Monday, August 30, 2010
Today I noticed the word 'sufficiency.'
According to Webster,
sufficiency means that we have an ample amount
of what is needed; an adequate supply.
Ample means large in size, scope; more than enough; abundant.
11 Cor. 3:5 says, "Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think of anything as being from ourselves, but our sufficiency is from God, who also made us sufficient as ministers of the new covenant..."
So, through God's sufficiency working in us, we are sufficient as ministers of the law of the Spirit which gives life. We have more than enough and an abundant supply because of His power that works in us.
11 Cor 9:8-(My husband has been soaking in this one for days. I heard him saying it to himself as he put on his boots the other morning.) "And God is able to make all grace abound toward you, that you, always having all sufficiency for all things, may have an abundance for every good work."
Again, it is His grace that abounds toward us that will give us everything we need to complete the good works we are called to do.
11 Cor. 12:9-"And He 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."
Yet again, it is His power resting on us through His abundance of grace,
working best in our weakness, which reveals the perfection of His strength.
One of Paul's final exhortations to the Corinthians was this in 11 Cor. 13:11b-"Become complete."
I love that. How do we become complete? Through His sufficiency. Is Christ sufficient? Is He lacking in anything? What does it mean to have Him as our portion? We try so hard, don't we? But He has given us rest from our labors because it is His sufficiency that does His work through us. We are not sufficient and we need His grace.
With our nothingness and His fullness, we will have sufficiency in all things.
We will be complete.
Wonderful day at home-studying "sufficiency", face booking, exercising, nice long talk with Mother, catching up with Judy, tidying up. Took a walk to the river in the afternoon. I was trying to dodge all the deposits the dogs had left me on the trail and looking up, I saw a mother bear and her two cubs. I would have intercepted them at the corner of the field that goes down to the river. Unfortunately, our over protective dogs chased them off of our field, so I came back home to draw the dogs away. Next time, they need to stay here, so I can see how close I can get should they come near again.
1443 profile hits. Mixed feelings. Phil went to the eye doctor and was given some antibiotic drops and reassurance that his eye was healing on its own-all for a "mere" $100, but who can place a price on eyesight. The 'dent' I saw in his eye was actually a flap of skin that was sliced on the outer surface of the eye. It has healed back on. Susan and I took the guys Frosties today after school. That made them so happy. It was 93 degrees outside. My car's temp said 108. I could hardly touch the steering wheel. Susan and I are going to study/read outside for half an hour. 30 min. of sunshine after 3:00 with no sunscreen, gives a body much of the Vitamin D it needs. (It was too hot to do that.) Phil went to Farmville after supper to fix a somebody's roof. Philip went to be with some friends. Michael went to Richmond this morning where he began assistant manager training for Cutco. He will be trained every week from Mon.-Wed. eve. He is staying at the Abbey for $25 a day for room and board. He gets to eat their leftovers in the kitchen. I miss him already. Lump in my throat. Everything's changing. People I love are 'leaving' in one form or another. I am not good with that sort of thing. sob. Michael said there was a Vietnamese monk at the abbey who found him in the kitchen and Michael was having a hard time understanding him and vice versa and so he wrote, "I am Michael Hertzler-Phil Hertzler's son." And the man said, "Oh! Phil Hertzler! Here-eat! eat!" and he opened the refrigerator for Mike. Took another walk to the low grounds and headed toward my cottage. Heard an awful racket. I cautiously opened the door and a squirrel flew off the roof. I think he was playing soccer in the attic with walnuts! Did not see the bear and her cubs again. It was nice to not have the dogs panting interrupt the stillness. They couldn't believe that I made them stay home! Susan seems happy at school. I hear lots of little stories and they are good ones.
I am thankful that Phil's eye is almost blood shot free!
I am thankful for Philip's courage and hope. I am amazed at him.
I am thankful for Makenzie and her daily calls to Susan.
I am thankful for a great day at home and for the joyful outlook I have for tomorrow.
I am thankful, that this evening, when I was mourning 'loss' the hardest, the person I was mourning about called, and cheered me up.
Just a reminder to myself from something that happened a week or two ago. When pretending to sip from the cup of joy by inhaling deeply with lips pursed, do it inside, and not on the path to the river, because you might suck in a poor hapless gnat, and find that there is no other way to get rid of it except to swallow it down.
But I am still very thankful for the cup of joy.
The blessed thing is this:
He holds the cup of sorrow and He holds the cup of joy, so no matter what happens in life,
He is near me. The deeper the cup of sorrow, the deeper the cup of joy, and He makes all things right, because He is good.
Tues.-I woke up with one of this past Sunday's worship songs on my mind but can't remember it now. Went into school with Susan. Taught more on Handel and read from Isaiah-"The people that walked in darkness have seen a great light.." and then played that piece to the students. I wish it would give them the same thrill it gives me. I'll keep trying...(I have a very sore throat today.) A little boy told me that he got sent to the Principal's office yesterday. His humble mother is also his teacher that sent him. I asked him why. He whispered, "Because I hit somebody." He said he was too scared to go but then he went anyway and the 'school secretary' gave him a weird talk. I just love this boy. I wish I had an hour a day just to sit and listen to him because he has things to say that should be heard. Oh-decided to go to chapel today and the K teacher met me in the hallway with an unhappy child and I naively asked if there was something I could do for her and she said I could sit with her children in chapel. Well, that was an experience. My motherly instincts were kicking in and I wanted to hold them on my lap, ETC. All in all, I really enjoyed chapel and am glad anew that my daughter is getting to hear truths similar to what I heard this morning on a weekday basis.
I am thankful for the long face book chat I had with a friend/student I had way back before and after I was pregnant with Freeman and was subbing at the local Christian school.
I am thankful for the nice walk Phil and I took to the low grounds and although we didn't see any more bear, we saw geese and a buck.
I am thankful that Susan figured out how to fix her bangs. She got a haircut after school and was very upset with the outcome.
I am thankful that Philip and Christi enjoy doing simple things together, like fishing and watching the stars.
I am thankful that I got to talk with Michael on the phone tonight and that he will be home tomorrow night. I MISS him.
Wed.-"The people that walked in darkness...have seen a great light.." Handel's Messiah piece. Dropped off Susan at school and went out to get groceries. I always keep a cooler in the trunk. Had a fun time chatting with K and 2nd grade teacher. K teacher asks me, "So how much weight have you lost total?" (This generous question made up for yesterday's chapel.) They looked at me in disbelief when I told them I had lost 35 pounds and then regained 20. The problem is this. Well, there are several problems actually, but one of them is the fact that the only full length mirror we have in the house is in Susan's room and it is slanted against the wall and that angle of reflection creates a visual lie that I am only too happy to believe. So, it's the clothes getting too tight that sends the warning to my brain that something is amiss. The scales try to get my attention also.
Taught the younger children in music and it went better because we all were more adjusted to school. We had our first pep rally for the CCA Crushers-our running track team. They went to Buckingham for their first race. At one point, the runners raced around the inside track of the school hallways and burst through a banner that the students had made and ran right out the door into the vehicle that awaited them while everyone was screaming and cheering them on.
We never know how close we are to the end of the race of life and we can know, that when we are nearing the end and trying to stay in the race, that the shouts of encouragement from the sidelines will grow even louder. For we are surrounded by a great cloud of witnesses who want us to win and no matter whether we are at the beginning of our race or somewhere in between the start and the finish, the cloud is that crowd that has gone before us and is shouting, "Keep your eyes on the prize! Keep looking to Jesus! Run from sin! Walk in grace! Jump up when you fall! Don't look to the left or the right! Help the person next to you if they stumble!" and many other words that matter. Oh, that we would repeat the words we hear from those in the cloud to the others running the race beside us.
I am thankful for the deepening of friendships among the teachers at CCA.
It is good to work with people you like.
I am thankful for a chance to catch up with a friend in the eve. over a stale tortilla chip appetizer in the Goodwill strip mall.
