August 24, 2014 JANE’S HEART TO HEART …PASTOR’S HELPMATE

BE NOT AFRAID…. 

Let me share this story from Elisabeth Elliot’s book, Trusting God in a Twisted World,  Elisabeth, her eighteen month old grandson Walter, and his father decided to go to one of those automatic car washes, which can be a bit scary on the first run-through, even for an adult.  She watched little Walter’s face as the car was drawn into the dark tunnel.  The water suddenly began to roar down over all four sides of the car, and his big eyes got bigger — but went immediately from the windows to the face of his father.  He was too small to understand what it was all about, and he’d had no explanation before hand, yet he knew his Daddy would take care of him.  The giant brushes began to close in, whirling and sloshing, and making a tremendous racket… His eyes darted again to the face of his father.  He was afraid but he didn’t cry. Then the rubber wheel banged down on the wind-shield and the hot air began to blast… Little Walter clung to one thing; he knew His father and he had never given him any reason not to trust him,…When the car finally broke out into sunshine, the little boy’s face broke into a big smile.  Everything was Okay; Daddy knew what he was doing after all.

Are you going through  times you might call, “ a car wash experience?” Like little Walter…. We need to trust the FATHER. We can say with JOY and confidence that He is a faithful God!   He will bring us through.

While living in Evanston, Illinois in 1956, just a few days after Ken and I were married, while I was listening to the WMBI Christian radio station from Moody Bible Institute, they announced the terrible news that five missionaries were killed by the Acua Indians to whom they were seeking to minister.  Elisabeth Elliot was the wife of Jim Elliot, one of those missionaries. As she suffered through this trial the Lord brought to her mind the promise from Isaiah 43: 1-2.  “I have called you by name, you are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you, and through the rivers, they will not overwhelm you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned…. For I am the Lord your God”.  Just a few days later she and her little daughter, Valerie, returned to the mission field to minister to and win many of that tribe to Christ. Think of that! Elisabeth said. “Peace came, not by removal of suffering but through acceptance.”

No matter what dark tunnel we may have, Christ has been there. Faith is not just feeling good about God, but a conscious choice  to obey his Word when he says, “Trust Me”   “..It is by this that we know what love is: that Christ laid down His life for us.” John 3:16

He is the Father,   “Back of the Clouds the Sun is Always Shining.”     “Be Not Afraid”

August 24, 2014 Jane’s Heart to Heart…Pastor’s Helpmate

A few weeks ago Pastor pointed out a chapter in Warren Weirsbe’s book… Be Joyful, a chapter on Sacrifice. Let’s look at Phil.2:1-11   I will just read the first five verses.

Philippians 2 New International Version (NIV)  1. Therefore if you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any common sharing in the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind. Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus:

Wiersbe asks, “Is it costing you anything to be a Christian?” He states that submissiveness to God leads to JOY.  If what we do for the Lord does not really cost us anything it is worth nothing. Sometimes our sacrifice consists of suffering, sorrow and pain. This means giving Him a life of service, your finances, your children, your health. If we hold anything back that thing we  hold back is worthless. If it costs us nothing it is worth nothing.

When visiting Nathan & Jennifer last week she loaned me a book she just read by Jennie Allen entitled “anything”, She is basically saying the same thing…. “If you say, I love you, Lord. I want to serve you and I will do “anything“… but __________.” 

My childhood pastor always taught, that until we were willing to go  and do anything for Him (even the most dreaded place that we could imagine) that he would not use us right where we are.  Until we are willing to give our all to Him, what we hold back is worthless.

Mary,  the mother of our Lord willingly surrendered to the rejection of her fiance’, persecution from her community, the pressure of raising the Son of God, and ultimately the pain of watching Him die an excruciating and humiliating death. In Luke1:38 she said: “Let it be according to your Word.”   Mary said that she was wiling to do as the angel said and agreed with God that she was willing to do “anything”.

Look at the scrap book of your life.  Does “anything” stand out as a sacrifice for the Glory of God.  If there is “anything” in your life more significant or important  than God, it is a “false God”, it is an  “idol” and it has power over your life and it is stealing your JOY. Your life many consist of  many good things yet not a sacrifice for Christ.

it is never too late to change the course of the rest of your life.  Do we live more afraid of losing what we love here than of facing God in eternity, Solomon says in Ecccl. 1:14 “ I have seen all the things that are done under the sun; all of them are meaningless, a chasing after the wind.  Are you clinging to “anything”?

