"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

June 1, 2016


Family relationships are very precious! There is something special about being referred to as wife, daughter, sister, wife, and/or aunt. I've also heard that being referred to as grandma is pretty spectacular.

Growing up, my sisters and I were often referred to as the "Horton girls". Even now, although we range in age from 50 to 65, we are still often referred to as either the "Horton girls" or as "Doyal and Bonnie's girls".

Several years ago, I attended a wedding and an older couple came up to me afterwards and asked if I was Doyal and Bonnie's baby girl. They didn't know my name, but were familiar with my parents and were fairly certain that I was their youngest daughter.

There is something extra special about a relationship being recognized above a name. I can introduce myself to people by name, but that doesn't really tell them anything about who I am. But when Jon and I are out and he sees an old acquaintance or co-worker and introduces me by saying, "This is my wife, Loretta," it establishes that we have a special connection. When I'm with one of my sisters and they introduce me as, "My sister, Loretta"; or if one of my nieces or nephews introduce me as aunt; that affirms to whomever we're speaking to that we are family.

When my niece and her husband adopted two sisters last year, there was something significant and special about the girls becoming part of their family. When the judge signed the adoption papers, the girls last name became McCrate; establishing that they were officially Jeremy and Janee's daughters. The two girls no longer had to worry about being in the foster system or being moved from home to home; they would from that moment on be the daughters of Jeremy and Janee', and the sisters of Jax and Jovie.... forever and always. One of the first acts that Janee' and Jeremy did following the adoption was to visit their attorney and have their will changed, giving their two new daughters the same equal rights as their biological children. As far as they are concerned, all four children belong to them and there is absolutely no difference between them, regardless of how they came into the family.

Galatians 4:7 (NLT) says, "Now you are no longer a slave but God's own child. And since you are His child, God has made you His heir."

Ephesians 1:5 (NLT) says, "God decided in advance to adopt us into His own family by bringing us to Himself through Christ Jesus. This is what He wanted to do, and it gave Him great pleasure."

2 Corinthians 6:18 (NLT) tells us,"And I will be your Father, and you will be my sons and daughters, says the Lord Almighty."

WOW!! When we repent of our sins, we immediately are adopted into the family of God. We are no longer just Loretta, or Jon, or whatever your name may be..... but God looks at us and says, "This is my daughter" or "Here's my son!" The very same God who spoke the world and all creation into being, is the very same God who wants to be our Father and desires, above all else, for us to be a part of His family. The verse in Ephesians says that this is what God wanted to do, and that it gave Him great pleasure. That's amazing!!

When we become the child of God, we not only become His son or daughter, but we also become His heir. As heirs, we are promised to inherit all that He owns, all that belongs to Him.

Romans 8:15-17 (NLT): "So you have not received a spirit that makes you fearful slaves. Instead, you received God's Spirit when He adopted you as His own children. Now we call Him, 'Abba, Father.' For His Spirit joins with our spirit to affirm that we are God's children. And since we are His children, we are His heirs. In fact, together with Christ we are heirs of God's glory....." Verse 17 in the NKJV reads, "... and if children, then heirs -- heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ."

I believe that this is a hard concept for us to truly wrap our minds around and understand. Together with Christ, we are heirs of God's glory!! We received God's Spirit when He adopted us as His very own children. In a human concept, it's like this: Jesus is God's only begotten Son. But when we are adopted into His family as sons and daughters, we become joint heirs with Jesus of all God's glory. We all belong to Him and are His family! God makes no distinction, regardless of how we came to be a part of His family. We will all equally inherit in "His will", so to speak.

Perhaps it's time that we stop living as slaves, or outcast, or poor and needy, or oppressed. We need to start living as King's kids, because that's who we are!! I'm proud to be the daughter of Doyal and Bonnie Horton and am excited when people acknowledge whose family I belong to. But do I take more pride in that than in being called the daughter of God?! I try to honor the godly legacy that my parents left me; but do I honor that more than I honor the legacy that God has given to me?! Daddy left my sisters and me the property and home where we grew up, and that is very precious to us. But our Heavenly Father has made us heirs of a heavenly kingdom!! Do I perceive that as being precious?! Do I live like a daughter of a King, because that's what I am!!