I am thankful that my girl, Kelli, is doing so well in school.
Thurs.-"Largo" by Handel. Heard about Sebastian's remarks in chapel. Dr. H. was explaining that God is our Father and if we ask our earthly father for bread, he would not give us a stone, therefore, God ,who is our perfect Father, gives good gifts to those who ask, and Sebastian, 1st grade, piped up, "Like if I asked Mrs. Kn--- for a sandwich, she wouldn't give me a monkey!"
He's another one of those I would take home with me in a heartbeat. I've got three of them now and they are all little boys.
We painted watercolors on crumpled wet paper today, making a watercolor paper batik, and also dropped watercolor paints on paper and blew them around with a straw and made beautiful oriental looking pictures. I am going to mount them on creative memory card stock and cut out their names with the cricket machine and put that on their papers and laminate them and hang them up in the hallway. I also taught them how to draw a cake, cup, candle, hat, etc. using a foreshortened circle.
Came home to find a package from Grandpa Hertzler's which held our letters/emails we had written to Johnny over the years. We laughed and cried as we read stories about our life and reminders of our beloved Johnny. The boys had written to him as well and told him how Susan was growing and getting teeth, etc.
Began reading, "What's so Amazing About Grace?" by Philip Yancey. Another Goodwill find worth a million bucks. He writes honestly and easily, and with such purity in his words and communication, that all religiosity goes out the window. It is a quick deep read but you will want to ponder it slowly.
I am thankful that the little girl who had 'had enough' of art class last week couldn't 'get enough' of art class this week.
I am thankful that Michael was home this morning and volunteered to run out the extra set of keys since I locked them in my car this morning and I am thankful that he stayed until after chapel to see Susan since he missed her and she missed him so much and he wanted to hug her and say hi.
I am thankful that I can't remember any unkind words that Phil ever said to me because he's never said any to me. He is always encouraging and makes me think I am the best wife, mother, and friend he could possibly have.
Fri.-'Handel's Water Music'. Classical music operates like worship music in my spirit. It is so rich and full and beyond me so I reach for Him who is rich and full and beyond and beside and within me. Met a friend in Farmville this morning and we walked to Longwood Cafeteria for lunch. It costs us $6.25 for an all you can eat buffet and the food was great and it was neat to be around college students. I have to remind myself that I am not in my 20's and that I look like their mothers or maybe even their grandmothers! Talked with the Bantons and decided that we are going to go in another direction with the girls small group I am leading-rather than Cleansing Stream, which is expensive and takes much study time, etc., we are going to simplify things quite a bit and I feel relieved. Picked up Susan from school and went to Walmart and came home and made pizza and watched lots of Monk.
I am thankful for Phil.
I am thankful for the way I always feel God's presence at Longwood College.
I am thankful for the guy who is the writer for 'Monk.' He 'gets' grief.
Sat.-Susan and I so very tired. She aches all over from doing the 'Presidential Fitness' regimen at school. Did some wash, cooked a turkey and a chicken/rice dish, cleaned the house, prepared the guest room in the old house for Eldon, sat outside and worked on some Sunday school notes. Freeman came over and was hunting duck with Philip. I kept hearing them shoot and then wondered why I heard plinking sounds on the old house roof. Finally, I realized that it was the pellets from their guns, submitting to gravity, and coming down all around me. I was sitting in a chair between the old house and our house and so I was a likely candidate of getting shot. I snuck back into the house as quickly as possible. We watched 'Parent Trap.'
I am thankful that God is our Provider and He will provide a table in the wilderness.
I am thankful that Michael mowed our hayfield of a lawn and that I could enjoy sitting in the late afternoon sun without wondering about snakes.
I am thankful for the 22 turkeys the boys saw when they were hunting duck.
Sun.-"Pie Jesu" by Charlotte Church. Read her biography this week. Susan told me as soon as she woke up, that Miss Alice was with Jesus. She got a text around midnight last night. My initial response was overwhelming Joy for Alice. No more cancer! She is healed! And now she joins the great crowd of witnesses and dances around our church in a beautiful dress, urging us on to love Him who loves us. Just think what she is doing now! Just think who is wiping her tears and receiving her love! And then I thought of Dianna. And Charlie and Amanda and Chris and Missi and Sara and Becky and PR and all of the others who loved her so much. And I cried for them even as I rejoiced for her. Had a good Sunday School class. We shared about Alice and prayed and then talked about God's pursuit of man. Church was good. Pastor Frank talked with that constant sob in his voice that makes one not want to miss a word of what he says as he preached life even as he sorrowed death. His main point was this: We should use what is in our hands. Moses used the staff, David used the slingshot, the little boy used his lunch. God told Moses to throw down his staff and his staff turned into a snake. Moses backed away quickly. Pastor surmised that we are either using what is in our hand or we are running from it. I was also reminded that Moses spent 40 years in the desert, using his staff in the natural, until the fullness of time had come for him to use it in the supernatural. That staff went on to part waters and swallow up other snakes and deliver a nation. David was faithful tending sheep and played with the slingshot, practicing on lions and bears, and when the fullness of time came, he killed a giant with it. Sometimes, before we use our gifts, God will bring us to a wilderness, like He did Moses and Jesus, and there we are discipled and tested and there we learn anonymity. And in the fullness of time, God brings us to the burning bush and reveals Himself and sheds a different light on the thing that is in our hand and He says, "Now is the time to use it. Don't run from what I want to do with what is in your hand." No one else can use what is in your hand. And you can't use what is in someone else's hand. Be happy with what is in your hand. Moses did not pass his staff on to someone else. Joshua and Caleb did not use his staff to perform miracles. God used them in different ways to deliver His people. I just had this thought. Alice had cancer. It is what was 'in her hand.' And she used it to show us how to live. And to die. She used her weakness to show God's strength and kill giants. She used it to love her family and friends. If there is sorrow in your hand, use it. If there is trouble or loneliness or stress or debt in your hand, use it. Throw it down at His feet and He will turn it into a sign and a wonder to many.
Some other points from the sermon:
When someone is working under the anointing and call of God, the Spirit of the LORD goes before them, to prepare the way for God's Spirit to move when they come.
96% of evangelical Christians do not live in America.
God responds to the cry of His people.
Until you are sorry for your sins, you will likely repeat them even though you've confessed them.
Unless we are thinking globally, we will never 'get it' locally.
I am where I am by divine design to be an influence for God.
Our church's vision statement-
Saved and filled to the level of influence; Called to be messengers to the world; Reaching out through any means that none should perish.~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
I am making cinnamon rolls for a special someone today. Phil is resting. Michael, Philip, and Chace and maybe some of the other boys are over at the neighbor's fishing. (Phil and I drove the gator over to check out the yelling.) Susan is with Kelli S., spending the night, Alli is studying up a storm. We watched a bit of 'The Sound of Music.' Eldon Stoltz~~~ is coming tonight to work on the neighbor's property tomorrow.
I am thankful for Adi and for her communication skills. She went through every kind of mint and gum in my church purse and knew to spit the horrible ones into a tissue.
I am thankful for the gifts represented in the church and the spirit of giving that was prevalent when people signed up to help the community during our Farmville First project coming up.
I am thankful for the beautiful weather.
Although I am sad that mother needs to go on more oxygen, I am thankful that there is more oxygen for her to go on.
I am thankful for Alice and for her wonderful hugs.
I am thankful that I never heard a bad word spoken about her or by her.
Wednesday, August 25, 2010
(Genesis 18:3, 19:2,3; Luke 24:28,29)
"Do not pass me by," Abraham entreated the three 'angels.'
"Please turn in to your servant's house," he insisted strongly.
Later, Lot entreated the same three 'angel's to stay with him for the night. What both men would have missed had they not done so!
There are other such instances in the Bible-Jesus and the men on the Emmaus road for one: "He indicated that He would have gone further. But they constrained Him, saying, "Abide with us..."
