"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

August 31, 2011


When I was a kid, one of the songs we used to sing in Sunday School was, "When We All Pull Together". Each kid had a partner and we'd join hands and pull back and forth as we sang: "When we all pull together, together, together; when we all pull together, how happy we'll be. For your work is my work, and our work is God's work. When we all pull together, how happy we'll be."

Another verse we sung is, "When we all fight our neighbors, fight our neighbors, fight our neighbors; when we all fight our neighbors, how sad we will be....."

I have been thinking about the body of Christ and how important it is that we all work together and do our part. This past Sunday, our pastor mentioned this kids song in his sermon and how it related to each of us pulling together and working in complete harmony.

Here is an excerpt from his sermon: "God never intended us to be alone on this journey. The song is telling us: Pull together and we won't pull apart. The Bible says, 'Now you are the body of Christ and each one of you is a part of it.' (1 Corinthians 12:27) We are members together of the body of Christ and He is counting on us working together as a body. Paul is talking about the body of Christ in Ephesians when he writes that '...the whole boy, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work.' {Ephesians 4:16} God is counting on us working together, pulling together, not pulling apart. The Bible tells us to live as His children, loving one another, forgiving one another, preferring one another in love."

In 1 Corinthians 12:12-27 we read about the body of Christ being made up of different members, and how each has their own special purpose and place of importance. So that we could have a clearer of understanding of how this works, Paul used the human body as an example.

In verse 12 he writes, "The body is a unit, though it is made up of many parts; and though all its parts are many, they form one body. So it is with Christ."

Paul continues in verse 14-27, "Now the body is not made up of one part but of many. If the foot should say, 'Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,' it would not for that reason cease to be part of the body. And if the ear should say, 'Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,' it would not for that reason cease to be part of the body. If the whole body were an eye, where would the sense of hearing be? If the whole body were an ear, where would the sense of smell be? But in fact God has arranged the parts in the body, every one of them, just as He wanted them to be. If they were all one part, where would the body be? As it is, there are many parts, but one body. The eye cannot say to the hand, 'I don't need you!' And the head cannot say to the feet, 'I don't need you!' On the contrary, those parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable, and the parts that we think are less honorable we treat with special honor. And the parts that are unpresentable are treated with special modesty, while our presentable parts need no special treatment. But God has combined the members of the body and has given greater honor to the parts that lack it, so that there should be no division in the body, but that its parts should have equal concern for each other. If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it. Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it."

The body consists of more hidden parts than it does those that are seen. And the body would be dead without some of those unseen parts functioning correctly. You cannot see the heart, yet the body cannot survive without it. You cannot see the brain, but if stops working, the body cannot function and there is no life.

The liver, lungs, stomach and kidneys, which are all important organs of the body, are hidden within the frame of the body. Then you have the bones, muscles, veins, arteries, ribs, pancreas, bladder, tendons, spine.... and the list goes on and on. The most important parts of the body that brings life to it, are those that are not outwardly seen. I guess you could say, it's those things working behind the scene.

But often we forgot that, and instead we focus on what we can clearly see. We focus on the eyes, nose, ears, mouth, hands, feet, legs, arms, neck, and skin. And because those things are seen, we tend to think they are the most important. Therefore, that's when we think of our part in the body of Christ, those are what we often want to be, and think if we're any other function in the body, then we're not important and unnecessary.

And honestly, how many of us would say, "Pick me, pick me!" when it comes to being the colon or bowels? We want nothing to do with that stinky, nasty job! But those are just as important, maybe even more so than the eyes or ears. It may be inconvenient, but individuals can function without pain and feel healthy when they have no sight or hearing, and can learn to adapt to the world around them. But if their colon stops working and needs to be removed, it greatly affects their health.

My mom had colon cancer from approximately 1974-1981 and had to have part of her colon removed, and had to live several years using a colostomy. Each morning, she had to go in and irrigate (clean) it out. There were times when you could smell it and at times the colostomy bags would come loose. It was something she had to wear constantly and deal with. She couldn't wake up one morning and say, "This is too hard and I don't want to mess with doing this process every day" and quit; but she had to be committed to the care of having a colostomy. Having a healthy, working colon would have been much easier! Not having her colon functioning properly greatly affected her life and her health, and she passed away at the young age of 48 due to the cancer.

Even those parts that can be dispensed of surgically, and seem to have no special function, were put in the body for a reason and are needed. I had my gallbladder removed a couple years ago. I had a lot of people tell me before the surgery that they had the same procedure done and that they felt so much better and was glad to have it gone. Well, I do feel better without the diseased gallbladder inside of me, but I've also had to deal with repercussions of having it removed. I cannot eat certain foods anymore because I get heartburn and indigestion when I do. I know if I eat green peppers, raw onion, or spaghetti sauce then I will later pay for it. And I still haven't figured out the spaghetti sauce thing, because I can eat salsa, pizza sauce or other things with tomatoes in it and I'm fine. There are times when I can eat something and it doesn't bother me whatsoever but then the next time it may give me heartburn. And sometimes I don't know what will bother me and what won't, because it's not always consistent. I just know to keep a bottle of Maalox at all times.

