Monday, February 28, 2011

Notes from the Past

Today I was cleaning out my church bag and several pieces of paper escaped from my church Bible. About six May's ago, Phil had Philip and Michael write a Mother's Day list for me. Susan was too young to do it on her own and Freeman was away at school. Reading them again made me weepy and thankful and I decided to record them in case the precious lists fall out again sometime and get lost. Perhaps you fathers who read my blog would like to help your children bless your wife in this way. I was homeschooling the children at the time. Philip was 15 or 16 years old and Michael was 12 or 13. I must keep the spelling as is and not worry about spell check this time.
Michael's list.

10 things I Love about you

1. wisdom
2. biblical standards and values
3. Loving
4. Beeutiful
5. you're almost always right about everything.
6. you give excellent advice and you help me understand
everything that doesn't make sense.
7. You're not a controlling mom.
8. When I do something stupid you tell me what I did
wrong and tell me how to do it right.
9. you always get whats best for me even though it's
inconvient for you. aka. School
10. you love my father, and you love me as much
as you love my brothers and sister.
11. I love you because you're my mom.

Happy Mother's day,
And Philip's-
Ten Things I Love about my Mother-

1. I love her because of her unearthy beauty. :)
2. Her never ending kindness and Love.
3. The way she is always there for me no matter
what I am going through.
4. I also love her for being a Diffenbach,
because if she wasn't then I wouldn't know the
wonderful diffenbach family.
5. also for marrying my dad :)
because we all know that without dad
my brothers and I wouldn't look
half as good. :)
6. I love the way she can always smell
me from across the room.
(even though It might not seem like it)
7. I also love you mother for Punishing me
when I was bad because if you hadn't,
well I don't want to think about it. :)
8. I love when you care enough about all of us to
cook for several days straight before you leave
so we don't have to just eat ice cream.
(even though we don't mind ice cream)
9. I love you mother for letting me trap and hunt
instead of doing school
10. And last but not least, my dear mom,
thank you for supporting me in everything
reasonable that I have wanted to do in life!

I Love You!
Have a great Mothers day!
Michael just walked by here as I was sniffing my way through the typing of these treasures and he said, "You know what? I remember that. I remember Dad saying that if we wrote you notes about what we loved about you, that you would like that more than anything else. And the fact that you still have the notes and are doing this just proves that he was right!"

Hertzler Doings~ Feb.28-Mar.6, 2011

Mon.-Fell asleep last night listening to wind and spring peepers. Slept through the night with only one large pain pill taken before bedtime! Susan woke up with swollen eye and went into school late. I bought some antihistamine at CVS and took it back to school and gave her a dose. It's wild, windy, and warm and I don't know where to begin. Made a big kettle of vegetable beef soup. Washed clothes. Tidied bedroom and bathroom. Found sweet notes from Philip and Michael they had written for Mother's Day years ago. Blogged them. It began to rain in the afternoon. Phil and Freeman had poured the footers for the new shed in the morning. The cement dried in time. Phil and Philip sent some cattle to the livestock auction in Lynchburg and went there in the eve. to see how things sold. Susan had lots of Monday homework. She took Michael's advice about her eye and said to some people, "You should see the other guy." As soon as Philip got in from work he checked on her and asked if anyone made fun of her. He said earlier that he was going to beat the crap out of any guy who made fun of her but I guess he won't get to since nobody made fun of her. Michael and I saw the duck enjoying the rain. The chickens had scattered. I said to Michael,"Come watch the duck. He's worshiping God in the rain." He lifted his head and moved his mouth, "Praise the Lord," he quacked over and over. Susan had to laugh when I told her about it. He ruffled his feathers and took a long needed bath. I remember how my mother would get us to run out and get wet in the rain. It seemed to be the thing we did when we had a warm rain. 'Hey! It's raining! Let's get out there now!' I loved the squishy green grass and the way it splattered as we ran barefoot through the saturated lawn. What a wonderful mother she was. Is. I'm sure she would still run out into the rain if she didn't have neighbors and an oxygen tank. ///I am thankful for the privilege of being able to sight read music and so I can play right through the hymn book and learn songs I never even heard before. I am thankful for the healing that's taking place in my spirit and that I feel like I am beginning to feel a solid floor under my feet as I saturate my mind and this house with the music and words of these pure hymns. I am thankful for the words to "O Worship the Lord". I remember singing it and it goes like this,"O worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness, in the beauty of holiness, in the beauty of holiness. Glory to the Father, abounding in mercy! Be joyful, all ye people, and magnify Jehovah. O glory hallelujah, Hallelujah, Hallelujah! O come before His presence and glorify His name. Glory be to Jesus, our gracious Redeemer! We praise Him, for He loved us, and brought a great salvation...O Glory hallelujah....Glory to the Spirit, the Holy Revealer! We praise Him with the Father and with the Son, our Savior...O Glory Hallelujah, Hallelujah, Hallelujah! O come before His presence and glorify His name."

Tues.-Went to Dr. F. right away this morning and she adjusted my jaw. It was way out of line and that is why my tooth was hitting. Looks like I won't need a root canal after all. It is almost strange to be in a world of normal aches and pains. The over the top pain is gone and I am glad. I wish I had gone on an antibiotic and anti-inflammatory pain meds right away after the surgery. I think I would have taken less medicine in the long run. If any of you are thinking about a tooth implant, my advice is to take a week off work, rest, and go on high doses of medication ;) following the surgery. You'll recover faster. Now, hopefully, I won't write about any of this anymore. Today the younger grade teachers were dressed up as story book characters. March is the month for reading books. I read 4 books to children today. There's nothing I'd rather do. Stacy was dressed like Amelia Bedelia. She's the first grade teacher. Allison looked just like Dorothy. When she opened the door for me I said, "You look like Dorothy!" and she was quite pleased that I didn't have to wonder who she was. Cynthia looked like Fancy Nancy and her husband said to me later, "You left her go into Kroger looking like that?" I never knew about Fancy Nancy but Cynthia got me to read the book about her to the kids and now I am hooked. Oh, and Lisa was dressed like the Cat in the Hat. She even had a black tail. The little boys were trying to pull it. Well, today, the older boys worked on some choreography for the song, "Blow the Man Down." They take swings at each other at the end of each verse. They thought that maybe during the next verse they should be 'nursing' the wound that they got during the previous verse and that way by the end of the song, they'd hardly be standing. I kept thinking that Henry's partner had really smacked him hard in the eye but that was because they were so good at the sound affects and swift movements. Came home after Select Choir and Michael wanted to cook something so we made brownies for Susan's class in the skillet. They burned a little so now we are eating them ourselves. I also made some chex mix for her birthday party. Michael's friend, Jake, came over to hang out this eve. Philip went to Financial Peace at Trinity. Susan is trying very hard to figure out a difficult Algebra problem. Michael tried to help her but told her that these were the kind of problems that he had such a hard time with. I encouraged her to call her teacher but she said that her teacher doesn't want them to give up but wants them to really work at something.///I am thankful that I can smile again. I am thankful for the book of Romans. I am thankful for the advice I received today, that when I am not sure what to do or which way I should believe, I should ask, "Which answer makes God greater?"

Wed.-Great day at school teaching music to the younger grades. Overwhelmed while reading Romans 5. Could hardly pull myself back together. The righteousness of Jesus has been imputed onto us. It's not about doing anything well enough or hard enough; it's about His grace and I am so thankful. Spent some wonderful time in the chapel with all the doors closed and opened the hymn book to the section about God's grace and redemption and played the piano and sang at the top of my lungs when I could sing. One of the volunteers came in to get the overhead projector. He is a local pastor and he said, 'Keep singing' and then he sang with me as he retrieved his equipment. I kept thinking that this is is..this is what life is all's the mercy and grace of God and I can act righteously because He's given me His righteousness as a gift to receive. It's about His work-not mine! Susan and I came home from school and went to church early because I had a Women's Ministry meeting. I met with Lindsay and Jess at Barnes and Nobles for coffee for the eve. That was thoroughly enjoyable.Philip let Roxy go to his friend, Dan. Roxy seems to be unable to keep herself from chasing the cows and pigs. She could do major damage. Dan has always liked Roxy and doesn't have any cows.///I am so thankful that the little girl who was upset that I assigned her to sing with three others when she wanted to sing with only one, finally forgave me, and dried her tears, and drew me 4 beautiful pictures. I am so thankful that we have been given such a great salvation. I am thankful that my mother taught me that there are no 'bad' children. That when children are fussy or sad, they are either sick, hungry, or tired. I used her teaching alot today. I am so thankful for this wonderful school. Where else does a principal say, 'Uh...Mrs. Hertzler. Susan isn't feeling well and was wondering if you would make her some tea and take it to her..She's in my class and it won't be a disturbance for you to do so."

