Monday, November 23, 2015

Hertzler Doings~Nov. 23-29, 2015

Mon.-Had a nice morning with Susan. After she went to work, I wrapped Christmas gifts. Guys got home from Illinois this eve. Phil and Philip each shot a big buck and big doe. Freeman didn't see any to shoot but they all seem really happy. Freeman is being given one of the doe for meat. They are on their way to the butcher now. Michael is making the hearts for lunch meat.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Encountering Jesus

I shared the following at the Women's Encounter at our church this past Saturday.

Webster defines 'Encounter' to mean: to meet unexpectedly, to meet in conflict; engage in battle, to face difficulties and trouble.

So we could say that today holds the unexpected. We've all come with some sort of expectation but we are also open to meeting the unexpected or we wouldn't be here.

Old lies we've believed will meet in conflict and will engage in battle with new truth.
We will encounter our difficulties and trouble with the help of God and others.

Most importantly, who we are and where we are today will encounter Jesus and He will invite us to come closer to Him and go deeper with Him and love Him more.

When Jesus walked on this earth 2,000 years ago, people would go out to the desert or up to a mountainside to be with Him, and their sin would encounter His forgiveness. Their sickness would encounter His healing. Their hunger would encounter the little boy's multiplied lunch.

A thousand years is like a day in God's sight. So we could say that it was just two days ago that Jesus walked this earth, relating to the poor in spirit, setting captives free, raising the dead, healing the deaf, blind, and lame, cleansing the temple, and eating and drinking with the outcasts of society.

Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever. He will never leave us or forsake us. He is within us and beside us. He accepts us completely as we are right now. He is as near to us as He was to those who walked beside Him in the flesh.
Once upon a time, perhaps this past Thursday, (according to our new time table), Jesus cleansed the temple. Merchants were selling sacrificial animals for a large profit right there in the temple courts. Jesus became very angry and He made a whip out of cords tied together and He went whipping about, scaring the merchants, releasing their captive animals, overturning tables, shouting, "My house shall be called a house of prayer, but you have made it a den of thieves!"

The sellers gathered what was left of their goods and dignity and ran helter-skelter from the temple. The disciples remembered the prophecy about the Messiah-that zeal for God's house would consume Him.

Matthew's gospel goes on to say that after the temple was cleansed, the blind and the lame made their way into the temple courts which minutes before had been filled with costly merchandise to purchase in order to have a sacrifice for one's sins and so be made right with God.

These needy ones came to Jesus and filled the temples' emptied courts with their brokenness and the Bible says, "He healed them all."

Zeal for God's house still consumes Jesus.

We are the temple of God, the house of God, corporately and individually. God is overturning tables in our lives-anything of pride, self-righteousness, and the idea that we can do it right on our own and so please God.

He's getting rid of all these things so we can be real; so we can bring that which is blind and lame and broken in us to Jesus, so He can heal us. We come just as we are and He accepts us just as we are and He makes us whole. He doesn't love us any more as He makes us whole. He doesn't love us any less when we see things that are far from perfect in our lives. He knows us. He loves us. He accepts us. This revelation in itself is healing.

Today is all about going along with Jesus' plan to cleanse our temples from pride and self-righteousness so we have room in our temples for what is blind, lame, and in pain in us, so He can heal us.

Don't be afraid. Don't be ashamed. Not one of us is better than the other. We're in this together. He's doing a corporate work and He's doing a personal work also.
Once upon a time, a few days ago, (according to our new time table), Jesus needed to go through Samaria. He waited at the well to rest while His disciples went into the town market to buy some bread, figs, and dried fish. 

A woman met Him at the well and He asked her for a drink of water. He wasn't all give. Sometimes, He was on the receiving end. Here again, He broke several religious rules. For one, He was a Jewish rabbi having an intellectual spiritual discussion with a Samaritan woman. Rabbi's didn't talk to women in public. And, number two, Jews had no dealings with Samaritans. But Jesus loved her and accepted her just as she was. He told her all about herself and invited her to drink of His living water and to worship God in Spirit and in truth. 

