Friday, April 29, 2016


"My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart, and my portion forever. ... I have made the Sovereign Lord my refuge. I will tell of all His deeds." 

"Telling of all of His deeds" would take weeks. This morning, one of His amazing "deeds" comes to mind.  Houston businesses had been well lubricated by "black gold" that pumped out of Texas soil. ...until 1984 when oil prices plunged.  Houses all around us were for sale. Ted and I were not trying to leave for any reason other than to escape my relentless headaches from allergies to mold and pine that kept me trapped in bed several days a week. We rented out our home and leased a house in the suburb of Kingwood, hoping that the air would not be so humid.  It didn't work. The renters of our house in the city were destroying it and had not paid a cent of rent. Ted had to evict them. With the help of our family we ripped up all the carpets, tore off wallpaper, painted every wall and refinished the hardwood floors. After weeks of work it was time to pack up the Kingwood house and move back into our own home  I looked up from my packing to see Ted coming through the door, announcing: "I've got some bad news and some good news. An arsonist broke into our house in the night, threw a match into a can of varnish and everything is covered with black soot. ...but the house didn't burn down.  I think we can clean it up ourselves and move in by this weekend."  Now, my friends, you have just been given a glimpse into the way an optimist thinks. When I walked into our house I was horrified and wished it had burned down.  Daughter Dee had already called some of our dearest friends who came and gathered in a circle and prayed. There was a Christian man named John who specialized in restoring burned houses. He came,  eyed the mess, and nndaunted said: "O.K., the Fire Department has declared this an arson.  Your insurance will probably pay. What have you always wanted to do to this house?" "RIP OUT EVERY WALL POSSIBLE AND OPEN IT UP TO THE WOODS OUTSIDE!" "O.K., let's GO!" ...and we did. Months later the house was beautiful and open. By tightwad spending (a specialty of depression kids like me) the insurance paid all but fifty dollars!

This part of my story is humiliating,  but perhaps someone will be helped if I tell it. The headaches continued.  I went into what seemed to be a bottomless pit of depression when our daughter returned to California. The breaking up of my precious  family was the "straw that broke the camel's back". Up until this time I believed  that I was here only to serve Ted, my family and the whole wide world.  Oh, yes, I read that Jesus was the "Suffering Servant",  but He didn't come to serve me, did He?  Dearest friends sensed that we needed some counselling.  They made two stipulations: "You must not go to anyone here in Houston, and you must go to someone who counsels only couples in full-time ministry. We will pay for it."  It cost $10,000 for a week of counselling with a Christian psychiatrist in Colorado who limited his practice to married missionaries and pastors. ( If Ted and I had charged that much for all the counselling we have done and I still do I would be a wealthy widow!)   This doctor's  first words to my husband: "I don't want to hear about your ministry. When are you going to make your marriage your ministry?"  I'm going to like this man, I thought.

Back in Houston my husband faced the fact that he had to get me out of a tropical climate. Ministry was flourishing; people were coming to Christ; many were being discipled.  We did not want to leave these precious people. Our two sons lived there.  How does a dad walk away from two sons unless he has the faith of Abraham who trusted the Lord to bring his son back if he sacrificed him? You know the story.  We put our house on the market and it sold to the first couple who looked at it.  I praise God nearly every day for my Ted's willingness to sacrifice to bring me back where I feel well and I can get on with my assigned ministry of discipleship, ...long after Ted and one son are together in Heaven.  The Lord blessed my Ted with fruitful ministry until the day He went Home. ...and that ministry continues on,  through those he discipled all of his life. ...and by the way, how many
"Timothy's" are you training?

This past week my computer guru cleaned out a shocking number of attempts to steal my identity. Credit card thieves continue to try to wipe out my finances.  It's disheartening and disgusting.  The evil one has tossed a match into our beloved country.  Sticky black soot is settling over every institution,  including the family and the Church.  Are you gathering to pray for His mercy?  If not, His justice will prevail.

Shall we pause to sing a few lines of  this old Solid Rock hymn?

My 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 He shall come with trumpet sound, O may I then in Him be found.
Dressed in His righteousness alone. Faultless to stand before His Throne. 