Thurs.-What a great day at school. Made some brownies and served them with ice cream for Susan's birthday treat. Susan not feeling well. I thought it was allergies. So many kids are coughing and snorting. And hurling...Dear Mr. S. cleaned up one child's accident and was so kind to her about it. Susan said to me on the way home, "I wouldn't mind having him for a homeroom teacher." She loves the one she has and said today,"I am glad that Mrs. S. and I will always be friends. She will always be more than a teacher to me." Beyond Latin, Logic, and Algebra, children are learning grace and love and are watching the people they want to be like. We teacher's made quesadilla's for our lunch. Everybody brings something. Taught art in the afternoon. K/l girls painted their batiks and finished their penguins. 2nd grade made their fish for their waterfalls. Susan wanted the heat seat on as we drove home. Poor dear. Has 101.2 temp and was in bed for the night by 5. I'll keep her home tomorrow on her birthday./// I am thankful for little Catori, K group, who came up to me right away in art class, and said, "Um...I like to spend time with you." I like to spend time with her too and told her so as I wrote this sweet comment down in my notebook. I am thankful that today, like yesterday, was a day filled with laughter. I am thankful that I got to say, "The Lord loves you," to a young man who needed to hear it, and his eyes lit up and he smiled with gratitude, and said, "Thank you." I am thankful that select choir sang,"Jerusalem, My Happy Home," after chapel today."They see God face to face..." is my favorite line. They sing the hymn in four part harmony and at one place, there are 5 parts.

Fri.-Happy Birthday dear daughter Susan! She is 14 today and a sick little girl. Temp is 102.2 and she's coughing. Sleeping and resting all day. Didn't even think about watching a movie. Today is a hard day for particular loved ones and that is all I will say. We told Susan that we will give her a boxer puppy for her birthday when we find the right one. We may go back to Pa. and see if Sampson's owners are still raising puppies. Tidied the house. Phil took Susan to Red Lobster in the eve. She insisted on going and enjoyed her scallops even with a fever. I went to Dianna's for a game night with New Life women. 31 attended and we had a blast. I got to know some people better and the more I get to know people, the more I like them. Found out in 'imaginiff' that most people thought the kind of tool I'd be was a level. Pruning shears came in second since I 'am direct.' Also, as far as a type of animal, I supposedly am as 'strong as an ox'-in spirit, Lisa clarified. So, I'm feeling pretty good about myself. ;) My favorite question was, "If Kara was a body part, what would she be." Struck me so funny, esp. one of the parts. We voted that she was a brain. Stayed pretty late and avoided deer on the way home. Couldn't get settled to sleep much.///I am thankful for Susan's cheerful spirit in spite of her obvious discomfort. I am thankful that she was born. What would we ever do without her? I am thankful for new friends and old and that God has broken down every wall and is our peace.

Sat.-Susan pretty sick still. Third day of fever. Throat beginning to get sore. I ran out to send some gifts to new Hertzler babies in Pa. and got a few movies at the library for Susan. Also checked out new thrift shop and found myself a new quesadilla maker for 5 bucks which made me happy since I decided I'd like one after seeing how they worked at lunchtime. Also got a cookbook that I often looked at-365 meals with Rachel Ray. Good condition and paid $2.40. Enjoyed the owners and had a good time talking with them. They have 4 little kids between the ages of 3-5 and they look like dolls. Two are twins. Stopped by Janelle's and got my Micah hug and my thermometer and 4 large Creative Memory scrapbooks of Johnny, Janelle, and Micah. Watched 'Tuck Everlasting' with Susan and Michael. Pretty sad but somewhat satisfying. Susan's class had read it a few weeks ago. Cleaned out the car and picked up trash outside. Went down to my chapel for awhile. So many bugs and a dozen stink bugs crawled out of the binding of my dear old Bible! Much prayer going up for some dear friends and a frightening situation. (Everything worked out.) Made delicious peanut butter cookies with three ingredients-Mix one cup chunky pb-I used natural, one large egg, and 1-1/2 cups sucanat or sugar. One cup was plenty. I used sucanat. I formed them into balls and smashed them on the pan. Baked at 300 until they seemed done. Philip out with friends watching a movie. Michael so exhausted from his busy schedule at Richmond for the last half of the week. Susan asleep on sofa. Oh-I burned some trash and started a brush fire today but we got it out with a hose. Wasn't thinking, that's for sure. Phil's been working on the new shop all day. He seems happy. Tom and Tommy here working on a tractor.///I am thankful that God sees us and knows where we are. I am thankful for His mercy and His grace. I am thankful that He is the way, the Truth, and the life. I'm going to stick close to Him.

Sun.-Was going to stay home with Susan but Mike wasn't feeling so great and he stayed home with her instead. Loved our new SS class with the Davis's. Love and War-book on marriage. Each of us shared a bit of our history. I liked what Jamie said about books-that he's never found one that he totally agrees with-even the Bible, but He knows the Bible is right and he isn't. Also he said that it's better to eat a crumb from a winner (of a book) than to eat a feast from a loser.
Other quotes-"The Bible starts and ends with a marriage. Our marriages represent Christ and the church to the world." "What hangs in the balance of our marriage? Joy." "I'm supposed to complete him, not finish him off." ~G "Blessed are the flexible because they never get bent out of shape." In the service we learned a new song about God never relenting until He has all of our heart. He does not repent or change His mind in regard to His great love for us. I loved what PFrank said, "God is not going to change His mind about loving me. He wants me to know His love above all else." (I thought of the verse, "In quietness and confidence shall be your strength." And I think that those who know the love of God their Father will have that quietness and confidence. They won't strive to get His attention if they know they have His love, just as children exude confidence when they know they have their father's love. So, to have strength, we must have quietness and confidence, and to have those things, we must know the love of God. )
Pastor Frank shared that if we are living in the last days, revelation that has been stored up for the last days is going to be released. It will not be contrary to scripture. The book of Daniel and Revelation give reference to these revelations. (Pastor Frank was just beginning to share about these ideas and because I don't want to presume where he was headed with his thoughts, I will stop here until he shares more.) Oh Jesus, we pray for the skill of wisdom. We pray that we will be able to fathom Your great love for us. We pray that You will reveal Your truth to us. In Jesus name, Amen.
After church, we went to hear more about Susan's missions trip to NYC. At 4:00, Freeman, Alli, Travis, and the boys all came to celebrate Susan's birthday. We sang Happy Birthday to her and then the boys all prayed for her, including Travis, and also, Alli prayed for her. It had to fill her soul to hear all of their love for her. Then we ate ice cream cake. It had three layers of brownies and one big layer of snickers ice cream and one big layer of nutty buddy ice cream and it was completely covered in Cool Whip. The guys left to go back to Travis' and Freeman and Alli went home and since Susan was going to be alone, I stayed here while Phil went to church. I pray that I am not coming down with that stomach bug I was exposed to all last week. Not feeling so very good...///I am thankful that Angel is definitely pregnant and may have puppies in a month. I am thankful for the rain, rain, rain...I am thankful for the truth and that God will be faithful to make it clear. Thank you, thank you, God.

The love of God is greater far
Than tongue or pen can ever tell;
It goes beyond the highest star,
And reaches to the lowest hell;
The guilty pair, bowed down with care,
God gave His Son to win;
His erring child He reconciled,
And pardoned from his sin.
Oh love of God, how rich and pure!
How measureless and strong!
It shall forever more endure,
The saints' and angels' song.
(Frederick M. Lehman)
I love, love, love this song.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Facebook Holy Wars

Yesterday, I was made aware of a face book 'holy' war.

A young person had posted a questionably sounding status
and many people jumped on board and took him to task
for it. His friends defended him out of loyalty and thus
the war continued.

What saddened me was the fact that there were no winners.

Especially made losers were those standing outside the 'church'
walls, watching from the sidelines.
The 'world' wouldn't have noticed the original offense,
but surely they noticed the Christian's responses.

Were the concerns of the believer's valid?
Were friends loyal to friends?
But loyalty to a friend can easily be defended
by a swift hard word without being willing
to consider another's perspective.
Was Christ exalted?

The book of James tells us
that 'love covers a multitude of sins'
and that 'mercy triumphs over judgment.'

I read the young man's original status
and interpreted his shortened slang
by the vernacular he used earlier in his statement.
But I know the young man.
Should he have used terms to mean one thing
when everyone else thinks it means something else?
Of course not.
He wasn't thinking.
He shouldn't have done it.
He should have avoided the appearance of evil.
But my love for him covered this blip in his stride
and I believed the best about him.

But other people loved as well.
They loved their children and
and wanted them to be protected.
They loved the truth and were willing to defend it.
How can I judge them harshly for this?

