How blessed we are to have friends who lift us up, who speak truth to us, who listen, give advice, encouragement and their constant prayers. This is richness; this is true treasure to have such wonderful women in your life.

Monday, April 30, 2012

Fairest Lord Jesus

Hello, my friends!!!!!

This past weekend we sang the Christy Nockles version of the sweet hymn, Fairest Lord Jesus, and I could not get my hands high enough in the air.  This is the very first song I remember singing in the Presbyterian Sunday School I attended on Lancaster Boulevard some 50 or so years ago.  "Back in the day" there certainly were no words flashed onto a screen...there wasn't even an overhead projector for cryin' out loud. I love this song so much, I can still see this picture:   My Sunday School teacher standing at the side of the song easel flipping the pages as we sang each verse...and I'm not sure I could even read at the time!  After all these years and at my age, rolling through the 50s at a pretty rapid pace, I can still remember each verse...each word.

You know He orchestrates things so we are blessed more fully.  I know you know this because it has happened to all of us who call Him Savior.  It does't happen all the time; but, every once in awhile, the picture suddenly comes into focus and we are awestruck.  Last week I drove to drop off my Anna with her sister Kirsti.  Anna lives with her sister and her family in Riverside while she is going to college and also watches my grandson, Nate, when Kirsti and her husband, Ryan, are working.  Our "Anna drop-off point" is the McDonalds that is right where the 15 freeway and Highway 138 meet.  We always have breakfast together, and I get to hold my completely wonderful grandson while we chat and eat.  I really do love these moments and have some regret as I we drive off in opposite directions.  So it was this past week as I pulled my little red Subaru onto the highway for the trip home.  I usually have my worship music blaring as I travel, but I have a sunroof in my car and it was a beautiful morning, so opened that baby up and drove the Cajon Pass with the fresh air in my car and nothing else.  Anyone who has driven the Cajon Pass knows the moment I am about to describe, just as you pass the turn-off to Mountain High Ski Resort and come down the grade, there is a view of the valley that is pretty darn expansive.  But that day, it was stunning.  Storms had passed through the day before and the last of the big, fat, white clouds were hanging seemingly motionless all across the valley and the sky was a pristine blue.  I even said out loud, "Anyone who thinks this valley is ugly has not seen this!"  You could see the contrast of the buttes on the east side of the valley to the snow-capped Tehachapi mountains on the north, to the green covered La Liebre and San Bernardino mountains to the west and south and all that lie in between.  Near me as I drove were wildflowers of yellow, purple and red in amongst the green of the native grasses...even the Russian Thistles, our familiar tumbleweeds, were a green!  Everything reflected the morning sun as it shined through newly washed literally crystal-clear air.  In that moment of taking in the beauty that was all around me, I forgot my feelings of sadness because the focus on what God had put before me was so enormously over-powering to my senses, nothing else could even squirm its way in...not sorrow, not worry, not doubt, not regret, not anything but "Wow, thank You, Lord!  This incredible!  This is REALLY good work!!!!" (As if He needs my encouragement:)

So Saturday night I was singing with all my might when these words passed through my lips;  "Fair are the meadows
 Fairer still the woodlands
 Robed in the blooming garb of spring  
 Jesus is fairer, Jesus is purer
 Who makes the woeful heart to sing"

Guess where my mind went?  Yep, you guessed it, smart girls!  Right back to that moment coming down out of the hills into the valley!  I realized that in that moment of silence during my ride down the hill, my God illustrated that verse to me, "Remember, Cherri, My Son is more beautiful than this, more pure than this water-washed morning and He can change anything, even your blue moods.  He is the Redeemer!"  And as if that weren't enough, Christy Nockles added these simple words: 
           "You are fairer still today!  
            You are fairer still today!  
            Precious Jesus, Lord, 
            You are adored, 
            As we worship, as we worship."

