Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Let no one deceive you...

...with empty words, for because of such things God's wrath comes on those who are disobedient. Therefore, do not be partners with them. For you were once darkness but now you are Light in the Lord.  Live as children of Light, (for the fruit of the Light consists of all goodness, righteousness and Truth) and find out what pleases the Lord. Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them. For it is shameful even to mention what the disobedient do in secret. But everything exposed by the Light becomes visible. This is why it is said: Wake up, O sleeper; rise from the dead. and Christ will shine on you. ...and if Christ has not been raised, your preaching is useless, and so is our faith; however (...and that is a powerful "however"):  He is risen. He is risen indeed!  Thanks be to God Who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

I have been listening on my phone to scripture almost constantly even as I listen to the unsettling news on TV. For me, this helps to keep my mind from going into panic mode as I remember why the Lord has "set us apart" from all others in this world that has no hope. There IS no hope apart from Jesus. ...and many of you are sacrificing your very lives to take that hope  to the "uttermost parts" of this desperate world. I believe in my heart this is the reason our Lord is staying His mighty hand of judgment. May this Easter season bring every one of these scriptures to the forefront of our minds.  I want to encourage you and pray for you.  Please communicate with me as to how to do that.

                                  PRECIOUS OLD HYMN: SEND THE LIGHT

There's a call comes ringing o'er the restless waves, 
There are souls to rescue; there are souls to save,


From Him, the whole body joined and held together by every supporting ligament grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work. Ephesians 4:16

Being confident, that He Who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.  Phil. 1:6

For it is God Who works in you to will and to act according to His good purposes.  Phil. 2:13

All scripture is God-breathed, and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the (woman) man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.II Timothy 3:16,17.

Do you not know that we will judge angels? How much more the things of this life? I Corinthians 6:3. 





Friday, March 18, 2016

Best time of all

I don't want to, nor do I need to travel anymore. I like my own bed, my own food, my own home on this mountain, and my own schedule, or the lack thereof. Born in the breadbasket state of Kansas, Ted and I lived while in college in Minneapolis, in Dallas during seminary, in California for eighteen years of ministry. ...back to Texas for ten, then thirty-two years on this California mountain. We skied and camped in the High Sierras, motorcycled and camped in the Rockies, camped in the Olympia National Forest, attended a World's Fair in Oregon, visited the beautiful Burchart Gardens, ministered to Young Life teenagers on the island of Malibu, a hundred miles up the Princess Louisa Inlet from Seattle . We listened to jazz on a muggy night in New Orleans; witnessed the launch of the Space Ship Columbia in Orlando, rushed back to Mission Control in Houston where we heard our friend, Commander Jack Lousma in outer space and Steve Nagel within a few feet of us at the controls as these two Christian astronauts shared their morning devotions from Proverbs 3:5 and 6 over the loudspeaker to a listening audience of scientists and NASA personnel.  We fished from a wealthy friend's yacht in the Gulf of Mexico. (The crew even baited our hooks.) We spent a Sunday on a houseboat on the Ouachita River with students from Louisiana Tech in Monroe  (Yep. ...the same town where the Duck Dynasty family lives.)

We were sent by our son Doug to attend Oberammergau, The Passion Play performed every ten years in Germany; we rendezvoused with dear friends from Texas in Atlanta and hit the Civil War Trail. ...all the way north to Gettysburg.  On another rendezvous with these best of friends we somehow managed to be in White Plains, New York, about thirty miles from the City when the towers went down. After several days Ted and I ventured back in to what had become a ghost town. One show on Broadway, "The Music Man" was playing to half an audience who stood to our feet at the end and sang "God Bless America" with the "Seventy-six Trombones" band as our flag was lowered to cover the entire wall at the back of the stage. We cried.

At the outset of a ministry trip to East and Southeast Asia in Hong Kong we dined in the home of a man in the government of China whose sons had become Christians while students in the University of Houston. A year or so later we hosted the family in our home. In Manila we dined in a large touristy restaurant where we found ourselves seated one table away from missionary friends from Bangkok, Thailand. The four of us had been fellow students years before at Northwestern Bible College in Minneapolis.  We ministered to missionaries and their beloved people in Taiwan, Singapore, Indonesia, the Philippines and Viet Nam. Our last week was spent with the Su Tong  tribe in Dalat, Viet Nam right at the time the country fell. We fled, barely ahead of the boat people. Each of us was handed a half-American, half Vietnamese baby, rescued from orphanages by Catholic nuns for adoption in America. By this time Ted and I were exhausted. We had missed our twenty-fifth anniversary so deplaned in Hawaii where we snorkeled in the blue waters off  Maui, ...and slept.

