Monday, September 21, 2009

Sunday Sermon-Sept.20, 2009

Farmville community is reeling with the horrific murders of four people found dead in their home. This is a little too close for comfort and the reality of evil makes it easy to be afraid. After a restless night, I turned on the news, and then switched to a religious program. An old man was sitting on his chair, reading from Romans 12. As he read, my fear turned into determination. The simple powerful words that became life to me were these-"Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good." We can do that. We can overcome this evil by doing good things and thinking good things.
I am always amazed at the creative and redemptive vengeance of God. Since He is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all we ask or think, I am just going to say here, that I think that God's greatest vengeance on the enemy of our souls would be to bring the murderer to Himself. It is the sick He came to save. None of us can deny the sickness of this young man. Jesus came for him. Jesus came for you. Jesus came for me. He died the same death for all of us. Even so, Lord Jesus, show your power. Avenge the work of the enemy and turn even this horror into a wonder so that all we can say is, "Holy, Holy, Holy. Holy is Your name. " This is my hope, and He is able to do more than I can possibly hope for. Holy, Holy God.
Hab. 2:1,2-"I will stand my watch and set myself on the rampart, and watch to see what He will say to me, and what I will answer when I am corrected. Then the LORD answered me and said: "Write the vision and make it plain on tablets, that he may run who reads it."

God is raising up a people to stand guard over this evil society who can hear His voice and discern His ways.
If we are thirsty for water, we are already dehydrated.
In our Christian experience, we allow ourselves to get dehydrated.
Get prepared. Drink before you are thirsty.
The heart of man naturally becomes worse and worse.
Notice how it is the bad news that gets the most attention.

The grace and mercy of God is unspeakable.
It is supernatural. He pulls us out of the natural and brings us into the supernatural
to fulfill His calling in our lives.
But for the grace of God keeping us,
we are capable of doing any and every evil thing.
In Matt. 22, Jesus gave a new commandment-not a suggestion.
We are to love Him and to love our neighbor as ourselves.
We show how we love Jesus by how we love each other.
If we cannot show the love of God to each other,
then we should not say that we love Jesus.
We need to be intentional in our commitment to love one another.
Jesus says to go. Go do it. Go share.
It used to be 'doing' something just by going to church.
We have talents and giftings that He's given us.
He should get a return on what He's invested in us.
#3-Restoration of hope
Faith, hope, and love abide. It has to stay there.
Hope is the energy behind your faith.
Hope is the energy behind your love.
Hope is the glue that holds your faith and love together.
We endure to the end by our hope.
Jer. 29:11-He gives us a future and a hope.
Heb. 6:19-This hope we have as an anchor to our souls...
1 Cor. 9:10-The plowman plows in hope...the thresher threshes in the hope of sharing his crops.
Hope is when this thing is going to come to pass.

Faith gets us started. We believe in the promises of God.
But sometimes our faith gets discouraged.
But God has given us this blessed hope.
There is coming a day...
Faith can be discouraged by our emotions
but hope is steadfast.

Sometimes we sit back and wait for our faith to do something. abide.
If you have no hope, you are in trouble.
You end today.

Restore our hope. Some have said that there is no hope for America,...for my family,...for our finances. But my faith tells me that there will always be hope for America, my family and my finances.
My hope is built on nothing less than Jesus blood and righteousness...
I dare not trust the sweetest frame, but wholly lean on Jesus name/

Don't lose hope.
Watch for the little things that erode away your hope
just as a little water can erode away a big rock.
Guard your homes from the little things that erode.
The big things, you won't miss.
Watch out for the little things.
Hope maketh not ashamed.
Hope keeps you from shame.

Sunday Sermon-Sept.13,2009

I've been without a computer for awhile and am typing this on a laptop. I like to process the sermon's quickly because my memory is keener with interpreting why I have written the notes I have written. I will do my best with last week's sermon notes.

This month's theme is "Farmville First."
Jesus told His disciples to be witnesses first in Jerusalem, their hometown.
It is hard to minister in one's hometown.
People know you there. You have to live what you talk.
When we learn to minister and use our gifts, talents, and service in Jerusalem, then God will open up the world to us-the world will yield its increase to us.

Psalms 67 talks about how the earth will yield her increase when all the peoples of the earth praise God. We can change our climate by our worship of God. When we praise Him and the earth yields its increase, God will bless us and all the ends of the earth will fear Him.
Pastor shared a thought from a book he is reading-"Leading on Empty." Adrenalin is to be used only in emergencies. Pastors use adrenalin too much. Being a pastor is like giving birth on a Sunday only to discover that on Monday, you are pregnant again.

