"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 22, 2017

Happy Thanksgiving


There is a Cherokee Indian legend about two wolves that goes like this:

"An old Cherokee is teaching his grandson about life. 'A fight is going on inside me,' he said to the boy. 'It is a terrible fight and it is between two wolves. One is evil -- he is anger, envy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, and ego.' He continued, 'The other is good -- he is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion, and faith. The same fight is going on inside you -- and inside every other person, too.' The grandson thought about it for a minute and then asked his grandfather, 'Which wolf will win?' The old Cherokee simply replied, 'The one you feed.'"

This past week I had a few situations arise where I became stressed and didn't always have a faith-filled, positive outlook and attitude. Honestly, none of them were horrible, but some were a definite test of my patience, while others caused me to later evaluate my response and see that I could have handled things differently.

We are in the middle of a remodeling project at our church. We spent almost three years working with various architects, trying to get zoning straightened out, trying to get city permits.... and it has been one obstacle after another. Not that we are finally moving forward we have workmen who don't always show up when they say, and issues with different situations that keep cropping up; and although we are moving forward and getting a lot of work completed, it is still frustrating from time to time.

I am the church bookkeeper, and recently I had to run a check to pay the plumber half of what we owed. I knew that at some point we would need to pay him, but didn't know that it was going to be that particular day. I was babysitting, so had to leave my niece's home and run to my house to pick up a check, then go to the church to pay the plumber. I understand that he was frustrated because of another issue that was happening; but he wasn't very nice and took those frustrations out on me. He should have been happy to see me -- I came bearing money! He was on a roll, and kept bringing up different things and I kept telling him that I didn't know the answers; I was just there to deliver a check. Finally, I loaded my great-niece back up into the car and left. But I felt as if this man's emotions, resulting from his frustrations, had been passed on to me, leaving me feeling aggravated and upset.

Another day, we needed someone to wait at the church for the natural gas company to come and install our meter -- or so we thought. They said that they would call about 15 minutes before arrival, but someone needed to be there when they arrived, or we would be charged a penalty and they would leave and we'd need to reschedule. We had already missed them earlier in the week, when they were supposed to come. They gave us a window of arriving anytime from 8:00 AM until late nighttime. I was the only one available first thing that morning, so arrived at the church around 7:45; having left my home early, not knowing what the early morning traffic was going to be like. I thought that I would only need to stay for one hour, then someone was coming to work on the building and I would be able to leave. I hadn't eaten beforehand and had the mindset of only having to stay a short time. I found out a couple hours later, that no one was going to be able to come until early afternoon. When the gas company arrived, he began asking questions that I had no answers for. I was trying to get in touch with men from the church who might know the answers, so that this workman could help us. Come to find out, we need an additional inspection and a couple other things completed before he will be able to install the meter. My nephew arrived before the worker left, so was able to ask additional questions that I had no idea needed asked. Again, I was frustrated by the time I left.

We all have been put in stressful and/or unanticipated situations, or dealt with things that went much differently than we had expected, or had someone get upset and frustrated with us or take their frustrations out on us...... and during those moments, it becomes easy to become upset or angry or disappointed or saddened or stressed. At times it is due to us reacting to the emotions of someone else. Our words during those moments are often spoken from what we're feeling at that exact instant and not well thought out.

But what if our response was based upon "which wolf we've been feeding the most"? If we've been feeding frustration, worry, fear, self-pity, regret, guilty, resentment, unforgiveness, etc... then when unexpected things occur, our response will tend to be out of those emotions. But if we've been feeding love, peace, joy, hope, kindness, truth, generosity, compassion, faith, etc.... then our response should be much different. We should speak in faith, not doubt. We should look beyond that person who is complaining and griping and making us feel stressed, and see what the root of their frustration really is -- and that we're really not the issue. Most times it's not us at all, but someone or something completely different; but we happen to be in the wrong place at the wrong time, and get the brunt of their frustration. When someone is hurting and disappointed, we should look beyond our own agenda and respond with compassion and love.