A few years ago my sister had to have her thyroid completely removed. Yes, she can function well and no one evens knows that it's gone, unless she tells them, but she has to have blood work done regularly and be on daily medication to counteract not having her thyroid.

The truth is, we may think that certain body parts are of no importance and we can just cut them out and be rid of them, but it will affect us when that happens. We may have to be on daily medication to help replace something within our body that is now missing, or we may have to deal with the indigestion and heartburn. Every part is important and serves a purpose; otherwise, God would not have used it in the makeup of our bodies.

At times it's easy to look at someone and think, "Undoubtedly, they're more important than I am!" Perhaps it's because we consider them to have a greater ministry than we do, or to have more notoriety. In comparison, it may seem that more people have been touched and positively effected by their life and that they've had more impact and influence over others than we have. So we tend to put them up on a pedestal, thinking they can do no wrong and have much more spiritual strength than we do. Then if we see disease or if disaster strikes in their life, we think, "Surely, God has made a mistake! This person has done this and this, and so many people have been influenced by their life, so why would God allow this to happen to them? Why would God choose them and not someone else of less importance?" Or else we think, "Oh they're such a strong person with such strong faith that they'll be able to handle their situation with such grace." We tend to think that should we be place in the same situation that we'd have it tougher or have a harder time dealing with it, but the truth is, that very person we're idolizing as being so strong has human emotions and doubts and feelings too, and very well may be struggling. They need our prayers every bit as much as we'd need theirs should the situation be reversed. But we tend to judge by what we think we know about someone or how we think they will handle tough trials, and we feel so disappointed if they don't react according to how we think they should. When a member of the body is hurting, we need to help and encourage them, and not expect them to be strong enough to deal with their situation alone. Yes, it's wonderful to have the Lord to lean on and go to, but we, as a body, need each other.

It's humans that put greater focus on one person above another; God doesn't do that. We are all of the same importance to our Heavenly Father. No one is of more value or more greatly loved above another. We are all God's children, and He has no favorites. We may tend to play favorites where people are concerned, but God never does. But often it's difficult for us to see ourselves as being as important and loved by God as someone that we consider to be a better person or stronger Christian than we are.

The second verse of that kids song says, "When we all fight our neighbors.... how sad we will be." Fussing and discontent with others will make us feel uncomfortable, stressed, and constantly on guard.

We have had a couple of hummingbirds in our yard the past several days. We have two feeders with sugar-water for them, and two large flower bushes from which they like to drink nectar. These flower bushes are quite large and entirely filled with flowers. There is plenty of flowers and water in both feeders to more than satisfy both birds. But they absolutely refuse to share and are constantly fighting if they both are in our yard at the same time. Many times we will see one drink it's fill, then it will sit on the electrical wire or tree limb keeping watch. If the other hummingbird flies towards one of the feeders or flowers, the guard will immediately fly down and chase it away.

Over and over again, Jon has questioned, "Why can't our hummingbirds share?" When we go to our property in Missouri there is a house close by that has several feeders hung along the edge of their roof, and whenever we drive by we'll see many hummingbirds all sharing the feeders. But every single year since we've been putting out feeders at our house in Bixby, our birds refuse to share and will fight. We will watch and think, "There is more than enough for the two of you; why can't you just get along and share?" It makes no sense to us.

But often when individuals fuss and fight and don't get along, it doesn't make sense to other people. They will think, "Why can't you just work it out and get along? Other people share and get along, so why can't you?" It seems as if there are those who aren't happy unless they're stirring up trouble and mad at someone. But it would be so much more peaceful to those surrounding them if they'd work out their differences and get along. Instead of "fighting their neighbor", if they'd learn to "pull together", then "how happy we'll be".

Colossians 3:23 says, "Whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men." Another version words it, "Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men."

It's easy at times to get distracted from our goal, or to feel like we're unimportant or insignificant, especially when we compare ourselves to others. But whether or not the job you have in the body of Christ is recognizable or given any attention or glory, you are important and serve a purpose. Your duty of the bowels or colon may be to get rid of the filth and waste that tries to filter itself into the lives of Christians and the church, through gossip and rumors and false doctrines, and it's your duty to get rid of it and clean it out; instead of participating and believing everything you see and hear. Or possibly you're the ears and are created to be a listener to others. You could be that joint between the foot and little toe, that no one ever considers or thinks about; unless it hurts or isn't working correctly. You may be a hand that is used to reach out to help others.

