Friday, September 25, 2015

Birth Pangs

"Pangs" is the acceptable word for what we mothers go through to bring a baby into this world. One of my abilities is to remember details about the past. One of my liabilities is to remember details about the past. When our first-born was deciding if he wanted to come out or not, I was contemplating jumping out the delivery room window.  Nobody had told me how much those "pangs" were going to hurt. While I was going through agony Ted was studying for a Greek test down the hall in a room reserved for daddies because in those days when we were "being fruitful and multiplying" daddies were not allowed in delivery rooms.  Why not, for Heaven's sake? Since Adam and Eve daddies had been helping their wives deliver babies under trees, in caves, wilderness tents, Westward Ho prairie schooners, sod houses, row boats, hogans, tee pees, l'il grass shacks,.. I have a bone the size of a mastodon's to pick with "Planned Parenthood",  but I take my hat off to the person who named that organization. It was five years between each of our three.

Y'all know the scripture that tells us the world will feel the "birth pangs" before the Lord pulls the rip cord and opens the parachute just before we crash and burn.  It seems to me that those "pangs" have about reached their max and something either ugly or beautiful is about to happen.

 Here comes another memory: Years ago, in our first California ministry a young fellow named "Brad" came to Christ. Ted asked him shortly after Jesus flipped his life right side up what he had been doing that day. "Oh, I've been sitting up in a tree, reading the "Passums". I'm not about to climb a tree, but I think I will read a few Passums today, flee to the New Covenant and bask in His promises to us, His Church.  I am doing my best to side-step the cow paddies deposited by some of the frantic contemporary prophets-of-doom. The world governments seem to be stuck in the mix of the "iron and the clay": ... that fourth Roman Empire super-power that has never really died.

What's the hope for our kids and our grandkids, anyway? ...the same as it's always been: Christ in you, the Hope of Glory. 

                                 THE SOLID ROCK
My hope is built on nothing less than Jesus'  blood and righteousness.
I dare not trust the sweetest  frame  but only trust in Jesus' Name.

His oath, His covenant, His blood support me in my whelming flood.
When all around me souls give way, He then is all my hope and stay.

Love,  Jo


Friday, September 18, 2015

My Partner's Faith

" '...not by might, nor by power.  but by My Spirit'.  saith the Lord."  
"We reap what we sow" 
"God is not mocked". 
"To whom much is given, much is required".

All of these bits and pieces of verses are running through my head as I come to my computer in the middle of the night to write.  No political party, in and of themselves can save us from God's judgment.  ...only repentance for our attitude of entitlement, ungratefulness and subsequent compromise.

Two weeks ago in my blog I talked about my Grandmother's Lap. Last week Jesus' Lap was the Holy Lap I wanted to talk about.  Today I want to talk to Ted. You can come with me if you like. ...or not.

Honey, we are sitting ducks, apt to believe any human being who comes along and promises to bail us out of the mess we're in. False prophet/ teachers are springing up all over the place. I am studying to keep my doctrinal head on straight, listening to theologians I trust and seeking counsel from a few people who are doing the same.  I leaned on your knowledge and your faith, but now I can't and that's a good thing.

We were a team that learned over our sixty years to pull together. ...and it was a slow process. God was long-suffering with us.  We will find out how much of our work was of eternal value when we "meet at the Seat". When first re-born, we learned and proceeded to live by this little couplet:

Only one life; 'twill soon be past. 
Only what's done for Christ will last.

Sweetheart, if I could live my life over  I would pray and study much more than talk and work harder at resting in His finished work.  I would worry less about tomorrow and live just for today.  I am left here to learn how to do all of these better.  For a calm and cool-appearing guy, you were a challenge to live with. I spent my life,  ready to pack a suitcase or a lunch, cook for two or twenty, jump into the car, a plane or hop on the back of your motorcycle, start a new Christian on their journey or a new ministry.  I counted up the ministries you pioneered and it's hard to absorb how many I came up with. I am looking at your always- smiling picture right in front of my computer. My goodness,  you were good lookin'.  I wonder how God can improve on the way He made you the first time.  My body is sagging so I had the full-length mirrors taken off of the clothes closet in our bathroom.