We also need to realize that "we are not fighting against flesh and blood (people), but against principalities and powers of darkness" that is working against or within that person. (Ephesians 6:12) It's not really that person who is acting ugly, but Satan fighting to destroy them.

I believe that I'm feeding the right wolf, so to speak, on a consistent basis. I'm spending time with God and listening to the Holy Spirit and doing all the right things; then when I'm pushed into a corner or placed in a situation where I'm tested, I don't always come out sounding and acting very godly. I allow the frustrations of my flesh to become bigger than the Holy Spirit within me.

I do get it that it's not two wolves inside of us! But there is a tug-of-war between spirit and flesh. There is a battle between good and evil. God is desiring to have our heart, mind, soul, and spirit; while Satan is trying to do all that he can do to bring about discouragement, frustrations, fears, worries, guilt, condemnation, and every other evil work that he thinks he can get by with. When we listen to his lies, then we will become very self-focused and allow anger, envy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, and ego to become our constant companion; maybe not all of these things, but one or more.

When we stay focused on God and die to our flesh daily, determining to keep our eyes steadfast upon Him, then we will have joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion, and faith.

Although the story is a Cherokee legend, these truths portrayed are scriptural.

Ask yourself, what am I feeding most in my life? Is it the good or the evil? Can we honestly say that we "Rejoice in the Lord always;" or that "In everything we give thanks;" or that we "Don't worry about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, we present our request to the Lord"? If we do, then we are feeding our spirit, not our flesh.

When we are faced with unpleasant circumstances or disappointments or stressful situations or frustrations or receive unexpected news or our day doesn't go as we had planned...... what emotion rises up within us first? When people get on our last nerve, what will our attitude be and how will we initially respond? When taking inventory of our inner man, perhaps we need to make some changes if we don't like what we see. If our flesh tends to win out, we need to begin feeding our spirit more and more in order to build it up and bring it into submission and alignment with God.

Tomorrow as we celebrate Thanksgiving, let's not only enjoy time spent with loved ones and eat lots of good food, but let us also feed our spirit and enjoy time with Jesus!


I've heard "happiness is contagious." But I think it's more general than that. Anger and other attitudes can be contagious, too.

There are two sides to that. First, it pays to at least wonder from time to time where people filled with anger or short tempers caught that attitude. It probably didn't simply create itself in that one person.

Second, if we don't want a flu, we can go get an immunization shot. It may not be 100%, but it can help. The same is true with bad attitudes. We can either catch it, overcome it, and build up a tiny bit of immunity, or we can go and prepare against it.


Sweet Potato Casserole

3 cups sweet potatoes, drained and mashed

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 stick butter

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 cup sugar

1 egg, beaten

1/2 cup milk

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


1 stick butter

1 cup light brown sugar

1/2 cup flour

1 cup chopped pecans

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


Thanksgiving day holds many traditions for many families. Most families enjoy big turkey dinners; which is what my family always had. Some enjoy watching football in the afternoon, but that was never a tradition for my family. We didn't have a TV in our home, and my dad was not a sports fan. We spent the day enjoying being together and visiting.... and eating a lot of delicious food.

Now that my sisters kids are grown and have families of their own, we are unable to get together as a family anymore. They each have created their own family traditions and get-togethers. My oldest sister and her family all go on a hike together on Thanksgiving afternoon. They began doing that several years ago and have enjoyed finding a place to go on a nature walk together as a family. My sister, Janie, has begun her own family traditions each year, now that her three kids are all married. Every other year she gets them for Thanksgiving and they go to the in-laws for Christmas, then vice-versa the following year. Jon and I enjoy spending Thanksgiving each year with her; whether it's with her entire family or if it's just the three of us.

Whatever your traditions may be, enjoy Thanksgiving and have a blessed day!!


Sometimes God is silent over you, not because He's being mean, not because He doesn't like you;

it's actually because He's trusting what He's put inside of you

and He wants to see what you'll choose. - Shawn Bolz


We love you!

Loretta & Jon