One person share the words
in Galatians 6:1,2-"Brothers, if a man is over-taken
in a trespass, you who are spiritual restore such a one
in the spirit of gentleness, considering yourself
lest you also be tempted. Bear one another's
burdens and so fulfill the law of Christ..."

Face Book participants voluntarily live
in a glass house.
The rules are this:
If you publish something
I have the right to react publicly to it.

But the rules on face book
are not the rules of God's house.
God's rules say we should avoid
the appearance of evil.
And God's rules say that we should
cover one another's faults with love
and forgive when we have grievances
against one another.
We are also given the freedom
to cover in a different way.
We are challenged to go directly to them
in gentleness and restore them
back to truth.

I wonder how many Christians have left
God's house because of the offenses that come
when God's people don't play by His rules?

I wonder how many people who do not know Jesus
never come in through the doors of the church
because of the same reasons?
Lest anyone think I am pointing a finger here,
I share a sad tale. Almost weekly, I am reminded
of my own failings on face book.
I came to a friend's defense one time
with a pithy little comment,
not realizing that another friend's husband
had commented 'further up'
and my words seemed to be a direct hit
towards him. This has taken me nearly a year
to figure out with the help of another who
was also affected by the same incident
although in a different way.
And I had been so proud of my
righteous little rhyme...

Saturday, February 26, 2011


I've been reading the book of Acts. The portrait of the mega church today is quite different from the portrait of the early church. I wonder what Paul would say to the churches of today? I wonder which epistle he would 'copy and send' if he could get on-line with us.

There are some thought-changing-life-changing verses in this book.
These are some of my favorite.

Acts 14:2,3-"But the unbelieving Jews stirred up the Gentiles and poisoned their minds against the brethren. Therefore they stayed there a long time, speaking boldly in the Lord, who was bearing witness to the word of His grace, granting signs and wonders to be done by their hands."( I love that they did not run from the conflict, although a short time later, they did run from a violent attempt on their life. But you can't preach the gospel if you're dead, can you? I also love how Jesus bore witness to the word of His grace by granting signs and wonders to be done by their hands.)

Acts 17:11, 12a-The Bereans.."were more fair-minded than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness, and searched the Scriptures daily to find out whether these things were so. Therefore, many of them believed..." (Receive the word readily and search the Scriptures to see if that word is true.)

Acts 17:23-28-Paul's speech to the men of Athens-"..I perceive that in all things you are very religious; for as I was passing through and considering the objects of your worship, I even found an altar with this inscription: TO THE UNKNOWN GOD. Therefore, the One whom you worship without knowing, Him I proclaim to you: God, who made the world and everything in it, since He is Lord of heaven and earth, does not dwell in temples made with hands, Nor is He worshiped with men's hands, as though He needed anything, since He gives to all life, breath, and all things.
And He has made from one blood every nation of men to dwell on all the face of the earth, and has determined their preappointed times and the boundaries of their dwellings, so that they should seek the Lord, in the hope that they might grope for Him and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us; for in Him we live and move and have our being,..." (The purpose of our existence in this place and at time is so that we would seek Him and grope for Him and find Him..although He is not far from any one of us...)

Acts 20:24-Paul knew that chains and tribulations awaited Him in his travels and still he said, "But none of these things move me; nor do I count my life dear to myself, so that I may finish my race with joy, and the ministry which I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of the grace of God.."(There seems to be a direct correlation between not counting our lives dear to ourselves and being able to finish our race and completing the ministry He's given us with joy.)

Friday, February 25, 2011


I hear and read many things and I sometimes question the truth of the spiritual concepts of what I hear and read. I've decided to do two things to help me gain a point of reference in order to discern whether these concepts are accurate.

I intentionally read a chapter in the Gospels every day. This helps me think about Jesus and reminds me of His ways. I love to read about Him because I love Him and I also like to put myself in the stories as if I were the person to whom He was relating.

Just yesterday, I decided to also read a chapter in the epistles every day. These are the letters written to the body of Christ by different apostles and since there is nothing new under the sun, their words of warning, teaching, and exhortation are relevant for our church life today.

It is important to stay close to Jesus and to hear His words to His bride. If we abide in Him and His words abide in us, then we will know the truth and the truth will set us free. The truth won't batter us; it will better us. The truth won't condemn us; it will convict us. The truth won't confuse; it will clarify. Oh, how I long for truth. The sum of God's Word is Truth.

I know one truth for sure. Jesus said, "This is the work of God-to believe on Him whom God has sent." We can get caught up in all kinds of 'works of God.' "This is what God is doing," we say. Is it? Are we sure?
If we believed in Him, we would be doing the works of God, and, if we really did believe in Him, we really would be doing the works of God.

And I know this. Jesus' last words to the disciples and hundreds of others before He ascended into heaven were these: "Go into all the world and make disciples of every nation, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you, and lo, I am with you always, even until the end of the world."

Three things:
Believe in Him.
Make disciples.
Remember He is with us always.

Too often, we become self-righteous in our work of 'believing God.'
Too often, we are militant in our making of disciples.
And, too often, we form elitist groups in the body of Christ,
believing that God has chosen to be with 'us' especially.

No wonder people don't come to church.
No wonder people leave church with a grieving spirit
and a wounded soul.

So what does the Lord require of us?
To do justly as we believe in Him.
To love mercy as we make disciples.
And to walk humbly as we remember
He is with us always.
Three things.

And how can we do these things in this way?
By abiding in Him.
By obeying His Word.
And by trusting Him.
Three more things.

Perhaps if I focused on the simple deep truths
of the eternal things I do know,
I won't be so confused about the things
that I do not know.
I am sure that following these truths
could keep me busy for a very long time.

It's back to the Basics again for me;
Back to rebuilding a foundation.

For unless the Lord builds the house,
they labor in vain who build it.

And unless the Lord guards the city,
the watchmen stay awake in vain.

Three plus three plus three.
Believe in Him. Make disciples. Remember He is with us.
Do justly. Love mercy. Walk humbly.
Abide. Obey. Trust.
Jesus loves the little ones like me, me, me
Jesus loves the little ones like me, me, me
Little ones like me
Sat upon His knee
Jesus loves the little ones like me, me, me

Jesus loves the little ones like you, you, you
Jesus loves the little ones like you, you, you
Little one like you
Talked to Jesus, too
Jesus loves the little ones like you, you, you

Spiritual Notes

I bought some books at Goodwill and one of them is entitled,"Spiritual Notes to Myself." It is written by Hugh Prather. Last night I was reading some of his notes to Phil. Tonight, I'll "read" some of the same ones to you. Mr. Prather is a Methodist minister, lecturer, counselor, and an author of several bestselling books.

When I've lost interest in controlling outcomes,
I finally will be free to love everyone my mind
rests upon.

Certainly we may be in pain from what someone
did to us. Forgiveness doesn't ask us to deny the pain
or to think dishonestly about the past. It asks us
to look to God, where the wound has already
been healed.

The reason it isn't helpful to go around talking
about our healings, visions, and other spiritual
fireworks is that such conversations tend to
be separating and unloving.
The little mind gets involved,
we start feeling special,
and the other person thinks
he wasn't invited to God's party.

It should be obvious that the evidence of love,
unity, and wholeness in our lives
will begin to disappear whenever we
choose to be special and separate.

The saints of God
dare to be ordinary.

Ego's clash.
That's the nature of egos.
Treat these outbursts as sneezing fits.
More harm is done by analyzing them.
Our spiritual relationship,
not ego business-as-usual,
deserves our preoccupation.
When someone sneezes, we say,
"God bless you."
We don't say,
"What exactly did you mean by that?"

Food critics enjoy very few restaurants;
movie critics enjoy very few movies;
art critics enjoy very few paintings.
Don't become a connoisseur of marriages.
Seek instead to be easily pleased.

If there is a question whether to say it,
don't say it.

The key to a happy marriage
is to say, "Yes, dear."
If you can't do that,
at least be as kind to your partner
as you would be to a total stranger.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Hertzler Doings-Feb.21-27, 2011

Mon.-Took Susan to school. I'm very tired today. Sore throat and aching face continues. Called the dentist and he said that the sore throat and laryngitis symptoms have nothing to do with the procedure. Set up time to be rechecked on Friday. Could sleep, sleep, sleep. Blogged a bit. Did some paperwork. Washed clothes. Picked up Susan. Went to Walmart. Made beef/bean/salsa mix for tortillas and Fla. ground pork and sauerkraut with mashed potatoes. Guys shot some geese and will make that tomorrow. O'Brien's sale fell through. Back to square one and listening and praying hard. I am thankful for the beautiful warm weather even though the dark gray clouds look like they are threatening to snow. I am thankful for the joy of seeing my school students at Walmart. I am thankful that God does all things well. I am thankful for family meetings that end up better then they started.

