Saturday, August 31, 2013


In a tree analogy, imperfect as the simile is, I am part of our living “family tree.” At this point in time I am the "trunk."

I came from our main “trunk” and I started out as a tiny bud that grew into a little twig. Then I developed into a branch. Years went by and I too became a trunk with my own own branches which, in turn, are sprouting new buds and little twigs. Now my branches are becoming trunks and inevitably I will become part of the root system. While I'm still a trunk, I must think seriously about fulfilling my trunk destiny.
Given time, I anticipate that an entire human forest will grow up around our family tree. I don't want to be lost in that forest. I have lived. I matter, as does every unique individual in our heritage. After I leave Planet Earth, future members of our family might want to know vital facets of their heritage and come across my name. Since I am presently a trunk and closer to the roots than they will be, it's up to me whether I will have made it easier or more difficult for them to find out who they are in relation to our root system? 

That doesn't necessarily mean that I have to spend time on complicated genealogy charts. However, I feel accountable to God who gave me life to let my posterity know in some user-friendly way who I am, what the times were like when I lived, my faith, and what I believed to be the purpose of my life. My children and grandchildren should realize that I was not always a mom, not always a grandma. I had and still have hopes, dreams, ideals, ideas, problems, and struggles like they have. I would like them to know the real me.
Families differ in their regard for the past. I had wonderful, caring parents and grandparents, but they were not the kind who poured into me stories of our heritage. As immigrants from Europe, they were understandably focused on making a living in the land of their adoption. Possibly they wanted to forget the hardships and misfortunes of their past. Nevertheless, looking back I do feel truncated, cut short in knowledge of my ancestry.

 Later in life I had to dig deep into the hard ground of the root system to find the gold that was surely there, as it is in every life, every family. Like an eager detective, I followed slim clues. I was amazed, surprised, delighted, and excited with every small gem of the past that I discovered. Sad to say, no matter how deep I dug, I was never able to recover some parts of our precious heritage which only my forebears knew. These are lost to our posterity.

That loss has spurred me on to find and appreciate the treasure of the past and record it in some way for our legacy. In writing my autobiography, I was disappointed that my parents and grandparents left no letters, diaries, journals, or records about themselves or their roots. They passed on without passing on anything tangible of our heritage to me as an only child. They left without leaving written footprints for me to follow. I have only my personal, imperfect memories of them, some of which may be colored by my perceptions more than reality. They could have spoken for themselves by leaving some record of their lives—but they didn’t. 

It was not all their fault, however. When I was young, it didn’t even occur to me to ask about our ancestry or my grandparents’ earlier experiences. I didn’t really care at the time; but I certainly did later. How I regret my youthful thoughtlessness! Children rarely care about their roots because they are absorbed with their present lives and their more exciting futures stretching out seemingly open-ended. 

Be that as it may, it is my opportunity to prepare for the time when they will care. It is up to me to fulfill my trunk destiny and pass on the essence of myself, what I know of our priceless past, and how important our Christian faith has been to our heritage. I am the trunk between my great-grandchildren and my great-grandparents, the earliest generation I have been able to trace. A seven generation span. What an awesome responsibility!

In the summit season of my life I am satisfied that I have done my best to pass on our heritage and my own faith journey. By writing for my posterity, I am saying, “God gave me life. I have lived fully through its seasons. I want you to know me. I want to tell you how I felt about God's purpose for my life.” 

I believe God holds me to a stewardship of the experiences He brought me through and of what He taught me. I feel a mandate to pass on those things; it is both my opportunity and wonderful privilege. 

 “Let this be recorded for the generation yet unborn, a people yet to be created [so that they] may praise the Lord” (Psalm 102:18).


I am part of what has been and what is yet to be.
Sandwiched in between is me:
I am the trunk of the family tree.

I have roots and also branches.
Generations from antiquity pass through me.
They have determined what I have become.
They are my history which has made me what I am.

New branches spring from me; they are my posterity.
I’ve had some choice in assisting and inclining them
toward the best of what they might become.
Yet they are still free to grow and change
within the range of their heredity and opportunity
and God’s special plan arranged from Eternity.

I pray for me—the trunk between—that I might be
a planting strong against the inevitable storms
yet bending with the wind if need be
passing on the best from roots unseen
but giving branches room to stretch and reach
upward to new heights
because I faithfully fulfilled
with the help of God
in my family tree
my trunk destiny.

Friday, August 30, 2013


At this writing, our four sons are either in their late 50’s or early 60's; our 10 grandchildren range in age from 13 to 36; our 7 great- grandchildren are pre-school and elementary school age. 

Our ever-expanding family circle includes spouses, ex-spouses, in-laws, blended families, and new families in formation.

I suggest that all of our children, regardless of their ages or conditions, or in whichever generation, are “special needs” children. They all have some kind of personal, relational, physical, mental, emotional, educational, material, or financial challenges. At the top of the list are their spiritual needs. 

Since I’ve been a widow for 21 years, single-parenting is a challenge. I am presently the eldest in our extended family circle, so I have a solemn responsibility given by God to shepherd my family flock spiritually, primarily through prayer. We are blessed that both my late husband’s paternal grandmother and my paternal grandmother prayed for the spiritual welfare of their descendants. Or putting it another way, they prayed forward for the branches and twigs that were yet to sprout on their family tree. Those “yet to be born” as David the Psalmist expressed it. That is all of us!

