Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Fear of What?

Something has shifted since we celebrated the New Year
some four weeks ago. Not just here in America but all
over the world. Can you feel it? There is a sense of fear
and anxiety over what is to come. Christians are not

'Thou shalt fear the Lord Thy God, and serve him...
Ye shall not go after other gods' (Deut 6:13,14)

What we fear is what we worship. In the verse above
God is admonishing the people to fear Him, to honor
Him, not some powerless idol. It is interesting to
note that other religions are run by gods who demand
obedience and keep their adherents in bondage through
fear. We have traveled to other parts of the world, been
to the temples, and watched the worshippers who
through fear of death are continually in bondage to
that which cannot give them life.

David said, 'The Lord is my light--He overcomes
the darkness--and my salvation--to escape fear and
oppression. (Ps 27:1)

John says this about Jesus: 'In him was life; and the
life was the light of men. (Jn 1:4)

Jesus says of Himself: '...I am the light of the world:
he that follows me shall not walk in darkness, but 
shall have the light of life.' (Jn 8:12)

Reader, Jesus is our hope in the midst of coming
darkness. Spend time with Him. Get to know Him.
He is the only light.
He is your life!

Monday, January 30, 2017

Will Not Be Moved

'God is in the midst of her, she will not be moved;
God will help her when morning dawns.' (Ps 45:5)

'Will not be moved'--what an inspiring declaration!
Is it possible for us who are so easily moved by
earthly things to come to a point where nothing can
upset us or disturb our peace? The answer is yes, and
the apostle Paul knew it. When he was on his way to
Jerusalem, the Holy Spirit warned him that 'prison 
and hardships' awaited him. Yet he triumphantly 
said, 'But none of these things move me.' 
(Acts 20:24)

Everything in Paul's life and experience that could
be disturbed had already been shaken, and he no
longer considered his life or any of his possessions
as having any earthly value. And if we will only let
God have His way with us, we can come to the same
point. Then, like Paul, neither the stress and strain
of little things, nor the great and heavy trials of life
will have enough power to move us from 'the peace 
of God, which transcends all understanding.'
God declares this peace to be the inheritance of
those who have learned to rest only on Him.

'Him who overcomes I will make a pillar in the 
temple of my God. Never again will he leave it.'
(Rev 3:12) Becoming as immovable as a pillar in
the house of God is such a worthy objective that
we would gladly endure all the necessary trials
that take us there. Hannah Whitall Smith

Reader, take the time to ponder the phrase, 'God
is in the midst of her, she will not be moved.' In
this day when worldly events change hourly, we
need to be grounded in Him.

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Come to Me!

In the last post I pondered what it means to walk
like Jesus walked and did not get very far. It
seemed so hard, full of oughts. When I was
younger I refused to look at yesterday's verse.
However, today I found a beautiful set of verses
that refreshed my soul:

"Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy-
laden and over burdened, and I will cause you to
rest--I will ease and relieve and refresh your 
Take my yoke upon you, and learn of Me; for I 
am (meek) and humble (lowly) in heart, and
you will find rest--relief, ease and refreshment
and recreation and blessed quiet--for your 
For my yoke is wholesome (useful, good)--not 
harsh, hard sharp or pressing, but comfortable,
gracious and pleasant; and my burden is light 
and easy to be borne. (Matt 11:28-30 Amplified)

Reader, to abide in this Vine is not burdensome.
It is a place of ease, refreshment and rest. We
make the Christian life something that our Lord
never meant it to be--especially in the 21st

Be still and know that I am God.  

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Walk Like Jesus

Before taking a nap I opened the 'Bible.Is' app to the
book of 1st John so I could listen in my sleep. (Bible.Is,
a free app for your phone or iPad which has over 100
different languages to choose from as well as many
translations.) When I awakened I was thinking about
the word 'abide.' It was John who wrote down the
dialogue that Jesus gave them on the night of His
betrayal. It appears that what Jesus said had a deep
impact on John. I found the theme of the book to be:
abide and love. My questions as I have pondered
John 15 have been, how do we abide and what does
it looks like?

'By this we know that we are in him: Whoever says
he abides in him ought to walk in the same way in
which he walked.' 1John 2:5,6)

Walk like Jesus? Well, reader, that narrows the field
somewhat! Many claim to know Jesus Christ as Savior,
but how do they live, especially at home when no one
is watching? How do I live? Scripture says that if I
detach from the Vine and substitute my own devices,
there will be no lasting fruit. 

