Friday, January 29, 2010

What matters?

-From Beginning to Pray by Anthony Bloom

"Let us think about our prayers,
yours and mine;
think of the warmth,
the depth and intensity of your prayers
when it concerns someone you love
or something which matters to your life.
Then your heart is open,
all your inner self is recollected in the prayer.

Does it mean that God matters to you?

No, it does not.

It simply means that the subject matter
of your prayer matters to you.

For when you have made your passionate,
deep, intense prayer concerning the person you love
or the situation that worries you,
and you turn to the next item,
which does not matter so much-
if you suddenly grow cold,
what has changed?

Has God grown cold?
Has He gone?

No, it means that all the elation,
all the intensity in your prayer
was not born of God's presence,
of your faith in Him,
of your longing for Him,
of your awareness of Him;
it was born of nothing
but your concern for him or her or it,
not for God."

Spinach or cake?

by Vance Havner

"There are alot of questions the Bible
doesn't answer about the Hereafter.

But I think one reason is illustrated
by the story of a boy sitting down
to a bowl of spinach
when there's a chocolate cake
at the end of the table.

He's going to have a rough time eating that spinach
when his eyes are on the cake.

And if the Lord had explained everything to us
about what's ours to come,
I think we'd have a rough time with
our spinach down here."

Close Walk

from Beth Moore~

"One reliable rod for measuring closeness
to God would be the time
that lapses between sin and repentance.

The spiritual man still sins,
but he cannot bear to resist
immediate repentance.

His overwhelming sensitivity
results in a holier life
because he repents
in the early stages
of what otherwise would
become a contagion of sin.

those who walk closely with God
frustrate the efforts of the accuser;
by the time he arrives in the heavenlies
to register his accusations,
God can say with pleasure,
"I have no memory of that sin."

He is there

From 'Streams in the Desert'-Barry

In "pastures green"? Not always; sometimes He
Who knowest best, in kindness leadeth me
In weary ways, where heavy shadows be.

So, whether on the hill-tops high and fair
I dwell, or in the sunless valleys, where
The shadows lie, what matter?
He is there.

Otium Sanctum-Holy leisure

I read so many good things today
and want to reread them again.
You can read them, too,
if you'd like.

(On meditation, from Richard Foster's book, 'Celebration of Discipline.'
This book is a reread, and one for your library.)

"If we are constantly being swept off our feet with frantic activity,
we will be unable to be attentive at the moment of inward silence.
A mind that is harassed and fragmented by external affairs
is hardly prepared for meditation.

The church Fathers often spoke of 'Otium Sactum, "holy leisure."

It refers to a sense of balance in the life,
an ability to be at peace through the activities of the day,
an ability to rest and take time to enjoy beauty,
an ability to pace ourselves.

With our tendency to define people
in terms of what they produce,
we would do well to cultivate "holy leisure."

And if we expect to succeed in the contemplative way,
we must pursue "holy leisure"
with a determination that is ruthless to our datebooks."

The back of the book

I've been reading the book of Job in the Old Testament.
I've read it many times before.
Each time I read it,
I'm more acquainted with sorrow
than I was the last time I read it,
and I feel even more compassion for Job.

I don't think God was exactly fair to Him
but then, fairness is a weak
imitation of justice,
and who wants fairness when you can have justice.

I also want to smack his 'friends'
and tell them to shut up.

So, as I was reading the other day,
I felt so bad for him,
that I skipped back and read the last
chapter, just to make sure
that everything was going to turn out all right.

If only he'd known in the midst of his suffering,
that everything was going to be more than
just all right in the end.

Wouldn't it be nice
if in our book of life
we could skip back to the last
few pages,
and see for sure that everything
was going to be all right...

...That God indeed, would work all things out for good.
...That God indeed, would bring beauty out of our ashes.
...That God indeed, would restore to us what the enemy had taken.
...That God indeed would wipe all tears from our eyes,
and seat us at His table,
right next to Him.

I guess that faith is believing
that if I could read that final page
that I would see that everything
will turn out all right in the end.

The author of God's book
Is the author of my book.
He likes similar endings.
He has signed the title page.
It is filled with His many names
written with blood red ink.
It's authentic.
It is real.

So dear Job,
may I join my voice with your declaration?

"I know that my Redeemer lives,
when my flesh is completely destroyed,
I will see Him face to face."

I can't imagine a better ending.

A Worship Song that needs a little help with it's melody~

Let the worship song of Heaven
Be the worship sung on earth
Let the sound of Heaven's praises
Be the sound poured from our lips
Let the beauty of His glory
Be reflected on each face
Holy holy holy holy
Worthy Worthy is the Lamb

Let the passion of His heartbeat
Be our passion here on earth
Let the battle cry of Heaven
Be our battle cry on earth
Let His never ending comfort
Comfort those who weep alone
Holy holy holy holy
Worthy Worthy is the Lamb

Let Your Kingdom that's in Heaven
Be our Kingdom here on earth
Let Your will that's done in Heaven
Be Your will done here on earth
Let us eat and drink together
Let us know Your loveliness
Holy holy holy holy
Worthy Worthy is the Lamb

Hallelujah Hallelujah
Worthy Worthy is the Lamb
All the blessing All the honor
All the riches wisdom strength
All the power and the glory
Be to God forever more
Holy holy holy holy
Worthy Worthy is the Lamb

Hertzler Doings-Jan. 24-31, 2010

This week's highlights:
Teaching music to children who are alive and well and who like music class. Children even more precious to me after last week's scare. I met Lisa H. at the Corner Grill in Appomattox. We had tea and coffee. They were closing early to attend the one family's funeral. They had been in to eat on Monday and were killed the next day. We went to Granny B's for lunch and then to Baines for more tea. Talking. Listening. Good, dear friend. Sitting on the leather couch. Music playing. Surrounded by books. And then the snow flurries came and the beauty of the moment made my soul nearly burst with joy.
Wed. night, falling asleep in the sanctuary and waking just in time to receive Lindsay's call and to go get Susan. Thurs., Lindsay and the girls came out and she helped me go over finances and set up a budget. So thankful. So humiliated. But we have now joined the 5-10 % of Americans who have a budget. Went over it with Phil and we came up with a plan and are still the best of friends.
Haiti-over 150,000 dead. Miracles in the midst of the rubble. Praises in the midst of hell.
Friday-made lots of food for snowed in weekend-scrapple, bear roast, mac and cheese, chili, peanut butter bars, chicken rice soup, quiche...Chace, Chad, Travis and Dan here until very late. Woke up to lots of snow. Saturday-Did some wash. Dad's birthday. All 7 of us sang happy birthday to dad for mom. Had a nice talk with Dad when he got back. 80 years old and running. Phil out plowing. Got tractor stuck on neighbors lane. Got another tractor to pull it out and the fuel line had a chunk of ice in it. Tractor shut down. Two tractors stuck and neighbors still don't know. Kitchen full of beach towels with wet boots and shoes, etc. Dan Petersheim spending the weekend with us. Philip and Dan went over to Martins. Susan, Phil, Mike and I are watching Bourne Identity. My first viewing. Made homemade potato chips in oven. So lazy. Just want to eat and watch movies. Church cancelled for tomorrow.
Sunday-Christi and Dan joined our family for church. Sang for almost 2 hours from the Hopewell worship notebook. Freeman and Phil played the guitar. Phil read from Is. 55 about God's chosen fast. Conference call with Alli to settle wedding date! Kids were playing games in afternoon. Phil and I watched War and Peace. Susan, Phil, and I were playing Dutch Blitz in eve, when Ryan Petersheim came in. He is spending the week with Philip, trapping along the river.
He is a wonderful piece of home and reminds us of our friendship with his parents.
No school tomorrow.

Weeping in Appomattox

Weeping with gratitude
for what God did not allow.

Weeping with sorrow
for what He did.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Sunday Service-Jan. 24, 2010

Song~"You hold my every moment~You calm my raging seas~ You walk with me through fire~and heal all my disease~I trust in You~I trust in You~I believe You're my healer~I believe You're all I need~I believe You are my portion~I believe You are more than enough for me~"

The same (Greek or Hebrew) words are used for the pouring out of rain from the heavens during the time of the flood and the pouring out of a blessing from the windows of heaven. When we engage God in worship, we position ourselves to receive a blessing from God.

Pastor Frank has been thinking about the word, 'peripherialism'.(
It is a semi-homemade word-my favorite kind.) It has to do with being on the sidelines, like peripheral vision, or being on the edge of a circle, like a circumference. It's spiritual definition means to be on the outskirts; to beat around the bush. ( I think he is saying that it's time to get in or get out. It's time to tell the truth or stop talking. It's time to 'put your whole self in or put your whole self out' and stop all this hokey-pokeying around. It's time to get real. That's what it's all about.) This goes for the speaker and the hearer. If the speaker beats around the bush because he wants people to like him, and doesn't give the Word of the Lord, then he is responsible for what you don't hear. But if you leave because the Word is too tough, then you are responsible for what you don't hear. He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit is saying to the churches.