Sometimes hymns and worship songs take us to a place where we forget everyone and everything around us.  It is just you and Him and you lift your hands and face to Him and sing in your heart, "Lord, please hear this!  This is exactly how I feel about You!"  I had that moment with an old hymn this past week...and I smile to think of it now.  I went right home that night and downloaded Christy Nockels version of Fairest Lord Jesus onto my iPod.  The next time I drive over Cajon Pass, it won't be a silent drive; I will be singing out Fairest Lord Jesus along with Christy with all five windows open.  (I sound so much better when I sing along with a professional especially at the "blaring" decibel:)

I told you my story of my favorite hymn...What's yours?  Which hymn or contemporary worship song means the most to you and why?  I can hardly wait to hear your stories!!!

I wrote out the words to Fairest Lord Jesus at the bottom of this post.

Love you girls with all my heart!!!



Fairest Lord Jesus, Ruler of all nature
O Thou of God and man the Son
Thee will I cherish, Thee will I honor
Thou, my soul's glory, joy and crown

Fair are the meadows, fairer still the woodlands
Robed in the blooming garb of spring
Jesus is Fairer, Jesus is purer
Who makes the woeful heart to sing

Fair is the sunshine, fairer still the moonlight
And all the Twinkling starry host
Jesus shines brighter, Jesus shines purer
Than all the angels heaven can boast

Beautiful Savior, Lord of all nations
Son of God and Son of Man
Glory and honor, praise, adoration
Now and forever more be Thine

You are fairer still, today
You are fairer still, today
Precious Jesus, Lord, You are adored
As we worship, as we worship

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Choose Joy!!!!!

Hello my friends!

This past week I went to Curves to workout, and I received an object lesson in "choosing joy."  There were two women working out at the same time and the vast difference in the words that came out of their mouths and the impact of those words definitely spoke to me about the power of "choosing joy."  Both ladies were elderly.  One came in and from the beginning talked about the difficulties of her week, her aches and pains, why she couldn't possibly eat the way she was supposed to, exercise the way she was supposed to...She went on to explain her various ailments and complaints with a kind of "hands in the air" demeanor of surrender to the all the negative, difficult and troublesome in her life.  This I will say:  she still got out there and exercised!  While she was working out, in walked another lady.  She actually made me smile just looking at her. She was wearing a bright pink shirt, a pink hat and pink tennis shoes.  She looked around the room as she began her workout and said to all of us:  "Good morning, ladies!  Isn't good to just get up in the morning!  I am so thankful I can still move!"  There it was, right in front of us...Joy!  I watched as my complaining exercise companion picked up her step and began to feel the joy this woman brought to the room.  By the end of the half hour, the attitude of self-pity had left her and as she walked out the door, one of the coaches encouraged her to keep at it and she'd lose a pound for sure next week. This lady smiled back and said:  "Two!  I'm going for two!"  What a change!  Living a life of joy has incredible power!  That is why I am excited about the book we will be reading throughout the coming months.

This summer we will be reading Choose Joy, by Kay Warren, as our summer blog book.  Choose Joy is available through Amazon for $14.95.  It is a new release so it is only in hardback format right now.  It is also available though Christian Book Distributors ( for $14.99 and because it is a new release, I am sure you will be able to find it at any local Bible book store. 

We will be starting Choose Joy on the "Together We Are One Wise Woman" blog 
the first week in June.  Until then I am going to post whatever the Lord gives to me so that we can practice the whole "blogging thing:)"  I know that some of you have had difficulties in posting comments on the blog.  My daughter-in-law, Jennifer, who is an experienced blogger, told me that it takes a little bit of time to get the hang of it.  She said that when she first started following different blogs, she had a difficult and frustrating time trying to post, but she eventually got it and has been able to post on blogs easily ever since.  She suggested for those of you who have not been successful at posting in the past, to start from scratch.  Re-read the "How to Use (and enjoy) This Blog" link on the home page of this blog to the right of this post.  Jen gives clear instructions on how to follow and post comments on this blog.  Please let me know if you are unable to post.  You can email me at, and we will work it out together even if we have to get a hold of the people at Blogger to find out what we are doing wrong. 

Just for a little teaser, let me give a few of the chapter titles in Choose Joy:  "Seeking a Life of Joy," "Rediscovering Jesus, the Man of Joy," "Nurturing Joy in Yourself," "Nurturing Joy in Others,"Adopting Heaven's  Value System," and "Seeing Joy in all Things."  I am so looking forward to the summer months as we continue to grow in the Lord while learning to "choose joy!"  

