Monday, August 14, 2017

Things God puts in your path to the future


By Ada Brownell

When my sister Joan married Junior Brownell I didn’t notice he had a brother. The brother was L.C. He was 15. I was 10.

Later at 13, I discovered an older family friend, Crystal, had a crush on L.C., who now was a senior in high school. But at church he stayed around the edges of the youth group, acting shy. So with a giggle I teased Crystal about her “bashful boyfriend.” Too bashful to ask her for a date.

Soon Crystal moved to California, but in her wake she left a group of girls in the Fruita, Colorado church who set their pin curls on catching L.C. I teased several who were involved in the chase.

Although I’d been cleaning houses and taking care of children since I was in the sixth grade, often doing the work of an adult, I was a scrawny kid who didn’t grow and mature until I was 14. At that age during summers I did most of the work at my Aunt Dot’s small motel, and some of her work as well.

L.C. disappeared when he went to telegraph school in Minneapolis and I didn’t even notice. The next thing I knew about him he was in the hospital with a ruptured ulcer and in serious condition. I stayed in the car and took care of Joan’s toddler while Joan and her husband visited L.C in the hospital in Glenwood Springs.

L.C. recovered and I grew up more. At barely 15, although the age went to 35, I was voted in as youth president in our Fruita church and I also sang solos occasionally at church services. That must have been when he noticed me. I never figured it out.

My sister he was related to was a gorgeous blue-eyed redhead and not a freckle on her. My red hair was curly and often frizzy, my eyes hazel, and my skin looked as if I’d been tanned through a screen.

He started watching me, and I wondered about the guy. I was about the only female in the church not chasing him. Then he asked if he could take me to a special church service in Grand Junction.

I accepted, but when we got home that night and he parked in my parents’ drive, he pointed at the window on my side, and started to scoot over. “There’s a falling star!”

I didn’t even look. I lifted my open hands like a cop directing someone to a stop. He stopped. I went inside and didn’t expect to go out with him again.

Then we had a church youth ice skating party on a local canal. I loved to skate, and I was pretty good at it, skating backward, and whirling around. I didn’t care that the other kids wobbled on their blades, staying around the fire barrel. I zoomed on the ice around the canal’s curves by myself, the moon lighting my way. Then L.C. followed. He’d taken skating lessons in Minneapolis. He knew all my tricks and more.

I was impressed, and we visited a while, although I mostly ignored him.

Then he asked me if he could take me home. I accepted, and that night after he dropped off other kids he took home, we talked more. In front of my house, he pulled me to him and lightly touched his lips to mine.

Now, I was a born germ-a-phobe. When the only other fellow who kissed me on the mouth (probably when I was 14), held me tight and puckered, I sucked my lips in to keep away the germs. Then I rolled down the window, hung my head out and spit.

When L.C. kissed me that one time, stars fell around me, and a whole orchestra played.

I was in love, and I didn’t want to be in love. He worked for the railroad, and I soon discovered he wanted a wife. At 15, I had just become an adult. I had things I wanted to learn and do.

Then I found he wasn’t an “all-in” Christian. He asked if I would go steady with him. I said, “When are you going to get saved?”

Eventually he did and he wouldn’t give up on me. I tried to get him to date others and even named them. I couldn’t understand it. Some were cute, great gals.

Off and on for a year we dated. I accepted his engagement ring in the summer, but I still wasn’t sure, so our courtship was off and on. I knew I was in love. I thought I’d get over it, but I didn’t. After all, the sister just older than I was engaged five times!

On October 26, 2017, we will celebrate our 64th anniversary. God has been good to us. I finished high school and later earned my bachelor’s degree in mass communications. I started writing for Christian publications at 15, and spent a good chunk of my life as a newspaper reporter. We have five wonderful amazing children and nine grandchildren. We lost our daughter, Carolyn, to cancer when she was 31. We look forward to seeing her in heaven.

Question: What things can you see in your past that God put there?

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will direct your paths” (Proverbs 3:5, 6).

Friday, August 11, 2017


By Ada Brownell

Their wine is the poison of dragons, and the cruel venom of asps.
Deuteronomy 32:32-34

          In the early 1920s, Rita Shpeherd took an axe and discreetly followed her husband to the bootlegger’s still, hidden in the trees near a lake.