My sister, Janie, taught one of the kid's Sunday School classes at our church a few weeks ago. She told the kids that they were each a prince and princess, therefore they needed to live like a prince and princess. We need to all take that message to heart, and start living as a prince or princess who belongs to a heavenly kingdom!!


I've heard of several cultures where it is common for someone to take on a new name when they are old enough to be counted as adults, or when their lives change significantly. Even now, in deaf culture, it is common to change someone's sign name when their circumstances change. And most women change their last names when they get married. And people commonly change nicknames--not always in their favor. Sometimes people make several changes through their lives. And one person may be called Aunt 'Retta by one person, Orlee by another, Honey by me, or Loretta by others. Another may be called Son, Bro, Dad, or Ken, all at the same time.

But it's a rare thing to change who your parents are. It's a pretty monumental task. There are those in the foster care system who have to go from one temporary family to another, but once they get with their forever family, they stay. They will keep that relationship and the effects of their home forever.

My dad has reached a point where he sometimes forgets which son I am. He's always had a hard time with names, and has learned to hide it well, so I'm not certain if he knows my name or not. I know he forgets how to spell my sister's name, but still knows what it is. He still knows he has a family connection to us. He has no doubt that he knows us, even if he has to stare at us for several minutes before he seems to realize why.

And lastly, Revelation 2:17 mentions that to some, "I will give him a white stone, and on that stone will be written a new name that no one can understand except the one who receives it."

The point is, as significant as our names are, they aren't permanent like relationships. Once we know God as our Father and He calls us son, that can never be broken, no matter what we may be called by others.


Honey Soy Salmon

2 whole Salmon Fillets (skin on or off -- your preference)

Salt & Pepper

Olive Oil, for cooking

2 Tablespoons Butter

3 Tablespoons Honey

3 Tablespoons Low Sodium Soy Sauce

2 whole Limes

Cilantro, for serving (optional)

Cooked Rice, for serving

Season the salmon with salt and pepper. Heat a little olive oil in a nonstick skillet over medium heat and place the salmon, skin side down (if you left the skin on) in the pan. Cook for 5 minutes on the first side, being careful not to burn the surface. Carefully flip to the other side and cook for another 2 minutes. Remove the salmon to a clean plate. In the same skillet, add the butter, honey, soy sauce, and juice from 2 limes. (You can also zest in the lime before you juice it if you'd like.) Stir and cook over medium heat for a couple of minutes, until the glaze is thick. Taste and adjust the flavors, adding more of whatever you'd like. Cook for another minute or two if you like the glaze very thick. Place the salmon back into the skillet and spoon the sauce all over the top.

Stir together cooked rice with a little lime juice (and zest, if you'd like.) Serve the salmon over the rice, spooning on extra sauce. Sprinkle with chopped cilantro.


Growing up, Mama had a couple of peony bushes in our yard -- one was pink and the other was white. Every spring they were full of beautiful, fragrant flowers. That's a memory that my sisters and I all share, and to this day, peonies are one of our favorite flowers. Recently, a cousin posted a picture on Facebook of a bouquet of peonies that she had bought. She wrote: ".....I always think of Aunt Bonnie when I see peonies. I used to just sit by hers, smelling that beautiful fragrance." It's always special when someone shares a memory that coincides with one of yours!!


"For though a righteous man falls seven times, he rises again, but the wicked are brought down by calamity." - Proverbs 24:16 (NIV)

We all fail. We all mess up. But that doesn't mean we have to sit in condemnation. Do you notice the response of the righteous man in the verse above? Though he fell time and again, he kept getting up. May we do the very same thing. - (Lysa TerKeurst)


We love you!

Loretta & Jon