Tuesday, January 26, 2016


I am abysmally grieved over the fact that the world has infiltrated and influenced the Church more than the Church has infiltrated and influenced the world. I do not know how full our Lord's cup of iniquity is.  I firmly believe in His unconditional love. I firmly believe that we have been imputed with God's righteousness and that we stand before Him, blameless in His sight because of the shed blood of Christ and His finished work in our behalf on the Cross.

There is a disconnect here somewhere or there would not be so much compromise of absolutes among evangelicals. As the lines between right and wrong become increasingly smudged, the work of discipleship has become far more difficult than it was a generation ago. We will be called "legalistic",  "self-righteous", "judgmental", "intolerant", "grace-less",  and other soul-wrenching words...by even the Christians if we live in obedience to such scriptures as:

"I wrote you in my letter not to associate with immoral people. I did not at all mean with the immoral people of this world, or with the covetous and swindlers, or with idolaters, for then you would have to go out of the world. But actually, I wrote to you not to associate with any so-called brother if he should be an immoral person, or covetous, or an idolater, or a reviler, or a drunkard, or a swindler--not even to eat with such a one. For what have I to do with judging outsiders? Do you not judge those who are within the church? But those who are outside, God judges. Remove the wicked man from among yourselves."   I Corinthians 5:9-13. Whew! God said it. I didn't.

There is always a consequence to be paid for any sin we Christians willfully commit. The whole Body of Christ suffers and the worst consequence is that our precious Lord's Name is discredited. The world watches us, as it should. Our Lord is judging our nation. Think about it: When we who are born from above compromise with the world and it's sinful ways,  do we think for a minute that our Lord looks the other way? He is kind, but He is not soft. It is His Name at stake. ...and His Name is being mocked in this country that was founded on Biblical principles. Soon we will not be allowed to even speak His Name or gather in His Name without being jailed or far worse.

The "Woman at the Well" was offered a "spring of living water that would never run dry." She was so excited that she ran into the town to tell everybody about Jesus. This woman was God's Plan of Evangelism for Samaria, but don't suppose for a minute that the townspeople were quick to believe that she could be trusted. I look forward to meeting David so much. ...but did people forget that he bedded down another man's wife and murdered her husband to cover up his sin? Did he ever gain the credibility and respect he had had before. No, he didn't.

Paul's conversion was spectacular. ...but did people forget that Paul had been the "hatchet man" for the Sanhedrin?  Of course not. For this reason he always gave his credentials at the beginning of the Books he penned  (except for Hebrews and we don't know who wrote that.):  "I, Paul, an Apostle BY THE WILL OF GOD."  NObody trusted him. ... not the Jews, not the Gentiles, not the Apostles. Dear Barnabas came alongside him and whisked him back to his home town to "cool his heels" awhile. Paul had to earn the trust of people. Was that his "thorn in the flesh"? We are not told, but possibly it was.

Every one of us who are God's children wrestle with the "biggie" of forgiveness. ...especially now that compromise with the world has smudged the lines of absolutes. All of us are stretched to the max as our families and churches are affected by the "new morality"....which isn't "new" at all as we study history and the demise of every empire before us. The process of forgiveness for the behaviours we have to forgive cannot be hurried.  Please don't lay on anyone your time table for forgiveness. Encourage your Christian brothers and sisters, pray for them, but leave the timing for forgiveness to their Lord. Wounds run very deep, Only our Lord and His Word can go that deep into our souls and heal them.


Search me, O God, and know my heart today.
Try me O Saviour,  know my thoughts,  I pray
See if there be some wicked way in me.
Cleanse me from every sin  and set me free.

Lord, take my life and make it wholly Thine.
Fill my poor heart with Thy great love divine.
Take all my will, my passion, self and pride.
I now surrender, Lord, in me abide.

Love,  Jo

Friday, January 22, 2016

A soft answer

...turneth away wrath. Proverbs 16:7 is one of the first verses I memorized after becoming a Christian at nearly 20 years of age. All of these years later, in the winter of my life I still find it difficult to respond to someone else's anger with a quiet and gentle spirit. I am still tempted to retaliate, explain and defend myself. It has been helpful to learn to stay out of volatile relationships that are inevitable in any institution. ....including families. The Lord still presses me into counselling and I obey, but I have learned to say "no" without guilt when I catch a whiff of a spirit of abuse that will be turned on me. For many years, especially in the pastorates fear drove me to accept every phone call as being from the Lord:  fear that I would displease people and Ted would be blamed and we would lose our job. The Lord was teaching me to trust Him alone, no matter what others said or did.   Having been the only little one in a family of five adults, early on I became a pleaser, in order to avoid the tempers of four of those adults. I have told you about my grandmother who had a "gentle and quiet" spirit. When she left for Heaven when I was fourteen her "gentle and quiet spirit" went with her.

I wonder if Sarah always had a "gentle and quiet spirit" that Peter speaks about or did she learn to be "gentle and quiet" through all the disappointments in herself for her lack of faith, and in Abraham? There is much going on between the lines of scripture that we will not know about until we are in Heaven.  Both had to learn to trust God completely and "lean not to their own understanding".

