"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 12, 2014


I love how you can read the same scriptures and Bible stories over and over again, and still find something new as the Holy Spirit reveals truths. This is what happened recently as I was reading Genesis chapter one. I've read this chapter numerous times throughout my life, but suddenly a verse just caught my attention and I "got" it.

Genesis 1:27 (NLT) says, "So God created human beings in His own image. In the image of God He created them; male and female He created them."

I've read and heard that scripture all my life. God created male and female as human beings. What really struck me as I read it this time were the words, "In His own image."

Here is what the word "image" means: A person that closely resembles another. Likeness -- which is the fact or quality of being alike; resemblance. Synonyms for image are: likeness, resemblance, depiction, portrayal, representation, reflection, and mirror image. Another meaning for image is: an optical appearance or counterpart produced by light from an object reflected in a mirror.

So think about it: God created human beings in His image. That means that He created, both male and female, to closely resemble Himself. He made them in His likeness; which means He made us to be a reflection of Himself.

Don't misunderstand this concept. God did not create mankind to be Him or to be gods, as some religions teach and dictate. But He created us to be an image of Himself. God created us in His likeness to be a representation of Himself.

Representation means a reflection or mirror image. God's intention from the beginning, when He first designed and formed Adam and Eve, was for them to be a reflection or mirror image of Himself.

My sister, Janie, has known sign language for many, many years now. She is a pastor to the deaf, she's a nationally certified interpreter, and she has spent most of the last thirty years of her life using sign language. It now has become her language, where she doesn't have to think about it or interpret it into English before signing. She can sign naturally to the deaf with ease and comfort.

On the other hand, I know a little sign language and am trying to learn more and become more comfortable signing with the deaf; but I am not confident and tend to feel self-conscious and nervous when trying to communicate.

A few years ago, Janie was teaching me some signs and we were working on a song together. We were sitting across the living room from one another and I was mirroring her signs. Sometimes I was doing rather well; but other times not quite so much. Janie would stop and say, "Are you doing what I'm doing?" Well, I thought I was! She would tell me no, you are not following me and doing what I'm doing.... you are not moving your hands like I am. Sometimes it would be frustrating, because in my mind I was following her and thought I was doing it right. But she could see me.... she knew the language.... and she knew that I was not mirroring the movement of her hands.

God created us to be a representation or a reflection or mirror image of Himself. His desire is, and always has been, for us to be like Him. I'm sure there are times when He is looking at us and asking, "Are you doing what I'm doing? Are you following Me and moving like I'm showing you to move?" Sometimes we may think that we're doing what's right and living like God would want us to, and just need a gentle nudge from God to keep us on track; but more times than not we're just not paying close attention and are so busy concentrating on our own way of doing things that we're missing out on what He's saying to do. Other times, we just get lazy or too stubborn or too self-focused that we want to do things our way and not God's way.

It's amazing that God created mankind in His image. Why would He want us to be a likeness of Himself? I believe it was so that He could have fellowship with us and wanted to have a close relationship with all mankind.

In the Garden of Eden, before the fall of Adam and Eve, God came down every evening and walked in the cool of the day with them. How cool is that?! God wasn't coming down to check up on them, but to walk and talk with them as His most cherished friends.

Parents enjoy being complimented that their son or daughter looks or acts just like them; good parents, that is. New parents look for features in their new baby to see which one of them the child favors. As the child grows, they often will pick up characteristics of one or sometimes both parents.

Jon and his brother, Ken, both remind me a lot of their dad. The way they move their hands to express certain thoughts, their wording when describing things, their corny sense of what's funny, etc. I've told Jon before, "When you just did that, you looked just like you're dad; I've seen him do that many times!" Ken has more physical characteristics of his dad than Jon does, but they both have things that remind me of Stan.

My great-nephew, Jax, reminds me of both parents. His personality and likes are a lot like his dad; and he looks more like his dad in appearance, although at times I see things that remind me of his mom. But many times when he's speaking, his wording and phrasing and the choice of words he uses sounds a lot like his mama.

We are sons and daughters of God, created in His image. I believe that when He looks at us, He looks for things in our character and actions and words that is a reflection of Himself. His desire is for each of us to be like Him; not to BE Him, but to be LIKE Him. When others look at us and talk to us and see us in our daily lives, they should be able to say, "You are just like your Heavenly Father!" They should be able see God in our lives and know that we are His child. They shouldn't have to question or wonder, but it should be obvious to others.