At some point along the way (and I can't remember when this trip was wedged in) we were gifted by a very sensitive couple with a much-needed vacation that took us to Switzerland, Austria, Italy, Greece, Turkey, the Mediterranean,  Egypt, Cypress, and Israel. On the island of Patmos we sat in the marketplace and listened with delight to the stories of retired Greek islanders who had lived in many countries. We spent time in Corinth and Rome. We cruised the Mediterranean on an Onassis ship.We were seated at the Captain's table with the ambassador from Italy to Greece. His wife got drunk so Ted and I could talk with the ambassador about Jesus.  We stopped off in Ephesus in Turkey. We visited King Tut's tomb in Cairo before flying to Cypress, and then Israel.  I want to tell you about a night in Jerusalem.  We were invited into the private home (flat) of the Chief of Staff of Hadassah Hospital where we dined with sixteen holocaust survivors. We shared the Way of Salvation with these wonderful Jewish people from eight different countries. Upon their release from the death camps, they had fled to Israel where they entered school,  met and became doctors. None had ever met Christians until that night that did not come to an end until 4 A.M. in the morning.

Years later, Ted taught in our spiritual son's (Phil Walker) seminary in Kitali, Kenya while I spent time with delightful Tanzanians, Ugandans and Kenyans. Oh, dear Phil and you have sacrificed to train thousands of Africans for ministry. Your rewards will be many.  We couldn't leave Kenya without going on a safari. We watched two million wildebeests, and many zebras migrate across the Mara (river) from Kenya to the Serengeti in Tanzania. (We also watched some disappear down the throats of twenty- foot long crocodiles.)  In the land rovers around us were photographers with "National Geographic" who once a year fly to the Mara to film this largest-in-the-world migration. We were entertained in the safari dining hall at night by the Masai tribal jumpers. We met a Kenyan staff employee who, upon learning that Ted had been teaching in a seminary in his country asked if he would teach a Bible study for the employees,  some of whom were Masai tribal men.  This dear man had become a Christian at his own mother's funeral three years before.  About twenty-five workers showed up.  We sang; Ted taught; we had a wonderful time of fellowship!  At night we slept in a tent across the Mara from sixty hippos that, in the daytime stretched out to snooze in the sun. At five P.M. they backed their huge bodies into the river and marched single file up the river to their feeding grounds. Right on the dot at 5 A.M their trumpeting awoke us as they marched back down the river and hoisted their enormous bodies up on the river bank to sleep in the sun. About every hour,  they slid backwards into the water, completely submerged themselves, leaving not a ripple, then after ten or so minutes, on some cue their noses appeared, then their whole bodies which they hoisted back up the bank to sun some more.  We were warned not to step one toe in that mara; these giants are territorial and vicious, as are the crocodiles.

Now, to today. What is the "upside" of being an 87-year-old woman living alone on the side of a California mountain? I can  pick up the phone any time and connect with my scattered Holy Family. I can Email or text any one of dozens of people that may live in the U.S. or on another continent.. I can eat if and when I feel like it. I am still the wife of a pastor, even though that pastor has been in Heaven for six years.  I belong to the Church-at-large and am free to go wherever I am asked or choose to go. I continue to host guests that want to come just because,  or they need to come. As the possibility of more snowstorms fades I will plan some out-of-door singalongs for toe-tappin' music lovers. My dining table is always set.  I can continue to write this blog which seems to be thought-provoking for some, and maybe just "provoking" for others (You don't hafta read it, you know.) ...and what is the overriding reason for the title of this blog? ...It won't be long until I am with my Father and all of my loved ones that have preceded me to Heaven. what is the "down-side" of being 87 and living alone on the side of this mountain?  O.K. wrenching loneliness that sometimes sweeps over me when I least expect it. ...a tsunami of tears that come out of the deepest places in my soul. My Heavenly Father comforts me and reminds me that "It won't be long..."

This world is not my home; I'm just a passin' through
My treasures are laid up somewhere beyond the blue.
The angels beckon me from Heaven's open door
And I can't feel at home in this world anymore.

Love, Jo

Friday, March 11, 2016

Be not deceived

Father, why do human beings learn nothing from history?  Deceit: the evil one's trump card. satan has lulled the world into thinking the Roman Empire is dead. Kaput! Done!  Nope. The beast is awake now.

 I am thinking this morning of our brother who finally stepped away from the humiliating Candidate's Charade. ....such an humble man who has saved the lives of countless people with his Holy Spirit-guided surgeon's scalpel. Even The Braggart quipped: "His web site should be renamed: 'Ben Carson dot CALM' ". Ben reminds me of my Ted who wouldn't have made a good president either.  Neither could get mad enough. Ted ignored the rattle of the snakes that were inevitably slithering around. Even after they bit him, he slapped on a band aid and kept on moving forward, refusing to spend his emotional energy on already-defeated foes.

After one of several surgeries during the last twenty years of his life my Ted was sitting in the sun on our patio. Oldest grandson was weed eating about six feet from his grandpa. When Luke shut off the weed eater he heard the rattle of the snake that was coiled under his grandpa's chair. He yelled, I heard the yell, grabbed a shovel from the garage and threw it to Ted who stumbled to his feet and pushed the hissing snake to the retaining wall.  In the snake's frantic effort to escape it tried to climb up the wall.  Big mistake. Ted cut off his head with the shovel; however the snake didn't seem to know it.  He kept writhing and twitching,  his severed mouth snapping open and shut....for a couple of hours.  "I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her seed. He shall bruise you on the head, and you shall bruise him on the heel. " Genesis 3:15.

