Tuesday, June 30, 2009
Monday, June 29, 2009
and what can be said about Him.
Sometimes we say that God will protect us
and then a friend is badly hurt,
or a sister's son is killed.
Why didn't He protect them?
Did He try?
Why does He sometimes protect
our loved ones
and other times it seems like
someone's angel was on vacation?
What is safety?
What are we kept safe from?
One thing for sure-
our idea of
safety in Christ
Sometimes, people are badly hurt.
Sometimes, people die.
I cannot equate safety
with protection from death
What about all those who die
because they believe in Him?
Does the persecuted church ask us to pray for their faith
so they won't deny Him under trial?
Or do they ask for prayer
because God does not protect them
and they do not want to be tempted to
lose their faith
in Him because He doesn't do
what they thought He would do.
This is the kind of thing that is keeping
me up at night.
My brain won't stop.
My little God box has been blown to bits again.
It was bigger than the last time
but I think I was starting to get the Math facts down again.
Faith + righteousness= Protection
Those kind of religious formulas-
blown to bits again.
A crater stands naked and bare
where the God Math facts once blared
their certainties in my manufactured box
of God's goodness.
My trust in God is shaken, again,
but I think it's really my trusted ideas
that are devastated.
I have to change the way I think about God.
I was talking to my sister
and she had been talking to a friend
who lost a brother and his wife
in a tragic accident.
Her friend raised the infant children
that were left behind in that calamity.
She and her husband did a great job.
They had no children of their own.
They had lost a child right before it
was ready to be born.
Was it Christmas day many years ago?
Rosalee's friend said that they have come
to this conclusion about God after the things they experienced.
I can hardly write this, I am crying so hard.
She had this to say about God.
"God is with us."
Don't ask me to dance around and sing a happy song
about God's goodness.
I would go to great lengths to
protect my sister from hearing that
kind of song right now.
But, I will tell you what will get her through...
what will get us all through the days ahead...
if you have not experienced the depth of sorrow
that cannot handle a loud, happy song...
you may someday.
And then, you will understand.
Words of formula will disappear
and you will know
that the one thing for sure that can be said about God is this,
"He is with us."
I cannot shout those words loudly enough,
nor can I whisper them quietly enough.
"He is with us."
For that I love Him with all my heart.
For that I will try to refrain from
putting Him in my little makeshift box again.
And for that I will build a majestic monument
in my heart.
I will chisel eternal words on my Rock
pounding fists and when I am finished,
you will read,
"God is with me
and He alone is good."
I will write a song with those words
and it will be full of richness and joy,
sorrow and knowing.
The violin will duet with the cello
and the clarinet will waltz with the harp.
The sad in heart will hear it and weep
and they will want to embrace
the God of the valley
who knows their sorrows
and wipes their tears.
They will know that He is for them
and that He is with them
and that He is good.
It is the music of heaven.
if I am very still,
I hear it.
Perhaps, He will give it to me someday
so I can share it with others.
He will give it to you.
Or who may stand in His holy place?
He who has clean hands and a pure heart,
Who has not
lifted up his soul
to an idol,
Nor sworn deceitfully.
He shall receive blessing from the LORD,
And righteousness from the God of his salvation~~~
Lift up your heads, O you gates!
And be lifted up, you everlasting doors!
And the King of Glory shall come in.
Who is this King of Glory?
The LORD strong and mighty,
The LORD mighty in battle.
Lift up your heads, O you gates!
Lift up, you everlasting doors!
And the King of Glory shall come in!!!!!
This psalm thrills my soul!
I thought about idol worship this week.
How much pressure is on an idol to perform
and to keep the souls of
his worshippers lifted up to him?
What happens when that idol dies?
We worship a God who lives!
We worship a King of Glory.
The King of Pop
bows down to the King of Glory.
Have mercy, O God.
Pastor Frank's sermon:
Preparation + Anticipation = Revelation
God will never be in debt to anyone. He owes us nothing.
We do not understand God. We 'religionize' Him.
When He does not fit into our box,
we get uncomfortable.
God is transcendent above all of His creation.
We want to conform Him into our own image.
Instead, we should open up the gates of our hearts.
He wants to come in and be intimately involved with His creation.
Recap-(past month's sermons)
1-The intention of God is to build a household of faith, using each of us to do so.
2-The most important one in the Kingdom is the one who has strayed.
-The heart of God is for the lost.
3-We've all been given talents from the Master. He will require something from the investment He has made in our lives.
Quote from ?-"There is an urge in every man's life to render himself indispensable. We want to have the feeling of not being able to be replaced."
500 people over the age of 95 were interviewed.
They were asked the question about what they would
do differently with their lives had they a chance to start over.
The three main responses were the following:
1-I would reflect more.
2-I would risk more.
3-I would do more things that would live after I am gone.
Does your life matter?
You can make a difference in your community and in your world.
Have an eye to see what is going on.
Have an ear to hear what is going on.
You can affect the world.
(But you can't be in your own little world to do so.)
Eph. 2:10-"We are His workmanship,
created in Christ Jesus for good works,
which God prepared beforehand
that we should walk in them."
11 Cor.9:8-"And God is able to make
all grace about toward you,
that you, always having all sufficiency
in all things,
may have an abundance for every good work."
God has given us everything we need to do His work
and to affect the world we live in.
We need to FLING WIDE the gates of our lives.
We have a great big God with
great big favor and blessing and intention and anointing.
He wants to bowl us over with a blessing
that we cannot contain in ourselves.
Are we in it more for our name
than for His name?
The Kingdom of God is so big
that God can do 'it' without us,
but He has prepared everything in us
so that we can be a part of it.
It's one thing to have the praises of men
and that pat on our backs.
It is another thing to hear the whisper of God in your ear.
There are promises of blessing-
the rough places will be made smooth,
the crooked places will be made straight,
the waters will part, etc.
But the promises are always attached to conditions.
We must obey the rules. Rules such as...
...If my people, who are called by my name,
will humble themselves and pray,
and turn from their wicked ways...
then I will hear from heaven..
and heal their land.
...Blessed are those who hunger and thirst
for they will be filled...
...Who may ascend the holy hill? (Who gets to ascend-not who wants to)
Those with clean hands and a pure heart... (The condition to ascending God's holy hill)
If you need to repent, repent.
If you play games with sin you will lose
the opportunity for the Kingdom of God
to come in.
Story-There was a lady named Mary Booker. She had a dream. She wanted to help poor children. She went to Henry Ford and asked for his help. He sent her away with a dollar. With that dollar, she bought seed, and after numerous seasons of planting and harvesting, she had enough money to buy a building. She went back to Henry Ford and said, 'Look what your dollar bill did.' He was so moved that he wrote her a check for a million dollars. She began the Booker School for Children which is still in operation today.
God wants to give us dreams too.
God wants us to have our eyes wide open,
our hearts huge,
our focus on Him,
our gates flung wide.
He wants us to wake up.
There is an urgency.
There's been too much poured out.
Every minute, people are dying and going to hell.
Who is going to ascend this hill?
We have everything that we need.
Who really wants it?
We're all in the same playing field when it comes to
opportunity to ascend
and grace to ascend.