'Apart from me you can do nothing.'

And so I cry, 'help!'

Monday, January 23, 2017

What Fruit?

We have been looking at the Vine, the branch and the
fruit. But, what comes to mind when you think of
fruit? Grapes, raspberries, plums, blueberries...? Paul
talks about good fruit in Galatians 5:22:

'The fruit of the spirit is love, joy, peace, patience,
kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, 
self control, against such things there is no law.'

Several years ago I heard a man say, 'Jesus is each one
of these fruits and He dwells in us.' If we are attached to
Him, we can draw from Him any one of these character
traits as needed. Just as the grape vine does not strive in
order to produce grapes, so we cannot produce any fruit
by our own efforts. I can remember telling people that
God was working on patience, and when I got that one,
He would give me another challenge! Not so! For,

'In my flesh dwells no good thing.' Not even fruit!

PS Our county has been declared 'a disaster' and so we
are now eligible to ask for help in clearing the streets
of layers of ice and snow. There are piles of snow in the
middle of streets and on the sides that are so high, they
currently block visibility at stop signs. Snow is not in
the forecast for this week. What a relief!

Friday, January 20, 2017

Our Little Community

It started to freeze and snow about December 8th and
has continued to snow, freeze, thaw and freeze again.
The snow has turned to ice which is now impossible
to remove from the streets. The philosophy that has
worked for many years is to plow the main streets and
ignore all the side streets. But this year we have had feet
of snow, that has not had time to melt, which has left an
icy base on ALL of the city roads. The high ice-snow in
the middle of a street with ruts on either side almost
brought my little car to a complete stop!

Schools have been closed since the beginning of Jan.
because of safety issues. Before the big snow this week,
many people were working on the flat High School roof
to clear it of snow. Lots of flat roofs in this community
have collapsed--carports, the bowling alley, barns, and
at least one house-- because of the snow storms that have
ended with freezing rain, making the snow very heavy.
The only grocery store in Weiser collapsed yesterday
morning while men were trying to get the latest 15"off
the roof. Amazingly no one was hurt. They had closed
the store for a few hours. However, the damage is
extensive and we now have to drive 30 minutes for food.
Lots of Seniors in this community do not drive beyond
the city limits.

Please pray for us because February usually has more
snow, but January is still with us. More snow is expected
on Sunday! The churches in the community are working
out a plan to make sure the seniors have a way to get
food in the long haul. It COULD take up to two years for
a new grocery store but I think some creativity might cut
that number way back! By the way I think the Walmart
in Ontario, Oregon--not too far from us,-- is still closed!

In the meantime we spend a lot of energy--shoveling!

Wednesday, January 18, 2017


This is a pretty crazy title! However, it goes with the
verse for today.

Abide in me and I in you. As a branch cannot bear 
fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither 
can you unless you abide in me. John 15:4

The word 'abides' means 'to rest or dwell, to tarry or
stay, to continue permanently, to remain.'

A branch has to stay attached to the vine permanently
or else it withers because it has no life source within
itself. It is the same for the Christian. Unless we tarry
or remain in our Vine, our source of Life, we too
wither. However, unlike the branch we can draw on
our own resources and look pretty good--for awhile.
Jesus says plainly in this verse that the fruit we
produce out of our own efforts, is not real fruit! 'We
are not good if detached.' (Corrie Ten Boom)

Reader, I can so easily lose focus and find myself
generating all kinds of useless activity.

Monday, January 16, 2017


In John 15:3 we read, 'Already you are clean 
because of the word I have spoken to you.'

Jesus makes an extraordinary statement right in the
middle of this intimate time with His disciples just
before His death. Earlier in chapter 15 Jesus says
to Peter, 'The one who has bathed does not need 
to wash except for his feet, but is completely 

Jesus has not died and yet He pronounces the
disciples completely clean--except for Judas--
because of the Word spoken to them.

Reader, we are cleansed by the blood and cleansed
by the Word. It is important to both read and listen
to scripture. It cleanses; it brings Life to our thirsty
souls. It is the foundation of the abiding life.