We need to share our pastor's burden.
When you wake up in the morning, begin to thank God for His grace. In everything give thanks. Revival can happen when you and I learn to bless the Lord. God wants to open up the windows of Heaven to us evenmore than we want Him to open them up.
Psalms 133-It is good and pleasant for brethren to dwell together in unity. It is like precious anointing oil upon the head, running down Aaron's beard, down to the edge of his garments. It is like the dew on the mountains...Where there is unity, the Lord commands a blessing-life forevermore.
Unity is refreshing-like the breath of God. The fragrance of the Holy Spirit is like oil in our midst and our oils mixed together make a wonderful aroma that fills a room and spills over into a town.
The whole town will smell the fragrance of God as we dwell in unity.
When God pronounces a blessing, He gives a blessing. When God blesses us and we bless Him and we bless others, God also blesses them, and a community is changed.
Pastor challenged us to praise the Lord and worship Him and bless Him this week.
Only the truth can have a counterfeit. No one swears by Buddha or Mohammad.
A thought came to me as I watched someone worship God today. I will be honest and admit that I sometimes struggle with loving this person. The thought was this:"We should not withhold fellowship and love from anyone the Lord loves."

And an old chorus came to my mind during this sermon.
"Lift up your hands in the sanctuary..
Lift up your hands and bless the Lord...
And the Lord who made Heaven and earth...
Will bless you out of Zion."

Spiritual Disciplines

I've been thinking about how important the role discipleship plays in our personal and corporate lives. I have two books that I want to read in conjunction with each other. I found both at a thrift store and they are real treasures. "Celebration of Discipline" by Richard J. Foster is one of them and the other is entitled "Disciplines For the Inner Life" by Bob Benson and Michael W. Benson.

Foster organizes the disciplines like this:

The Inward Disciplines-Meditation, Prayer, Fasting, and Study

The Outward Disciplines-Simplicity, Solitude, Submission, and Service

The Corporate Disciplines-Confession, Worship, Guidance, and Celebration

He dedicates a chapter to each separate discipline.

The other book is set up as a one year devotional book with various readings from the scriptures, a hymn, and a number of meditations to read each week on a particular subject of discipline.

I read a quote from the Benson book, by Richard Foster, on the discipline of study, and this is what has motivated me to begin working on these disciplines.

"Many Christians remain in bondage to fears and anxieties simply because they do not avail themselves of the Discipline of study. They may be faithful in church attendance and earnest in fulfilling their religious duties and still they are not changed....They may sing with gusto; pray in the Spirit, live as obediently as they know, even receive divine visions and revelations; and yet the tenor of their lives remains unchanged. Why? Because they have never taken up one of the central ways God uses to change us: study. Jesus made it unmistakeably clear that it is the knowledge of the truth that will set us free."

The Benson book goes beyond the disciplines and addressed the obstacles of the Inner Life.

These obstacles include the will, doubts, temptations, distractions, anxiety, consciousness, time management, etc. It goes on to teach patterns for living inwardly which include 'The Lord's Prayer,' The Lord's supper, The Beatitudes, The parables, and The Jesus Prayer.

It also teaches that the Inward Graces of the Centered Life are humility, obedience, simplicity, the mind of Christ, generosity, truthfulness, purity, and charity and that the outward fruits of the inner life are service, growth, liberty, commitment, priority, compassion, lifestyle, awareness, celebration, and gratitude.

I don't normally give a book report before I've read a book, but this may take me a year or two and I will be sharing quotes from time to time. Will you join me in putting my roots down deeper into the vast and unending nature of God? His ways are past finding out, but I sure am going to try. The more you know of Him, the more you know you don't know and the more you want to know.

Hertzler Doings~Sept.14-20,2009

Mon.-PTF meeting in eve. Kids sang,"Cornerstone." Tom H. totalled his cab and trailer on way to our place with load of potash. He was unharmed. Neighbors helped clear the roads and spread the fertilizer on their fields. Michael and I went to the chiro./nutritionist for all kinds of treatment. Car window got stuck today. Regulator broke.

Tues.-Little boy first grader has been telling me that I am his favorite music teacher for weeks and I tell him that I'm his only music teacher. Today he said, "Mrs. Hertzler, you're my favorite music teacher 'cause you're my only music teacher." I should have left well enough alone. Susan made humongous peanut butter eggs for PJ and Jessica as a thankful you all they've done for her in Missionettes. She gave nice non-edible gifts to Miss Julie and Miss Phyllis too. Her idea. She's moving up to youth.

