Thursday, November 28, 2013

My blob

A sweet lady wrote me:  "I so enjoy reading your blob!"  I have been chuckling ever since. Lord, may today's "blob" bring glory to You, at this Thanksgiving season.

Ted was the first in his family to come to Christ. The next was his younger brother, Art.  As I write, Art is slipping away to Heaven by way of a brain tumor, exactly as Ted's earthly life was taken. Art's wife Bobbie tells me that he is seeing Ted and Doug in Heaven, along with her parents, a room full of others and angels that are all "beautiful''.  I believe it. Ted experienced previews of Heaven.

My remaining precious family gained comfort and encouragement from one another as we gathered for an early Thanksgiving this past weekend.  Our son Jeff is a called-by-God psychologist. Because he counsels many people in ministry, as well as students who are preparing for ministry and a cross-section of humanity, I confer with him about many situations in my own life and the lives of those the Lord sends me to counsel. Last weekend, I asked Jeff if I am "normal" (...a loaded question!) in my desires to understand where I have been for the purpose of recognizing God's faithfulness throughout my life-in-Christ.  He refused to respond to the word "normal", but he did say this: "Mom, not every personality wants to think of the yesterdays, but you do. You are getting the 'whole picture', as best you can, and that's a good thing."  I needed that encouragement from my dear son.

I am remembering that many times I have been "overwhelmed", then "overruled",  and then "overjoyed". Paul's thorn-in-the-flesh was never removed from him. ...for these reasons: 1) to keep him from becoming conceited; 2) that he might discover more deeply the grace of God; 3) that he might revel in the power of God that was "made perfect in his weakness". Paul claimed no credit for himself, therefore, but gave all the glory for His amazingly fruitful life to God Himself.

In the midst of our feelings of overwhelmingness it is not easy to offer to the Lord a "sacrifice of Praise", but when we thank Him in the midst of the pain and think on what is "true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable and excellent" the peace of God which transcends all understanding will, in time, bring us overwhelming JOY.

                Thank you, Lord, for You are good and your love will endure forever!
                                            OLD HYMN: BLESSED QUIETNESS

Joys are flowing like a river since the Comforter has come
He abides with us forever, makes the trusting heart His home.

What a wonderful salvation, where we always see His face!
What a peaceful habitation! What a quiet resting-place.


Love, Jo

Thursday, November 21, 2013


On Saturday my daughter and I attended a Memorial with precious saints from our first pastorate at Fruitvale/RiverLakes Community Church in Bakersfield, California. Flo Gause was in that little church when Ted, our two little boys and I moved from Palo Alto, California to begin a 15-year ministry alongside Mabel Boynton, humble missionary with American Sunday School Union who had led many children and their parents to Christ.   Flo taught flannel graph lessons in Sunday School and Vacation Bible Schools to all of our kids in the church, took them to summer camps,  kept our children when many of us were off in ministry somewhere, then at 62 years of age started one Christian school, and then another.  Her six children, many grandchildren and many more great-grandchildren were at her Memorial to tell of this amazing woman's ministry in their lives. When Milt Cole,  pastor who dates back to our era in that church, asked for a show of hands of those who had learned about Jesus and had learned to read and memorize scripture at the feet of Florence Gause,  half the audience raised their hands. ...and the audience was vast.

Ted and I had been married ten years, had been through eight years of training for ministry and three years on Ray Stedman's staff at Peninsula Bible Church in Palo Alto, California.  When Dr. Walvoord, President of Dallas Theological Seminary, was sitting at our dinner table one night in 1959,  he quietly asked: "Ted, would you and Jo be willing to consider going to a small church in a place called Bakersfield, California? A white-haired lady came up to me this morning at Mount Hermon where I am speaking, and told me that she has taken the church as far as she can take it and they desperately need a man who has been trained to teach the Word of God."  That "white haired lady" was Mabel Boynton, a pioneering woman warrior, in Heaven now for years.  Her family, too, continues to march forward as warriors in the battle against Satan who does not want one more soul to be won for the Kingdom of God.  In 1959, as soon as that unexpected invitation was out of Dr. Walvoord's mouth at our dining table,  I knew we were going to Bakersfield, California.

