Saturday, November 29, 2008

Thanksgiving and other Hertzler Doings

Life has been very busy.
I miss writing in my blog.

I've been busy getting ready for our school's Christmas Program~Lessons and Carols.

I've been busy with sorrow. I met a friend semi-halfway in another town about 2 1/2 hours away. Her story couldn't be told over the phone. We cried through the night and during the daylight hours, went shopping and laughed alot. Joy does come in the morning, doesn't it.

Phil, Freeman, and Philip went bear hunting in PA. They brought home two bear and I am going to make a bear roast for supper tonight.

For Thanksgiving, we had Ray and Ruth Horst over. We had turkey, gravy, gourmet potatoes, filling, limas, 7-layer salad, applesauce, cranberry sauce, Ruth's sweet tea, pumpkin crush, pumpkin pie and Cool Whip. Ruth brought half the food. We sat around afterwards and watched "The Three Stooges" while semi-napping and trying to get away from ourselves. This is what one does when one has eaten too much. We played "Farkel" and took a ride on the gator to visit my chapel/cottage. It is so nice to be with people that feel like family.

I am thankful. I am thankful for a loving husband who mutes the remote when I start to talk. He turns and looks at me and smiles. I am thankful for three loving sons and a precious daughter. I am thankful for our church and our school and our neighbors, Mickey and Mitch. I am thankful for the families back home who love us and are happy to see us and who come to see us too. I am thankful for my precious mother and for Phil's mother and father. (Phil always says with pride,"My dad thinks you can do no wrong.")

I am thankful for our property. I think it is heaven on earth.

I am thankful for God and Jesus and the Holy Spirit. I am thankful that they drew me to themselves and fill me with themselves and keep me for themselves.
I am thankful for my treasured friends, old and new, silver and gold. What would I do without them?

I am thankful that I can read. Reading other's thoughts and ideas and stories is one of my greatest joys. I am thankful for time to read and time to write.

I could go on and on. My heart overflows.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Freeman and Phil's PA Bears

Phil, Freeman, and Philip went bear hunting in Clinton County, PA from Nov. 24-26. Phil got his 120 lb bear on the first day. Freeman got his 235 lb bear on the last drive of the last day. Freeman got the largest female in that area so far. Phil is in the center of the photo with his bear on the truck to his right. Freeman is to the right of Phil on the photo with his bear beside him. This time, I asked them to mark "Bear" on the freezer bags. No more mystery meat from the freezer, please. Some of the furry remains of the bear went to the taxidermist today. Yippee! More dead heads to grace our walls!

Monday, November 24, 2008

Man's Freewill~God's Redemption

I am thinking about these things.

Where sin abounds, grace does much more abound. (The Bible)

God permitted man to have a free will.
And because man's will is evil,
God permits evil.

God is a Redeemer. That's who He is and what He does.
Man's will does not affect God's will when it comes to Redemption.
Therefore, God gets to do what He wants to redeem
the evil He has permitted.

The worse the sin, the greater the Redemption.
The more heinous the crime, the louder sings Redemption's Song.

What are ashes compared to beauty?
What is captivity compared to liberty?
What is mourning compared to Joy?
What is a cloak of sadness compared to a garment of praise?
What is blindness compared to sight?
What is the howl of evil compared to God's triumphant battle cry?

And it is in this that I wrestle with God:
Why is evil permitted sometimes
and why is protection from evil given at other times?
Why does He intervene in one situation and not in another?
I do not wrestle with Him at arms length,
nor do I turn my back on Him.
I wrestle with God where I can feel Him breathing.
I wrestle with my face pressed tightly to His chest.
I ask "Why, Why, Why?" to the rythym of my pounding fists.
I ask "Why, Why, Why?" to the rythym of His heartbeat.

Some ageless "Whys?"

From the beginning...

"Why did I believe the devil's words, "Did God really say that?"

"Why did I taste of the forbidden fruit when what I had was more than enough?"

"Why did God not protect Abel, whose sacrifice was acceptable to Him,
and instead, protected Cain by putting some special mark on him to keep him from
being killed, after He killed Abel?"

"Why was the guilty protected and the innocent not protected?"(Better known as "Why do bad things happen to good people and good things happen to bad people?")

These are some "Why's" that I am asking and I realize anew that they have been around for a very long time.


Surrendered Pain
Surrendered Sorrow
A harvest of peace
And hope for tomorrow~

Surrendered Today
Surrendered Tomorrow
Moment by moment
Of Peaceful Sorrow~

Thursday, November 20, 2008

The Day of Vengeance

"He will not be afraid of evil tidings;
His heart is steadfast,
trusting in the LORD.

His heart is established;
He will not be afraid,
Until he sees his desire upon his enemies."
 Ps. 112:8
I love Isaiah 61.

  It describes the ministry of Jesus Christ. Too often, we quickly take the words and switch them over to be our ministry. We need to read the words again and soak them in and say, "Jesus, I receive the fullness of your ministry in my life."


  Jesus says to you,"I have come to heal your broken heart and to give you liberty over anything that holds you captive.

  I am opening your prison doors and proclaiming that this is your year of acceptance. This day I will avenge the wrongs done to you. 

I will comfort you as you mourn. I will give you beauty for ashes and the oil of joy for mourning. 
See, I am bringing a garment of praise for the spirit of sadness.

  I do this so you may be called a tree of righteousness, a planting of the Lord, so my name may be glorified. You will rebuild the ruins of your life and raise up former desolations. You will see the desolations of generations turned into joy..."

Ps.112:8 says that we will see our desire upon our enemies. What are your enemies? Cancer, destruction to your family, lack, discontentment, fear of old age?
Part of Jesus' ministry toward us is vengeance against those things that rob us of the Life of God within us. 