Our family members are spiritual heirs of the efficacious prayers of our ancestors. Those prayers did not diminish in power through the ages past and will not become less potent in ages to come.

It is for me to carry forward the lighted torch of prayer for my generation while I have mortal life on earth. Beyond that, I expect to continue joyful intercession for them and for future generations of our family in God’s presence after I am birthed into Life Eternal.


O Lord, I pray for our family, not on the basis of my own righteousness but because of Your love for them and the sacrificial death of Jesus Christ for them. 

As the matriarch of our family, I come before You to intercede for Your grace and mercy upon each one in our family—our children, (no matter what their ages) and their spouses and children, our grandchildren and great-grandchildren including families whose relationships have broken, and for new families in the making. I ask for Your Holy Spirit to draw their eternal souls to repentance and salvation and grant them eternal life in accord with the promises of Your Holy Word. I pray that each member of our family, biological offspring or in a blended family relationship, will through an act of their free will become a child of Your covenant. I pray that the Guardian Angel You have assigned to each of us for our lifetime will protect and guide us all safely to our Heavenly Home.

I ask You to protect our family physically and spiritually. Lead them all in Your paths of righteousness and in Your perfect will toward his or her special destiny. Bless them with Your favor, give them their daily bread, and prosper them according to their needs and for Your glory. 

On the authority of God’s promises in His Word I ask that negative spiritual strongholds of evil principalities and powers be torn down and any past generational curses be removed. In the Name of Jesus I resist the devil on behalf of our family. Deliver them from evil and the evil one. Banish his power from their lives, their bodies, minds, souls and properties.

I call forth Your bountiful blessings, O Lord, upon our family in agreement with the prayers of our godly ancestors. I receive and embrace Your favor and grace and mercy for myself and for my descendants because of Your love and faithfulness to Your covenant promises to our forefathers. Through the synergy of our prayers, I pass on our generational blessings with joy and vigor and faith to our posterity.

I pray that Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven in my life and in the lives of each member of my family. Help us to be diligent to establish, maintain, and bring forward a godly heritage to those in our family now and to those yet to be born. May we courageously and faithfully fulfill the purposes for which You gave us life and opportunity in this designated time in history that You have ordained for us. 

In the Name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Amen

Thursday, August 29, 2013


From chapter 11, "Wordsmithing on my summit" from forthcoming book, STILL MORE--FLOURISHING ON MY SUMMIT.

As the years went by, under the guiding hand of God my writing became a ministry and a high calling and God's gift to be invested for His profit. I constantly look to the Lord for His inspiration and creative enabling.

In itself, creative writing is an honorable craft to be proud of and developed. People may misunderstand and view poets and authors unfairly as ivory tower dwellers, eccentric, and not in touch with the real world. People think we are dreamy-eyed mystics who still write with quill pens and live in garrets. There are many myths about artists in general and poets in particular that make it difficult to be taken seriously. Sometimes when I reply to an inquiry about what kind of writing I do and admit that I don't write novels, people seem to act disappointed that I'm not a “real” writer.

I have spent a lifetime writing about our contemporary world from a Christian worldview in modern language. I have addressed today's issues and concerns in every changing season of my life. I have tried to continually improve my writing skills and discipline myself to write better poetry as well as prose. I am somewhat of a nonconformist since I don't follow any classic or traditional format. 

My style of poetry is contemporary free verse, but I separate myself from many modern poets. In contrast to some of them, I don't simply dance around on paper with words and sounds for their own sake and make the reader search for the meaning, if there is any. I try to create a meaningful, user-friendly poem with a point that is not so obscure.

Eventually I published several anthologies of my poetry under separate titles: “Life, Stop Crowding Me; Heaven and Nature Sing; Songs of My Pilgrimage; and Divine Applications.” My book “Living It Up!” is a combination of prose and poetry. The first three titles are combined into one volume as a Trilogy collection under the title: “Celebrate This Moment.” 
I titled my recent collection of contemporary verse “Latter Rain: Wordsmithing Verse in my Vintage Season.” God is still generously raining His goodness, mercy, graces, blessings, and new adventures on me in my summit years. I consider this season of my life as my  “vintage” writing time taking my cue from wine making. Vintage wine is defined as “exceptionally fine wine from a good year.” I hope that my current writing is "the best wine saved until last" from a mature harvest in the sense of Psalm 103: 5. “[God] satisfies your years with good things so your youth is renewed like the eagle's.” I hope that my overall writing is “the best of its kind because of [my] antiquity!

I have used my poetry in the production of my radio broadcast ministry. Poetry is meant to be heard with the ears as well as read in print where it is “listened to” with the eyes. I've had a desire to pass on the craft of versification to others who want to release the poet within themselves for the glory of God and for ministry, so I've taught poetry workshops at Writers' Conferences. I used as a resource my published book, “Release the Poet Within! How to Launch and Improve Poetry Craft and Ministry.” It is relevant for the seasoned poet and the beginner.

I began my writing ministry with poetry and thought I would never be a writer of books because such longer and more involved writing required a different kind of discipline. As it has turned out, God had plans for me to expand my writing stewardship to somewhere around 35 published books so far. A number of my books are translated into other languages. 
A writer who is a Christian must view himself and his creative work with the proper perspective. I must be aware first of all that I write to glorify God with “verses to the King.” That is what David the Psalmist called what he wrote. The Psalms are a poetic songbook. Manly and strong and powerful as a military leader and his country's king, he is equally known as a poet and musician. David wrote about the issues and concerns of life, as poets do.