When the Spirit of God is stirred up, other spirits are stirred up as well. But the gates of Hell will not prevail against the church. The enemy is making news with so many evil events. He is trying to call attention to evil rather than what God is going to do.

We speak revival in the land, in our families, our minds, our schools, our communities. May we be protected in our homes and schools, in our going out and our coming in.

The one who was in the gutter most
Is the one He saved to the uttermost.

Scripture-11 Timothy 4

God used Paul in amazing ways. He wrote 13 letters to the churches. He went through so many trials and came out victoriously. But in this letter, we see his humanity, and his weakness.

"I am so glad that I am incapable...I don't have all the answers and often don't know the answers." PF

When you are faced with something you can't do, God shows up and does what He can do.

The church knows how to look good. There is a demonstration of ability without the power. We've made a form of godliness, but God is breaking the mold. God is going to do some things that you could never imagine.

At the end of chapter 4, Paul shares how everyone forsook him, especially Demas. He asked Timothy to bring his cloak and his books and parchments. He said that Alexander the coppersmith had done him harm. Only Luke was with him. He wanted Timothy to bring Mark as well, which must be a story in itself, since Barnabas and Paul had split up over issues with Mark. Paul was in a damp and cold dungeon and needed the comfort of a warm cloak, his familiar books, and his parchments. But even as he longed for the comfort of a friend and a few familiar belongings, he looked after the church, sending Tychicus to Ephesus to take Timothy's place while Timothy visited Paul.
We can be thankful God revealed the humanity of these giants of faith.

Our words and our testimony-the way we live-must give witness to Him. We are the only religion in the world that can boast a changed life.

If we say, (as a fanatical group from Kansas is saying), that the murders in Appomattox took place because the wrath of God is being poured out on the U.S. due to our acceptance of homosexuality, then we have God in a mold.

We spend too much time trying to figure out what God is doing rather than spending time pursuing Him.

Paul exhorted Timothy,"Keep a clear mind; don't be afraid of suffering."

Don't give place to a demon of deception. Don't get complacent and think that everything is OK. Don't think," Just hang in there. Leave things alone."
These attitudes go along with the whole peripherialism idea-beating around the bush.

If we engage with God, we will experience suffering, but we will also experience His presence. God comes in when we say we have a chink in our armor and we need Him.

We hear Paul's humanity in the words, "Demas has forsaken me and I was alone."
Some of you have a spouse who has walked out on you and you feel forsaken. The enemy can use this to deceive you unless you establish core values and stand by them. "As for me and for my house, we will serve the Lord." Establish that standard for those who remain in your household.

If you are unstable in one way, you'll be unstable in another. Be consistent.
You're either going to sit on a witness seat and give testimony or you're going to forsake your testimony. You can't be at two places at the same time.

"I am so thankful that I am incapable."

Paul said in 11 Cor.12:9,"The Lord said to me, 'My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness' Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore, I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ's sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong."

We have no power because we are not admitting weakness.
I am going to glory in my weakness.
It's only when we admit that we can't, that He can.

Rejoice in the sickness, the weakness, the sorrow-
for it's in this weakness that the power of God is revealed
in our lives.
We spent time interceding for Appomattox and our community. PF shared the news that Mr. Scrugg, the father of the 17 year old boy ('Bo') who was murdered, had a massive heart attack and Bo's funeral was postponed. This was over the top sad for me. I think the time is coming that the wearing of make up to church will be useless. Perhaps that will make us more real anyway. We hide behind so many false things. Post note: The Ruritan Club will have a Brunswick Stew sale this Sat. Feb. 6, to benefit the Scrugg family. Bo's father had lost his job, then lost his son, then had a heart attack.

I was thinking about how weak I felt on Tuesday, when our school was on lock down. The secretary had read my blog account and said that she didn't have the fear that I felt. I told her that that is why she is the doorkeeper of our school and I'm not. But in that fear, I knew I needed help. So I called my husband, who gathered the monks at the Abbey together, and they prayed heaven down. They run a school. They could identify with the threat against children they are responsible for. I called my friend at church who got the pastors and staff to pray. I was weak, but with their prayers, in a few short minutes, I felt the calm of God come into my soul. I don't think the children guessed that anything was wrong. And that was God's grace made perfect in my weakness.~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~I want to add here, in my defense, that I didn't call Phil or church because I was scared and wanted personal peace. I called because I was scared because the gunman was at large and I wanted them to pray for the safety of our school and Appomattox. In the process of their prayers, I received the peace of God.

This morning I read the following from 'The Supplied Life' by Bill Freeman.

"For what man knows the things of a man except the spirit of the man which is in him? Even so no one knows the things of God except the Spirit of God." 1 Cor. 2:11"

"The seat of our personhood is our spirit. Our real 'knower' is our spirit. We do not know ourself apart from our spirit. I am an empty shell without my spirit. I am a personless person without my spirit. The last Adam became a life-giving Spirit and joined Himself with my spirit. Now I can live from my spirit. (Rom. 1:9)

Do we see this? It is marvelous to know that Christ is your person. When sin shows up, you can boldly tell it, "He has the sin and I have the righteousness." That will catapult you right into His arms to love Him, to draw from Him. He gave the law in order to exhaust us and convince us that we need to live in union with Him. He already knew the flesh was fallen, but we did not. So He came with the law and exhausted the flesh to the utmost, so that He could regenerate our spirit and get Himself into us..."
The law shows our weakness, so we see we are wrong, and need His righteousness.
In any given situation, we can live out of the weakness of our flesh or we can live out of the strength of the Spirit of God within us.
If we could choose between two packages-say for example, one package holds inconsolable sorrow and the other holds the fellowship of His suffering. The actual event causing the sorrow may be the same, but one package leaves us forsaken and the other leaves us with His presence. We might need help picking up the right package, but that's what friends are for.

Again, it's 'The Great Exchange.'

Peace in exchange for our bitterness.
Love in exchange for our hatred and indifference.
Forgiveness in exchange for our list of grievances.

O God, help me pick up the packages full of your grace and strength
and help me to leave my packages of weakness and pride on the altar.


I want His mind
I want His faith
I want His Spirit
To reside in me.

I want His peace
I want His hope
I want His love
To reside in me.

I want His ways
I want His smile
I want His song
To reside in me.

Reside in me.
Reside in me.
Reside in me.
Reside in me.

The Lost

We pray for the lost.
We hold a special outdoor church service
to bring the gospel to our community.
We get the lost saved.
They come to our church.
They look bad and smell even worse.
We murmur polite words at a distance.

Some of us see the treasure within,
and in our minds we give them baths
and a haircut and shave.
In our minds we brush their teeth
and dress them up a bit.
We see what they could become
and we almost love them
because of their potential.

Some of us speak to them.
We think it is wonderful that we can talk
to them as if they are normal people.
We do this in front of other people.
We are proud of the wrong things.

And Jesus loves them now.
Jesus loves them smelly and dirty.
I have seen a few others who love them that way too.
Jesus says, "You prayed for them to come
and now they're here.
What will you do with them?
You must pass this test
before I send you more."

The fields are white
and ready for harvest.
To the poor,
the gospel is preached.

We want the harvest
to look nice and smell good
and have money.

God forgive us.
God forgive me.


the mercy of God
provides protection
from loss.

the mercy of God
provides comfort
in loss.

The mercy of God
is our only

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Gems from My Mother's Journal

It seems depression and a wish for death at times follow spiritual victories. Jonah 4:3,8 -"Death is better to me than life." v.9-"I have good reason to be angry, even unto death. 1 Kings 19:4-Elijah requested for himself that he might die~~"Oh Lord, take my life."
Jonah's preaching to Nineveh was successful.
Elijah's contest with the prophets of Baal ended in victory.
Why were they depressed?
It seems a strategy of Satan but that is not mentioned.
God deals very tenderly with both men!

Deut. 29-Several verses impressed me in this chapter.
In verse 4, there is a prayer that 'the Lord would give me a heart to know...eyes to see ....ears to hear.'
V. 18b-'Lest there be among you a root bearing poisonous fruit and wormwood.' This could be a warning either for us individually, or in a family or in a church.
V. 19b-An example of an individual who boasts. 'I have peace though I walk in the stubbornness of my heart in order to destroy the watered land with the dry.' But it doesn't work out that way for God is just.
V.21a-'Then the Lord will single him out for adversity from all the tribes of Israel.'

Jeremiah 11:15a-"What right has My Beloved in My house, when she has done many vile deeds?" And He goes on to enumerate the sins. I find my heart aching for God~still calling us 'Beloved' although so unworthy.