When he and his boss left, Rita, 21 years old, stuffed most of the bottles in gunny sacks and whacked them with the axe. She stuffed several full bottles into the shed’s chimney and then she dragged one sack of unbroken ones into the water. Those would be evidence for the Revenuers, who policed and prosecuted bootleggers during Prohibition, when liquor sales were illegal.

That afternoon, the bootlegger knocked on Rita’s door.

“I’ve been expecting you,” she said and pointed to an empty chair. “You should be ashamed of what you’re been doing—taking food out of children’s mouths, clothes off their backs, and the sense out of their father’s heads.”

The redhead when on about the evils of strong drink. “The Bible says, ‘Wine is a mocker, strong drink is raging and those who are deceived thereby are not wise.’”

The next day, Rita and her husband, Joe had to run for their lives, carrying and protecting their baby, Virgil.

          Rita was my mother. But it wasn’t spunk or her abilities with an axe that gave me a healthy desire to stay away from intoxicating beverages.

          As with anyone who grows up, my mother’s principles weren’t enough for me. I needed my own convictions about the matter.

          When we lived in a tiny town where most of the 100 residents lived for the weekend to drink and party, one of our friends discovered I’d never tasted beer. He grabbed a can, snapped it open, grabbed me and tried to pry my mouth open so he could pour the stuff in. Redhead that I am, the wildcat personality came forth and I didn’t taste a drop.

           In the 1960s as a young newspaper reporter I attended a company picnic. A photographer, already tipsy, noticed I had no beer. When I told him I didn’t drink, he emptied his beer on my clothes—“so I’d smell like I had a good time when I went home to my husband.” He was working.

          I wasn’t even tempted to drink. At one staff meeting in the managing editor’s home where they had a “dutch lunch,” I asked for a soft drink in advance. While I walked around with a Coke, I noticed some brilliant co-workers who drank one beer after another begin to act as if they were mentally challenged. I thought, What’s the fun in that?

          A time came, however, after I quit work and stayed home 15 years with my children that I worried I could be tempted to drink socially. I’d been back to work a short while and we attended a church where I discovered the deacons drank wine and a youth worker had beer in his refrigerator. I heard someone took beer on a youth outing.

          I thought, Who am I to condemn them? They appeared to love the Lord. Yet, I still had four children at home, and in the news business for me I knew temptation to drink would be more of a problem after I discovered people in my church imbibed.

          After praying and worrying about it, I resigned the youth class I taught, and we changed churches.  My problem wasn’t to try to change brothers and sisters in Christ, but do for our family what I thought was best. I did not want my children to grow up thinking intoxicating beverages were all right, and I didn’t want to break down my own resistance to them.

          A special person to me found the barrier breached between being a teetotaler and partaking at a church picnic where beer was offered along with soft drinks. That was about 40 years before she died, her liver severely affected and her esophagus eaten by Vodka.

          My reasons for not drinking intoxicating beverages go way beyond my experiences, however. It’s rooted in my commitment to Jesus Christ. Three big things: so I won’t be a stumbling block and so that I will not become a slave to sin.

Here’s a verse I think of: For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body ruled by sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin—(Romans 6:6).

          The quickest way to become a slave to sin is to practice something that is habit forming and destructive.

          Another huge reason is there is no sense in partaking in anything that affects the way I think and what I do.

Sure, it’s legal as is marijuana in some states and perhaps soon other dangerous habit-forming drugs. But so is rat poison.

©Copyright Ada Brownell

Monday, August 7, 2017

Survival With A Cellar--A family's storage of food and memories

By Ada Brownell

The rooster was almost as big as I was when he chased me down the cellar stairs, flogged me beating me with his wings and an attacking me with his spurs. I thank God that someone heard my cries and rescued me.

Despite that event, I learned a cellar was mighty important to our family of ten. I was the baby and the “runt of the litter” of eight children, according to Daddy. People used to ask me after I became an adult why I was so much smaller than my four sisters. With a grin I said, “By the time I elbowed through the crowd, the food was gone.”

But that wasn’t true. Even in the days when Daddy only make one dollar for a twelve-hour day shoveling coal from railroad cars onto trucks, we had plenty of food to eat. You see, Mama and Daddy knew how to raise chickens, pigs, beef, and a huge garden, although they only had ten acres, and much of that food ended up in jars on the cellar shelves.

 I learned early it took work from about everybody to get that food into the cellar. Plant the seeds. Stick those tiny tomato plants in the ground. Hoe and pull the weeds. Shell the peas. Snap the beans. Peel tomatoes. Pick the grapes. Pick the berries. Go to the orchard and pick the cherries, apricots, plums and peaches.

