere I could never lock my house. In the area that I lived, not many people at that time locked their doors anyway so that wasn't a big deal. It was in extremely poor condition, and was not a good place to live.

One night I had been gone somewhere and got home after dark. I walked into the house and reached over to turn the light on and nothing happened. I could “feel” that someone was inside. Silly me, instead of running back to the car or yelling for the neighbor, I just stood and there and said, “Who's there? I know someone is in here, so you better answer me!” No one said a word. Then I started getting a little scared and was starting to run back outside, when I heard my nephews laughing. They had decided to spend the night and their mom had brought them over. They got this bright idea that it would be funny to unscrew the light bulb in the living room, so that when I flipped the switch, nothing would happen. They thought they were quite humorous!

Another time, when I lived in that same place, they were there visiting one Sunday afternoon. The living room was tiny. They were watching TV and I had laid down in the floor to take a nap. After a while they woke me up and said, “Loretta, there's a snake over there in the floor.” I thought they were just trying to scare me and said, “No, there's not!” I got up and they were standing up on the couch. Sure enough, over in the corner, just a couple of feet from where I had been lying, was a huge black snake. I hate snakes and I am absolutely terrified of them!! I don't care if they are poisonous or not, big or little, good or bad, I do NOT like them! I don't even like seeing them on TV. I called my uncle, who lived close by, and he came down and got rid of it for me. For the rest of time that I had to live in that old trailer, I was petrified that another snake would get inside. I would check my bed every night before I'd climb in. The years I lived there was one test after another for me!!


Always be a man/woman of your word!! Whether or not you do what you say is a reflection of your character.

May your life be blessed with protection, health and strength. May you see God's provision for each need in your life.

May you know the depth of love that Jesus has for you. May the blessings of God be poured out upon you.

We love you and pray for you all.

Loretta & Jon