Sunday Sermon-Jan. 17, 2010

Alot has happened this week, and I have had a hard time focusing.
I also just found out that a Kansas church plans to picket the funerals in Appomattox tomorrow. They believe that the shootings are God's judgment on America because we accept homosexuality.
But I want to write last weeks sermon down before I receive another,
and doing it so late will help me be ready for tomorrow's sermon,
because usually, one sermon builds on another.
"I wanna sit at Your feet
Drink from the cup in Your hand
Lay back against you and breathe-
Feel Your heartbeat
This love is so deep,
it's more than I can stand.
I melt in your peace, It's overwhelming."

"What is in the cup in His hand? Do I want to drink it? Am I able to drink it? What cups are there? The cup of suffering...the cup of salvation...the cup filled to overflowing...the cup of living water....the cup of the New Testament... the cup of the Lord...the cup of blessing...

I think the cup holds a mixed drink.

But, He drank it.
It killed Him to do so.
And He offers it to me.
But since it is the only way to
be close enough to feel
His heartbeat,
I think I will trust Him,
and drink. AH

The following is my perception of Pastor Frank's sermon and what I think I heard him say.
Worship in Heaven is done without request.
A church without spot or wrinkle is one who worships God without requests.
Let the worship of Heaven be the worship of the earth.
11 Tim. 3:1-5-" the last days, perilous times will come. For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having a form of godliness but denying its power. And from such people turn away!"

Pastor Frank emphasized the 5th verse-"..having a form of godliness but denying its power."

(My Bible notes say,"Some will maintain an outward pretense, speaking the vocabulary of Christianity, but refusing the reality that Christian faith expresses. The power they deny is the heart of Christianity-the fact of a risen Redeemer, the truth of the inspired Word and the indwelling and overflowing of the Holy Spirit, working within believers and transforming their lives. ")

What does it mean to have a form of godliness?

A form creates a void to hold the substance which will be poured into the mold.
It can be shaped by your upbringing, theology, disappointments, religion, lack of answers to prayers, our morals and standards, etc.

We try to pour God into that mold because we want God to be conformed into our way of thinking.

But, God is a mold breaker, not a mold maker.

Take the story of the adulterous woman.
The traditional mold said that she should be stoned.
Jesus broke the mold.
According to a more literal translation of the Greek,
what He actually said was more like,
"He who is without this particular sin (of adultery)
may cast the first stone."
Remember, He had taught that if you even think about participating
in this sin, you have done it.

We want God to be regular at an irregular price.
We've settled for less than who God is.

Our religion, our experiences, have boxed God in and we have labeled Him as regular.

We have a form,
but we deny the power that could make us holy.

Rom. 1:16-"..the the power of God..."
1 Thess. 1:5-"..our gospel...came in power..."
1 Cor. 2:3-5-" preaching...was a demonstration of the Spirit and of power, your faith
would be in the power of God."
11 Cor. 4:7-"But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellence of the power
may be of God, and not of us.
11 Cor. 12:9-"..I boast in my weakness, that the power of Christ may rest on me."

The power of God comes in the midst of weakness, in the weakest time of your life.

Walking in the Spirit will open up your eyes to hear and see and do things through Him
even when you are weakest in your flesh.
You will see a small cloud and hear the abundance of rain.

Last week, we talked about keeping your fire burning on the altar...
using good wood, taking out the ashes (hindrances) so our fire burns brighter,
and burning up all of our offering.

What do you do when your fire is barely burning?

You get on your knees and blow into the embers.
Fan into flame the fire that is going out.

Listen to the Word of the Lord.
Fan into flame your fire on the altar.
Let the joy of your salvation be restored to you.

We pray for a greater hunger...break the mold we have you in..
Time was spent at the altar...people were fanning their flames...pushing through...

I thought of the verse in Isaiah 64:7-"And there is no one who calls on Your name, who stirs himself up to take hold of You;..."

We don't have to wait until we receive an experience from
God in order to feel close to Him again.
We can stir ourselves up, to take hold of Him. Being emotionally stirred up and stirring ourselves up to get a hold of Him are not the same thing. Sometimes, we focus on the spiritual experience we are having rather than focusing on God Himself. And really, He is right here. He is within us. We don't have to get all worked up to try to find Him. We don't have far to go.
I had to think of the 10 virgins. All ten of them had the appearance of godliness. They all had lamps. Only 5 of them had the power of God (oil) filling them.

I thought of the Pharisees, who had the form of godliness in their keeping of the Sabbath law.
"Don't carry your mat on the Sabbath." But they denied the power of God to heal a man on the Sabbath. Jesus broke their mold. He healed the man at the pool of Bethesda on the Sabbath, and He told him to carry His mat.
Double Whammy.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Emergency Situation

After recess, on Tuesday, the 19th of January, the first grade children came into the music room and began playing hide-and-seek under my desk and behind the piano. We seemed to have a rough start because I was on the Wed. schedule in my head and thought they would be coming in an hour. There was a rapid knock on my door and one of the teachers motioned for me to come out. "We have a situation, " she said. "There is a gunman on the loose and he's already killed at least one person. Our school is in lock-down." I was not to let the children know and my room was considered 'safe' since there were no outside windows on the walls.

So many thoughts went through my head. Michael. Susan. Good that Mrs. Jones is home. How would I protect the children if he got inside our school. Act normal. Protect the children from the knowledge of evil and the death of trust. Don't let anything happen. God, help us.

Sick to my stomach, I went back into my room. I told Christen, my 16 year old homeschool helper, to call her mother and tell her not to pick her up until she was notified. Christen then read to the children while I went out of the room and hid in the changing room. I called Phil. He called the monks together and they prayed. I called church. Missi went into the staff meeting and they dropped everything and prayed. I went back into my room, locking the door behind me. Meanwhile, Christen heard the police helicopter and gunshots and the
helicopter landed near our school. We sang happy songs, danced and colored to Civil War songs, and made the familiar airplanes from their drawings. One dear little boy needed to use the bathroom. I wouldn't let him go. I told him that if it gets really bad, he could go in a jar. He looked at me horrified. "What if the other kids see me?" I told him that I would hide him. A few minutes later, I found out that the police had the man cornered and that it was safe to go out in the hallway for a quick trip to the bathroom.

When the older children came in during the last period of the day, it was a relief. They knew about the situation and we could talk about it. We kept the door open and sang with all our hearts, "A Wonderful Savior is Jesus my Lord....He hideth my soul in the cleft of the rock...that shadows a dry thirsty land..." I read more about Harriet Tubman's life and Michael acted out what I was reading. It was a very sobering story but Michael was making us laugh. We were able to dismiss school at regular time. A police car was parked at each entrance and at both roads that came into school. We felt 'safe'.

Everybody was praying. We prayed for God's comfort. We prayed that no more lives would be lost. We prayed that the man would give himself up without incident. And he did. The next morning, at 7:10, he gave himself up near the crime scene. The murdered victims included 3 high school students, a 4 year old, and two couples. I will write a post note to this blog when I understand the relationships between the gunman and his victim. I understand that one woman was his sister. It's too much. The house where he lived had to be invaded by the bomb squad. Residents were warned not to be afraid if they heard loud noises going off. He had the place wired. So much heartache for so many people. Why, God, why?

I read something this morning in 'Streams in the Desert' from 'Bent-knee Time.

"Emergencies call for intense prayer. When the man becomes the prayer nothing can resist its touch. Elijah on Carmel, bowed down on the ground, with his face between his knees, that was prayer-the man himself. No words are mentioned. Prayer can be too tense for words. The man's whole being was in touch with God, and was set with God against the powers of evil. They couldn't withstand such praying..."

I thought about how Dr. Hubler, our principal, walked through the halls at school, making sure his family, the teachers, and the students were safe. He was on red alert, yet his presence had a calming effect. The man had become the prayer even if words would have failed him. I thought about my son, Michael, proactive in his behavior as he considered a defense. He said, 'No weapon formed against me shall prosper.' He, too, was calm, and carried the peace of God. He, too, was a prayer. I thought of my daughter, Susan, who put a sharp piece of wire and a pencil in her pocket. I am glad that she acted like a warrior instead of a victim. I thought of the heart poundings and the raised blood pressures of all of the women in the school. God help the man who would try to hurt any of these children. Teachers became mothers to every child in an instant.

And just now, in the midst of writing this account, I received a phone call. Friends of ours had been visiting us this weekend and had spoken about their work in Kenya during our school's chapel time on Monday morning. They drove back to Pa. soon afterwards. That night, Terry stayed awake, travailing in prayer until 4:00 Tuesday morning, praying for the safety of Michael and Susan. She had been warned by God that Phil would be worried for the safety of his children by noon on Tuesday. (The 911 call came in at 12:02.) Her husband came home from work and said that God had shown him that an evil man was coming and to pray for our children, but was assured that they would be kept safe. Later, I called to tell them what had happened. They weren't going to tell me what had happened on their end, but today, Thursday, it came out of her mouth, with weeping and brokenness. They continue to be heart broken for all of the suffering caused by this tragedy. They continue to pray.

