Friday, June 26, 2015

Strength, dignity and laughter

Harriet is asleep upstairs.  She was in our home years ago when Ted and I were on the associate staff of Agape International Training School,  the branch of Campus Crusade (now named "CRU")  that prepares their missionaries for ministry.  Many of the candidates came to be with us for personal reasons. Some came as a team to become better acquainted with one another before heading off to  countries whose name I couldn't even pronounce.  I stay in the prayer loop through my blog with many of those precious ones we met and loved during that time of our lives.  Harriet needs rest and that is what she will receive this week. Later today she will meet some of the dear women who come to be discipled.  I will not require of her a missionary report; rather she can simply listen as these dear ones tell her of the way the Lord snatched them out of some of the major religions of the world and set their feet upon Jesus, the Solid Rock.

A few days ago it became very clear to me that I needed to go and nestle close to my oldest and dearest friend,  Char who lives in the valley below.  My friend and I talked, read, prayed, shopped, lunched and laughed together.  Do you have such a friend? Are you such a friend to a fellow warrior? "God is sovereign". We Christians talk about it; we have experienced it, then comes the last chapter of our life and the tapestry God has been weaving still has dangling threads that do not yet seem to form a finished design. what it the purpose of the unfinished design?  A better question is: What keeps an 86-year-old woman like me still running toward the arms of my Heavenly Father? I have taught countless women about the awesome woman of Proverbs 31. A verse from that passage popped out at me as Char and I were together:  "She will be a woman of strength and dignity and will laugh at the future." Remember how Sarah "laughed at the future" because she didn't believe for a minute that God was going to give her a child at her ancient age?  She took a short-cut and we all know what that lapse of faith is bringing upon our entire world. "Laughing at the future" seems like something a brainless woman would do.  I have caught some whiffs of fresh faith and will resume my race toward the finish line, remembering to laugh because my Father is steadily weaving, even though I cannot see His Hand. 

...and now back to my bed on my deck at 3:30 A.M. Perhaps I can go back to sleep now that these thoughts that awakened me are transferred to my computer. The days are the longest of the year now and soon the summer sun will pop up over the mountain to the east, the woodpeckers, blue jays and sparrows in the oaks around me will begin to twitter, the red tailed hawks will take their first morning soar and the two black crows who appointed themselves to awakan me when I sleep on my deck will sweep over my head and Harriet's and my day will begin. 

Morning has broken like the first morning
Blackbird has spoken like the first bird.
Praise for the singing! Praise for the morning!
Praise for them springing, fresh from the Word!

Love,  Jo

Friday, June 19, 2015

Yep! God Provides!

You can bet your boots that when the Holy Spirit thrums into your conscious mind a scripture or even a word from a scripture that there is somethin' acomin' toward you down the road that is going to require that you hang on for dear life because this road is goin' to get bumpy!  That scripture for me this week is Micah 6:8.  (Who reads Micah?)

What does the Lord require of me? act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.

Do I love mercy?  Sure I do, when God and people give it to me, but giving it to somebody who has hurt my feelings? ... not possible unless I am broken before him;  out of words,  out of solutions, and scared to death.  A pastor friend shared this with me last week:  "I am not sure we should be too quick to call our fears sin."  Here is where I am with that in my thinking:  Were I not afraid of a person or a situation or a possible loss,   I would not fall on my face before Him in torrents of tears. totally helpless unless He does something I cannot possibly do.  Who was it (I could look it up, but you probably know where it is) that said: "What time I am afraid, I WILL TRUST the Lord". As  I recall the Lord did not slap him up the side of the head and tell him to "Grow up!"  I cannot "act justly, love mercy and walk humbly with my God"  until I do grow up.  I can fake it just so long. When I get as grown up-in-Christ as I am going to be, He will take me Home...and that's lookin' pretty good as God is lowering His Holy Boom on our beloved America.

Well, last Saturday night I entertained from my Yamaha Grand keyboard out-of-doors.  It was HOT and nobody came until the sun went down, except for one couple that requested songs that I don't even like. ...and then came a wedding party of a dozen or more people.  An older couple had just been married and brought their friends down to the Mulligan patio to dine and had no idea there would be music, so  I played their songs...the kind of love songs that many of us still love and hanker for. What a lovely gift that was for me, and for them. ...and then the Lord sent a couple I have known for a long time but seldom see.  We sat and visited and then they loaded up my paraphernalia in the truck for me.  I never know how I am going to do that, nor do I know how I will lift my garbage out of the bed of my Honda Ridgeway when I get to the dump.  The Lord always brings somebody along to do the heavy lifting, and I don't even have to put on a pitiful look...and last night Aruna, my precious Aruna (formerly Hindu, now a fabulous Christian and right up there on my list of favorite Timothy's) and I went to the Farmer's Market in town and she lifted my vegetables for me and carried my groceries from the store.