"The day of vengeance of our God." (Is.61:2) 

I can give my desire for revenge and place it in His Hand. I can be free to go on living, knowing that vengeance is His and He will repay my enemies.

  And He will comfort me as He avenges me. 
Watch and see it happen.

A Song in the Night

A Song in the Night

A Song in the night
When the presence of evil
Has taken from living
The essence of joy

A Song in the night
When sorrow on sorrow
And blow upon blow
Make one fearful of waking

A Song in the night
When bending has broken
And breaking has shattered
Beyond being whole

A Song in the night
When light now is darkness
And darkness is midnight
No hope for the dawn

A Song in the night
A cord of redemption
A quick breath of vision
A balm for the soul

A Song in the night
A Song growing stronger
I hear what it's singing
And "All will be well."

Blest Song in the night
Has kept me from drowning
Has broken my gravestone
And I will be whole

O Blessed Redeemer
I thank you for being
My Song in the night
My Promise of Joy~

For my dear friend and her precious family~

Monday, November 17, 2008

Psalm of Comfort~#10~Ps. 118:17

Choose Life

"I shall not die, but live, and declare the works of the Lord."

Deut. 30:19c,20a~"..Therefore choose life, that both you and your descendants may live; that you may love the LORD your God, that you may obey His voice, and that you may cling to Him, for He is your life and the length of your days..."

11 Samuel 12:14c,16a~Words spoken by the prophet Nathan to David regarding his son born as a result of David's sin~"...the child also who is born to you shall surely die." ~ David pleaded with God for the child...

And Jesus, in the garden, chose life,"If it be possible, let this cup pass from me.."

Sometimes we are handed a death sentence in life. Always choose life. Always pray for life. And then, if it is your time to go, you can cry out like Jesus cried out on the cross, "Father, into your hands I commend my spirit." But always choose life and submit to the Father of life and live well here on earth or in Heaven.
It is good to want to live.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Psalm of Comfort~#9~Psalm 12:5

"For the oppression of the poor,
for the sighing of the needy,
Now I will arise," says the LORD;
"I will set him in the safety
for which he yearns."

"I will arise and set her in the safety for which she longs for," says the Lord.

Lord, we pray for our friends and we pray for ourselves. We are being oppressed by the enemy and by life itself. You have heard our sighs and You do not rebuke us by calling us unspiritual because of our sighs. You hear our cries and You do not condemn. You say You will arise. When you stand the tall trees and mountains fall down. Arise, O Lord, and cause this oppression to cease. Set us all in the safety for which we yearn. It's scary out here. It's scary everywhere. Life is overwhelming. O Giver of Life, overwhelm the oppression in our lives. Arise inside of us and be strong. Spirit of God, flow through our being, and give us life and courage and peace and purity.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Streams in The Desert

Good things I have read recently in "Streams in the Desert."

"I have learned to love the darkness of sorrow, for it is there I see the brightness of God's face." Madame Guyon

"Difficulty is actually the atmosphere surrounding a miracle, or a miracle in its intitial stage. Yet if it is to be a great miracle, the surrounding condition will be not simply a difficulty but an utter impossibility. And it is the clinging hand of His child that makes a desperate situation a delight to God."

"Trouble never comes to someone unless it brings a nugget of gold in its hand."

"I am now going to allure her; I will lead her into the desert...There I will give her back her vineyards." Hosea 2:14,15

Psalm of Comfort~#8~Ps.29:3,4

The voice of the LORD is over the waters;
The God of glory thunders;
The LORD is over many waters.
The voice of the LORD is powerful;
The voice of the LORD is full of majesty.

Some of us are in 'over our heads.'
The waters of sickness, financial disaster, family difficulties, etc. threaten to overwhelm us.
But The Lord is over these waters.
He thunders in a voice that is powerful and majestic.
He says, " Fear Not, for I have redeemed you;
I have called you by name; You are Mine.
When you pass through the waters,
I will be with you;
when you walk through the fire,
you shall not be burned,
Nor shall the flame scorch you.
For I am the Lord your God.."
(Isaiah 43:1-3)
I like that He used the word "through."
The Waters and the Fire are not a place of permanence.
We go "through" them and He encourages and commands us
not to fear because He is with us.

Peter says it this way in 1Peter 5:10~
"But may the God of all grace,
who called us to His eternal glory by Christ Jesus,
after you have suffered a while,
perfect, establish, strengthen,
and settle you."

The most important truth to remember is that He is always with us. He will never leave us or forsake us.
We might be going through the waters, or be suffering for a while, or we might be having a time of peace and be established and strengthened in our lives. Regardless, He is with us.
He knows what it is like to be all alone, and He is not about to let anyone else go through that.

It is true that we live and move and have our being in Him.
But it is also true that He lives and moves and has His being in us.

Be still and know that He is God.
Be still and know that He is.
Be still and know.
Be still.

Old Truth~Present Truth

Quote by James Hinton, found in "Daily Strength for Daily Needs."

"Stand up, O heart! and yield not one inch of thy rightful territory to the usurping intellect. Hold fast to God in spite of logic, and yet not quite blindly. Be not torn from thy grasp upon the skirts of His garments by any wrench of atheistic hypothesis that seeks only to hurl thee into utter darkness; but refuse not to let thy hands be gently unclasped by that loving and pious philosophy that seeks to draw thee from the feet of God only to place thee in His bosom. Trustfully, though tremblingly, let go the robe, and thou shalt rest upon the heart and clasp the very living soul of God."