Tues.-Stayed home today. Face and mouth hurts. Want to sleep. Did some wash. Hemmed baby blankets for new nephews. Exercised! Read. Did more paperwork. Cleaned off desk. Michael made goose for supper. He wrapped turkey bacon around the pieces of goose and put mushroom soup over all and cooked it in the crock pot and Susan made Red Lobster garlic cheese biscuits to go with it for supper. Got a nice note from Mom in the mail. Michael showed Cutco to my friend, Diane H., on line at Jordan's house. Went to bed before 7:30. I am thankful that He will never leave me or forsake me even though I leave Him sometimes when I choose bitterness or fear or my flesh over staying close to Him. I am thankful that when I doubt He says, "Put your hand in my side and believe." I am thankful that when I am not sure of my calling and go back to doing what I know to do, He feeds me anyway, and calls me His own. I am thankful that His mercies are new every morning. Great is His faithfulness. I am thankful that I always wish I had trusted Him more and that I am never sorry that I trusted Him as much as I did. I am thankful that He answers prayer and that He knows my end from my beginning so sometimes He doesn't answer my prayers my way because He knows better. I am thankful that He made the first woman from the first Adam's side and from the second Adam's side, where blood and water flowed, He brought forth His bride, the church. Holy, Holy, Holy is His name.

Wed.-'I've found a Friend, Oh such a Friend, He loved me 'ere I knew Him...' Judy came to school today and checked most of the children's eyes and some of the teachers. Susan had 20/15 vision which is better than good. I'm so thankful. I took Judy to The Babcock House as a thank you from the school. We visited some of the shops and found some pretty dresses at Millie's consignment shop for Sammy Jo, Emma, and Adi. After she left, I went back to school and worked on tomorrow's art lesson. I am still in so much pain and not feeling right in my head enough to teach. Came home after school and slept until it was time to take Susan to church. I met Lindsay there and we sat in the sanctuary and talked and I felt like she woke up my brain. Susan put a pic of herself on fb and Michael commented from Richmond,"You're too pretty." She liked that. Mrs. Roth passed away this morning. Her husband, Larry, was showing their wedding photos Sunday night. Phil said that Mr. Roth was singing a swan song. It is what you say before you die. Swans sing a song as they are dying. Mr. Roth was singing the swan song for his wife. "Look at my bride...look at how lovely she was...she was a dancer..." What a beautiful song he was singing. I am thankful for that song and that I got to hear it. I am thankful for the children who will see better in a few weeks because their parents will get them to the eye doctor. I am thankful that when Lindsay talks, she awakens my brain.

Thurs.-Didn't sleep much, having my brain finally awakened and needing to catch up on thinking. Finally got out of bed after 4 and wrote to our parents and Naomi. I opened up the Banton newsletter today and seeing it in writing makes it more real. They really are going to leave us. I am hoping that with these frequent visits I have into grief, that I won't completely fall apart when it's time to say good-bye. It's a silly hope, really. Went to school to set up for art and then out for another hair cut and then to Baine's for a 2 hour visit with DDF. I am so thankful for the way she centers me and brings my focus back to God. In art class, the K/1 boys painted their batiks and finished painting and naming their penguins. 2nd graders scraped the flour/water design off their batiks and painted their waterfalls for next weeks art project. ///I am thankful for a night at home to watch the rain and hear it dripping on the porch. I am thankful for my dear darling husband and that my favorite people belong to our family. I am thankful for God's faithfulness to me.

Fri.-Rough night. Couldn't get the edge off the pain. Sick in my stomach from all the pain meds. It seems I have several teeth in trouble. Took Susan to school and ran off her mission trip letters. Went out to Lindsays and I drove her and the girls to the dentist. He thinks the pain I am experiencing is somewhat normal but thinks sinus issues are complicating it. He put me on an antibiotic and gave me some 800 mg IBprofen which should help bring down the swelling. We went to Whole Foods and Trader Joes and a few other shops. After I brought them home, I went to CVS and Freeman pulled up beside me in the parking lot. It was nice to see him and Alli on their excursion into town. Went to Walmart and shopped for Janelle and us. Micah is sick with a fever and she hasn't had a chance to get out. He smiled so sweetly when I brought the groceries in. His face was flushed and he was hot. Dear little darling. Philip had called to check on me while I was out and said that he bought pizza for supper and that I didn't need to worry about what to make when I got home. Susan cleaned up the kitchen and I got some wash started and swept the floor and checked facebook and blogged. Susan is doing her homework. Phil ran out to Pamplin. Christi and Philip went to scope out an auction that will take place tomorrow. Michael is in Richmond. Philip is exhausted because he can't sleep without Michael being 4 feet away from him. ///I am thankful that the plastic flower arrangements broke free from their gravestones and were dancing in the Farmville streets today due to high winds. I am thankful for all of the kind people at the dentist office. I am thankful for the flip flops, shorts, and hoodies I saw in town today. It's 70 degrees and windy. Tree branches are scattered here and there. I am thankful that Ernie snuck up on me at Walmart and scared me a bit and that Sara got out of her check out line to come talk to me. It's Ernies birthday. I am thankful for their cart that had beautiful bulbs in it and the future and a hope they foretell. I am thankful for the 'Alice Garden' Sara is going to create in memory of her friend. I am thankful that I also saw Mr. Roth tonight at Walmart and I got to talk to him and he kissed me and held my hand and I thought that he seemed good. Dear sweet man.

Sat.-Fell asleep quickly on that 800 mgs of Advil but woke with pain 4 hours later. Took 2 hours to get it under control with more meds. I can taste the chemicals in my mouth. Hate to think of what this is doing to my liver. This deep pain calls out for deep remedies and I've been playing the old hymns. When I can't use my voice, the piano sings for me. I love the deep and ageless words of these classic songs. The writers knew God and every word is a bottom line word and that is my cry these days. What will reach my pain? What is the bottom line? Don't waste my time with alot of extras. I am in too much pain to tolerate it. I wonder if this is what people are crying all around me? Today Mrs. Roth was buried. I went to her funeral with Susan and Michael. We had to leave after an hour because Michael had an appt. Funerals are always hard for me as I imagine they are for most people. I loved what Pastor Rob said about her being 'Sister Roth.' I love how Pastor Betty read comforting scriptures. Michael loved that too. And I loved what the one grandson shared and the way in which he shared it. Their two daughters sang with all their hearts and joined their mother 'round the throne. Lynney and Jay sang 'How Great Thou Art' and Michael said that that song always makes him cry. My favorite song that the worship team sang was 'In Christ Alone'. It was sung at Johnny's funeral too and the bitter sweetness makes the song all the more meaningful to me. I also appreciated the comforting words that Pat shared about how the suffering in our body causes us to lose our hold on earth and crave heaven. We had to leave just as Pastor Frank got up to preach. Susan spent the day and night with Kelli. We came home and I helped Michael get ready for his demo. He took homemade cake batter to his appt. and baked a cake in the skillet while showing these folks the cookware/knives. They bought a big set and he was promoted to the next level in the Cutco business. I made some whoopie pies for a friend who said on face book that they would really help her through her troubles. I washed some towels and made pureed soup and took a nap. I am just taking it easy. I am thankful for the books I am reading. Two of them have the word Sacred in the titles-"Sacred Thirst" by M.Craig Barnes and "The Sacred Ordinary" by Leigh McLeroy. Both are worthy reads. I am thankful for Phil's kind concern and that he called my mother because he was so concerned for me. She and I have been writing emails back and forth today. I am thankful that Phil heard the spring peepers yesterday morning and that soon, we'll hear them all of the time. I am thankful that Mrs. Roth is with Jesus. I wish I could bring Mr. Roth home to live with us.

Sun.-Rough night. Can't go into it but prayed alot and God did answer. I am thankful again, for another Repairer of the Breach. I am thankful that the Balm of Gilead was poured into wounded souls. I believe God will bring about a greater good than had this incident never happened. And I believe that we all need help in the area of our tongue and we all need the grace and mercy of God. Phil had some farm trouble and we got to church but not SS. Loved the song-"O the blood of Jesus..covers all our sin." Let us keep each other covered with His blood. When we don't forgive or extend grace, we try to wash the blood of Jesus off another's sin and expose it. The blood is too sacred to control. God help us realize who our real enemy is and stand together in unity.

I took Pastor Frank's sermon as good counsel and admonition for any Christian who wants to stand strong and draw near to Him. He encouraged us to pray day and night, fast, and live holy lives. Just as Jesus grew in wisdom and stature and in favor with God and man, we should be committed to do the same.

Wisdom is the ability to implement the will of God in a situation. Ps.112:2-The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. James says that if we lack wisdom, we should ask of God, who giveth to all men liberally. Prov. 4:7,8-Pursue wisdom. Prov. 24:30-Gain wisdom by observing and considering it. Prov. 4:18-the path of the wise grows ever brighter.