I had sensed that we were all protected even more than we realized and when I heard of the intensity of the burden that God gave our friends, I am even more sure that God intervened on our behalf. Thank you, thank you God.

Surely, He has carried our griefs and our sorrows.
Surely, our iniquities were laid upon Him.
Surely, He weeps with us.
Surely, He prays.
Post note:
He did kill his sister, her daughter, her husband, and their four year old son,
along with 2 other teenagers and the parents of one of the teens.
This is what I understand at this time.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010


I can't believe that Joey is old enough to be going to college. Just yesterday, he was on his mother's lap, flirting with me with his big brown eyes while I held baby Philip on my lap in the mother's Sunday School class at Hopewell.

Today, he's in a hospital, with a missing kidney and a long way to go. His mother is Janet, and I have her blogsite posted on mine. She is giving updates on Joey on her blog.

Would you take a moment and pray for them? They have been through so much already in life. I have seen beauty for ashes come from those situations. I am sure that beauty will come from these ashes as well.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Hertzler Doings-Jan. 18-24, 2010

Mon.-John and Terry Brynan shared in CCA's chapel today and then left for Pa. shortly after 10. Michael stayed home to work on his thesis on predestination. I was wiped out. Made red velvet whoopie pies and they flopped so the dogs got a treat. So much fun to check out face book comments regarding Alli and Freeman. Aunt Linda called last night with her happiness and congratulations.

Tues.-Taught school and tried to teach kids about entering other people's spaces and how this causes a flight or fight reaction. Went to Kroger's and took a walk during break. Second day of vegetables, fruit, beans only fast. Terrible headache of yesterday has turned into a clearer mind today. (Wrote those sentences at lunch.) After lunch, when I was teaching the younger students, one of the teachers knocked at the door and motioned for me to come out. She said, 'We have a situation. There is a gunman on the loose and our school is on lock-down. At least one person is murdered." I wasn't to tell the little ones so I went back inside feeling like I was going to throw up and tried to protect the little children from the emotions of fear and the awareness of evil. Later, I went out while my helper read stories to them. I called Phil and church from the changing room and they started to pray. I will probably write more about this later. We were dismissed at regular time and the police were positioned at our doorways and road entryways. The gunman was surrounded in the woods behind the school. Alot of rumors flying around, but sometimes, the truth is worse than rumors. School is cancelled for tomorrow.

Wed.-Gunman turned himself in at 7:10 this morning without incident. Schools remain closed in Appomattox County. 8 people dead. He was acquainted with them. Today, the police are identiying bodies and notifying next of kin. Made cinnamon rolls and did 4 loads of wash and could hardly focus on anything. Went to town in eve. and spent some time alone at church sorting things out and finding some peace. Michael and Susan in Vertical Edge. Checked news on line. Victims include 3 teenagers, a four year old, and 2 couples. House was loaded with explosives and the bomb squad was detonating bombs and may continue into Thurs. One who knew the man said that he was such a good sharpshooter that he could have picked off the police one by one. Thank you God, for orchestrating events in such a way that he was compelled to turn himself in.

Thurs.-3 high school students were killed. The man killed his sister, her daughter, her husband, and their 4 year old son, along with the parents of one of the teens. It's going to be another situation where people are going to feel bad that they didn't pay attention to the warning signs.
Counselors are at the Appomattox High School today, trying to help the kids cope. Apparently. these three kids were dearly loved and all around great kids. I have always loved the peace in Appomattox. That peace is now shattered. Oh Restorer of Peace, bring Your Divine Peace.
Pray for the peace of Appomattox.
Went to Farmville and met with Katherine and Lindsay about this Sat. women's craft/cake baking event. Picked up Susan at school afterwards. We went to work when we got home. I made heart shaped sugar cookies for the women to ice and write the names of their children on with icing markers. I made black cherry koolaid playdough for the women's children to play with should they happen to come. Susan made her homemade gumdrops and peanut butter eggs and buttercream eggs. She's going to start her egg business this weekend. I think she can handle everything by herself this year. She bought the ingredients to her first batch and will donate a percentage of her earnings to missions-John and Terry, to be exact-to feed the Kenyan children. She is saving to go on a missions trip with the youth group. Michael worked late at Krogers. Someone said on face book that people were subdued in Krogers; communicating with whispers.
Terry shared with me that she and John were burdened to pray for the safety of our children on Tuesday.

Fri.-Made carrot cake, chocolate marvel cake and red velvet cupcakes. Picked up Susan and Parks at school, dropped Parks off, and came back out to Pamplin Exxon to meet Kelly and Mike Gibbs. I parked perpendicular to the parked cars at the end of the property. All of a sudden, a tractor trailer truck hit a mini van that was pulling into Exxon. It was wild. Stuff was flying everywhere. She was spun around so she was facing the other way, but she was off the road. We saw the airbags go off. The man got his truck stopped quickly. His cab was damaged. The woman jumped out of her vehicle with arms raised, "Thank you Jesus", she cried. I said, "Thank You Jesus", too. She was unharmed. I called 911 right away. People were flying out of their cars and coming over. The poor dear man that hit her felt so bad. She started shaking and asked him frantically, "What did I do wrong? What did I do wrong? " "You didn't do anything wrong, " he said, so kindly. I went over and grabbed his arm and just held it for awhile. I felt so bad for him. The first responders were there in 3 min. I would say. I was so impressed with everything. But I have been bothered, because I can't exactly say what happened, but I may have seen it better than everyone else. I don't know whether she had her blinkers on or not, but it seemed to me she took a long time to pull in. She was in front of him on 460 headed West. He had come up a hill, and come down, and then she slowed down and he couldn't get around her. I am sure he was braking and Susan said he was honking his horn. It was raining as well. We got out of there, because we were going to get parked in and I was bringing Kelly home with me. Mike and Kelly had driven behind the truck since Noah's and they said he was going 55 mph. Phil said that if I was to say anything to anybody, I would have thought about it right away, but we left before the police were there. The woman's children were in the bus that pulled right into the Exxon then. She was hugging them, and her mom was there right away, hugging her, so they must have all been meeting there. God bless that dear woman, and help them with getting another vehicle. It is hard to believe that she walked away from that accident. And God bless that dear truckdriver, who could have blamed her if he wanted to. Help him to keep his job and help his insurance not to escalate. Help the police figure out what happened and let no one be to blame.
Went out to New Life in the eve. to set up the tables, etc. for the event tomorrow.

Sat.-Women's New Life Event today. Lindsay showed people how to be creative with frames. Ramona had her creative memory card things there. Edna shared her artwork. Tabitha and Susan brought jewelry and Susan had candy as well. Catherine had her linguine and other goodies. Mable was showing her helmet liners for the soldiers that she knits. Rebecca and Cathy had their crocheting, Teresa had soup and sandwiches, and I had sugar cookies to ice and chocolate cake, etc. Jessica Fortner won the cake baking contest. We sold all the cakes-17 total, and made $290 for Kingdom Expansions. Now I have all of the stuff to put away and a house to clean. I'd better get to it. Alli, Freeman, Susan, and Kelly decorated the rest of the cookies and got down right creative and a little big gross-just some of them. We have artists in our midst.
Found out tonight that a Kansas church plans to picket the Appomattox victims funerals..saying that God is judging America because we accept homosexuality and the shootings are part of His judgment. All I can say is, they had better not mess with Appomattox.
On his way home from work, Michael noticed that road signs had been pulled out along side the road and thrown on the road on 633 Hixburg and Cutbanks Rds. He saw someone coming and felt he should move the one in particular off the road because he thought the person coming could get seriously injured from the 2x4 piece of wood and metal that took up most of the road. It turns out that the person he helped was his father. He was coming a different way home from work after a deer had run into his truck and he had delivered it to the Edmonstons.