Better than Caffeine

My Friend, Dianna, was transporting her sleepy grandkids to school one morning last week. As she was driving, she glanced down and saw a very large spider crawling up her leg. Gasping, she pulled off the road, jumped out of the car, and began an uncomplicated, panicked dance in an endeavor to disengage the unfortunate spider from her leg without actually touching it. As she proceeded in her unrehearsed endeavor, the grandchildren aroused from their sleepy boredom and their howls of laughter mingled with her shrieks of frightened determination.
The laughter stayed with them on their journey to school and I think that story was dispensed throughout the entire school like good medicine on a dreary day.

Solomon said that a merry heart does good like medicine.
I say that a merry heart is better than caffeine anyday.

Now that I am talking about Dianna, with her permission, of course, I will tell another story. This may have happened on the same day as the above story. Someone from church gave Dianna someone else's tithe check and Dianna put it in her pocket. A short time later, nature called, and a short time later, Dianna watched the check make its way down the toilet. There was nothing to do but to go and confess all to the giver.
Oh, the humiliations that accompany just plain living.
She does it with grace, though. She does it with grace.

The Lord Our Righteousness

I went down to my chapel to pray. I asked God to help me to forgive someone. I poured out my heart. He opened my eyes. I saw my own sin. Like a homemade movie, He gently brought events to my mind where I had failed, where I had sinned, where I had betrayed. "Lord, forgive me," I cried. Then I heard these four words and I knew they were my only hope. They were the only hope of the one who had wronged me. "The Lord Our Righteousness."

We are all wrong. We are just a mess. And the Lord is our Righteousness.
Thanks be to God for His unspeakable Gift.

He Gives and Takes Away

He gives Forgiveness and takes away Sin.
He gives Freedom and takes away Bondage.
He gives Courage and takes away Fear.
He gives Mercy and takes away Judgement.
He gives Love and takes away Indifference.
He gives Peace and takes away Anxiety.
He gives Trust and takes away Cynicism.
He gives Rest and takes away Legalism.
He gives Understanding and takes away Bitterness.
He gives Righteousness and takes away Our Goodness.
He gives Holiness and takes away The Wrath of God.
He gives Wisdom and takes away The Need for Many Words.
He gives Purpose and takes away Apathy.
He gives A Defense and takes away Pride.
He gives Grace and takes away Shame.

He Gives and Takes Away
He Gives and Takes Away
My Heart Can only Say
Lord, blessed by Your Name.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

November 8, 2008

Last evening we had a Missions Conference at our church. Tony and Ruth brought Regina over and rode with us to church. Regina, Michael, and Susan watched a movie together here.
I want to share some of the highlights of the evening. We sat with Tony, Ruth, Leon, and Missi. We had pork chops, mashed potatoes, green beans, and some wonderful pumpkin cake. But these are not the highlights I want to share, nice as they are. A Pastor Rob,(not our Pastor Rob) shared about Missions. He made an acrostic(?) out of the word Missions. Here goes:

M-Messiah~ Jesus Christ is the only hope for the world. We can do nothing
without the Lord. The church changes a nation, not politics.
I-Involved~I Pet. 2:9~We are chosen people, anointed people, WOW! people.
There should be something about us. We are priests filled with the Spirit of
God to fulfill His purposes.
S-Success~It's not about what you have but about what you give. John 14:21
If you obey my commandments, I will show myself to you. Success is
measured by our obedience.
S-Sending~Send others. Release them to go. We don't own anyone.

I-Individuals~God wants something from me. Without God, we cannot.
Without us, He will not.
O-Ordained~ The anointing is on us now to bring people to God. Where
darkness is, the light shines even brighter. His hand is on you now.
N-Nations~ If we reach our community, He will give us the world. Be faithful
in the small and you will be faithful in the greater.

The Messiah Involved in Successfully Sending Individuals Ordained to the Nations.

This Pastor Rob made us feel at home because he sees birds flying over just like Pastor Frank does. He reaches out and grabs them too. (Nice way to say someone has ADD) His wife spoke first and she was delightful. When he got up, he said, " I hate to follow her." It was funny. I also liked him because he bragged on Gil and I had to sit up taller and smile big because Gil and Lindsay are My people. The absolute highlight of the evening was when I got to hold Adison. She had discovered kissing. She kissed and kissed me on the lips and had her little tongue going too. Lindsay said Adi was sick, but I didn't care.
She is just so precious that her germs don't count.

I almost forgot to tell you about two other missionaries I met.
One couple is in Ecuador. She is studying in the states to be a music teacher. In Ecuador, they help an astrocized community by buying coffee beans from them, roasting them, selling them, and giving back the proceeds to the community. Both Phil and I found this fascinating and wise.

The other missionary I met grew up in Harrisburg, which is close to where I grew up. He and his family are missionaries to Russia. They help the youth that are too old to be in the orphanages any longer. They have a four-fold ministry plan.

#1~They go into the orphanages and teach basic skills so the older children come out with some knowledge of life-skills on the outside.

#2~They want to have a facility where these youth could come to them when they are on the outside and find help. They want to be available 24/7 and they need more help with this.

#3~They want to Disciple those who choose to follow Christ.

#4~They want to help them with basic housing needs.

I wish I had more lives to live. There is so much to do and so many places to go.

Friday, November 7, 2008

The Mother's Defense

My mother wrote this about my youngest brother, David, in 1963~

The Mother's Defense

How many times in the past thirteen years,
Have I sat in this chair and rocked away tears?
I am now in the process of lulling wee Five
Fast to sleep in his room with a soft lullabye.
Away Mr Conscience, "You'll spoil him," you say?
"He'll never be self-reliant that way?"
My only defense~see he closes his eyes~
My heart nearly breaks when a little one cries.

Philip, 20, was looking over my shoulder and saw this was about Uncle David. "Dear Uncle David," he said. "I wish he lived down here too." He had just said that he wished my mother lived with us.


