"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

February 8, 2017


I greatly admire people who are creative and talented in making beautiful things. I enjoy looking at pretty quilts, paintings, pottery, drawings, woodwork, etc. that individuals create, and am amazed at their talent and artistry.

I was introduced to beautiful quilts at an early age. Grandma Horton always had a quilting project going, and for many years would not only sew the quilt-top together, but would also hand-quilt each one. In later years, she started paying someone to do machine-quilting for her. I am honored to have a few quilts that she made especially for me.

Nowadays, my sister, Janie, has started making a few quilts; most of them being smaller in size. She does a great job, and I am somewhat in awe of her abilities. She also has creative skills in sewing, drawing, and painting; as well as being a very skilled and anointed teacher and communicator.

I always thought that it would be wonderful to be able to paint pictures or draw. I'm impressed when I view artwork that individuals create. How amazing it must be to have the talent to make something that others can appreciate and admire.

We have a couple of men in our church who both do beautiful woodwork. They rebuilt my sister's home, after the house fire, and when I look at the cabinets, fireplace mantel, hand-built barn doors on her bedroom and bathroom and all the detail work that they did, I am in awe of their talents.

I am often flabbergasted by Jon's vast talents. Honestly, I don't fully understand everything he does, but it is very impressive. He can design and create computer-related programs. He's written computer programs for his job to make jobs easier. He has developed software tools. Jon has a 3D printer, and can design whatever he wants to make on it. He has a great talent for teaching Science and making it incredibly interesting. He tutors a relative weekly in Science. He is excited about lessons each week, and my sister and I both enjoy listening to Jon teach, also; and we've learn a lot from him. Last week, I asked Jon if he realized how passionate he was about teaching Science. Janie and I have both noticed that Jon's eyes light up and he loves it!

Many times, it's easy to think that everyone else has more talents and abilities than we do. I believe that we often can recognize the talents in others, more than we can in ourself. Perhaps it's because we see our talents and gifts just as "something we can do", not as anything special.

I truly believe that God has placed within each of us an ability to create, in one form or another. Genesis 1:1 says, "In the beginning, God created...." Verse 26 then says, "Let us make human beings in our image, to be like us." God first introduced Himself as a creator, then made mankind in His image to be like Him. Since God was a creator, perhaps He made us with the ability to create, also.

Later this month, our church is having an art worship service (worship through art). This is the first time that we've done something like this, but God birthed this idea in the heart of one of the women, through a dream. We are going to have a time of praise and worship through song, then will each create some type of art -- as an ongoing part of worship. Some will be painting, others sculpting, drawing, crocheting, woodworking..... just whatever form of art each individual decides to choose.

As I was considering this, my first impulse was to think, "What will I do?! I have no artistic abilities and am not good at drawing or painting or sewing; and don't know how to crochet or knit." Then God reminded me of what talent I do have. I was telling my sister, who also happens to be my pastor, about my thoughts. She started smiling, just as I got to the point of revealing what God had placed in my heart. I said, "I will write!" Janie told me that had been her exact thought.

My initial thought was that writing was just something I enjoyed doing, not really something that was considered an art. But the truth is, God gave me the ability to create using words. It may not be something that someone can look at and admire or appreciate the beauty, but it is the talent that God gifted me with. Words can encourage or give hope or point someone in the right direction.

This line of thinking is probably more prominent with females, but many that have straight hair wishes that they had curly hair. Those with curly hair dislike it, and wish their's was straight. Those with dark hair, wish that they had light hair; while those with light hair admires the dark hair. I always liked dark hair, until I started going gray, then I discerned that having lighter hair would be nice so that the gray wouldn't be so obvious. Now I am completely gray-headed, so that's a moot point!

I think perhaps we always want that which we don't have. We admire what others have, desiring their gifts above what we've been blessed with.

The truth is, God has created each of us unique and special. He values us more than we fully comprehend.

Exodus 35:30-3 says, "Then Moses told the people of Israel, 'The Lord has specifically chosen Bezalel son of Uri, grandson of Hur, of the tribe of Judah. The Lord has filled Bezalel with the Spirit of God, giving him great wisdom, ability, and expertise in all kinds of crafts. He is a master craftsman, expert in working with gold, silver, and bronze. He is skilled in engraving and mounting gemstones and in carving wood. He is a master at every craft.'"

