"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

March 11, 2015


At times, many of us can be our own worst enemy. We see flaws in ourselves that few others, if anyone, even recognizes, and can beat ourselves up over the smallest of details. On the other hand, there are things about ourselves that may be difficult for us to own up to. We sometimes see things in others, perhaps even our spouse, that irritates us or drives us crazy; but when God points out similar imperfections in our character, that can be a hard pill to swallow.

A few nights ago, Jon and I were joking around with one another. Jon told me that if I'd change just a few little things about myself, then I'd be about as close to perfect as a person could get; but he had pointed out those things over and over and I wasn't cooperating by changing. I told him that I had a few pet peeves about him that I'd like him to change, too. He laughingly asked if my pet peeve was that he wanted me to change. No! My biggest complaint was that he was great about starting projects, and did really good work and made sure it was done right (that wasn't my pet peeve -- that was a good thing); but he either never completely got the project finished, or it took him months to ever get anything done.

After I fell asleep, I had one of those nights where I slept for a while, then woke up wide awake. I got up and went downstairs so I wouldn't wake Jon. I didn't want to turn any lights on or read or watch TV, hoping that I would be get sleepy quicker and be able to go back to bed. Whenever this happens, I generally will pace from one end of our living room to the other and pray. I will pray about whatever and whomever comes to mind at the time.

As I was praying this particular night, I remembered the conversation that Jon and I had right before going to sleep. I immediately became convicted and God showed me that I do the same thing that I had complained about Jon doing; only in different areas of my life. I tend to start things or get excited about ideas, then often will get bored or forget about it or lose my enthusiasm as time goes by. I often don't persevere and follow through on completing things that I either started or thought about starting.

How many diets or exercise programs have I started, only to quit because it gets too hard or I get bored with it? How many ideas have I had that I was initially excited about, only to allow time to go by and not follow through? How many times have I felt like I should send a card to someone or contact them to encourage them, only to put it off and end up not doing it? How many times have I told someone that I would be praying for them, only to forget completely or perhaps say one prayer for them and then not remember anymore? I could give you example after example of times I've not endured and followed through on things. Ouch!!

Granted, this doesn't let Jon off the hook on completing the home projects he has started and not yet finished! That also doesn't let me off the hook on not following through on things. When we recognize shortcomings in our life or the Holy Spirit reveals areas where we need work, then we become responsible for correcting those things.

It is the will of God that we constantly mature and grow in our faith. He doesn't point out areas in our life where we need to improve to try and cut us down or shame us or make us feel inferior. God does it because He wants us to develop and grow and become the best individual that we can possibly be. He doesn't want us to stay in the rut of continually doing the same behavior over and over again, when we could move forward and be so much better.

A parent will point out bad habits, negative behavior, or unsavory traits in their child to try and correct them so that child will mature into a productive, healthy, lovable adult. God does the same with us. When He does so, we need to take it to heart and put forth the effort to change. And God will help us develop and grow. I believe that He takes delight when we immediately repent and choose to change our attitude or whatever needs changed, in response to conviction.

Jon's father has Alzheimer's and is in a nursing home. Jon and I pray for both him and Jon's mom daily. But our prayers have consisted mostly of asking for God to give peace, strength, etc. This past weekend we were visiting Stan and he specifically asked that Jon and I would pray and ask God to restore his mind. Honestly, our first inclination was to blow him off; after all, this is Alzheimer's and we've never heard of anyone who has ever been healed of that disease. Almost immediately we were both convicted of our attitude and lack of faith. Is restoring Stan's mind too difficult for God? Absolutely not!! We both had to repent of our attitude. We've determined in our heart that if this is how Stan wants us to pray, then we should honor him and pray and believe that God will restore his mind. It's our job to pray in faith, not to heal; only God can do the healing, and it's up to Him on how He chooses to respond to our prayers. But we have changed our prayer each night and have been praying that God would restore Stan's mind. How awesome would that miracle be, if God should choose to answer?!?

In Colossians 1:11, Paul is writing specifically to the church in Corinth, but his prayer for them can still be applied to us today. "We also pray that you will be strengthened with all His glorious power so you will have all the endurance and patience you need."

Each day we should pray this exact thing: "God, strengthen me with all Your glorious power so I will have all the endurance and patience I need!"

God will strengthen us all to endure and complete the work He sets before us. He will also help us endure and finish those tasks we start or think about starting. May we all choose to be finishers.

2 Corinthians 8:11 says, "Now you should finish what you started. Let the eagerness you showed in the beginning be matched now by your giving....."

This can also be applied spiritually. It's easy to be gung-ho about God and living the christian life.... then after a period of time get bored, or busy, or find that it's harder than we thought it would be. That's when we have to make a choice: do we follow through and remain faithful and complete the race to the finish line of heaven; or do we give up and quit and try to get through life on our own strength? The wisest and best choice we could ever make is to persevere and endure to the end!

We can be assured that God will complete the work that He begins in us. Philippians 1:6 tells us, "And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue His work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns."

God will never give up on us, forget about us, think we're a good idea and then drop us, or get bored with us! Day after day, until our life here on earth is over, He will continue shaping and molding our lives. His desire is to do a good work within us. May we choose to be pliable and allow Him to shape and mold us and complete the good work that He has started in us all.


I should defend myself by mentioning that I really don't insist on Loretta changing anything. I might like it if she starts saying, "She and I talked," instead of, "Her and me talked." But that really isn't important.

I picture a marathon where hundreds of people take off at the starting line. A few blocks from the starting line, the first three to five runners keep going, but everyone else slows down, and walks back to their cars. After the first few blocks, if it doesn't look like they can win, then they might as well relax, and spend the next few hours watching TV instead of jogging on a race they won't win.

It sounds ridiculous, doesn't it? But most people do similar. Or we don't even go to the starting line because we know we won't win before we even try.

At least with home improvement projects, I do get started. I usually even get about half-way through the project before I take a nap on the sidewalk, figuratively speaking. I might leave the race to take care of other business, but I do leave a marker where I was, so I can go back later. Of course, the "marker" is probably what bothers Loretta the most. I commonly leave all my tools and supplies out, so I can make more progress later without spending half the evening getting stuff out and putting it back away. I think having tools scattered around the living room is more annoying than having the fireplace almost finished.

One of our favorite TV shows had an episode where one character jogged a race long after everyone else had finished. She insisted on finishing on her own, even though the timer and officials had all left. Paul wrote about finishing "the race." The thing is, not everyone will decide to finish that race. It does take perseverance. It takes a decision to keep moving toward the finish. And it make take that same decision again and again.


Heavenly Hash Cake

2 sticks butter

4 eggs

2 cups sugar

1 cup pecans

1-1/2 cups flour

1 jar marshmallow cree

4 Tablespoons cocoa

Combine all ingredients, except marshmallow cree. Bake 25 minutes at 350 in a sheet pan. While cake is still hot, spread the marshmallow cree evenly on top.


1 stick butter, softened

4 Tablespoons cocoa

1 pound powdered sugar

4-6 Tablespoons milk

1 teaspoon vanilla

Mix all ingredients together. Spread over top of cake.


My 3 year old great-nephew, Ben, was identifying his ABC's. He said, "A is for apple, B is for ball, almost circle (meaning C) is for cookie....."

A while back, his parents were praying with him before going to bed and his prayer request that night was, "We need to pray that Jesus gets some shoes. He never has shoes on!"


God is fighting your battle, arranging things in your favor,

and making a way even when you don't see a way. - unknown


We love you!

Loretta & Jon