A Word from “Brother” Jeanne
A Word from “Brother” Jeanne
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The word that “Brother” Jeanne brings is simple, sometimes humorous, and very insightful. These autobiographical essays started as a column for a church newspaper. The column was well received, with many looking forward to seeing what “Brother” Jeanne would say next.

Some of the issues Jeanne addresses are:

How do you find hope for joy and peace when the world around you is so chaotic? How can you live with God’s presence filling your life in this dark, depressing world? How can you trust that God is real, when skeptics are everywhere? How can the church make any real difference in the world? How can a Christian always act with love and kindness in the midst of meanness? How does God’s grace touch our lives? How do we find time for God when we are so busy?

With humor and a very mature wisdom Jeanne attempts to answer these questions in her essays. She also employs preacher stories from her husband, David Davis, and her father, Lance Webb.

You can find hope in this straightforward read. You can be touched and engaged and even entertained as you see the word that “Brother” Jeanne has to say!

*Then What?*
I have been thinking about consequences a lot recently. I realized long ago that every decision I made had to be couched in the question, "THEN WHAT?" I heard a sermon last week that was also about consequences - those we face if we separate ourselves from God. If we decide to defy God's will and separate ourselves from our Creator and Lord, the THEN WHAT? of our future will end up being hellish indeed!
Most of the time our decisions and actions do not seem to be so cosmic in nature. Few of us intentionally defy God. Still, there are always consequences to everything we do! Thus the importance of realistically and honestly visioning the THEN WHAT? in our future before we make any decision or take any action. The problem is that we usually think we have visioned our future, when we have only looked at the very short term future at best - with blinded eyes at the worst.
As a bride of only a year, I became furious with my husband one day. I found myself storming out the door and plotting our divorce! I think that was the first time I came face to face with a really big THEN WHAT? In the short term I sure would have paid him back for making me so upset. But when I faced the THEN WHAT? on a long term basis, I knew that I was going to have to cool down, return to the house, and try to find a way to work out our differences. You see, I knew that underneath my anger I loved him very much. I knew that in most ways he was a very fine and good man. I knew that I would miss him dreadfully and probably could never find anyone to replace him. So I returned home, and we shared our love and our lives for 34 years until his untimely death. What if I hadn't been realistic and honest in my visioning? I still shiver to think of how sad our lives would have been.
I have had to learn in the past year the pit falls for those who suffer from long term debilitating illnesses. Some days are so hard that giving up seems to be the only option. As this has happened to me, the THEN WHAT question looms with tremendous significance. What happens to me tomorrow if I give up today? I always hate the answer. Those consequences would be awful, so I don't give up. I valiantly say, "I won't give up." THEN WHAT? Jeanne! Now there arises a new decision. Do I keep going with sheer personal grit? Or do I keep going resting "in the palm of God's hand." When I just act without pondering my THEN WHAT question I always fall into the sheer grit mode. What a mess of tension and misery! When I do think about what happens when I go it alone, I always come face to face with God's power and grace, and I am saved!
God gave us minds and wills. We are expected to look ahead to the THEN WHAT? We are expected to choose based upon our reasoned thought. When we are led astray by our blind emotions, we will suffer. God gives us the insight and the power to rest in his arms - to trust in his love - to act with full awareness of all the consequences. Thanks be to God for saving grace!

*There's no Grace in Computer Solitaire*
Have you ever played Solitaire on the computer? I've had my computer since 1992, and only recently indulged in this relatively pointless activity. (I've never been much of a games person. Far to busy, you know, for such plebeian pursuits.) Now that I have become rather hooked on this meaningless activity, I have discovered some surprising things.
First, I have found that I would like to cheat - I really need to cheat, but the machine won't let me! Try putting a black queen on a black king and the machine just zaps that queen right back where she came from. Then it seems so unfair that after playing a spectacular game with marvelous moves, I am suddenly unable to move any further because of one insignificant black three. I have actually found myself plotting how I could dispose of that one rotten three! "No dice!" as they say in the gambling world - I think.
Your point "Brother" Jeanne? Besides the shock of finding that my machine's moral integrity is apparently superior to mine, I have found in this game some profound parallels to life! I have also found some strikingly profound dissimilarities.
Every time I click on "Deal," and a new hand is laid out before me on the screen I have a rising sense of anticipation that this time I will see it through to a terrifically high-score conclusion. Unfortunately I have discovered that no matter how well I play, the computer cards are most often against me. (Gamblers should take note!) I have improved my game skills. I am a better player, but that isn't enough. I believe it is called luck? - or the odds?
Life's parallels? A whole lot of what happens to us in life is beyond our control. We can be driving down the street when a drunken driver suddenly swerves into our lane and crashes into us. Tough luck! We can learn to be a more defensive driver and even the odds a little, but bad things still can happen. In computer Solitaire when the cards are "bad" and no more moves are possible the game is over. You can click on "Deal" and start a new game, or just turn off the computer.
In life, however, when you reach an impasse and your future seems hopeless, there is a way! This is the good news that Jesus brought us. God's grace transcends the "game." God's powerful, merciful, loving grace shows you new moves to make. They may be completely unexpected, and not even what you had in mind. But God's game is infinite and eternal and wonderful beyond your comprehension. When you live in his presence and allow his life to rule your life, you will always win - on God's terms, of course.

Jeanne Davis has been a musician for over fifty years, teaching, playing the organ and directing choirs. At the age of fifty-five, she became a Methodist minister in Dallas, Texas. She found her voice in the pulpit as a preacher. She is a widow with two adult children, a grandchild, and a great-grandchild.


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