My mother wrote this poem. It was published in the Gospel Herald on May 14, 1968.


These are the things I am thankful for:

Footprints all over the clean kitchen floor,
Fingerprints smudged on the window pane,
A thin film of dust from a lively game,
Dolls on the sofa, books on the chair,
Signs of activity everywhere.

You wonder at this? Then let me explain,
Our child who was sick, is well again.


My Mother wrote this poem in the 1970's.
She wrote it from a child's perspective.

I like to lie upon my bed
And watch the clouds sail overhead.
Oh the joy that it must be
To float along so merrily!

If I were a wee little fairy or elf
I'd fly right up and enjoy myself.
The clouds and I would have such fun;
We'd play hide-and-seek
With old Mr. Sun.

But nighttime would be the best time of all;
I'd pay each little star a courtesy call.
Then scurry homeward and into my bed
To dream of the things the little stars said.

To The Birth Mother

My mother wrote this poem about my niece Kelly, when she was 2-4 years old~~late 1970's. She was adopted by my brother when she was a baby. She now has her own family and a baby boy, Noah James. Kelly has brought us much joy in our lives.

To The Birth Mother

You brought her to term
This jewel, this prize.
You gave to her life
This light of our lives.
How can we thank you?
We love her so much.
You didn't cast her out
Just as tissues and such.

God bless you, dear Mother,
With joy in the knowing
This grandchild of ours
Is happy and growing.

Psalm of Comfort~#7~Psa.37:1-6

"Do not fret because of evildoers,
Nor be envious of the workers of iniquity.
For they shall soon be cut down like the grass,
And wither as the green herb.

Trust in the LORD, and do good;
Dwell in the land, and feed on His faithfulness.
Delight yourself also in the LORD,
And He shall give you the desires of your heart.

Commit your way to the LORD,
Trust also in Him,
And He shall bring it to pass.
He shall bring forth your righteousness as the light,
And your justice as the noonday sun."

What is so special about the noonday sun? No shadow accompanies the noonday sun. He will justify you with no shadow to your name. If we don't defend ourselves...If we commit our way to Him and trust Him to make it happen.

Rest is an action verb.
Rest=not fretting, not being envious, trusting, doing good, dwelling.., feeding..., delighting..., committing..., trusting...

Rest in the Lord. Wait patiently for Him. And He will give you your heart's desires. Oh, rest in the Lord.

Paul's loss~Paul's gain

Phil. 3:7-10~
"But what things were gain to me, these I have counted loss for Christ. Yet indeed I also count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish, that I may gain Christ, and be found in Him, not having my own righteousness, which is from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which is from God by faith; that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death,..."

I really like Jack Hayford's notes on these verses.
He says:
"From a prison cell in Rome, Paul pens this personal letter in which he comes to terms with an accomplished past and a confining present. After his past as a persecutor of God's people and through his "superior" religious activities as a Pharisee, Paul came to the liberating conclusion that all is rubbish compared to knowing the Lord!
Freed from the stagnation of yesterday's victories and the emotional paralysis of yesterday's mistakes, Paul knew that the only thing that ultimately counted was knowing the Lord, and being obedient to His will....Prison chains could not keep him from pursuing God, nor dull his effectiveness in ministry. Paul's desire to know Christ sprang from no other motive but to enjoy Him, He wanted Christ for Christ's sake, not his own. He was a lover of God, not a user of God. And whether he moved in Christ's resurrection power or was stretched to his last ounce of endurance, it mattered little. For Paul, it was all a part of the most fulfilling journey of all: truly knowing Christ."

The desire to know Christ was the center of Paul's universe. What if we lived like that? What if our duties were not the center of our living? What if our family and church were not our center? What if in every situation, our question was not, "What am I going to do next?", but rather, "How can I know Christ in this?" Everything we'd go through in life would have purpose and we would get to know Christ in His suffering and in His power. Like Paul, we would be lovers of God and not users of God. Oh, that we might know Him...

The Blessedness of Being Poor~

~in spirit, that is.

Matt. 5:3~"Blessed are the poor in spirit,
For theirs is the kingdom of heaven."

Oswald Chambers says it this way:
"The thing in which I am blessed is my poverty.
If I know I have no strength of will, no nobility of disposition,
then, says Jesus, "Blessed are you,"
because it is through that poverty that I enter
the Kingdom of Heaven.
I cannot enter the Kingdom of Heaven
as a good man or woman;
I can only enter the Kingdom of Heaven
as a complete pauper."

I have wondered about great women and men of God, who have been reduced to invisibility in their last years on earth, due to mental or physical challenges. Perhaps, God in His wisdom, is allowing them to be reduced to a place where their trophies are no longer on display. Perhaps, in His mercy, He is helping them to enter the Kingdom of Heaven like a child. Like a pauper they come in, bearing no crowns of their own. And, oh, the joys that await them~

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Psalm of Comfort~#6~Ps.42:7,8,11

Deep calls unto deep
at the noice of Your waterfalls;
All Your waves and billows have gone over me.
The LORD will command His lovingkindness
in the daytime,
And in the night His song shall be with me~
A prayer to the God of my life.
Why are you cast down, O my soul?
And why are you disquieted within me?
Hope in God:
For I shall yet praise Him,
The help of my countenance
and my God.