When I compose a poem
it is first of all a hymn, a psalm
to Jesus Christ, Lord of my life
as King David did
when he penned the psalms.

When I write a poem
it is an intimate slice
of my private, inner world
that is hidden from view
a part of my soul
that not all may care to see
but that’s okay with me
my thoughts are not for everyone
just for a selected few.

When I express my heart in verse
I become vulnerable
I lift a veil and take the risk
of exposing my soul to another.

When I venture to share my poem
I offer a song of my heart
of my personal pilgrimage
meant only for the ears
of one with ears to listen
someone whose heart may respond
to sing in two-part harmony.

"Your decrees are the theme of my song wherever I lodge."
Psalm 119:54
"He who has ears to hear, let him hear."
[Jesus] Matthew 11:15


From chapter 11 "Wordsmithing on my summit" from book-in-progress: STILL MORE--FLOURISHING ON MY SUMMIT.

The parable Jesus told about the distribution of talents could have several applications. In the original economy context of that day He used the word “talent” in a monetary sense to indicate measurement of a commodity. A talent was a unit of weight equal in value to a talent-weight of gold, silver, or other metal. At that time it would not have meant a special natural ability or aptitude or marked performing skill as it is commonly thought of today. It described something tangible that a person could literally wrap in cloth and bury in the ground or do business with or invest or put in the bank. 

In any case, interest and growth of the principal was expected. The point of the parable is that we are accountable “to the Master” how we use whatever He gave us whether it be much or seemingly little. It is a matter of faithful stewardship.

In my youth and as a young Christian, I thought of the talent in Jesus' parable in the mistaken modern sense of the performing arts or skills or natural gifts. I envied some of my close friends who played the piano or other instruments, acted in dramas, had artistic gifts for painting, were skilled in handcrafting, or athletics. I thought God left me out when He distributed “talents.” I couldn't think of anything I could do or any service I could render to the Lord when I surrendered my life to follow Him completely.

I was an only child and a shy introvert who felt most comfortable while reading books. In my childhood, “Mother Goose” rhymes initiated me into the world of verse, and I tried to imitate them by making up my own rhymes. One Christmas when I was seven, an aunt gave me the thick, illustrated volume of Stevenson's “A Child's Garden of Verses.” It sparked into flame my desire to write poetry. I memorized many poems effortlessly because of their singsong format and my repeated reading. I recited poems while pumping on my rope swing under our old apple tree in the back yard. 

Without brothers and sisters for playmates, I chose books as my best friends. After I saved enough nickels and dimes to buy the paperback edition of “One Hundred and One Famous Poems,” Wordsworth, Longfellow, Byron and Dickinson became my friends. My favorite card game was “Authors.” The portraits of poets and writers and their works were pictured on the playing cards. Our local newspaper daily published Edgar Guest's whimsical poetry. I devoured his heavily rhymed books on folksy topics which I understood more easily than the more obscure themes of the classic poets.

Our family was not particularly literary or academically inclined. Neither of my parents went further than high school. They were immigrants from what is now the Czech Republic and worked hard for a living. My beloved, live-in Czech grandmother, who didn't speak a word of English, loved poetry in her own language. When I snuggled on her lap on long evenings, she read to me in her language. She taught me to recite a few traditional Czech children's poems which I still remember.

I developed a love for words and expressions and imagination and immersed myself in all kinds of literature. From early childhood my own words and stories began to pour forth, particularly in poetry which was my first love. Since I didn't know anyone else who wrote poetry, I didn't want to be teased or ridiculed for my halting efforts. I thought my classmates would call me the equivalent of a “nerd” in today's slang. I longed to meet a real live poet who wrote about ideas in my world but I didn't know where to find one.

I kept my poems secret and hid my “collected works” in a shoebox in the attic. That was my youthful version of wrapping my talent in a cloth and burying it.

When I reached my teens, I decided to burn all my poems in a ritual of relinquishment because, to my supposedly newly grown up mind, they were too juvenile. But I couldn't keep from writing poetry because it bubbled up from somewhere deep inside. I have always found it more natural to express my emotions in poetry than in prose. 
I was delighted when we started to study poetry in a high school literature class. But when my interpretation of a classic poem differed from the teacher's explanation, she told me it was “wrong” and I felt humiliated. I wondered how she could really know what the poet meant. Her remark kept me hiding my poetic efforts so that no one would criticize them. Nevertheless, I have kept releasing the poet within me for a lifetime.

Eventually I recognized my wordsmithing for what it was—the valuable treasure from God I had hidden underground like the one talent in Jesus' parable. And I hurried to invest it through faithful stewardship for a long lifetime to please the Lord who so generously gave it to me.


Leona Choy

Some paint with brush and canvas
depicting beauty seen by human eyes
others paint with notes on a staff
which become music to delight the ear
some paint with green thumbs
planting and tending seeds to harvest
in fields and gardens
for beauty and nourishment.
I paint with words.

Some paint with photo lens capturing color
some blend nature's produce to cook
gourmet food for eager palates
some paint with skillful healing hands
to restore health to broken bodies and minds
and bring color again to pallid cheeks.
I paint with words.