She was so blessed with her encounter with Jesus that she ran back to the town and overturning her own tables of pride and humiliation, she told the townspeople to come and meet a man who told her everything she ever did. She wasn't ashamed. She was excited! She exchanged the shame of her past for a drink of living water. The townspeople invited Him into their town and He taught them for two days and many more believed in Him because of His words and not just because of the woman's testimony.

I love that He didn't expose her publicly. He revealed her to herself beside a well of real and living water-privately, and He let her tell her story in her own way and time.

Jesus accepted her. Just as she was. And He made her whole.  And God used her troubled past to tell a story to a troubled town and many believed in Him.

There is no story that shocks Jesus Christ. No story is too hard for Him. He turns rough stories into Songs of Redemption.  Jesus doesn't look around to find the holiest person to go out and tell about Him. He tends to send sinners and those with a list of mistakes to their name to go out and share His message of grace.
Once upon a time, not that long ago, there was a woman who interrupted Jesus while He was on an urgent mission to heal an important man's daughter. The woman was an outcast in her village. She had suffered with women issues for twelve years and was poor, having spent all her money on doctors who were unable to cure her.

She didn't hang in the shadows this time. She was not too polite with Jesus. She put herself first, saying, "If I but touch the hem of His garment, I will be healed." She pressed in and pushed her way through and did just what she said she would do.  Jesus stopped and asked, "Who touched Me?"
"What do you mean," the disciples asked. "There are people swarming all around you! Everyone's touching You!"
"Someone touched Me for a special reason. I felt healing virtue (goodness) leave My body."

The woman realized that she had been found out so she told Him her story and He was so kind and dear to her saying, "Your faith has healed you. Go in peace. Be happy. Be whole."

And she was. And twelve years of difficulty were forgotten just like that.

Jesus does not run out of who He is and what He does. Healing this precious woman did not take away healing from Jarius' twelve year old daughter whom He was on His way to heal.

Let's not be too polite with Jesus.
Let's push through the crowd.
Let's lay hold of Him.

Today is our day to say what we want from Him.
Today I hope He feels healing virtue leave His body and I hope we hear Him say, "Your faith has healed you. Go in peace. Be happy. Be whole."
Just a few days ago, (according to our new time table), Mary Magdelene was weeping outside of The empty tomb.  A man came to her asked, "Woman, why do you weep? Whom do you seek?"
She sobbed out her loss and then He said, "Mary."
And she recognized Jesus by the way He said her name and the fact that He knew her name.

And tenderly, He comes to us, outside our tomb of loss and pain and gently asks, "Woman, why do you weep? Whom do you seek?" And as we weep out our answer, He says our name. "Annette." "Jessica." "Alli." He says YOUR name.

He cares about what makes us cry and He reveals Himself to us through our tears so we can see His precious face.
Was it just a few days ago that Mary and Martha's brother died?
Jesus loved Lazarus but He didn't come when the girls sent word that he was sick.
Jesus showed up too late to heal His friend. By the time He showed up Lazarus had already been buried for four days.

Mary and Martha expressed their bitter disappointment, saying, "Lord, if you had been here, Lazarus would not have died!" Jesus said, "If you believe in Me, you shall see the salvation of God!"
And they expressed belief that He was indeed the Resurrection and the life and that Lazarus would be raised to life some day.

I love how He was not disappointed with them because they expressed disappointment in Him.

Terrible things happen and we cry, "Lord, if you had been here, this would not have happened!"
And He doesn't turn His back on us because we've expressed our disappointment in Him. He doesn't change what He's going to do because we don't quite believe or we can't see that He has a bigger picture in mind. He stands outside our Lazarus grave with us, where we've buried our lost hopes, dreams, and loved ones, and He weeps with us.

He calls our name and shouts, "Come forth!" and like Mary and Martha we cry, "But it's been too long since there's been life. Surely there will be an unbearable stench!"

But, with Lazarus, we come out of the tomb, needing the help of others to unravel the grave clothes that bind us, and glory be, there is no stench! For like Lazarus, we have been made whole!

"Did I not tell you," He says with love in His voice. "Did I not tell you that if you believed, you would see the salvation of God?"