August 17. 2014  JANE’S HEART TO HEART    …PASTOR’S HELPMATE

HOW LONG HAS IT BEEN http://www.metrolyrics.com/how-long-has-it-been-lyrics-jim-reeves.html

“My Heart has heard you say, Come and talk with me.” and my heart responds,  “Lord, I am coming”.” Psalm 27:8 NLT

“Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.  I Pet. 5:7

Enjoy a regular time when you talk to the Lord, 

Read the Word of God so that He can speak to you.  

Take time to, just be quiet and let the Lord work in your heart.

I love reading the Word of God. For several years I have listened daily to the Bible on CD following the Our Daily Bread Devotional’s guide  reading the Bible through in a year. I also read along in my Bible (a different version each year).

Then I especially enjoy going back through the same selection each day underlining important things using a color code. [such as, highlighting the names of God, the  Lord Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit = Yellow.  A red cross through the name = Christ].   The reason I do this is to just concentrate on the meaning more and help myself to glean special truths from God’s Word.  [Truths, knowledge, laws = green. sing, pray and rejoice = blue].

I also love to just pray the “Scriptures”. I have found Germaine Copeland’s book, “Prayers that Avail Much for Women” especially helpful to me. Harrison House, 1997.

I also love to read several devotional writers: 

Elisabeth Elliot                

Corrie ten Boom

Nancy DeMoss

Edith Schaeffer

Joni Erickson Tada

Mrs. Charles E (Lettie) Cowman “Streams In The Desert” Series

George Beverly Shea often sang “How Long Has It Been”, and wrote this comment in his book, How Sweet the Sound. Tyndale 2004

     “Our friendship with God can be like that.  He looks forward to having

      Us  share  our  most intimate  secrets  regularly  with Him. He doesn’t 

      want  us to forget that He is there and He desires to share our burdens.” 

HOW ABOUT PRAYING THIS PRAYER EVERY MORNING: 

Psalm 25:4-5 “Show me your ways, O Lord, teach me your paths. 

Lead me in the truth and teach me.” NKJV

August 10. 2014    JANE’S HEART TO HEART   ….PASTOR’S HELPMATE

“Good Morning Glory!”  Those words are etched in my memory and re-occur in  my mind  whenever I see a lovely Morning Glory, as I on Face Book just few weeks ago.  “Good Morning Glory” was a daily greeting of my  mother’s cheery voice as she came to our bedroom and sang out to waken us. What a happy memory.

My father always said to us “Remember Whose You Are” as we parted.  I wonder what positive lasting memories my descendants will have of me.

While I was a patient at Oaklawn Hospital in Marshall, our youngest son Nathan and his family came to visit and I could see the very seriously subdued looks on the faces of even the smallest child.

Seeing grandma with an NG (nasogastric) tube in her nose didn’t present a very  pleasant picture, drab hospital gown, disheveled hair and ashen countenance. I waved and said just a few words to assure them that I was, OK, but the tube caused me so much discomfort, I was not able to talk or swallow, so I lay quietly and everyone else carried the conversation. Ken and our son Nathan stood talking in hushed tones at the foot of my bed. Jennifer and the children seated in the area provided for guests and little Hudson (2 1/2) fearfully pressed against his mother’s knees, looking back and forth at me and the men. I smiled to reassure him. Cautiously he stepped away from his mother and moved to stand between the men obviously mimicking  their stance  and looking up from them and to me he tried to duplicate their conduct. When they all lined up to give me a hug as they left, he fearfully came over to the side of my bed and reached up to join the family in a farewell hug. Mommy picked him up and he laid his sweet little red head on my chest.

Yes, children watch us and react as we do. What a great responsibility we have as God’s children  to allow our children to see by our conduct, through the joys and trials of life, what is really important to us. To point them to the proper responses to things that come our way. Not to shield them from the trials of life but to include them and show them by example how we can truly trust God.

That evening Lissy stopped to visit on her way from LCC to her home in Kalamazoo and after our visit she and her grandpa  prayed for my situation and then her safety on the road.  As he closed his prayer, without the slightest hesitation, Lissy began praying and poured out her heart to her Saviour for my healing. 

Deuteronomy 6: And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might.  6. And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart:  7. And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up.  8. And thou shalt bind them for a sign upon thine hand, and they shall be as frontlets between thine eyes.  9. And thou shalt write them upon the posts of thy house, and on thy gates.

August 3, 2014   Jane’s HEART TO HEART …. Pastor’s Helpmate

Psalm 23: 6b  “…and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.”