Some paint with hammer and nails
daubing mortar and cement
to build homes for fellow man
others paint with numbers and equations
probing and solving universal mysteries
or painting with technologies and systems
creating astounding things in cyberspace
beyond my finite comprehension.
I paint with words.

Some paint on engineering blueprints
white lines on blue backgrounds
bringing to life impressive architectural edifices
a graphic artist paints from dreams and imagination
still life or incredible animation
a sculptor paints with mallet and chisel in stone.
 I paint with words.

Each is an artist endowed by Creator God
with a portion of His creative spirit
in stewardship as a precious gift
not intended to be a secret treasure
to hide or bury unused
but to discover and invest and multiply—
and so must I
I paint with words.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013


In other chapters of her life she was….” That phrase grabbed me when I read it in the review of someone's life. 

Yes, my life too is like a book with chapters. Since I've written many life-chapters already, I look back now that I am living my summit chapter and feel as if I were a different person in each of those chapters. In a sense I was different; as I matured, I assumed different roles in the various chapters (seasons) of my life. In a sense I am still the same protagonist, the unchanging leading character throughout my non-fiction life book. But God is without question the Author.

We’re always told not to read the last chapter of a book to see how it turned out; we should wait to be surprised. The Mother of Jesus was unique, however, because God gave her a prophetic peek through old Simeon at the Presentation of baby Jesus in the temple. He revealed one of the later chapters of her life that would pierce her heart. I'm not privy to such a revelation; perhaps it is best that all of us are spared that glimpse. Either we would be too eager to reach the happy ending of our life story—or drag our feet if we knew in advance about some trial that was to come.

I am a bookworm; I inhale books, so to speak. As a writer, I think in chapters. I love to read all kinds of books, especially biographies and dramatic New York Times bestsellers, if they are clean. If I have any addiction, it is that I overindulge when I read a book—once started, I overeat it. I'm intemperate; I swallow the book whole, gobble it up almost at one sitting. I feel compelled to read it straight through to the finish, let the world go by; nothing else will get done. And I always have another good book waiting in the wings as soon as I finish the last page of the current one.

Our lives are like the chapters in a book, a biography. In the beginning we have the front matter, the foretaste that launches our story, like the Acknowledgments, Foreword, Introduction, maybe a Preface. God has determined the setting, chosen our DNA, and the circumstances where our life-drama will take place. He chose the plot and the characters who will interact with us in life but allowed ample choice through our free will. It’s bound to be a real page-turner! 

Each chapter is separate and chronologically progressive. No single chapter is the whole book; the plot and subplots keep unfolding, so I shouldn't get bent out of shape at how things seem to be turning out in a particular chapter, like the one I am living right now. God is at work developing the whole exciting adventure story of my life. I shouldn't despair half way through. I must hang in there—everything will work out. The kids who are in diapers in one chapter will walk down the aisle in cap and gown and later in wedding apparel. The stuff I worry about which I don’t think I can possibly live through, I may not even remember when I'm living in the next chapter.

I can anticipate a generous basketful of serendipity times and events and adventures that will contribute to the fulfilling of God's purpose for my life. And a ton of ordinary days and seeming non-events. The trivials and humdrum routines are said to be the very building blocks to develop our holiness. The Mother of Jesus and his foster father Joseph surely must have had many joyful but ordinary, homespun times with Jesus as He was growing up. Not everything they said and did would have been quotable, earth-shaking, and worthy of holy writ otherwise the gospels would have included that part of Jesus' biography. 

Since my life is made up of so many commonplace daily doings, I shall enjoy each chapter as the pages turn and treasure the beloved characters who are living it with me. In my life book some characters will come and others will go. I must keep offering to God all things joyful and painful and accept His well-plotted plan for my life story. I shall live fully in the present chapter until God writes the first line of the next chapter.

There are times in life when I have thought that surely I have reached the last chapter and God must be getting ready to close my book. I can't second-guess God! When I approached my eightieth year, I thought I had written the final chapter in my literally about-to-be-published autobiography. What more could God possibly have left for me to experience in life? Little did I know that not one but several more incredible chapters (and several more books) were about to unfold. Instead of being finished, I was right on the verge of one of the greatest paradigm changes of my life. 

I'm always eager for God’s breathtaking, fantastic surprises in each next chapter! Ultimately, after God concludes the last chapter of my earthly life story, I look forward to a grand Epilogue, a fitting climax—Eternity in the Presence of the Blessed Trinity! 

As they say, “The best is yet to come!” So I celebrate each chapter as a loving gift from God!

Tuesday, August 27, 2013


We say that an infant is fretful who restlessly half-cries, half-whines, and continually makes unhappy, complaining snivels and whimpers. The baby just doesn't respond to comforting. Moms know the difference between fretting and colic-like, piercing, painful cries that really do demand attention. Fretting is more like nagging, irritating, staccato noises that don’t seem to be serious but nevertheless get on your nerves.

Could fretting be something that adults also engage in? Surely not sweet-tempered Christian moms or gentle grandmas! Is there a mirror around?

The dictionary defines fretting as "being excessively worried, anxious, vexed, irked, troubled, consumed by an emotion that wears you down and erodes your contentment.” Those are not very becoming attitudes for a trusting child of God. Jesus diagnoses it as “heart trouble” and commands us, “Let not your heart be troubled….” 