There is an interesting note in my Bible with this Psalm. Regarding the author~~~"Clearly, he is in very discouraging situations; people mock his relationship with God, and God seems very far away. He feels cast down, weary, confused, and hopeless. Still, he knows his only hope is to seek God in prayer. To do so, he refocuses himself on the promises of God, confronts the fears and contradictions deep in his soul, and challenges himself about every semblance of unbelief in his heart. It is the principle behind Rom. 10:17: Faith comes alive by hearing the truth, so the psalmist seems to be preaching to himself, being renewed in hope as he reviews who God really is. The resident psychologist of a major cancer clinic described the perspective that marked hope-filled cancer patients: "They don't deny the diagnosis. But they do defy the verdict." The psalmist takes this same approach to becoming equipped for intensive prayer that seeks God for victory."

How interesting that I was entering this psalm for our friend who is battling cancer and it's fears and the Bible notes refer to cancer patients. I didn't see this when I first wrote out the psalm.

Another note in regards to the countenance~ "Here, God's caring countenance turns toward the one who praises, and the praiser's countenance is lifted by His present love." I have seen His loving countenance reflected on the face of our friend as she worships the Lord in our midst and I am encouraged anew to put my hope in God.

Parting thought~What does God's song in the night sound like? What is His music? What are His words? (vs.8)

My Mother's Journal Gems

Amidst the group of 'vile' sins~Mark 7:21,22~Jesus lists thoughtlessness. (Berkley translation) Wow! How often I am guilty. ~~Suffering and pain of our own should make us more thoughtful of others.

PSA. 11:7a~~The Lord~~loves acts of righteousness. In the beautitudes Matt.6:3 Jesus tells us to do acts of righteousness secretly and then your Father will reward you.

These two verses although far apart, have pretty much the same message. Of course, the Author is one and the same. Ezekial 3:27~ But when I speak with you, I will open your mouth, and you shall say to them,"Thus says the Lord God." And~Mark 13:11b~Do not worry what to say; but say whatever is given you in that hour; for you are not speaking; but the Holy Spirit.

What draws others to the Lord?! Psa 40:3~He put a new song in my mouth, praise to our God~Many shall see it and revere and trust the Lord.

I read now in Ez. 14:3,4,7~that Israel has set temptations to sin before themselves and is bent upon the sin which trips him up. God condemns them unequivocally. Books and TV are ways of doing this. Rich, high caloric foods are another. Over and over in Ez. God's whole purpose for everything that He does is "so you shall know that I am the Lord."

Luke 24:52~ They worshipped Him and went back to Jerusalem with great joy. I always wonder about that. Jesus just left them for good physically. Somehow He was able to portray His going as a reason for joy. For one thing, they had no more doubts as to whom He was.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Nov.4, 2008~#3

Last night, I woke up when Phil came home from a board meeting at church. I went out to join him on the sofa. He was watching the news. John McCain was giving his farewell speech. It sounded like a Thanksgiving speech. I felt proud of him as I heard his gracious words. I looked at Sarah Palin. I wept for the honest heartbreak on her beautiful face.

We came soberly back to our bedroom. My harp CD was playing. Two young girls were singing in close harmony with the harp chords.

They sang,

"Peace, I leave with you.
Peace I leave with you.
Blest peace of Jesus~
Blest peace of Jesus~
Jesus Christ the Righteous~
Jesus Christ the Righteous."

And that was the final news of our evening. Eternal words that never change.

Michael's red hair

Last Christmas, my Mother voiced some sorrow over Michael's short hair. "It's so beautiful, and he keeps it so short," she lamented.
On a whim, I told Philip and Michael that I would give them $100 if they let their hair grow for a year.
Michael bit the bait. In July, I couldn't stand it any longer. He needed money to go to King's Dominion, and I offered him $50 to get a trim.
He took up my offer.
Now, I can barely see his eyes.
Now, he is so excited because he can get his hair into a ponytail.
Now, his brother and other friends beg me not to make him cut his hair.
It's longer than mine, for cryin' out loud!
January is coming up and I'll need to fork over another $50.00.
But, the headmistress's son is teaching a computer course at school. Hunter has handsome red hair that comes past his shoulders. He has given Michael a new goal. Yesterday, the headmistress told him that by next year's picture taking time, his hair would be as long as her sons.
Michael's hair is beautifully red, like his Grandmother Hertzler's.
It is beautifully wavy, like his Grandmother Diffenbach's.
They'll be so happy to see him at Christmas and they, like me, will not be able to tell him that he needs to get his hair cut.

Nov.4, 2008~#2

Yesterday, Susan was sick, and I took her to school just to get her pictures taken. Two women were taking pictures. One gently smoothed Susan's hair and tilted her chin. They said something sweet to her to produce her Mona Lisa smile and as soon as the camera flashed, it disappeared. "I hope you feel better soon, " they said, as she came and wearily stood beside me.

When I had first arrived at school, Michael came up to me and muttered, "Take me home." I felt his flushed forehead and it was hot. I made Dr. Hubler feel it too. Mrs. Jones, the headmistress arranged things so that Michael's class could get their pictures taken right after Susan's class so we could all go home as soon as possible.

The picture lady moved Michael's hair so they could see his eyes. They tilted his chin and called him "Handsome." Children and adults called out to us, "We hope you feel better soon." We left school enveloped in the warm benediction of collective kindnesses.

When I awoke this morning, it was still with me.
Kindness can be just a small pebble cast into the waters of life,
but the ripples it creates goes on for quite some time.

Psalm of Comfort~#5~Ps.36:7~9

How precious is your lovingkindness,
O God!
Therefore the children of men put their trust under the
shadow of Your wings.
They are abundantly satisfied with the
fullness of Your house,
and You give them drink from the
river of Your pleasures.
For with You is the fountain of life;
In Your light we see light.

Fountain of Life, bubble up within us. Give life to every broken part of our body, soul, and spirit. Let us swim in the river of Your pleasures and drink our fill. We trust in You under the shadow of Your wings.
We bask in the light of Your lovingkindness. Holy, Holy, Holy is Your name.

