Friday, August 31, 2018

How big is God?

We cannot prove to the world that God exists.  I’ve been thinking a lot lately (but then, I think “a lot” on any given day, having only two self-serving cats that live under my roof) about the huge chasm that immediately formed between God and the very people He created.  For adults to admit our need for God requires that something has come crashing in that  reveals the fact that we are not in control.  

My dad was 75.  He had been a hard-working farmer. Ted and I knew that my parents deserved to enjoy an easier life. We orchestrated their move from the Kansas farm to Palo Alto, California, where we were in our first ministry after seminary. The believers in Ray Stedman's Peninsula Bible Fellowship enfolded my parents into the sweet love of Christ.  When my dad became sick, nearly unto death those Christians were right there beside him.  He came to Christ.  He is with Christ. I will see him.  I will be able to have a conversation with him that I longed to have on earth. I could never quite close that emotional gap that had existed between my earthly father and me. In Heaven there will be no "gaps".  Oh, can we just pause for a few seconds and anticipate?

Last Sunday I nodded a "Yes" as a friend of mine spoke in a nearby church, saying these words:  “I hear Christians declare that God doesn’t test us above what we can bear.  Oh, yes He does!" 

Life is hard. Nobody is equipped to navigate through it without God.  If you’re a young reader you may think you can handle whatever is thrown at you. You can’t. You don’t have to.

My Ted was given a marvelous ability to relate to men of every culture, color and educational level.  He understood the male pride and called their resistance to the Gospel "The death rattle of the male ego."  

Stuart Hamblen had been a "resister".  He came to Christ during Billy Graham’s first big Crusade in Los Angeles. He wrote this song: 

            How Big is God? 

How big is God?
How big and wide,  His vast domain.
To try to tell, these lips can only start.
He’s big enough to rule His mighty universe
And small enough to live within my heart.

Love,  Jo

Friday, August 24, 2018


Before the wonder fades I come to my computer to write. The moon has not quite reached its perfect round.  Overhead a plane climbs up, up  and away from the airport far below.  The lights of another blink,  on its way to a far away place. Where are they all going?  Who are these people?  Bootsie, my cat lifts his head, curious about a noise down below,  stretches then resumes his sleep.  The cricket choir ratchets up. surround sound.

God's heavens seem close enough to touch. Since there is no time once we leave here it is silly to wonder what my loved ones are doing in Heaven. ...what they look like. ...but I do wonder anyway. They are not waiting.  I am.

Today was so good.  How can tomorrow be better?  The music director at our church came to fix some plumbing.  His name is Zack. I like him. My new driver, Brenda took me shopping in town. ...then Karen came to take me to Joanne's for Bible study.  Sabra, our young teacher works at night as a guard at the prison.  While the inmates sleep she studies dear J. Vernon McGee's commentaries, goes beyond to research and draw maps, then comes every Thursday to teach us,  the next two generations. Why would any of us snatch that privilege from this young woman who will be teaching long after we are in Heaven?

Yesterday I spent an hour or so in scripture with a new Christian. neighbor. In the afternoon Margaret and Jerry came from nearby Golden Hills to visit. They brought home-grown tomatoes.  Like me, they have traveled many a mile. We needed one another's encouragement.

It's Mulligan Room time again.  I had my old Singalong books recovered.  The people kind of liked the coffee-stained ones. They may not like the new ones. There's a whiff of fall in the air.  We notice and participate in the weather up here on this mountain.  Some of us notice and participate with God. He most certainly "participates" with us. 

I am thinking of an old song George Beverly Shea used to sing: 
Bottom of Form

            THE WONDER OF IT ALL

There's the wonder of springtime and harvest
The sky, the stars, the sun.
But the wonder of wonder that thrills my soul
Is the wonder that's only begun.

Oh, the wonder of it all; the wonder of it all.
Just to think that God loves me.
Oh, the wonder of it all; the wonder of it all.
Just to think that God loves me. 

Love,   Jo

Friday, August 17, 2018


 I love Paul's spin regarding "motives".  In I Corinthians 4:1-5, he's not sure of his, but he doesn't seem to obsess over it.  At best,  I know on a given day, in a given moment that my "conscience is clear".  ...but then, "conscience" can be based upon cultural peculiarities. One translation suggests that we Christians are a "peculiar people". That we are.  If we weren't,  how could we make a dent in a rotting culture that is sky-diving into an ocean of man-eating sharks if we just blend in?  

I live in a gated game-reserve community.  My next door neighbors just killed a rattlesnake in their front yard.  Their ten-year-old grandson looked out his bedroom window and there was a bear,  rummaging through their garbage-can. Nowhere on this earth are we safe from  intruders; ... nevertheless,  we are provided with  sure-fire weapons. 