Wed./Thurs.-Met with Sara. Went to dentist.

Fri.-haircuts; Esther P. fell-injured her brain. Praying for her. Michael had Travis, Chace, and Jordan here overnight for his birthday party. When we woke up Sat. morning, they had their chairs on the driveway and were watching the sun rise.

Sat.-news about murders in Farmville coming out. Horrible realizations that the pastor at the nearby church, his wife, daughter, and daughter's friend were the ones who were murdered. The church was having a community outreach that day and continued with it since their pastor would have wanted them to. Phil and I sang several hymns. Philip, Michael, and Susan helped us sing 'Forever Young', dedicated to Marvin G.

Sun.-The gates of hell will not prevail against God's church. We will overcome evil with good.
On Oct. 3, our church will show the goodness of God to a community that is rocked with the horror of blatant evil. Farmville is ripe for revival. God has prepared us. The community is also prepared.
Troubled and heavy hearted with the events of this past week. Internet service down all week. I am typing this on a laptop that has problems.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Hertzler Doings~Sept. 8-13, 2009

Tues.-Taught school. Michael had sore throat in eve. Business meeting at church. My phone went off. Scared the wits out of me. Randy B. said he almost dove under the table. Susan was in the house alone and I decided not to turn it off because of Susan being in the house alone. My ringer is set to some sort of ghetto music. It scares me everytime. I didn't know how to set it to vibrate but Alethea showed me how. "I don't ever want to hear your phone going off in a meeting again," she said with a laugh. Phil's term is up for being on the board.

Wed.-Michael could hardly swallow. Looked at his throat. Awful. Got him to Dr. Tom. He wanted to bet about what it was. " What shall we bet?" Doc asked. "A home-cooked meal," came forth from my mouth. I bet it was strepth. It wasn't. He's coming over for supper in Oct. It was mono. With the good medical flashlight, his throat looked even worse. He had a lump on his neck. We caught it early. He is to do no labor for 6 weeks and go back to school when he is up to it. On heavy pain meds and steroids for a few days.
Met with Sarah in the eve. Going through 'The Intentional Woman' book together.

Thurs.-Went to see Dr. Doreen. She helped us out with nutritional supplements and advice as well as other treatments. I figure we'll hit this mono with the wisdom of both the medical and nutritional field. I am very tired. Throat slightly sore and red. Anemic.

Fri.-Happy 21st Birthday Philip!!!!
Michael sleeps and sleeps. Can't keep his thoughts together. I spent some time at my chapel. It helps me get back to what is important. It helps me see how much time I spend thinking about things that don't matter instead of thinking about Him. The men have been at the Richmond job all week. Sometimes they spend the night at the retreat center there.
9/11-Remembering the sorrow and the horror and the lives of those affected most by the loss of loved ones on that day.

Sat.-Did lots of chores. Susan did some extra cleaning today to make some money. She cleaned three major cupboards. Weeded the cold frame. I want to plant lettuce, spinach, and kale.
Went to Dee's shower at the Streams in the afternoon. Had a great time. Got her a worship CD for babies. Stopped in to see Lindsay on the way home and then to Walmart. Back home I made venison meatloaf for Sun. meal and watched 'Mystery Woman' with Susan and Phil.

Sun.-Church. Philip stayed home with Michael to keep him company. I held Adi in church. She wasn't feeling well. Sat so nicely on my lap even after she woke up. After awhile, a familiar warm wetness filled my lap. I held her out gingerly in front of me and met Lindsay in the back and tried to wipe off my pants with water-soaked towels from the bathroom. Lindsay's, "Sorry," always makes me laugh. When I came back in, my seat was obviously wet, so I distanced myself from Phil and cleaned the chair up after the service. I think I am going to switch my seat with the one directly in front of me.
Tom came over for lunch. His family is on their way home from Pa. Wanted to blog, write letters, etc. but the computer has been ailing most of the week.
Freeman, Alli, and Susan went back to church for musical practice.
Phil and I went to Trinity Mennonite to hear Joe Hertzler's Gospel Band play and sing. It was enjoyable.
We talked with Andy and Lucille on the way to church and Andy is doing better. So thankful.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

