"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

November 9, 2011


Forgetfulness is something we've all dealt with at one time or another. Kids can even pick up on using that as an excuse for not doing a chore or for disobeying. "Why didn't you take out the trash?" "I forgot!" "Why are you watching TV when you were told to do your homework?" "I forgot!" Janie has had this conversation with Devin many, many times. "Devin, didn't I tell you not to do that?" "Oh sorry, sorry!! I forgot!!" It may be something that he has been told over and over again not to do.

There are different types of forgetfulness. I cannot even tell you how many times I've gone grocery shopping and will get home having forgotten to pick up one of the most important items that I had planned to shop for. The next morning I will be fixing Jon's bowl of cereal for him (yes, I spoil him) and open the fridge to see that I forgot to buy milk. Jon and I have been working on the infamous gazebo for several weeks now. A couple weeks ago, Jon ran out of shingles when roofing. We covered the roof with a tarp, planning on returning the following weekend with the needed shingles. A few days later, we made what seems to have become our weekly trip to Lowe's, to pick up the supplies we would need for the planned work that weekend. We got home and as I was readying for bed I remembered that we had forgotten the shingles, which was the main item we had wanted to purchase.

Then there have been those instances where you forgot to do something important; such as make a needed deposit in your checking account, or taking medication at the prescribed time, or turning off the oven, or paying a bill. At times, those things can cause a moment of initial panic. "Oh no! Our electric bill is due and I wrote out the check, but forgot to mail it!" "I mailed that bill off on Thursday, knowing that I got paid Friday, but forgot to make a deposit. I hope I can get the deposit into my account before that check clears!" Or you'll be sitting in church or be in bed at night and the thought will come to you, "Did I turn off the oven after taking that pan out?" We can be visiting at a friend's house and the thought will suddenly come, "I unlocked the front door when I got the mail today, but don't remember locking it back when I came inside!"

Growing up, we never locked our house doors. When I was single and lived in Lampe, I never locked my doors except maybe at night when I slept (if I though of it) or if I went out of town. And I sure never locked my car doors. In fact, I would park it in the employee parking lot at the bank with my windows all rolled down in the summer and sometimes would just throw my keys underneath the seat. When I became a bank officer and had to start rotating into the schedule for unlocking the bank in the morning or locking it in the evenings, I absolutely hated it. It wasn't the hours, although I did have to get up earlier and stay later those weeks, but it was the responsibility of setting the alarm and making sure all the doors were locked. No kidding, I would set the alarm then stand there and look at it and go over in my mind, "Okay, I set the alarm; the key is turned the right way." Then when I went out the back door I would stand there and rattle it 3-4 times just to double-check myself to make sure it had really been locked. There were even a few times when I would turn away to head to the car, then turn around just one last time to recheck the door. When I worked at one of our branches on a Saturday I would double-check the doors numerous times to make sure they had been locked. I wanted to make sure if there was a break-in during the times I was responsible for locking up that it wasn't due to my negligence. There were many times when I would have to tell myself, "Loretta, you know it's locked and the alarm is on! Just leave!!"

Forgetting to put an ingredient in a recipe can make a huge difference in the outcome. You may think a teaspoon of salt of baking powder shouldn't matter much, but it can ruin certain recipes if left out. Forgetting and doubling up on an ingredient can also have disastrous results. You may be mixing something up and get a phone call, then when you go back to the recipe you can't remember whether or not you already added one of the ingredients. If you re-add it in, it could ruin the whole dish.

There are so many other events in our life where we can forgot something, which results in being inconvenienced or even consequences. You can forget to take the keys our of the ignition before locking a car and find yourself in a mess. Forgetting to check the gauge and running out of gas can leave you in a pickle.

But there are times when forgetting can actually be beneficial and an awesome thing. The greatest example I can think of is found in Philippians 3:13: "But one thing I do; forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead. I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus."

We have all made mistakes and done things that we wish we hadn't done or could redo. And sometimes the guilt of our actions can follow us for years. At times it may be something hidden that no one knows about, and we hope our family and friends never find out. It could cause great embarrassment to ourself or perhaps words of condemnation should anyone ever know, so we try to keep it buried. It could be premarital sex, experimenting with drinking or drugs, watching a dirty movie, cheating, lying, etc. But even though it may have happened years ago, we don't want our kids, grandkids, nieces, nephews, parents, or best friend to ever know what we did. Most times we may forget about it, then something will occur to bring it to the forefront of our memory and we once again feel shame and guilt for our lack of self-control. Perhaps we see someone younger going down the same path that we once took, only they get caught and have to pay consequences for their actions. It can be easy to point our finger at them and judge, forgetting that we may have done the exact same thing or something just as bad, only we didn't get caught. And sometimes others do find out what we did at the time, and hurtful things are said or embarrassment is caused for our family or we feel that others are judging us and gossiping about what happened.