They didn't believe they would see their brother again in this world. Some day, but not today. And He raised Lazarus anyway, in spite of their limited belief. He loved and accepted them and received the faith they did have and met them there and took them deeper in.

And so it is that sometimes, He wants to do more than heal us.
He wants to call forth that which has already died in us,
and surprise us with a Resurrection.
We are the temple of God, ready to be cleansed, so that which is blind and lame and deaf
in us can be healed.

We are the Samaritan Woman at the well, waiting to hear Him tell us all about ourselves;
ready to drink from His living water and never thirst again.
Ready for our past shame to be a Redeemed story that will set other's free.
Ready to be more aware of His grace than we are of our sin.

We are the woman with the embarrassing personal issue,
insistently pushing through the crowd,
just to touch the hem of His garment so we may be healed.

We are Mary Magdelene, weeping so hard we do not recognize Him in our surroundings,
waiting to hear Him say our name, and ask us gently,
"Why do you weep? Whom do you seek?"

We are Mary and Martha, grieving outside our grave of lost hopes and dreams,
ready for Him to take that which is a deadly stench in our lives
and call it forth to New Life and Resurrection.

From the words of Songs of Solomon, God speaks to us, saying,
"Rise up, my love, my fair one, and come away.
For lo, the winter is past.
The rain is over and gone.
The flowers appear on the earth;
The time of singing has come
And the voice of the turtledove is heard in our land.

The fig tree puts forth her green figs
and the vines with the tender grapes give a good smell.

Rise up, my love, my fair one, and come away!
O my dove, in the clefts of the rock
In the secret place of the cliffs.
Let me see your face,
Let me hear your voice,
For your voice is sweet
And your face lovely.

Catch us the foxes, the little foxes that spoil the vines
For our vines have tender grapes."

'My beloved is mine
And I am His,
His banner over me is love.'

Today, we're going to catch the little foxes that spoil our vineyard and rob our harvest and steal our joy. Today, we'll understand anew that our Beloved is ours and we are His. He has adopted us and we are not abandoned.
Today, we will encounter Jesus in a deeper way. We will let Him see our face and hear our voice for our face is lovely to Him and our voice sweet.

He will touch what is wounded within us and gently ask, "Do you want to be well?"
He will make clay out of His blessed spit and mix it with the dust of the sweet humanity around us here and place it on our eyes and wash it off with living water and we will see ourselves as He sees us; holy and dearly loved, and oh, so much more.

He will open our ears so we may hear His words of blessing and freedom, "Neither do I condemn you; go and sin no more."

He will invite us to sit at His table, eating His bread and drinking His wine, receiving His forgiveness, and giving us grace to forgive ourselves and others for the way we've been wronged and betrayed.

He will breathe on our faces with His strong sweet breath and say, "Receive My Holy Spirit.  I will be with you always, inside you and beside you, never leaving you or forsaking you. I will never abandon you nor will I abandon the work I've started in you."

So, we need not be afraid. This special weekend to encounter Jesus has come and it will go.
 But Jesus is with us always.

Can you imagine what it was like to be John, the disciple, who called himself, 'Beloved.'
When he sat down next to Jesus, he rested his head against Jesus' chest.
We get to do that today and tomorrow and the next day. Forever.
He has a big chest. There's room for us all there.
We are alone with Him there and we are together with Him there.

So lay your head on His chest and hear the heartbeat of God.
Hear His heart cry for you.
Hear His heart's song for you.

"I accept you." Baboom Baboom (heartbeat)
"I love you." Baboom Baboom
"I am with you." Baboom Baboom
"Thank you for loving Me back." Baboom Baboom
"Trust Me. I've got this." Baboom Baboom
"Did you enjoy the sunset?" Baboom Baboom
"You are not alone." Baboom Baboom
"How was lunch?" Baboom Baboom
"How beautiful you are." Baboom Baboom
"Why do you weep?" Baboom Baboom
Baboom Baboom Baboom Baboom

What's He saying to you?