My Mother's Journal Gems

I've been going through a bout of insecurity. When three women from the same little group snub me, I start thinking that they are talking about me or don't like me, and then I try to think about what I might have done to offend them and I can come up with quite a few things, and instead of loving them, I wonder why they don't love me, because everybody else loves me, so why don't get the picture and it ain't pretty.
I realized yesterday, in my moments of sanity down at my chapel, that pride is the root of all evil, including insecurity. Who am I that I think everyone should love me or like me? Who am I to think that my imperfections shouldn't be judged. Who am I that I should want to be accepted by others before I accept them or just because I accept them. Who am I?
I read somewhere this week-"What other people are thinking about me is none of my business." I liked that enough to put it on face book.
Well, this morning, I was reading in my mother's red journal, and she had a bout of insecurity herself. I decided to devote these three entries to her thoughts and revelations regarding this malady.
I've finished "My Utmost for His Highest" but have been going through, reading underlined sections. And this entry describes exactly what I have had as a sneaking feeling about myself. "WE ARE SO NAUSEATINGLY SERIOUS, SO DESPERATELY INTERESTED IN OUR OWN CHARACTER AND REPUTATION, WE REFUSE TO BEHAVE LIKE CHRISTIANS IN THE SHALLOW CONCERNS OF LIFE" and the deeper, I might add. Why am I so overwhelmingly conscious of rejection right now? Or lately. At the least little thing I feel it or imagine it. The above is the answer, probably.

Someone was telling me that the wife of their friend had no close friends; that she was shy. My impression of her was that she was unfriendly, not really interested in making any contacts. And it was a revelation. I saw myself-never taking the initiative, always expecting others to talk to me first, etc. And I saw it as selfishness-not shyness. Everyone has a burden of some kind they are carrying. I should forget myself and my need for affirmation and just show caring and interest to all I meet.

I read this from an old devotional book "God's Purpose" (each day a different writer) "IF WE ARE INCURABLY SUSPICIOUS, HOW URGENT IS THE NEED OF THIS RESTRAINING WARNING, ~'CHARITY~~~THINKETH NO EVIL.'" This gives me a sense of freedom from the tendency I have to imagine the slights, etc of those around me. Then I pull into my shell and avoid relating to them. Maybe I was always this way and didn't realize it. But this truth could set me free from that. "It's just something you do not allow yourself to think!"
Mother gave me an additional quote after reading this blog entry. "You wouldn't worry about what people thought of you if you realized how much they didn't."
I also think that how people treat us has more to do with who they are and what they are going through than with who we are. It is seldom about us.
Thank you, dear Mother, for taking the time 15 years ago, to be vulnerable and write down your thoughts and revelations in regards to your struggle with insecurity. I think it may be a human malady. I know it is mine, but you have helped me.
Perhaps if we truly love people, we won't be insecure, because our cup will overflow onto them and our perception of rejection won't be able to climb up into our cup. Jesus, give me your love that thinks no evil and judges no mans thoughts or intentions. Forgive me for being so judgmental.

Amy Carmichael wrote, in her little book 'IF'
the following statement that I have held on to for years.

"If I feel bitterly towards those who condemn me, as it seems to me, unjustly, forgetting that if they knew me as I know myself they would condemn me much more, then I know nothing of Calvary love."

This puts things in perspective. Even if I would be right in thinking others are condemning me, there is much to condemn. Let them judge. I deserve that judgment and more.

Dear Lord, cleanse me from the things in my life that deserve judgment and defend for me those things that do not. For truly, it is what You think of me that matters.

Friday, September 11, 2009

On the Way Home

Our children, Michael and Susan, attend Cornerstone Christian Academy in Appomattox, Va. We carpool with another family in our neighborhood. They have two young boys, Parks and Kincaid. They keep us entertained with their witty and educational comments. I decided to start a series entitled, "On the Way Home" in which I will share some of the more laughable moments of our ride home from school.

Today, Kincaid was reading a book about elephant seals. He said, "They look like Dr. Suess would have made them." He said he wished he could sleep with them. "Not the male seals, but I'd like to sleep with either the female or the babies." He thought they looked soft. Susan said the male would flatten him out which reminded him of "Flat Stanley', the main character of the books his mother made him read when he was six. He didn't ever want to sleep with the leopard seals. "They jump right out of the water and grab you." Parks made a scary slurpy grabbing noise and I knew I didn't ever want to be near a leopard seal.

Kincaid wanted to take a nap as soon as he got home. He's planning on playing video games with his friend from 5:30-12 midnight. Parks didn't think he should have to take a nap. "Playing video games wears you out," said Kincaid.

I forgot to mention that Kincaid had his mouth taped shut with scotch tape when he got in the car. I asked them whether they wanted to have the windows down or have air on. Kincaid made some sort of noise and Parks said, "Windows up. I'll interpret what he says for you."