Why does 'Deity' do this?
Can we also not miss blessings because we let 'angels' go un-entertained?
How do we let Jesus 'go further' and not receive a special revelation of Him?
But He said, "I am with you always"
so maybe it's no longer possible to "constrain Him."
This needs more thinking.
But as it's possible to have someone with us but not have intimate interactions with them, just so it is possible for us to let the close presence of Jesus to just 'pass us by' as we rush through life.
Tuesday, August 24, 2010
"It is a simple story, simply told. One day, a man walked into an antique shop and asked permission to look around. It was a rather exclusive shop frequented only by those who could afford to purchase articles made rare by their scarcity and age.
The visitor seemed strangely out of place because he was poorly dressed though clean; indeed it was clear from his appearance that he was a laborer whose face had been etched by sun and rain and whose hands were rough and worn. After more than a half hour, he left.
In about ten days he returned. This time he found a very beautiful piece of glass and asked if he could make a deposit on it. Each week he made a payment, until at last the article was his.
With much curiosity, the owner of the shop engaged him in conversation to determine, if he could, the use to which such a man would put his new purchase.
"I bought it for my little room. It isn't much, but I bring to it, from time to time, through the years, only the very best and beautiful things. You see, that is where I live."
To bring to the place where you live only the best and most beautiful--what a plan for one's life! This is well within the reach of everyone. Think of using one's memory in that way. As one lives from day to day, there are all sorts of experiences, good, bad, beautiful, ugly, that become a part of one's past. To develop the ability to screen one's memory so that only the excellent is retained for one's own room!
All kinds of ideas pass through one's mind, about oneself, about the world, about people. Which do you keep for your own room? Think it over now; which ideas do you keep for the place where you live?
It is well within the mark to say that the oft-quoted words of Jesus, about laying up for yourself treasures in heaven, deal with this same basic idea. The place where you live is where your treasures are. Where your treasures are is where your heart is. Where your heart is, is where your God is."
(quoted in "Disciplines for the Inner Life by Bob Benson and Michael W. Benson)
Monday, August 23, 2010
Tues.-"Protect us by Thy might...great God our King." Night of restful sleeplessness, praying for school, the teachers and the students. Went to school with Susan and visited chapel. The prayers are a wonderful way to start the day. We sang "Holy, holy, holy." Every class went well for me today. I had the 5th/6th, 7th/8th, and 9th-12th graders in music, plus the second graders for a period in what soon will be reading comprehension. Michael stopped in at school after having a Cutco appt. in which he sold the largest kettle set available. Clarissa was visiting for the day and he wanted to wish her well in college and say good bye to her as well as say hello to the other students. It was nice to see them both there on the same day. It was hard to say good bye to Clarissa. She is going to a college 8 hours away. I feel for her parents who will be taking her to her destination tomorrow.
I am thankful for the haunting beauty of the mellow saxophone that Collin played for us today. I am thankful for Sam's ability to listen to a song on YouTube and replay it on his guitar. We felt like we wanted a cup of hot chocolate on a rainy day with a fire place warming us nearby as we listened to his music. I am thankful for Amanda's hugs and how happy she is in music class. I am thankful for the new children who are attending school. I am thankful, that although we could have gone to the Ruritan Club's picnic tonight, we decided not to, because we had not told anyone that we would, and we were tired enough to stay home.
Wed.-Phil woke me up at 5:30 as I had requested. I was in the midst of a vivid dream. We were in a chapel in the midst of a campground. Mary Lou Boy~~ had just handed me the mike to help lead worship. I didn't want to get up front because my hair was messed up from playing hard all day. But I left my glasses at my seat and began singing with the others, "...and the darkness shall turn to dawning, and the dawning to noon day sun..." I looked out in the audience and even without my glasses, I saw my sister in law, Naomi, looking composed and young, and smiling her Mona Lisa smile. She was sitting in my seat. She had on the dress she had at our wedding, I think. It was a mauvy pink with small polka dots. She was beautiful. Then Phil woke me up and I tried to get back in the dream so I could see her again. On September 19, 1986, she took a walk after she got back home from teaching school. An older man passed out at the wheel and the vehicle ran right into her. He was intoxicated. She was 35 years old. The song is about telling "The Story" to the nations to turn their hearts to the Lord, and it is about His imminent return. It seems that I dream about a campground when I dream about seeing a loved one who has passed on. Last time, it was about Abie, who at 23, went to heaven a year ago in May.
What does it mean? Again I feel this urgency, that time is running out. Again, I feel this burden to pray for our country and our world. The fact is, each day's time is slipping away as each second ticks. We will never get this moment back. Since it is God's will that none perish and He is always at work, then whatever work I do is also working towards His desire that none should perish. I have each student for this moment, this day. We don't know about tomorrow or the next hour. I want to keep from being offensive-from misrepresenting Him in any way. I don't want to turn anyone away from Him by the way I act. On the flip side, and the side in which to focus, I want Him to live in and through and with me to draw all men to Him. I want my work to be what He is doing and I want to be doing His work.
I am thankful for a good day at school. I am thankful for time to play the piano in the chapel with no one around. I am thankful for the long walk Lindsay and I took on the Farmville trail in the evening, and for the inspiring conversation and for the light drizzle that kept us cool.
Thurs.-Little sleep last night. I've been listening to Handel to get reacquainted with his music and all night long "Sarabande in D Minor" was playing majestically and solemnly in my head. It's a wonderful piece that I was playing on the piano yesterday. I came into school with Susan but didn't teach until 12:30. I had time to read the Bible, exercise, walk, play the piano, and prepare for my classes. It was good I had help for K/1. Oh my. One dear little weeping girl walked out of the classroom and said, "I've had enough! That's it!" and she took off out the door and strode down the hall to her classroom. She had to be in my room all of 3 minutes. My helper looked at me and asked,"Where did she go?" and I said, "She had enough!" I had requested a drawing of an airplane. She didn't know how to draw it, which was fine. I was going to test them on their ability to draw an airplane, boat, tree, and house. Then at the end of the year, I will retest them again. Mrs. V. got her back in and she left again, but then we got her back again and she got very involved in drawing rainbows on her folder. She became a happy little camper. Then, I wouldn't let her take her folder home. I need to keep it for her non-airplane drawing, etc. Then, in 2nd grade, one of the students said, "I miss Mrs. R."(their art teacher last year.) I said, "I miss her too." He soon became happily involved in his watercolor salt picture and later wanted to show his mother, so I hope I will do as his art teacher this year.
(To make a watercolor salt picture, you will need card stock. Take Elmer's glue and squiggle a design on the paper. Pour salt over it and cover the glue completely with salt. Take watery water colors and lightly touch the salty glue. It makes a pretty picture. Dry for several days and cover with saran wrap or plastic bag.)
A few of the second graders were clamoring for attention at the same time, and one little boy said, "Give her a break! Can't you see she has only two hands?" I was amazed at the artistic ability of the second graders. I am sure they are above average. My feet hurt and burn and I can hardly walk. Made baked potatoes and salad for supper and watched "Monk" with Phil and Susan.
I am thankful for strength for the day.
I am thankful for the way the older students greet the younger students at the side door in the morning and escort them to their rooms. Susan enjoys this responsibility and takes it very seriously.
I am thankful for a day at home tomorrow and the pleasure of looking forward to a sleepover with Micah-6, Abigale-10, and Serena-8.