On Christ the Solid Rock I stand; all other ground is sinking sand.
All other ground is sinking sand.

Love,  Jo

Friday, April 22, 2016

Greater is HE

If you belong to Jesus, you've got a big yellow circle painted on your back. The evil one audibly told me last week in a nightmare that my husband and my son are dead.  satan, my men are not dead!  Jesus speaks: "I  TELL YOU THE TRUTH; WHOEVER HEARS MY WORD AND BELIEVES HIM WHO SENT ME HAS ETERNAL LIFE AND WILL NOT BE CONDEMNED; HE HAS CROSSED OVER FROM DEATH TO LIFE!"   Both men were born from above and are ALIVE WITH JESUS!  satan, you are a LIAR AND DECEIVER.  IN YOU IS NO TRUTH AT ALL.  Before I was born from above, you sent boys and men to try to steal my body, my soul. Jesus protected me, satan. Listen up! you DESPISE ALL SCRIPTURE. You twist any scripture that declares that Jesus is God in the Flesh. You cause people to believe the Word of God is not "God-breathed".  you do not want anybody to believe that the Word of God has power to transform lives from darkness to light. You are bringing more divisions between Christians, attempting to weaken and defeat us with in-fighting.   God is speaking here through Isaiah:  SO IS MY WORD THAT GOES OUT FROM MY MOUTH. IT WILL NOT RETURN TO ME EMPTY BUT WILL ACCOMPLISH WHAT I DESIRE AND ACHIEVE THE PURPOSE FOR WHICH I SENT IT.  satan, you have no power against God's Word.

After Jesus saved me forever you tempted  me to give up my faith in Christ when my entire family mocked me. God gave me His Word in Matthew 10:32- 39: "Whoever acknowledges me before men I will acknowledge him before my Father in Heaven.  Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a SWORD. For I have come to turn a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law--a man's enemies will be the members of his own household. Anyone who loves his father or mother more than me is not worthy of me. and anyone who does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me.  Whoever FINDS his life will lose it, and whoever LOSES HIS LIFE FOR MY SAKE will find it.  satan, you didn't win. ALL of my family of the past are with Jesus in Heaven.  I will be the last one out.  you can kill my body, but you cannot kill my soul! 

satan, you have sent a flood, two hurricanes, a fire,  elders in two churches who forbade us to even mention the word "discipleship",  car wrecks,  disappointments in spiritual children , surgeries, illness, depression, the homegoing of both my husband and son in the same year,  and now you have sent your minions to compromise my personal identity so I will quit giving out the WORD OF GOD which is LIVING AND ACTIVE, SHARPER THAN ANY DOUBLE-EDGED SWORD; IT PENETRATES EVEN TO DIVIDING SOUL AND SPIRIT, JOINTS AND MARROW, IT JUDGES THE THOUGHTS AND ATTITUDES OF THE HEART. NOTHING IN ALL CREATION IS HIDDEN FROM GOD'S SIGHT. EVERYTHING IS UNCOVERED AND LAID BARE BEFORE THE EYES OF HIM TO WHOM WE MUST GIVE ACCOUNT.

You bet I have a holy fear of my Father, but He is also my dear DADDY, my ABBA FATHER. The world will never "get" this, and sadly neither do some Christians because you blind their eyes to what seems to be an oxymoron.  It isn't.

you, satan hate Jesus; you hate his Word, and you hate every one of us who believe and give out His Word to others. You see that target...that yellow circle painted on our backs and you shoot right at that part of our body that does not seem to be covered with God's armor. What you don't "get" is that every attack must get past  THE BELT OF TRUTH, THE BREASTPLATE OF RIGHTEOUSNESS, THE GOSPEL OF PEACE THAT COVERS OUR FEET, THE SHIELD OF FAITH THAT EXTINGUISHES YOUR FLAMING DARTS, THE HELMET OF SALVATION THAT COVERS OUR MINDS, (alerting us to TAKE CAPTIVE EVERY THOUGHT TO MAKE IT OBEDIENT TO CHRIST) , AND THE SWORD OF THE SPIRIT WHICH IS THE WORD OF GOD.  That WORD, satan, coupled with PRAYER is a DOUBLE STICK OF DYNAMITE.  Don't you get it?