I’m ashamed to say that I do catch myself fretting more than occasionally. At times I act more like a spiritual infant than a seasoned Christian well along in years. My Heavenly Father can’t be pleased to hear that sort of noise from a child like me who should be further along in maturity.

What does my fretting look like and sound like? Sometimes I go over and over a certain matter in my mind like a broken record. I can’t seem to turn it off. Usually it isn’t some colossal issue but something inconsequential that is bothering no one else but me. I find myself sweating the small stuff. I feel edgy and bothered about something that is usually trivial. Nevertheless, it annoys me and gnaws at me. In reality, that symbolism is vividly accurate—it is eating away at my peace. I feel it deep down in my stomach almost like a spiritual ulcer of worry that corrodes healthy tissue.

Fretting brings along more attitudes dressed in the costumes of my personal Seven Dwarfs—Touchy, Crabby, Cranky, Cross, Peevish, Testy and Huffy. They may look small, but they cause giant problems. They sneak up on me unawares and effectively disable me from being an effective witness to my Christian faith. 

When I fret, I confess that I’m impatient and that is not a fruit of the Spirit. No wonder fret is a four letter word to avoid—it is the antithesis of peace, harmony, contentment and docility to the will of God. Perhaps I’m not alone when I say that I have a hard time waiting for things to happen in God’s time. Since I’m accustomed to act in the fast lane, I fret because I can’t make something happen fast enough.

In Psalm 37 King David used the word fret three times. “Fret not yourself…” It was a negative command, not simply a polite suggestion. To fret or not to fret is obviously something that is under my own control. No one puts fret on me; I cook it up myself and “boil in my own stew,” so to speak. I waste my effort if I pray for God to stop me from fretting. I have to take myself by the scruff of my neck and simply stop doing it. By an act of my will I must refuse to fret and replace it with something else. So what should I substitute for my frequent penchant to fret? Should I tape an eleventh commandment on my bathroom mirror? “Thou shalt not fret!”

King David doesn’t leave me without a solution: “Fret not yourself…Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the Lord. Trust also in Him, and He will do it. Rest in the Lord and wait patiently for Him; Fret not yourself, it will only harm you…” (Psalm 37: 4, 5, 7, 8). That’s a loaded passage of Scripture worthy of serious meditation to unpack all of its implications.

Best of all, such wisdom and my obedience to embrace that solution are guaranteed to banish those cantankerous Seven Dwarfs whom I too often allow to march in my door whistling a fret song. 

I'm going to stop putting FRET on my Welcome Mat!

Monday, August 26, 2013

Women Credit Faith With Linking Them For Kidney Transplant « CBS New York

Women Credit Faith With Linking Them For Kidney Transplant « CBS New York

 Click on the title above and the link will appear for the story and the video/audio. 

Jennifer Philipps, the recipient of a life-saving kidney transplant from a fellow church member has been Leona Choy's special friend and prayer partner since they met more than 20 years ago at a Christian Writers Conference where they had been assigned to be roommates. She is a journalist in New Jersey. 

Leona and Jennifer are "Birthday Buddies" sharing the same birthday June 22nd but 20 years apart.

Sunday, August 25, 2013


Uncle John was a beloved elderly friend from bygone years who always carried a little can of “3-in-One”oil in his car. He was a do-it-yourself handyman by hobby. 

Whenever he visited us or other friends, we knew what to expect. If any door squeaked on its hinges, especially some of the older doors that were quite worn from being opened and closed so many times, we knew that Uncle John would attend to them. He also headed for anything else that made an unwanted mechanical noise to give it his undivided attention with the oil can. I'm sure that all the many doors in our home were the most silent in the neighborhood.

Curious to know if that brand of oil was still sold, I did a Google search. “3-in-One” was originally formulated in 1894 as a general-purpose lubricating oil sold in small cans and squeezable containers for household use. The inventor, George W. Cole of New Jersey, named it for the product's triple ability to "clean, lubricate and protect" originally for bicycle chains. It had a distinctive sharp odor. 

Uncle John has long gone to his reward, but I wondered if the oil was still around. The product changed ownership many times throughout the 20th century and was bought by its current owners, the WD-40 Company. Ah ha! I discovered that I have a can of that in our tool box! They retained the old-fashioned logo of the text "3 in" inside a large numeral "1" and more recently redesigned the can to look like the early 20th century oil can that Uncle John carried around (hemisphere base with tapered straight spout). The current marketing slogan is "The Tool Kit In A Can." 

Uncle John was a devout Christian and the brand name of the oil brings to my mind the analogy of the Trinity with the symbolism of the Holy Spirit's oil for anointing.

There are many squeaky things in life that grate on our nerves and annoy our ears. There are also many squeaky people who make a lot of noise about nothing, and complain about everything. They are usually self-centered, picky, fussy, and fastidious. Unfortunately, some of them, (some of us) are in the senior segment of years. The squeaky symptom seems to come along with the package of growing older. No question about it, we have accumulated many things to squeak about, to grouse about.

Some of our squeaks have to do with relationships. Some are intergenerational gripes. We sound off about the younger members of our family or modern society in general. People aren't what they used to be, we claim. What we may really mean is that we are no longer the center of our world or theirs. Of course it goes both ways. We may seem bothersome to them or misunderstood by them and we, in turn, may misjudge them. The difficulty is that our two or more generations are trying to live in different time zones and yet we share real time in our relationships.