Character is who you are in the dark. It's who you are under pressure. James 1:2 says we are to count it all joy when we are overwhelmed with the trials of life. James 2:8-Character shows up in those who have a sensitivity to the needs around them. Jesus was moved with compassion. He was compelled by love. James 3 exhorts us to master our mouth. Make sure that everything we say will build people up. We will give an account for every idle word-words that have no good in them. We must watch what we say, building each other up and encouraging one another. The Greek word for fasting is 'to keep your mouth shut.' James 4-Be a peacemaker; not a troublemaker. We have associated peacemakers with a peaceful personality, but it is not accurate to do so.

Favor-the special affection of God that releases influence on your life. Don't spend your life; invest it. 1 Pet. 2-God is pleased when you do what is right even when wrong is done to you. Gideon's men were able to bring to themselves what they needed and yet kept their eye open to guard others. Ps. 5:12-You surround me with favor as with a shield. The favor of God releases you from the script that every one else has written about your life. The people in Jesus' town said, "Isn't this 'just' the carpenter's son...?" The favor of God releases you from people's opinion that you are 'just' so and so.

When everything else is stripped away, the character, wisdom, and favor of God within you will reveal itself as you are given grace to proclaim,"I know that my Redeemer Liveth and I will stand with Him on that Day."~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Came home and ate baked potatoes and F and A brought some pizza. We watched Three Stooges and checked our face books and relaxed with each other, taking turns taking naps, etc. Kelli and Susan went down to the river on the gator and had a good time. Jordan and Michael came back here and Philip went with Christi to play volleyball somewhere. I went without pain meds from 8 this morning until 3 which is a big deal. I am so tired of feeling so drugged and out of things. Maybe I've turned a corner.

Went to church in the eve. //I am thankful that when Roxy tried to herd the pigs back to their pen, she did not damage the one's leg too badly. I am thankful for the blood of Jesus. I am thankful for the spring peepers we heard as we were pulling away from Freeman and Alli's new place. I am thankful for the sacred things I see in ordinary living and that these blessings are far from common.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Sausage Sweet Potato Bake

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

I used to act and sing at Dutch Family Festival the summer I was 16. Meryl and Phyllis Pellman Good were the owners of that business and I so enjoyed my experiences there.

This is one of our favorite meals from this cookbook.
1 lb. bulk sausage-I like the turkey sausage Walmart sells in a roll.
2 med. raw sweet potatoes
3 med. apples
2 Tbsp. brown sugar
1 Tbsp. flour
1/4 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 cup water
Brown sausage and drain excess fat
Peel and slice sweet pot. and apples
Toss sausage, pot., and apples in a 2 quart
casserole dish. (I triple the recipe and use
a roasting pan. Works in a crockpot also.)
Combine last four ingredients and pour over
and toss. Cover and bake at 375 for 50-60 min.
or until done. Sometimes I bake it at 250 for
3 hours.

Seeking or Wandering

Psalm 119:10-"With my whole heart have sought You;
Oh, let me not wander from Your commandments!"

I noticed this verse today.
I saw what my mother had written about it in her journal
since I had copied it down on the verse card I have in my Bible Memory Box.

She wrote, (focusing on the word 'wander') -"..not a deliberate turning away-which we would reject-but an unfocused, unnoticed drift, which is possible even when 'with my whole heart I have sought You.'

I checked out Webster.

Sought; Seek-
~to try to find
~search for
~to go to
~resort to
~to ask or inquire for
~to try to discover
~to try to get
~to investigate

~to move or go aimlessly about
~ramble, roam
~to move idly from one point to another
~to stray from home, friends, etc.
~to go astray in mind or purpose
~to drift away from a subject
~to be disjointed; incoherent
~to meander, as a river

If we are seeking something, we are being intentional in finding it.
If we are wandering, we are not being intentional about finding anything.

If we are seeking for a destination, we will use a map or a compass.
If we are wandering, we will get lost and not even know who or what
we are lost from.

We cannot stop seeking without soon wandering.

Suppose we are in a boat and want to get to the other side.
Without an oar or a motor, we will not have the 'power'
to obtain that which we seek.
We will soon be adrift.

There is a 'rest' in God.
But it is a 'seeking rest' and not a lazy, wandering rest.

We can be one who seeks God with all of our hearts,
but with the Psalmist we should pray,
"Oh, let me not wander from Your commandments!"

Because it can so easily happen.
Life is full of distractions.
And we need His grace and help
to seek Him with all of our hearts
minute by minute of every day.
O to grace how great debtor
Daily I'm constrained to be!
Let that grace now, like a fetter,
Bind my wand'ring heart to Thee:
Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it,
Prone to leave the God I love;
Here's my heart, O take and seal it;
Seal it for Thy courts above.

(Robert Robinson, 1758)

Monday, February 14, 2011

Hertzler Doings-Feb.14-20,2011

Mon.-Song-"I must tell Jesus..." Happy Valentine's Day! Spent most of the day with Lindsay. Susan watched the girls while she drove me to Chesterbrooke for a dentist appt. I need to take Clonopin so I don't get vertigo when I have to lay back and I get a little loopy on those meds. We went to Target and Sam's Club afterwards. Susan had a good time and the girls were taking a nap when we got back. We woke them up and got them dressed for their ballet lessons. Then I carefully drove home and went to bed and slept 2 1/2 hours. Michael made supper. Susan helped Phil with the cows and the high winds blew something hard against her and hurt her pretty badly. The winds are so high and the ground so dry that they are warning not to do any outside burning today.///I am thankful for my Valentine and for my other Valentine Hertzler's and for all my Valentine Bantons. I am thankful for my new dentist and the extraordinary care I was given and the way he made me feel better about my teeth. I am thankful that God will provide more than enough to pay for this extraordinary bill because He doesn't give us extraordinary care and leave us sitting with the extraordinary bill.

Tues.-"His love never fails, never gives up..." Great day at school. Enjoyed every class. I played one of Bach's melancholy pieces in every class. (Arioso) I had them close their eyes and asked them what thoughts they had as I played. One musically inclined 5/6th grader wiped his eyes as he said "It made me think of my mother dying." "Did your mother die?" another child asked with compassion. "No," he said, "it just made me think about her dying." I suggested that Bach may have written it after his wife or one of his children died.
I've been on the go since 5:30 this morning. Susan wrenched her back yesterday and today and asked to see the chiropractor. Three vertebrae where pushed to the side with a rib lodged in there some where. No wonder she was in pain. Christi and Philip were doing farm chores late this afternoon and came in and ate some soup and played Rook and Monopoly with Susan. Found out that Joe Petersheim died on Sat.
Had a good talk with Michael. I can imagine him as a commercial pilot giving gems of wisdom to over the microphone to his passengers while he's thousands of feet in the air. Philip's pet cow Jasmine finally had her calf. It is so little. It looks like a brown dog. It followed Christi the whole way up to the barn. I am thankful for the fun each class had today. They all seemed a little rowdy but in a happy sort of way. I am thankful for the excitement of farm animals and the way they make our kids want to hang around because they want to watch them grow. I am thankful for the laughter I hear as the kids play games around the table. I am thankful that we haven't had TV for awhile and there is no background noise.

Wed.-Didn't sleep much last night. My brain was over stimulated with that Bach piece and I kept playing it over and over in my head. It's a piece that lifts up your soul and drops it down again. Up. Down. And a gentle balance at the end. It makes me sad in a happy sort of way. I had a nice time with a little two year old girl today. Hadn't seen her for several months but she said she remembered me. She bowled me over at one point. I can tell she has older brothers. She's so smart and coordinated and has a wonderful sense of humor. I missed her and her brothers and am so glad to have them back in 'our' lives. Played more Bach pieces on the piano for the students. In the 3/4 class, I played 'O Sacred Head Now Wounded.' Bach wrote the harmony for that song. I asked them what the music made them think about and one young lady said it reminded her of an oriental coronation. I said that it was just that. "O Sacred Head Now Wounded...with Grief and Shame weighed down...Now scornfully rejected..with thorns thine only crown..." She was rather pleased with herself. //Went out to that new Japanese restaurant in Farmville with Candi in the eve. while Susan was at youth group. It was good to catch up with her. ///I am thankful for the sense of spring being right around the corner. I am thankful for God's protection and wisdom on our drive home. Right at Peaks Rd., a grey and black vehicle was parked perpendicularly across 460. I stopped before we rammed into them and pulled to the side and waited. Then they gunned their vehicle and went across the road. I agree with Susan. It seemed as if they wanted us to hit them. But maybe they were stalled. I don't think their lights were even on. I am thankful for more than enough...grace, mercy, wisdom, resources...I am thankful that He is our refuge and strength; a very present help in trouble. I am thankful for the 'oriental coronation' and the way it has changed our lives forever.