The shepherd leads his sheep back to stay close to him. To arrive home safely in the valley they follow their shepherd and obey him all along the way. 

Jesus wants to lead you on the journey of your life.  One day He will take you to the special home He’s made ready just for you in heaven.  

John 14: 1-3 in the J.B. Phillips New Testament (PHILLIPS)

“You must not let yourselves be distressed—you must hold on to your faith in God and to your faith in me. There are many rooms in my Father’s House. If there were not, should I have told you that I am going to prepare a place for you? It is true that I am going away to prepare a place for you, but it is just as true that I am coming again to welcome you into my own home, so that you may be where I am.

Are you ready to “dwell in the house of the Lord forever?”

If you aren’t ready, you can bow your head and pray this prayer.

“Thank you Lord for sending your Son to die on the cross for me.  Forgive all I’ve done wrong. Come into my heart. Thank you for loving and forgiving me.  Thank you for promising me a home in heaven.  Help me to turn my back on sin and live for you now that I have received you as my Lord and Saviour. In Jesus name I pray. Amen

Remember: Now that you know Christ…. I John 1:9 says “If you confess you sin, HE is faithful and just to forgive you your sin and to cleanse you from all unrighteousness.

 “…and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.”

Psalm 23: 6a  “..Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life.”

Jane’s HEART TO HEART….. The Pastor’s Helpmate

This is a strong statement of trust.  As we have studied Psalm 23 the stress has been placed on following and trusting the Shepherd.  All of this is capsulized in  this verse.  How many of you today feel the way that David the Psalmist  expressed here? (repeat verse). 

To quote Keller again (p.128) “of course it is very easy to speak this way when things are going well….. when the body breaks down… when I stand by helpless, as I have had to do and watch a life partner die by degrees under appalling pain?… When my job folds and there is no money… When my children can’t make the grade in school… Or run with the wrong crowd… When, without grounds friends turn against me? ‘ ….Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life.’ These times can test a person’s confidence in the care of Christ.  Is this sheer humbug and maddening mockery?”

There may be times when you may want to give up, but God will not give up on you.  Despite your doubts and fears you will see the goodness and mercy and you can know that you are truly in Christ’s care.  Nothing can come upon you without eventual good coming out of the chaos.This can be the Great foundation of our faith.

I John 3:16 says… “I am the good Shepherd: the good Shepherd giveth his life for the sheep. Hereby perceive we the love of God, because he laid down his life for us.”

Having attended many funerals lately and witnessing what people leave as an heritage… I have to ask myself, what are my relatives going to find as they scramble for memories about my life.   “How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of them that bring good tidings, that publishes peace…” Is. 52:7.

Look at your life and ask yourself…. What am I leaving behind for others to be pointed to a Christ of ‘goodness and mercy’?

Ask yourself…

Do I leave behind turmoil  or peace?

Do I leave bitterness or forgiveness?

Do I leave  conflict or contentment?

Do I leave frustration or JOY?

Do I leave bitterness and resentment or love ?

Do I leave loved ones who don’t know Christ or those whom I have won to Christ?

..Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life.”

Psalm 23:5c  “…..My cup runs over.”

July 6, 2014        JANE’s HEART TO HEART

                          …The Pastor’s Helpmate

As we spoke last week about the anointing of the Holy Spirit in our lives this flows right into this passage.  The Lord is pleased when we seek the Holy Spirit to guide us and consequently the result of the Holy Spirit working in and through us we over flow with love and concern for one another. The Holy Spirit in our lives brings peace JOY, long suffering and generosity. We then have great contentment in His care and that love overflows and that is when we become the most contented people on earth.  

Inside the sheep fold the shepherd stores water in a large stone container to keep it cool and then when the sheep are hot  he dips a cup in the water jar and the sheep sinks its nose into the cup all the way up to its eyes to cool a fever and the shepherd allows the sheep to drink all it needs. Also, remember that at night the Shepherd lies down across the entrance of the sheepfold.

After the flock lies down to sleep their shepherd lies down in the open gateway of the sheep pen.  No sheep can go out except across his body. No wolf can come in to the sheep pen except across his body.  He literally becomes the door of protection.

Can this be said about us.. Especially when troubles or disappointments come along, we are apt to feel forgotten by our Shepherd. We may feel as though He has  looked away from our needs. Some say, “That’s not fair” and become angry when those around us do not treat us as we feel we should be treated.  Not so if we allow the Holy Spirit to control our actions and our reactions “…we will hardly even notice when other do it wrong.” I Cor. 13:4 LB.

