The “Power” Connection

Sunday Chronicles  #161  9/15/19


The “Power” Connection

Greetings from Springfield, MO on another summer-like Sunday with blinding sunshine. We had a short cool-down when a front passed through Thursday, but now temps are climbing into the 90s again, promising us at least another week of summer! When I tried to log on to my e-mail this morning, I got a message that I wasn’t connected to the internet. I waited a few minutes, and tried again. Perhaps my computer wasn’t awake yet!  But I kept getting the same result, so I tried the common remedy of unplugging the modem, waiting a few minutes and re-plugging. What that does in tech language, I have no idea, but it worked!

I listened to MV Chapel TV.  Chaplain continued his series in Joshua. Today’s message focused on Chapter 6 and the conquest of Jericho. God gave Joshua definite instructions as to how they were to take the city. Jericho’s army, encamped behind walls, some say as high as 30 feet and several feet thick, far outnumbered Joshua’s and besides they were better armed and trained. God told Joshua to put first a contingent of armed men, then seven priests blowing trumpets. Next in line were priests bearing the Ark of the Covenant, signifying the presence of God with them (their power source!), then more fighting men. As a military strategy, this arrangement would have seemed worthless, even a disadvantage! I can imagine Jericho’s warriors standing high on the walls, watching as this ragtag army marched around their city, blowing trumpets. Joshua’s troops had orders from God that for the first 6 days, they were to march around the city with no speaking or singing, once each day, then return to their camp. After Day One or Two, when nothing happened, I’d guess that Jericho’s citizens made a daily ritual of coming out to the top of the walls to make fun. But on Day 7 when Joshua’s army started early and kept marching, some on the wall must have wondered what was happening. After the 7th march around the city on the 7th day, Joshua commanded the priests to blow their trumpets and for all the people to shout! They did, and the walls fell flat outward. Joshua’s army conquered the city and burned it according to God’s command. This signaled to the Canaanites that Israel’s God was more powerful than their gods. They became fearful, thus they were easier to defeat. Archaeologists who have explored the site of ancient Jericho say their discoveries confirm the biblical record.

Just as God provided the Israelites of the Old Testament with a superior power source when they obeyed Him, so Jesus sent the Holy Spirit to empower His followers. His last recorded words before He returned to Heaven “But you will shall receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you…” Acts 1:8. To stay plugged into this power source, we must obey His commandments. I have been reading Mt. Ch. 5 and 6 where Jesus spells out how we are to “love our enemies, and pray for those who persecute you.” I’ve always been amused by the story in Acts 19:13-17 where Paul in establishing the church at Ephesus prayed for sick people who were healed and cast out evil spirits by the power of the Holy Spirit. Some non-believing Jews decided they could do miracles, too, and they tried to cast out devils by using the name of Jesus “whom Paul preaches.” The evil spirits replied, “Jesus we know, and we’ve heard about Paul, but who are you?” Then the demon possessed man went berserk and beat them up. They escaped naked and bleeding!

If we want to maintain our connection to our Holy Spirit power source, we must treat others as Jesus would! Yes, that’s a tall order! Read Zach. 7: 9,10 to see how an Old Testament prophet spells it out. When me make mistakes (and we will!) the Holy Spirit will gently correct us. If we accept His correction, we will maintain our power source.  If we won’t obey Him, He will eventually unplug us from the power source. (See Eph. 4:29-32.)

Prayer Request: Daughter Melinda and another professor from Evangel University will be leaving Friday, Sept. 20, for 10 days of travel, accompanying five Evangel students to Bonn, Germany, to present a workshop at an academic conference on Media Studies. Please pray for safe flights, a well-done workshop, and an overall good learning experience for the students. Also, pray for the health of both professors and students. One student has a severe food allergy. He deals with it well here in the States, but in hotels and restaurants overseas he will have less knowledge about food handling and preparation. Pray especially for his protection from illness or life-threatening allergic reactions. Their trip also includes a cultural layover in Ireland. 