Thank you, dear Father for the many resources available to us, helping us stay rational in an irrational world.  ...and most of all,  thank you for your Word that draws us to your timeless promises that give us courage and wisdom in the midst of insanity.  Dear Lord, our nation so deserves your judgment. We have stood by as million of babies are being murdered. Your Holy Purpose in marriage is mocked and discarded as obsolete.  We have become conditioned to accept illicit sex.  We do not take up our Cross as our leaders are going to bed with those who claim to be peace-loving.  "Let no one deceive you with empty words for because of such things, God's wrath comes on those who are disobedient; therefore do not be partners with them. ...and do not participate in the unfruitful deeds of darkness, but instead even expose them."

I am in the winter of my life. I do not know if it will be a short or a long winter and it matters less and less. You lead me every day to  bring love and encouragement to those you send. Thank you for the precious ones that are discovering YOU and are telling others that there is no other WAY, no other TRUTH, and no other LIFE except in YOU, our Lord Jesus Christ. Your TRUTH still marches on!

MINE EYES HAVE SEEN THE GLORY of the coming of the Lord
He is trampling out the vintage where the grapes of wrath are stored.
He hath loosed the fateful lightning of His terrible swift sword.
His TRUTH  is marching on.

I have read a fiery Gospel writ in burnished rows of steel.
"As ye deal with my contenders, so with you my grace shall deal!"
Let the Hero, born of woman crush the serpent with His heel
Since God is marching on!

He hath sounded forth the trumpet that shall never call retreat;
He is sifting out the hearts of men before His judgment seat.
Oh, be swift, my soul to answer Him! Be jubilant, my feet!
Our God is marching on!

In the beauty of the lilies Christ was born across the sea
With a glory in His bosom that transfigures you and me.
As He died to make men holy, let us die to make men free!
While God is marching on!

He is coming like the glory of the morning on the wave,
He is Wisdom to the mighty; He is Succor to the brave.
So the world shall be His footstool, and the soul of Time His slave,
Our God is marching on!


Love, Jo

Friday, March 4, 2016

The naked truth

The gloves are off and so are the masks. I have seen similar political scenarios unfold between grown men and women in leadership power fights more than once.  Given time the true character of the contenders will surface and hidden motives will be revealed,  The constituents slowly face the naked truth: "The King is in the all together". If you don't know that story and the ditty that accompanies it, find it, perhaps on the web. The tune is running through my head as I write and will probably hang around all day.

Israel had no king. The people clamored until God gave them what they thought they wanted. Consequence?  ... leanness to their souls.  Even Moses, who actually saw God face-to-face let his father-in-law influence him to gather a committee to help him do what God had commissioned only him to do. The offspring of that "committee" eventually became the Sanhedrin who crucified our Lord.

"There is safety in a multitude of counsellors", so says  Proverbs 11:14, but there can also be confusion if we do not fall on our knees in desperate trust, coming again to the power-packed Truth that:

Our hope is built on nothing less than Jesus' blood and righteousness.
I dare not trust the sweetest frame, but wholly lean on Jesus' Name.

When darkness veils His lovely face, I rest on His unchanging grace;
In every high ad stormy gale, my anchor holds within the veil.

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

When He shall come with trumpet sound, Oh, may I then in Him be found
Dressed in His righteousess alone, faultless to stand before the throne.

That "trumpet" may not sound in my lifetime, or in yours. Obviously the last chosen one is not in yet. Uncountable Muslims are coming to Christ in what could be termed the least likely places on earth. Our Lord's time clock for His return is based on the "full number" and only God knows what that "number" is.

"How Shall we Then Live"? wrote Frances Schaefer in the 70's ...Keep on doing what we are doing IF we are not just warming a church pew and listening for the hundredth time to the same message we have heard again and again. GO AND MAKE DISCIPLES! You don't need a manual; Build relationships with the people you already know, earning the right to perhaps give them a little booklet containing the Gospel, or a tract. Have them for dinner in your home (Whatever happened to sacrificially cooking a dinner for an acquaintance?). DON"T shove them off on your pastor or staff in your church. LOVE THEM TO JESUS. Feed His sheep. You know more than you think you do. Every new believer needs to know some basics: 1) Jesus is God in the flesh. 2) There is only One Way of Salvation: through the blood of the Lord Jesus Christ. 3) The Holy Spirit indwelt them from the second they received Christ. 4) The Bible is the inerrant Word of God. 5) This person has a new set of friends and a new set of enemies. Tell them about satan, for he will come after them immediately. Establish them in a small group if possible where the Body functions well. This person is your responsibility to nurse, then to wean, when it is time. There is more of course, but KEEP IT SIMPLE. You cannot imagine how much fun it is to "go and make disciples". They will be part of your life until you take your last breath and then you will spend all of eternity with them and the rest of the family of God.

As reality sets in that "The King is in the altogether", the hoarded monies have really run out and there are no more free lunches, that revival many of us have prayed for for years just might yet happen.

We wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities and powers in high places...a battle that requires God-armor from head to toe.

Love,  Jo