Today I am settled down with my new cell phone that actually speaks the Word out loud.  I like that. After all, much of what I know about the Bible, I learned from you as I listened to you teach. You never compromised the Truth. Lots of your teaching tapes have disintegrated, but the few I have are on our website. Sometimes I play them for the Thursday Girls. Today we will study Hebrews.  You would love these precious women and their husbands.  Most who come are taking the Word into the lives of others...and that's the assignment He left with us. ...then promised to "be with us always, until the end of the age." 

I will see you soon.  He isn't telling any of us what "soon" means, although some seem to think they know. Until then, this little Sunday School ditty reminds me that:

                                   THIS IS THE DAY

This is the day; this is the day that the Lord hath made; that the Lord hath made.
I will rejoice, I will rejoice and be glad in Him; and be glad in Him.
This is the day that the Lord hath made. I will rejoice and be glad in Him.

I love you.


Friday, September 11, 2015

My Father's Lap

Last week I entitled my blog "My Grandmother's Lap",  remembering that I would hide my face in her lap until the storm passed by. Long ago her lap was replaced by Your Holy one. I love this old Gospel song:

This world is not my home; I'm just a passin' through. 
If Heaven's not my Home, then Lord, what would I do? 
The angels beckon me from Heaven's open door 
And I can't be at Home in this world any more.

Thank You that our two remaining children and their spouses were here last weekend to love on each other and on their mom.  Thank you that they brought laughter, encouragement, help with repairs and wisdom regarding some pressing decisions. ...and thank You that son Doug's former foreman sped down the hill the next day to fix my room air conditioner, and all he wanted for payment was a hug. Is my Doug livening up Heaven as he did here on earth from the time he was born?

You know that in my flesh the sin I am the most disgusted about is sex-sin. I suspect this is the reason You send me broken people who are stuck in guilt, shame and blame about their wrong decisions. You are giving me such love and tenderness toward them. Thank You.

...and the other night You sent to the patio outside the Mulligan Room a bunch of people from the foot of our mountain and a bunch of people from up here on top, ...and even some who were visiting from England.  You helped me remember all the tunes they wanted me to play so they could reminisce, laugh, sing and dance. Who or what has hurt that old fellow who wanted me to play hymns, but claims he is an atheist? ...and thank You that our beloveds from "down below" accepted my invitation to come up the mountain to my home, sit on my deck, look up at your stars, pray and worship together. Now that fall and winter are coming, what shall we do with our music, Lord? ...maybe some singalongs here in my living room? ...sounds like a possible plan to me. The hymn-singing atheist said he would come.

Oh, dear Lord, what about all the predictions about a coming famine, financial crash, police state, anarchy? I would rather leave this earth in my sleep than by way of a chopped-off head, ...but it's your call. Oh, dear Abba, bring millions more to You as Billy Graham's Crusades from the past are being broadcast by satellite to the remotest parts of this earth.

Oh, dear Abba, I am rambling as I bury my face in Your Holy Lap, and I think I hear You saying, as once my Grandmother said;   "It's all right, daughter. It's all right." ...but she called me "Tootsie".

                           HYMN: NEAR TO THE HEART OF GOD

There is a place of quiet rest near to the heart of God.
A place where sin cannot molest, near to the heart of God.

There is a place of comfort sweet; near to the heart of God.
A place where we our Saviour meet; near to the heart of God.

There is a place of full release; near to the heart of God.
A place where all is joy and peace, near to the heart of God.


Love, Jo

Friday, September 4, 2015

Our dear Billy Graham's Prayer

Heavenly Father, we come before you today to ask your forgiveness and to seek your direction and guidance. We know Your Word says, 'Woe to those who call evil good'. but that is exactly what we have done. We have lost our spiritual equilibrium and reversed our values. We have exploited the poor and called it the lottery. We have rewarded laziness and called it welfare. We have killed our unborn and called it choice. We have shot abortionists and called it justification. We have neglected to discipline our children and called it building self-esteem. We have abused power and called it politics. We have coveted our neighbor's possessions and called it ambition. We have polluted the air with profanity and pornography and called it freedom of expression. We have ridiculed the time-honored values of our forefathers and called it enlightenment. Search us, Oh God, and know our hearts today. Cleanse us from sin and set us free. Amen. 

May this prayer sweep over our nation and wholeheartedly become our desire so that we once again can be called "One nation under God!" I will be forwarding it to my entire Email list. Pray about doing the same.

Dear Lord, we trust You, for we must. There is, nor was there ever anywhere else to run for mercy to help in our time of need, but to You.  Hebrews 5:14.