Kincaid suddenly had the urge to go to the bathroom when we were just a mile down the road from school. "Why didn't you go at school?," I asked.
"I didn't have to go then," he said.
He put his feet on the back of the seat. Susan said, "Kincaid, keep your feet off the seat."
"I'm just trying not to go to the bathroom," he said.
"Do you want me to pull off somewhere?" I asked.
"Yes, that would be nice. Let's go to Wendy's.
Gas station bathrooms scare me."
They told the story of the gas station bathroom that had no seat on its toilet. I decided to treat him to the nice bathroom in Peebles. What I really had in mind was a tree somewhere but I quickly realized this wouldn't do.

I told their mama when we got home that I was going to have to write a story about them on my blog today. She laughed nervously and said, 'We love to give you material.' I called her to read what I had written and as she was laughing, Kincaid was asking,"What? What?"
She said,"You should know. You were there."

I told her that some day, I will print out these stories and she can have a little file about the things her sons said and did on their way home from school.

Meanwhile, I am thankful for the free entertainment.

Philip's Birthday Cake Request

Chocolate Marvel Cake-recipe adapted from 'Taste of Home'

Beat:(gently or things will fly)
1 cup strong brewed coffee
1 cup milk
2 containers of baby food prunes
4 egg whites or 2 eggs
2 tsp. vanilla

Mix dry ingred. together and gradually
to wet mixture.

2 cups flour
2 cups sugar
3/4 baking cocoa
2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt

I divide this batter between 2 or 3 round pans, spraying and lightly flouring, but I find it works best to have wax paper on bottom of pan. Comes out better. I spray and flour that after I've sprayed the bottom of the pan. The wax paper sticks better that way.

Bake at 350 for 30-35"-less if using 3 pans.
Cool for 10 min. and then 'dump' from pan.

I usually times this another 1/2 because it is so good.
This is the original recipe, although it calls for margerine instead of butter.
Can use skim milk in both recipes.

6 Tablespoons butter
2 2/3 cup 10x sugar-confectioner's sugar
1/4 baking cocoa-I am generous with this
2 T. milk
2 T. coffee
1 tsp. vanilla

Beat the dry indred. with the butter first and then add wet ingred.
I really whip it up.
This cake is better after it sits for awhile
but last weekend, we ate it as soon as I iced it and it was still heavenly.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Book Report-Amos

Notes taken from New Spirit Filled Life Bible

Author: Amos
Date: 760-750 B.C.
Theme: The Judgment of God is About to Fall on Israel
Key Words: Judgment, Righteousness, Justice

Amos, whose name means "Burden-Bearer" was a shepherd and one who tended sycamore-fig trees. He prophesied during the reigns of Uzziah of Judah and Jeroboam 11 of Israel. His ministry lasted about two years.

There was much prosperity in Judah and Israel during this time and they thought it was a sign of God's blessing on them. It was Amos' job to warn them that God was displeased with them and would destroy their nation if they didn't have a change of heart.

"Amos stresses that righteousness and justice are essential to a healthy society. Religion is more than observing feast days and holding sacred assemblies; true religion demands righteous living. The way a man treats his neighbor reveals his relationship with God. Jesus said the greatest commandment is to love God. The second is to love our neighbor as ourselves. This is the message of Amos. This is the message needed today. We also are living in a prosperous, materialistic society. Because we are prosperous, we may deceive ourselves into believing that we have God's blessing on us..."

Several verses in Amos that stand out to me:

3:7-"Surely the Lord God does nothing, unless He reveals His secret to His servants the prophets."

4:8b-"...But they were not satisfied; yet you have not returned to Me," says the LORD.

5:15a-"Hate evil, love good; Establish justice in the gate."

8:11-"Behold, the days are coming," says the Lord GOD, "That I will send a famine on the land, not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of the LORD."

9:13-"Behold, the days are coming," says the LORD, "When the plowman shall overtake the reaper, and the treader of grapes him who sows seed; the mountains shall drip with sweet wine, and all the hills all flow with it."
It is interesting to me how current the words of Amos are for us today.
He who has ears to hear, let him hear what the Spirit is saying to the churches.

Mother's Journal Gems

Notes taken from my mother's red 1994-'95 journal~

Parker recommends in "KNOWING GOD" that one read Mark through in one sitting. His first conclusion is the same I reached the time I read the gospels 4 or 5 times and then read John the same amount of times. Jesus was a man of action, striding into the midst of things, virile, strong, never shielding Himself, always in charge. Parker says much the same, describing Jesus as .."a man of action, always on the move, always altering situations and precipitating things....Finally walking straight and open-eyed into betrayal, condemnation, and crucifixion."
It's years that I did the above mentioned reading and I had not read Packer's impressions before I wrote my own (except the phrase 'He was a man of action). But how similar our impressions are. And as the writer who had suggested the readings promised, I had received a picture of Jesus that I never forgot.