Thank you for your prayers for me. They are much needed and appreciated. You are included in mine. May our connection to His power remain strong as we bear one another’s burdens.  Peace, jwb


The Servant Candle

Sunday Chronicles   #160   9/08/19


The Servant Candle

Another summer-like Sunday afternoon in Springfield, MO. September is flying along rapidly, but the grass and trees here at Maranatha are still green  With as much rain as we have had earlier, I’m expecting great fall colors this year. It’s hard to find more gorgeous scenery than the Ozarks trees present in the fall. I had hoped to attend chapel in person today, but when I got up this morning, I realized that was not possible, so I listened again on TV. Chaplain continued his series of sermons on events recorded in Joshua 5, and we will likely return to that another day. However, a different thought has occupied my mind this week, and I want to share it with you. In my reading, I came across a story about a Jewish family who fled Europe during the persecution of Jews by Hitler’s armies. Not all survived, but those who did eventually immigrated to America. Their sponsors were a Jewish Christian family who told them about Jesus, their Messiah, and they came to faith in Him. However, they kept some of their religious customs related to holidays and used them to honor the Messiah. Hanukkah was one of those they continued to celebrate.

I’m no authority on Jewish religious customs, but I am aware that Hanukkah is an 8-day celebration that involves a menorah, a candelabrum that holds 7 or 9 candles. Celebrated late in December, about the same time as our Christmas, it is sometimes known as the Feast (or Festival) of Lights; this year it will be observed Dec. 23-30. Its origin dates back to about 160 B.C. The Jewish homeland was again in the hands of a foreign empire. The Greek-Syrian coalition ruled by Antiochus had captured Jerusalem and desecrated the temple. This was very painful to God-fearing Jews, and Mattathias, a courageous priest, led a revolt. Mattathias died in 166 B.C. but his five sons carried on the fight. They won battle after battle against unbelievable odds, liberated Jerusalem, then cleansed the defiled Temple and rededicated it. Further details about these events are recorded in I Maccabees 4:36-59, one of the historical books bridging the gap between Malachi and Matthew.

A story, whose origin I do not know, is that when the temple was cleansed and the menorah candles were lighted, the priests had only a small amount of the holy oil (see Ex. 30-38) that God had decreed should be used in the Temple, and no ingredients to make more. They expected the candles to burn only one day, but they kept burning for eight days. Thus, in recognition of this miracle, the Festival of Lights or Hanukkah, lasts eight days; one candle is lit each day until on the 8th day all are burning, and the room is ablaze with light.

In addition to the eight candles on the menorah, there is a 9th candle, with the Hebrew name shammash, which means “servant.” This candle may be placed in the middle and slightly behind the eight candles or, more likely, set off to the side. It is not considered important, but it is used to light the other candles! It seems that in the Jewish Christian household, a family member who had served the others was honored by being chosen to use the “servant” candle and light the “Candles of Honor.” It brought me back to Jesus statements about “He that is greatest among you shall be your servant” (Mt. 23:11).” But His disciples didn’t seem to get it. On the last night that Jesus was with them before He was betrayed, they were still arguing about which of them was the greatest (See Lu. 22:24-27). Jesus tried once again to teach them about servanthood by saying “I am among you as one who serves.” Then I searched my own heart: Do I want to serve “the least of these”? Am I willing to love the unlovable? Do I get frustrated by those who take up my time when I have other things I want to do? Am I helping to light others’ candles? As I looked into the mirror of the soul, not all my answers were pleasing. Are you willing to look into those secret recesses of motivation to see how you rate on servanthood? I’ll let you decide. I heard about a college professor who, on the first important test he gave a group of Freshman, included a question asking them the name of the woman who cleaned the restrooms on that hall. None of them knew and lost points on the test. They were irate with the professor, but they learned the importance of knowing and appreciating those who serve.

With appreciation for all who serve me, I will end this blog by praying that I, too, will be accorded the privilege of serving.   Peace, jwb




Sunday Chronicles. # 159.   9/01/19



Dear Readers,

Welcome to September! What’s not to like about cooler temps, fall colors, flourishing gardens? Earlier today the sun and clouds were vying for dominance. Sun would break out, and Cloud would rush to cover it. But Sun didn’t give up, and now it’s in control, “flooding all the landscape with its golden light.”*