My point is, there are hundreds of different functions within the body, some that we possibly aren't even aware of or consider, while others are noticed by everyone and visible. But regardless of how mankind ranks them, they are all of equal importance and have their purpose. Let's get over trying to be noticed or feeling unappreciated because no one sees or knows what we do. I've heard people comment, "Oh when I do something I don't want other people to comment or know about it." But then if that person doesn't get recognition or get thanked, they begin to feel unappreciated and taken advantage of; so often will tell someone, "I did this, but don't tell anyone because I don't want people to know." Really?!? If you don't want people to know, then why tell someone? But it's in our nature to want to be thanked and appreciated for the things we do, give, build, help with, etc. It's hard at times being that little unknown gland or joint that gets overlooked. We all could probably make more of an effort to just make sure we're fulfilling whatever job it is that God has asked us to do. Stop worrying about everyone else; whether or not they're doing their job, or if anyone is noticing us, or if someone is getting more attention or recognition than we are, or finding fault if someone isn't doing their job the way we think it should be done, etc.

I want to work harder at making sure I'm effectively fulfilling my purpose in life. I want to do it heartily and work at it with all my heart; not for men's applause and recognition, but to do it as working for the Lord. Perhaps I'm that little known body part that no one even knows they have; but I want to make sure I'm doing my job well so that it is always working properly. For if I stop doing what God created me to do, then not having that part working could cause discomfort and pain for other members of the body. And sometimes it could affect them so they can't or won't function properly.

Before I had my gallbladder removed I was having other issues with my stomach and side hurting. My "sick" gallbladder was also causing pain in the back of my shoulder and chest. My doctor told me that a lot of times if you have one problem, it will cause other things to hurt and affect them until you get the main issue taken care of.

So what each of us does is important and will have an affect on those around us, if we choose to not do our part. Let's work at what God has placed before us to do and use the talents (and yes, we all have a gift that God gave to us to use) whole-heartedly and make sure we're doing our part to keep the body of Christ functioning well.


Sometimes it's hard to keep working when it seems your work is so useless, and unwanted. The gallbladder must feel so bored and useless handling some little bit of filth day-in and day-out, especially when the rest of the body just keeps throwing more slop at it. But it keeps doing its work all day, every day.

It could be easy to think that the work we do as members of the Body of Christ is what we do in church. If that was the case, the preacher would certainly seem to be the most important; the door greeters would be important, but not as important as the preacher; and most of the attendees would be a part, but not that important.

But our job as members of the Body of Christ is all day, every day. When we are at work, we are still part of the Body. How we work, do the jobs assigned to us, relate to co-workers and customers, and all the other little tasks we need to do is all while we are members of the Body of Christ.

That's probably why Colossians 3:23 says, "Whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men," and not, "Whatever you do in church, ..." or "Whatever you do in front of church friends, ..."


Strawberry Vanilla Cake

1 Duncan Hines Moist Deluxe French Vanilla Cake Mix

1 container Home-Style Cream Cheese or Buttercream Frosting

1/3 cups seedless strawberry jam

fresh strawberries

Preheat oven to 350. Grease and flour two 8 or 9 inch round pans.

Prepare, bake and cool cakes following package directions for basic recipe (the french vanilla cake mix is really good -- much better than just a regular white cake mix).

To assemble, place one cake layer on a serving plate. Place 1/4 cup frosting in a small, resealable plastic bag. Snip off one corner. Pipe a bead of frosting on top of layer around outer edge. (This really is important to keep the layers from sliding). Fill remaining area with strawberry jam. Top with second cake layer. Spread remaining frosting on sides and top of cake. Slice strawberries (if you have an egg slicer, it works perfectly to get even slices) and lightly press into frosting around the bottom edge of the cake; place the strawberry slices side by side with the pointed side up. This makes a very pretty, but simple and delicious cake!

If you really want to get fancy, you can also dip strawberries in chocolate and decorate the top of the cake with them, but that's not necessary.


A teenage boy had just passed his driving test and inquired of his father as to when they could discuss his use of the car. His father said he'd make a deal with his son, "You bring your grades up from a C to a B average, study your Bible a little, and get your hair cut; then we'll talk about the car." The boy thought about that for a moment, decided he'd settle for the offer, and they agreed on it. After six weeks his father said, "Son, you've brought your grades up and I've observed that you have been studying your Bible, but I'm disappointed you haven't had your hair cut." The boy said, "You know, Dad, I've been thinking about that, and I've noticed in my studies of the Bible that Samson had long hair, John the Baptist had long hair, Moses had long hair, and there's even strong evidence that Jesus had long hair." Dad's reply.... "Did you also notice they all walked everywhere they went?"


It's easier to let the cat out of the bag than to put it back in. - seen on a sign


We love you!

Loretta & Jon