Friday, January 30, 2015

With friends like these...

...who needs enemies?  We always had a dog on my childhood farm. A "Sic 'em" galvanized that dog into action and the marauding varmints tucked their tails and ran for their lives. Satan was "galvanized" into action when God sicked him on Job .(I don't "get that" about God but then I don't totally"get" a lot of things about God.)  He sent three "friends" to console and comfort Job. For seven days and nights El, Bil and Zo sat in the dust with him and said nothin' and then they cut loose. Following is the short list of their accusations:

"You are not patient. You have lost heart and have no hope or courage. You do not practice what you preach; you are a coward and not a man's man; you must have secret sins or God would not be punishing you;  you are deceiving,  not innocent but are impure, unsubmissive to God and are therefore untrustworthy.  You are, in fact a hypocrite. You have no credibility; therefore nobody listens to you...not even God. You are a windbag and blow smoke. You lust for money and are cold-hearted toward the poor. You are fat. You bribe people and are an "Indian-giver".  You are a fool, simple-minded and cunning.  You do not pray or seek God; you are defiant toward Him, are empty-headed and less smart than a jackass. You are stingy, a worm, and a maggot. You consider yourself powerful and privileged; therefore you deserve to suffer for the rest of your life and will, at the end   be sent to hell. ... which you deserve." 

I wonder if Mrs. Job had "comforters and consolers" like these geezers.  Gee whiz. I only lost one of my kids to death and my stomach that housed that boy for nine months still wrenches and the tears flow when I think of him...and he will have been in Heaven for four years, come May.

Enter another El (Elihu), the young one who has listened to the three elders knock the waddin' out of Job with their words.  El blabbered on about his experience; Zo was a legaliser; a traditionalist;  Bil pulled rank with his human authority. Elihu discerns that Job believes himself to be above reproach and therefore God is wrong to treat him this way.  At last everybody clears out except God and Job. God speaks...clearly.  Job listens....and repents.

I don't know as much as I soon will know about God and His ways.  I only know that they are not my ways, but the older I get the more I quit trying to explain God. These things I do know: 1) God is never wrong! 2). He did send us a Mediator for whom Job begged. 3) We need not any longer be separated from God. 4) We are invited to "Come boldly to the Throne of Grace where we will obtain Mercy and find Grace to help in our time of need." 

                                 OLD HYMN:  IN THE CROSS OF CHRIST I GLORY
In the Cross of Christ I glory,
Tow'ring o'er the wrecks of time.
All the light of sacred story
Gathers 'round its head sublime. 

When the woes of life o'ertake me
Hopes deceive, and fears annoy.
Never shall the Cross forsake me;
Lo! it glows with peace and joy.

Bane and blessing,  pain and pleasure
By the Cross are sanctified.
Peace is there that knows no measure
Joys that through all time abide. 

Love, Jo

Friday, January 23, 2015

Practice His Presence

When Job was at a low point he concluded; "It is a land as dark as midnight, a land of gloom and confusion, where even the light is dark as midnight."  Later in his rebutal to his fair-weather friend Zophar he says: "He leads counselors away, stripped of good judgment; wise judges become fools. He removes the royal robe of kings; they are led away with ropes around their necks." 

I have lived through the State of the Union addresses of eight presidents.  Leaders without the Spirit of God learn nothing from history.  Tuesday night as I listened further to Joni Ernst (farm girl turned Senator from Red Oak, Iowa) after the president's speech, I thought of Esther who mustered enough courage to hold the scepter out to the King in order to save her people. God gave her strength in her weakness and the Jews were saved. God has miraculously preserved the Jews down through the ages and He will continue to keep His covenant with them. They will be given their land; meanwhile the spirit of the anti-Christ is lulling people into believing a human can bring the peace that only the Lord Jesus Christ Who is called "Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God,  the Everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace"  can bring.

I just finished studying through the first chapters of Job with the delightful Thursday Women. Some have been Christians for some time; three are new to scripture...taking in fresh gulps of God's life-changing Truths...all acting upon what He is revealing to them. Now I need to clear my mind of all people and things except Jesus.  Come on, Bootsie Cat. Let's go take our walk, sit side-by-side on the old bench where the road curves and enjoy His Presence.