This is one of those devotions that I know what I want to say, but the very thought of being created in God's very image and likeness is so big that it's hard to put into words. I hope you understand, at least a little, of what I'm trying to communicate to you. May we all realize the responsibility we have to be a good reflection of our Heavenly Father. Just as we don't want to mar or tarnish our earthly family name, we should never want to cast a bad image upon the the family of God.


In theater class, we had an exercise (most people would call it a game) called "mirror". One person would mime some simple tasks, as if they were in front of the mirror, and the other person would try to follow them as closely as they could to look like a mirror.

When we did simple tasks that the other person was familiar with, it wasn't too hard. And it really helped to know the other person well. The exercise had several main points: 1) to become more observant about fine details of how other people move and act; 2) to become more observant about how we move and act; 3) to practice taking on someone else's mannerisms.

We can't play "mirror" with God, but we can practice some of the main points. To become more aware of how God acts, we need to read The Bible. In particular, the first four books of the New Testament. To become more aware of ourselves, I recommend taking some time each evening or at least each week, and consider how our own actions have mirrored a day Jesus may have had. Taking on Jesus's behavior should come naturally in time.


Sweet Potato Casserole

3 cups sweet potatoes, drained and mashed

1 cup sugar

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 egg, beaten

1/2 stick butter, softened

1/2 cup milk

1 teaspoon vanilla

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


1 stick butter, melted

1 cup light brown sugar

1/2 cup flour

1 cup chopped pecans

Melt butter; add all ingredients of topping together. Sprinkle topping evenly to top of casserole. Bake at 350 for 30-35 minutes.


Week 2 of what I'm thankful for:

I am thankful for family. Coming from a strong, close family it's tough to imagine those who weren't raised with loving, supportive parents and siblings and aunts and uncles and cousins...... My parents were a daily example to me of what godliness looked like. They didn't go around waving a Bible and quoting scriptures and hitting us over the head with religion. But the way they conducted themselves in the home and at church and out in the community never changed; they were the same wherever they went. My sisters and I never doubted their love. We weren't necessarily a demonstrative family who gave out lots of hugs and kisses to each other and we didn't say the words, "I love you," often. But there was never any doubt that Daddy and Mama loved us, would always provide for us as best they could, and would take care of us. There wasn't fighting in our home. Daddy and Mama had the occasional disagreement, but they never hit, never name-called, never yelled, never cursed, and never caused fear in their daughters' hearts that they would ever separate or divorce. It was a home that was overall filled with peace and lots of happiness and joy.

I'm thankful for my sisters. Even though there's a range in our ages, we have always been close. When my sisters were teens and in their twenties, they would always let me tag along with them when they went places and I always felt like they wanted me there. Some of their friends didn't necessarily want me to tag along, but it never bothered my sisters and they truly didn't mind. I asked a few years ago to see if that was just my perception or truth, and they said that it was true -- they honestly never minded. I know to this day that my sisters will always have my back. I know that I'll always have their love and support and encouragement. We may not always see eye to eye, and we may on a rare occasion get aggravated with one another....but no one else better ever say anything negative or derogatory about one of our sisters!

I'm thankful for my nieces, nephews and their families. It's been fun watching my nieces and nephews grow up, marry, and become parents. I've enjoyed watching them grow up and seeing what they've made of their lives. It's a pleasure for me to be around the great-nieces and great-nephews and spoil them on occasion.

I've been blessed with many uncles, aunts, and many, many cousins. I loved being able to grow up with so many cousins. I loved visiting each other and the close relationship we always had with one another.

And nine years ago, I was blessed with even more family when I married Jon. I am so very blessed to have a godly mother-in-law and father-in-law who accepted me into the family and have loved and supported me. I know that not everyone is blessed with good in-laws, so I don't take this for granted. I'm also blessed with a great brother-in-law and his two kids and grandkids; as well as a sister-in-law and her husband and three kids. I am so grateful for having such a wonderful bunch of in-laws as my extended family.


"I can't do it" never yet accomplished anything;

"I will try" has performed wonders. - George P. Burnham


We love you!

Loretta & Jon