The Hand of God

Psalm 2:1-6, 10-12; NKJV~

Why do the nations rage,
And the people plot a vain thing?
The kings of the earth set themselves,
And the rulers take counsel together,
Against the LORD and against His
Anointed, saying,
"Let us break Their bonds in pieces
and cast away Their cords from us."

He who sits in the heavens shall laugh;
the Lord shall hold them in derision.
Then He shall speak to them in His wrath,
And distress them in His deep displeasure:
"Yet I have set My King
On My holy hill of Zion."~~~

Now therefore, be wise, O Kings;
Be instructed, you judges of the earth.
Serve the LORD with fear,
and rejoice with trembling,
Kiss the Son, lest He be angry,
And you perish in the way,
When His wrath is kindled but a little.
Blessed are all those who put their
trust in Him.

Habakkuk 1:5~ "Look at the nations and watch~and be utterly astounded. For I am going to do something in your days that you would not believe even if you were told."

Somber words for somber times.
Remember, that "blessed are those who put their trust in Him," is spoken in the midst of a warning of God's judgement against the nations.
We can be blessed in the midst of trouble as we trust in Him.

November 4, 2008

Happy Birthday, dear Johnny. You've missed your last four birthdays here on earth. I think it would be your 40th. But now, you are forever young to us. We miss you terribly. We deeply mind that you are gone. We love you and we'll never forget you. I still don't know how to say good-bye or even how to close this correspondence. XO A~

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Stand Firm

Hebrews 10:35-39~Phillips Translation~

"Don't throw away your trust now~it carries with it a rich reward in the world to come. Patient endurance is what you need if, after doing God's will, you are to receive what He has promised.

For yet a little while,
He that cometh shall come, and shall not tarry.
But my righteous one shall live by faith;
And if he shrink back, my soul hath no pleasure in him.

Surely, we are not going to be men who cower back and are lost, but men who maintain their faith until the salvation of their souls is complete!"

Intercede for us, High Priest Jesus, so we will not cower back and cause you displeasure. Pray that we will be strong and maintain our faith from the beginning until the end of our race. Thank you for your infinite grace and steadfast patience. We love you so. From all of us, Amen.

Who prays for you the most?

Hebrews 7:25~Phillips translation~

"This means that He can save fully and completely those who approach God through Him, for He is always living to intercede on their behalf."

Not only did Jesus, our High Priest, die for our sins, but He intercedes for us, so He can save us fully and completely. We can ask Him to intercede for us about specific areas of our lives. We can say, "Lord, pray that I will trust you more." Or, "Pray that I will obey you and eat in a healthier way so I have energy to do your work." We can ask Him to pray for anything, really. And as we do that, we are praying for ourselves as well. He is on our side. He wants us to love Him. He wants to know us. He is living to make intercession for us. It's His Heavenly job.

I want to be saved fully and completely. I don't want to just make it in. I want to be in front where I can see Him and touch Him and hug Him and kiss Him "any ol' time I want."

Thank You for praying for me, Jesus.
It's gonna be worth it.

Psalm of Comfort~#4~Ps. 145:14-16

The LORD upholds all who fall,
And raises up all who are bowed down.
The eyes of all look expectantly to You,
And You give them their food in due season.
You open Your hand
And satisfy the desire of every living thing.

These words give us more assurance of His provision in the midst of a difficult time. Lord, bless our friend, who is battling cancer, and satisfy the desire of her heart. Open Your hand and bless her and her family and all those who love her. Thank you that you not only bless with your hand, but you uphold with your hand. We look to You and expect Your goodness. Amen.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Treasured in Heaven

About 20 years ago, I designed a t-shirt that had pictures and words on the front and back. The front said, "Trashed on Earth..." and the back said, "Treasured in Heaven." Jesus was holding little babies in His arms on the back of the T-shirt. I wrote a song that had some of these words in it~"Mama, are you listening...I'm the babe inside of you..You've been thinking I'm more trouble than I'm worth. It's not my fault that I'm your child...I didn't choose to make you sad..But, now, I'm here and my life is in your hands. Before you take away my right to make the choices in my life..I have some things I want to listen close and hear my plea...I want to sing. I want to shout. I want to know what life's about...So mama, please don't get rid of me...I want to live..I want to give..the world a gift of mama, please don't get rid of me...And if you can't find a way, to love me in your heart...than give my life to someone who will..There are many folks out there who long to hold a baby and I could be the answer to their prayers...I want to live..I want to give..the world a gift of mama, please don't get rid of me."

There are more words, but that's enough for now. I have friends who have had abortions and everyone of them has grieved the choice they made. I just want them to know, that their baby is safe in Heaven with Jesus, and He'll reunite them someday, if they believe in Him.

God talked about war and Jesus talked about war, but when it came to sacrificing children in the O.T., God said that it had never entered His mind to consider such a thing. The god of Molech required human sacrifice of children. It was not God's idea.

On the basis of Mathematics alone, more babies die from abortion than people have died from the wars. We went to Gettysburg one summer and we could feel the heaviness in the air. It was beyond sad. The civil war destroyed our country from within. We were our own terrorists. Brother against brother fought and shed their blood for what they deemed as truth. We are having another civil war. Mother against baby. Father against baby. A man's foes shall be those of his own household, Jesus said, on the days before His return. The love of many will grow cold.

If God is for us, who can be against us?
But, if God is against us, because we, through our vote, help sign laws to make abortion easier, then who can be for us? What hope do we have?

The breath of God resides in every human being.
Innocents are killed in war, it is true.
And God grieves over this, I am sure.
But to deliberately choose to take a life, this is indeed murder. And we will pay for this. We will pay.