"...and my God shall supply ALL our needs according to His riches in Christ Jesus."  Phil. 4:19.

Love,  Jo

Sunday, June 14, 2015

...only His Voice

I don't know if other people in the winter of their lives go over the events of the past, attempting to make sense of them, but I do.  I have been "leaning to my own understanding" and it's not working. I will write or say nothing more until I can clearly hear His voice.

I found this old hymn that I have never seen before:  O FOR A CLOSER WALK WITH GOD

O, for a closer walk with God; a calm and heavenly frame
A light to shine upon the road that leads me to the Lamb!

Where is the blessedness I knew when first I saw the Lord?
Where is the soul refreshing view of Jesus and His word?

The dearest idol I have known; what'er that idol be,
Help me to tear it from Thy throne and worship only Thee.

So shall my walk be close with God, calm and serene my frame
So purer Light shall mark the road that leads me to the Lamb.  Amen.

Love,  Jo

Friday, June 5, 2015


During the 60's I waged a war against the evil one's goal to lure wives and mothers into the market place for their fulfillment.  I was ridiculed by some of my Christian women friends for writing a little book on the Proverbs 31 woman, and teaching married women that being a wife and mother is our highest calling.  Now 66 % of wives and mothers work in the market place while frantically trying to be a wife and mother. The divorce rate for Christians is above that of the world's. When the full impact of that reality hit Ted and me in Houston, God mercifully removed us from a pastorate in order to go to work to salvage marriages...our own included. Ours was a marriage made in Heaven, but sometimes it didn't feel that way.  Our emotional deprivation was enormous but we did not know that.  We did not know we even had the privilege of having emotional needs. We took all of those unmet needs into our marriage at 21 years of age. Our first son was born ten months to the day after we were married. Our next son was born five years later, and our daughter, five years after him. None of our children got the best pieces of us. Ministry to others consumed us.

This morning as I was attempting to read Sarah Young's devotional, "Jesus Calling" Bootsie, one of my matched kitties climbed up on my chest.  I cuddled him close, he purred, began to knead and then jumped down, secure and ready to go hunt gophers.  I know that many times I ignored my three children's needs for kneading.   How I wish I could go back and stomp out my need to have a perfectly spotless house and spotless children.  ...but I can't.  I must leave that regret at the Cross.  I am in the process of doing that, but I am not quite there yet. When we are a little kid we don't have a language to express our deep soul needs,  but our little souls have their own language and will get those needs met in a holy or an unholy way.

Dionne Warwick sang about that when modern music still had a melody:

"What the World Needs Now is Love, Sweet Love"
That's the only thing that there's just too little of.
What the world needs now is love, sweet love;
No, not just for some, but for everyone.
Lord, we don't need another mountain; we've hillsides enough to climb.
There are oceans and rivers enough to cross; enough to last 'til the end of time.
What the world needs now is love, sweet love
That's the only thing that there's just too little of.
What the world needs now is love, sweet love
Not just for some, but for everyone.

That's the Gospel, but I must add this:  The word love without felt sacrifice is incomplete. Jesus sacrificed for us. Unless some human being sacrifices for us Jesus' love for us is in question at our soul level. We love Him because He first loved us. Do I fully understand why He washed Peter's feet?  No, and neither does anybody else because God is love and we aren't. I don't have the capacity within myself to even believe what I just wrote. Somewhere in there my will is involved, but if you think I am going to get into that discussion, forget it because that conversation can be a deal breaker between Christians.  I avoid those like I avoid Christians who think they've got God all figured out. I am 86 years old, and I am just beginning to figure some things out about God. This I know:  He is a jealous God and He will do whatever He has to do to remove anyone and everything from us that hinders our "fixing our eyes (only) upon Him". 

The Lord sends me needy people all the time. One of my stresses is when to press them into fixing their eyes only upon Jesus and not upon me. It is tempting to hang on to them too long to get my own needs met since nobody in my family needs me any more except to pray for them. Ah, the war with my flesh, the world and the devil will never end until I take my last breath. I am happy for my Ted that his wars are over, but I am sad for me.  I can live victoriously with feeling sad but it is not possible to live in peace with God or anybody else with bitterness.

I will be having fun entertaining from my keyboard at the Mulligan Room at 5 o'clock on June 13. Come, sing and listen if you want to.  I will call in a gate pass if you need it.

Hebrews 12:2:  "Let us fix our eyes (only) on Jesus, the Author and Finisher of our faith". 

Love,  Jo