"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

October 30, 2019


Twice here lately I've been the object of misconceptions by others. People making assumptions based on their own ideas; perhaps due to their young age, thinking that anyone with gray hair and over age fifty must be old.

The first time, I went to my doctor's clinic to get a flu shot. They had a special room set aside with nurses giving the shots. As I was checking in, the young lady asked if I needed the high dosage flu shot. I told her that I didn't know that there was an option; I thought there was only one dose. She said, well the high dosage is for people over age 65! What?!?! She then asked my age and birthday, where I shared that I was only 54.

The second time, Jon and I were eating dinner out. When the young waiter brought our check he told us, "I gave you the senior discount." We took it, even though I'm not quite old enough yet.

I remember back when I was in my twenties and everyone over age fifty seemed old. Someone with gray hair must be over the hill. But as you grow older and hit fifty yourself, you realize that it's really not so old after all. In fact, it's still young. It's all about perspective!

Growing up, my mama was an excellent cook! She grew a garden, so canned or froze her own vegetables; canned fresh fruit; we butchered our own chickens, beef, and pork so had fresh meat in our freezer. So our meals were all homemade and delicious. In fact, getting a hamburger from a burger joint and milkshakes were a special treat. My sisters and I all grew up learning how to cook at a young age. We are all really good cooks; if I do say so myself.

My aunts were really good cooks. The food at our Parton family reunions was absolutely amazing! No matter what food you filled your plate with, you knew that it was going to be great. When we visited our aunts and uncles, there would always be good food.

The church that I grew up in was filled with great cooks. Oh my! All the ladies brought their best when we had church dinners!! The tables would be overflowing with mouthwatering main dishes, sides, and desserts.

Then there was our school lunches. Homemade hot rolls and cinnamon rolls! The food was all homemade, not pre-made or from a can. I remember in high school I could get a homemade school lunch for thirty-five cents!

I grew up thinking that all women knew how to cook! In fact, I thought that all women were good cooks. Because all of the women that I knew were fantastic cooks, I assumed that was a way of life and how it was for all everyone. Imagine my astonishment when I found out that not every female was a good cook; nor did all of them enjoy cooking for their families. In fact, some don't even cook at all! Whoa.... really?!? It changed my perspective!

Many youngsters cannot wait until they graduate high school and get out into the "real" world and start getting a paycheck. In their minds, the world will be so much better when they make their own money and get to work for a living instead of enduring the drudgery of school. Then reality hits when they realize the responsibilities that come with earning a paycheck! Taxes, those pesky monthly bills, groceries, paying all of their own expenses; having to be responsible for car gasoline, insurance, and maintenance; paying rent...... Then when they get married, their expenses only increase with a spouse, and then later when children come along. They realize that in their school days when their parents took care of them and paid for everything, things weren't nearly as bad as they thought it was. In fact, they had it pretty easy. All about perspective!

Have you ever made the comment, "I will never do (or eat or go)........" At that moment, we are fully convinced that no way, no how, under any circumstances would we ever do whatever it is that we say. But over time, something may happen to change our situation or our way of thinking, etc. and we find ourselves doing what we swore we'd never, ever do.

In Matthew chapter 26 we read about the last hours of Jesus' life. He and his disciples have a last meal together, Judas leaves to go betray Jesus, then Jesus takes the others to a garden. On their way to the Mount of Olives, Jesus told them, "Tonight all of you will desert me." This would be done in order that scripture would be fulfilled.

Peter declared, "Even if everyone else deserts you, I will never desert you!" Jesus replied, "I tell you the truth, Peter -- this very night, before the rooster crows, you will deny three times that you even know me."

"No!" Peter insisted. "Even if I have to die with you, I will never deny you!" And all the other disciples vowed the same.

Jesus was arrested and and they were led to the home of the high priest. Meanwhile, Peter followed at a distance and came to the high priest's courtyard. He went in and sat with the guards and waited to see how it would all end. A servant girl came over and said, "You were one of those with Jesus." But Peter denied it in front of everyone. "I don't know what you're talking about," he said.

Later, out by the gate, another servant girl noticed him and said to those standing around, "This man was with Jesus of Nazareth." Again, Peter denied it, this time with an oath. "I don't even know the man," he said.

A little later, some of the other bystanders came over to Peter and said, "You must be one of them; we can tell by your Galilean accent." Peter swore, "A curse on me if I'm lying -- I don't know the man!" And immediately the rooster crowed. Suddenly, he remembered Jesus' words. He went away, weeping bitterly.