CHRIST AROSE, satan.  and that makes you a defeated foe.  God will throw you into the lake of fire that will burn forever and ever. "For the beast was captured and with him the false prophet who had performed the miraculous signs on his behalf. With these signs he had deluded those who had received the mark of the beast and worshiped his image. The two of them were thrown alive into the fiery lake of burning sulfure. The rest of them were killed with the SWORD that came out of the mouth of the RIDER ON THE HORSE and all the birds gorged themselves on their flesh."

 satan is trying to victimize me through identity theft.  Because a bazillion of us are now elderly and widows, these evil people believe us to be stupid and weak with no fight left in us. Dear readers, you are all vulnerable.  PLEASE get yourself humanly covered with Equifax, Transunion or Experan Don't be afraid. but don't be naive either. Satan may compromise our human identity,  but he CANNOT STEAL OUR IDENTITY IN CHRIST. satan, I come against you with the  Sword of the Spirit, which is  the Word of God.


This world is not my home; I am just a passing through.
My (real) treasures are laid up somewhere beyond the blue.
The angels beckon me through Heaven's open door,
And I can't feel at home in this world anynmore.

Oh, Lord, You know I have no Friend like you.
If Heaven's not my home, then Lord, what will I do?
The angels beckon me from Heaven's open door,
And I can't feel at home in this world any more.    

Love,  Jo

Friday, April 15, 2016

The mind

The losses accumulate as we age.  Sorrow will overwhelm us unless we are anchored in God's Word. Our dear firstborn son arrived ten months to the day after Ted and I married. He left this earth for Heaven eleven months and six days after his daddy went to be with the Lord. six years ago, ....both with cancer.  Early in the morning this week I was stirred from a sound sleep with a voice whispering: "Ted and Doug are dead. You will never see them again!"  I forced myself fully awake and yelled out loud: "Get out of here,  satan. Ted and Doug are not dead. They are alive with Jesus. Leave! Now! Lord, help me!"  A few words of Philippians 4:8  began to filter into my mind and gradually the entire verse settled in. "Finally, brethren,  whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute , if there is any excellence and anything worthy of praise,  let your mind dwell on these things."  Reality slowly set in.  Ted was no longer next to me and Doug does not dwell in his home at the top of this mountain. Only recently have I been able to drive by that home without breaking into wrenching sobs. My two men are gone,  but they are not dead! 

Some readers tell me they enjoy my stories.  ... so here's another:  The year was 1959. I was lying on a couch in our new home in Bakersfield, California. There was no air conditioning, and the swamp cooler was doing its pitiful best to lower the one hundred degree temperature. Sweat poured off my swollen body, pregnant with our third baby, Deanna.  "Morning sickness" lasted all day and for nine months with this one. Our five and ten-year-old boys, oblivious to the heat were digging a fort in the dirt of our barren yard. Boys love dirt.  We had just moved from a cool "garden spot" of California, Palo Alto to the heat and smog of the southern San Joaquin Valley. I awoke from a restless nap to an odd crunching sound coming through the wall from our garage.  I waddled out to see what was going on and there stood a guilty looking little boy, standing in a mound of walnut shells . He had found my stored stash! Patience at an all-time low,  I grabbed that little guy with one arm and smacked his bottom with the other.  He shot out of our garage and ran down the street, bellowing,   "Momma! This woman hit me!"  Ho, boy. What a dandy way to make friends with our new neighbhors.  Jimmy Ticer's mother came to her front door, looked over the top of her son's head and asked:  "O.K., what did he do?"  I'm going to like this woman! She invited me in for iced tea and the next day we sat across from each other at her kitchen table, Bibles open to the Book of Ephesians. Diane was a runaway-from-legalism Christian, hungry for grace. The next week she invited her sister to come and the next week her sister invited a friend who knew nearly everybody in the leadership of our city. The women began to come to our little church, bringing their husbands and children. The women at Diane's kitchen table are now in Heaven, as are most of their husbands. I don't know about all of their children, but they all learned God's Word in that once-little church on Rosedale Highway in Bakersfield, California.

