"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 7, 2018


When someone has done something bad and there are repercussions, I've often heard the remark, "Well, they're only getting what they deserve!" After all, if you have bad behavior or make bad choices, then you deserve bad consequences, right?!

I know a young boy who had a tough upbringing for many years that caused much trauma. Even though he is now in a loving, stable, christian home, those years still have a negative affect on him, causing him to behave badly at times and make bad choices. Recently, he ran away from home and was gone for a couple hours, with his adoptive parents not knowing where he was. It caused stress, worry, and anxiety for the family. Their entire evening was in upheaval and distress. Thankfully, he was found and safely returned home.

The following morning he was honored at church by his Sunday School teacher. He was awarded a certificate, in front of the congregation, for his excellent work and performance in his Sunday School class. He is getting ready to age out of that class, but (with his parents permission) was given the position of being a junior team-leader in that class; remaining to be the teacher's assistant and helper.

As he was standing there in front of the church, my first thought was, "I wonder what his parents are thinking right now, after all the turmoil he caused them last night?" Then the Holy Spirit showed me a very beautiful picture, using this situation as an example.

We often have this same type of behavior with our Heavenly Father. We disobey, we have a rebellious attitude, we argue, we want our own way, we try to do things by ourself, we try to exert our independence, we think we deserve more than we really do; and then pout when we don't get what we want. Maybe we don't do this all in one day, but I'm sure we can read through this list and see where we've done most or all of those things at one time or another. We also often allow our past sins or an ungodly upbringing to define our relationship with God. When we mess up, we remind Him of our past and it can often become a crutch, preventing us from growing and moving forward spiritually.

Then in the middle of it all, our Father will give us an unexpected blessing or gift or bestow His favor upon us. He does it, not because He has to or because we deserve it, but just because He's a good Father and loves us.

We may have just messed up big time or disobeyed or had a really bad attitude or are running around trying to do things on our own, without consulting what our Father, and God will say, "Here, let me give you a good gift today! I want to bless you with something really special!"

"What?! But didn't you just hear me and see what I've done? I'm pretty sure you saw how badly I just now messed up. I don't deserve you to be good to me right now!"

God says, "I love you anyway! You're still my child and I just want to bless you with something special!"

We often don't want to receive God's blessing or favor at that time, because we don't feel as if we deserve it. We feel like we need to do some good works for a while; maybe earn our way back into His favor and be on our best behavior for a while; then perhaps He can do something good for us.

God isn't honoring our bad behavior when He blesses us during this time; but He's showing us that He still loves us and that He still sees goodness within us. He wants to remind us that we are a much better son or daughter than how we are acting at that particular moment.

A while back I was babysitting the children of my niece and her husband. An incident occurred where I had taken one of the girls to basketball practice, then when I went back to pick her up, she wasn't there. I had the other kids with me and went back home, thinking perhaps practice had ended early (which it had) and one of the parents had given her a ride (which they had). She wasn't at home. It took me about 45 minutes to track her down, and I was terrified during that time; and upset by the time she got into the car with me! One of the parents, not using any wisdom, had taken her to their house. Long story, but thankfully, it ended well.

We got back to the house and the other kids all wanted to sleep in the room with me. I got them settled while the oldest was showering. She never came back downstairs and I went up to check on her. She was in her bed, and was covered up from head to toe. I asked if she wanted to sleep downstairs with me and the other kids and she said, "You don't want me!"

I told her, "I never said that I didn't want you! I was scared when I couldn't find you, and had no idea where you were. If I didn't want you or love you, then I wouldn't have cared. It's because I love you so much that I was so upset when I didn't know where you were. I want you downstairs with the rest of us; do you want to come?" She said yes, we hugged and she cried, and she ended up sleeping at the foot of my bed that night.

Have you ever felt that way with God; as if you've disappointed Him so much or disobeyed, so He must not want you with Him? We tend to pull away during those times, feeling as if we've let Him down or He's mad at us, so how could He possibly want us with Him?

The truth is, that's when He wants to hold us in His arms and spend time just loving on us. It's because He does love us so much, that He gets upset when we run from Him or are in a place where we shouldn't be. But when we safely come back home, God just wants to spend time with us and let us know how much He truly does care.

Lamentations 3:22-23 (NLT) says, "The faithful love of the Lord never ends! His mercies never cease. Great is His faithfulness; His mercies begin afresh each morning."

Do we always deserve new mercies every day? No! But the Lord's mercies for each of us are new every morning anyway. They never run out or stop! God's faithful love never, ever comes to an end. There has never been a time when God didn't love us and there will never be a time when He stops. His love for you and for me is eternal; without limits and without end. That's a whole lot of love!

God wants to lavish us with His love, and one of the ways He does so is by giving us good gifts and bestowing His favor and mercy and grace upon us; whether it's deserved or not. We are His children! If imperfect, earthly parents know how to give good gifts to their children, how much more does our Heavenly Father know how to give good gifts to us?! He doesn't do it because He has to, but just because He wants to, out of His abundant love for us. He has a storehouse full of gifts, just waiting to be poured out upon His kids. God is crazy in love with us!!


It seems to be our nature to assume we have to earn salvation, or favor, or blessings. But fortunately, we don't have to. We should be obedient to God. But we should be obedient because we want to be, because we see that simply obeying God gets us around a lot of trouble and pain, and because we want to do what God wants. Our motivation shouldn't be to purchase a ticket into heaven, or to buy healing or some other miracle.

God wants to give us great things, and when we try to buy them for ourselves instead, it kind of ruins it. It reminds me of when I got something for one of the kids in my family, only to find out they had bought the same thing just before Christmas.


Hawaiian Ham and Cheese Sliders

24 slices of deli honey ham

6 slices of Swiss cheese, cut into fourths

1/3 cup mayonnaise

1 tablespoon poppy seeds (optional)

1-1/2 tablespoons dijon mustard

1/2 cup butter, melted

1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

1 tablespoon onion powder

2 packages (12 count) King's Hawaiian original Hawaiian sweet dinner rolls

Cut rolls in half and spread mayo onto one side of the rolls. Place a slice or two of ham and quartered slice of Swiss cheese on roll. Replace the top of the rolls and bunch them closely together into a baking dish.

In a medium bowl, whisk together poppy seeds, dijon mustard, melted butter, onion powder and Worcestershire sauce.

Pour sauce over the rolls, just covering the tops. Cover with foil and let sit for 10 minutes.

Bake at 350 for 10 minutes or until cheese is melted. Uncover and cook for additional 2 minutes until tops are slightly browned and crisp. Serve warm.


Last week I went to the dentist and had the wisdom teeth on my left side pulled. They used the lowest setting on nitrous, which I had never used before, to relax me. The dentist was explaining to me beforehand what to expect when he pulled the teeth. He told me, "You will feel some pressure like this (as he pushed against my right arm); and may even feel pressure on both sides while I'm pulling your teeth (and he pushed against both arms)." Apparently, I was feeling a bit too relaxed at that moment, because my first initial thought was, "Why would I feel pressure in my arms, when he pulls my teeth?!" Thankfully, I didn't respond and ask that! I must have looked a bit puzzled though, because he explained it again, and I almost laughed out loud when I realized that he was talking about feeling pressure in my mouth; not in my arms!!


You were not called to be an echo. You were called to be a voice. - Kris Vallotton


We love you!

Loretta & Jon