Missionary  to India, Amy Carmichael said: “ if a sudden jar can cause me to speak an impatient, unloving word, then I know nothing of Calvary love. For a cup brimful of sweet water cannot spill even one drop of bitter water however suddenly jolted.

Take time to be with Jesus and allow the Holy Spirit to fill you to overflowing with sweet water even in the hard times.

Psalm 23:5c  “….My cup runs over.”

FIRST AND SECOND GRADE MEMORIES –Autobiography Chapter Three

My mother’s parents, (Grandpa) Frank Porter Burch, and (Grandma) Bertha Marie Burch lived on the corner of West Railroad Street and Telegraph St. In Dowagiac, MI. We lived next door on Telegraph Street in what used to be  Grandpa’s old grocery store.

My father was a builder and he had a lot to do with making it into a comfortable little place for us to live on Telegraph St. near West Railroad Street. I attended the Oak Street Elementary school while in the first and second grade.

I  recall many times  we would go someplace or just be out for a drive and Daddy would  point out places he had helped build.  One place that I especially remember was a home that was on the road from Dowagiac to Niles.  The house was round and had two stories and he told us that the rooms were pie shaped.  I alway wanted to see the inside and was so proud, each time we passed  it over the years, to think that my Daddy had helped build this unique home. 

Our next home was a few blocks across the railroad tracks to Sherwood St. My mother did interior decorating for a contractor  and it was one of the homes he built. I only remember four events during the time we lived on Sherwood Street.  

Once was when I was very sick with bronchial asthma and I also had problems with constipation so I had a tall glass of prune juice, which I really liked, sitting on my dresser next to the bed.  When the doctor made a house call to check me out and wanted to take my temperature he dipped the thermometer into my prune juice and said, “ Here, Jane, your coke will make this taste better”.   

He was pretty alarmed when I told him that it was prune juice and then he said, with great surprise, “Prune juice! That much!” and looked at my mother waiting for an explanation. My mother explained that I loved prune juice and that it also had medicinal purposes for my chronic bowel problem.

The second thing was the time that some of the children in school had head lice of which I was unaware and needless to say, some of those little varmints lodged in my very curly long hair.  Before we realized what was wrong I thought I would absolutely go crazy with my head itching. I asked Mother to wash my hair which she did, but I still complained  even more and she  was quite disturbed when she realized that I had head lice.  She contacted the school in the morning and they said that I must have gotten them at school because there were several cases of them. Mother was upset about that because of my tangly long curls. We had quite a time getting rid of the lice and eggs. In those days we did not have the preparations that are available to us  these days.  

Mother used a black tarry like ‘gunk’ and it seemed like she washed my hair more times than I could count and each time using a really fine toothed comb to try to remove the eggs from my curly tresses. 

Years later when I was teaching school and some of the students who had hamsters came in with head lice so bad that I saw them in the hair of one of the girls while listening to her oral reading.  At first I though she had mosquitoes in her hair and then I saw a lot of them.  That night I went home and gave myself a permanent, not that I needed curl, just thought that would kill them for sure.   For the next few weeks every time that I felt the least little tickle in my hair I was fearful that I might have head lice.  Thankfully that never transpired.

The third thing I remember was when I was doing my home work while learning to address an envelope. When it came time to put the stamp on I remember learning from my mother that the three on the stamp meant that it  cost three cents.  That was when I learned that it actually cost something to send a letter.

Finally, I remember when my mother was at work and daddy was home with us and we had just retired for the evening and my daddy came into our rooms and asked me, my sister, Sue and  my brother, Larry to get up and come to the bathroom.   Went we got there he asked each of us if we had flushed something down the toilet earlier that day. We each look innocently at one another of and then each of us pleaded complete innocence.   My daddy always spoke very softly and he told us that if someone did not tell the truth he would spank all of us.  Of course when each of us denied it continually he finally paddled us and sent us to bed. It wasn’t a very hard spanking that I recall.  Perhaps he felt he would get a confession and since none of us took the responsibility for the deed he had some doubts himself and felt he must do as he said he would.

Then what seemed to me the middle of the night he awakened us and  with tears on his face he apologized to each of us. When mother got home and he told her what had happened she informed him that she was the one who had plugged the stool earlier that day and then thought it was okay when she left for work.

Truthfully, the thing that I remember most about that incident was the fact that my father felt so badly about it and apologized to us. This caused me to have a great  respect for him and no hard feelings at all about the spanking. I loved my “Daddy”.