Chaplain Paddock based his sermon today on Joshua 4:1-7. Israel, under Joshua’s leadership, is camped beside the Jordan River which is at flood stage and about a mile wide. Scholars’ estimates of the size of this people group range from 3 million to 6 million. Either way, that’s quite a crowd! God instructed Joshua to have the people get ready to cross Jordan. I’m afraid if I had been in Joshua’s shoes, I would have balked. I might have said, “God, don’t you see the flood? No way can all these people get through that water!” But Joshua, man of faith that he was, didn’t question. He ordered the priest who were to carry the Ark, the symbol of God’s presence, to get everything ready and walk down into the water!  When they did, the Jordan began to drain downstream! Soon the rocky riverbed was dry enough to walk on. What the people didn’t know was that God had sent an earthquake up river that blocked the flow of water. What they did know was that God was opening up a way before them! Joshua had a further command from God: he was to choose twelve men, one from each tribe, to pick up a large stone from the middle of the river and carry it across. They were to use these stones to make a memorial monument to tell their children how they crossed Jordan.


Most of us here at MV are constantly facing floods of one kind or another (all “age-related” of course!). The attitude of many medical and care professionals is that we should expect these things and be happy we’re still alive! Some of our “floods” are a constant series of health problems, loneliness, financial strains, loss of our usefulness in God’s kingdom, coping with increasing numbers of our friends either becoming incapacitated or dying, feeling lost in this highly technical world where most of life is done on a ‘smart’ phone….you get the picture. It’s easy to feel isolated, get depressed, and whine!  But that’s not God’s plan! When we face our flooded ’Jordans,’ He wants us to follow His presence –the Ark in the case of the Israelites—and step into the water! It’s His job to stop the flood!

Most of us ‘of a certain age’ can look back on other Jordans when God opened a way for us. One of my “memorial stones” came about when we faced a financial crisis during our efforts to start a church in the Ridgedale community. I became so tired and discouraged that I raved at God, “If You want a church here, YOU are going to have to do something!” About three days later we received a sizeable check in the mail from a woman who had been in a church we pastored 40 years earlier. I don’t know how she found our address because she had moved out West, and we had no contact with her in all those years, but the postmark on her letter showed it had been mailed a day before I yelled at God! He was already at work to stop the flood before I cried out to Him. When you face floods of problems, and you will at some point, stop and remember God’s promises. Give Him praise because He’s a God who can and will open a way for you when the waters threaten to overcome you. His promise is “When you pass THROUGH the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass THROUGH the rivers, they will not sweep over you …“(Isa. 43:2 NIV, emphasis mine.). The floods will come, but God will help us face them with faith, not fear.

Thank you for your prayers this week. My jaw is still somewhat sore and painful, but slowly improving. I have resumed walking the 1,000 steps per day for physical therapy, and adjusted my diet in an attempt to avoid further GI tract problems. With help from friends, I survived the week without Becky, my househelper/caretaker, but I’m looking forward to her return this week, although she may not be! I seem to be very talented at accumulating clutter and getting things out of order! Peace, jwb 

*( McGuffey’s Fifth Eclectic Reader)




“One More Time”

Sunday Chronicles  #158,  8/25/19

“One More Time”

Dear Friends,  How I appreciate you! It’s a cool, rainy Sunday here in Springfield, MO. Let’s start with praise for answered prayers: my offending jaw tooth was taken out by an oral surgeon on Friday. She used two scary-looking instruments: one to push down with and one to pull up with. Her pressure on the jaw bone was so intense that I became fearful the bone would break, so while she pushed and pulled, I silently prayed. The tooth came out, and the deadening eased the pain for several hours. After that I had a very sore jaw and used ice packs to decrease the swelling. I’m still on soft foods, but the soreness is slowly receding. It seems that after age 85 the body takes its time to recover from even minor things. My upstairs neighbor brought me homemade chicken soup late yesterday without  knowing about my tooth episode. Another praise is that my 1997 Lincoln Town Car passed inspection! Now it’s good for another 2 years. I don’t drive except here in Maranatha Village where the speed limit is 15 1/2, but the car is helpful when a friend or caretaker needs to take me to medical appointments. Occasionally the caretaker and I do a road trip to Walmart!  After you’ve been inside a small apartment alone for several days, going to Walmart is exciting!  At least there’s people there, and you can observe the current fashions–or lack thereof!