You will fulfill all of His purpose for you
if you receive His provision for you.
(The blood of Christ provides cleansing
for our sins, so we can have clean hands
and a pure heart, and thereby ascend His holy hill.)
Lift up your heads, O you gates!...
(Prepare the way of the Lord.)
And the King of glory shall come in!
Someone asked me one time if I put on the armor of
God every day. (Eph.6:10-18)
I meekly said,'No', and they got a bit upset with me.
Now, if I thought fast enough, I would have said
what came to me a few seconds later,
"Why would I take the armor off in the first place?
Does it fall off at night?"
But that would have been offensive and I am
glad that I was the only one who felt humiliated
This reminds me of the gates.
We are to fling wide the gates.
I like to do that.
I open my spirit up to God and smile at Him.
I invite Him in.
Just as I want to keep my armor on
so I want to keep my gates and doors
flung open wide to Him.
We have to be careful who we open our gates too.
We can't just let any old king in.
It has to be the King of Glory!
And He is strong and mighty!
He is mighty in battle!
Perhaps the best way for us to keep
our armor in place is the invite the King
of Glory into our lives.
It sounds like He knows all about battle.
It sounds like He wins!
Therefore, with Him in my midst,
I will win.
With Him in OUR midst,
WE will win.
And because we win,
others can also win.
It's no fun climbing a hill
all by one's self.
We're in this together,
you and I.
The prunes are a part of the original recipe.
1 cup strong brewed coffee
1 cup milk
2 containers pureed baby food prunes
2 tsp. vanilla
Blend together dry ingredients
and add to wet ingred.
2 cups flour
2 cups sugar
3/4 cup cocoa
2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
Pour into 2 or 3
9" round cake pans
sprayed and floured
(I use wax paper)
Bake 350" for 25"-35"
Cool about 10" and
take out of pans
put on racks to finish cooling.
I usually times this recipe by 1/2
to have more icing.
6 T. butter, softened
2 2/3 cup 10x sugar
1/4 cup cocoa
Add 2 T. milk
2 T. strong coffee
1 tsp. vanilla
Beat well and ice cake.
Even better on day two-
if it lasts that long.
Phil and Philip decided to warm up some leftover pork in a bag on the truck windowsill while at work on Mon. Later that night, I thought I might have to take Phil back to the ER. He was getting rid of the pork, etc. in various ways throughout the night. His stomach finally seemed better by Thursday.
We've had a month of one thing happening after the other, and after Billy and Bekah left on Tuesday, I completely crashed. I could hardly move the whole day, so I rested and so did Susan. I am concerned for my mother. She has had a fever for probably 3 months now and still no answers after many tests. She has gone on oxygen now.
Ed MacMahan, Farah Fawcett, Michael Jackson, and Billy Mays passed away this week.
I remember watching the Jackson family's performance on the Ed Sullivan show. I feel deep sorrow for their families. They are surrounded by so many but grief is such a private pain. The grievers are in a different land, speaking a language no one else knows. Bless Michael Jackson's children, and bring them to a land of solace and comfort and God.
Phil and I went out to Liberty to join Michael for supper and the Boys State program. He talked non-stop. He really enjoyed his time. His eyes were opened to many aspects of our political system and he definitely does not want to be a politician. His respect for the American flag has increased. Michael joined the choir for the week and I was amazed at the numerous songs that the choir director had taught them; songs about America and songs about God. "Cast Your Burden Upon the Lord"...to..."Dixie"...to all the different songs for the military. As they sang them at the program, those represented by the words of the songs would stand. Those in the army stood for the army song, etc. Our biggest thrill was to see Michael lead all 800 boys in the Boy State Song. His arms were going back and forth and he started with the choir and slowly moved in a circle, directing the whole group in the goose-bumpling song. This was all done in the Vine Center at Liberty.
We came back the following day, Sat., and picked him up around noon. He was trying to remember what the leader of Boys State had told them before they left. I believe it was:
Do what's right. Do your best. And Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.
He really liked that.
Phil, Susan, Freeman and I went to New Life in the afternoon for Alex and Laurel's wedding. All of the bridesmaids looked so beautiful. Karen sang, "There is Love..." and Roger accompanied her with his guitar. It was lovely. Alex's mother made the reception food. Delicious. Addi ate her lunch with me on my lap and we succeeded in troubling the lunches of those around us several times. We wish and pray for all the best for Alex and Laurel.
We ran some errands while in town and got some free potatoes at the Millers. Phil helped me make some potato salad when we got home. I also made coleslaw and chocolate cake for Freeman's birthday supper tomorrow.
We went to church and Phil taught Sunday School. Philip, Freeman, and I were part of the class. I really enjoy his class on 'Walking In the Spirit.' It's good teaching and all based on the Bible. I like learning to know the others in the class, as well.
Later in the afternoon, The Bantans and Alli and Kelly came to enjoy Freeman's 25th birthday supper with us. Every year for Freeman's birthday, he grills the pork ribs we kept back from the Pig Roast pigs. It's a messy business, eating pork ribs. Alli kept thinking that she was going to get hit in the eye with one of Freeman's ribs as he tackled the meaty bones. I gave Addi one of the bones with the meat intact and she was a regular little cave girl. Chace and Erik came a short while later and enjoyed supper with us and Rhoda and Gina rode over on a motorcycle. Lindsay made Freeman a guitar cake using real guitar strings. It was her delicious butter cake recipe. I made a chocolate coffee cake and I will put the recipe on my blog. We had ice cream and sang 'Happy Birthday', again. Some of the kids went down to the river and some stayed to watch 'Three Stooges'. They played kickball, too. Phil apologized to Gil for falling asleep and not doing anything entertaining and Gil said that that is why he loves to come. Gil fell asleep too. It's nice to have folks come that are so much like family that you don't have to 'do' anything for them. Lindsay and I sat out on the front porch and gave Emma and Addi baths in a 5 gallon bucket. It brought back alot of memories for me. Our kids would get so dirty in the summer and most nights, they took their bath in a 5 gallon bucket on our front porch. Philip caught some little fish in the river and Addi held one proudly in her hands. Lindsay put her back in the 'tub' right after that to sanitize her again.
We watched another 'Monk' episode after everyone left.
I'd like to meet the writer of the show.
He understands neurotic behavior.
He is also acquainted with grief.
Thursday, June 25, 2009
Date: A.D. 65-80
Theme: Contending for the faith
Key Words: Contend, the faith, Keep
I never knew this before.
It is thought that Jude was the brother of James, who was the brother of Jesus and leader of the Jerusalem church.
Mark 6:3 mentions that Jude (or Judas) was the brother of Jesus. Wow!
Jude used much of his one chapter letter to warn the readers against false teachers. He describes the false teachers as being 'sensual', 'perverters of the truth', 'dreamers', 'clouds without water' and 'not having the Spirit.' He encourages the reader to maintain their faith, to trust in God's keeping power, and to rescue those who are deceived.
My favorite verses include some of the ageless church verses.
You know them.
Verses 20, 21, 24, and 25:
"But you, beloved,
building yourselves up
on your most holy faith,
praying in the Holy Spirit,
keep yourselves in the love of God,
looking for the mercy of our
Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life...