Fri.-'How can I keep from singing Your praise...?' Made baked potato salad, cut up watermelon, prepared for the afternoon events. After I picked up Susan from school and brought her home, I went to pick up Abby, 10, and Serena, almost 9, and Micah, 6, and brought them back to our place. While they changed into their swim suits, I packed up the coolers of food and drink. Then the four of us got on the gator and drove down to the river. (Susan had a prior date with Philip. He took her fishing at the neighbors pond and she caught a huge bass. They joined us for some of the later activities.) While I built a fire, the kids attempted to get reacquainted with the river but it gave them a cold shoulder and it was good we had a hot fire going. Micah built a boat out of a paper plate, plastic fork, a napkin, cup, and a marshmallow and they had loads of fun floating it just below the rapids. The girls caught some baby frogs and clams. We roasted hot dogs and s'mores, ate chips and dill pickles, potato salad, and watermelon. Phil came down after work and when it was starting to get dark, I took a load of stuff up on the gator while he stayed down to watch the children. Apparently Micah climbed a tree and was up pretty high and just fell right out of it. Phil decided to stay calm and Micah jumped up and promptly climbed it again but even higher this time. That's when I came down and started worrying out loud about him falling so they told me he had already done that. I told him the story about the time his mom and dad were visiting with us and I had built a fire to get ready for our picnic down at the river and it began to pour. They brought Micah down and we set up a bit of a cover for him and with the thick leafage and blanket, he didn't get wet at all as he sat in his little infant seat. The girls said that we should call that tree the 'Micah Tree' since he sat under it as a baby and climbed it as a 6 year old. So, now we have a 'Micah Tree.' We came up to the house and they got baths and showered and ready for bed and I rolled out the gigantic 4 comforter-thick bed mattress I had made for them and they ate popcorn and ice cream sandwiches and watched 'The Three Stooges' and 'The night at the Museum.' I fell asleep for most of the movie. Phil told them a true bedtime story about his and uncle Tom's adventures with a rooster, and also, a made up story about the Gas Man. Susan slept on the sofa for awhile and then went to her own bed.
I am thankful for Abby's sensitivity. When I told them about the bush that was covered in butterflies the one day I was down there, I said, "I believe God did that just for me." And Abby said shyly, 'God did that for you because of your prayer chapel.'
I am thankful for Serena's organizational skills and creative ideas and negotiation tactics.
I am thankful for Micah's sheer maleness and that he still lets me kiss and hug him sometimes.
Sat.-Woke up to Micah sounds around 6:00. I got up soon afterwards and made them french toast and homemade hot chocolate with marshmallows and/or Cool Whip. They watched more Stooges while I got this ready and then watched 'Jungle Book' after breakfast. Then they got dressed and brushed their teeth and we packed up the car and took one last trip to the river where Micah accidentally fell in and he and Abby climbed 'The Micah Tree' again.
I also showed them my little chapel and they decided we should stay there the next time. Micah crawled up on the massage table bed and I gave him a little back rub and then Serena wanted one too, but she was too ticklish. I gave each of them turns in driving the gator so we drove around the farm for awhile when we got back and then I gave them lunch and reluctantly we got into the car and drove home. I fell asleep when I got back and so did Susan. Made spinach quiche and a lot of Chinese casserole for lunch for tomorrow and then cleaned the house a bit and watched a movie or two with Susan. The guys made more fence today and the cows will be closer to the house. Michael helped Freeman move a sofa later in the eve. and mowed Janelle's yard.
I am thankful that tomorrow is Sunday and I can rest without feeling like I should be working.
I am thankful for the revelation that if I live with regrets, then I am missing the joy of the moment. For example, while I was having such a great time with my nieces and nephew, I was feeling sad that I hadn't done this before, but then I realized that I wasn't drinking from the cup of joy if I was drinking from the cup of remorse, and I was missing the joy of the moment. Anyway, the kids want to do it again soon and Abby wants it to be for two days and Serena wants to live with me for a year. We will try to do it in August around Serena's birthday and in January-the birthday month for Abby and Micah.
I am thankful that when a piece of steel whizzed by Phil's eye today that it did not enter his eye, but scratched the surface. It is red and sore and has some pressure in it and we will keep an 'eye' on it, but it could have been so much worse.
I am thankful that the things that embarrass my own kids, (the rap-'Real Class Baby' that I wrote) brings such joy to my nieces and nephews. I think it's my performance of the rap that embarrasses Susan, but maybe someday, she will be glad that it is video taped, although I must say, that I told them they may not show that at my funeral and they said that is exactly what they were going to do. (My older nieces said that-not the younger.) Anyway, Serena wanted me to 'do' it for her and as I drove her up the other night to unload the gator, I complied, and she giggled, "You are my funniest aunt." There are worse things to be called, I am sure.
Sun.-"How can I keep from shouting Your name..." That song is always there. I looked at Phil's eye this morning and saw that the surface of the white part of his eye had a piece missing and the surface was uneven and swollen. He decided to stay home and just rest his eye especially after I talked with nurse Judy who said that he should not use either eye since both eyes move together. He is planning to go to the Dr. tomorrow. He finished reading 'The Anointing-Yesterday, today, and Tomorrow.' He called it a thought provoking book and wants to buy it for his dad. He also wants to reread it again so I guess we'll share it this time through.
I so enjoyed Dianna's SS class. This week, I read "The Cross and the Switchblade" and was struck by the fact that those who made the break from the drug lifestyle were those who were baptized in the Holy Spirit. Then, Dianna mentioned Teen Challenge in class-she had been a counselor there-and with the class discussion on staying connected with the Father to do His Word and His Works. She told the story of the woman who went to minister on a college campus and was asked to lead a Bible Study for4 people and it wasn't long until there were 300 people coming. And then the service-well, my mind was putting together the dream I had about 15 years ago about the Longwood Campus and Jesus walking on the sidewalks as if He was headed somewhere and I was sitting on the outside stairs of one of the buildings and called His name and He stopped and smiled and threw me a gigantic package...and then, just recently, I joined up with the Chi Alpha staff on Longwoods campus and am going to, Lord willing, lead a group of college girls through Cleansing Stream...and everything was coming together in one large moment for me during the service. We also shared our one word testimonies about what God means to us and all I kept thinking was, when all else was said and done, that He is my friend. Sometimes, He is my healer, but if He doesn't heal, He is still my friend. Sometimes, He provides miraculously, but if He doesn't, He is still my friend. I think it is the most amazing thing, that God became man, to reconcile me to God, so we could be friends. Makes me weep. There was a man who shared at church today, Terry Broad~~~~~. He and his wife, Joanne, are heading up a ministry for Chi Alpha students who are graduating from college and heading out into the work force. They have a website data base system to help these students connect with ministries who need them. They have a vision to raise up a generation to think, lead, and act like kings. Terry said that Abraham had to be at a place where he was listening to God. We need to put ourselves in a position to hear what God has to say and we have to be willing to leave what is convenient and comfortable, and like Abraham, look for a city, whose builder and maker is God. I was so moved by the whole Chi Alpha focus and the obvious anointing on the lives of Terry and his wife. I know that God is going to continue to use Gil and Lindsay and their girls as well. I find it overwhelming that God would take someone like me, who never even finished college because I was afraid that I was losing my faith, and put me on a secular college campus to build the faith of young girls so they will be as close to God as they possibly can. It is so much bigger than I could have dreamed of and I caught glimpses today of even bigger dreams-or packages-that Jesus is throwing my way.
Susan and I were anxious to get home to see how Phil was doing. His eye looks better. He wanted to go with me to the prayer chapel but I didn't want him jarring his eye so I just stayed in the house and watched movies with him all day. Susan slept beside Phil on the sofa. Freeman and Alli stopped in for a quick visit. I miss them hanging out here on Sundays. Travis, Jordan, Chace, Erik, Michael, Philip, and Christi ate some supper that Christi and Philip made. They sat around the table and talked and we couldn't hear our movie but we liked it that way, and after supper, they went over to the neighbors to fish. I hope they all know how to swim.
Phil told me today that 60% of the earth's surface is water that is one mile deep.
I am thankful that Jesus healed Lawrence and I am thankful that He is walking through the valley of the shadow of death with another friend and although she might not know Him as healer this time, she will know Him as her light in the darkness of that shadow and she will know Him as the One whom she trusts to take care of her family, and she will know Him as the One who wipes away all tears. She will know Him for she will see Him.