 I visited River Lakes church last Sunday. ...a church that now covers a city block,  has started other churches and has taken the Gospel around the world.  If anyone ever writes the history of this faithful-to-the-Word church, my little story will not be included, nor would I expect it to be.  Today a hand full of women will come into my living room to begin to wrap up a study in, guessed it:  Ephesians. For me, it remains the very best of God's Books to disciple a new Christian.

One of Yogi Berra's goofy sayings popped into my mind yesterday. "When you come to a fork in the road, take it!" Our government has come to a "fork in the road".  Is any candidate equipped to take the right fork and give us some Godly leadership? What can we do? "Confess your sins and return to Me"  has been God's message since the disobedience of man in the garden of Eden.

                                           AN OLD HYMN

Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on Thee.
When the shadows fall and darkness comes He giveth inward peace.
Oh He is the perfect resting place; He giveth perfect peace.
Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on Thee.

Love.  Jo

Friday, April 8, 2016


Writing this blog is that for me: therapy.  Reports from here and there tell me it serves the same purpose for them.  Good! There are probably some who receive this blog that think unkind thoughts but thankfully, they don't write me.  Some days I feel obsolete. I suppose all elderly people feel that way,  but since I don't hang around them I may be wrong about that.   I dropped my guard a few weeks ago and confessed that trying to please people has been a pesky battle that doesn't let up.  It all began when I was a kid on a farm... the youngest child by many years in my family.  Hard working farmers were occupied with barely surviving and had no time or energy for fluff. Emotional support? Are you kidding? Putting food on the table trumped everything else, while hoping to have a few dollars of profit to reduce the mortgage forced on them when the banks and loan companies slammed their doors. We always had food, because we grew it ourselves. In the cities miles of lines formed for a bowl of soup anywhere they could find it.  Many people committed suicide. I remember all too well that a farming neighbor couple shot themselves, leaving their children for someone else to raise. I even remember their names, after all these years.

I don't want God to have to knock us Americans off the map because we do not come to Him in repentant prayer for His mercy. Don't give up! I really don't want to write or even think about what could be ahead for my children and grandchildren;  nor do I want to talk about the absurd kindergarten behavior of some of the presidential candidates. Nearly all of the good guys bailed and who can blame them? I am still a cautious, recovering wife of a pastor who bailed from leadership that behaved like mud-slinging kids. ...but then, as my pragmatic daughter quipped the other day: "Oh, Mom, everybody's recovering from something!"  A few weeks ago their German Shepherd was dragged out of her doghouse by a big ol'  mountain lion and wounded so badly she had to be put down. ...and some months before that a bear came through a screened window of their kitchen, knocked the cookie jar off the counter and helped himself. At my house this week the bats awoke from their winter naps high in the rafters of my house and had a high flyin' good time before my cats and I chased them outside.  We are probably in for some more snows. After the last one I will have my summer bed moved out to the deck. Can mountain lions and bears climb that high? Probably,  but I am not going to be snookered out of sleeping under God's glorious night sky. Maybe the condors will not show up this summer and scare or eat my deer.  I love my deer. Because I am backed up to wilderness and have no resident dog, there are about thirty big bucks, their wives and babies that hang around here. an occasional elk or two. Yes, I had a bear in my garage early last summer who knocked over my freezer and helped himself to everything in it. ...but I haven't forgotten what it was like to live in a city where the helicopters flew over our house at night, and search lights probed all around our yard, looking for thieves and thugs, while two blocks away fire and police sirens screamed. ...and oh, yes, our home was burned by an arsonist, but that's a story for another time.  I vote for living on this mountain, critters and all,  until:
"I'll fly away, Oh Glory; I'll fly away. 
When I die, Hallelujah,  bye and bye; I'll fly away!" 

The Thursday girls and I are winding up Ephesians.  One of them is ready to teach and I am ready to sit by and listen as she dives into the spring of living water that never shall run dry. That's what discipleship is about: working ourselves out of a job.

I think I will study the Book of Jeremiah now. I don't want to meet Jerry in Heaven and feel compelled to confess that I never really dug into his book.  Everything I have studied so far is like turning on Fox News. Whatamess!  Only, now,  we are closer to the end. The men at the Mount warned the others not to "stand looking up" because "I will come back when God tells Me to"  (...or somethin' like that.)  For that reason, I don't think much about the Rapture. ...waste of time.