But first somebody has to wash and sterilize the jars, and often that somebody was me.

Our first cellar was underground, a mound in our backyard. I don’t think I ever went in it. We didn’t have tornadoes in Colorado. But the cellar was a good place to stand on so I could get on a horse if I pulled her up beside it.

When our family moved into our two-story house, the “cellar” was actually a basement with an outside entrance. We always had shelves and shelves of canned goods, and Daddy’s potatoes and onions lasted through the winter when stored down there. He put his carrots and sweet potatoes into pits, covered with dirt and they’d keep a long time too.

I think of storing food in a cellar as similar to things we learn, good memories, and scriptures we memorize and put into our heads. What I put into my brain and recall even years later is an amazing part of God’s creation. That’s one reason why I’m careful about what I put in my mind. I don’t want what I put there to be like one rotten potato in the cellar which can stink up the whole place, or a poisonous spoiled improperly processed jar of green beans which can kill.

Yet, when the rotten potato or bad green beans are thrown out, the beauty and the appetizing appeal of a box of fat crispy potatoes, rows upon rows of red tomatoes, golden peaches, green beans, and lilac grape and rosy raspberry jellies remains. The food would last and feed our large family for at least a couple of years, when properly sealed and stored.

For us, the cool cellar made it possible.

My mom’s washing machine also was in the cellar, a furnace with a auger which fed the coal stored in the basement into the furnace.

Mom separated her laundry on the floor and one day picked up a fat toad that slipped underneath the dirty clothes. She threw him into the steaming hot water in the wringer washer and then gasped when she saw him. She hurried up the steps outside and called to Stuart, the neighbor boy.

Stuart didn’t even protest at the task she wanted him to do. He reached in, grabbed the toad, and walked away with a happy face. He had a toad and the quarter Mom gave him to do the job.

What a time we enjoyed with our cellar!

Thursday, August 3, 2017

Don’t Commit Spiritual Suicide

By Ada Nicholson Brownell

Spiritual suicide is a problem many ignore. Who is at risk?

1.     Those who have been hurt.

Sometimes in the battle against sin we see casualties from friendly fire. In Operation Desert Storm, United States Armed Forces wounded and killed one another when they couldn’t tell the enemy from their own soldiers.

In the church we often wound and maim our own. However, if you are a casualty, it is up to you how you survive an attack. You can be angry and decide to fall on your own sword. Or you can forgive, ask God to help you forget, and continue serving God.

2.     Those who are angry.

Things in your church aren’t going the way you want. You can commit spiritual suicide by vowing not to enter a church again, or you can grasp eternal life by asking God to make you the Christian He wants you to be. You can pray the church will continue to go forward in God’s will, winning souls and be salt and light to the world.

3.     Those who feel no one cares.

Make an appointment to see you pastor and share your feelings. Also remember Jesus died for so that you might have abundant and eternal life. Perhaps He is calling you to a ministry of loving and caring.

4.     Those who are discouraged.

When you’re discouraged you might be tempted to think, If I’d quit the church that would show them. One of the arguments against committing physical suicide is that death is so permanent. While you might have a second chance after your attempt on your spiritual life, backsliding is a serious decision. Discouragement will pass. Decisions made during discouragement, however, can impact you for a lifetime—and beyond.

5.     Those in a battle with Satan.

One of the most pathetic suicides is self-starvation. That’s what some people do when Satan attacks. The Christian stays away from other believers and the house of God and starves himself spiritually. The Christian under attack should put on the armor of God (Ephesians 6), take the sword of the Spirit which is the Bible, and battle the enemy. You can win that battle!

6.     Those who are angry at God.

People often get angry at God because of events in their lives they blame on Him. Anger turned outward is one state of grief for people who experience loss. But they must work through the anger and come to acceptance. Bitterness is deadly poison.

7.     Those who live recklessly with sin.

The Christian who chooses to live a worldly life is playing Russian roulette. One of the temptations could be the deadly bullet to your spiritual life.

8.     Those who take their eyes off Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith.

Forget people who failed. Remember the One who was without sin and died for your redemption. Keep your eyes on Jesus and receive eternal life.

If you feel like ending it all with your spiritual life, remember suicide comes at the suggestion of Satan.

We are promised that the old serpent will someday be cast out and all his angels with him. “Now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and he power of his Christ: for the accuser of our brethren is cast down, which accused them before our God day and night. And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony” (Revelation 12:9-11).