We need the “3 in One” divine Trinity oil with the application of the Holy Spirit's gentleness, patience, love, humility, forbearance, and all the rest of the fruit of the Holy Spirit listed in Galatians chapter five. We need faith in and respect for one another intergenerationally, and faith and trust in God that He is continuing to work in all of our lives for good—not necessarily for our personal comfort and convenience, but for the harmonious working out of His purposes among us.

Lord, please give me a big squirt of that divine oil to anoint me at the hinge of those potential squeaks of life as I grow older. Send along an Uncle John to help me if necessary so I can be a Barnabas encourager in my summit relationships instead of a whiner and grumbler.

Friday, August 23, 2013


(From chapter "Summit meetings with God"

I would be fastidiously careful about selecting my wardrobe if I were scheduled to have an audience with royalty or be invited to meet with the president or some other important person. The Word of God gives me some explicit instructions about protocol when showing up for my summit meetings with the Lord.

What is appropriate? Shall I wear the "spirit of heaviness"? Or the "garment of praise"? (Isaiah 61:3) What is more fitting for such an illustrious occasion? The former seems too weighty for the rarefied atmosphere at my summit. 
Sometimes I do start to approach the Lord with a spirit of heaviness because of discouragement, physical weariness, or emotional pressures and stress. I join the Psalmist to question myself, “Why are you cast down (in despair, sunk down), O my soul (my inner self), and why have you become disturbed (disquieted, moaning) within me?” And then I answer myself with assurance and trust: “Hope in God, for I shall again praise Him for the help of His presence” (Psalm 42:5 combining words from several translations).

I am to “Enter His gates with thanksgiving and His courts with praise” (Psalm 100:4). At the gate the Lord has provided a changing room where I can “put on the garment of praise.” He hands me a “garland (ornament or diadem) of beauty in exchange for ashes” and anoints me with “the oil of gladness instead of mourning” (Isaiah 61:3).

This change of apparel allows me to enter His royal presence with eager singing instead of sighing, with a light step instead of reluctantly dragging my feet. Properly attired, my summit meetings with God then become a time of refreshing and restoration reviving my drooping spirit.


What shall I wear today, Lord?
I have a closet full of clothes
but I don't know what I'll face.
What appointments lie ahead?
Shall I wear blue denim or lace?

I just can't decide.
Lord, will You choose
 my proper outfit?
I'm sure You will provide
whatever is in vogue and classy.
It will be fine with me
I know I'll be a hit.

Well, thanks—I guess.
What You chose does match:
military helmet and boots
all in camouflage
coordinating accessories
a belt of truth—
but a sword to use?

I can't really say
that I expected armor!
Something lighter perhaps
chic and trendy
even chosen in haste
would have been
more to my taste.

But You know best
what I will meet
in the marketplace
and on the street
that needs a shield
breastplate and sword
out on the field
of my day.

I feel secure now.
Come what may
I'll wear Your battle gear
more proudly than mink or sable
because this ensemble carries
Your designer label!

(Ephesians 6:10-18)


I come to a summit meeting with God not primarily to ask for my needs and wants but to please Him. “The Lord takes pleasure in His people” (Psalm 149:4). When I communicate with Him I fulfill the purpose for which He created man. 

The Scripture informs me that God is spirit and He created mankind in His image. I don't understand the full implications of that but somehow God also experiences emotions: love, anger, satisfaction, disappointment, joy, etc. I understand this to be anthropopathy—ascribing human attributes, passions, or feelings to a being or thing not human, esp. to a deity. I find this expressed throughout Scripture.

So I may say that God experiences pleasure! Jesus was aware that He pleased His Father and said that He always did the things that were pleasing to Him. God the Father in turn declared that He was well-pleased with His son. God spoke prophetically about Jesus through Isaiah in chapter 8:29, “My chosen one in whom My soul delights.” A man's ways can be pleasing to the Lord, (Proverbs 16:7) and “The Lord delights in those who fear Him, who put their hope in His unfailing love.” I find it incredible that God actually enjoys us, and that by praying I make Him happy.

Zephaniah 3:17 reinforces that conclusion: "The Lord is with you, He is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you, He will quiet you with His love, He will rejoice over you with singing!"

But does God “smile”? The Living Bible paraphrases Psalm 4:6, “Lift up (the light of your countenance) beam, smile upon us, O Lord.” The blessing in Numbers 6:25 echoes “lift up Your countenance” and asks “God's face to shine upon us.” That sounds like smiling to me. When I respond in obedience to Him and say Yes, Lord, I cause God to smile at me. When I come to a summit meeting with Him and pray in faith, I surely make God smile. I put myself in the right position to receive God's favor. In turn, I am to “Delight yourself in the Lord and He shall give you the desires of your heart” (Psalm 37:4).

That's what summit meetings with God are all about. God can't move on me, in me, or through me in power until I move into His presence. To enter into His presence I simply walk into it in my spirit. I am to take the initiative and draw near to Him and He will draw near to me. The Scriptures tell me that whenever I am in God's presence there is fulness of joy, pleasures forevermore, and all my springs of joy are in Him. 

A worship chorus echoes that thought:
“Take joy, my King, in what You hear
May it be a sweet, sweet sound in Your ear.”