Satan had just hit us hard with a terrible test that brought us to our knees. He knew our weak places and had wedged right in as an angel of light to destroy us and subsequently block any fruit that was going to be born for the Kingdom of God. He gave it his best shot, but he didn't win. Fruitvale Community Church (aptly named) was going to bear fruit for generations to come. God had chosen Ted and me before the foundation of the world to "bear fruit that will last".  From the first day of our commitment to Christ to carry out that assignment, Satan came at us from every direction. He has tried and continues to try to take our children and grandchildren into his dark kingdom.  He has come "only to steal and kill and destroy; I (Jesus) have come that they may have life and have it to the full."  He has already been defeated by the Resurrection of Christ, but he will not give up fighting us as long as we are on this earth.

Son Jeff and wife Carla are coming this weekend for an early Thanksgiving with daughter Dee, Brent and Lexi. My dining table will never be encircled by the same fourteen family members ever again. We will miss our loved ones who have gone to be with Him and are waiting for us to join them soon. Our Lord's Thanksgiving Table will stretch into Infinity.

Today, coming through my door will be woman warriors who have been chosen of Him to "go and bear fruit--fruit that will remain". Every day I am on my phone or computer with women and men warriors across this world.  Every one of us is growing in our faith, becoming more confident that "neither death, nor life, neither angels, nor demons, neither the present nor the future nor any powers, neither height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God, that is in Christ Jesus our Lord."

When Satan's vicious attack knocked us to our knees in 1959, I sat at my piano, sobbing and chokingly attempting to sing this song:


Run to Him, my dear friends, when Satan knocks you to your knees.  Even if you're torqued with God for giving Satan the go-ahead to knock you winding,  give the Lord praise in the midst of the attack. Immerse yourself in the promises of God. Satan means it for evil, BUT GOD MEANS IT FOR GOOD.

Love,  Jo


Friday, November 15, 2013


I  think some aging people develop Dementia and Alzheimer's because they don't have anybody who really cares enough about them to listen to their story.  In this blog  I am telling you some of my story, hopefully outsmarting both diseases.  I make a super effort not to bore you but I can't watch your eyes to see if they're glazing over.  If they are,  punch the delete button.  I'll never know.

My brothers left the farm when I was seven years old. On the weekends, sometimes they came home with their girlfriends. ... or some townspeople just happened to stop by on their Sunday drive.  They knew my mother and grandmother would run to the garden for vegetables,  bring up from the cellar jars of slaved-over preserved fruits and pull farm-raised meat from the smokehouse.  All through the week as these two women were surviving the brutal conditions under which we lived, they were planning ahead for the "feeding of the 5,000" that would show up on many weekends. Those drop-by guests sometimes stayed until supper time when magically, more food appeared;  then they left to drive back to their lovely town homes, satisfied and fatter while my mother and grandmother waved them a weary "Goodbye".

All of my life I have invited others outside the family into our home. Some stayed for weeks and months. When my children were at home, not all were excited about sharing their space with others. Since they are gone and we (and now "I") are blessed with a large ministry home, my gift of hospitality has been freed to fly! Over the past thirty years,  thousands have come to be here for various reasons. I am blessed. Now I don't want to shop and cook so the Lord has provided a young woman who loves to do that for me. He meets our every need.

I live at the very end of a long gravel road where nobody just "drops by".  One part of me loves the seclusion; another part of me...well....  Sometimes, one of my precious girls, or even a fellah (At my age I am no threat to any wife. Darn!)  will call and take me to lunch and that's like Christmas! Often my daughter invites me to come to their house to sit in their Jacuzzi and have  dinner with them. I do not sit around hoping the next generation will invite me for a meal.  When they do I attempt to stifle the temptation to tell them all about me, even when asked, "Jo, how are you...really?"

