Friday, January 26, 2018

His mercy

endureth forever.  Some folk of my vintage murmur because of the redundancy of phrases in modern worship tunes. I count twenty-six repetitious phrases in the twenty-six verses of  Psalm 136. "His mercy endureth forever.". I think God wants us to embrace that promise. I think we are going to need to cling to it.

In our beloved Fruitvale/River Lakes Church where Ted pastored many years ago there was a mother of six children whose name was "Mrs. Gause". She taught scripture to every kid that came through the door. Some little kids actually believed her name was "Mrs. God".

In these dark days of broken promises, broken hearts,  broker families, and a broken nation,  every kid of every age needs a "Mrs. God"  to reassure them that our spinning world has not spun off its axis . ...someone to remind them again and again that no matter what happens God's mercy endureth forever..

Question 1) Do we really believe that God will not judge our America for the killing of 60 million babies since in 1973, the Supreme Court affirmed the legal right of  a woman to have an abortion?  Question 2)  Are you counting too much on Jesus coming and getting us out of here before God's severe judgment sets in?

Last week I asked the newest crop of women who come for discipleship, "If you knew a nuclear attack would take out a billion people at 8 o'clock in the morning who would you run to,  to lead them to Jesus?


There's a wideness in God's mercy
Like the wideness of the sea.
There's a kindness in His justice
Which is more than liberty.

For the love of God is broader
Than the measure of man's mind.
And the heart of The Eternal
Is more than wonderfully kind. 

We can count on His mercy,  but at the same time there are desperately unprepared people for what is just around the next bend in the road.

Love Jo

Friday, January 19, 2018


None of the other dorm rooms had a private bath. Months after my benefactor arranged for me to have this most lovely room at Northwestern Bible College I learned that one of the women students had been moved to another room in order for me to have the best. Oh, boy!  Now, there's a set-up for jealousy to sabotage hoped-for new relationships. 

Jealousy. Girl stuff. ...but it's "boy stuff" too.  I heard Ravi Zacharias say this week: There are two things to be sought after in life: power and love.  Nobody has both. ...only Jesus.

In my new home with women all around me, I couldn't get to sleep. After wrestling with the devil until 2 or 3 o'clock in the morning I sometimes gave up in despair, tiptoed down the stairs and knocked softly on my housemother's door.   Elderly "Mother R."  shuffled to the door;  her smile and open arms greeted me. Instantly I felt the comfort of a grandmother who loved Jesus and loved me.  We knelt by her bed,  read scripture and prayed. Calmed, I made my way up the stairs and fell asleep. By 7 A.M.  Mother R. was at her desk in the foyer as we students filed past on our way to  class. Her worn Bible with its underlined scriptures lay open.  I remember wondering if my brand new King James Bible would ever look like that.

There are lots of Christians now in Bear Valley Springs where I live, but there are many people who have moved to this mountain to enjoy their reward for years of hard work, only to find that all the golfing and nature watching in this lovely place do not mask the reality that there are dark days ahead for our nation and for the world.  

When I was a child I whispered this prayer at night: 

Now I lay me down to sleep.  
I pray the Lord my soul to keep. 
If I should die before I 'wake,
I pray the Lord, my soul to take.

Who was this "Lord" and where would He take me if I died before morning? At nineteen,  the powerful, loving Lord Jesus Christ was offered to me. I ran into His arms and, at 89 years of age that's where I remain.  It apparently is not time for my earthly body to be traded in for a Heavenly body.  I still have an assignment that I love.  New ones continue to come through my doors to be loved and trained to make disciples long after I am with my Father in Heaven. 

                 BRING THEM IN
Hark, 'tis the Shepherd's voice I hear
Out in the desert, dark and drear.
Calling the lambs who've gone astray
Far from he Shepherd's fold, away.  


Love, Jo

Friday, January 12, 2018

One verse at a time

We had just returned from a three-day ski weekend with over a hundred teenagers. We had taken three young couples with us to ski with the kids and build relationships. On the last night we brought in a Young Life leader to share the Gospel.  You see, except for about a dozen of these kids the rest had never been to church in their lives. We did not want a speaker that would hit the kids over the head with church.  We did not go to bed that last night. Over fifty teenagers came to know Christ. There was no altar call. The kids sought out the nine of us adults. We  opened the Word with them, took their hand and walked with them across the threshold into Eternal Life with Christ.  Thrilling, beyond words!