God doesn't hand us rose-colored glasses when we open His Word.  If I were God, I wouldn't tell you about the screw-ups of my children.  would have slid right by David's affair with the bathing beauty next door and helped him choose a less bloody cover-up.  I would certainly not announce to the whole wife world that Rahab who was in the ancestral line of our Lord Jesus Christ was a prostitute!.  It's kind of shocking to read the back stories of  the other men and women who made the cut for the Hall of Faith in Hebrews 11. ...but then, in all fairness,  they didn't have the Holy Spirit.  ...not "full time", anyway. ...not like we do. what's my excuse when I screw up?  Ho, boy!

Since God is immensely pleased when we actually do faith,  how's yours coming along?  Before I leave Earth my body parts might act up something awful. my faith will just have to grow 'way past mustard seed. 

Nevertheless,  all the while, we are being trained to judge angels.  Finally, the squabbles amongst Christians about whether to judge or not to judge will be over.  

I sure do like that word "nevertheless".  Here is a suggested "nevertheless":  Go online and listen to James Dobson's Family Talk Broadcast from August 16 and 17.  Your heart will be encouraged!

The other night, outside at the Mulligan Room,  Jim Davis was on the mandolin and I was on keyboard.  Jim Peck was on clarinet and Dave Hall sang bass.  Do you remember this great old toe-tappin' Gospel tune?  Pitch it in your key and sing!


There's a land that is fairer than day; 
And by faith we can see it afar. 
For the Father waits over the way
To prepare us a dwelling place there.


To our bountiful Father above
We shall offer the tribute of praise.
For the glorious gift of His love
And the blessings that hallow our days.

 Love,  Jo

Thursday, August 9, 2018

The Battle

Every day we are in a battle that rages against Christ and His followers. As a young Christian I was smug enough to think I could fight it by myself.  I can't. I don't have to. 

Jesus experienced three emotions at once: joy, endurance and shame.  He empathizes with us as we struggle to live in this world and not be of it. In the new Heavens and New Earth there will be no more crying; no more pain; no more sin; no more dying. ...but until then, know this:  Jesus has already won the battle. That's what the whole Book of Hebrews is about. ...a seven-day Sabbath. ...working while resting in the finished work of Christ.  Can the world understand that?  No. Can we?  No, but I believe it! how am I doing with knowing I have a killer in my aorta, poised to strike?  Sure, I get scared sometimes, but I keep walking toward the finish line, armed with the double stick of dynamite. ...the Word of God and prayer. 

When in Bible college in Minneapolis, in a Scandinavian/German church Ted was the Youth Director and I was the church secretary.  I loved the ONE, two, three  rhythm of their music. Here's one: 


Praise the Savior, ye who know Him
Who can tell how much we owe Him? 
Gladly let us render to Him
 All we are and have. ..

Jesus IS  is the Name that charms us;
 He for conflict fits and arms us; 
Nothing moves and nothing harms us
 While we trust in Him. 

Trust in Him, ye saints, forever; 
He is faithful, changing never.
Neither force nor guile can sever 
Those He loves from Him. 

Keep us Lord, O keep us cleaving.
 To Thyself and still believing,
'Til the hour of our receiving 
Promised joy with Thee.


Only the Scandihoovians and Germans could pack that much  doctrine into so few words!

Tonight,  two Jim's and a Dave will meet me at the Mulligan Room, outside, under the cabana. We will lead out with some Gospel, then invite requests.  People will wander in to dine, sing and get acquainted.  On another summer night in Bear Valley Springs, California we will bring some delight into the lives of our neighbors.

Love,  Jo

Friday, August 3, 2018

Old is good.

I start every morning on my deck, listening to scripture.  Hooty the Owl Who Who's his parting call  as an awakening dog down below begins to communicate with a buddy across the valley.  The sun peeks over the mountain to the east and this is today.  It's not yesterday, and it's not tomorrow. This is today!  I open an old hymnal, read and sing words that I have not sung in years.  Here's one, written in the mid 1800's:

Must Jesus bear the cross alone, and all the world go free?
No, there's a cross for everyone, and there's a cross for me.

How happy are the saints above who once went sorrowing here.
But now they taste unmingeled love and joy without a tear.

The consecrated cross I'll bear 'til death shall set me free
And then go Home,  my crown to wear,  for there's a crown for me

Upon the crystal pavement, down at Jesus' pierced feet;
Joyful, I'll cast my golden crown, and His dear Name repeat.  

If you're bugged that I am quoting hymns about Heaven, get over it.  I'm goin'  Home. In His time.  So are you.  Until then, I am going about the business of listening to scripture,  entertaining strangers, taking them into scripture if they're willing, studying scripture every Thursday with the next generation,  enjoying summertime guests from down below,  leading Singalongs from my keyboard,  writing and receiving daily messages of God's do'ins on other continents and across our wonderful nation and loving the fellowship at the church we were sent here to build thirty-four years ago.

I am blessed. Tell me about your blessings.

Love,  Jo