Use that method now. Overcome Satan by the blood of the Lamb. If you have accepted Christ, you have Christ’s blood over your sins and protection against Satan’s advances. Remember what God has done for you—and tell somebody else.

Lay hold on eternal life.


Wednesday, July 26, 2017


By Ada Nicholson Brownell

I worked on a newspaper story about Jesus’ return, based on an interview with a pastor. As we discussed it in the newsroom, I observed fear among the non-Christians.

The tragedy is that many of those people had no idea how to meet God. They are among those whose religion, steeped in ritual, makes it difficult. Not only are they to participate in religious rites, but they must pile up good works too, and they still have no peace.

“I don’t think I’ll ever be good enough to get to heaven,” a neighbor told me over the fence one day. Week after week I saw on her clothesline white baptismal robes she’d been washing for the church, which teaches that you can be baptized for the dead.

 I explained to her the reason Christ came is because we can never be good enough in ourselves. That’s why we need a Savior.

Sometimes the message of salvation is lost in the gobbledygook of theology.

I surveyed several denominations on beliefs about how man gets to heaven. One spokesman for a church said, “Call me back next week, and I’ll tell you.”

I wondered if I would have received the same answer if I had been dying.

But getting right with God, our Heavenly Father, is simple.

First, we acknowledge God’s authority and right to respect.

Second we no longer rebel at His commandments, His love, and His Word.

Third, we ask forgiveness for our sins—wrongs we have done against God and people.

Fourth, we commit ourselves to doing His will; and follow Him and His Word.

As we are clothed in the garment of His salvation, we throw away our worn blanket of self-righteousness.

People who have the right relationship with God need not fear the return of Jesus Christ. In the book of First Thessalonians we are told to comfort one another with words about His coming. His coming also is referred to as our hope.

If everything is clear between us and our Heavenly Father, we’ll anticipate meeting Christ in the air with joy and be ready to live a better life here if Jesus should tarry.

It won’t matter when it happens because we’ll be ready. It won’t matter whether we are dead or alive, for if we have accepted Jesus as Savior, we’ll be changed in the twinkling of an eye be resurrected to life immortal.

“For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God; and the dead in Christ shall rise first; then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air; and so shall we ever be with the Lord. Wherefore comfort one another with these words” (1 Thessalonians 4:16-18).

When you know the Lord, you don’t have to be afraid.


Wednesday, July 19, 2017



By Ada Nicholson Brownell

The scene in condemned row is never pleasant.

On the night before an execution, the long empty corridors echo the regular footsteps of a guard as he walks past the prison cells.

None of the prisoners can sleep that night. From one particular cell comes the shuffle of a condemned man’s feet as he paces back and forth like a caged lion.

Perspiration drips from the prisoner’s face and neck. His shirt sags with dampness.

All night he paces, stopping only occasionally to clasp his hands or grab the bars with a groan, his glazed eyes wild with fear. The next morning his life is to be snuffed out in the gas chamber.

A condemned man has no rest—and yet, across America there are millions of men and women under condemnation of death who slumber in blissful ignorance of their spiritual situation. They are condemned to die as surely as the man in death row—not in a gas chamber, but a death far worse. For Bible says, “He that believeth on him (God’s Son) is not condemned, but he that believeth not is condemned already” (John 3:18).

If you are a sinner, you are in death row. Every breath you breathe, every blink of your eyes, brings you nearer the moment when the divine sentence will be executed upon you. God does not want you to die; He has provided every opportunity for you to appeal for mercy and you can obtain forgiveness through His grace if you ask for it. But until now, you have not asked. If you neglect to be saved in time, you will have no one to blame but yourself.

Most condemned men fight for their lives. They exhaust every opportunity to be saved. Caryl Chessman, implicated with the Los Angeles underworld and condemned to die for red-light crimes, fought twelve long years. He studied law books in San Quentin, and used every legal device he could find to remain alive, but on May 2, 1960, he paid with his life. Life was dear to him. He forced the state to spend a fortune, and he himself spent all he had before his case was closed.

How dear is eternal life to you? Do you shrug your shoulders and say, “I will not think about it”? That will not change your fate. The Lord Jesus Christ said, “This is the condemnation, that light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light because their deeds were evil” (John 3:19).

If you shut your eyes to the truth you are rejecting God’s light and deliberately choosing the darkness which will condemn you for all eternity.

