"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

July 10, 2013


My sister's adopted son, Devin, who is eleven years old and deaf, is definitely a backseat driver! When he first started doing it, it was cute and funny. Now it's just annoying!! Anytime he rides with either me or my sister he will tell us when to stop, when to go, when the light is red, when the light is green, when to slow down, when to speed up, when to turn, when to go straight; and the list goes on and on......

Jon and I always back our vehicles into the driveway or garage because the street in front of our house is very busy, so it makes it easier to be able to pull straight out when we leave to go somewhere. When Devin is riding in the truck with me, he will direct me with his hand to "help" me back up; and if I don't stop exactly when he wants me to, he will holler at me.

Janie and I have agreed that Devin must think that we are two old women who need his help and can't get along without his input. When we are walking across a parking lot he will watch for cars and hold his arm out in front of us and tell us to stop if he sees a car coming, or motion which direction we should walk. It's as if he thinks he has to take care of us and watch out for our safety.

Like I said earlier -- it gets really annoying!! And yes, I'm sure it's funny reading about it; but having him constantly telling us how to drive or park or helping us across a parking lot is not quite so humorous when we're the ones that are always having to deal with it. And yes, we have ask him to stop doing this; told him we know our colors and know whether the stoplight is red or green; told him that we know how to drive; etc..... to no avail. Have I said that this is very annoying?!?

On the other hand, the good thing about Devin being in the vehicle with us is that he has a very keen sense of direction and will remember how to get to a location after being there one time. He also will always remember where your car is located in a parking lot and can take you right to it. When he becomes a driver himself he will likely never get lost!

If only we could get him to utilize the things we appreciate, and to stop doing the backseat driving that is not so much appreciated. It would be nice if we could pick and choose those things we want Devin to do, and have him cooperate.

There are many circumstances in life when it would be nice to be able to pick and choose what we either want for ourselves, or would like others to do to cooperate with our desires and wishes.

There are times when others think something in particular should be important or a blessing to us, when in all honestly, we would desire something else. But when we try to explain, they don't understand because what they want for us is perhaps something they truly want for themselves. Sometimes, if we're not careful, we will try to push our own desires onto someone else.

My brother-in-law, Jimmy, was deaf and he honestly didn't mind being unable to hear. He had never been able to hear well, so that was all he knew. God used Jimmy's deafness as an awesome tool of ministry, and he was able to build a relationship with others who were deaf or hard of hearing, that likely would have been harder to do had he been hearing.

On the other hand, when Jimmy's eyes got to the point where he had to start wearing glasses, he thought that was terrible. He absolutely hated wearing glasses!

One time, Jimmy had a group of people who wanted to pray that he would be healed of the deafness. Jimmy told them that he liked being deaf, but they could pray for his eyes to be healed so he could stop wearing glasses, if they wanted. They were unable to comprehend why Jimmy would choose to have them pray for his eyes instead of his ears, but that was his personal desire.

There may be times when we are primed and ready and seemingly full of faith to pray for a specific need that we see. But should that person ask us to pray for something entirely different, it's as if it blindsides us and we're disappointed that we can't pray for the thing we were prepared to pray for. We may even argue about it, or think we know best and will pray for the thing we want to pray for instead anyway, or not pray at all because what their desire differs from what we had our "faith" built up to believe for.

In Matthew 19:16-22 (NIV and New Living Translation) we read the story of Jesus and the rich man:

"Someone came to Jesus with this question: 'Teacher, what good deed must I do to have eternal life?' 'Why ask me about what is good?' Jesus replied. 'There is only One who is good. But to answer your question -- if you want to receive eternal life, keep the commandments.'

"'Which ones?' the man asked. And Jesus replied: 'You must not murder. You must not commit adultery. You must not steal. You must not testify falsely. Honor your father and mother. Love your neighbor as yourself.' 'I've obeyed all these commandments,' the young man replied. 'What else must I do?'

"Jesus told him, 'If you want to be perfect, go and sell all your possessions and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.' But when the young man heard this, he went away sad, for he had many possessions."

Apparently, the young man knew who Jesus was and was a religious man, for when Jesus told him to keep the commandments, he replied that he was already doing that. Perhaps he wanted to grow spiritually, or felt that he was in a spiritual rut and wanted to get out, or desired a deeper relationship with Christ. But when Jesus answered his question by telling him to go sell his possessions and give the money to the poor, that wasn't the answer he was looking for.

He may have had some preconceived ideas of what he expected Jesus to say; and likely, they were things that he didn't mind doing. Or perhaps he thought that his desire would be enough and that Jesus really wouldn't request anything of him, but would be impressed that he had shown interest in doing more.