I had some ideas for this blog today, but that changed after hearing the morning’s MV chapel speaker, Rick DuBose, Asst. General Superintendent of A/G. It seemed God sent the message directly to me, and I had to both repent and praise. He titled his message “One More Thing” and went through several Bible stories where doing “one more thing” made a difference. He mentioned Naaman, who came to the prophet Elisha for healing of leprosy (2 Kings 5:9-14). Elisha’s message to Naaman was to go dip in the Jordan River 7 times. Naaman was offended by the lack of personal attention and went away angry, but one of his servants convinced him to do as the prophet said. If he had only dipped 6 times likely nothing would have happened. But he did it “one more time” and was healed. Another “one more time” instance was Elijah’s prayer for rain on Mount Carmel (1 Kings 18:42-46). After praying 6 times, not a cloud in the sky! Elijah prayed “one more time” and his servant brought the message of a cloud “the size of a man’s hand”; I probably would have given up then, but Elijah saw in that small cloud the promise of a coming deluge!

Among the examples of doing something “one more time” Bro. DuBose mentioned how God provided manna for the Israelites in their 40 years of wonderings, but they had to gather it daily except on the Sabbath. They could gather enough on Friday to keep overnight. Any other day, a two-day supply rotted! He mentioned the feeding of the 5,000 when Jesus had the disciples break a few pieces of bread and two small fish (a little boy’s lunch!) into pieces and hand out to the crowd. They didn’t have a sack full all at once, but as they broke off pieces, then they had enough for one more until all had been fed. He emphasized that as we give out, God gives back to us. He referred to the widow’s story recorded in 2 Kings 4:1-7. Her husband, a prophet, had died. She had a debt with no means of paying. Creditors were coming to take her two sons to sell as servants to get their money. She called on Elisha for help; he asked what she had; she replied, “Nothing but a small pot of oil.” He told her to borrow all the vessels she could get, go in and close the door and keep pouring oil into each vessel. She poured until there were no more vessels to fill. She sold the oil and paid the debt. Since oil is a type of the Holy Spirit, I see this that as we give out of the little we have, God pours in enough for us to do whatever He has called us to do “one more time.”

I admit that as I have become more physically handicapped, to the point that even getting myself dressed is difficult, I have asked God to let me join Nelson in Heaven. This message today spoke to my heart to keep doing what I can “one more time.”  August has not been kind to me: bouts with medical issues, increased expenses, little or no progress on things I want to do. But our God, whose compassion is new every morning, has sent times of spiritual refreshing as I cried out to Him. My caretaker, on whom I depend for many things, is on a well-deserved vacation until after Labor Day, but God is sending help, as needed, to manage food preparation and household tasks. Thanks for reading my limited efforts at writing, and for all your acts of love and kindness. Trust God to pour in the oil of His Spirit as you give out “one more time.” Peace, jwb



Facing Fiery Furnaces and Flooded Rivers

Sunday Chronicles.  #157, 8/18/19

Facing Fiery Furnaces and Flooded Rivers

Welcome to Sunday in Springfield, MO. A hard rain in the night left wet grass and puddles on a morning with filtered sunshine. Heat and humidity are returning this week, but since we’ve passed the halfway mark for August, surely we can hope for cooler days soon.

My Bible-reading journey has taken me into the Book of Daniel. Daniel and his three gifted friends, all young Jews and servants of Jehovah, are captives. They are forced to serve in the court of King Nebuchadnezzar in Babylon, the center of a huge, godless empire, ruling most of the Middle East. As they are being schooled in the language and culture of their captors, they refuse to do things that are contrary to God’s laws, such as bow down and worship images. This is reported to the king, and he orders the three friends to be bound hand and foot and thrown, fully clothed, into a hot furnace. The heat is so intense that it kills the men who tossed them in. The king is watching, and he sees the three friends walking about in the fire with a Fourth Man, whom he recognizes as a Son of God! He yells for the three friends to come out, and they walk out of the furnace with not a hair singed or a scorch mark on their clothing! The king recognizes that they serve a powerful God, and he promotes them to prestigious positions in his court. My question, which I have mulled over many times, is could I face such intense persecution and stand true to what I believe? Some Christians say that God gives strength for the test at the time. He may give a miraculous deliverance or He may give grace to endure. Most of us in America have never faced life or death persecution, as believers in other nations do.