Thurs.-Dropped Susan off and went to Lori 'G's and had cake and coffee at her house. What a nice visit. She is an easy to love kind of friend. I guess most friends are. ;) Went to see Dr. F. and she tried to unstiffen me. Had lunch with the teachers at school and taught two art classes. We are still working on penguin pictures and flour/water batiks. One little second grader was out because he was sick so I painted his batik for him. As soon as I was done, he showed up. He had had some sort of strange rash so his mother kept him home to observe him. He cried because he was going to miss Art so she brought him in for that last period of the day. He wasn't upset at all that I had painted his material. He just happily began making some things out of paper. Susan helped me clean up the art room like she does every Thurs. We treated ourselves to McD's soft ice cream cones in celebration of the 'car windows down' type of weather. I said to the girl, "I bet you have been selling alot of these today." She said they were selling cones and milk shakes all day long. It's in the high 60's. Ran into the Robinson's while we were getting gas. I told the boys I miss them and they said that they miss us too and miss carpooling with us. I said that I missed getting material for my blog from them and their mother said, "Come over any time!" They looked happy and wonderful. What great little guys! Made brussel sprouts with sauteed mushrooms and salad for supper. Did some wash and some clean up. It's windy. The firemen have been busy this week, putting out fires. There was a fireman sitting at our lunch table and he looked pretty tired. He is married to one of the teachers.///I am thankful that one can always plan to get to bed early. I am thankful for Susan's wild sense of humor and her very loud laugh in the car today. I am thankful that I could turn the windows down because the closed car and my ears cannot absorb the amount of volume that emits from her mouth when she laughs like that.

Fri.-Dropped Susan off. Stopped at Janelle's to give her some things Mom had sent back with Phil and headed out to Lindsay's. She drove me back to the dentist and I took my loopy meds right away. Went to Sam's Club first and then to the dentist. I was in that chair for 2 1/2 hours and she played with the girls at the playground across the street. I listened to classical music for most of that time. Right before my surgery, my dentist asked if he could pray for me. That was nice. Now I have a semi permanent implant in the front of my mouth along with stitches and the need for pain meds. Lindsay and I got some coffee smoothies for the ride home. I stayed at their place to try to get a bit less loopy. Judy stopped by and changed Sammy Jo's diaper. Gil and Don left for a camping trip. I drove extra carefully and stopped at Miller's and Flowers warehouse before heading home. Taking it easy tonight.///I am thankful that I have a doctor who gives me his cell phone number and says call anytime and now I have a dentist who gave me his cell phone number and said the same. I am liking the professional availability. It is a kindness. I am thankful that Lindsay won't tell anyone what I said on the way home because I had no filter and she found it rather humorous. I am thankful that my husband was concerned about how I felt and didn't mention the exorbitant cost of this dental procedure. I am thankful for Susan's excitement about the missions trip to New York and her motivation to take care of paper work. I am sorry that Philip 'lost' another cow to hardware ingestion but I am thankful that when life hands these guys a 'lemon' they make ground beef.

Sat.-Philip had some steak made this morning from the cow he lost last night. He made two big sandwiches of steak and eggs. He went to wake up Susan. "Susan. Can you help me with something?" She got up and came out and he said, "I can't possibly eat all this food by myself. Will you help me eat it?" She hugged him and said, "You are the best big brother ever." He had a little bowl of cut up steak for me. He knew I couldn't bite into steak with my front tooth situation. I thanked him for his thoughtfulness and he said, "You used to do this for me all the time-not that I remember it, but I know you did." What a pleasant way to start our Sat. morning. Doing wash and cleaning up. Getting ready for the Brynan's visit this afternoon. Phil at Guilds. Michael working in Fairfax with Cutco. Phil at Guild's. Susan helping me clean house and cleaning up the camper. Someone needs to use it this weekend elsewhere.

John and Terry Brynan came this afternoon. We had a nice time relaxing with each other. Terry and I walked to the river and sat and talked down there. Freeman and Alli came for supper. We sang some songs from the hymn book after supper. "When my life work is ended...I shall know Him..." and our favorite Christmas songs as well. These folks are changing the world where they live in Kenya. Michael is on his way home from Fairfax. Traffic is tied up and lots of smoke from wildfires.///I am thankful for the fun Susan, Alli, and I had this morning-'working' on the dance exercise video. Alli so stiff from running she could hardly lift up her leg. I am thankful for a day to do wash and clean house since both my Mon and Fri. were taken up with dentist appts. I am thankful for Phil's friend, John, who has known him much longer than I have and the ease and comfort we have in our friendship with him and his wife.

Sun.-Nice breakfast of scrambled eggs with mushrooms and bagels and coffee with Johnny and Terry. During SS hour they set up a table with display of pictures of Kenya, etc. A number of those who had been to Kenya stopped by to chat with them. Good Service. Went to Country Cookin' with Freeman, Alli, Philip, Christi, Michael, Susan, John, Terry, Pastor Frank and Lisa. Said farewell to J and T around 3. They were headed to see John's daughter. Connected them with Steve and Ruth who are in South Africa and they are already helping T with some of her symptoms. Email is an amazing tool. I took a nap until it was time to go back to church. Pastor Frank shared about forerunners and the leadership qualities and habits of a preparer of the way. I will attempt to combine the morning sermon with the evening service notes. Pastor Frank shared what was foremost on his mind. He had just recently come upon a tragic accident where a drunk driver had hit a couple on a motorcycle. The drunk driver was crying with remorse and the man who had been hit suffered a few injuries. But the wife literally lost her leg in the accident. Pastor Frank laid down beside her on the road and touched her helmet and prayed and said, 'Stay with me...' etc. He shared this for several reasons. It was an experience he had that he needed to talk about. He wanted us to pray for this family that had suffered this tragedy. And he wanted us to prepare ourselves for divine appointments. He feels that we will experience things like this more and more as the day draws near. My brother in law, Johnny, was hit by a drunk driver while he was on a motor cycle. I've been missing him. A neighbor man, in that area of Thailand, when he heard the crash, decided to finish his breakfast before going to check on the accident. I kept thinking, 'If only Pastor Frank had been the first on the scene when Johnny was destroyed in that accident.' I wonder who was with him during those last 10 min. of his life. (There are many times we will be first on the scene. First on the scene to the bad news of cancer. First on the scene to hear an offense. First on the scene of a broken heart. Will we lie down on the ground beside the wounded one and pray and say, "Stay with me...?" Will we hold them until help comes? Will we check in with them later to see how they are recovering? For me, this story was one of the sermons of the day.)

Sermon Title-"An Invitation that Requires Participation"

Judges 7-Gideon-He had too many warriors to go against the enemy. The men were all called to be warriors but only a few were chosen to be warriors against the Midianites. "And the LORD said to Gideon, "The people who are with you are too many for Me to give the Midianites into their hands, lest Israel claim glory for itself against Me, saying, 'My own hand has saved me.'
So, God told Gideon to tell the warriors that if any of them were afraid, they could go home. So 22,000 went home. 10,000 remained. Still too many. So God had them go down and get drinks of water. Some put their heads down in the water and drank. Others dipped their hand in the water and sipped water from their hand. They stayed alert, ready to see, ready to run, ready to draw their spear. So those were the 300 who were chosen and every other man was sent back to his own place. That night, because Gideon was still a bit afraid, he took his servant, Purah, with him, and they went down to check out the Midianite camp. God had told them they could do this if they still needed some reassurance that they were going to win. They arrived just in time to hear two men talking about a prophetic dream. One man had dreamed that a loaf of bread tumbled down into the camp and struck a tent so hard it collapsed. The other man said, "This is nothing else but the sword of Gideon. God has delivered Midian and the whole camp into his hand!" Gideon heard the dream and its interpretation and he worshiped God and returned to camp and woke everyone up with the faith filled words,"Arise, for the Lord has delivered the camp of Midian into your hand." He divided the 300 men into 3 groups and put a trumpet into every man's hand with empty pitchers and torches inside the pitchers. He said, "Look at me. Watch and do what I do. When I blow the trumpet-you blow the trumpet and shout 'The sword of the Lord and of Gideon!" And that they did. Then they broke the pitchers and the enemy turned on each other and killed each other with their own swords and ran all over the place.
We were asked this morning, if we knew whether or not we were called and what we were called to. I am certain of only one calling. To hear and to obey. This means that I must stay in the Word and stay close to Him. This means that I must resist evil while at the same time I pursue Him. And with the Psalmist I cry,"With my whole heart I have sought You; O let me not wander from Your precepts."
I am thankful that when things are completely out of our control, God holds it together for us.
I am thankful that when I am worried about what seems important to me, I see pictures of children who are dying of protein malnourishment, and what was important is not anymore. I am thankful for Philip's words on the way to church yesterday while driving with Phil, Susan, and I, "Michael is my most favorite person on earth." I am thankful for John and Terry's love for our family and for his affirmation, "There is no condemnation in this home." I am thankful that I sneaked a peek at Susan's paper work for the missions trip and she said that her dad is her hero and that she wants to be like him as much as possible.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Desire Fulfilled

She was a Canaanite woman.
She heard that Jesus was in the area
and she went to Him and cried out,
"Have mercy on me, O Lord, Son of David!
My daughter is severely demon-possessed."