Sunday-Phil so exhausted from working 6 days. Just went to church instead of S.S. and that was nice. Appreciated the way the church focused on Appomattox with their prayer and declarations. I think the time is coming that I will not even bother wearing make-up to church. Pastor Frank preached his heart out and God's power was made perfect in his weakness. Jamie D. shared with Phil and I how he was working on a house on Fri. and was using a generator. He was working for about 4 hours, when a friend and co-worker showed up. He said, "Jamie, will you step outside for a minute." Jamie was glazed over and about fainted when he got out. It was a close call. Carbon monoxide poisoning. His friend felt like he should come check on the house. He resisted, thinking the house was fine. He lived 20-30 miles away. When he went to turn another direction on the road, he was compelled to go in the direction of the house. Thank you, thank you God. We love Jamie and his family. What would we do without him? I am convinced we are living in a day when we need to obey the Spirit's promptings. We need to follow our intuitions. We need to watch and pray.
Kelli S. came home with us. We warmed up leftovers and did our own things. Philip was with the Harvest group. Michael worked on his thesis until 3 Mon. morning. Susan, Kelli, and I played Dutch Blitz. Phil slept and read Dave Ramsey's book. The girls straightened my hair and I looked awful. Everyone begged me to wash my hair and look somewhat normal. Philip and Christi came. Alli and Freeman were over after eating out. Phil and I went to the Financial Peace class in the eve. and Kelli and Susan came along and worked with the kids on human video.
Phil drove to Richmond from church. Wind wild all night. Fell asleep anyway, even though I don't like missing the wild wind rampages.

Thursday, January 14, 2010


This is something I read, by Will Campbell, recorded in his writing, 'God on Earth', recorded in the book, 'Disciplines For the Inner Life.'

"Teach us to pray."
And He did. "Do it this way," He told them.
"When you pray say, 'Our Father.'"
Dear Abba.

Not "Our God." Gods aren't kin to folks.
"Our Father."
No doubt they had heard God referred to as Father before,
but not very often.
Most often the image they heard
the rabbis use was of King.
Or Lord.
The idea of sonship,
of actual kinship had not been developed.

Fathers are kinfolks!
God is God and a human is a human.
God has claims and designs on us
but we have no claims and designs on God.
God is God.

But kinfolks have claims and designs on each other.
Kinfolks ask each other for things:
Give us some bread, something to eat.
Don't hold things against us.
Forgive us.
Excuse and understand.
Comfort and accept us.
Protect and defend us.
Keep us away from the Evil One.
Keep the Evil One away from us.

Kinfolks is a good idea.

Still, Still with Thee

When I was a child, we'd listen to 'The Mennonite Hour' on the radio. We'd hear choirs and groups singing hymns for a whole hour. We'd also play records of all kinds of good music. I think I have Johnny Cash's 'Gospel Road' memorized. I'd play it again and again. I stayed home from church one day last month due to sickness, and it was on TV. I knew each word to every song and speaking part. We had a record of an all male choir singing hymns. I can hear them singing this hymn right now. It was one of my mother's favorite but she would avoid it because it made her cry.

"Still, Still With Thee"

Still, still with Thee,
When purple morning breaketh,
When the bird waketh,
And the shadows flee;
Fairer than morning,
Lovelier than the daylight,
Dawns the sweet consciousness,
I am with Thee.

So shall it be
at last,
in that bright morning
When the soul waketh,
and life's shadows flee;
Oh, in that hour,
fairer than day-light dawning,
Shall rise the glorious thought-
I am with Thee.

Harriet Beecher Stowe

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Sunday Service-Jan. 10, 2010

Song-"Let the Worshippers Arise"
Prayer-"Help us to be a people who are quick to worship and slow to make requests. Teach us the desire for your presence."

Pastor Frank held up a $10 bill and asked if anyone had a $1 bill that they'd want to exchange for it. My son, Freeman, ran up and made the exchange. Pastor Frank used that illustration to explain how we can exchange a spirit of heaviness ($1) for a garment of praise ($10). What God gives us in exchange is so much greater than what we hang on to. We can exchange our broken heart for healing; our captivity for His liberty; our mourning for His comfort; our ashes for His beauty; and our mourning for His oil of joy. (Isaiah 61)
We shared in communion.
"Communion is the common union of us and Jesus Christ."
Esther prepared herself for the King for a year. There came a time when her people were in danger. She had a need for an entire nation. She approached the King and he asked her what he could do for her. Three times, he asked her, and he would have given her up to half of his kingdom. What will Jesus say to us, if we prepare ourselves to worship Him for who He is and not for what He can give us? Will He ask us what He can do for us even as we worship Him?
There came a time that Esther's King wanted to honor Mordecai. He asked the question, "What shall be done for the man whom the king delights to honor?" Oh, that God would ask that about us. Oh that His royal robe that He Himself has worn be placed upon us and His royal crest be placed on our heads. Oh, that we would ride on His white horse. And Oh, to be one that He would delight to honor. Worship Him.
Sermon Title-"What goes up?"

Taken from Leviticus 6:8-13-The Lord spoke to Moses and told him to command Aaron and his sons in regard to the law of the burnt offering. The fire should be burning on the altar day and night. It should never go out. They were to burn their sacrifice on the fire. Then they were to take up the ashes and put them beside the altar. After taking off their priestly garments, they were to carry the ashes outside the camp to a clean place. The priest should burn wood on the altar every morning and then lay the burnt offering on it.
Three times, God told Moses, "A fire shall always be burning on the altar; it should never go out." (The fire on the altar lasted almost 900 years. The reason it went out was because of the Babylonian Captivity. There was sin in the camp and God raised up another nation to take His children into captivity.)
#1-What goes up must never go out.

If our spiritual fire has gone out, it is our fault. It is our responsibility to keep the fire going. If we have no fire in our lives or in the church, it is because there is sin in the camp. We've exchanged the fire of God for something else. When the fire goes out in our home, we've exchanged it for something else. The children of Israel exchanged the hot fire of God for the cold idols made of stone. They exchanged the greatest value for a much lesser value.When they stopped obeying God, an enemy came in and put their fire out.

If you put the tabernacle of worship in the right place, in the right way, with God's instructions intact, He has promised to fill it with His Shekinah Glory, even in the midst of your wilderness.

'Would you restore our hunger for you, Jesus. God bring back Your altar."

#2-Burn all of the offering on the fire.

You can't straddle the fence. Give God all of your sacrificial offering. He has cleansed our sin-not in part, but the whole. If God cleanses all our sins and heals all of our diseases, why should He demand less than our all.

Total consumption-Be consumed by His fire. We've been built for the heavenlies.

Some of your discouragement and heaviness is because you only come once a week to church to worship. Worship Him on Monday, Tuesday, Wed, etc. Bring your daily fires and join them with the fires of your brothers and sisters on Sunday. Have a bonfire.

Exchange the normal reaction to things with worship.
Worship instead of worry.
Worship instead of complain.
Worship instead of being afraid.

Shovel out the hindrances.(Bitterness, jealousy, fear, etc.)
Shovel out the ashes and take them outside the camp.
He gives beauty for ashes. Don't exchange your heaviness for more heaviness. Don't exchange your guilt for bitterness. Don't exchange one sin for another sin that doesn't seem as bad.

#3-Use only good wood for your fire.

How about I get rid of some TV stuff so I have more time to study the Word?

Our fires are going out because we haven't furnished it with good wood.
Good wood will make our fire burn brighter.
Don't let your fire go out.

Pray without ceasing. Live a life of prayer.
Worshipping the King is your number one need.

"Ministry for me fails when I think that God is more interested in the ministry than the man. God does not call me Pastor Frank."
It's not about what you or can't do or how you feel. He's interested in you.
He is so much greater than any need we have.
God, show us what it looks like when you
place your glory and honor on someone's life.
It will happen to those who surrender everything to be consumed by God.
Prayer-"Press our ear right next to your lips so we can hear Your voice.
Cause us to do what You've created us to do...Make me a worshipper...Let us hear the sound of rain.
This week, our church is focusing on worshipping God rather than petitioning Him. A number of people are fasting a meal each day and we want to keep the fire going on the altar with our worship and come together next Sunday to burn our fires and worship Him together.
I, for one, am prone to wander. Lord, I feel it. I read some classic literature last week. It was a children's book; a summary of several of this particular writer's greatest works. It was supposedly good literature, and since I somehow missed out on my education in regard to this writer, I thought it was time that I learned a thing or two. It was full of deception and murder and tragedy. It wasn't good wood. It muddled me. The next day, when I went to read my Bible, I couldn't even focus. I couldn't understand. I didn't feel close to God at all. I read and re-read the verses, trying to blow on the coals of my fire to make it burn brighter; blowing too hard. And then, God in His mercy, blew on my feeble coals with His gentle breath, and brought back the flame. I felt His face next to mine; His mouth blowing softly and full of invitation. I thought, 'Merciful, Merciful God. Can it be that you desire my friendship even more than I desire Yours?'
How quickly, He restored the joy of His word and opened my understanding. How quickly, He ignited my smoking flax. How quickly He assured me of His never wandering presence.
Everything we do-every book we read, every show we watch, every influence we allow in our life-feeds or dampens our fire.
Oh, be careful little eyes what you see...
Oh, be careful little ears what you hear...
Oh, be careful little hands, which piece of wood you pick up.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Hertzler Doings-Jan. 11-17, 2010

Mon.-Susan and I went to Carleen's with Bekah S. and had lunch together. Ran errands afterwards. Johnny Brynan called. They are coming down this weekend. Went out to Lynchburg with Phil in eve, to pick up cement blocks.