Now to Him who is able
to keep you from stumbling,
And to present you faultless
Before the presence of His glory
with exceeding joy,
To God our Savior,
Who alone is wise,
Be glory and majesty,
Dominion and power,
Both now and forever.
It appears that our job is to keep ourselves in the love of God,
and it's God's job to keep us from falling.
Author: Apostle John
Date: About A.D. 90
Theme: Jesus is the Son of God. Those who follow Him must live righteously.
Key Words: Love, Know, Life, Light, Fellowship
John wrote much of this letter to expose the heresy of Gnosticism, 'which taught that matter is essentially evil and spirit is essentially good.' Thus, the false teachers denied the Incarnation of Christ and the Resurrection, because 'the true God, ...could never indwell a material body of flesh and blood.'
John sought to give reassurance of eternal life to those "who believe in the name of the Son of God." The false teaching of Gnosticism had unsettled the Christians and John pulled no punches as he reached out to the confused believers, calling the the teachings 'deceitful', and the teachers 'false prophets', 'liars', and 'antichrists.' These teachers were no longer in the church but had gone out into the world and John was cleaning up the debris left over from their teaching.
John relates to his readers in a fatherly, friendly way, and speaks often about the love of God, the light of God and the fellowship that believers have with God and each other.
"Three tests prove the genuineness of Christianity: the test of belief (1 Jn. 4:2), the test of obedience (1 Jn. 2:3), and the test of love (1 Jn. 4:20). The same affirmations are stated negatively. The one who professes to be a Christian, but who cannot pass the test of belief (1 Jn 2:22), the test of obedience(1 Jn 1:6), and the test of love (1 Jn. 4:20), is a liar. John brings all three tests together in 1 Jn. 5:1-5, where he indicates that a profession of Christianity is false unless it is characterized by correct belief, godly obedience, and brotherly love. The same tests are valid today."(Direct quote from Bible notes)
I really like Apostle John. The gospel of John is my favorite book in the Bible and I am also reading Revelation right now and Billy Graham's book on Revelation, called "Storm Warning".
Somehow, John knew how to stay at rest in the bosom of Jesus, even after Christ left this world. John has perspective and insight into the love of God that few obtain. I think it has something to do with where he rested. He could feel the heartbeat of God in the bosom of Christ.
Some of favorite Words are:
1 Jn. 1:1-4-
"That which was from the beginning,
which we have heard,
which we have seen with our eyes,
which we have looked upon,
and our hands have handled, concerning the Word of life-
the life was manifested,
and we have seen,
and bear witness,
and declare to you that eternal life
which was with the Father and was manifested to us-
that which we have seen and heard we declare to you,
that you also many have fellowship with us;
and truly our fellowship is with the Father
and with His Son Jesus Christ.
And these things we write to you that your
joy may be full."
The beginning of 1 John reminds me of the beginning of
the Gospel of John-
"In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God
and the Word was God."
Date: Early A.D. Sixties
Theme: Suffering as a Christian
Key Words: Suffer, Suffering
It is thought that Peter was writing to converted Gentiles.
He reminds those who are being rejected in the world for their faith in Christ, that one day they will have a heavenly inheritance. He reminds them about who they are in Christ and the glory that is ahead for them and encourages them to be patient in the midst of persecution.
There are many beloved verses in Peter. I have to think about the time that Jesus told Peter that he would fail Him and that 'when you have returned,' strengthen the brethren.
That strengthening continues to this day.
Without Peter's failure, there would not have been this strength.
I Pet. 1:7-"That the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ..."
1 Pet.2:23-"...who, when He was reviled, did not revile in return; when He suffered, He did not threaten, but committed Himself to Him who judges righteously;..."
1 Pet. 3:8-"...be of one mind, having compassion for one another; love as brothers, be tenderhearted, be courteous; not returning evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary blessing, knowing that you were called to this, that you may inherit a blessing."
"11 Pet. 3:9-"...He is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance."
The other day, I read Luke 9:51-56.
"Now it came to pass, when the time had come for Him to be received up, that He steadfastly set His face to go to Jerusalem, and sent messengers before His face. And as they went, they entered a village of Samaritans, to prepare for Him. But they did not receive Him, because His face was set for the journey to Jerusalem.
And when His disciples James and John saw this, they said, 'Lord, do you want us to command fire to come down from heaven and consume them, just as Elijah did?'
But He turned and rebuked them, and said, "You do not know what manner of spirit you are of. For the Son of Man did not come to destroy men's lives but to save them."
And they went to another village.
What manner of spirit do we display when we pray,
"Lord, whatever it takes, do what you have to do to bring this person to You," or
"Don't let them sleep until they get right with you."?
How much compassion do we have for those who once proclaimed they were Christians and are now showing signs of dwindling faith?
Do we bring them nearer to Him or drive them farther away with our words and actions?
How about the way we respond to people who live an alternative lifestyle?
Do we call down fire from heaven and tell them they are going to hell,
or do we love them the way Christ does?
Would they want to be like us after being with us?
Would they want to be like Him after being with us?
What about the things we see on the news? What about the way people are rejecting Christ and Christianity? What is our response to those who will not 'let Christ in their village' because He is going in a direction that they don't want to go.
Are we Christ-like in our responses to un-Christians?
Sometimes, I hear some pretty violent reactions from believers regarding those who reject Christ and the principles we hold dear. Sometimes, I have some pretty violent thoughts that aren't pretty at all.
I am burdened with this.
I am so sorry for the times I have 'called down fire' on the very people that Christ came to seek and to save.
I don't want to be of a different spirit than Christ.
There will be time enough for fire to fall down from Heaven.
Now is the time for mercy.
There is still time to help Jesus seek and save that which is lost.
How can we help Him if we are spouting prayers of revenge and speaking caustic words of judgment
rather than praying for mercy and moving on to the next village?
God forgive us.
God forgive us for wanting to destroy
those He loves so much.
"He had a remarkable talent for friendship, particularly for friendship of an uproarious kind, masculine and argumentative but never quarrelsome."
"It gives you the impression of an escaped lunatic's conversation while chasing his hat on a windy day."
To his brother-"...I hope to God the war will be over before my valuable person gets anywhere near it."
About F.de Sales-"I would regard his prose as the sweetest of religious writings."
"At any rate, He (God) said He would (give) if we asked and He ought to know. (We often talk as if He were not very good at Theology!)"
"God, who foresaw your tribulation (husband's infidelity) has specially armed you to go through it, not without pain, but without stain."
"The greatest pleasure that money can give us is to make it unnecessary to think about money."
Monday, June 22, 2009
Sunday, June 21, 2009
This is the parable about the Master who gave his servants 1,2,and 5 talents and then left on a journey, saying that he would be coming back.
This parable has always made me a bit uneasy.
There are no room for excuses here.
I can't say,"I was hurt in church and I don't want to risk using my talent and getting hurt again."
I can't say, with false humility,"Oh, everyone else can do this better than I can."
There are so many things I cannot say.
I am without excuse when it is all said and done.