Finished Job. That last chapter is amazing! God praises and vindicates Job but He lays low his 'accountability group'! They kept condemning Job for the things he said and piously gave their righteous views. But God says 2 times "YOU HAVE NOT SPOKEN OF ME WHAT IS RIGHT AS MY SERVANT JOB HAS." What does He mean? Job, among some very good things, made some brutal accusations against God. But he was completely honest. Something God values highly, I'm sure. And Job never wrote God off. He was always still the driving force of his life. Another thing, after God was finished declaring to Job His power, Job repented in DUST AND ASHES. Not so, his self-righteous accountability group. They had to have Job pray for them and had to offer up a burnt offering so God wouldn't deal with them according to their folly. but they had the grace to humiliate themselves and DID AS THE LORD TOLD THEM. And you hear no more about them but Job had 140 glorious years of life following his awful ordeal.

And the illumination of the Holy Spirit, I might add. But this quote confirms what Jesus said about us thinking we find eternal life in the Scriptures but they really are a testimony of Him.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Sunday Service-Sept.6, 2009

This was an unusual Sunday service.
But then, what else is new?
My niece, Katie, liked it very much. She appreciated that Pastor Frank followed the leading of the Holy Spirit and didn't just follow the schedule he had in mind.
This month's theme-Community-'Farmville First'
We are hoping to bless Farmville with some community and outreach service.
I believe that when we invest ourselves in the community of Farmville,
we will love its people more.
I was reminded today, that Jesus is in Farmville, and Jesus is in our church.
Favorite Song-"There is a Fountain filled with grace...flowing from Emmanuel's I will rejoice...I will rejoice...and be glad..."
Pastor Frank shared this thought-
We have been satisfied with a gleaning mentality and our buckets are full
but now we are going to reap and fill our barns.
I can feed my family with a bucket.
When my barn is full, a community can be fed.
The harvest is ready to be reaped.
The scriptures promise that there is a day coming
when we will reap before we sow.

I just read that I think, in Amos 9:13-"Behold, the day is coming,"
says the LORD, "When the plowman shall overtake the reaper, And the treader of grapes him who sows seed;.."
Amos is prophesying about the day Israel will be restored. The blessings will be so great that scarcely will one cycle of growth be over before the next begins.
It sounds like a day to get ready for.
It sounds like God, restoring the church.

"This is the day when we no are no longer going to glean but we are going to reap. Help us to get beyond the bucket mentality. You can use us even in exile to speak to the world. Give us the vision to have our barns full."
Scripture-Ps.67-"God be merciful to us, and bless us, and cause His face to shine upon us, That Your way may be known on earth, Your salvation among all nations..."
"Let all the peoples praise You, O God;...Then the earth shall yield her increase;..and God..shall bless us, and all the ends of the earth shall fear Him."

It appears that God blesses an individual and through that individual, God blesses a people, and through the people, He blesses a people group, and through that people group, He blesses the world.
Let all the people learn to praise Him, and then the earth will yield its harvest.
Worship changes the climate of things.
As we worship Him, the earth around us will yield its harvest.

If we try to plant orange trees in Maine, it won't work. We can till the soil and plant our seed and have the blessing of rain and sunshine, but nothing is going to grow unless our climate changes.
Even so, we will not be able to gather a harvest unless the climate changes and the climate changes when we know who God is and worship Him with all our hearts.
Why? Because He inhabits the praises of His people. When we praise Him in spirit and in truth, He shows up. And when Jesus shows up, good things happen. People are healed and saved and homes are changed. We can point people out to Him and ask Him to bless them and His presence changes our minds and gives us contrite hearts.
The presence of Jesus changes the climate to accomodate the harvest.
It is then we will reap a harvest that fills our barns.
Our buckets will no longer be filled with bits and pieces of the harvest.
Our buckets will be used to stand on to reach the branches laden with fruit.
Does the presence of our church change the climate of our community?
If our church closed down, would our community notice?
There is much happening in the world right now.
Things are in an upheaval and there is the temptation to worry about the government
and our future.
But the stage is being set for the church to move;
not for the devil to take over.
A Hymn of Faith-Habakkuk 3:17-19~

Though the fig tree may not blossom,
Nor fruit be on the vines;
Though the labor of the olive may fail,
And the fields yield no food;
Though the flock may be cut off from the fold,
And there be no herd in the stalls-
Yet I will rejoice in the LORD,
I will joy in the God of my salvation.
The LORD God is my strength;
He will make my feet like deer's feet,
and He will make me walk on my high hills.
In spite of the collapse of everything normal
around the writer of this hymn of faith,
he rejoices in the Lord who is His salvation
and trusts Him to be His strength.
God will make his feet strong
and will help him to walk on the high places.
This doesn't sound like defeat or fear or hunger.
It sounds like an opportunity for God to show His power
and for the singer to be an overcomer.
Terrible defeat greeted with a song,
turns into an opportunity for incredible victory.