And Jesus said not a word to her.
He ignored her. First offense.

Then His disciples came and urged Him to send her away.
She was getting on their nerves.
"Send her away, for she cries after us."
And He said, "God sent me to help the lost sheep of Israel only."
Second offense.

She was a Gentile, not a lost sheep of Israel.
She was just lost.

Then she came and worshiped Him,
saying, "Lord, help me!"

But He answered and said,
"It is not good to take the children's bread
and throw it to the little dogs."
I have a hard time with Him on this one.
It's His third and worse offense.

I've heard that the little dog word actually
means little pet but I still don't think
it was very nice. I am not saying anything
here that I haven't already told Him.

Then the desperate woman said to him,
"Yes, Lord, yet even the little dogs
eat the crumbs which fall from
their master's table."

How did she come up with that?
It impressed Him.
She agreed with Him but asked for more.
I love that.

And then He said the most wonderful words
in the world,
"O woman, great is your faith.
Let it be as you desire."

And it was so.
Her daughter was healed that very hour.

I usually cry two times
when I read this story.
Once when Jesus seems so mean
and once when He calls her a woman
of great faith.

I think sometimes it seems like Jesus
isn't answering our pleas.
Sometimes it seems like He has favorites
and we're not one of them.

What would happen if we refused to be offended in Him?
What would happen if we didn't keep track
and say in our minds,
"Three strikes-You're out, God!
I've given You a chance and You don't work."

This woman was certain that He had what she needed
and she was willing to push through any obstacles
to get what she wanted from Him.

She knew that even crumbs from His hand
would be enough to heal her daughter.
She did not insist on
having the whole loaf.

I guess that is what faith is, isn't it?

Faith is being sure that He has what we need
and being willing to persevere
through seeming offenses from Him
to get to the goodness He holds in His hand.
(Scripture-Matthew 15:21-28-NKJV)

