Friday, June 15, 2018

Advancing Through Adversity

I swiped that title from a message my dear husband delivered many years ago in our first pastorate in Bakersfield, California. My Ted understood that biblical churches are built upon encouraging the sheep to bear the lambs. Ted was a very humble man, not even wanting to be addressed as "Pastor", "Reverend" or "Doctor". He was all three; yet he was, simply, "Ted". 

Most lost people do not know that God loves them. If these precious people are open to the Gospel the Holy Spirit will make that clear.  Some of you Calvinists will add: "...IF they are chosen".  Oh, get off of it!  That's none of yours or my business.  I will ask you exactly what my husband asked Christians: "How many non-Christian friends do you have?"

Many lost people gag at even the word "church".  There are several in my life right now who are "gagging". I love them. I feed them. That's what Jesus told us to do. ...just before He left. 

Every adult who comes to Christ comes with a little bit or a big bucket of pain.  Here's a Ted'ism: "The human mind cannot understand more than the emotions can absorb."  We must go into "discipleship" knowing this. There will be sacrifice. You will no longer be a "target" for satan. You will be his BULLSEYE!  You will learn to "Advance Through Adversity". 

Paul clearly admonished Timothy to spend time only with "reliable" people.  That's II Timothy 2:2. Like the rest of us Paul made some mistakes by spending time with people who used him for their own advantage.  We learn to be discerning.  WE DON'T QUIT! . 

...but you knew all that, didn't you?  What are you doing with it? 

WE SHALL COME REJOICING, 
BRINGING IN THE SHEAVES!

Love,  Jo

Friday, June 8, 2018

Footprints of Jesus

I had two older brothers. ...ten and eleven years older.  Both were over six feet tall. They looked like giants to me.  Blair,  the older one was a  hunter and fisherman. If I promised not to whine or lag behind, sometimes he let me go with him to hunt or fish.  His strides were lo-o-o-ng and his footprints far apart. Try as I might, my little  short legs could not stretch far enough to walk in his footprints.  If snow or mud were underfoot I was sunk.  Literally.

My brothers left the farm when I was about seven years old.  For the next ten years I would spend much time by myself, figuring out what to do and how to do it.  My parents worked hard to take care of my aging grandmother and keep a big farm, livestock, poultry and a garden functioning.  I helped in the summertime, but in the winter I was in school in a town eight miles away.   I was alone much of the time. Sometimes when I walk down my road to the bench on the curve I think: "Some things haven't changed. I started life alone and I am ending life alone."

Whining isn't allowed any more now than it was when I was a little girl. ...but groaning?  Oh, sure.  Paul says that's o.k.

I do want to step squarely in His footprints. If I can't quite make the stretch He will stop and wait for me to catch up.  My Abba will not leave me stuck in the mud or floundering in the snow.

Footprints of Jesus Hymn

Sweetly, Lord, have we heard Thee calling,
Come, follow Me!
And we see where Thy footprints falling
Lead us to Thee.

Refrain

Footprints of Jesus,
That make the pathway glow;
We will follow the steps of Jesus
Where’er they go.

Though they lead o’er the cold, dark mountains,
Seeking His sheep;
Or along by Siloam’s fountains,
Helping the weak.

Refrain

If they lead through the temple holy,
Preaching the Word;
Or in homes of the poor and lowly,
Serving the Lord.

Refrain

Love, Jo












Friday, June 1, 2018

IT'S TIME

It's time to assess what I've got that works and use it.  I'm talking about my brain and my fingers. ...SO I've hauled out my keyboard to see if anyone still wants to hear me play on Friday nights at the Mulligan Room. ... under the stars.  I play smooth and soothing standards.  People who prefer "smooth and soothing" will show up;  others will be on their way to dine at the restaurant,  hear the music,  come and see if they want to order outside and listen.  Millennials will walk on by. 

Twilight will come as the sun slips over the mountain to the west. An evening breeze will caress the trees. ...tenderly.  "After the Loving"   will bring a tear to the eyes of a widow or widower.  Some people will sing;  a few will dance; others will just listen. ...and reminisce.

Dave, a great bass singer may show up.  When he belts out  "Ol Man River" or  "Sixteen Tons" you might hear him all the way to your house.  I may invite some other musicians who can pick up the tune of any song. We'll see. 

All is not dark in the world, because Jesus lives and so do we.

Love,  Jo

Friday, May 25, 2018

I am with you, always.

Technology is hurtling us toward our minds being controlled by devices. Simultaneously,  technology is fulfilling the Great Commission as millions are hearing the Gospel by way of  "devices".  The  assignment given us by Jesus can be fulfilled in just a few years if  every one of us shares the Gospel with one, two, or several lost people. Do not be discouraged. The "Arm of the Lord is not shortened".

Think about that; then think about Joseph, son of Jacob.  Pharaoh,  the devil's high- tech potentate of his day thought he had Joe and his family cornered.  He didn't.

Today a half dozen women who know what our assignment is will gather to study Genesis 36, pray for one an other's ministries to the lost, then separate for a week to go about our Father's business. .

Please don't "stand looking up",  doing absolutely nothing, waiting for His return. Jesus warned the fellows about that.

"Go, ...and I am with you always, even to the end of the age."  

Love,  Jo

Friday, May 18, 2018

The scenic route

I was with my northern California son and family for the Mother's Day weekend. They have bought a beautiful little farm outside their city.  In the city they minister to lots and lots of people, many of whom are ensnared in the results of man's disobedience to God. Now they can enjoy His peaceful handiwork a couple of days a week and hopefully extend their days on this earth.

I traveled by Amtrak. The TV commercials that market that rail line picture a sleek, silver-colored double-decker that curves around snow-capped mountains, slipping through tunnels that run parallel to rippling rivers, flanked on both sides by cascading waterfalls.

The terrain outside my Amtrak window was somewhat different. We barreled through thirty-foot high piles of discarded scrap -iron, acres of wrecked cars and rusted-out obsolete oil equipment. We cut through a half-dozen junk yards, then through the back yards of homeowners who can't sell their houses for half the price they paid. To say the route was "colorless" doesn't quite explain why I pulled the curtains and settled back for a nap. 

I am the mother and grandmother to a Christian family  I am a surrogate mother to many Christian children. Every day we travel through the broken ruins of this world. How do we stay sane in the midst of such hopelessness?   We can't just "pull the curtain" and pretend that the world is all beautiful like the Amtrak commercial.  You know the answer:  Be His Light in the darkness.  Because HE lives, WE LIVE also.

Love, Jo






























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