"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

May 24, 2017


How we view ourself is seldom how others view us.

Recently someone commented that they wished they still looked like they did when they were younger; but now they are just old, fat, and ugly. When they look in the mirror, that is likely how they perceive their looks, therefore, that's how they think others see them. That is also very likely how they think of themselves nowadays; old, fat, and ugly.

Generally speaking, I truly believe that how other people see us is seldom how we view ourself. How we think about ourself is seldom how others think of us. What we focus on when we look in the mirror and criticize is probably not what others zero in on. In fact, most of us are, overall, much tougher on ourself than anyone else.

There are other times, when we can grow so comfortable with people whom we have built a strong relationship with that we rarely think about their physical appearance. What we see is their heart and the attributes that stand out to us, so we don't particularly notice or think about what strangers may see as flaws or oddities. In fact, some of our dearest friends may be complete opposites of us in looks or in other ways, but over time it's something that we rarely think about.

When I look in the mirror, I can see that I look much different than I did twelve years ago when Jon and I got married. I can compare pictures taken of Jon and myself over the years and see changes in both of us. I've aged and see various flaws. There are wrinkles and droopy skin and random chin hairs and a double chin and a rounder belly and all sorts of age-related changes. No, I don't look as young as I did a few years ago!

I have to be honest, I am more comfortable and happier with myself now than I was back when I was younger and firmer and had darker hair. I'm fine with my gray hair. I'm fine with being older. Why? Because I've finally began seeing myself as who I am.... I'm a daughter of the King of Kings, which makes me a princess! I may be flawed and look older, but instead of constantly thinking about my faults and putting myself down, I try and focus on who I am in Christ. It's made a difference in how I see and think about myself.

I spent many years concentrating on everything that I felt was wrong about my body. In fact, I was so focused on those things that I felt like that was what everyone else automatically zeroed in on, too. So I began criticizing myself, often in a joking manner, thinking that I was only saying what other people were thinking. I thought I was beating them to the punchline... saying it before they did. It took a long time, but I finally realized that all I was doing was making myself feel bad and that I was saying things that most people really weren't thinking at all. That spirit of negativity against myself made me feel like a failure and if I were lacking. I was convicted of that by the Holy Spirit, and although I still slip at times, I am much better than I used to be. God doesn't see me as lacking and ugly and fat and old and inferior..... No! He sees a daughter that He absolutely adores and loves dearly. I'm a special treasure to my Father! That's what He sees in you, too. A son or daughter that is precious and greatly loved; a treasure!

There are times when what the world sees and how they think about us is not as it really is. Scripture refers to Christians as foreigners and citizens of Heaven. Christians are basically immigrants living in a foreign land, until the day comes when we can finally go to our heavenly home. We don't think or act like the world; at least we shouldn't. In fact, we shouldn't feel truly comfortable in this world, for our thinking is much different and we feel a bit like a duck out of water, so to speak.

In Philippians chapter three Paul is writing and says that there are many whose conduct shows that they are really enemies of the cross of Christ, and they are headed for destruction. They brag about shameful things and they think only about this life here on earth. In verse 20, he writes, "But we are citizens of heaven, where the Lord Jesus Christ lives."

We shouldn't be comfortable participating in activities that the world sees as being okay. We should strive to live as Jesus lived, and while He was on earth He was often scorned and treated badly. If we want to be like Him, then we should expect nothing less.

Are we afraid of being seen or thought of as being "different", so we try and live as closely to the world, while trying to also have a relationship with God? That's not going to work well! We can't have dual citizenship, belonging to both worlds. Our citizenship should be in Heaven, only being here on earth as visitors as long as God allows. The more mature we grow spiritually, the less we're going to look and act like the world. But the deeper our spiritual roots grow and the more we become like Jesus, the less we're going to worry about criticism. We will desire to love and serve others in the same way that Jesus did!

Most of us have various scars or lingering aches that remind us of personal life events. I have a small scar on my thigh from trying to toss my dad's pocket knife and making it stick in the dirt when I was age six; but I missed and it went into my leg instead. Neither of us were supposed to have our dad's pocket knives, at the time. I have scars on my abdomen from gallbladder surgery. Occasionally when it's rainy or there are weather changes my right ankle will ache, due to being badly sprained two separate times: once when I was around 20 and was knocked down and someone landed on my foot while playing volleyball with some youth, and another time when Jon and I were dating and I stepped on the edge of a hole in the pavement in front of a movie theater and fell. You can all tell about various scars or things that are uniquely your story.

When we look at ourselves, we may see some battle scars from our journey with Christ. Sometimes life can take us through places that are difficult, and when we get through those legs of the journey, we don't look like we did before. We may feel and look a little more worn and tired, we may have some scars, but they are things that we can point to later that tells our stories. But hopefully, there will also be a new level of spiritual growth and wisdom that was lacking beforehand. We gained experience that can be used as an example to others. Just as we age in life and our looks and body may change and we start looking and acting according to whatever stage of life we are in at the time; that is also how it is spiritually. We don't act and look the same as we did when we first accepted Jesus into our heart, but as the journey progresses, changes begin to take place and it continues throughout our life on earth. We should always be growing and changing and maturing and learning, and others should be able to see it in our lives. So getting older, both in the physical and spiritual, shouldn't be something to dread and try to avoid. We should rejoice in what the years have taught us and the maturity that has come with the journey. Embrace whatever stage of life, both physically and spiritually, that you are now in!


Except for the quick change in hair color, when Loretta quit dying it, I really never noticed any significant changes in Loretta. She doesn't look any older to me now than when we first got married. That's probably because she has grown older with me, and I've watched her aging so slowly that it wasn't noticeable. And the difference between 39 and 51 isn't that big.

On the other hand, we occasionally see relatives with kids who seem to age tremendously every time we see them. The difference between 4 years old and 4 & 1/2 years old is huge.

Aging in our walk with God can be similar. At first, everything seems to be a revelation, and great growth. But later on, we still grow and age. It isn't as obvious, but it is still important.


Apple Chip Cookies

1/4 cup softened butter

1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

1 cup brown sugar

2 cups flour

1/2 cup half and half

1 cup Cameo or Rome Beauty apples, pared and chopped

1 egg

1/2 cup butterscotch chips

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1 cup chopped pecans

1 teaspoon salt

Cream butter and sugar. Beat in half and half, egg, soda, salt, nutmeg, and flour. Add apples, butterscotch chips, and nuts. Drop by teaspoonfuls onto greased cookie sheet. Bake 12-15 minutes at 350. Makes 3 dozen cookies.


4 Tablespoons butter, melted

4-5 Tablespoons half and half

1 teaspoon cinnamon

2 cups powdered sugar

Combine ingredients to desired consistency and spread over baked cookies.


A conversation between my sister, Janie, and her 4-year old grandson, Owen:

Owen: "Grandma... Retreat means to get treats again and again. Why would you say it means to get back or go away?"

The wisdom of a 4-year old!


Pain is inevitable. But misery is optional. - Anonymous


We love you!

Loretta & Jon