This is a hard lesson to learn, isn't it, my dear friends? This rocky path to deep faith in Christ alone is hard.  We need each other in the Body to remind one another that these "temptations are common to man, but God is faithful, Who will not tempt us beyond what we are able,  but will with the temptation,  make a way to escape that we may be able to bear it.".

                                          TEACH ME TO PRAY

Teach me to pray, Lord; teach me to pray.
This is my heartcry, day unto day.
I long to know Thy will and Thy way
Teach me to pray, Lord, teach me to pray.

Power in prayer, Lord; power in prayer.
Here mid earth's sin and sorrow and care.
Men lost in dying, souls in despair.
Oh give me power, power in prayer!

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!

Teach me to pray, Lord, teach me to pray'
Thou art my Potter, day unto day.
Thou art my Surety, now and for aye;
Teach me to pray, Lord,  teach me to pray.


Love,  Jo

Friday, January 15, 2016

More winter...

The cold is hard on us as we age, but this too shall pass. We melancholic/choleric personalities can easily slip into the dumps so I have to really discipline my mind on these foggy, snowy days. About two days of it and I've had it. I remember so well when we were in college in Northwestern in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Little Doug and I were shut in for months by mountains of snow. Ted would uncover five cars before he ever found ours. He never complained. ...about anything. Ever.

We melancholic/cholerics spot mistakes and try to fix them.  We want everything to be perfect and it never is. We fret something awful over fractured relationships and want to fix them all. Being a pastor's wife was both delightful and hard on me for this reason, because somebody was always displeased about something. Ted didn't notice, or if he did he wasn't bothered. In the churches there were always Pharisees. They scared me the most because I knew that sooner or later we were going to be in big trouble. Yep! Ted always slept like a baby while I tossed and turned far into the night. ...especially on Saturday nights when looming ahead of me the next day were more responsibilities than I could handle. ...and then there was always the Sunday night service besides.  I am convinced that it is old people like I am now that insist on Sunday night services. They (We) are lonely;  kids are gone, and we want to be with people, but for young pastors and families who have to show up for every bloomin' meeting, it is really tough. If there are Wednesday and Sunday night services in Heaven I'll bet son Doug and his dad go flyin' around the moon instead!

I am no recluse, but I do need alone time.  I also love and need other people. ... not only women, but I need a male's way of thinking and have no hesitation about asking for it from men that I respect.  All of these fellows are serious Bible students, are kind and treat me with honot. That alone means so much. At my age, I am no threat to anybody's wife.

...just a word to you in full-time ministry: If your wife is a melanchoic/choleric think about finding another way to serve God other than pastoring.  God won't be mad at you. Discipleshp of the few has always been God's way, and there are many ways to do that and still put food on the table and get your kids through college.

Well, I have shot my wad for this week. Here are a few scriptures that melancholic/choleric David still speaks to us: "Oh, righteous God who searches minds and hearts; bring to an end the violence of the wicked and make the righteous secure. My shield is God most high who saves the upright in heart."  Psalm 7:9-10.

God, our Father has declared us "righteous"; therefore we can claim that verse.

Today's vow:  I will trust Him to make all things right that I have no control over whatsoever.

Trust and obey, for there's no other way to be happy in Jesus, but to TRUST AND OBEY!

Love,  Jo

Saturday, January 2, 2016

Maybe this time...

I do it on the first day of January every year.  With fresh enthusiasm I begin to read through the Bible, make it until mid- summer, fall behind and quit. Maybe this time...

Genesis. The biographies are as disappointing as the breaking news on TV.  God has given us women great ability to influence for good.  Eve didn't. Adam let her influence him and she hated him for it. They probably called each other names that hadn't been invented yet as they scrambled around looking for leaves to cover their private parts. God was due any minute for their evening stroll. Hurry, Adam!

Sarah.  Same scenio. Her impatience with God led to her hatred of Abraham for being weak by listening to her. They exchanged some unprintable names until both repented. Finally Sarah called him "lord".  Abe confessed his sin and "his prayers were no longer hindered". After Sarah died Abe married a young one (They usually do) who gave him a passel of progeny.

Rebecca? Ditto. She taught her competitive sons how to lie, cheat and be deceptive. It's mostly an ugly story.

My heart hurts for Lot's daughters. He told the homosexual men who were beating his door down to go ahead and rape his daughters instead of his male guests who happened to be two angels. They stepped up to the dad-plate and protected those girls from a night of horror and probable death. Could the daughters ever really trust their dad after that? Could their mother?  I wonder if that's the reason she didn't want to leave town with this man she married.  Women don't have a very good "forgetter". As the girls hid in a cave with their dad after their frantic flight from Sodom, they realized that their biological clocks were ticking. One of them said to the other: "Why not? ...so they got their dad so drunk he didn't even know he'd carried on the family name.  As those kids grew up,what did these moms say to their two offspring?  "O.K., this is your father/grandfather. We know it's quirky,  but it is what it is!"

The Lord sure can pick 'em, but their stories aren't any messier than ours . Somebody's going to have to pay. You know what happened between then and the end of the story. Jesus paid! Soon He will be crowned King of Kings and Lord of Lords and He shall reign forever... and ever...and ever...and ever!  Hal-le-lu-jah!