Even when we forget to hear His heartbeat
He holds us near.
His tears drop down
and mingle with ours.
His laughter shakes our being.

Hertzler Doings~Nov. 16-22, 2015

Mon.-Catching up. Resting. Watching Downton Abbey with Susan. Out to Appomattox for groceries and coffee with a friend.

Tues.-Made some things to get ready for Thanksgiving since I'll be sleeping for a half a day next Tuesday since I'll be going to the dentist which reminds me, I need to get someone to take me. I made mashed potatoes, glazed carrots, and crescent rolls and froze them. I froze the rolls before they rose so that when they thaw, they can rise for baking. I made some cranberry jam. I cooked cranberries and threw in some sugar and then added a pack of cherry jelly and it is so good. I mixed it with cream cheese and have been eating it with crackers. I froze two containers and will use it for the rolls on thanksgiving or for a side. I read this wonderful idea that you should take sour dough bread, spread brie and cranberry jam on it, add turkey slices, and toast it like you would toasted cheese. I am looking forward to the day after Thanksgiving. I also cooked a bag of beets and skinned them. And made two bear roasts. I typed up the notes from Encounter because people were asking for a copy. Phil and Susan went out to the Babcock House for lunch. I didn't see Nathan and Alli yesterday or today but I will tomorrow, Thursday, and Saturday. At least those are our plans.

Wed.-Had a nice morning with Susan and a nice afternoon/eve with Alli and Nathan. I made a Christmas gift for Nathan today. It will be a pillow bed once I get four pillows. I bought material and sewed it in such a way that four pillows can fit into it. It has John Deere tractors all over it and I got it at Joanna in Sarasota, Fl. It was 40% off and the material is nice and soft. The way it showed it online was to sew four pillowcases together. Susan asked if I'd make a really big one using body pillows since she and Philip usually end up on the floor on blankets when we watch movies. Caught up with Lindsay a little today. I could just keep the phone on and talk with her all day if it were possible. Some day, there will be something invented and we'll be able to watch a large screen and see what each other is doing and talk with each other whenever we want. I'll be able to watch her homeschool and she'll be able to watch me watch Downton Abbey. Oh, the joys. I think I will start the Narnia Series again. It must be close to winter. I read it every year. I went out to Lowe's before 8 today and got 3 gallons of paint and 2 of primer so Robert can paint tomorrow. Which makes me realize that maybe Gina and her three boys and Alli and Nathan and I might have to come up with plan B.

Thurs.-Gina and her three boys came over for several hours. Alli and Nathan came over. N didn't know what to do when I held the baby. He was broken hearted. But he did really well all in all and the little boys were nice to him. After N went home the sun came out and we went for a gator ride. I held Lucas, 4 months old, and Gina held her twin 20 month old boys, Wade and Mason. She is such a good mama.

Fri.-Fun morning with Susan. We caught up a little and she made up my eyes and then got ready for her weekend away. I cleaned the house, did wash, and went to Adrienne's home. Ashley and Elizabeth came over and we made cinnamon rolls and donuts. Farmville had it's first tree lighting tonight. Had a great time with these sweet girls who love Jesus and are going places with Him.

Sat.-Jessica came over and I showed her how to make napkin plates. Susan had a good time at the VMI ring ceremony and ball last evening and today she is going to their football game. (AB) Phil and Philip both shot a nice big buck in Illinois and Philip also shot a doe. Michaels been working on cleaning up the man cave.

Sun.-Am enjoying the marriage class with Bob and Muryl. Pastor Bill had a really good sermon on gratitude. I had awaken this morning with the thought, "Entitlement and Gratitude stand miles apart. Each begats their own." Did some shopping after church so I wouldn't have to go out tomorrow. A lot of church people go shopping after church. Susan was here when I got home and we caught up some more and then she went hiking with Jody B. I went over to Alli's and watched the new Cinderella movie which is really very good. Nathan was so precious and sometimes he sat with me. I ordered some Christmas gifts from Alli's new business. (Damsel something or other-I can never think of the quip.) Came home and read some of Brennan Manning's Memoir. Dogs were barking like crazy. Restless night. Nearly full moon.