My parents both had jobs and were hard workers and provided well for us. I do not recall attending church anytime during those early years but I learned the importance of an apology when necessary and forgiveness when wronged.

Proverbs 25:11-13 (KJV)    “11 A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in pictures of silver.  12 As an earring of gold, and an ornament of fine gold, so is a wise reprover upon an obedient ear.”

Psalm 23:5b ” You anoint my head with oil.”

June 29, 2014    JANE’s HEART TO HEART    …. The Pastor’s Helpmate

Psalm 23:5b  “..You anoint my head with oil.”

When I was  about eight years old I loved to read the dictionary.  I would look through and find words, read the definition and then I would try to think of ways to use them in a sentence and ask my family a question using that word.  One I especially remember is when I would sit with my head on my hand and elbow on my knee and ask, “What am I doing?   They would try to guess and then I would say, “I am meditating”. Often when we had visitors my parents would have me try to stump our company.  

As we meditate on this magnificent poem of Ps. 23 it is helpful to keep in mind that the poet, David, is recounting the events of the full year in a sheep’s life. He takes us with him from the home ranch where every need is so carefully supplied by the owner, out into the green pastures, along the still waters, up through the mountains valleys to the high tablelands of summer.

Here now when it would seem that the sheep are in a perfect setting on the high meadows; where there are clear running springs and fresh tender forage we suddenly find “a fly in the anointment” so to speak. (Keller)  There  are many different insects that reek havoc among livestock. The shepherd anoints his sheep to protect them from the nasal flies which land on the sheep’s nose and lay their eggs. The eggs hatch into tiny worms that burrow up the sheep’s nose into its head. These wriggling worms cause the sheep to panic, toss its head and run wild trying to rid itself  of the pain even beating its head against a rock or tree often hurting itself. Right away the shepherd will rub a mixture of oil and herbs over every sheep’s head and nose. This keeps the flies away and calms the sheep.

Meditate on this:

What is it that upsets you?  What frustrates you and causes you to panic? Who irritates or “bugs” you? When things go wrong and upset you, ask Jesus to anoint you with His love and peace., Just as oil calms the sheep, Jesus wants to calm our upset minds and hearts with the Holy Spirit. Ask the Holy Spirit to take control of your life. 

Romans 15:13 says: “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” Jesus also said, “You shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you…”

Psalm 23:5b  “..You anoint my head with oil.”

PS. 23:5a “You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies.

PS. 23:5a  “You prepare a  table before me in the presence of my enemies.   (Keller and Haidle)

High flat places of mountain sheep ranges are called “tables.” These are the very best pastures or tablelands. The shepherd “prepares” the table for his flock by scouting out its enemies: wild animals and poisonous plants. Sheep cannot tell the difference between poisonous and non-poisonous plants. One nibble of the white camas flower would kill a lamb, so the shepherd finds and destroys all poisonous plants so his flock can feed safely. He works hard to protect them.

Jesus said,in John 6:32-35 “ I am the bread of life. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever; and the bread that I shall give is MY flesh, which I shall give for the Life of the world.” When you believe in Him, He fills a hunger in your heart that only He can satisfy.  And you can be sure He has already prepared a feast for you in heaven. Also if you feast on HIS WORD in obedience you will be filled and blessed beyond measure. And “…your will live forever” vs. 51.

The parallel in the Christian life is clear. Like sheep, and especially lambs, we somehow feel that we have to try everything that comes our way. We feel we have to sample everything just to see what it is like even though we may know that some things are deadly. They can do us no good, and are even most destructive. Still somehow we give them a whirl anyway.

The shepherd also tries to watch out for predators like wolves, coyotes, cougars and bears. What actually happens is that these crafty ones are up on the rimrock watching every movement the sheep make, hoping for a chance to make a swift, sneaking attack that will stampede the sheep and one or another will fall easy prey to the attacker’s fierce teeth and claws. 

God’s love to us in Christ is bound up too with the deep desire of His heart to have us live on a higher plane. He longs to see us living above the mundane level of common humanity. He is so pleased when we walk in the ways of holiness, of selflessness and  of serene contentment in His care, aware of His presence and enjoying the intimacy of His companionship. 

To live thus is to live richly

To walk here is to walk with quiet assurance

To feed here is to be replete with good things. 

To find this tableland is to have found something of my shepherd’s love for me.

“You prepare a  table before me in the presence of my enemies.”