God is a loving Father who doesn't keep bringing our past up to remind us of our shortcomings and failures. He doesn't want us to go through life filled with regret, shame and guilt. Once we repent of our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us of ALL our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness. (1 John 1:9) When we confess our sins, God will immediately forgive and forget. That doesn't mean that we won't ever have to pay the consequences of our past actions, but God doesn't hold it against us. It's us that holds it against ourselves. At times it's hard to let go of the past. And Satan will try his best to keep reminding us of it and heaping shame upon our head. But we need to remember that it is Satan reminding us, and not God. And we also need to stop justifying our past sin and making excuses, and repent of them. God can't forgive what we aren't willing to confess.

Paul writes in Philippians that the one thing he does is forget what lies behind him; and Paul had a lot of sin lying behind him. He persecuted christians, before his own conversion. Knowing what he had done could have been a heavy weight of shame that continually weighed upon his mind. But he chose to not dwell on the past, and instead reach forward to what lies ahead. He pressed on toward the goal of the ultimate prize of reaching heaven. God had called him to minister, and Paul didn't let his feelings of being unworthy or his guilt of his past actions hinder him from obeying God.

We all have to make that same choice when we sin. Do we allow bitterness and shame to keep us tied to the past; or do we repent and allow God to forgive us, then look forward to what the future has in store for us? Forgetting what lies behind us is one of the best things we can do. We can forget our past sins, yet remember the grace and mercy of God's forgiveness shown to us.


I tend to be very forgetful, especially in the mornings. When I drive off without my work computer, Loretta calls to let me know. When I drive of without my phone, it's not so easy. I also often forget to take tools, send pre-work e-mails, pack for trips, etc. So, when I want to be sure I'll remember something in the morning, I'll put something as a reminder on top of my toothbrush. It's not a guarantee; I might still set it to the side and never look back.

When Loretta and I first got married, we had to sort out what our morning and evening routines would be. We had to sort out who would get the shower first, who would get the sink, and even who could risk stinking up the bathroom. It's a tough adjustment, and until I did it for several months, there were quite a few times I almost left the house when Loretta asked if I would please brush my hair.

One of the most important things we needed to include in our daily routine was spending some time reading our Bibles. Over the years, we've changed among reading at night and morning. Right now, I read in the morning before I head to work, and Loretta reads afterward. But to get into the routine, I would put my Bible by my car keys, wallet, or clothes. I knew I wouldn't drive off without getting my keys (I know; I've forgotten them before).

You can read your Bible in the mornings, noon, or night. But please do read often. It helps us avoid forgetting what's really important.


Aunt Ruth's Sweet Potato Casserole


3 cups sweet potatoes, drained and mashed

1 tsp. Vanilla

1/2 tsp. Salt

1 cup sugar

1/2 stick butter

1 egg, beaten

1/2 cup milk

Stir all ingredients together and pour into a 9x13 baking pan.


1 stick butter

1 cup light brown sugar

1/2 cup flour

1 cup chopped pecans

Melt butter; add all ingredients of topping together. Spread topping evening over casserole mixture. Bake at 350 for 30-35 minutes.


There have been many times I [Jon] have nodded off in school. Fortunately, I've never had any bad incidents because of it, but have gotten to witness a few.

First, a good friend, Bill, was snoozing in the back row of the class, and had his head leaned back against the wall. He suddenly woke up needing to sneeze. But he was still too groggy to think it through well. He tipped his head forward, then did the "Ahhh-Ahh" leading into the sneeze. Of course, that usually includes tipping the head back. The wall got in the way. Then he finished with the first sneeze--very loudly. But the teacher just spoke up a little and carried on. After the sneeze, Bill's head was down in his hands. So, he straightened up. But too far. He hit his head again. Then he sneezed again, and banged his head back against the wall again. Then again, he sneezed and hit his head. The fourth time he sneezed, he started to lean back, and stopped himself with a frightened look on his face. The teacher tried to keep going, but it was hard over all the snickers in the back row.

The second was someone I didn't really know. We just called him Cool Sleeping Guy. He slept through every class. One of the classes decided all together to quietly sneak out while he slept through the bell. We didn't discuss it; we just all made the same decision on the same day. I heard from a student in the next class that he woke up about half way through the class, looked around, picked up his books, and left without a word.

The third was the most dramatic. Again, I didn't know him. It was a theatre style class--classes where the class seats slope up away from the teacher. He was sitting in a desk on the aisle about 10 rows from the front. He slouched down, sitting just on the edge of the seat, with his chin resting on his chest. He fell asleep gently enough. But he shook himself awake. Again, he was sitting just on the edge of the seat--till he shook. He slipped off the seat. He tried to catch himself on the desk, but it was covered in books, papers, and a pencil (the pencil comes up later). He started clutching at the book but it wasn't going to hold him up. He threw that across the aisle, and kept clutching. He never did get ahold of anything that would help, and kept heading to the floor. He slid down through the hole between his seat and desk with his arms flopping in the air. He kind of froze there, trying to figure out how to get up with his hands caught in the desk, while everyone watched. Everything went silent, except for one pencil slowly rolling down the floor all the way to the front of the classroom. Eventually, he got untangled and collected his papers and books. He didn't bother getting his pencil till class was over.


We don't need more to be thankful for, we need to be more thankful.


We love you!

Loretta & Jon