Peter did something that he never imagined that he was capable of doing! In his wildest imagination, he had no idea that he was capable of denying knowing Jesus! He had ministered alongside Him, listened to His teachings, been witness to Jesus' many miracles, and had a close personal relationship with the Messiah. But fear caused Him to react in a manner that was inconceivable to him. His perspective changed from the moment he was walking beside Jesus to the Mount of Olives to that moment when Jesus was being accused and tried before the high priest.

Can you imagine the guilt that consumed Peter over the next few hours and days when Jesus was crucified, died, and was put in the grave? The heartbreak and sorrow of doing that one thing that he felt he would never do.

But we read something exciting in Mark 16. Three women went to the tomb to anoint the body of Jesus with spices. When they arrived they found that the stone had been rolled away and the tomb was empty. Inside they found a man clothed in a white robe, and they were shocked. He told them that Jesus was risen from the dead. Then he said, "Go tell His disciples, including Peter, that Jesus is going ahead of you to Galilee."

In that first angelic message proclaiming that Jesus was indeed alive, he didn't just say to go tell the disciples this message; but said, "Go tell His disciples, and Peter." I believe that Jesus wanted Peter to know that he was forgiven, and that Jesus wanted him to be present with the others when He came and showed Himself to them.

There may be a time in your life when you find yourself doing something that dishonors or displeases Jesus. Perhaps you fall flat on your face, or fail, or sin. You may find yourself in a situation that you never dream you would be in. You never meant to or wanted to deny Jesus. You never intended to indulge in the sin that you find yourself involved in. But there you are. You may feel like a failure and as if you can never get your life back together.

Jesus wants you to know that you are forgiven.... that He wants to meet with you and for the two of you to spend time together. He calls out your name and bids you to come fellowship with Him. He loves you and doesn't want there to be any separation between Him and you. Jesus wants to change your perspective! No more guilt or shame or condemnation; but forgiveness, joy, and peace.


I tend to feel sympathetic for Peter. I'm sure that if he were in a situation where he could either stand with Jesus, and fight to protect Him; maybe even die for Him, Peter wouldn't have denied Jesus, or even stepped away. He proved that when the guards first came (he cut the ear off one of them). But he was in a very different situation. He wanted to be near Jesus. Maybe he was watching for a chance to tackle the guard, and carry Jesus off to safety. Maybe he was just watching to know what would be needed when all the other disciples stormed in. Maybe he wanted to make sure Jesus would be released. He knew that if anyone knew he was with Jesus, he would either be taken, too, or would have to run away. Either way, he wouldn't be close by when Jesus needed him most. So he lied. I'm sure he had no idea he was betraying Jesus; he was trying to stay close so he could help. But Jesus never asked anyone to lie for Him.

It might have felt justified, but lying about Jesus wasn't what Jesus wanted. Jesus simply wanted Peter to honestly love Him, and trust Him. Jesus knew the plan, and needed Peter to trust that.

We tend to do the same. Sure, we know that Jesus knows the plan. But we tend to jump in, and do something reckless to "help", when all we are supposed to do is love Him, and trust Him.


Crockpot Cream Cheese Chicken Chili

1 can black beans, drained & rinsed

1 can corn, undrained

1 can Rotel

1 package Ranch dressing mix

1 teaspoon cumin

1 tablespoon chili powder

1 teaspoon onion powder

1 package cream cheese

2 boneless large chicken breasts

Drain and rinse the black beans. Place chicken in the bottom of the crockpot (I used frozen chicken tenders and just dumped some in). Pour the can of undrained corn, Rotel tomatoes, and drained and rinsed black beans over the top of the chicken.

Top with the seasonings and dry ranch dressing mix. Stir together.

Place cream cheese block on top. Cover with lid and cook on low for 6-8 hours.

After cooking time is over, take the chicken breasts from the crockpot and shred; then add back to the chili. Stir once more, then serve.

***NOTES: This only makes 4 servings, so if making for a family you will need to double the recipe.

This chili is thick, so if you'd prefer a juicier chili I'd suggest adding a small can of chicken broth to the recipe.

You can top with shredded cheese, sour cream, crunched tortilla chips, sliced avocado, etc for toppings.


When my nephew's little boy was a toddler, he was apparently told, "No, no," quite often. So when asked what his name was, his answer would be, "No Owen!" He thought his name was "No Owen" for quite some time!!


The wonderful thing about praying is that you leave a world of not being able to do something,

and enter God's realm where everything is possible.

He specializes in the impossible.

Nothing is too great for His Almighty power.

Nothing is too small for His love. - Corrie Ten Boom


We love you!

Loretta & Jon