Jesus came to be yours and my Servant. If not, what was the big deal about the "towel" at the Last Supper? "Unless I wash you, you have no part with me",  He told prideful Peter. Only John records this tender scene. I have no idea why the other guys didn't. Some Christian leaders don't want us to know that Jesus came to serve us,  lest we enjoy Him as our Abba...our Daddy Who promises to "meet our every need". ...but we must watch for the ways He does that, or we might miss them while we are running around serving others, heading at the speed of light toward burnout, heart attack, stroke, depression or somethin' ugly. Are we working hard to please others at the expense of our own health? Is God requiring it or are we tweaking the meaning of Romans 12:1 and 2? Our virtues so easily slip into being vices...and that is exactly what the evil ones wants.  One of the first verses I learned as a new Christian was Proverbs 16:7.  Read it if you want to.

The scriptures are full of antinomies  (Look it up!).  When I tell some Christians that God sent His Son to "give His life for us because He deemed us worth every drop of His Son's blood",  many barely mask their astonishment because they have been told they don't deserve anything at all from God. Those who do not know Christ...yet...say things like: "Really? Tell me more!"

 ...and then there are those "health and wealth" superstars who tell millions that they deserve everything from God. Who is right? Both or neither? What do you think?

With my precious Thursday gathering of women, we often roam away from Romans and visit a passage that meets our factual and emotional needs. My teaching style would drive many a theologian nuts! ...but then they're not apt to "drop by"  to listen because I live at the end of a long gravel road.   
                                              HYMN:  MORE ABOUT JESUS

More about Jesus in His Word; holding communion with my Lord
Hearing His voice in every line; making each faithful saying mine.


Love, Jo

Friday, November 8, 2013


As I am winding up my life here on this Planet, my Father has me in a "choke hold" that I watched Doug, my deceased son endure many times in his climb up the ladder to be an All American in the brutal sport of wrestling. I had to leave the stadium more than once because I couldn't bear to watch his face turn purple, his muscles nearly burst through his skin and his eyes glaze over. This was my little boy (turning out to be tough as nails) who had grown up practicing on his dad and his younger brother while I left the room,  hoping they wouldn't maim each other for life.

 ...back to God's "choke hold" on me.  There remain dangling ends in relationships. ...unfinished business. I am a stubborn "finisher" by nature; a perfectionist. Many is the morning I have seen the sun come up in the east before I put a project to bed. Why did I stress so about finishing?

...but, again, back to the "choke hold". What's the message here? We can't change peoples' perceptions.  Only God can and He takes His own sweet time and so do people! I am slowly waking up to the probability that, as with the Hebrews 11 "Hall of Faith" people, I just may "die, not having received the Promise". Now, you theologians who read this need not write back to tell me that I missed His major point in that passage. You can't change my perception because I like mine better.

Mothers and grandmothers suffer. I think that in Heaven our Lord may (or may not)  explain what He was doing in our kids' and grandkids' lives when some of them seemed to have missed the "right way" sign and took the "wrong way" instead. We mothers and grandmothers are given a "way out", as promised in I Corinthians 10:13:  Trust God with all of our hearts and lean not to our own understanding.  Confession: I have always been a more aggressive "do-er" than an aggressive "pray-er". The "choke hold", therefore,  is also about this: God is patiently but lovingly forcing me to be  a "pray-er" and not so much a "do-er".


Dear Lord, take up my tangled strands where I have wrought in vain
That by the skill of Thy dear hands some beauty may remain

Take all the failures, each mistake of my poor human ways
Then, Savior, for Thine own dear sake, make them show forth Thy praise


....and wasn't Billy Graham's last message to the world powerful?  I pray that millions of unbelievers came to Christ as the Gospel was so clearly revealed.   ...even on Fox News.

Love,  Jo