I am thankful for Phil's cheerful spirit and loving ways.
I am thankful that although he got his hand mangled internally a few weeks ago, it is getting better, and that he has no pain left from his almost falling from the silo, and that his eye is doing so much better in just a short amount of time. I am thankful for the angels that watch over him and that they have kept us from much sorrow at this time. Thank you Lord, for being our Keeper and our Friend.
Wednesday, August 18, 2010
"What could be less scary than a newborn baby with jerky limbs and eyes that do not quite focus? In Jesus, born in a barn or a cave and laid in a feeding trough, God found at last a mode of approach that humanity need not fear. The king had cast off his robes...."
... "Kenosis" is the technical word theologians use to describe Christ emptying himself of the advantages of deity. Ironically, while the emptying involved much humiliation, it also involved a kind of freedom. I have spoken of the "disadvantages" of infinity. A physical body freed Christ to act on a human scale, without those "disadvantages." He could say what he wanted without his voice blasting the treetops. He could express anger by calling King Herod a fox or be reaching for a bullwhip in the temple, rather than shaking the earth with his stormy presence. And he could talk to anyone-a prostitute, a blind man, a widow a leper-without first having to announce, "Fear not!""
"'Twas much that man was made like God before,
But that God should be made like man, much more."
~~John Donne, "Holy Sonnet 15"
I saw something new in this story today-at least new to me for this day.
Mark doesn't give the woman in this story a name, but John, when telling the same story, calls her Mary of Bethany.
Jesus was in Simon the lepers home. He obviously wasn't a leper anymore, but that is what they still called him. He was sitting at the table and a woman came into the house and broke a flask of pure spikenard and poured it over His head. This ointment was worth about a year's wages and had been imported from India.
She "wasted" it on Him and there were some there who became upset about it. They spoke disparagingly of her and acted as if they cared about the poor. "What a waste! This could have been sold for a year's wages and the money given to the poor!"
But Jesus defended her. He said, "Let her alone. Why do you trouble her? She has done a good work for Me. For you have the poor with you always, and whenever you wish you may do them good; but Me you do not have always. She has done what she could. She has come beforehand to anoint My body for burial. What she has done will be told to all those who hear the gospel, and it will be a memorial to her."
These are His words that I love:
"She has done a good work for Me."
And, "She has done what she could."
She gave what she already had in her possession.
She gave what was hers to give.
She didn't try to give something she didn't have.
She anointed Him for burial.
She understood that He was going to die.
She gave Him her oil, her all, and her comfort.
She did what she could.
I think this is what He wants from us.
I think this is the good work we can do for Him.
I think we should give Him our oil, our all, and our understanding.
I think we should do what we can.
I think we shouldn't do what we can't.
God, give us wisdom and humility to accept our limitations
and to not compare our oil or our all with another's.
God, give us boldness and humility
to give what we have
and to do what we can.
Sometimes, we want to stay on the mountain top where we can see Jesus clearly and where the stench of humanity cannot reach us.
But if Jesus had to come down from the mountain and face humanity again, so must we. How quickly He had to leave the fellowship of heaven and be reminded of those who still needed Him on earth.
He soon came upon a group of people comprised of His disciples, some scribes, bystanders and a person in need. When they saw Him, they were amazed, and came running to Him. No doubt He was still glowing from His encounter with the cloud of God's approval and glory.
He asked the scribes,"What are you discussing with them?" One of the crowd answered Him and said, "I brought my son to you. He has a mute spirit. Whenever the spirit seizes him, it throws him down and he foams at the mouth and gnashes his teeth and gets completely rigid. So I asked your disciples to cast out this demon, but they couldn't do it."
Sometimes, its hard to come down off the mountaintop, even for Jesus. He said, "O faithless generation, how long shall I be with you? How long shall I bear with you? Bring him to me." His taste of heaven had been rudely interrupted by the lack of faith of the people He had put in charge to handle these things while He went up the mountain, and I think He was disappointed in them and weary of humanity, and who can blame Him.
When the boy was brought to Him, the spirit convulsed him, and he fell on the ground, tossing and turning and foaming at the mouth. Jesus took some time with this situation. "How long has he been like this?", he asked the father. "From childhood," he replied. " And sometimes, he has been nearly destroyed because he is thrown into the fire and into water. But please help us, if you can do anything."
Jesus said to him,
"If you can believe, all things are possible to him who believes."
I love this man. He cried out with tears, "Lord, I believe; help my unbelief."
Jesus saw that alot of people were starting to run to the scene, and He rebuked the unclean spirit, saying to it: "Deaf and dumb spirit, I command you, come out of him and enter him no more!" The spirit cried out and convulsed him, and came out of him, and the boy looked dead.
But Jesus reached down and took his hand and lifted him, and the boy got up.
We can imagine the joy in the household and village.
The disciples later asked Him why they couldn't cast out the demon.
He said,"This kind can come out by nothing but prayer and fasting."
I was thinking about this today.
Perhaps we shouldn't be looking for ways to house His glory.
Perhaps we should be praying and fasting to prepare
the way for His kingdom and power to be revealed on earth.
He has already given us His authority to do His wondrous works.
Perhaps we should humble ourselves and seek His face and turn our backs
on our own wicked ways.
Perhaps we should obey the already illumined Words of God.
Perhaps then, we would see Him transfigured in the valley.
Monday, August 16, 2010
I am thankful for Susan's excitement for school. I am thankful for little Etta's 'Love you' and hand blown kisses. I am thankful for hymns and their timeless truths and for the people who wrote them.
Tues-"And the train of His robe...filled the temple..." Went into school today for the teacher's meeting to make some plans, cover some material, and hear about the why's of Christian Education. I was struck with the thought that it is the people who completely believe in an idea that become the founders of what that idea embodies whether it be founders of a Christian school, a health clinic, or a nation. It is one's zeal for an idea or truth that propels one to provide others an opportunity to partake of the fruit of that idea or truth.
I've been reading the book, "The Annointing, yesterday, today, and tomorrow" by R.T.Kendall. It is shaking me to the core.
I am thankful for a night at home to watch a girlie movie with Susan. I am thankful for Christian Education. I am thankful for my hard working husband and his sweet, tired smile.
Wed.-"How can I keep from singing Your praise..." Wonderful morning at home to study and write in quiet, while Susan sleeps in. Working on freezing and packaging some lunch items for school. Making a turkey to cut up and freeze to eat over salad and in sandwiches and for supper. Went to church in eve. to keep Missi company and got a sneak peak of the Mystery Dinner Theatre. I am thankful that Freeman is such a good actor. I am thankful for the perpetual smile on his face. I am thankful that little Archer finally let me love on him and for his sweet wet kisses.
Thurs.-"And the train of His robe fills the temple..." Susan and I went out to school for a bit today. Met Marcie at Chinese Bill's for lunch. That was nice. Went to Walmart. Came home and took a nap. Not sleeping at night. Steve and Ruth Fisher came to spend the weekend with us. She told me they show "You Were the Joy" every Easter along with "The Passion of the Christ" to the Zambian village they live in. She invited me to come next fall to teach at a woman's conference. I am thankful that my parents had missionary friends visit our home as a child and now Susan is getting to hear the stories and understand the way of life of a missionary.
I am thankful that we have a room in the old house to which they can retreat and have some privacy. I am thankful for the break in the hot weather.Fri.-"Jesus....Jesus....You are wonderful...." What song are you singing under the duties of the day? What song persists when the clutter of life is cleared away? I have become conscious of an underlying song that sings like a foundation in my soul. It is always there. It is always about Him. The song is a shelter and a shield about me. I am thankful for a song in the night which turns into a song in the day which turns into a song in the night...