Love to you, my friends!


Sunday, April 15, 2012

Saying Good-Bye to James (And My Sienna)

Yesterday I sold my 2002 Sienna van.   That old girl was special to me.  She was the first new car I ever owned.  After ten years and 140,000 miles, she looked great and ran like a charm, in fact, I had just gotten home from one of my numerous trips to Riverside to visit my daughter and her family when I received a call from a man interested in buying her.  I can't help but think of how many worship songs were sung to the top of my lungs that car!  89.7 FM was programmed into my radio and if that weren't on then the iPod was!  She heard lots of worship music, lots of laughter and certainly over the years, some tears.  There were a few places I'm pretty sure that car could go on auto-pilot: to the Desert Vineyard Church, my sister-in-law, Della's, house, Bethel and Desert Christian Schools.  She has taken teams to volleyball and basketball games, vacations to, well, all over; she has gotten me to emergencies, to births and even deaths, and I always felt safe...always.  I am sad to see her go.  I so hope some family buys her and drives her to games and vacations and adds to her legacy even more wonderful memories.

In the same day I said good-bye to my beloved van, I also read the last words in our James study.  Beth asked us to write how we feel about closing out this study with James.  That was an easy answer for me...I am sad to see it end.  Closing the last page on our James study was much like saying good-bye to my Sienna.  

There is so much about this study on James that has impacted my life and will forever leave an impression.  But, I'll tell you, one thing that struck me hard during this reading of James and that was the constant thought in my mind that this was Jesus' little brother...raised with him and pondering all that means as I read James' words.  For some reason, the book of James came to life like no other time in the past with these thoughts firmly rooted into my consciousness.  

And finally, even though James did not make it easy on us...He confronted us on so many topics in those short five chapters, it all really comes down to one message:  Treat others...all others...especially those who are poor (in all the myriad of ways "poor" can mean) with love and respect.  When you are speaking...think of what your words will do.  Will they bring good or maybe some not so good to those who are listening?  When you live out your days on this planet...think about how your actions impact others and For Pete's sake!  Look around, see the need and do something!  And what I especially love is James reminder to us that God's abundant, overflowing wisdom is available to us if we would just ask and believe.

I am sorry to see the last of James as I spend it with you, my friends!  But, Oh, how wonderful it was to spend this journey together!  

My brother, Mark, told me last night that I shouldn't be so sad about my van leaving because there will be a new car in my life with new memories to be made.  And my sweet sister in law, Della, added:  "You will always have the memories of the fun times you and your family had in the van."  True.  And that is they way it is now...Though it is sad to end James, I can hardly wait for what is in the future!  We keep learning and growing together and look at the impact!  Think of all the books given to those at the park, hygiene kits to the homeless, supplies for Monday Night Manna and that is just to name a few!  

I love being apart of this ministry because of how I see Jesus in you, in us and nothing is better than watching Him work in the lives of those He loves and who love Him!!!!

I will see some of you on the blog this summer.  Until then may you be blessed by the presence of the Lord in your life in such a way that He is obvious!

Love to you....


PS-I completely enjoyed Melissa's contributions to the study and found them fascinating!  I hope she will do the same in the future.  I looked forward to those blue shaded pages:)  Did you girls enjoy Melissa's thoughts?  

Monday, April 2, 2012

The Conflicting Truths: God Can Heal But Death is a Reality

The saddest memorial service I ever attended was for a young,  Christian man who died in his 20s from cancer.  The church was filled that day to capacity with friends and family who loved   "John," an incredibly gifted worship leader, and had prayed for him as he battled this great enemy...and prayed with faith.  Now, here they sat in a room together, stunned that God had not answered their prayers. Blame had to be placed somewhere.  The grief and, let's call it what it was, anger in the room that morning was chilling to all who entered.  From the moment I walked in the door, I knew something more than John had died.  It wasn't until John's friend, the youth minister of the church, began to talk that it became evident just what had taken the blows.  This young youth minister started his eulogy speaking these words through tears:  "When I get to heaven I am going to have some words with John.  Why did you give up?  Why did you lose faith?"  The angry, grief-filled words poured out of his broken heart and spread throughout the audience dousing any small flicker of hope or joy.  The pastor of John's church finally came to the pulpit and tried to bring some remind us that John was now with the more pain, no more tears.  We heard him, but the cloud that had settled over the observers of this service and what they thought would be a time of remembering John and celebrating the life he did have, could not be lifted easily.  