Thursday, August 22, 2013


Excerpt from chapter "Summit meetings with God" from Leona's current book-in-progress, "STILL MORE--FLOURISHING ON MY SUMMIT"

In simplest terms, my summit meetings with God can be defined in terms of a-b-cs. Always Be Connected. I see many analogies with my smart phone.

I never turn off my Samsung Galaxy SIII. Because I'm always connected, I must be meticulous about keeping it charged so I don't miss any message. It emits a gentle, melodic whistle when there is an incoming text message and a louder melody of my choosing when a call comes in.  In Church or wherever I want to receive my message silently and privately, I set it on vibrate. But whether text or phone, I must acknowledge it by answering or I won't know what the message is. And I “can't leave home without it.” My four sons lovingly scold me if I forget and drive away with the cell phone still on the table because they don't want to be out of touch with me in an emergency. 

My grandson Jeffrey informs me that I've scarcely tapped into a fraction of many more wonderful features on my cell phone. Well, at this advanced age, I'm happy enough with knowing the minimum features to daily do what I need to do. 

Of course, when I'm in range of an available WI-Fi network, I can access the Internet and other data services. Through its maps and navigation features Galaxy will tell me exactly where I am (in case I don't know that) in relation to any other location on earth. If I want to, I can view-travel anywhere in the world by asking to see some faraway place and virtually walk the streets there. I can locate places of interest or an address on an aerial map and then observe the location in detail at street level. Through YouTube I can look at videos and upload my own. I can access social media and connect with and keep up with the activities of my friends and loved ones. 

It is handy to view my emails from wherever I am without going to my computer. I can read ebooks without going to my KINDLE. I no longer need a camera. I can take photos, and instantly send and receive them from anyone and store them for retrieval. I can record my voice and listen to the radio. I could draw and paint and play games (which I really don't want to do). I can load and listen to music. I can see my friends face to face in real time with Skype. 

Galaxy tells me what day it is, when my appointments are, the temperature and weather forecast where I am or in any place in the world, if I'm curious. I can speak to my smart phone and Galaxy replies with a mechanical voice and does my bidding when I give it commands. As I drive, through the GPS feature it will guide me to whatever place I wish to go. With my Skyview app I can see the stars and planets day or night in real time and locate all the constellations with their names. There seem to be dozens of apps at my fingertips which I can download to assist me. 

That's just a beginning list, and the next generation of smart phones will doubtless top all those properties with still undreamed of features. It seems that the sky is the limit. Remarkable? Yes! Supernatural? Of course not. Miraculous? Not so much....

As marvelous as this slim little piece of hardware and electronics is, my God-connection enabling my summit meetings with God through prayer is far beyond any high-tech accomplishment of man's ingenuity. And it take place without any hardware or software or electronics. Moreover, the sky is not the limit, nor is our galaxy, nor all the universes that may be out there. The wonder and mystery of my human communication with our infinite God is beyond space and time. Compared to that, man's technological and electronic achievements are puny, fallible, temporary, and destructible. 
If there were to be a high-altitude nuclear blast or natural disaster, or terror attack in America that would affect the electromagnetic field, the fallout from such a catastrophe could damage or destroy our country's power grids and all electronics. It could deal society a deathblow. Such a cataclysm could end modern civilization as we know it by frying electrical circuits and knocking out power. This could create such a collapse of our fundamental productive capacity that you could literally see a civilization crash and tear itself apart fighting—internally. 

We are warned that an EMP (electromagnetic pulse) disruption could throw all of us (if we survived) back to an existence equal to that of the Middle Ages. Every modern electronic gadget that is dependent on the electric grid could crash silent and impotent. We could become like limp puppets whose strings are cut. Goodbye Samsung Galaxy SIII and all of its electronic kin!

Our generation's misplaced total dependence on electronics and the power grid could leave us with the consequences of the Tower of Babel. There the out-of-control ambition of man without God to “build a tower whose top would reach to the heavens” came under the judgment of God.

In contrast, Jesus and His power Source is infinite and indestructible. “Jesus Christ the same yesterday, today, and forever” (Hebrews13:8). He promised that He would never leave us or forsake us. My password is “Saved by grace” which enables me to come boldly into God's presence anytime in Jesus' Name. He wants me to have an uninterrupted connection so that I will always be in a position to hear His voice and receive His message clearly.

His guidance system is without error. He whispers to the ears of my heart but not in a robotic, mechanical voice. Our eternal God knows where I am at all times. I am never out of His range. Enabled by the app of the Holy Spirit, through my intercessory connection established through the mediation of Jesus Christ with the Father, I can reach anyone anywhere by prayer in less than a nanosecond. 

On my part, I must keep my spiritual life charged up through the means Jesus provided. God's Word and His sacraments are the way by which I abide in Him and He in me. I must not neglect His invitation and command, “This do in remembrance of Me.” Partaking of His body and blood in the Eucharist is my Charger. 

I should not take lightly this wonderful God-connection. I must answer promptly when He signals my heart. Rather than issuing commands to Him, I should obey His commands. I fear no EMP failure because God is with me as my Protector and Deliverer. “Nothing can separate me from the love of God...” (Romans 8:38). It goes without saying that I must be careful not to separate myself from His side or I will receive only a weak signal or suddenly find myself out of His range. 

God is not some “google-in-the-sky” for receiving information, satisfying my curiosity, or playing games. The knowledge and wisdom I have available from our infinite God is perfect, timeless, and from the perspective of the Creator of the universe. It is not dependent upon being programmed in by some mortal with no access to the deep things of God.