Went out to Appomattox with Susan, Steve, and Ruth after a leisurely breakfast. The inflatable bed did not work for her. Steve had to rescue her from it's deflating ways several times during the night. She ended up on Freeman's love seat sofa and was quite comfortable in it. They are sleeping in the old house room that we fixed up. No bathrooms over there but I won't go into that right now. So, we went to Salvation Army, CCA, Phil's jobsite, Super 10, Walmart, China Bill's, Super 10, back to Walmart, and home again. Ruth made corn fritters and I made bruschetta for supper plus hamloaf. Steve helped Phil with the silage and Ruth, Susan, and I played Scrabble. Susan won but she wins most games anymore. Michael came home from his overnight conference in D.C. He is quite inspired about what he can do with Cutco and how it will help him not have college debt if he works hard during the summers.
I am thankful for Ruth's kind words. She says I am direct in what I say and that makes her feel comfortable. She has been so affirming of both Susan and I and we are having such a good sweet time together.
I am thankful for how happy Freeman looked today when I saw him at work and for the kisses he blew me. I am thankful that they have showers and regular toilets in the part of Africa where Steve and Ruth are and that I can eliminate that concern from my list. I am thankful for the powerful way God uses ordinary people.
Sat.-"And the train of His robe...fills the temple..." Took Ruth and Susan to Farmville today. Went to the bank to deposit Susan's calf check, to Roses, to the market where we saw Michelle and Bethany, to church to drop off Susan to serve desserts during the three Mystery Theatre showings, and then to Miller's where Ruth found much pleasure in the peaceful, quaint atmosphere and the rocking chair. Came back home for a lunch of sandwiches. Janelle and her friend Faith stopped in for a quick visit. We began playing 'the Mennonite Game' with her and Phil discovered that he had gone to Rosedale Bible Institute with Faith's sister over 30 years ago. Last week, God brought her to his mind and he began praying specific things for her and Faith filled in the gaps and we understood why God had led Phil to pray. I have no doubt that God lays us on other people's hearts when we need prayer and vice versa. Philip took Micah fishing and swimming today in the neighbors lake. Ruth and I took a nap while Steve helped Phil and Tom repair a piece of equipment and when we got up we organized some things for packing then got ready to go to the Mystery Theatre. Michael and Philip were with us at the dinner theatre as well and it was fun to watch Susan work like a pro, with her trays of drinks, handling the two spills at our table, and looking so cute with her black bowtie, black pants, white shirt, and new white converse sneakers. Freeman was the younger Thomas, a butler, in the play. It was great fun, especially, I think, because we knew everyone in the play, and enjoyed seeing them play their eccentric characters. It was good to see Alli looking so beautiful and so married. We came back home, had a bit of supper and went to bed.
I am thankful for the three songs that God gave Ruth and for her freedom in singing them to me on our way to Farmville. I am thankful for their invitation to come work with them in Africa and for our desire to do so sometime in the next five years. I am thankful for the grace of God.
Sun.-"Jesus, Jesus, You're so wonderful..." Woke up around 5:30 and gave the Fishers a quick breakfast and helped get their refrigerated items together, and sent them off with prayer and love. I stayed up and finished the book-"The Annointing-Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow" by R.T.Kendall. I am going to read it again, but Phil wants to read it first. I spent some time blogging in my blog and also in my mother's blog before going to church. Went to Dianna's SS class and loved it. Pastor Alvin led Mt. Zion kind of worship and Pastor Rob preached on the two mountains-Sinai and Zion. Mt. Sinai represents the law and the uncertainty as to whether our sacrifice was good enough to pay for our sins and allow us to come near God. The Israelites no longer even wanted to hear the word that came from God through Moses on Sinai because they could not endure what was commanded and the sight of Moses reflecting God's glory was just too terrifying for them. They wanted nothing to do with that which showed them how far they were from God. Sinai represents living in fear; the externals of keeping the law-religion; the rebelliousness of the one thief on the cross, the proud Pharisee who compared himself with the sinful tax collector (when comparing, we will always be better than some and worse than others), and the builder who refused to put effort into building a better foundation than one on sand. Mt. Zion can be approached with joy because Jesus has become the sacrifice to pay for our sins, so we don't have to worry if we are good enough to approach God anymore. He is the Mediator between us and God and now we can come to the city of the living God and be in the company of angels and the church of those who first came to Christ, and the assembly of all believers, and God Himself! Mt. Zion has two rules compared to the endless rules of Mt. Sinai. Love God and love man. This sums up the law and the prophets and Jesus fulfilled the law. So through His fulfillment of all of the law, we abide in the law of love. Mt. Zion represents grace, a hunger for righteousness, and desire to hear the Word of the Lord. Mt. Zion is full of clarity and radiant light and clear consciences. The repentant thief on the cross, the humble tax collector repenting in the temple, the builder who built his life on a rock-all these represent those who want to be part of what is taking place on the summit of Mt. Zion. There is no middle ground between Sinai and Zion. Compromise in the believer's life is the devil's lie. The times are urgent. Are we going to be a people who cower under the shadow of Mt. Sinai or are we going to be a people who will put the effort into entering into the 'Sabbath Rest' of God where we cease from our own works? Are we going to live on the summit of Zion under the grace of the provision of Christ's sacrifice or are we gong to live under the shadow of Sinai, where our good will never be good enough and fear is our daily bread?
Came home and rested and watched 'Airforce One' which I saw in a different light after having read Eldredges 'Wild at Heart.' Walked to the river. Went to bed early. Very, very tired.
I am thankful for my kind husband, who went and got the gator to bring me back home, when I got too tired to walk back from the river. I am thankful that God answers my prayers to bring hidden things to light even though there are some things I'd rather not know. I am thankful for the good time Philip and Michael had with their friends, fishing at the neighbor's lake.
Saturday, August 14, 2010
Flash forward a number of years when Uzziah was king. It was after his death that Isaiah was called to be a prophet. He says it this way, "In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord sitting on a throne, high and lifted up and the train of His robe filled the temple.... and the pillars shook..."
I wonder if the temple in the vision was Solomon's temple. I wonder if the pillars that shook were the one's named "He shall establish" and "In It is strength." I wonder if Isaiah realized then that God was much bigger than the temple built to house Him. I wonder if even then, God was directing attention to a different temple.
Flash forward again, a number of years when Jesus was here on earth. He told Peter that the gates of hell would not prevail against the church. His followers taught that our bodies are the temple of the living God and as each of us are fitly formed together, we make up a temple where the living God dwells. The pillars of Solomon's temple shook when the glory of God was revealed. I wonder if Solomon was a prophet when he named the pillars. Perhaps God was referring to the church when He moved Solomon to call the pillars "He shall establish" and "In It is strength."
He shall establish the church and in It is strength.
The pillars do not shake because the gates of hell come against it.
The pillars shake because the temple cannot contain the glory
which comes with the presence of God.
Holy, Holy, is the LORD of hosts;
The whole earth is full of His glory!
Once in awhile,
some unfortunate soul would make
a phone call to our place
and ask for "Mary" or "Bill."
There was no one named Mary or Bill at our house.
But my father would say,
"Oh, Mary went out with Bill about half an hour ago."
Or,"Bill went out with Mary about twenty minutes ago."
You get the picture.
My mother would shake her head and say,
"You're going to cause a murder."
I grew up in the midst of my grandfather's farm.
In later years, it was sold, and became known as
'Greenfield Industrial Park.'
The familiar ponds I used to ice skate on
became elegant pools of water
with fountains spouting from
Park benches were placed along
walkways and trees were planted along
My father liked to ride his golf cart
along these paths.
He liked to do it at night
when lovers were enraptured
with each others presence.
"Whizz," went the wind of the
noiseless golf cart
like a ghost in the night.
The startled lovers didn't know
what flew by them in the dark.
He got a kick out of that.
Perhaps that is why I like to
electronically open my car trunk
or hit the panic button
when innocent shoppers are passing
by my empty car.
Oh, and then there was this.