Tues/Wed-Taught school. Checked out the Civil War Museum, the local bookstore, the tourist info. center in regard to the Civil War. Learning so much. The Civil War is of great interest in these parts. Appomattox is where the nation was re-united. Stayed home Wed. night. Very tired. Turned on the news. Haiti-catastrophic earthquake. God have mercy.

Thurs.-Home. Making things. (Bear scrapple) Cleaning things. Getting ready for company this weekend. Beautiful day in the 50's. Sick in stomach. Food poisoning? Want to go to Haiti.

Fri.-Made chili, chicken corn noodle soup, corn meal muffins, cornmeal yeast rolls, and carrot cake. Picked up kids and was entertained by Kincaid and Parks the whole way home. They were figuring out what they would do that would get them arrested. So funny. John and Terry came in the eve. Staying at the Babcock House.

Sat.-John met Phil here and went to work with him at 5:30 this morning. Terry called from Babcock House and I went over there and had John's breakfast with her. Ann B. was taking care of things and it was good to catch up with her and her new look-red hair! Terry poured out her heart for her people. Kenya has never seen such a famine. People are starving, cows are dying, the land is barren. It is desperate situation. They can feed so many with a little bit of money. I looked at pictures and prayed to not be disconnected with her pain nor theirs. Came back home and got ready for hunter breakfast. In the eve, some of the Kenya team came for supper and fellowship. Zooks, Potters, Sandridges, Cheri G., and the Brynans. Really nice time together.

Sun.-Cooked bear roast all night. Soaked in red wine, Italian dressing, garlic, onions, horseradish, Mrs. Dash, garlic salt, lemon pepper, steak dust, grilling pepper, bit of apple cider, W-sauce, honey, and brown sugar. Turned out pretty good, but the fragrance and the basting kept me awake alot of the night, as did the faces of the African people, who overnight, became my people.
Now I have another reason to be completely out of debt-so we can help them more. Phil and I talked about not building a house someday, but adding an addition to our double wide-to make our kitchen bigger and dining room bigger and to take out the wall where the TV is and make things open. Our children like to cook too, and it is hard to have more than 1 cook in the kitchen, plus we want to have more room for groups of people. We'd keep on fixing up the old house, room by room, for guest quarters.
Raining. Hunter's Breakfast at church. Phil took bear scrapple and the bear roast. I checked into Face Book and saw that Joey Oberholtzer had a snowboarding accident at noon yesterday and has internal injuries and massive bleeding. Gave him 6 units of blood, removed a kidney, etc. Hit me hard and I kept seeing him as a baby, with his big brown eyes, flirting with me in the mother's Sunday school class. Janet and Jerry have been through so much already. I wish I could take this pain from them. Thinking about Eric W. who was with him at the time and how hard this is for him. Found out that Janet R. is going to Haiti with a team of 8 on a medical trip-working in an orphanage, etc. Watched the news about Haiti last night and Geraldo was overcome at one point with all the suffering. So much suffering...everywhere.
John and Terry set up a table at church with their pictures and information. John shared during the service and thanked the church for their financial gift. 200 AG churches in Haiti were affected (destroyed?) by the earthquake. There is a request out to help those people. A missions offering was taken to help the earthquake victims and those who are in need of food in Kenya. Pray for rain. Came home and ate leftovers from last night. Watched a movie/documentary on the star of Bethlehem and other signs in the sky. The Brynans are letting us borrow it until they come back in August. Taught Johnny how to play Dutch Blitz and Pick One. He was a bit overwhelmed with the how fast Susan and I were. Phil had to go to Richmond due to emergency flooding. I went to the Financial Peace class and Michael came in with me. He had spent the day with Chace in town. At 5:30 today, something especially nice happened. Freeman and Alli came into the house and wanted us to gather round. Alli held out her hand and there was a beautiful dainty diamond on her petite pretty hand. We are so happy.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

More of Mother's Gems

My Mother has kept journals for many years. She writes more of a diary in one journal and her Bible insights in another. I have the wonderful privilege to be reading through them. I mark the insights I want to blog with a little colored pencil circle and draw a line through them after I've blogged them. I really should be cleaning out the refrigerator but I read some things and have an urgency to blog them. Perhaps someone needs to read what she has to say right now.
"Matthew 22:29-"You are mistaken, not knowing the scriptures nor the power of God." Both are necessary. Just knowing the scriptures would be head knowledge. Just knowing the power of God could lead to our being unbalanced and always looking for the supernatural."

Numbers 10-a good chapter. Vs. 1-10 tells about God telling Moses to make 2 trumpets and the way they were to be used. The number of blasts had a distinct message; an example of effective organization. And I thought again,'You are a God of order, and the more godly Your children become, the more organized they should be.' I have such a long way to go in both.

Matthew 25:1-13- Another example of the value of orderly preparation: the foolish virgins left without taking any oil for their lamps. Why even take the lamps?! This is also an example of keeping up appearances. Taking lamps, which everyone could see, made it look as if they were as prepared to meet the bridegroom as the others. They even went through the motions of trimming them. And they must have had oil in them at one time for there was a residue there that lit and then flickered out. To me this again refutes the doctrine of eternal security.

Matthew 25:14-20-The story of the talents. Excuses are usually just that and very seldom truthful. Here the Lord did not believe the one talent man's excuse of fear. He just calls him lazy and wicked.

Number 12-Another chapter showing the sterling character of Moses. Aaron and Miriam attack his marriage and his calling. Moses doesn't answer their complaint but God certainly does. He praises Moses and tells of his special relationship with Him. Miriam also become leprous. Moses, instead of savoring his vindication and allowing Miriam to suffer awhile, immediately prays for her healing. And the whole group felt the consequences of her sin. They had to wait 7 days that Miriam spent banished outside the camp. How embarrassing this must have been. It is dangerous to attack God's chosen leaders. It is unnecessary also to defend ourselves if we are blameless. God will do that for us.

Blind Love

I recently wrote a blog book report on George Matheson's "Portrait of Bible Men."
My mother read it and told me she thought that Matheson wrote 'O Love That Wilt Not Let Me Go' after he began going blind and his fiance broke off their engagement.

Read the words to the hymn in light of this knowledge of the writer's experience.

"O Love That Wilt Not Let Me Go"

O Love that wilt not let me go,
I rest my weary soul on Thee;
I give Thee back the life I owe,
That in Thine ocean depths its flow
May richer, fuller be.

O Light that follow'st all my way,
I yield my flick'ring torch to Thee;
My heart restores its borrowed ray,
That in Thy sunshine's glow its day
May brighter, fairer be.

O Joy that seekest me thro' pain,
I cannot close my heart to Thee;
I trace the rainbow thro' the rain,
And feel the promise is not vain
That morn shall tearless be.

O Cross that liftest up my head,
I dare not ask to hide from Thee;
I lay in dust life's glory dead,
And from the ground there blossoms red
Life that shall endless be.
What a man!
What a hymn!
What a God!

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Book Report-Portraits of Bible Men

by George Matheson

George Matheson wrote two other books on Bible Men and another book on Bible Women. I picked up his third series on Bible Men at a used book store. Mr. Matheson was born in Scotland in 1842 and lost most of his sight early on in his life. He earned two degrees from the University of Glasco and was a powerful minister, attracting crowds who longed to hear his portrayal of Biblical truths. He wrote the hymn, 'O Love that Wilt Not Let Me Go,' and died in 1906.

I won't pretend that I grasped even 75 per cent of what Mr. Matheson wrote about. It was beyond me, but I loved the poetry and the passion with which he wrote. I think he probably saw more spiritually than most because he was nearly blind. I've noticed that about Fanny Crosby as well.

I did learn more about John the Baptist, John the Beloved, Nathanael, Peter, Nicodemus, Thomas, Philip, Matthew, Zaccheus, James, Barnabas, Mark, Cornelius, Timothy, and Paul.

After each chapter on a particular man, Matheson would write his own prayer in regards to what he learned from that man. This is what I liked the most.

I am going to type an excerpt from his writing on Timothy, followed by his prayer, to give you a sample of his writing. Don't bypass this. Read it outloud if you can. It could be life-changing. He is referring to the passage in the book of Timothy about correcting others with humility.