Nearly twenty years ago now, Brent Rue, the pastor of the Desert Vineyard Church, was stricken with cancer.  Once again a church found itself praying with practically every breath for the healing of their pastor.  And we believed God could heal him.  We had prayer meeting after prayer meeting and people from around the globe were praying right along with faith for Brent's healing.  And then the morning came when the news hit that Brent had died.  I will never forget that very next Sunday as a reeling congregation of believers tried to come to terms with the loss of our beloved pastor.  I overheard a man speaking to a group of people that "We had failed Brent.  We had not prayed hard enough.  We had not had enough faith."  I was stunned.  Had this man attended the prayer meetings throughout the months...corporate and personal?  Had he seen the stream of church leaders come through, each praying earnestly for Brent?  If healing had to do with amount or the fervency of prayer, Brent would be alive today.  That I do know.

Blame death on the one who died.  Blame death on those who did not pray "enough."  Blame has to go somewhere because the alternative is too hard to think about:  That God did not want to heal.  The anger over death has to land on someone.  As I think on this I am not so sure some anger over death isn't appropriate and natural.  Something inside of us knows without a doubt that it just wasn't supposed to be like this.  Those who we have known and loved so well can't just be here one moment and gone the next.  Their presence was too real, too strong, too alive.  

So what do we do with these conflicting truths:  God can heal, but  death is a reality.  Beth said these words in our study this week:  "When we cry out, our God hears whether or not He heals.  Something greater must be at stake.  Something we may not know until we see Him."  

And then there is Susi and Hannah, who I introduced you to at the beginning of this study.  Susi and her family prayed with tenacious love and faith for years to see the healing of their Hannah.  They watched as God answered some prayers and seemingly, not others and in the end, Leukemia won.  Or did it?  How many have come to know Jesus through the testimony of this young girl and her family?  Only our God knows.  How many have learned there can by joy and peace in the midst of suffering through the example of this family and have turned to the Supplier of joy and peace?  How many have been blessed?  How often God glorified through their story of His unending grace?  That does not sound like defeat or death to me. Their myriad and constant prayers were answered.  It just did not look the way they thought it would.  Susi and her family know that they will not live forever.  They know that this life is but a moment and soon they will see their Hannah once again...and they look forward to that day.  

Here and now as we walk this planet we do what we can do..."LIVE LIFE WITH GOD."  We live in fragile containers...every one of us.  We need to pray for each other's healing or continued health with all the faith within us.  We need to love extravagantly, give extravagantly, pray extravagantly, and accept God's perfect will with extravagant faith, knowing that our hope is not so much for this world as it is for home...our real home.

Some weeks back there was mention of how people asked requests of Jesus while He was living and walking on the earth.  I found it intriguing that they simply came to him and said things like:  "Your friend, Lazarus, is sick." or "There is no more wine."  And then He did what He did. No dictating of what should be done, just a statement of need.  I have thought and thought on this and it has changed my prayer life.  So often I have prayed prayers that tell God what I want Him to do and then when it doesn't happen, I am disappointed that He did not answer my prayers.  Maybe He answered the prayer I should have prayed.

Heavy subject, my friends. But worthy of our thought and understanding.  We are called to be people of faith, to pray for ourselves and others, and believe that our God is at work whatever the outcome.  I know there are those who would see this as a "cop out:"  If God doesn't heal that it wasn't His plan.  So easy to say at sorrowing bedsides and memorial services.  But it is only a "cop out" if Heaven isn't real and the death of a saint can't be used for good even after their body is gone.  I believe both of these to be absolute truth.  I may not have seen the first yet, but I have certainly seen the later many, many times. 

James tells us:  "Therefore confess your sin to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed.  The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective."  This half brother of Jesus speaks right to the heart of the want your prayers to be powerful and effective?  Confess your sins and live lives of that are righteous before God and man.

So what are your thoughts, my friends?  

Love to you...