The Master gave the servants their talents according to their ability. Not everyone has the same amount of ability. God not only gives the talents, He also gave the ability in the first place. This leaves no room for judging one another. (Or comparing ourselves to one another.)
The Master says, "I am coming back. Take care of this talent. Invest it. I have entrusted it to your care. I am coming back to see what you have done with it.
In terms of money, the servants were given 10, 40, and 100 years worth of salary respectively.
That's alot of money.
It's not up to us to decide who gets what.
But to those who are given more, more is required of them.
Something is required from everything that has been given us.
10 years of salary is not so shabby of a talent.
The 1 talent guy was perhaps lazy.
He made excuses.
He said, "I know that you are a hard master...I was afraid."
And the Master didn't mince any words.
He said, "You wicked and lazy servant..."
Sometimes, we say we are afraid.
Sometimes, we misjudge the character of God.
And we are just plain slothful and lazy.
(We want to make excuses for how we've turned out.
We don't want to be responsible for who we are.
No wonder the Master gets angry.)
The lazy servant went to quite alot of work to bury 10 years of wages.
He could have taken it to the bank and invested it so the master could have made interest on it.
A slothful person is going in the right direction but going too slow.
"I don't want to wait until Heaven to hear the words, "Well-done, my good and faithful servant. "
I want to know now if I am doing it right or wrong."
We need to be passionate. Those servants who were given 2 and 5 talents did something with them immediately. They didn't wait around. They had passion and they had vision.
Without a vision, people perish. Without a passion, people perish.
Nehemiah was a man of vision and passion. When he was building the walls back up and some bad guys came to harass him, he said," Why should I leave my passion and come down and deal with you." He refused to be distracted.
Be faithful with what you've been given.
Do not let it be a burden to you.
Do not go out back and bury it.
If we operated in our potential based on the talents and abilities we've been given,
there would not be enough room in our church building to hold all the folks who would come.
What can I do immediately with what I have been given?
The Master is coming back and He doesn't want an even trade.
When I was up at the altar and wondering what exactly was my talent or talents, I got the sense that only one thing is really needed. I need to sit at His feet and love Him and everything else will flow out of my relationship with God through Jesus Christ. We could 'do' our talents and 'use' them on people but if we do not know Him and He does not know us, what profit would there be? People used their talents and cast out demons in His name and did all kinds of things in His name and He said, 'Depart from me, I never knew you.'
I think that if I live and move and have my being in Him, His life will flow through me, and He is very talented indeed. I will have all of His life as a source to my life and there are no limitations in Him.
Perhaps one of the talents we've all been given is the talent of waiting on Him. This is different that laziness and doing nothing. Waiting is active and humbling. It is doing nothing apart from what the Father is doing. This is how Jesus lived on earth. He did not just take His gifts and run. He listened and worked. He waited and worked.
One thing I am quite sure of is this-the talents we have been given are not something we have to strive for. They are gifts, therefore we are gifted in the area of our talent. Therefore, we might not even realize what the talent is because it may be something we are doing naturally.
Our talent is most likely something that we enjoy doing.
We need to be faithful in enjoying it.
When Freeman and Susan were painting the mailbox, and Philip and Phil were working with equipment out at the end of the lane, they all saw two bear coming out of our woods.
That was a thrill.
Billy Balmer and his wife, Becka, came Friday around 5:00 to visit us for several days. Billy was 6 months old when Freeman was born and they have literally been friends ever since then.
They have been a great help to us before, during, and after the pig roast.
On Wed. of this week, Phil called an emergency family meeting. It was another very rainy day. He said that we had to decide that day whether or not we should cancel the pig roast. The pigs still had their oinks and tails but another day would be too late. We discussed parking, shelter, protection for the music equipment, etc. and decided to have the pig roast, rain or shine. We were glad we did.
We had a nice Pig Roast on Sat. People from church, school, the community, other churches, and friends of those we knew came in spite of the heat. Quite a few stayed home because of it and needed to for health reasons. We think that we probably had about 200 people here. Some came later in the day. Lindsay asked if she could use her VIP status and came into our house to give the girls their naps. They were sprawled out on Susan's bedspread on the living room floor, cool as cucumbers, and sound asleep when I came in. Lindsay came in to check on them at one point and they were wide awake, happily playing with my exercise equipment.
Everyone brought a dish or two of food and that food brought flies even though we had sprayed the property several times this week. Roger and his band played. For the drummer and one guitarist, it was the first Christian performance they had ever participated in. John and Gloria, brother and sister in law, played guitars and sang. Tom and Helen and their whole family sang and played all kinds of instruments. They could go on the road. Ray and Ruth joined Phil and I to sing a few hymns. Graham Loy and his dad, David, and sisters, Erin and Chelsea, wowed the crowd. Graham is 12 years old and is a student of mine at Cornerstone Christian Academy. It was the first time their family had performed together publicly. Phil and Roger sang and played as well.
The Hertzler Boys had a special song to give to their dad for Father's Day. They dressed up in beards and sunglasses and ugly masks and held guitar hero guitars and danced around and 'sang' the song, 'Born to be Wild.' They were really good and I was very proud. They used the front lawn as their stage and I had to think about how we prayed before we found this farm, that God would give us a wide and open place, free from restriction. Their song and dance and freedom were all a reflection of His abundant answer.
The river was a popular place to hang out. It's alot cooler down there and the water draws the young people. The Harvest Kids played kick ball in the eve. and they and some of the other young people got to see the Famous Hertzler Wax Bomb.
I gave Carleen, Cindy, and Amber a ride down to the river on the gator and showed them my little chapel. We had a very good time together.
I think the reason I like the Pig Roast so much is because I am like my little 5 year old nephew, Micah. His mommy, Janelle, says that Micah would be perfectly happy if all of the people he loves could be under one roof. That's how I feel. I love to introduce people I love to other people I love and I hope that they will discover the reason that I love each of them so much and love each other too. I got to do that several times on Sat. My young friend, Amy, took me aside and thanked me for introducing me to my niece, Bethany. They exchanged e-mail addresses and they deserve one another, both being so sweet and perceptive.
I think the Pig Roast is just a taste of heaven on earth. In heaven, there will be feasting and fellowshipping and wonderful music. Just as we prepared in advance for our friends to have a welcoming place to come to, God is preparing a place for us. Most importantly, God will have most of the people He loves all together under one roof, and He will be perfectly happy then.
June 21-Father's Day-Three great men were honored today-Brent B., Jamie D., and Pastor Lou. This was during our Sunday service. Addison almost fell asleep in my arms but she was more tired than sleepy and just basically wanted to snuggle which was fine by me. It was a good morning. Chace, Eric, and Amber all hugged Phil and wished him a Happy Father's Day. It undid me and I had to leave.
We came home and ate....PORK! Phil and I took Michael to Liberty University for Boy's State. Over 800 young men from Virginia are attending for a week of learning all about government and our political system. Governor Kaine will be speaking to them this Thursday. I don't think I ever sent Michael off somewhere by himself for a week. He looked so big and brave but I got in the car and cried for my little boy who is not so little any more. I wonder if this week is tied up in his destiny. Aunt Mert has teased him about being President of the United States. That is not a job I would wish on anyone but it certainly is possible for Michael to be President someday.