These verses remind me of the altar call.
Are you overwhelmed with life?
Come worship with me at the altar.

"I will rejoice, I will rejoice, and be glad."

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Power to Get Wealth

Deuteronomy Diamonds-

In Chapter 8:18-"And you shall remember the LORD your God, for it is He who gives you power to get wealth, that He may establish His covenant which He swore to your fathers, as it is this day."

It is God who gives us the power to get wealth. Wealth is not a bad thing.How can it be bad since God only gives us good things? The key for us is to remember Him. That is our part. God's part is the covenant He established with our fathers. He always keeps His word. He is always looking for a people with whom He can keep His established covenant.

Faithful God looking for a faithful people.

Why is it so hard to remember that everything we have comes from God?
How hard can that be? Why do we always need to be reminded that in ourselves there is no good thing? Even in this we are reliant on Him. Only He can keep us reliant on Him. Everything comes from God-even the ability to acknowledge that everything comes from Him.

'Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it...
Prone to leave the God I love.
Here's my heart, O take and seal it.
Seal it for Thy courts above.''

What's in Your heart?

Deuteronomy Diamonds-

Chapter 8:2,3-"And you shall remember that the LORD your God led you all the way these forty years in the wilderness, to humble you and test you, to know what was in your heart, whether you would keep His commandments or not.
So He humbled you, allowed you to hunger, and fed you with manna which you did not know nor did your fathers know, that He might make you know that man shall not live by bread alone; but man lives by every word that proceeds from the mouth of the LORD."

Jesus was also led into the wilderness, perhaps the same one, and He was tested and allowed to hunger. What was found in His heart? The very words that Moses had spoken hundreds of years before. Jesus said to the Temptor when offered earthly bread to eat, "It is written, 'Man shall not live by bread alone but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.'"

What is in your heart will come out of your mouth when you are in the wilderness.

Eat the manna of the Word of God. It will be life to you in the midst of the wilderness and it may be what brings you out as well.

Sausage Sweet Potato Bake

Taken from 'The Best of Mennonite Fellowship Meals' by Phyllis Pellman Good and Louise Stoltzfus-

*I substitute butternut squash for the sweet potatoes sometimes, and no one knows the difference.

1 lb. bulk sausage-I use turkey sausage
2 med. raw sweet potatoes
3 medium apples
2 Tbsp. brown sugar
1 Tbsp. flour
1/4 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 cup water

1. Brown sausage and drain excess fat
2. Peel and slice potatoes and apples. Layer sausage, sweet potatoes, and apples into a 2 qt. casserole dish. (I mix it all together in a big roasting pan.)
3. Combine all other ingredients and pour over layers
4. Cover and bake at 375 for 50-60 min. or until done.

I stir it at least once while it is baking.
My family loves this meal.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Deuteronomy Diamonds

I have been enjoying Deuteronomy almost as much as I didn't enjoy Numbers.
Here are a few of my favorite snapshots so far.

Deut. 3:23-29- Ok. Moses told the Israelites how he plead with God to please let him cross over and see the land. Moses said, "But the LORD was angry with me on your account, and would not listen to me." (He lets them know that it was their fault that he got so mad and hit the rock twice instead of speaking to it the second time like the LORD had commanded.) Then the Lord said to him, "Enough of that! Speak no more to Me of this matter." He told Moses to go up to the top of Pisgah and look around with his eyes, because he was not going to cross over the Jordan to The Promised Land.
Then God told him to support Joshua and encourage and strengthen him, because Joshua was going to lead the people and cause them to inherit the land.

I have a problem with this. It just doesn't seem fair. Time after time, Moses interceded for the people when the Lord said that He was going to destroy them. But when it was Moses' turn to be chastised, where was His intercessor?
But then, again, God knew something Moses didn't know. Years later, Moses would get to be at the top of a mountain in the Promised Land, with Elijah and Jesus, when Jesus was transfigured before His disciples, Peter, James, and John. And he wouldn't have to climb to the top to get there.
Fairness is relative.
God is just.
God is good.
Chapter 6:10,11,12-Moses tells the Israelites that God is going to fulfill His promise to their fathers, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and give them 'large and beautiful cities which they did not build, houses full of all good things, which they did not fill, hewn-out wells which they did not dig, vineyards and olive trees which they did not plant-when they have eaten and are full-then beware, lest they forget the LORD who brought them out of the land of Egypt, from the house of bondage.'

