Talks with Johnnie Lord

20 Nov

Talks with Johnnie Lord

 DiVoran Lites

DiVoran Lites

I was in the first Sunday School class Johnnie Lord taught when she and Peter first came to Titusville. We met in the house next door to our church, the First Baptist, downtown. As I recall, it was a space-filled room with sunshine splashing through the windows and over the wooden floors.

Johnnie talked slow and southern. I, who had just come from California with my husband and two small children, was fascinated by her. She used her hands in teaching, and did I say she was soft-spoken and kind? No? Well, she was the kindest and wisest woman I have ever personally known. I am by no means alone in feeling this way.

One of the first things I recall Johnnie telling us was that a woman was responsible for dressing modestly instead of trying to draw attention to herself by wearing what might be called alluring clothing. That was the first time I ever heard that idea, although I’m sure my mother and grandmother had done their best to instill it in me. Of course she was teaching the Bible, but in a new and accessible way I’d never heard before.

The first time I knew Christian books, besides the Bible, existed was when Johnnie introduced us to, The Christian’s Secret of a Happy Life, by Hannah Whithall Smith. It’s a wonderful book. I recently bought a copy to see what had helped me so much. Basically it’s about looking to God instead of to our own thinking- patterns for guidance. It was written in 1875, and is still very popular. I’d say the principle is more needed today than ever before.

Johnnie suggested that if we didn’t understand something or couldn’t put it into practice we might stop reading until we could. That was good advice, but once I was onto Christian books I gobbled them like a starved child. Blessedly she also gave us a hunger and thirst for scripture, and for time spent alone with God every day. Renie and Billy watched Captain Kangaroo first thing in the morning and I, a stay-at-home mom, got started studying the Bible and learning to pray. Peter’s 9:59 plan about journaling inspired me to write letters to God, which I still do today.

It would be hard to say whether inspiration came to us through Johnnie or through Peter. They were sometimes called the dynamic duo, and I know they depended on each other’s relationship with the Lord in leading the congregation. They had many a sore trial, but they eventually counted them all for good.

One time I was sitting across the table from Johnnie and jokingly told her I had stolen Bill’s Bible. She said, “If you stole it, you probably needed it.”

Johnnie would often quote Isaiah 26:3, “Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on thee: …” I didn’t get it, but it stuck with me, and after I actually asked Jesus to be my master and savior, I began to understand what it meant.

In the seventies, Bill and I had some trouble in our marriage, and we consulted with Peter. He helped us through it, and there is no doubt that much of his counsel came from what he and Johnnie had learned in their marriage. The idea was that most people, when left to their own thoughts will try their best to figure it out or battle it out, but that if they focus on God and His will, His Holy Spirit will do the work. The prayer we prayed was: “Lord, change this marriage, beginning with me.” Bill and I just celebrated our fifty-seventh wedding anniversary. I hate to think where we and our family would be now, if we’d never met Peter and Johnnie .

Recently I was talking to a friend who grew up at Park Avenue with our gown children. She and I are both deeply grateful that the younger generations of each family are now thriving in goodness. We know that would not be so if it hadn’t been for our beloved leaders, and for the dear helpers and teachers at the church.

Thank you Peter and Johnnie. We hope your crowns in heaven aren’t too heavy with stars. Ah well, you probably won’t wear them anyhow, neither of you was ever looking for personal glory.

Johnnie went to be with the Lord this week. I know He is delighted to welcome her home-


Thou will keep in perfect peace

2 Responses to “Talks with Johnnie Lord”

  1. ludyja November 21, 2014 at 7:28 am #

    Beautiful tribute. Sounds like she was a tremendous inspiration to you and your life.


  2. itsrebekahlyn November 20, 2014 at 6:54 pm #

    What a touching tribute to an inspirational woman.


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