Freeman showed Billy and Becka his potato gun this afternoon. We ate some ice cream and toppings and are taking it easy. Freeman was so blessed this morning when someone publicly acknowledged the work that our family does in order to get ready for the pig roast. He said, "That made it all worth while." He has been happy the whole day because of those encouraging words.
We will hopefully hit the sack early tonight and sleep well.
Thursday, June 18, 2009
that we are having the Pig Roast this Sat. the 20th,
Rain or Shine. There will be places of shelter
to run to
if it starts to rain or storm.
We may have to shorten or change the music
part of the party if it rains too much,
but the piggy will be roasted
and it's only a party of YOU come!
See you soon!
Tuesday, June 16, 2009
Philip, 20, with the green hair, had too much Mountain Dew
and needed to expend some energy. Eric, his friend watched,
while Michael video-taped the wild scene in their bedroom.
The music and the hysterical laughter is what makes this video
over-the-edge funny. (For me, anyway.) Unfortunately, the sound
is missing when I play it. I hope it isn't for you.
Monday, June 15, 2009
Sunday, June 14, 2009
I am not sure if this is just life,
or if Satan is attacking and persecuting Christians and intercessors,
or if God is allowing us to be sifted,
or if God is testing our faith,
or if we're doing something wrong
or if the end is near
There are too many people involved for this to be about us.
These things affect us deeply, however.
I know God cares.
I know He is sovereign.
I know we live in a fallen world.
I know Satan hates God's children.
I know God allows bad things to happen to good people.
I know there are laws set in place involving physics and inertia and gravity.
I know there is cause and effect.
I know these things.
What I don't know is this:
What is God doing in all of this?
Why is He allowing it?
What's going on?
The other day, I read a verse in John 13.
The story is recorded of the time Jesus washed His disciples feet.
He came to wash Peter's feet and Peter said, "Lord, are you washing my feet?"
Jesus said this, "What I am doing you do not understand now,
but you will know after this."
What would Peter know after this?
Was it simply the lesson of the Master being a servant?
Did Peter understand that he was to wash the feet of the others
since Jesus had washed his?
Or did Peter understand later that Jesus was cleansing him ahead of time from the filth of betrayal that would cling to his feet just a few hours from that washing?
Would Peter think, "He washed my feet. He served me and He knew I would betray Him."
I have thought much on these words of Jesus.
I have transferred them to the situations in life that are affecting me now.
Peter thought Jesus was not acting the way His Lord and Master should act.
Has Jesus ever acted in a way contrary to your idea of Him as Master and Lord,
Savior and Protector, Healer and Provider?
Have you ever wondered what in the world He is doing?
It helps me to read the words Jesus spoke to Peter,
"What I am doing you do not understand now, but you will know after this."
I guess if we understood everything,
we would not need to have faith.
Faith is the substance of things hoped for,
and I hope to understand someday.
JONAH 2:9-"I WILL SACRIFICE TO THEE WITH THE VOICE OF THANKSGIVING"-Jonah says this while still in the whale's stomach and God commanded the whale to immediately vomit him up!
NUMBERS 32:6b-"SHALL YOUR BROTHERS GO TO WAR WHILE YOU YOURSELVES SIT HERE?" Reuben and Gad's descendants wanted to settle down in Gilead rather than go over into the Promised Land. Only when they promised to go help win the land for the rest of the Israelites did Moses allow it. We may be secure in our relationship with Jesus but we dare not sit down and settle ourselves in peace. We must do spiritual battle for those who are not "at home" in the Lord.
Things Jesus said to pray for:
Luke 21:36-That you may have strength to escape all these things that are about to take place~~~
Luke 22:40b-Pray that you may not enter temptation.
Matt. 9:38-Pray the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest.
Gen. 48:11-"I never expected to see your face and behold, God let me see your children as well."
I could just picture him there, sitting at the kitchen table,
talking about me to my mother and I couldn't understand
what he was saying. This was all done with an underlying
sense of humor.
He could do this in two ways.
Remember, he was an auctioneer and could talk very fast.
My mother would communicate with him in the same language.
It was a challenge to try to understand them and I tried as hard as I could.
Language number one was Pig Latin.
This is when you take off the first letter of a word, add a long 'A' sound to it,
and add it to the back end of a word.
Like this: -igpay atinlay- meaning Pig Latin.
I knew if I heard something like, " ..nettay eedsnay otay ogay otay edbay,"
that it was soon my bedtime.
I know that quite a few people can speak this kind of Latin.
What made it unique was the speed and ease with which they communicated.
The other way they communicated when they didn't want us to know what they were saying was to spell rapidly.
There was no real pause between words and back and forth they would fire their letters, like an auctioneer fires numbers.
I would try too hard and by the time I would figure out one word,
they were on to their next paragraph.
I think my parents were probably geniuses.
I don't know anyone else who could do the things they did.
His text was Matthew 18:10-15-"Take heed that you do not despise one of these little ones, for I say to you that in heaven their angels always see the face of My Father who is in heaven.
For the Son of Man has come to save that which was lost.
What do you think? If a man has a hundred sheep, and one of them goes astray, does he not leave the ninety-nine and go to the mountains to seek the one that is straying?
and if he should find it, assuredly, I say to you, he rejoices more over that sheep than over the ninety-nine that did not go astray.
Even so it is not the will of your Father in heaven that one of these little ones should perish."
The purpose of the church is to keep you; not to save you, although we have an atmosphere where people get saved every Sunday. In this day of uncertainty and pressure, we need to take in more than a Sunday morning service, in order to be fed in a way that will keep us. We need to take initiative and plug into the venues and opportunities that the church offers in order to help ourselves grow. As we are growing, our cup opens up for more and more of God and we add great value to those around us. (I'd like to add here, that we need to be connected with Christ in our private world as well. We need to feed ourselves and saturate ourselves with His Word and His presence. Out of the overflow of abundance in our hearts, we will refresh others with the life of God within our spirits. This will happen naturally as we love God and receive His love and righteousness.)
God spoke, and creation-the trees, plants, animals, light, dark, etc. came into being. But Adam, He formed carefully from the dust of the earth, and Eve, he formed carefully from Adam.
God is carefully forming another body-the body of Christ in the earth. He takes great care with this creation and puts things exactly where He wants them. He didn't speak Adam into being, nor does He speak the church into being. He carefully forms and fits every part of the body together and everyone is just as valuable as the next person, just as in a physical body, every part is important in order to make the body function properly.
We must be like children to enter the Kingdom of Heaven. What is a child like? A child is dependent, hungry, needy, loving, open...
We can't imagine two four year olds talking to each other about their friends in a negative way.
That is childish behavior when adults do it.
Children fight and make up and go on.
Our value to the Kingdom depends on our ability to be child-like.
We need to understand this in order to inherit the Kingdom of Heaven.
One of the most immature statements one can hear in the church is this: "This is the way I am."
Meaning, "You're gonna have to get used to it because this is the way I am."
"I AM" is used three times in the Word of God and not one time does it describe you.