And we know the rest of the story. They did forget Him. They went after the other gods in the land. I think about the song that we sing...something about seeking His face and not His hand. God really wants to give His children His hand. I mean, we'd die if we saw His face, so He wants to give us things that represent the goodness of His face. Can we be a recipient of His blessings and continue to seek His face?
It seems He is willing to risk losing us in order to be who He is.
He is generous.
He wants to give.
Why do we need to be sold back into bondage in order to seek His face?
Why can't we be blessed and continue to seek His face?
I believe it is possible or He wouldn't keep trying to do so.
I hope He will never have sorrow over His generosity to me.
6:23-"Then He brought us out from there, that He might bring us in, to give us the land of which He swore to our fathers."

There is no mention of what took place between the getting out of bondage and the bringing into the land of Promise. The wilderness--forty years of it--is between the deliverance out of and the coming into.

God never lost His focus in the midst of the working out of His plan.
He planned to bring them out.
He planned to bring them in.
He got it done.
So He does with us.
He brings us out of darkness...into His marvelous light.
Sometimes it takes awhile.
Some of it may be up to us.
Will we trust His leading?
Will we obey?
We can do it our way,
or His way.
But He will get it done.
7:9-"Therefore know that the LORD your God, He is God, the faithful God who keeps covenant and mercy for a thousand generations with those who love Him and keep His commandments..."

It is pretty amazing to think that if I obey God and love Him that a thousand generations will be affected by His faithfulness and mercy.
7:22,23-"And the LORD your God will drive out those nations before you little by little; you will be unable to destroy them at once, lest the beasts of the field become too numerous for you. But the LORD your God will deliver them over to you, and will inflict defeat upon them until they are destroyed."

Like salvation, God was giving them the Promised Land.
Like sanctification, God would give it to them a little at a time, to make sure that what was theirs was really theirs.
My Bible notes say here that deliverance is a life-time process.
Moses, you are 'The Man.'
I hope I get to meet you soon.


I wonder what would happen if the body of Christ saturated themselves with Jesus' prayer recorded in John 17.
Jesus describes unity in this passage.

We think we have to be united in our theology and doctrine, but man's doctrine divides, and the body of Christ will never be united in our interpretation of scripture. We will never agree on politics, or parenting, or how to pray.

Unity is all about Jesus being in God and God being in Jesus and us being in them and them being in us.
Jesus says it this way. He PRAYS it this way.

"...all Mine are Yours, and Yours are Mine, and I am glorified in them."

"...keep through Your name those whom You have given Me, that they may be one as We are."

"..I pray for those who will believe in Me...that they all may be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You; that they also may be one in Us, that the world may believe that You sent Me.
And the glory which You gave Me I have given them, that they may be one just as We are one;
I in them, and You in Me; that they may be made perfect in one, and that the world may know that You have sent Me, and have loved them as You have loved Me..."

"...I have declared to them Your name, and will declare it, that the love with which You loved Me may be in them, and I in them."
I read His words over and over.
I realize that we, His body, will never be united in our differences.
Our unity will come only from being in God and Jesus and receiving their glory.
Our unity will come as we hear the name of God declared through Christ Jesus,
so that the same love with which God loves Jesus may be in us.
I bask in the thought.
I am inside Jesus, and God our Father loves me with the same kind of love He loves Jesus.
This is our unity.
Their love for each other and for us inside each other makes us one.
Just as their love makes them one
so their love makes us one.
God gave Jesus glory and now He gives it to you and to me,
and that glory makes us one.

This was the prayer He prayed the night before He died.
His prayer is eternal. It has never stopped being heard.
God will answer it because the price has been paid,
and now, we too, can be one with God.

We get all bent out of shape and think unity would be possible if everyone agreed with each other. But if that were the case, we'd be building another tower of Babel, communicating perfectly where 'to place the next block', trying to reach God in our way and our own means.

And here, it's so simple. We have to humble ourselves and crawl inside the relationship that is already established. We crawl inside Jesus, and have His relationship with God His Father.
We crawl inside God and have His relationship with Jesus.
We quiet ourselves and move over so others can be there too.
And then we have unity.
We are one.