Love, Jo

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

My grandmother's lap

Six of us lived in a small farm house with two bedrooms. ... my widowed grandmother, my dad, my mother, my two much older brothers and me. The Kansas climate was windy and brutal, except for a few weeks in the spring and in the fall. We had no conveniences except for cold running water, pumped by hand from a deep well into an elevated metal tank in the wash room. Life was harsh and Irish tempers sometimes ran hot.  Somehow I knew that my assignment was to be a skippy, happy little girl and stay out of every body's way. There was no time for hugging or cuddling. My mild- tempered widowed grandmother gardened,  darned socks and rocked. ... detaching herself as best she could from arguments. I ran to her and hid my face in her lap while she stroked my head and crooned: "It's all right, Tootsie. It's all right."

After high school my ten and eleven years-older brothers left the farm. My grandmother died when I was fourteen. I was a lonely little girl, feeling trapped on a farm with aging parents, miles from the nearest neighbor.  I fled when I graduated from high school. ...barely seventeen years old. Two years later Jesus invaded my life. Sometimes I have a nightmare in which I am unable to escape from a closed-in place. In five cities and one town Ted and I lived in homes with bedrooms that had no way to escape to the outside.  Some of you have expressed mild horror that I sleep on my open deck for as long as weather permits. Now you know why. If for some reason I am put in a closed- in retirement home, somebody might as well plan my funeral.

I believe that the meaning of "discipleship" may be different for those of us raised in a home where the Lord Jesus Christ was not the Head.  We understand the need for individuals to be personally discipled,  rather than group taught. Paul says it this way: "Knowledge without love will not work". ...or something like that. One of the frustrations for me as the wife of a pastor was that there were always too many newborn lambs for us to disciple adequately. Because of our spiritually lost beginnings, Ted and I drew people from like backgrounds.  I still do.  Many of the older ewes and rams in our churches did not see or understand the need for personal discipleship.

My Bootsie cat comes to me each morning as I sit with my coffee and my Bible,  kneading until his little feline-self is satisfied. If he doesn't get uninterrupted kneading, he will yowl all morning until I sit down. cuddle him close and let his needle-sharp claws dig into my flannel robe.  I flinch. The world outside our churches is crammed with people who have never been invited to "knead".  The same awful condition exists all too often inside our churches. Lost sheep bleat. "Found sheep" may bleat, (yowl) as well and if nobody hears, they may mosey on over to another sheep-fold  ...or they may give up on church altogether. Some seek out a professional counsellor who may or may not be a Christian. Some find a Christian with a lap, arms and heart. I can't make people well. Only Jesus can. ...and this is what He says: "The Spirit of the Lord is on me because the Lord has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted and set the captives free!" 

I did not give myself permission to get off the merry-go-'round until I was in my 50's. For years I had inwardly felt trapped in the cities,  depressed and suffered with insomnia. Ted shared none of those feelings. My conclusion: "I am really screwed up. What is wrong with me?"  I finally stopped racing and, just as I had feared I would do sank into a dark, bottomless pit.  The only One that had access to my "pit" was Jesus. Out of a reservoir of memorized verses Jesus brought only two to the forefront of my mind.  Your Lord will give you the verses you need if you become quiet enough to hear His Voice. If you refuse to do that,  He just might take you there. My two scriptures began to bring me up out of terrifying darkness, for "Even the darkness cannot hide You." (Psalm 139:14)  My Heavenly Father and my dear husband heard my cry and moved me here to a home that has a view of the mountains from every window and door. I often sleep under His sky, I see sunrises and sunsets, two lakes far below, and every kind of animal that runs wild in California. I could do without the rattlesnakes, but so far I haven't had one in my house.  ...and I can breathe in fresh, clear air. I seldom leave this mountain. Why would I? ...and He brings me His loved ones from close by or far away who need to knead.

Yes, I know that something ominous may be coming down soon for our nation. What else can a Righteous God do?

                             BELOVED HYMN: HE HIDETH MY SOUL

A wonderful Saviour is Jesus, my Lord; a wonderful Saviour to me.
He hideth my soul in the cleft of the rock, where rivers of pleasure I see.

A wonderful Savior is Jesus my Lord; He taketh my burden away.
He holdeth me up and I shall not be moved,
He giveth me strength as my day.

When clothed in His brightness, transported I rise
To meet Him in clouds of the sky
His perfect salvation, His wonderful love,
I'll shout with the millions on high.


Love, Jo