(I think this is similar to the excuse of grouchiness or tiredness. "I'm grouchy because....and you had better beware and behave because of it." It especially troubling when this type of intimidation is used on a child or on someone "under" the authority of the grouchy person.)
When the 99 were safely in the fold, the Shepherd went up into the mountains to seek the one who strayed. According to this illustration, the most important one in the kingdom is the one who has wandered off.
It is easy to fellowship with those who are easy to fellowship with.
There are those that stray for one reason or another.
The 99 have one another. It is impossible to take one of them out without taking out all of them. The roaring lion seeks the sheep who has isolated himself.
We need to help the Shepherd seek and save that one that is lost.
We jealously protect and guard our children.
We know where they are and what they are doing.
We let others know that they had better not mess with our children.
(Philip began to laugh here and leaned over and said, "Yes, Sir, Mr. P~~~~~, Sir." He was reminded about what happened when a fresh young man said something to a pastor's daughter.)
According to Matthew 18:10, the angels of the little ones are always beholding the face of Our Father in heaven. There is a warning to not despise the little ones, because their angels are always in God's presence.
My Bible notes say this:"We are not to despise childlike believers for they are honored in heaven. Their angels are likely guardian angels of the highest rank: they always see the face of My Father. The term little ones is also linked with the "lost" and the "astray"...calling for concern toward members of the community who have fallen away. "
I find it interesting that this scripture about the lost sheep is preceded about verses regarding offending a little one. Woe to you who cause offenses...and then the scripture about the lost sheep. Perhaps he is lost because he's been offended. Then, the lost sheep scripture is followed by the teaching of reconciling a brother who has sinned. The brother who has sinned is also a lost sheep.
The altar call invited those who are burdened for a "lost sheep"
to come forward and pray for them to be found.
It also came with a challenge.
We should pray that the Shepherd will find this lost sheep
but also, we should pursue that sheep as well,
with God's Spirit leading us and preparing the way.
Flesh of my flesh
wept for my flesh and blood this morning at the altar.
This is not the first time, nor the second time
that this has happened.
From a young age, he has carried this burden.
Surely, the Father will hear his prayers.
Surely, he will see him in Heaven some day.
Phil woke up around 3 in the morning, hearing a motor surging. Told me about it in the morning. I told him to put ear plugs in his ears and the look on his face confirmed my suspicion. He was hearing the sound inside his head. Went to the chiropractor/nutritionist later in the day and she found a place on his neck and said, "This is where those noises are coming from." She worked on him and he hasn't heard the sounds since.
June 9th-The boys took a video with their phone that should go on the internet. The hummingbirds were upset because their sweet substance was gone. Philip put his hands around the feeder and they came and sat on his hands and buzzed all around like big angry bugs. There must have been 8-10 of them. It's an amazing video.
Philip had a cow that had to be in a harness because giving birth had temporarily paralyzed her. This harness was attached to the petty bone and held her up. When the wild storm began to hit, Philip was away. Michael drove the petty bone to another barn, cow dangling in the rain and wind, and transferred her to a protective place under the straw barn. It was a sight to behold.
That storm was amazing. Around 10:45, we had such a lightning bolt and thundering that the house shook. Our neighbor was sure that she would have a crater in her yard. All her glassware shook. Phil was just a mile away from home, coming back from a meeting. We heard of two places that were struck by lightning that eve. One started to burn before 9 that evening and burned to the ground.
Philip's cow by the way, has recovered fully, and seems to be taking back her calf. Tom's had taken the calf for awhile to suckle on one of their cows.
June 10-Sarah Wood, 17, came home with us after youth group. She and her grandmother and her brother drove in from OK. Sarah is staying with us until Sunday. They will be returning to OK the day after the Pig Roast. She calls me "Mom" and Phil, "Daddy" or "Uncle Phil." We miss her family in these parts. They all seem to be doing good and thriving in OK. All the best to them.
June 11-We are cleaning up around here-porches, outside fridge, garden, river, nails and glass on the property that keeps coming to the surface, weed-whacking, mowing, getting rid of junk, etc. It is good to have a Pig Roast once a year. I wish we could keep it looking like this.
Phil saw stars when he turned his head quickly today. (Just a note to myself.)
Sarah requested hot chocolate today, Three stooges videos, and popcorn. We enjoyed those Hertzler favorites several times while she was here.
Getting beets, snap peas, and turnips from the garden. So wet we can't go in very far.
June 12-Got a call from Phil's sister Anne, today. Truman, Phil and Anne's dad, and Jordan, their brother Jim's oldest son, probably 18 years old by now, were coming home from a fishing trip in Canada. The weather must have been bad. They were travelling on 81. A truck in front of them splashed mud on their windshield and they couldn't see. Jordan veered and hydroplaned and they went into the medial strip and hit a tree on the driver's side. Jordan was driving his Mercedes that he had fixed up. When dad came to, there were people around them and they were taken to a hospital there in Syracuse, N.Y. Dad has some broken ribs. Jordan has a lacerated spleen, and a fractured pelvis and tailbone. He is in pain. They want to keep him there for 5-7 days. We talked with Dad for awhile. He said that he was not in too much pain and did not take the morphine that they offered him. He asked for an aspirin. The police told the doctors that Jordan shouldn't be alive. His car was basically cut in half. How thankful we are that he is alive.
Mitch Miller called tonight-a dear old family friend. (He's not old, our friendship is.)I talked with him for a good while and he put his son, Jacob, on the phone. He caught me up about the rest of his family until the storm cut us off. Phil was out in the fields until the storm got too bad and missed his call.
June 13-Anne and Mom are driving up to NY to pick up Dad. Jim and Debra are taking their car in a trailer and pulling it with their truck. Jim will bring Jordan's vehicle home in the trailer and Debra will stay in NY with Jordan until he can come home. I wish I could be with her.
Talked with mother tonight. She is still running a fever. Two and a half months of fever and fatigue and no doctor has been able to find the reason. Again, we have some hope that the newest blood work may show something this time. We are waiting. I wish I could be with her.
June 14-Church today. Rested in afternoon. Still struggling to sleep well. My sister isn't sleeping well either. I wish I could be with her. Maybe I am not sleeping so I can watch and pray. Life is overwhelming for so many. So much is going on and I am wondering what exactly is going on. He gives His beloved sleep, it says in the Bible. I know that I am His beloved. I know that someday, I will sleep.
Wednesday, June 10, 2009
I began to wonder,
"What question does God get asked most often
from human beings?"
I think it might be the question-Why?
Why didn't you protect my loved one
when your promises say you will?
Why do bad people survive
and good people die?
Why did my husband leave me?
Why do those who wish to die, live,
and those who wish to live, die?
Why did you pick me to love?
And then I wondered,
What question do humans
get asked most often from God?
I think it might be-
Do you love me more?
Do you love me more than your
hurt feelings, bitterness, offenses,
shame and pain?
Do you love me more than your
cigarettes, alcohol, drugs,
sugar, and caffeine?
Do you love me more than your
video games and romance novels?
Do you love me more
than the praises of men?
Do you love me more
than the answers to
your questions, "Why?"
Do you love me more?