In the last century Ira Sankey was Evangelist D.L. Moody's song leader.  His tune, written for blind Fanny Crosby's words are just what I need right now and perhaps you need them as well.

When the blest, who sleep in Jesus, at His biding shall arise
From the silence of the grave and from the sea
And with bodies all celestial they shall meet Him in the skies
What a gath'ring and rejoicing there will be!

When our eyes behold the city with its many mansions bright
And its river, calm and restful, flowing free
When the friends that death hath parted shall in bliss again unite
What a gath'ring and a greeting there will be!


Love, Jo

Friday, January 16, 2015


I so look foward to seeing Jesus. He gave Himself for our sins, that He might deliver us from this present evil age, according to the will of God and our Father.

Right out of the chute in Genesis the emotional roller coaster begins.  I agonize with every mother whose kids have hated and murdered each other, every woman who was ripped away from all that she has known and watches as her man pounds their tent pegs into the hard ground of unfamiliar territory; whose husband sleeps with his concubines and maids even if she has encouraged it and it's lawful.  I even agonize with Eve about the grief she endured when one son killed the other, though she brought it on herself.

I remember a hot summer day when our Doug was fifteen and Jeff was eleven. Like most brothers they were wrestling.  Jeff was no match for his big, muscular brother. I called Ted at his office and screamed at him:   "You've got five minutes to get home and take over raising these boys! I've never been a man and I don't know how to make one!  If Doug kills Jeff, it's your fault!  I quit!" Ted came home.

What a mess it has been since Paradise was lost. I remember well as a young fisherwoman how frustrating it was to cast out my line only to have it "birdcage"  into a tangled ball of filament. Finally in frustration I would just cut the line. God hasn't cut the line yet, but He will. Once He sent a flood that drowned all but eight people. Next time He will swoop a remnant into a safe ark in the clouds while the left-behind world attempts to unsnarl the mess man has brought upon himself. He has given man every opportunity to repent, be forgiven and clothed in the righteousness of Christ.

..and now, Lord, what's the next step for me?  I will wait upon You before I cast my line. .

Guide me Oh, Thou Great Jehovah; Pilgrim thro' this barren land
I am weak, but Thou art miighty, Hold me with Thy powerful hand.
Bread of Heaven, feed me 'til I want no more!

Open now the crystal fountain whence the healing waters flow
Let the fiery, cloudy pillar lead me all my journey through.
Strong Deliverer, be Thou still my Strength and Shield.

Love, Jo

Friday, January 9, 2015

The poised fork

Dear one(s),

What do I look forward to this year? ...same as last year: The privilege of watching in wonder as the Spirit of God speaks through the Word of God and changes the next two generations from the inside out.

There are a couple of things I know for sure.  1) Fear and faith cannot coexist. 2) The best is yet to come  Here's an old but goodie joke:  A lady with a maid was dying. Her request to her maid: "Be sure and put my very best fork beside me in my casket. When I was a little girl growing up my mother always said,  "We have dessert tonight so be sure and keep your fork because the best is yet to come!"   

In one of my Ted's visits to people in a nursing home a 90-year-old came to know Christ. Ted's words: "Now you can know that if the Lord takes you tonight you will go Home to Heaven to be with Him forever".   Her quick response: "That sounds pretty good,  but I'm in no #%*  of a hurry!" Neither am I,  but my fork is poised and ready at any time. .

My weakened will, Lord, thou canst renew
My sinful nature Thou canst subdue
Fill me just now with power anew
Power to pray and power to do!

Living in Thee, Lord and Thou in me
Constant abiding, this is my plea
Grant me Thy power, boundless and free
Power with men and power with Thee.

Love, Jo

Friday, January 2, 2015

Stand up!