Friday, January 13, 2017


Life has not been normal since Christmas. We got
home on Tuesday. It was raining/snowing/flooding,
potholes on the major highway. Our chicken coop
had collapsed almost on the couple who were
getting the chickens out. Snow is piled everywhere;
plunging temperatures. All over town carports are
falling, roofs are leaking and in the areas beyond
our town, barns are collapsing. (We were coming
from sunny Arizona!)

Pruning comes in all kinds of packages!

Every Branch in me that does not bear fruit he
takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit 
he prunes that it may bear more fruit.  John 15:2

Reader, I love the fruit bearing part, but pruning?
However, it is so nice to know that we are not
pruned because we are sinning, but so that we will
bear fruit unto His glory. Here is another interesting
verse that compliments the verse above.

...he disciplines us for our good, that we may share
his holiness. For the moment all discipline seems
painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the
peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have
been trained by it.  Hebrews 12:10,11

It yields the fruit of righteousness--later--to those who
have accepted His training. Wow! Is this not a perfect
reason for surrendering to Him in all the facets of life?
Surrender, abiding, resting, in the vine.

Monday, January 9, 2017

The Unfruitful Branch

It is the Father who works in the vineyard, who checks
each vine for health and fruitfulness. Jesus is the vine
and we are the branches. Jesus says:

'I am the vine, and my Father is the vinedresser. 
Every branch in me that does not bear fruit He 
takes away...' John 15:1

This is the first verse of a new subject and Jesus lays
it out before going into depth. I have not heard many
sermons on the subject of fruitfulness and the lack
thereof. He takes away the branches that are not
bearing fruit because, though they are in Jesus, they
are not drawing life from Him. I would say that these
branches are living from their own resources and not
from the Vine. They may look good, but are not
flourishing and are taken away.

Reader, it is very important that we live our Christian
life from the source of Life. A branch that is separated
from its vine withers and so it is in the spiritual realm.
I guess the big question is how does one stay attached?

Saturday, January 7, 2017


'Come unto me, all you who labor and are heavy 
laden, and I will give you rest.' Matt 11:28

Come to me! Become that branch in the vine for:

I AM the way
I AM the truth
I AM the life

I am THE way
I am THE truth
I am THE life

I am the WAY
I am the TRUTH
I am the LIFE.
No man comes to the Father except through Me.
John 14:6

it is 2:30AM, but I could not go back to sleep until
I felt around for my glasses, pen, Bible, notebook,
and crept downstairs to put His thoughts on paper.
Perhaps one of you was also awake this night--
because of great burdens.

Thursday, January 5, 2017

A focus for 2017

If I look out on the empty year as 2016 leaks over into
2017, I can end up focusing on and fretting over world
events. Each year I ask the Lord for His focus for me
and He graciously gives me a verse or a nest of verses
to chew on; verses that bring me back to reality; back
to Him.

This year I began with one verse but have quickly
realized that this verse is nestled into ten more.

"I am the vine, you are the branches.
Whoever abides in me and I in him,
he it is that bears much fruit,
for apart from Me you can do nothing."
John 15:5

"I am the vine, you are the branches." I wish that I
was close to a vineyard so I could watch the vinedresser
and the vines in each season. We do have a plant that
grows like a vine and as it matures I can hardly tell the
difference between what is vine and what are branches!
I think that this is what Jesus is referring to when He
says: "Whoever abides in me and I in Him..." We
become so intertwined that telling the difference is
more difficult.

Reader, if any of you delve into John 15 this year,
please share your comments in the comment section

PS Suddenly my door opened and Grandpa and
grandson came bursting in to try on Grandpa's
hearing aids! Warm weather and lots of laughter
are here in abundance!

Monday, January 2, 2017

For the New Year

From my heart to yours, a prayer for the new year.

'On this first day of 2017 I share my prayer and blessing 
for us, the beloved of the Father. May the Spirit open the 
inner eyes of our heart's imagination to see as He sees us;
that we may once and for all fling off the grave cloths of
academic head knowing, knowing by hearsay and enter
into the resurrection empowered knowing by personal
seeing and experienced relationship the love of the 
Father that cascades into our lives through the Spirit.
May we know our identity as Christ persons that He is
in us and we are in Him--complete union that we may
love one another with the same love that He pours into
our hearts and so be in reality the light of the world.'
(Malcolm Smith, January 1, 2017)

Reader, each new year like each new day is an empty
page of possibilities!