If you called our house to sell a product,
you would find that the world's greatest
auctioneer had flipped your goal in life and was
in control of the selling situation
as he tried to convince you to buy a
tractor trailer load of cattle
or light bulbs from him.
Needless to say,
the hapless sales person
got off the phone
as soon as possible.
when a salesman calls during the evening meal,
Phil asks them politely,
"Do you want to have dinner with me?"
I suppose they say 'no'
because he always says,
"Well, I don't want to have dinner with you either.
Out of my bondage, sorrow and night,
Jesus, I come,
Jesus, I come;
Into Thy freedom, gladness, and light,
Jesus, I come to Thee;
Out of my sickness into Thy health,
Out of my want and into Thy wealth,
Out of my sin and into Thyself,
Jesus I come to Thee.
Out of my shameful failure and loss,
Jesus, I come,
Jesus, I come;
Into the glorious gain of Thy cross,
Jesus, I come to Thee;
Out of earth's sorrows into Thy balm,
Out of life's storms and into Thy calm,
Out of distress to jubilant psalm,
Jesus, I come to Thee.
Out of unrest and arrogant pride,
Jesus, I come,
Jesus, I come;
Into Thy blessed will to abide,
Jesus, I come to Thee;
Out of myself to dwell in Thy love,
Out of despair into raptures above,
Upward for aye on wings like a dove,
Jesus, I come to Thee.
(My favorite verse...)
Out of the fear and dread of the tomb,
Jesus, I come,
Jesus, I come;
Into the joy and light of Thy home
Jesus, I come to Thee;
Out of the depths of ruin untold,
Into the peace of Thy sheltering fold,
Ever Thy glorious face to behold,
Jesus, I come to Thee.
Thursday, August 12, 2010
Do you remember the story about the demon-possessed man? Jesus cast out the demons that were in him and send them into a pig herd and the pigs ran off a cliff-all 2,000 of them-and they drowned in the sea. The freed man wanted to travel with Jesus but Jesus told him to go back home and tell about the great things that He had done for him. So, he went to Decapolis and told everyone about what Jesus had done. (Mark 5:1-20)
It wasn't that long afterwards that Jesus Himself went through the region of Decapolis. The people had most likely heard the testimony of the once demon-possessed man so when they heard that Jesus was among them, they came out to meet Him. Some of them brought to Him one who was deaf and had a speech impediment. "Jesus, please put Your hand on him and he will be made whole!" they begged.
So Jesus took him away from the noisy crowd and put His fingers in his ears. He spat and touched the man's tongue with the life from His own mouth. Then, looking up to heaven He sighed, and said to the man, "Be opened." Immediately, he could hear and he could speak plainly as well, which is quite a miracle, since he hadn't been able to hear how words should be pronounced.
Jesus told them to tell no one about this but the more He told them, the more they told about it. They were so astonished. They said, "He has done all things well. He makes both the deaf to hear and the mute to speak."
I am not sure why Jesus told the once demon-possessed man to tell about his miracle and why He told the once deaf-mute person to be quiet about his. He had His reasons and I am sure they were good ones.
You know what I love about this story? I love that the first words this man heard were "Be opened." I love that the first voice he heard was Christ's. I love that Jesus pulled him away from the crowd so that there would be no question as to what was said or who said it. I love that Jesus considered that the noise of the crowd would be too overwhelming to ears newly born.
take me away from the crowd and touch my ears
and speak Your words of healing.
Unstop the bias in my hearing
so I may hear Your Words as if for the first time.
May the first voice I hear be Yours.
Touch my tongue with life from Your lips
so it will be loosed to speak the Words
I hear from Your Word and from Your Spirit.
Grant me wisdom and help me obey
when You tell me to speak out Your wonders
and when You tell me to be silent and be still.
Tuesday, August 10, 2010
"As I read through the Bible in my winter aerie, I marveled at how much God lets human beings affect him. I was unprepared for the joy and anguish-in short, the passion-of the God of the Universe. By studying "about" God, by taming him and reducing him to words and concepts that could be filed away in alphabetical order, I lost the force of the passionate relationship God seeks above all else. The people who related to God best-Abraham, Moses, David, Isaiah, Jeremiah-treated him with startling familiarity. They talked to God as if he were sitting in a chair beside them, as one might talk to a counselor, a boss, a parent, or a lover. They treated him like a person."~~~~~
"I came away from Colorado with a very different mental image of God. After two weeks of studying the Bible, I had a strong sense that God doesn't care so much about being analyzed. Mainly, he wants to be loved. Nearly every page of his Word rustles with this message. And I returned home knowing I must somehow explore the relationship between a passionate God-hungry for the love of his people-and the people themselves. All feelings of disappointment with God trace back to a breakdown in that relationship. Thus, I determined to look for the answer to a question I had never before considered: "What does it feel like to be God?""~~~~
"The reason the mass of men fear God,
and at bottom dislike Him,
is because they rather distrust His heart,
and fancy Him all brain like a watch."
(quoted in 'Disappointment with God')
Monday, August 9, 2010
Prevailing thought-I'd rather have asked God 'Why?' during the hard times in life, wrestled with Him, and come away with a blessed limp, than to never have asked 'Why?' in the first place. The simplicity of not having to ask 'Why?' on the other side of difficulty is purer than being resigned to fate and never having the courage to ask 'Why?' in the aftermath of sorrow. I'd rather be desperate for an answer and get a glimpse of Him in the struggle than not be desperate and not get to see Him. I would not trade my battle with God for a non-battle with God because the victory's been too sweet, and He, of course, has won, which means, of course, that I have too.
Catching up on wash and clutter. Resting. Weepy and a bit shaky. Too much sugar, too little sleep, and just the right amount of happiness. Phil and Philip working on silage as they wait for corrected trusses to arrive at job site. Michael taking it easy and working on Cutco and making his own movie of 'Donkey-Man.' Susan helping around house and resting, talking to Makenzie on phone. Freeman-who knows where he is? Alli? She's with Freeman. I am thankful that school starts in two weeks. I am thankful that I have two weeks before school starts. I am thankful for yesterday.
Tues.-Song-"I will rejoice, I will rejoice, and be glad..." Vacation Day with Susan, Micah, and Janelle at Holliday Lake. Wonderful relaxing day. Taught Micah how to float and swim on his back. He watched me under water to see what my legs did when I swam on my back. He's so clever. I used to be a lifeguard and at one point during the day, I thought I would need to rescue what looked like a 4 and 5 year old from their wacko mother who thought they should be out in the deep end even though their heads kept going under. She argued with the lifeguard who blew a whistle to tell her that she needed to bring them in. "Why?!" she yelled. She said the lifeguard didn't know what she was talking about. A short time later, when I was minding my own business and enjoying the view of the lake while resting on my 'noodle', I heard the whistle blow again. "No floating devices in the deep end!" yelled the lifeguard. I looked behind me to see who she was talking to, and Janelle, from the beach, began yelling and laughing, "She's talking about you! You're the one with the floating device!" I removed myself from the deep water as non-chalantly as possible and reconsidered whether I was going to tell that lifeguard that she was doing a good job. It's one thing if she wants to blow a whistle at a crazy mom, but to blow a whistle at an innocent floating woman, that's another thing. We laughed alot today and ate a 24 inch cheese steak between the four of us. I am thankful for a day of rest. I am thankful that Monk was on 15 min. after we got home so my vacation day continued. I am thankful for Micah's inquisitive mind and the way he figures things out.
Wed.-"I love, I love, I love Your Presence...I will rejoice, I will rejoice, and be glad."
Susan and I went to CCA today to begin getting ready for school. I found a place for my books in the library and put the musical instruments in the art closet. I am moving to the art room and the room I used last year will be a K4 room. It was good to see everyone and Susan is so excited that she will have Mrs. Shorter for many of her classes this year. I told Dr. Hubler that the mother of the groom is not generally held responsible for anything she says in the receiving line and he asked to be reminded about what I said and I told him that after I introduced him to the Streams, I said, "He's worse than he looks." What I meant to say was that he is more ornery than his innocent appearance makes him out to be. Anyway, he forgave me and took no offense.