...."There is one little point to which I should like to direct attention. Did you ever ask yourself why it is that before administering this discipline to Timothy Paul himself assumes such a humble attitude? Instead of opening with a tone of authority, he begins his letter by telling Timothy what a miserable creature he himself had been-a blasphemer, a persecutor, an injurer of men, a man who for his present position was entirely indebted to the mercy of God. And can you fail to see why Paul begins by taking the lowest room? It was in accordance with his own sublime exhortation, 'If a man be overtaken in a fault, restore such a one in the spirit of meekness.'' He means, in other words, 'Do not address him from a lordly height; let him see that you too have tripped in your day.' That is what Paul wanted Timothy to see. He did not wish the pupil to look upon him as a demi-god. He knew that the basis of all teaching is sympathy, and that sympathy demands a common experience. He comes to Timothy, not in his latest robes, but in his original rags. He speaks to him, not from the top of the ladder, but from its base. He pleads with him, not as one who was born to angelic purity and has never breathed the air of evil, but as one who has known corruption, who has felt temptation, who has touched sin, who has learned the pain of struggle, and who even now is unable to ascribe his salvation to any merit of his own. The discipline from such a man has strength, but no sting."

And then, his prayer-"Lord, when I go to discipline my brother-man, let me remember his environment! Let me remember Timothy's youth, and that the passions of youth are strong! Let me remember his Greek blood that cries for novelty in every form-that flies today on the wings of fancy, tomorrow on the pinions of pleasure! Let me remember his Pagan influences, and how many voices in the Garden urge him to climb the tree! Let me remember, above all, my own youth, my own heredity, my own first surroundings! When I visit my erring brother, let me put on my garment of yesterday! Let me not go to him wearing that best robe which Thou has brought forth for me, and displaying that bright ring which claims me as Thy child! Let me fold Thy fair garment and lay it by; Let me take off Thy bright ring and put it aside! Bring me the mean attire of my morning! Bring me the squalid garb in which first I met Thee! Bring me the tattered rags in which of old I stood before Thy door! I will go to my brother, clothed in the likeness of sinful flesh. I will go to him with ringless hands, with shoeless feet, with prideless gait. I will go to him and say, 'I come to thee from thine own valley-from humiliation kindred to thine. I too have been among the swine. I too have been a child of the famine. I too have been content to feed on the husks for a time. By no merit of mine am I saved' while I was yet afar off my Father saw me. Receive thy hope from me, thy comfort from me, thine example from me! learn from my rags thy possible riches! See in my meanness thy possible majesty! Behold in my lowliness thy possible ladder! Read in my corruption thy possible crown! So, on the stepping-stones of my dead self, may'st thou rise to higher things.''
Oh, I hope you read it.
I need to read it again and again
until I understand it's life changing words.

Who You Are

I found this in Jan Karon's book-"A Continual Feast."
Kent M. Keith wrote it.

People are often unreasonable,
illogical, and self-centered.
Forgive them anyway.

If you are kind, people may
accuse you of selfish,
ulterior motives.
Be kind anyway.

If you are successful, you will
win some false friends
and some true enemies.
Succeed anyway.

If you are honest and frank,
people may cheat you.
Be honest and frank anyway.

What you spend years building,
someone could destroy overnight.
Build anyway.

If you find serenity and happiness,
there may be jealousy.
Be happy anyway.

The good you do today,
people will often forget tomorrow.
Be good anyway.

Give the world the best you have,
and it may never be enough.
Give the world the best you have anyway.

You see, in the final analysis,
it is between you and God.

It was never between you
and them anyway.
Sometimes we have the false notion
that if we lived right,
things would go right,
but look at Jesus' life.

He focused on hearing one voice,
and that still small voice swallowed
up the loud clamoring of the masses.

What would happen to this world
if the followers of Christ
stopped being afraid
of success or failure,
and just lived in the freedom
of being related to Christ?

This is not the same as not
caring about what others think.
It is caring about what He thinks.

Therefore, the compassion we feel
for others, because we are related to Him,
would conquer any fear or intimidation
we would normally feel in our relationships.

I want to live like this.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Good or Evil?

Most nights, I listen to scripture on CD as I go to sleep.
One night, I heard something I never heard before.

It was from the book of Luke, chapter 6,
and it was the story of the man with the withered hand.

He was in the synagogue on the Sabbath and Jesus changed his world.
Jesus taught sometimes, on the Sabbath in the synagogues.
He was comfortable there because,
as He said as a young man of 13 years of age,
'This is my Father's house.'
But, the religious leaders were not comfortable with Him in The House.
He was forever breaking the rules.

They saw the man with the withered hand.
They saw Jesus come in.
And they watched.
They waited to see if He would heal the man.
I find it so hard to fathom that they wouldn't
have wanted Jesus to heal the man.
Didn't they have any compassion for the man's condition?

But they were not concerned about the need;
they were concerned about the law,
and the law said that no work could be done
on the Sabbath.

They watched closely to see if Jesus would heal the man
so they could accuse him of breaking the law.

But Jesus knew their thoughts.
He said to the man with the withered hand,
"Arise and stand here."
And he arose and stood.
(Why does this make me weep?)

Then Jesus said to them,
"I will ask you one thing:
Is it lawful on the Sabbath to do good or
to do evil, to save life or to destroy?"

Then He looked around at them
and said to the man,
"Stretch out your hand."
And he stretched out his hand
and it was restored as whole
as the other.

What an incredible church service!
But the religious leaders were not happy!
They were filled with rage!
Jesus had gone against their rules
and they had to do something to stop Him.
So as I was going to sleep,
I heard His question,
" it lawful to do good or do evil.."

There was no middle ground here.

There was a man with a withered hand.
Jesus could either do good and heal the man's hand
or do evil, and allow it to stay the way it was.

Every Sunday I go to church,
there are people there with withered hands.
Their withered hands might be a broken heart
or a wayward child, a difficult marriage,
or a battle with cancer.

I can do good to them
and speak the word that sets them free
or gives them comfort.
I can lay my hands on them
and God could use me to bring healing
and hope.
I could listen closely to that still small voice
and heed what He tells me to do.

I could do evil on the Sabbath,
and leave them alone
with their withered hands
and withered hearts
and withered lives,
and they could leave the tabernacle
the same way they came in.

I am thinking about these things.

Hertzler Doings-Jan. 4-10, 2010

Mon.-Quiet day at home. Studied. Blogged. Susan and Michael back to school. Michael worked at Kroger after school. Went for a walk but it was too cold. Phil and Philip were spared a bad accident on the way home. Someone left their black truck on the side of the road with its door open and high beams on. Philip's mirror collided with the door...

Tues.-Back at school working on Civil War songs for Recitatio. Some of these songs are really sad. Great to see the teachers and students again. Came home. Talking to Judy on phone and Michael called from his cell phone. He was stuck in our silo. Something got caught in the conveyor belt and the grain was stacking up and had him trapped. Susan ran out and flipped the switch. Thankful for God's protection last eve. and again tonight. Michael's working on frozen water lines in the barn.

Wed.-Enjoyed school today, especially talking to the children about the Civil War and the issues of states rights and slavery. Those second graders think deep. In third grade, Madison had us all excited because her coat caused so much static electricity that her hair stood completely on end. I rubbed her coat on the other children's heads as well, and the results were scientifically satisfying, to say the least. Dear Marcie had a meeting with the sidewalk yesterday and I saw some results of that encounter on some vivid photos. The doctor's literally glued her face back together. Went to Walmart and church last eve. Met with Sara and am always invigorated by her life's journey. Michael stayed home to do homework and visit with Phil.

Thurs.-Nice day at home. Trying to catch up on correspondence and get back into exercise routine. Made scrapple, turkey potpie in crock pot, meat and beans for tortillas, kale soup, mashed potatoes, and homemade pancake syrup. Decided to ask Judy and Lindsay to come again tomorrow for lunch. So between the threat of snow and the sweet thought of company, I cleaned the house and made lots of food. Angela, our health insurance consultant called and I had to tell her that I gained 8 lbs. over the holidays. She encouraged me to get back on track and prayed over the phone for me. Janelle called. Fed-Ex delivered 5 boxes of her book-'Seasons of Solace.' So exciting! Michael working at Kroger tonight. Phil and Philip coming home. Naomi called and we talked and talked. Planning to go up in April to hear her speak and to go to the shore with my shore girls.

Fri.-Wonderful day from start to finish. No snow. Judy, Sammy Jo, Lindsay, Emma, Addi, Dee, Archer, Adela, and Anna came for lunch and a sweet afternoon of talk and play. Lindsay stayed until 4:30 and then Ginger, Jamie, Worth, Ryder, and Gil came. The adults went to Appomattox for a double date while we kept the children and we just had a great time. We all enjoyed the kids and could tell that they were used to playing with each other. I hope they let us take care of them all together again. Michael put in the 3 stooges and Worth 'got' the humor. He'd throw his head back and laugh. Adi started calling me mommy by the end of the night, but she was happy to go home with her real mother when she came. Our table edge is at a bad height right now. It caught Adi in the eye and Ryder at the side of his head. The girls got baths and dressed in their PJ's and I felt like a grandmama and it felt real good. The family is all at home except for Freeman who is visiting his sweet girl. Found out that auction is cancelled for tomorrow so we'll enjoy another day at home. I must be getting older. I'd rather be home than anywhere else.