I mulled over this question again this morning when Chaplain Paddock continued his messages from Joshua. The first generation of Israelites who came out of Egypt failed to enter the promised land because of fear and lack of faith. God then kept them wandering in the wilderness for 40 years, supplying them with food and water by miraculous means. and teaching a new generation to trust Him. Now this second generation is camped on the banks of the Jordan River, getting ready to cross over and claim the land God has promised them. But the Jordan is at flood stage…in some places a mile wide. Yet Joshua commands them to prepare food for the journey, pack up, and purify themselves for in three days they are crossing Jordan.  Joshua was not looking at the flood waters; he was listening to God.

God’s instructions were for the priests, carrying the Ark of the Covenant which represented the presence of God, to lead the way. God promised Joshua that as soon as the priests’ feet stood in the water He would stop the flood. They stepped in and stood there; a few miles upstream God caused a mudslide to dam the river. The water in front of the priest rushed on down to the Salt Sea, and the people of Israel crossed on the dry rocky bottom of the Jordan. They would never had experienced the miracle of walking across Jordan if the priest hadn’t obeyed and, taking the presence of God with them, stood in the water. If God is asking a hard thing of you, be sure that He is leading, then take your stand in the flood. He will do the rest!

As we began another week, let’s trust God to open the way we should take before us. I have an appointment on Friday Aug. 23 to have a tooth removed by an oral surgeon. I’ve had this procedure before and all went well, but for some reason (maybe because I’m older!) I’m dreading it. Please pray for God to give me strength to get it done. Son Jon plans to come and be my attendant that day. It’s getting time to have my car inspected, and Jon may try to do that while he’s here. I don’t drive now, but I keep the car because it’s much easier for me to get in and out of to go to medical appointments. If I have to give it up, my life will be more difficult. Ask God for His help. Your prayers, cards, e-mails, visits,  –all the thoughtful, caring things you do—help me face the flood of physical problems I deal with…. Thank you, and please know that I pray for you, also. Here’s a Jewish prayer I read this week: “Blessed are you, Lord, our God, king of the universe, who has kept us alive, sustained us and enabled us to reach this day.”  I think Daniel and Joshua would agree it’s a good way to start a new day!  Peace, jwb

Addendum to Sunday Chronicles #156

Jesus, Our Mediator or “Ombudsman”

Excerpts from sermon by Bro. Russell Wisehart


Bro. Wisehart’s idea for this sermon started with an article he read in in the Indianapolis News, written by reporter Bob Mills. The article stated that the governor had appointed “ombudsmen” to assist inmates with communications to lawyers, courts, etc.  concerning problems in the prison. Their communication was “privileged,” not to be opened by prison officials.

These prisoners were not the first group to call out for help to communicate; Job made such an appeal thousands of years ago. Referring to God, Job says, “He is not a man like me, that I might answer him, that we might confront each other in court. If only there were someone to arbitrate (KJV uses the word ‘daysman’ here) between us, to lay his hand upon us both, someone to remove God’s rod from me so that his terror would frighten me no more. Then I would speak up without fear of him, but as it now stands with me, I cannot ” (Job 9:32-35, NIV).


Man was created to commune with his Creator, but sin disrupted that fellowship. In HIs mercy, God provided a way that man might have limited access to His presence by keeping the Law and offering sacrifices. However, this was a temporary solution. The Law could not forgive sins nor remove condemnation; it did not bring pardon and peace. Moses became the OT mediator between God and Israel. He stood before God and relayed God’s message to the people. When they sinned, he interceded for them. But Moses was a fallible man, an imperfect picture of the Mediator who was to come.


Translators have chosen various words to convey the meaning of Job’s cry for a ‘’daysman”:  mediator, arbitrator, umpire –all with the root idea of “one in the middle who discharges the function of mediator; a neutral person whom both sides can trust.” Paul and the writer of the Book of Hebrews are the only two New Testament authors who use the Greek word translated as “mediator” in English. Paul wrote to Timothy, a young minister, “For there is one God and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus who gave himself as a ransom for all men….” (I Tim. 2:5,6).  Paul preached that sin had alienated men from God but he found in the word “mediator” the best picture of the work of Jesus:  Jesus is the answer to Job’s cry for a “daysman” — someone who stands in the middle, whom both sides can trust, who restores a relationship between two parties that have become estranged. Jesus, being both God and man, understands both sides and pleads our case before the Father. (Read Eph. 2:12-18). Sinful man can be made righteous before God through faith in Jesus Christ. Jesus reached out one hand to God and the other hand to man and brought them together by His death on the cross. He is our “omsbudman.”  He understands us better than anyone else and is always available to act on our behalf when we reach out to Him.