My summit meetings with God are designed by Him to tap into His power which enables me to do His will on earth as it is done in heaven.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013


Excerpt from chapter "Summit meetings with God"

I have some comfortable habits: comfort foods I love to eat and favorite comfortable clothing that I reach for in the closet when I'm at leisure. Old scuffed up shoes and hang-loose, well-worn sweat shirts help me feel cozy and content. But stale bread is not my first choice. It's okay when toasted and cut into croutons, but I much prefer the aroma of fresh-baked bread hot out of the oven (or from my automatic bread maker)!

God supplied fresh manna daily for the Israelites in the wilderness. He instructed them not to save today's provision for tomorrow because it would spoil. Moreover, they should trust Him to provide it fresh again the next morning. When I come for a summit meeting with God, it is still nourishing, comfortable, and edifying to come in a familiar way and read well-known passages from the Bible or pray the same prayers from the Liturgy day after day, and pray through my prayer list. 

But wouldn't it delight the Lord if I came into His presence with eager anticipation of a fresh touch, a fresh anointing, a fresh filling of the Holy Spirit? It would be like eating fresh bread! It is spiritually exhilarating to find new promises, recount and praise God for new blessings, rejoice over newly discovered truths, to receive new insights into God's character and majesty.

Better than a bowl of crunchy cereal in the morning is the fresh bowl of mercies that the Lord prepares for my breakfast. “It is of the Lord's mercies and loving-kindness that we are not consumed, because His (tender) compassions fail not. They are new every morning; great and abundant is Your stability and faithfulness” (Lam.3:22, 23 Amplified Version). 

Every morning at my summit meeting I don't have to eat leftover mercies. A fresh helping is waiting for me because I used up the former ones. Yesterday's mercies covered yesterday's failures and shortcomings. Tomorrow is not yet in need of God's mercy. God provides more than enough mercies to take care of the needs He knows I will have today since “His compassions fail not.”

Fresh Touch

A fresh touch from you—
how I long for it, Lord!
My spirit grows stale
when I settle for yesterday's bread
or empty calorie glazed donuts
or drive-through junk food.

Each day I want to eat
Your fresh Bread of Life
prepared by Your hands
just after dawn
upon a glowing fire of charcoal
like You provided fish and bread
generously spread
for those who followed You
beside the Sea of Tiberias.

Give us this day our daily bread
homemade Bread of Your Word
and the Bread and Wine
of Your Body and Blood
prepared by Your nail-pierced hands
kindling love in us
while we are being nourished.

Since I belong to You
I cannot live on instant food
no, cannot walk or work
sustained by man's baked goods
even if freshened in a microwave oven.
Essential is Your wholesome Bread
delivered fresh each day
from Your heart to mine.
Only that will nurture me.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013


Excerpt from chapter "Summit meetings with God" from Leona's book-in-progress

Although God is eternal and outside of time constraints, He obviously decided to establish the daily cycle as the best way to run His Planet Earth. 

He set the Earth's rotation ordaining darkness and light to provide a rest and work cycle. We are unable to survive with just an occasional meal or a weekly nap. He fashioned our bodies with a need to eat daily and sleep nightly. He declared, “It is good.” 

God instructed certain daily sacrifices in the Old Testament to foreshadow things to come. In our book of songs and worship, the Psalms, the dailyness of our relationship with God is emphasized. “So I will sing praise to Thy name forever, that I may pay my vows day by day” (61:8). “I have called upon Thee every day, O Lord” (88:9). David wrote about declaring God's lovingkindness in the morning and His faithfulness by night (92:2).

As God provided manna in the wilderness daily for the people of Israel, so He daily provides “life and breath and everything” for me generously and not meagerly. David reminded us that God “...daily loads us with benefits...” (68:19). Jesus taught us to pray, “...give us this day our daily bread” (Matt. 6:11). “And they [the apostles] continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house...” (Acts 2:46) followed that pattern closely.

Since everything in life runs by God's ordained daily cycle, if I neglect touching God daily in my summit meetings, I am out of God's perfect order. I may have a distant relationship with Him, but I am missing out on the marvelous privilege of intimacy with Him.

We live in an instant generation where fast is a virtue in everything from obtaining food to computer response time and immediate email communication through cyberspace. However, in spiritual matters there is no drive-through relationship with God. How long I spend in God's presence is not really the issue. I am instantly in the presence of God through the indwelling Christ, but my connection needs to be continuous not intermittent. If I want to hear from God, I have to take the time daily to know Him better so I'll recognize His voice.

Some years ago a perverted demonstration of fun was for someone without a stitch of clothing to run across a football field for attention—or to sprint stark naked down a city sidewalk. It was called “streaking.” If I halfheartedly bolt in and out of God's presence, am I not a “spiritual streaker”? I need to invest daily time in God's presence in order to have a fruitful relationship with Him. When I daily offer myself to God, my commitment and praise acceptably ascend to Him like incense from the altar of my heart. With my face uplifted to the Lord, I'm confident that all is well because come what may, my daily life is ordered by God. 

By and large, in my advanced years I have more discretionary time for summit meetings with God than I had in my career working years. “To whom much is given, of him shall much be required” (Luke 12:48). That potentially provides me with more daily time to wait upon the Lord for which I am accountable.