Wow!! That was one talented man!! He was filled with the Spirit of God, who gave him great wisdom, ability, and expertise in all kinds of crafts. He was a master at every craft. How amazing would that be?! But with that expertise came great responsibility.

Verses 34-35 says, "And the Lord has given both him and Oholiab son of Ahisamach, of the tribe of Dan, the ability to teach their skills to others. The Lord has given them special skills as engravers, designers, embroiderers in blue, purple, and scarlet thread on fine linen cloth, and weavers. They excel as craftsmen and as designers."

I believe that not only has God given each of us an ability to create in one form or another, but He has also called us to encourage and teach others in perfecting their skills. If you can sew or crochet or paint, perhaps you could help someone who also has the same interest and wants to develop their gift. Perhaps if you sing or play an instrument and there is someone who is also wanting to develop their talents in those areas, you could encourage and help them. If someone is wanting to hone their writing skill, then you could critique and help them improve. If you know how to cook well and there is a young girl who is desiring to learn how to cook, perhaps you can spend time teaching them how to read a recipe and the basics of cooking. If someone is wanting to learn computer programming, pass your skills on to them. If they want to learn woodworking or carpentry and that is where your skill is, pass on your knowledge to someone who is eager to learn and needs your expertise.

May we each be willing to allow God to perfect our creativity and skills. May we also be willing to help and encourage others by teaching our skills to them and passing on our knowledge.


I've rarely thought of "modern art" (the kind that looks like accidental spills, splatters, or cats walking through paint, etc.) as real art. Some of that kind of "modern art" paintings have some interesting aspects. But I generally think if I could do it, then it isn't impressive, surely not enough to be worth thousands of dollars.

Even though electronics and controls are my expertise, I have a hard time believing anything I can do in a few days can be worth hundreds of dollars. So, like Loretta mentioned, I tend to feel that what I have to offer isn't anything all that spectacular.

When we use art as a form of worship next week, I'm planning on painting. So I need a lot of prayer. If I planned to paint architecture, I think I'd be fine. Even plants or landscape, I wouldn't expect to embarrass myself badly. But I plan to try something I've pictured for years, and it involves painting faces. (The sound of someone screaming in the distance would be appropriate here.) Frankly, the thought fills me with dread. When I was young, all my drawings of animals looked exactly the same except for the tail. And all my drawings of people were either potato-heads, or stick figures.

But this image has been on my mind for a long time. I picture it as a computer animation, but a painting will due, especially since I never tried. I can't animate people, either. What I picture is the scene from John 19:34, "But one of the soldiers pierced His side with a spear, and blood and water flowed out immediately." As I picture it, the blood of Jesus splattered on the soldier, and instead of staining his clothes, the blood cleans it to pure white. And I think I'll caption it, "His blood cleanses even me." So, please pray with me that they don't look like Edvard Munch's "Scream". (I'd like to point out that I like the painting "Scream", and don't lump it with the splatters of paint I mentioned at first.)


S'mores Dip

1 cup milk chocolate chips

2 Tablespoons milk

2 cups marshmallows, divided

Graham Crackers, for serving

Combine chocolate chips, milk and 1-1/2 cups of marshmallows in a sauce pan. Heat over medium heat and stir until melted and smooth.

Pour into an oven-safe dish and top with remaining marshmallows.

Broil 1 minute or just until marshmallows are lightly toasted.

Serve warm. Dip Graham Cracker squares into the dip and enjoy!


My sister and I take turns three days a week picking her 4-year old grandson, Owen, up at Head Start in the afternoons. Due to my nephew starting a new work schedule, and his wife beginning nursing school this semester, we have only been doing this for the past month. My nephew took me with him prior to me beginning this, so that he could put my name on the authorization list to be able to pick Owen up, and so that I could see what I needed to do and meet Owen's teacher. The first day that I showed up to get Owen, he told his teacher, "I don't know who she is!" Thankfully, the teacher recognized me! Last week, my sister went to pick Owen up. She went inside to get him and he just sat there. His teacher asked, "Aren't you going home with Grandma?" Owen said, "No! She's boring!!" He's a little tease and a tad ornery; and definitely keeps us on our toes!!


God will take you through places you don't understand

just to bring you to the place where He wants you to be. - Toby Mac


We love you!

Loretta & Jon