Children play “let’s pretend” but grown men and women are expected to be mature enough to face reality. The Bible plainly says, “It is appointed unto men once to die, and after this the judgment” (Hebrews 9:27). It is to your own interest to prepare to die and to be ready for the judgment that will follow death.

You are condemned to die—for the wages of sin is death” (Romans 6:23) and “all have sinned” (Romans 3:23). But the same verse that says “the wages of sin is death” goes on to say “the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ.” God offers this gift of life forevermore to those who accept Jesus Christ as their Personal Savior. You must decide whether to do that.

You are condemned, but you may be pardoned. Christ made this possible and the way is written plainly in black and white for all who will read their Bibles. You must believe in Jesus as your Savior and you must accept Him as your Lord and Master.

You must confess your sin to Him and ask Him for pardon, as it is only in Him that “we have redemption through his blood for forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace”  (Ephesians 1:7).

If a condemned man were offered a pardon for committing his crime, and he refused, would you call him stupid? Surely any person who is neither stupid nor insane will agree with that. There is life after death, a person should prepare for it.

Down in your heart you know you need a Savior. One self-styled atheist rejected Christ all his life and denied the existence of God, heaven, or hell, but when his time came to die, he screamed that the flames of hell were already enveloping him. He realized then he ought to have asked for a pardon, but it was too late.

When the black hood is placed over the head of a condemned killer, it is too late for redemption. The gas is turned on and in a few seconds his life is snuffed out.

You are condemned to die, if you haven’t accepted Christ. You are going to take that one-way trip to the death house of eternity. Once that time comes, it will be too late for a change of mind. Now is the time to be saved. This day, if you are wise, you will admit your sin to God and throw yourself upon His mercy.

The Bible says, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9).

This is the only hope scriptures offer to condemned men and women. Accept Christ as your Savior today. Receive the pardon offered by God, who loves you so much He gave His only begotten Son, so that you should not perish, but have everlasting life through believing in Him (John 3:16).


Monday, July 17, 2017

Hope. Encouragement. Be like a watered gardent in the desert


By Ada Brownell

Scripture:The Lord will guide thee continually, and satisfy thy soul in drought, and strengthen your bones: and thou shalt be like a watered garden, and like a spring of water, whose waters fail not” (Isaiah 58:11 NKJ).

Because of my husband’s railroad job as a telegraph operator, in the 1950s we had to move to Thompson, Utah, population 100, four bars, no church, a uranium mill, and an acid plant.

Thompson rose in the middle of the Utah desert with cactus, a ghost town not far away, run-down homes, and a two-room schoolhouse. We rented probably the only house in town available the first time we landed in Thompson. It didn’t have a working toilet (we poured water in it to get it to flush), and no running water in the kitchen. We used an outside faucet.

We moved and came back a short time later and the only house for rent was a tar-paper shack with an outhouse, and a cold-water faucet in the kitchen.

It was 80 miles to Fruita, Colorado, our home, and 38 miles to Moab--the nearest church. We drove the 38 miles on Sunday nights to attend services (Les worked on Sunday mornings). We went to Colorado to buy food.  At first we hauled coal for our winter heat in the trunk of our car, and the neighbors kept stealing it. The only place in Thompson to buy milk, bread, and few canned items was two bars.

“Lord, how did we miss your will and end up in Thompson?” I’d ask when I prayed. “Help us!”

Before we moved there I was youth president in our church in Fruita, and taught a Sunday school class.

I was particularly discouraged when my oldest brother, Dr. Virgil Nicholson, sent me the above scripture. I hung on to it, and kept asking God to work in our lives. Then one night in Moab during church God poured His fire and encouragement into my soul.  I told the Lord, “If you’ll send me a helper, I’ll start a Sunday school in Thompson.”

Within a week God sent a beautiful Baptist woman my age to town, and we got acquainted. Within days we had permission to meet in the schoolhouse. In no time, 16 kids were enrolled, and another young mother volunteered to help.

I’d already been doing a little writing, sold some, and became interested in newspaper work. I was accepted as a correspondent from Thompson for The Grand Junction Daily Sentinel.

We eventually purchased a beautiful mobile home.

Looking back I see the Lord guided my footsteps right through that desert. I probably would have never become a successful writer or a newspaper woman had I not gone through Thompson. He satisfied my soul in the desert, strengthened my bones, and guided my footsteps.

PRAYER: Lord help me to not to stagger at your promises, but believe your Word and be victorious through your mighty power.