...back in Palo Alto where we were learning, alongside our mentor/pastor Ray Stedman to build a church on discipleship by every believer, my Ted presented me with my assignment:  "Disciple the girls." . What? Ted was the one with the seminary degree. I got in my car with my two little boys beside me, went around to the high schools on Friday afternoon, picked up the new Christian girls and brought them to our living room. I had bought Bibles, but I had no idea where to turn. Happening onto the Book of Ephesians, I began to read. verse at a time. For weeks and maybe months the girls came back. One verse at a time,  we all discovered our Bank Account that our Father deposited for us before Creation.

In that living room in Palo Alto, California, our living room in Bakersfield, California during two separate chapters in our lives, in our living room in Houston, Texas and in our living room on this mountain, so many women of all ages and many races have come. They are still coming. At Christmas Shanita checked in from a jungle somewhere; Joanne in Hurst, Texas a long-time wife of a pastor still takes new Christians into Ephesians 1. Sherry, in her 70's came running up to me at a restaurant to tell me that many years ago in our living room in Bakersfield, California Ephesians 1 changed every decision she made.  Susan, in Utah is teaching a new group of women; Jeanette in Portland,  ...and ever so many more from here and there ate blessing me and encouraging me to know that my labor has not been in vain. Marti in Bakersfield is teaching a class on discipleship. Teaching a class is good, but only if the disciples go and make disciples themselves.

Discipleship. What does it look like? ...bringing precious ones into our personal space, loving them, and moving, one verse at a time through life-changing scriptures. We are not building a church with walls. We are building a church that comes to gather in order to scatter.

For we are not the hope for others. It is Christ IN us Who is The Hope.  Colossi ans 1:27.


Guide me, Oh, Thou Great Jehovah;

Pilgrim through this barren land. 
I am weak, but thou art mighty--
Hold me with Thy powerful Hand. 
Bread of Heaven; Bread of Heaven
Feed me 'til I want no more.
Feed me 'til I want no more.   

When I reach the River Jordan,

Bid my anxious fears subside.
Bear me through the swelling current,
Land me safe on Canaan's side. 
Songs of praises, songs of praises
I will ever give to Thee.
I will ever give to Thee. 

Love, Jo                                                                                                                                                      

Friday, January 5, 2018


I have two tuxedo cats. ...but you probably know that. They are frequent fliers with us on this blog. One of them is Bootsie. Bootsie is a lover. He has an agenda when he schmoozes me. He wants to knead on me. When I shoo him off he yowls. Ten years ago he was the pick o' the litter at the Pet Lodge. He mewed at me. I liked that.  Now his obnoxious yowl sounds like an alley cat. I think Bootsie has deep emotional scars. He was probably snatched away from his mother too soon.

There are human kneaders. Some of them are Christians. They find another human to knead on. Some of us are sitting ducks because we look so, well, grandmotherly. These kneaders are like a gnat that buzzes around our heads,  burrowing into our nostrils, eyes and ears, almost driving us like a crazed sheep to bash our head against a tree and end it all.

With technology's devices there are many ways we are vulnerable to several kinds of kneaders. Some may respond to gentle correction and kindness. Others are schmoozers who flatter us, then react aggressively when disallowed to cross our boundaries. These people have an agenda. They want to use us for their own narcissistic gain.   They may never apologize for anything; therefore they remain unrepentant. For the rest of their lives they will behave like a jackass.  Stay out of their way if possible. As Yogi Berra said: "When you come to a fork in the road, take it!" ...sounds like Hebrews 12:1 & 2 to me.

If you need a chuckle about  "kneaders" go on U Tube and watch "What about Bob?" that hit the silver screen in 1991 with actors Richard Dreyfuss and Bill Murray.

Onward to the battle, my dear friends. We have the freedom to pick which one.


A mighty fortress is our God;

A bulwark never failing.
Our helper, He against the flood
Of mortal ills prevailing. 
For still our ancient foe
Doth seek to work us woe;
His craft and power are great
And armed with cruel hate,
On earth is not his equal. 

And though this world with devils filled

Should threaten to undo us. 
We will not fear, for God hath willed 
His Truth to triumph through us.
The prince of darkness grim
We tremble not for him.
His rage we can endure
For lo! his doom is sure.
One little word shall fell him. 

That "Word" is JESUS!

Love,  Jo