Sat.-Made scrapple and granola. Susan worked with Michael and Philip in the barn taking care of the cattle. Boys cut firewood, too. Phil worked with the corn harvest and other farming products. Freeman ran errands. Mike worked at Kroger in eve. and Philip went to Martins. The rest of us watched 'The Lion, the witch, and the Wardrobe" and ate lots of popcorn.
Was talking with Phil about Samson today and he said, "God does not use perfection; He uses people." I like that.

Sun.-A good Sunday to not miss church. Met twin girls-23 years old, today. Got to explain communion to them along with our procedure of celebrating it. They thought it was neat. Jamie gave us the gift of Ryder's presence during most of the church service. Michael and Philip held him too, and then he began to 'Amen' a little too loudly in his 16 month old voice, and his mother decided it was time to retrieve him. Kelly S. came home with us and Alli, her sister, was here with Freeman. Chace, Travis, and Jordan were also here. They bought their own pizzas for lunch. Michael and Philip never want the burden of Sunday lunch for the friends to be on me, so they always take care of providing their own lunches. Daniel Petersheim came too and he brought me a bag of goodies from his mother, Sheila. She gave us 3 different kinds of cheeses produced by the company that they sell their milk to, and a quart of their own honey which is absolutely the best I've ever had. She wrote a note and expressed their thanks to God and us for being a second family for Daniel while he lives in the area. Daniel brought in a photo display of his family and it was nice to catch up with how they looked. Alli, Freeman, and I made cinnamon rolls in the afternoon and iced them with cream cheese icing. Oh my. Phil and I headed to church to take Dave Ramsey's 'Financial Peace' course and dropped Susan off with Kelly at the Stream's house for the eve. So grateful to find that someone had sponsored us for the course. PJ and Kelly did a good job leading the class by saying that they were taking it because they had things to learn as well. Dave Ramsey was very interesting to listen to and he has alot of change in his pocket with our group because he looks like Pastor Frank.

Prayers from Colossians-January-2010

I was starting to write out the prayers in Colossians but decided to blog them instead so we could print them out and put them on our kitchen walls. If I do what I want to do, I will take a book each month and write prayers from the verses and we'll pray our way through 2010 together, memorizing scriptures as we do so. Let's pray for ourselves and our families and for the body of Christ. If we pray these words and God answers them to His understanding, which goes way beyond ours, surely, we will experience revival in our land.

(Taken from NKJV-)

Colossians 1:9-14...
" I pray for you and for me,
asking that we may be filled
with the knowledge of His will
in all wisdom and spiritual understanding;
that we may walk worthy of the Lord,
fully pleasing Him,
being fruitful in every good work
and increasing in the knowledge of God;
strengthened with all might,
according to His glorious power,
for all patience and longsuffering with joy;
giving thanks to the Father
who has qualified us to be partakers
of the inheritance of the saints in the light.
He has delivered us from the power of darkness
and conveyed us into the kingdom
of the Son of His love,
in whom we have redemption
through His blood,
the forgiveness of sins."

Colossians 2:2,3;6,7
I pray that our hearts may be encouraged,
being knit together in love,
and attaining to all riches
of the full assurance of understanding,
to the knowledge of the mystery of God,
both of the Father and of Christ,
in whom are hidden all the treasures
of wisdom and knowledge.

I pray that just as we have
received Christ Jesus the Lord,
that we would walk in Him,
rooted and built up in Him
and established in the faith,
as we have been taught,
abounding in it with thanksgiving.

Colossians 3:12-16
I pray that we,
as the elect of God,
holy and beloved,
would put on tender mercies,
kindness, humility, meekness,
that we would bear with one another,
and forgive one another,
and if anyone has a complaint against another,
even as Christ forgave us,
that we would forgive also.
I pray that we would put on love,
which is the bond of perfection,
and that we would let the peace of God
rule in our hearts,
to which also we were called into one body;
I pray that we would be thankful,
and that the Word of Christ would
dwell in us richly with all wisdom;
that we would teach and admonish one another
in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs,
singing with grace in our hearts to the Lord.

Colossians 4:2-6
We continue earnestly in prayer
being vigilant in it with thanksgiving;
praying that God would open to us
a door for the word,
to speak the mystery of Christ...
that we may make it manifest,
and speak as we ought to speak.
Help us, Lord, to walk in wisdom
toward those who are outside,
redeeming the time.
Help our speech to always be with grace,
seasoned with salt,
that we may know how we ought
to answer each one.

Gems from My Mother's Journal

The spies who came back gave a true report. That was not their sin. Their sin was lack of trust in the power of God. (Deut. 9:1)God had told them,'You are going in to dispossess nations greater and mightier than you; great cities fortified to Heaven.'

What does it mean to be 'stagnant in spirit?' (Zeph. 1:12d)It is to say in our hearts, "The Lord will not do good or evil!"
Rev. 3:16-'Because you are lukewarm, neither hot nor cold~~"
This also represents being 'stagnant in spirit.'

Deut. 20:8-(Preparing for war)-"Let the fainthearted return to his house, so that he might not make his brother's heart melt like his heart."
Proof of what effect our attitudes have on others and ours on them.

Jer. 12:5-"If you have run with footmen and they have tired you out, then how can you compete with horses? If you fall down in a land of peace, how will you do in the thicket of Jordan?" Until we learn endurance during the small trials we will never be victorious during the large ones. Or if small temptations overtake us, woe betide us when the big ones come. Or when everything is going smoothly and discouragement and discontent set it, what will our reaction be when things become tangled and stressful?

Book Report-"Quitting Church"

by Julia Duin-Religion Editor for the Washington Times
Subtitle-"Why the Faithful are fleeing and What to do about it"

This book jumped out at me with its title and its 3.99 price tag in the CBD sale catalog.

God gave different giftings to His body, the church.

Some people are evangelists.
 They want everyone to hear the gospel
and have the opportunity to accept Christ.
Some are teachers, prophets, pastors, etc.

I am not sure exactly what I am but when I go to church,
I generally pray something like, 'Lord, use me today in whatever way you want to.'

Then, I expect Him to be Himself in me,
and He is not limited to any one gift.
He has them all.

Of course, He's given them to us, His body, and it is up to us to use them.
He is the head of His body, the church,
and His blood flows through our 'veins' and makes us one
with Him and each other.
But, I am rambling here.

What I am trying to say is this.
I am really concerned about people
leaving the church.
That's why I picked up this book.

I used to equate leaving the church
with leaving Christianity,
but I was wrong about that.

There are many strong believers who love God
who no longer go to a church that meets in a building.
They fellowship with other believers in other ways,
and many feel they are closer to God since they've left
the established church.

Julia Duin spent much time researching the reasons why
people leave church.
I read the book like a novel and found it refreshing
in a disturbing sort of way, to have my thoughts and questions
put into words and answered with facts
and statistics.

I won't go into all of the things that were listed as
being wrong with churches these days.

I think I can however, summarize what Julia sees as the answer to this quandary.

1.-House churches work for some.

2.-We should concentrate on discipleship rather than bottle-feeding.

3.-Pastors must be willing to tackle the tough issues.
 They should assume that
most people are struggling
and that many are broken hearted, and preach with that awareness in mind.

4.-"Miracles happened in Acts 2* when Christians decided to share things in common, be willing to suffer together, and be part of a supernatural church. They can happen again if enough believers are willing to pay the price. Then people will begin craving church instead of quitting church and the exodus will be no more." (final quote in book)(asterisks* mine)

This book was a real eye-opener for me.
The reason most people leave church is because of people.
And the reason most people come to church or return back to church
is because of people; someone asked them to come.

It's a tricky thing.
A small church may be able to be a 'better' church
but if its a really good church,
it won't stay small for long.

Well, I won't stop going to church.
Not now, anyway.
But I won't be as quick to judge those who do.

When you really pray for your church
and for your pastor and the pastoral staff
and their families,
it is easy to see the answers to your prayers.

When you really complain about your church
and your pastor and the pastoral staff
and their families,
it is easy to see what is wrong with them.

On the other hand,
sometimes churches are abusive
and shallow and just plain wrong.

it's time to get out
and take a break
or find a church where God is moving.

There are no easy answers.
But we have a Shepherd,
who has promised to lead us to green pastures
and still waters.
Follow Him.

*Acts 2:42-47-"And they continued steadfastly in the apostles' doctrine and fellowship, in the breaking of bread, and in prayers. Then fear came upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were done through the apostles. Now all who believed were together, and had all things in common, and sold their possessions and goods, and divided them among all, as anyone had need. So continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, they ate their food with gladness and simplicity of heart, praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily those who were being saved."