Psalm of Comfort~Ps. 78:19~22

It's been a gray day. The sky is heavy with waiting. It seems the whole world is holding its breath to see which way the winds of change will shift. I read one scary e-mail too many. I got in my Gator and tore down to my chapel and threw open my Bible. I don't do this very often. But, I was desperate to hear from God, and I did. My eyes went right to verse 19 of the Psalm on my opened page. This is what I read.

"Yes, they spoke against God: They said, "Can God provide a table in the wilderness? Behold, He struck the rock, So that the waters gushed out, And the streams overflowed. Can He give bread also? Can He provide meat for His people?" Therefore the Lord heard this and was furious; So a fire was kindled against Jacob, And anger also came up against Israel. BECAUSE THEY DID NOT BELIEVE IN GOD, AND DID NOT TRUST IN HIS SALVATION."

It goes on to remind us of how God gave them manna~angel's food, and gave them birds to eat. He always took care of them in miraculous ways. And they dared to speak against Him by doubting that He could take care of them. That's what made Him angry.

I am not going to be afraid anymore. I am still alive and He has taken care of me for 50 years. If I die, I am going to go be with Him. He has taken care of my children and my mother and syblings and my husband's family and my church family and all those I love. Nothing can separate me from His love. So, I am going to trust Him in the wilderness to provide manna from Heaven if I need it. Life is alot more peaceful if I trust Him. And I certainly don't want Him to get furious with me. And I don't want to make Him sad either.

Wringing our hands and wondering what we're going to alot like wondering if God is going to take care of us.
Don't try this at home. Don't try it anywhere. And especially don't try it during a thunderstorm.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Oct 31~Nov.2

On Friday, the children had a half day at school. I went to Parent Teacher's Conferences and heard about Susan and Michael's excellent schoolwork and delightful personalities. (smile) Michael stayed at school and helped clean up the gym while Susan and I got haircuts. On Friday eve. Susan and I went to the Bantans and took care of Adi and Emma while their parents went to a Chi Alpha costume party. Lindsay was dressed like a zookeeper and Gil was one of the Blues Brothers. My son, Freeman, was the other Blues Brother. We spent the night there and the next morning, we went to a consignment sale. I bought a rocker with off-white cushions to put in my chapel cottage.
Susan and I worked on my cottage most of the day. We scrubbed some more on the desecrated floor and sprayed wasps and flies and other bugs. We washed windows and swept down the walls. Then we made a little altar with a hay bale and comforter and two pillows. We set up a table in front of the picture windows. We put pretty pictures, candles, shells, stones, etc. around the windows and tables and made it look peaceful and pretty. The rocker looks lovely there and was a needed addition. I have a basket of books sitting in the corner. I took Phil down to see it this afternoon.(Sunday) Now he wants to finish the cabin. But I will enjoy it before it gets finished.
On Saturday eve. Michael, Susan and I went over to Tom and Helen's for their yearly hike, hayride, and chili supper. It's always so nice to get acquainted with their homeschooling friends. Phil planted wheat until it was dark .
We went to church in the morning and even though I could have slept in due to the time change, my body didn't know that yet. So, I was back here writing, early this morning. Michael, Freeman, and Susan stayed after church for musical practise. Now Phil and I are going to a meeting at church. I need to get ready. So long...

It's Gonna Be Worth It

This morning at church, we were singing the song, "It's gonna be worth it," around the altar. It is a song of encouragement for the weary soul to hold on; that someday soon we will see Jesus.

  This time, as we sang it, I began to think of Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane. I traveled back in time and I sang the song to Him; "It's gonna be worth it, it's gonna be worth it all." I tried to comfort Him and reassure Him that going through what He was about to go through would be worth it.  We, His people, would make it worth His while. His death would not be in vain in our lives.  We would be that joy that was set before Him and He would not be sorry that He died for us.

I think that's what the angels said to Him when they came to minister to Him in the garden. "It's gonna be worth it. Hold on. It's gonna be worth it. You'll get many brothers and sisters by dying for them. It's gonna be worth it. You'll be home soon. It's gonna be worth it. You'll have a beautiful bride. It's gonna be worth it. You'll touch your Father's face in just a few days. It's gonna be worth it..."

He sings it to me. I sing it to Him. I sing it to you. You sing it to me. The great crowd of witnesses sings it to us. Don't give up. Be faithful. Be strong. Love God with all your heart. Don't get offended. Don't be bitter. Don't turn away. Don't get distracted. Stay focused on Him. Don't be afraid. It's gonna be worth it.

Psalm of Comfort~Ps.31 excerpts

Psalm 31-NIV~
" my rock of refuge, a strong fortress to save me...for the sake of your name lead and guide me...Into your hands I commit my spirit; redeem me, O LORD, the God of truth..I will be glad and rejoice in your love, for you saw my affliction and knew the anguish of my soul. You have not handed me over to the enemy but have set my feet in a spacious place....I trust in you...My times are in your hands...Let your face shine on me in your unfailing love...How great is your goodness, which you have stored up for those who fear you, which you bestow in the sight of men on those who take refuge in you. In the shelter of your presence you hide them from the intrigues of men; in your dwelling you keep them safe from accusing strong and take heart, all you who hope in the Lord."

And my favorite verse in Ps.31 is verse 21~"Praise be to the LORD, For He showed His wonderful love to me when I was in a besieged city."
A besieged city is one that is surrounded by trouble on every side. There is no way out. And He shows His great love to us in those situations. We can only look to Him. No human saviour can be found. No internal resources are available. God flies over city walls that are surrounded by the enemy of our souls. He swoops down and covers us with His wings. He preserves us from evil with His great love.