Susan and I ate lunch at Chinese Bill's after 2:00 and came home and soon went out again to church. Dianna and I talked over salad at Ruby Tuesdays. The Streams and I compared notes on the honeymooners. We haven't heard too much and I guess that is a good thing. Lisa and I are not sure what to call each other. We're not really in-laws...and it's too early to start calling them Oma and Opa.
I am thankful for CCA and for Christian education at its finest.
I am thankful that He puts the lonely in families.
I am thankful for the opportunity to speak well of God tonight. Our waiter came with our water as Dianna was praying outloud, and he apologized, and I said quietly, "That's okay. God doesn't mind." And he gave me a deep look and said, "Thank you," and after that, he smiled whenever he came near us.
Thurs.-"I love, I love..." Still very tired. Michael and Susan are dragging too. Perhaps it's the heat. Did some wash and tidying up. Got out all my art books and started making lesson plans. I would be happy teaching music or art and now I get to do both. Susan and I tried our hand at watercolor salt pictures. On sturdy card stock we made a design with Elmer's glue. Then we put salt all over the glue and dumped off the extra. We took our tray of very wet watercolors and dipped our brush in the color and lightly touched the salt design. The color spread and we continued until all of the design was colored. We're letting it dry and then we'll cover it with saran wrap or put it in a baggie. The newlyweds stopped in to use the Internet and pick up some things. They seemed tired but happy. They're getting another much needed air conditioner tomorrow.
I am thankful that Phil woke up feeling better. Last night he told me he was doing some work on the outside of the silo and had his foot on the door and it swung inward, causing him to lose his balance. He hung on with his hands and his chest slammed against the silo. He was 40 feet up. His chest really hurt and it was scratched. He told me this at 11 last night. He had been resting on the sofa when I got home from church. I gave him two IBprofens, rubbed some horse liniment on his chest, and put a heat wrap on top of that. This morning he had no pain. He set trusses today and I am looking forward to seeing how he is.
I am thankful that Phil did not fall 40 feet yesterday.
I am thankful that Michael and Susan are hanging out together.
I am thankful for creative ideas all put together in a wonderful art book.
Fri.-"I love, I love..." Slept in. Susan sold her 'Mexican's' today-Carlos and Pedro. It's interesting how being mad helps one not be so sad in saying good-bye. She had to retrieve them from the far end of the field and they caused her some pain in the process. We also worked on cleaning the house, cleaning corn, and watching Monk. Tonight, I went to our New Life Ladies Progressive Supper. We started from the church parking lot, went to Adina's where we had banana splits and the giving of prizes-(Some women dressed according to the theme-'First Things Last'), then drove to Roberta's where Lindsay shared an awesome devo about chocolate and priorities and we also ate pizza, then walked to Lisa's for Karaoke, coffee, tea, and a veggie tray. We had over 30 women turn out and it was a blast. The cops drove by when we were at Lisa's. We get kind of loud.
I am thankful that Erik D. arrived home the same time I did and he helped me carry in groceries
I am thankful for women in church leadership who aren't too religious to dance to the oldies
I am thankful for Erik and Chace who are hanging out with Philip and Michael for a day or two.
I am thankful that Phil stayed up with me until midnight to watch 'Monk.'
Sat.-"Come on, Baby, do the locomotion..." Hmm...I suppose I could spiritualize that one but why should I? Cleaned up the floors and woodwork in Freeman's old room. Working on setting up some sleeping arrangements for guests coming this weekend. Cleaning house, enjoying Erik, Mike, and Philip's antics, eating new crop of sweet corn...Finished "Mr. God, this is Anna" again for the umpteenth time since high school. Wonderful book that makes me cry.
Oh! Happy 28th wedding anniversary to Phil and I. We had a wedding to go to today but he had to work on silage and also he made dinner reservations at a 'mystery' restaurant. The mystery restaurant was The Babcock House. There was a beautiful bouquet of flowers at our table that Phil had gotten through Sheila. It has dark pink daisies, pink carnations, purple lupines, and small white daisies. We ordered the ribeye steak and also ate spinach crab bisque, hot rolls with butter, salad with the house dressing, squash, and green beans. We drove over to the house Phil's been building so I could see their progress. It's quite a house. We drove by Baine's Book Store to see if there were any live bands playing but there was nothing going on. Came back home and watched a George Clooney movie-"The Perfect Storm." I am thankful for my faithful husband and for the way he loves me. I am thankful that Alli and Freeman stopped by today. I am thankful that the house is somewhat cleaned. I am thankful that my husband does not fish for a living. (Movie)
Sun.-Awaking Song-"And the train of His robe....filled the temple..." Blogged in my mother's blog this morning before church.
Pastor preached a thought-provoking and life changing sermon today. Just as David sought out any one left of Jonathan's family to whom he could show kindness because he had such a covenant with Jonathan, so God seeks us out because He has a covenant with us. David found Mephibosheth in the back side of a desert known as Lo Debar and he sent a palace messenger to bring him back to the palace to eat at the king's table. Mephibosheth was crippled because someone fell as they were carrying him away to safety but when he sat up at the kings table, he looked the same as everyone else because his crippled feet were hidden under the table. (Sometimes, we are crippled because someone who we trusted to take care of us, fell with us in 'their arms.' ) God sent His messenger, the Holy Spirit, to bring us from the desert place to eat at His table. He covers what is crippled in us by His blood and gives us a position at His table. Sometimes, we are more concerned about experiencing the display of God's power or we want His provision, but He has a position for us next to Him or near Him at His table. God is more interested in showing us off than He is in showing His power or provision. Who wants to stay in the wilderness and see His power and provision? We want to possess the Promised Land and take our rightful position. It is then that we will realize our full potential.~~~~~~
I think if we grasped these truths, we would have very little insecurity in the church, and then we could get on to the important things like justice, mercy, faith, making disciples, and loving each other. Too often we are desiring God to show us His power and to give us provision and here He wants to provide us a table to sit at in the presence of our enemies. These enemies could be real enemies or they could be the temptation to be jealous, or to gossip and be critical, or to be discouraged. If we would focus on the food on the table and Who is at the head of the table, we would not be troubled by these enemies and we would have sweet fellowship with the others sitting at the table. The position God gives us is a right relationship with Him. We are accepted in The Beloved. We are His child and we sit with Him, positionally, in heavenly places. When we are sure of our position, then power and provision won't be that important to us. Who we are related to becomes what is all important and He shows us His power and provision inside the covenant of right position and right relationship with Him. People will never be satisfied with God's provision and the display of His power outside of right relationship and position in Him. They will always want another loaf of bread; another miracle. But when people see that we know that we are loved and that we are sitting at our Father's table, they will desire to know our Father. They will want to be loved like we are. And if we understand what we've been saved from, we will want others to be saved too. When we know how much we are loved, we will want others to be loved. When we love God with all of our hearts, we will want Him to be loved by others also. I'll be thinking about this one for awhile. We partake in the goodness of God because of His covenant with us, not because we are deserving. We are so crippled that we cannot even come on our own. The Holy Spirit must draw us to the palace table and seat us where we can see Him best or seat us close by where we can lay our heads on His chest. Depends what we need at the time, I suppose.~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Only Susan was home with Phil and I today and we watched 'Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade.' I had pulled a muscle in my neck/back this morning and kept heat on it during the movie. We work so hard during the week, especially Phil, that when Sunday comes, we sit down and thoroughly rest. I am so thankful for a Sabbath rest. I am thankful for the sweetness of Corey, Rebecca's grandbaby, and that he let me hold him and the way he snuggled. I am thankful too, that Adi wanted to sit with us this morning. I am going to hold her on my lap for as long as I can.