Note from JWB: So far as I know Christianity is the only religion that has a Mediator to open the way to God. Most religions teach that people must do good deeds and obey certain rules to earn their salvation. Even then they have no assurance of Heaven. Christians also should do good deeds and obey God’s rules, but these do not earn them salvation.  Salvation is a gift of God, made possible to us by our Mediator, Jesus Christ. “By grace are you saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God…” (Eph.2:8) Our part it to accept His gift and honor Him by our righteous living.



Finding Jesus’ Love in the Aging Battle

Sunday Chronicles #156,   8/11/19


Finding Jesus’ Love in the Aging Battle

A hot, humid, sultry Sunday afternoon in Springfield, MO. Thunderstorm possibilities later. I’ve spent this week trying to get back to “normal” after my previous week-long bout with GI tract obstruction. In the past I haven’t been a day-napper, but now if I sit in my recliner to read or watch TV, I go to sleep! Also, I’ve had to make adjustments to my diet. Why are there no diets that include generous portions of pizza, sausage biscuits, and brownies? Why must kale, beets, carrots, cabbage, etc. etc….ad infinitum… be the “good” stuff? Maybe this is part of the punishment on the human race as a result of Eve’s disobedience? She probably didn’t like the “good stuff” either. I’m also trying to get back to walking 1,000 steps per day, but last week I didn’t make it past 850. This may be the “new” normal!

Chaplin Paddock continued his messages from the Book of Joshua at MV chapel this morning. Joshua is now the leader of this huge group of migrating people. Chaplain emphasized God’s instructions to Joshua in chapter 1:5-7 where God tells Joshua twice to be “strong and courageous” because… “as I was with Moses, so I will be with thee. I will not fail thee, nor forsake thee.”  While getting old was not the Chaplain’s focus, I can’t think of a Scripture any more appropriate to the aging process. Each year that passes my strength diminishes. I can do less of the things that matter to me because so much of my time and limited energy is spent on self-care. Every new ailment gets you referred to more doctors who prescribe more tests but give you no help; you lose teeth, hair, some mobility; experience hearing loss and dimming eyesight; can’t get up from a chair without something to hold to; you forget where you put important keys or papers or your phone or glasses and anything else detachable! You wobble when you walk and lose your balance easily. Numbness in your hands causes you to drop, spill, or knock over anything you try to pick-up. The list goes on and on.

To keep sane and cheerful while you experience these things, you certainly need to be “strong and very courageous!” As for me, my strength comes from God’s promise “I will not fail thee, nor forsake thee.” Yes, it helps to have caring children, kind friends, and dedicated caretakers, but only God can always be with you and only faith in His promises can hold you safe when you “pass through the waters.” You may not be there yet, but if you live long enough, you are most likely to experience at least some of these things. On the brighter side, more inventions to assist the elderly and handicapped are now on the market. With me, it’s been a try-and-see-if-it-works situation.

End of rant! I hope you get some good laughs from this. As you age, be sure to keep the ability to laugh. It’s one of God’s antidotes for surviving aging. See Proverbs 17:22  and 15:4 &13

Please note:: I am working on condensing Bro. Wisehart’s sermon to post. I hope to post it one day this week. It contains much Scriptural truth about Jesus, the one Mediator between a holy God and sinful man. Also, due to conflicts in my schedule, Sunday Chronicles for 8/18 and 8/25 will be posted on Monday of the following week as far as I know now.

This week practice being “strong and very courageous” in the face of life’s vicissitudes. Share a good laugh with at least one person every day. If you need material, turn through a Signals catalog. One of my favorites from their humor is a plaque to post outside your front door which says, “Come on in!  We’re awesome!” Who could resist that invitation? The September 2019 Reader’s Digest has an article saying that humor builds your brain power, and which of us couldn’t use that?

On the days when you are struggling with problems, try taking them to Jesus. I think He would say, “Come on in! My love is awesome!”  Peace, jwb