I think we should say, "Being in the center of God's will is the safest place to die."
Jesus, being in the center of God's will, was led by the Holy Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil.
Later, being in the center of God's will, He was led to a cross, and died a sinner's death.
The disciples, being in the center of God's will were told by Jesus to get in the boat and go to the other side of the lake. In the midst of His will, they encountered a life-threatening storm, and would have died had He not intervened on their behalf.
Most of the disciples, being in the center of God's will, died horrible deaths at the hands of sinful men because of their belief in Jesus Christ.
God did not keep them safe from death;
He kept them safe from evil within.
Sunday, June 7, 2009
Taken aside by Jesus,
To feel the touch of His hand;
To rest for a while in the shadow
Of the Rock in a weary land.
Taken aside by Jesus,
In the loneliness dark and drear,
Where no other comfort may reach me,
Than His voice to my heart so dear.
Taken aside by Jesus,
To be quite alone with Him,
To hear His wonderful tones of love
'Mid the silence and shadows dim.
Taken aside by Jesus,
Shall I resist the desert place,
When I hear as I never heard before,
And see Him "face to face"?
who called us to His eternal glory
by Christ Jesus,
after you have suffered awhile,
perfect, establish, strengthen,
and settle you. 1 Peter 5:10
Perfect-to make flawless or faultless;
improve; to bring to completion
Establish-to show to be valid or true;
prove; to install or settle in
a position or place
Strengthen-to make stronger;
to give power to resist
Settle-to quiet, calm, or bring to rest
to make stable and composed
to become firm and satisfied
It is God's work and He will do it.
It seems like death can bring a crisis of faith into our lives. We wonder where God is. He protected others, where was He in this situation? At a time when we need God the most, we wonder about Him the most, and then we feel guilty about our wondering.
But Jesus had His own crisis of faith when He was facing death.
Mark 15:34 has Him recorded as crying out in a loud voice, "My God, My God, why have you forsaken Me?"
If crying out, "My God, My God, why have you forsaken Me?" is not a crisis of faith, then I don't know what is.
It says in the Bible that Jesus suffered every temptation that we would suffer.
The only difference is, we are tempted to believe that God has forsaken us.
God had really forsaken Jesus for that moment in time. (He was dying on the cross for the sins of the world, not His own. But at that time, He took the sins of the world on Himself, and God, who is holy, couldn't look at His own son, forsaking Him as He turned His face from Him, when Jesus needed Him most.)
That was a terrible time for both of them.
If you are facing a crisis of faith and wondering where God is, you are in good company.
Jesus Christ has gone before you and wondered the same thing and look what has happened to Him.
Notes taken from The Wesley Bible.
"The content of Leviticus covers a time period of a month and a half between the erection of the tabernacle (finished on the first day of the first month in the second year, Ex. 40:17) and the departure from Sinai (on the twentieth day of the second month in the second year, Num. 10:11). We must therefore assume that Moses wrote Leviticus during this time, or shortly after."
Leviticus addresses two issues.
#1-God's people must worship the right way inside the tabernacle.
#2-God's people must live the right way outside the place of worship.
"Leviticus moves us from sacrifice, to ceremonial cleansing, to ethical holiness."
"...Leviticus is addressed to the concerns and needs of a community of believers. If there is sin in their lives, it must be acknowledged. If there is impurity, it must be removed. If there are spiritual defects, they must be purged. Israel must act in these ways not in order to earn holiness, but because she belongs to God and seeks to obey Him."
"..Of course, the summons to be holy is based on the fact that God is holy. God does not ask His people to be something He is not. The difference between God's holiness and our holiness is that His is intrinsic, while we are made holy through fellowship with Him and obedience to His commands. His holiness is His essential character: purity, love, truth. We cannot become God in His essence, but we can, and are expected to, share His character. "You shall be holy, for I the LORD your God am holy."
My favorite verse in Leviticus-19:32- "You shall rise before the gray headed and honor the presence of an old man, and fear your God: I am the LORD. "
"Not only are we cleansed individually by the word (JNO.15:3), but the church is CLEANSED-BY THE WASHING OF WATER WITH THE WORD. EPH. 5:26. That is why it is so important to have Scripture as a major part of the S.S. and church service!
Acts 6:15b-SAW HIS (STEPHEN'S) FACE LIKE THE FACE OF AN ANGEL
Ex.34:29b, 35a-THE SKIN OF HIS (MOSES) FACE SHONE BECAUSE OF HIS SPEAKING WITH HIM (GOD). Time with God shows on faces.
Acts 8:2-AND SOME DEVOUT MEN BURIED STEPHEN, AND MADE LOUD LAMENTATIONS OVER HIM. They knew that he was with Jesus and they wept bitterly. So is it so wrong for us to weep so bitterly when we lose one to death!?
Stephen and Philip were among those who had hands laid on them to oversee the fair distribution of food-Acts.6:3-6. Yet Stephen also taught, v 10, and worked wonders, v 8, and Philip also taught and performed miracles-Acts 8:5-7. What can be learned from this?! They were called to a serving ministry (physical) but also performed a great spiritual ministry. Did Philip leave the physical ministry and do entirely spiritual (things)-with all his traveling to Samaria and his Spirit trip to Azotus?
Neh. 5:9b-"SHOULD YOU NOT WALK IN THE FEAR OF OUR GOD BECAUSE OF THE REPROACH OF THE NATIONS, OUR ENEMIES?" Where there is no fear of God, reproach is brought on the name of God because of sin.
1 KINGS 17:18-"YOU HAVE COME TO ME TO BRING MY INIQUITY TO REMEMBRANCE." When death took her child, the widow of Zarepath immediately thought of her sin as the reason-our immediate response still to loss and trouble. But if that were the case, every parent would lose a child, for all have sinned..
ROM. 9:1b-MY CONSCIENCE BEARING ME WITNESS IN THE HOLY SPIRIT- The relationship between conscience and the Holy Spirit. I had often wondered about the reliability of the conscience but when guided by the Holy Spirit it is valid and an unerring guide.
PR's prayer excerpts-"Manifest yourself through this offering...", "May the lost be found and the found be discipled..."
PF-"Most churches are more involved with their theology than they are with evangelism."
Pastor Frank's Sermon, taken from Ephesians 2:19-21-"Now, therefore, you are no longer strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints and the members of the household of God, having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief cornerstone, in whom the whole building, being fitted together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord, in whom you also are being built together for a dwelling place of God in the Spirit."
#1-God is carefully planning and putting the church together; adding you and your name to the kingdom and grafting you into the household of God. It is important to know our value and our worth in the particular body we are in. We are the treasure in our body.
#2-We are in the process of becoming holy. None of us have it together. Through all the difficulties in the church and in our lives, He is in the process of maturing us and He is making something that He can fill. He is in complete control.
#3-He is carefully putting the church together and bringing us into fellowship with one another in order to make a place where He can live through His Spirit.
In Acts 2, the believers were fellowshipping with each other, in one accord, and were waiting on God when the Holy Spirit fell on them.