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Days of Elijah

I've been thinking much about Elijah and hearing his name quite a bit so I looked up everything I could find about him in the Bible and for my own sake, I want to set up a record of his days, because then I think I might see what I need to see. At least I hope so. So here goes.
1 Kings 17:1-7-As far as I can see, this is the first mention of Elijah. He denounced King Ahab and told him that there would be no rain or dew until he (Elijah) would give the word. (Ahab was an evil king.) Then Elijah went into hiding at God's bidding and was fed bread and meat by ravens morning and evening and drank from the Brook Cherith, which flows from the Jordan River.
1 Kings 17:8-24-God commanded him to go to Zarephath and stay with a widow who would provide for him. (The brook was drying up.) He found her gathering sticks and asked her for a drink of water and a bit to eat. She told him that she was just about to make a last meal for herself and her son and then they would die. But Elijah told her not to be afraid and said that she should make him a cake of bread first and bring it to him, and then make some for herself and her son. He said that God said that her flour would not be used up nor would her jar of oil run dry until the Lord sent rain on the earth. And that's exactly what happened.
Then her son died and she was upset with Elijah. He asked for her son and he took him up to his room and laid him on his bed. Then he got upset with God just like she had gotten upset with him. He cried out to God, "O LORD my God, have You also brought tragedy on the widow with whom I lodge, by killing her son?" Then he stretched himself out on the child three times and prayed hard that God would restore the child's soul back to him. And God heard him and the child came back to life and he gave him back to his mother. She said, "Now by this I know that you are a man of God and that the word of the LORD in your mouth is truth." Wow.
1 Kings 18:1-40-God told Elijah to present himself to Ahab. (Up until this time, Elijah was the object of an international manhunt ordered by the king.) He met Obadiah who was in charge of Ahab's house and told him to go tell his master that he was here. Obadiah said, "Nothing doing. As soon as I leave to go tell, you'll disappear and then I'll get killed." But Elijah insisted that he really was going to go to Ahab so Obadiah went to meet Ahab and told him and Ahab went to meet Elijah. Ahab called Elijah a troublemaker when he saw him but Elijah said," I've not been the troublemaker of Israel. You and your father's house have been the troublemakers because you have forsaken the commandments of the Lord and followed the Baals. Now go and gather all of Israel together and grab 450 of your Baal prophets and 400 prophets of Asherah, who eat at Jezebel's table and meet me at Mt. Carmel." And that's exactly what Ahab did. And Elijah came to all of the people and told them they have to make up their minds which God they were going to serve-Baal or the Lord God, but nobody wanted to make a commitment. (Baal was the Canaanite god of storm, rain, and fertility. Ironic, isn't it?) So Elijah said, "I am the only prophet of the Lord left but Baal has 450 prophets so the bulls are going to come from your side of the fence. Cut up your bull and lay it on wood but don't you dare start a fire and I will prepare the other bull the same way. Then you call on your gods and I will call on my God and whichever God reponds by sending fire, then He is God." And they thought that was cool. So they prepared their bull and started crying out to Baal. They leaped about and made complete idiots out of themselves and Elijah made fun of them and said, "Cry louder because maybe he is having deep thoughts or maybe he's on a vacation, or maybe he's sleeping." So they cried until they were hoarse and they were even cutting themselves with knives, and blood was gushing everywhere and still they could not get Baal's attention. This went on for several hours and then Elijah got them to stop and gathered everyone around and said, "Come near to me." Then he fixed the broken down altar of the Lord. (Oh Alleluia. I want to preach now.) He took 12 stones according to the 12 tribes of Israel and built an altar in the name of the Lord and made a big trench around it. He got the wood stacked up and the bull butchered and laid on top of the wood and then he told them to fill up 4 waterpots full of water and pour it on the sacrifice and then he told them to do it a second and a third time and the trench was filled with water. And then He prayed. "LORD God of Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, let it be known this day that You are God in Israel and I am your servant and that I have done all these things at Your word. Hear me, O LORD, hear me, that this people may know that You are the Lord God, and that You have turned their hearts back to You again." And just like that, the fire of God fell and consumed the burnt sacrifice and burned up everything including the stones and the dust and all of the water and everyone bowed down and fell on their faces and cried aloud, "The LORD, He is God! The Lord, He is God!" And they meant it. Then Elijah said to them, "Seize the prophets of Baal! Do not let any escape!" And so they grabbed them and hauled them down to the Brook Kishon and Elijah executed all 450 of them! What a bloody mess!
1 Kings 18:41-45-Elijah told Ahab to go ahead and eat with the others because he heard the sound of abundance of rain. So Ahab went ahead and ate and Elijah went up to the top of Mt. Carmel and bowed down with his face between his knees. He sent his servant to go check for rain clouds but the servant said,"Sorry, but there's nothing." Seven times he made him go back and check and finally, on that seventh time, the servant said, "I see a cloud about the size of a man's hand coming out of the sea!" I think he was relieved. So, Elijah sent word to Ahab to get his chariot ready before the rain deterred his travels. Meanwhile, that little man's hand cloud turned into a sky black with clouds and wind and heavy rain and Ahab got out of there as fast as he could and headed towards Jezreel. But guess what? The hand of the Lord came on Elijah and he ran so fast that he passed Ahab in the chariot and beat him to the gates of Jezreel. He ran almost 20 miles and set a world record that has not been beaten to this day!
1 Kings 19-So when Ahab got home he told his wife, Jezebel, that Elijah had killed all of her prophets and it would be an understatement to say that she was rather ticked off at him. She sent a message to him that by this time tomorrow, he would be as dead as those prophets he murdered. And Elijah got scared and ran for his life and went to Beersheba and told his servant to stay there but he himself kept on going. He went a day's journey into the wilderness and rested under a broom tree and prayed that he might die. (He wanted God to let him die even though he didn't want to be killed by Jezebel.) And then he fell asleep and an angel came and made him a nice little cake on some coals. Then the angel woke him up and told him to eat and gave him some water and then he fell asleep again and then the angel woke him up and told him to eat more and he ate and drank and on the strength of that food travelled for forty days and nights until he reached Horeb, the mountain of God, which was also known as Mt. Sinai, where God had revealed Himself to Moses. Once he got there, he went into cave and spent the night there. And then the Lord came to him and said, "What are you doing here Elijah?" And Elijah said, "I have been very zealous for the LORD God of hosts; for the children of Israel have forsaken Your covenant, torn down Your altars, and killed Your prophets with the sword. I alone am left; and they seek to take my life."
Then God told him to go outside and stand on the mountain before Him. The Lord passed by him and so did a great strong wind that tore rocks off the mountain and stuff was flying everywhere but the Lord was not in the wind. Then the ground shook and Elijah had a hard time standing upright, but the Lord was not in the earthquake. And then there was a fire and I don't know where that would have come from, but the Lord wasn't in the fire. And after the fire there came a still, small voice. It appears by this time that Elijah had taken refuge back inside his cave because when he heard that still small voice, he wrapped his face in his mantle and came out to the entrance of the cave and that voice said to him, "What are you doing here, Elijah?" And Elijah said the same thing he had said earlier about working for God and now he was the only one left, etc. etc. and it seems that God wasn't impressed really, with all of that, because He said to him," Return on your way to the Wilderness of Damascas and anoint Hazael as king over Syria, and anoint Jehu the son of Nishi as king over Israel. And anoint Elisha, son of Shaphat of Abel Meholah as prophet in your place. And whoever escapes the sword of Hazael will be killed by Jehu and whoever escapes Jehu's sword will be killed by Elisha." And then He assured Elijah that he was not alone by these wonderful words,"Yet I have reserved seven thousand in Israel, all whose knees have not bowed to Baal, and who have not kissed him with their mouths."
And so, God enlarged Elijah's vision and he left that place with new purpose and several jobs to do. He found Elisha who was plowing the fields with 12 oxen and as Elijah walked past him, he threw his mantle on him. Elisha ran after him and asked for some time to say good bye to his parents before he followed him and Elijah acted rather non-chalant and said, "Go back again, for what have I done to you?" So Elisha went back and took a yoke of oxen and had a party with those in his community and said good-bye to his old way of life and then found Elijah and became his servant.
1 Kings 21-Well, it appears that a man named Naboth had a vineyard that Ahab wanted as a vegetable garden seeing that it was right next to his own palace. But Naboth didn't want to give up something that had been in his family for years and years. So Ahab threw a hissy fit and went home and acted all depressed and wouldn't eat or anything. So his wife came to him and said,"How come you are in such a bad mood and won't eat your food?" And he told her about his dreams for a vegetable garden and how mean old Naboth wouldn't let him have his land so his dreams could be fulfilled. Jezebel said,"Well, are you the king or not? Get up and eat. If it's a vegetable garden you want, it's a vegetable garden you'll get. I'll see to that myself!" And she did. She set Naboth up and had false witnesses testify that Naboth had blasphemed God and the king and poor Naboth was stoned and spoiled brat Ahab got his fresh vegetables. But God saw everything and He is just so He sent Elijah to go meet Ahab in Naboth's old vineyard and tell him his time was up. When Ahab saw Elijah he said,"So, you've found me, my enemy?" And Elijah said,"I have found you alright because you have sold yourself to do evil in the sight of the Lord. You and your kids and your kids kids are going to experience calamity and you are in so much trouble because you have made God really angry." (Only he said it in a more dignified way than I just did.) "And," Elijah continued," The dogs are going to eat up your wife."(And they eventually did.) Well, Ahab actually believed that this would happen since everything Elijah told him before had been accurate, so he tore his clothes and put sackcloths on his body and fasted and mourned and God relented and said He wouldn't bring calamity to Ahab house while Ahab was in power but would wait until his son was in power to bring calamity to Ahab's family line. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
11 Kings 1:1-16-Now from what I can tell, the next time we hear about Elijah is about 15-20 years after his last encounter with Ahab. (My Bible notes say that Elisha was with him 15-20 years before he went up into heaven. Another resource says that Elijah's ministry took place from 865 to 850 B.C.-15 years.) This time, Elijah is confronting Ahaziah, Ahab and Jezebel's wicked son, who was reigning as King over Israel. Ahaziah had taken a bad fall through some lattice and he sent some messengers to a prophet of Baal to see if they could tell him whether or not he would recover. But God sent Elijah instead and he told the messengers that Ahaziah was going to die. They came back to Ahaziah with the news. "What kind of man told you that?" Ahaziah asked them. They said, "A hairy man wearing a leather belt around his waist." "That's Elijah the Tishbite." So the king sent a captain of fifty with his fifty men and they went to find Elijah and there he was on the top of the hill and the captain called out to him,"Man of God, the king says you're to come down." And guess what Elijah says? "If I am a Man of God, then let fire come down from heaven and consume you and your fifty men." And just like that, fire came down and consumed them all. So Ahaziah did it again. And the same thing happened- another Captain with his 50 men were burned up with consuming fire. Now the third captain got the picture; saw the pattern you could say, and when he was sent, he went up and fell on his knees before Elijah and begged for his life and the lives of his soldiers. And the angel of the Lord told Elijah to go with this captain and to not be afraid. And so Elijah gave Ahaziah the word to his face-that because he had inquired of Baal instead of God he would surely die and he did.
11 Kings 2:1-15-Now somehow, Elisha found out that God was about to take Elijah from this earth and he was determined to follow him and get a blessing. So Elijah told Elisha to stay put while he went to Bethel but he said,"There is no possible way I am leaving you now!" So, they went to Bethel and other prophets came out and said to Elisha,"Are you aware that God is going to take your master from you today?" and he said, "Yes, I know. Be quiet." Then Elijah said that he was going to Jericho and that Elisha should stay put but Elisha refused again and followed him. So the two moved on. When they came to the Jordan river, there were 50 sons of prophets watching them. Elijah took his mantle, rolled it up, and struck the water and the water rolled up and there was a dry path for them to walk on. After they had crossed the Jordan, Elijah turned to Elisha and said, "Ask! What may I do for you, before I am taken away from you?" And Elisha said, "Please let a double portion of your spirit be upon me." "You have asked a hard thing," replied Elijah,"but if you see me when I am taken away, then you shall receive a double anointing." They went on their way talking and full of expectancy and all of a sudden, a chariot of fire appeared with horses of fire and separated the two of them and Elijah went up by a whirlwind into heaven. And dear Elisha, who loved his master, Elijah, with his very life, saw all of this take place and he cried out, "My father, my father, the chariot of Israel and its horsemen!" And he saw Elijah no more. Elisha took hold of his own clothes and tore them in two and then he picked up Elijah's mantel where it had fallen from him and...
but that's another story. You can read more about Elisha in 11 Kings.
I have been so engrossed in writing these stories that I almost created a flood in our home. The tub water is an inch from the top and I think if I reach in with my arm to pull up the plug it may run over. I guess I'll have to use a yard stick or something. It's too bad I don't have Elijah's mantle. I don't mean any disrespect by that or anything. I could just use a miraculous parting of some water. Well, there are a few other places where Elijah is mentioned and I am going to give direct quotes from the NKJV. I have used some direct quotes from the same source in the stories written above.
Malachi 4:5,6-"Behold I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the LORD, And he will turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the hearts of the children to their fathers, lest I come and strike the earth with a curse."

Luke 1:16,17-Prophecy given to Zacharias by an angel regarding his son to be born-John-later known as 'John the Baptist.'-"And he will turn many of the children of Israel to the Lord their God. He will also go before Him in the spirit and power of Elijah, 'to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children,' and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just, to make ready a people prepared for the Lord."

Matthew 17:1-4-"Now after six days Jesus took Peter, James, and John his brother, led them up on a high mountain by themselves; and He was transfigured before them. His face shone like the sun, and His clothes became as white as the light. And behold, Moses and Elijah appeared to them, talking with Him. Then Peter answered and said to Jesus, "Lord, is is good for us to be here; if You wish, let us make here three tabernacles: one for You, one for Moses, and one for Elijah."
This is what I see.

Jezebel brought much distress to the land of Israel. It did not satisfy her to see her husband, Ahab, worshiping idols; she also wanted to annihilate all true religion from the land. She brought priests of Baal from her own land to kill all the prophets of the LORD.

The spirit of Jezebel not only promotes evil,
but wants to destroy what is righteous as well.

Elijah's call was to turn the hearts of the people back to God.

John the Baptist call was to turn the hearts of the fathers to their children and the hearts of the children to their fathers and to turn many of the children of Israel to the Lord their God and to turn the disobedient to the wisdom of the just.


To make ready a people prepared for the Lord.

And that is our calling as well.

To turn the hearts of people back to God
and to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.

Because He IS coming again.

And every knee will bow just as knees bowed
after the fire came down in Elijah's day
and consumed the sacrifice.
And every tongue will say, "Jesus Christ is Lord!
"The LORD He is God!"

Oh, to say this willingly and lovingly
with wholesome fear and awe.

Because one way or another,
it will be said.

The LORD loves you.
He wants you.
Turn your heart back to Him.
He waits
And He is good.