We often do that when praying. We will ask God to help us or to answer a specific need or will ask for wisdom, but in our mind we're already trying to figure out what God is going to do or say or require of us. When it differs from what we want or expect, we can sometimes get argumentative or downcast. We will question God, or think we've misunderstood, or try and figure out another answer.

The young man in this story liked having the security of his wealth. He may have thought that Jesus would tell him to let a poor family stay in his spare room, or to give an out of work father a job, or to give more in the offering the next Sabbath. Perhaps he had been thinking how awesome it would be if Jesus asked him to be a disciple, where he would get to travel and minister alongside the Messiah. But what he didn't expect was for Jesus to tell him to sell everything he owned and give the proceeds to the poor. That was not something he was willing to do, so he walked away sad.

We will all have occasions in our life when someone is going to do something that annoys us, or we will ask for prayer or help for a particular need and others will think we should desire something different, or we will receive advise that differs from what we truly want. There will be times when Jesus will answer our prayers in totally unexpected ways and we don't like what He says to do. When those things happen, what is our response going to be?

Are we going to be like the rich young man who walked away downcast and sad? Because he chose to disobey Jesus, the remainder of his life was probably unfulfilled and unhappy. His wealth, that had previously satisfied him, likely no longer held the same appeal. When he saw those who were poor and needy throughout his home town, his thought may have been, "Had I done as Jesus requested, their needs would have been met and they would not be suffering right now." The guilt and sorrow of not obeying Jesus was something that he had to deal with day after day. And the way he may have tried to fill that void was to keep spending or buying more possessions; which is what people tend to do, even today.

It may not be our wealth that Jesus requires, for most of us don't have wealth to give up. But when we disobey and chose to not do those things that Jesus asks of us, sadness will fill our heart and we will go through life feeling unfulfilled and sorrowful. In this particular story, riches and possessions were dear to this man. But what holds your heart? What is the one thing that you hold onto and cherish that would be difficult or impossible for you to let go of, should Jesus ask that of you?

When Jesus asks us to let go of something, it's often because He has something so much better and more fulfilling for us. Or it could be that we are clutching life's possessions too closely and are revering them more than we are God. Sometimes we may not get an answer why we are required to give up or do something in particular. But if God asks it of us, there is a reason. He doesn't require it to be mean or hateful or spiteful. But He is someway, somehow working things for our good.


I've never heard Devin do it, but most kids seem to go through a period when they will ask their parents the same question over and over. "Can I go to the party?" "Can I go to the party?" "Everyone else will be there. Can I go?" "Why can't I go? Everyone else is." They seem to think if they ask often enough, they'll get the answer they want. Most kids also learn to ask their other parent.

The problem is, it often works with parents. Parents almost always have a good reason to say, "No." And when they finally give in, it usually isn't best for the kid, but the kid usually never understands that.

Sometimes God will relent, too. He never changes His mind or gives in to allow sin. But if we keep asking if we should switch jobs often enough, He may say, "Fine. I've told you 'No' a dozen times for a reason. But if you want to miss out on the blessing I had in store, 'Fine'."

It's fine to pray to God again and again for an answer to a prayer. But if He gives an answer we don't like, it's time to pray for patience and wisdom to accept the answer.


Zucchini Bread

(This is my sister's recipe. I made some this past week and it was delicious and easy to make.)

3 Eggs

3 tsp. Cinnamon

1 cup Oil

1 tsp. Salt

1 1/2 cups Sugar

1/4 tsp. Baking Powder

2 cups grated Zucchini

2 tsp. Baking Soda

2 tsp. Vanilla

1 cup nuts (optional)

2 cups Flour

1 cup raisins (optional)

Mix all ingredients together. (I just dumped all the ingredients in the bowl, then stirred them together -- so it really is simple.) Pour into 2 greased and floured loaf pans. Bake at 350 for 45 minutes.

(I left out the raisins because neither of us like them -- and also left out the nuts because my husband doesn't care for them, and the bread was delicious without them. So either way is fine -- it's totally your preference on those 2 optional ingredients.)


When one of my nephews was a little boy, his family had gotten together with some relatives to eat a large meal. Afterwards everyone was talking about how stuffed they were feeling. He piped up and said, "My belly is so full! I'm sure glad I'm wearing spandex!" He had on elastic waist pants and meant to say elastic, not spandex. Everyone cracked up laughing!


Perhaps the best thing about the future is that it comes just one day at a time. - unknown


We love you!

Loretta & Jon