We pray for revival and for the Holy Spirit to come into our midst, but before that can happen, we have to be aware that He is joining us together and keep in fellowship with each other. Again, there is an order to the Holy Spirit being able to come and be in our midst.
Being fitly framed together +Being devoted to one another=a dwelling place where God's Spirit is welcome to live.
Hebrews 10:24, 25 says it this way, "And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works, not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching."
In our spiritual journey, fellowship is not an option. Fellowship is a relationship, not an activity. Get devoted to fellowship. Find your niche. ( Or create one.)
In Romania, there are orphans who have 'Failure to Thrive' Syndrome. Because the infants and children are only touched when it is necessary, they become isolated and enter a semi- catatonic state-much like skitsophrenia. (mispelled, I'm sure) They actually die from the lack of human touch.
If this is the case for our physical existence, what about our spiritual existence? Jesus has died for us and risen for us and is preparing a place for us. He has given us all He has, but if we isolate ourselves from other believers, we will die spiritually. We need to experience His touch through others and we need to touch others as well.
What separates our fellowship from worldly fellowships?
What separates our 'building' from another?
It is the fact that Jesus Christ, Himself, is our Chief Cornerstone. He holds our building together and keeps it straight.
(I think of the body of Christ as a huge building. Jesus is the biggest stone in the corner, and different bodies of believers in Christ are represented by different stones and we are all connected to Him and each other to make a strong and beautiful building, mortared together by the Holy Spirit, to make a dwelling place for God. I like to think of our church as being the stone right next to His stone.)
"When true fellowship exists it is the most convincing evidence of the continuing activity of Christ among men."-(P.F. quoted someone-?). This is miraculous. People looking in say, "Only God can do this."
We no longer have to rely on the sacrifice of animals to bring us into fellowship with God. Christ sacrifice has accomplished this for us once and for all. He calls us to be suffering servants with Him, to live a life of love, and to give ourselves up as a fragrant offering to God.
We now have fellowship with God and with the Redeemed of the Lord.
We are to love God and to love our neighbor as ourselves.
God's Spirit will only dwell in pure fellowship.
We are in this together.
We are in this together so He can be in us.
Sat-June 6-Today was a turning point for Phil. Tom came over to work on some things and Phil got out there and worked with him. He kept at it most of the day and I was a bit worried about him working so hard. Tom brought Tommy, Abby, and Serena along. Our family was working hard to get things cleaned up. It was the first day for awhile that I had energy to do anything. I got the Pig Roast room in the old house mostly organized. I keep all the things we need for the Pig Roast in there and it had gotten really messed up. We have to have a room where the musicians can store their equipment and keep it out of the sun. So, that room in the old house is known as The Pig Roast Room.
Michael went to Longwood in the morning to take his SAT's. He liked the essay part. His question was something like, "Is it better to know what people are really like and be disillisioned with them or is it better to just believe the best about people and never really know what they are like?" He believes it is better to know what people are really like and gave three points to support his belief. I had just been thinking about this the same day and decided that we can't really love people until we are disillusioned with them. Up until that time, we are loving an idea of who we think they are.
Freeman moved into the room in the old house he's been fixing up. It is beautiful. The old wood gleams with character and polyurethane. He weedwacked along the lane for several hours. Philip and Michael cleaned up the entry way to their room and moved Philip's chicken cage to behind the milkhouse. Susan gave her little cousins makeovers. They had fun coming out and showing me their new looks.
Mitch and Mickey came down and visited after supper. She heard about Phil's accident and wanted to see how he was. Later in the eve. Phil and I took some invitations over to the Morris's. They will ask the pastor to announce the pig roast and will hand out invitations. They go to Chestnut Grove-where we sang several times for their revival meetings.
June 7-Sunday-Phil taught his first Sunday School class at New Life. I was there for part of it and he did a good job. He is teaching about walking in the Spirit. Romans 8 was his main text.
Mary Jane, Erika, and Emily Glick were visiting Marv and Sherri. I hope to get to see her again while she is here. It was good to have all of them at church with us.
Alli and Christi came back home with Freeman and Philip and we had lunch together. I made some roasts on Sat. and we had cold roast beef sandwiches with homemade bread, lettuce from our garden, tomatoes, onions, cheese and pickles. It was nice and it was easy. Philip and Christi watched a movie and Freeman and Alli went to the river. Michael went out to town to play games with Eric and Chace and Phil and I took a rest and Susan talked on the phone.
I blogged and read and sometimes watched a Bond movie with the others. We made popcorn and healthy brownies. Talked to mother in the eve. before going to bed. Has run a fever for over two months and finally, we think we may have an answer. She'll find out more this week.
I was back in Lancaster County again yesterday. As I sat near the front of Conestoga Mennonite Church for the funeral of my cousin, Parke, in front of me to my right was my Uncle Milford and Aunt Ruth, who lost their son Galen in (I think) 1962. He was my buddy, one year older than I. We went to church together, and usually afterwards, either he or I would end up at the other's home for Sunday afternoon. He was in second grade, "helping" his Dad run irrigation pipes for the potatoes and darted across the road to see if the pipe was coming out the other side of the culvert just as a car happened to drive by, striking him and breaking his neck. It was a country road, hardly any traffic, and I can imagine he never expected anybody to drive by.
Beside Uncle Milford, directly in front of me, was my Uncle Oliver. His son, Michael, maybe 12 years old at the time, was suffocated when a silo exploded while the grain was being taken out. Uncle "Ollie" and his daughter, Julie, were the survivors of that tragedy. Besides Michael, three others perished under a suffocating blanket of corn. A neighbor and his daughter and Billy Baker, the son of Uncle Ollie's hired man, Neil Baker, died that day.
Sitting beside me on my right were Uncle Paul Mast and Aunt Rhoda. Their son, Danny died when a piece of equipment that he was working with slipped and crushed his head. Danny was around 14 years old when this happened.
And my folks were sitting to my left. It will be 4 years ago that Johnny passed away.
As the service progressed, I observed that those around me had known grief, deep sorrow, unimaginable loss. And yet my Uncle Milford had his arms raised, singing along with the nieces and nephews of my cousin who had gone to be with the Lord. Why are we expected to sing at a time like this? But we should sing, it is good for the soul. And my Dad, eyes closed with his hands extended as he worshiped the Lord. So, in the midst of the grief, sorrow, and loss that was in their past, they had learned to praise Him.....
......We love you. Phil
Saturday, June 6, 2009
This is our eighth annual pig roast. We are a bit behind in the planning this year but every year, we relax a bit more and nail down the game plan a bit more efficiently. This is our sixth pig roast in Va. In Aug., we will have lived here six years. We had two pig roasts in Pa.
This year, we have a young friend who is coming in from OK to be here for the Pig Roast. She's spending a few days with us next week and will help us get ready. One of my students, Graham, and his dad, will be performing some songs during the Music Fest. I am excited about that. Roger will have some sort of band put together and he and Phil will do some numbers too. Tom Hertzler and Family will perform the song they sang for Anne's wedding and I think that their church worship team may sing some songs too. I think that there will be some other groups as well.
So, you all come and join us eating pork, walking to the river, playing yard games, hanging out with new friends and old, and listening to some of the finest music on the east coast.