This blog goes out in increments, beginning with hundreds on Friday and continuing through Monday.  I have to do it that way or my computer goes on strike and my daughter and husband spend hours on the phone with voices who talk them through tedius instructions about how to  get back in the good graces of the carrier who owns us.  Yesterday I was accused on Email by a Friday reader of being a "whiner".  It was a  miserable day until I went to the Apple Shed and cut loose entertaining a restaurant full of people who had had bad days too. The toe-tappers and I kept going until the cook finished his clean-up job and handed me a tip for making his the day ended well,  after hours of being tempted to deep- six this chapter of the "Life and Times of Ted and Jo Stone"  and stick to telling you just the pretty stories.

For some time I have been pressed by the Holy Spirit to address the plight of faithful Jesus-servers who have  been accused, sentenced and hung....without mercy and with no visible justice in sight. My counsellor son and I concur that many such who come to us leave the ministry and never attend a church again.  I am well aware of immoral,  popularity-wealth-seeking pastors and wives, but I am not talking about those today. Where can a sincere, hard-working, humiliated, dehumanized pastor go?  Where can his wife go?  She is cut off from her friends in the church who act weird toward her now because they are confused...and why wouldn't they be?  Somebody who should be telling the whole truth isn't. I know full well that the "whole truth", motives and all will only be revealed at the Judgment Seat.

I will reach 'way back to the days before we were married for this illustration that our Lord always has purpose for pain. Soon after Ted and I were removed from the world we had known we were placed in a Christian school.  I went first and Ted followed a semester later. I then believed that all of Christendom contained no darkness because "in Him there is no darkness at all."   I knew only the people in the music department of our school when Ted arrived;  therefore I arranged for him to room with the school quartet... the fellows who combed the nation each summer for new students. After the first night at breakfast in the school cafeteria Ted was more quiet than usual. "What's the matter with you?" "Uhh, I will be finding another place to live today!" This two-year veteran Navy man who had been jerked as a medical corpsman into the realities of the horrible effects of homosexuality, venereal disease,  and multiple sex partners replied: "I don't want to tell you this. ...but these four guys are homosexuals!"  I didn't exactly know what that meant, but I knew it wasn't holy.  I  grabbed Ted's arm and pulled him to the Dean's office where my Irish temper shot through the roof.   The Dean's face turned ashen and then he said, "Oh, I can't believe that is true! They're such nice fellows. Let me call the head of the music department!"  He did. ... same response plus this request:: "Let's keep the lid on this." I smelled the sulfur.

What were those two men afraid of?  They knew that if the word spread to the contributors that the school quartet were homosexuals, the donors wouldn't "don" any more. ...and the school was broke! ...going belly up.   If it did those two men would lose their jobs.  I  have met those two men (and women)  in ministries ever since with different faces in different places. God was warning us early on to be on the alert for the money and power-seeking people who quietly run the institutions and operate out of fear.  Unfortunately they do not show their dark side until the barn door is shut and there we are: vulnerable.   These people will pull out every mask and trump card in their arsenal to guarantee their status...and job.

Many Christian laborers suffer from Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome.  Years after Ted and I were treated with masked meanness by church leaders in Houston I went into a depression. There had been no place to safely express my frustrations, grief or anger. I absorbed it all into my soul;  Ted ignored it all. I heard a woman Bible teacher on TV this week say she was in shock because she had just learned that her former pastor's wife had committed suicide. surprise there. I had seriously considered it. There is help out there, but not from the leadership that knows what they have done,   hide it and remain unrepentant.

Boy howdy, am I ever careful where I give my widow's mite and plant my behind to worship my Lord.  Even then I keep one foot in the stirrup. Go on!  Picture that!  Are there churches and missions with integrity?  Of course.  God hasn't pulled the plug on the visible church ...yet, but it's not lookin' good. We have sold out to Babylon. what do we do? Here's one thing:  If you smell sulfur as you see a fellow laborer being mercilessly beaten up, don't just stand there. Fight for him or her.  Like Moses, you may have to run for your life,  but God will protect you,  show up in a burning bush and give you a fruitful ministry you won't believe!

Stand up, stand up for Jesus, Stand in His strength alone
The arm of flesh will fail you; You dare not trust your own
Put on the gospel armor, each piece put on with prayer
When duty calls or danger, be never wanting there. 

Love,  Jo