(In this Psalm, we see again that God will lead and guide us for the sake of His name. He also shows His goodness to us in the sight of men.)

Cords of Human Kindness

Hosea 11:4~(NIV)~"I led them with cords of human kindness, with ties of love; I lifted the yoke from their neck and bent down to feed them."

God has given many gifts to the body in order to be used to build one another up and to make us complete and whole. Some gifts are listed~"Prophets, pastors, teachers, apostles, etc." These are usually visible gifts full of responsibility and accountability.

One of my favorite gifts to the body of Christ is what I will call the 'relators.' These are the people who simply relate to others in the body. They ask the question, "How are you?" and they really want to know. They help people relate to God by bringing them to Him with cords of human kindness. They help people relate to other people by bringing them together in a non-threatening manner. Their greatest asset is their ability to accept others and believe the best of them. I can name a number of them by name. I want to be near them. I want to come to church to worship God, hear the Word, and be with them.
Relators do not mind being invisible. "You must increase, I must decrease," are the steadfast words written in their souls.

According to Hosea, God drew His people to Him with cords of human kindness.
 One should never underestimate the strength of human kindness.

Treasure Hunters

God is a treasure hunter. He found treasure in the world He created. It was Adam. It was Eve. It was you. It was me. He gave His all, like the person in the parable who found treasure in a field and sold everything he had in order buy it. He gave Himself through His Son and purchased all the diamonds in the rough in His world. You are His treasure. I am His treasure. He's been beautifying us for some time now. And He has given us His job. We are now treasure hunters.
I see diamonds everywhere. Some are more rough than others. But I find treasure in every person I meet. He's given me His eye for treasure. He's given me His heart to care about the treasure. He helps me say to that treasure, "Be found. Be used. Don't be afraid. I'm a diamond in the rough, too."
A treasure never loses its value. And it increases in value when placed into God's hands. He knows just what to do to bring out its luster and beauty and usefulness.
Of all the known and unknown names for God, one of my favorites is 'Treasure Hunter.'

Agony, Honesty, and Grace

In the Garden of Gethsemane, Jesus told His disciples,
" My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow.
  I am in so much agony that I could die."

  I wonder about the agony.

As Deity, He was horrified at the prospect of taking on the sins of mankind; becoming the very essence of sin Himself, and experiencing God's wrath for that sin.

  As a human, He dreaded the pain and humiliation of crucifixion. He dreaded leaving His mother and friends. He dreaded that they had to see Him die in this way. He sorrowed for their sorrow of having Him gone from their lives. These are just the obvious agonies. 

His agonies brought Him to the place of such dread that He wanted to escape the very reason He had come to earth in the first place.

I love how honest He was with His disciples. He was not going to be able to positively confess Himself out of this trouble. He asked God to deliver Him from death and God delivered Him from His desire to shrink back from dying.

What a perfect example He is.

So, we can be honest with our friends, our inner circle. We can tell them how awful life is and share our struggle with our circumstances. And we can ask God for exactly what we want. "Deliver me from this awful thing I am facing..."

Is it safe to say that God will either deliver us from the awful thing or else deliver us from the fear of the awful thing? He will either take it from us or give us grace to bear it?

Grace sounds like a gentle word, but it is the steadfast foundation of every miracle.

We have a friend, Roger, who had cancer. I knew God was going to heal him. He did and He didn't. We were glad and we were disappointed all at the same time. But, in the midst of the partial healing, God gave Roger grace to live with an encumbrance left over from the miracle He granted. And every time I see Roger, I think of the miracle of grace, and I thank God for it. Roger knows he is a miracle and he has grace to prove it.

Isaiah 40:29~"He gives power to the weak,
And to those who have no might He increases strength."

Saturday, November 1, 2008

C words

Some people think that if you are sick, you should not confess it. But, I have found it unnerving to be around people who are afraid to say what is going on in their lives. How can you help them if everything is "Great!" and you know that they are falling apart?

Perhaps we need to rethink what faith is. Faith is not calling those things that ARE as though they are NOT. Faith is calling things that are NOT as though they ARE. So, it's OK to say, "I have cancer." It is not a lack of faith to make that confession. You are saying what is. What else can you say once you've made an honest confession? What is not yet visible that you want to be visible? How about," I want to walk courageously through this. Jesus help me." Or,"I desire a heavenly country and at the right time, God will take me to the city He has prepared for me." Or,"By His stripes I am healed and I will trust Him to heal me His way." Notice how I give God a way out in my confession. Is that really faith?

I am in way over my head here. Most of the time I need to pray, "Lord, I believe. Help my unbelief." I am afraid to assume what God wants to do because what if I misinterpret His Word and what if He does things differently than I think He promised and what if it shakes up my faith in God? So I try to keep my faith low-keyed. I just love God and trust Him to do what He will and I try to stay out of the way. It's probably because I am a bit gun-shy with the promises of God. I don't recommend it. Being gun-shy, that is.
I read something in Hebrews 5:7,8 the other day. It says that Christ, in the days when He was a man on earth, appealed to the one who could save him from death in desperate prayer and the agony of tears. His prayers were heard; (What do you mean, His prayers were heard? He asked to be delivered from death. He did not want to die!!!! His prayers were heard? ) and He was freed from His shrinking from death,...That's how God answered His prayer?! He asked God to please not let Him die and God answered Him by taking away His desire to run from death!!!! Wow! And aren't we glad God answered Jesus' prayers THAT way.
I guess that it is not God's promises that I doubt. I think it is faith in my own idea of how the promises will play out that I doubt. Maybe I'm not gun-shy afterall. Maybe I'm just a little confused.

C Words~Confession, Calling, Cancer, Courage, Country, City, Christ, and Confused.