 It's almost summertime. I don't want to miss a minute of it!  I'm going to throw some singin' parties on my deck or up under the Family Tree above my house. ...and there will be company coming for overnights. Great!  If you haven't signed up, do it!

That's it, dear readers.

Oh, yes, a hymn....I guess "In the Good Ol' Summertime" doesn't qualify as a hymn, but oh, shoot, why not?

In the good ol' summertime; in the good ol' summertime.
Strollin' through the shady lane with my baby, mine.
You hold her hand and she holds yours and that's a very good sign.
She'll be your tootsie wootsie, in the Good Ol' Summertime.

Tootsie Wootsie?  Isn't that a hoot?

Love, Jo

Friday, April 1, 2016


Technology helped to make our Easter worship time with our Sacramento family delightful!  We skyped in our granddaughter in Philadelphia and celebrated His Resurrection together.  Amazing!

My mind has always wandered but now that it's got more mileage on it, it wanders even more. my cell phone is flipped onto scripture many times through the day and I am discovering that my wandering mind can better absorb His thoughts, which push out my thoughts.  Here are a few scriptures that settled in this week:

Jesus says in "Big John":  In the world you will have tribulation but be of good cheer for I have overcome the world.  Suggestion: Withdraw that promise from your Holy bank account.

The "Little Johns" are full of ways to discern what is of God and what is not of God:   This is the message we have heard from Him and declare to you.   God is Light. In Him is no darkness at all. If we claim to have fellowship with Him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live out the Truth; but if we walk in the Light as He is in the Light we have fellowship  with one another and the blood of Jesus His Son purifies us from all sin. ...If anyone obeys His Word love for God is truly made complete in them. ...If anyone hates their brother or sister they still live and walk around in the darkness  and do not know where they are going because the darkness has blinded them. 

Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world the love of the Father is not in them. For everything in the world: the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes and the pride of life comes not from the Father but from the world. The world and its desires pass away but whoever does the will of God lives forever. Suggestion: Withdraw that promise from your Holy bank account.

Dear children, this is the last hour and as you have heard that the antichrist is coming, even now many anti-christs have come. ...but you have an anointing from the Holy One and all of you know the Truth, and because you do know it, I  (Jesus) am writing you. Suggestion:  Withdraw that assurance from your Holy bank account.

John: I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the Truth. This week came reports from precious ones who are bearing fruit that remains through His Word in their assigned places of ministry.  Through Isaiah the Lord says:  My Word shall not return to Me empty without accomplishing what I desire. Dear ones, believe faith.

The evil one does not want me to have joy in my old age.  This is the trick he tried to pull on me in the past week. Our enemy meant it for evil, but God meant it for good. I was viciously attacked with cruel words by a person a dear friend had asked me to counsel.  I was stunned and deeply hurt. ...for a little while.  The evil one is not creative; therefore we can recognize  the ways he is repeating the same old tactics to shut us down. The Spirit of God took me to Galatians 1:10b:  If I were trying to please men,  I would not be a bond servant of Christ.   I listened to scripture most of the day and into the night. ...and again the next day and today...saturating my mind with His Truth. Oh, my dears, I would love to tell you that the evil one does not harass the aged,  but I will not lie to you, for he knows exactly where those hair-line cracks are in our armor and goes straight for them. You know what to do: Guard your heart by closing up those "cracks" with the Word of God.

In a couple of hours teenage boys will come through these doors with their airsoft guns,  then will fan out all over this property and will do what boys love to do. The mom of the birthday boy will furnish all the food, the dad will come to oversee and I will love every minute of once more hearing boys be boys. ...and now it is the morning after. Nineteen fifteen-year-old boys came, as well as some moms who sat around my deck fire pit and got to know each other while peals of laughter floated up to us as boy feet ran, hid and harmlessly shot at one another from behind the huge oaks and rocks. Thank You, Lord, for using this ol' house and property to love and encourage this next generation for the real battles they are going to fight.

Love,  Jo