Thursday, July 28, 2011

Warnings and Exhortations

One little chapter.
The book of Jude.

Written, most likely,
by the brother of Jesus
who was also the brother of the
author of the book of James.

Full of heaviness and hope.
Warning and exhortation.

Contend earnestly for your faith.
Because there are godless men in your midst
who turn the grace of God into lewdness
and deny the only Lord God
and our Lord Jesus Christ.

Godless people
like those children of Israel who did not believe.

like the angels in heaven who did not keep their place.
Reserved in everlasting chains under darkness
for the darkness of that final day.

like Sodom and Gomorrah
full of sexual immorality and perversion.
Suffering the vengeance of eternal fire.

defiling the flesh
rejecting authority
speaking evil of what they do not know
corrupting themselves in the natural.

Their deeds give them the same end as Cain,
who murdered his brother instead of caring for him.
And as Balaam, who was tempted to curse Israel
for a monetary reward.
And as those who perished in the rebellion of Korah-
Korah led a prideful uprising against Moses and Aaron.
"Who are you that you should tell us what to do?"
The earth swallowed them up and they were no more.

Confusion follows these false teachers.
They are self-serving, seeking
to overthrow the faith of God's people.
Clouds that promise refreshment but fail to deliver.
Fruit trees that bear no fruit.
Raging waves of the sea,
bringing up their own shame
in the surfacing foam.
Wandering stars who do not follow
the laws of the universe.

Their reward?
The blackness of darkness forever.

These apostates also
Are sensual- gathering around themselves
a faction within the church;
an elitist group who are deceived into
thinking they are more spiritual
than those around them.
Mockers, who walk according to their own lusts.
They speak swelling flattering words
in order to advance themselves.
They cause divisions and
do not have the Spirit of God.
Scary business.
Makes me uneasy.
How then shall we live?

Thank God.
Here it is.

But you,
building yourself up on your most holy faith,
praying in the Holy Spirit,
keep yourself in the love of God,
looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ
unto eternal life.

Have compassion and bring those who have
strayed back into truth.
With some you can be gentle
and with some you'll need to be a bit rough,
jerking them back from the fires of judgment
without getting contaminated from their sin.
And so, we must grow up.
We must pull our heads out of the sand
and be aware of our surroundings.
We cannot tolerate every wind of doctrine
in order to keep the peace.
(Sometimes, we are more concerned with keeping peace
than we are with keeping truth.)

Judgment has already been spoken against false teachers.
Their fate is already decided.
They are pursuing falseness
as a way of life.
They haven't just gotten a little side tracked accidentally.
We've all done this at one time or another.
That's why we need each other to guard each other's
blind spots.
That's why we are exhorted to pull each
other back to our common salvation;
the gospel of grace.
That's why we pray, "Lord, defend what You
can in me and cleanse me from those things
you cannot defend."
That's why we humble ourselves when we are accused
and ask God to show us if there is any truth
in the hurtful words.

On the other hand, it is best if we don't jump on
the accusation band wagon
and get all hot and bothered,
ugly and mean.

We can be so 'right' that we are absolutely wrong.
We Christians have given ourselves a bad name
by the way we attack our own.

It is possible to refute a teaching without
destroying a teacher.
And we haven't thrown out Proverbs
because of Solomon's unwise decisions
made later in his life.

We must be aware of what is false but we must not
let it distract us from our pursuit of truth.

And we must warn those who are being
swayed by the false, humanistic philosophies
that are prevalent today.
This is our defensive action.

Our offensive action is to contend for the faith
which is rooted in our common salvation.
Build yourself up in this faith.
Don't wait for someone else to do it.

You, yourself, read and study the Word of God
You, yourself, pray in the Holy Spirit.
You, yourself, keep yourself in the love of God
and look for His mercy in every situation.

These are the things that we, ourselves, do.

And this is what God, Himself, does.

"Now unto Him who is able to keep you from stumbling,
And to present you faultless
before the presence of His glory
with exceeding joy.
To God our Savior,
Who alone is wise,
Be glory and majesty,
Dominion and power,
Both now and forever.

Keep yourself in the love of God.
God keeps you in His.
And love one another
as He has loved you.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Debra's Iced Coffee

My sister-in-law, Debra, introduced our family to a new, cool treat. Put several Tablespoons of the following mixture into milk, stir, and add ice cubes, and there you go!

Boil together:
2 cups water
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup instant coffee

Take off heat.

Then add 2-3 T. Vanilla

Store in fridge.

Add 1/2 cup caramel sauce to boiling mixture
for a coffee caramel treat.
You could also add cocoa or chocolate syrup.
Why not chocolate syrup and coconut extract
for an almond joy kick?
Or mint extract and chocolate syrup for a chocolate-
mint delight?

You could make up several different kinds,
put them in pint jars and label them,
and help yourself several times a day,
especially if you use decaf coffee.

I have been using a bit of half-and half and water instead of milk.

It's a wonderful treat on these hot summer days!

Strengthen what Remains

I have been thinking 'topically' lately, when it comes to themes in the Bible. I want to post verses on these themes in such a way that they can be printed out and slipped into a plastic sheet cover and hung on the wall. These are areas of my life that need strengthening and reassuring. I absorb these words from the inside out, with the life of God living in me, rather than outside in, like a set of rules to 'make me righteous.' Today, I am wanting to be careful with my words, for much is entrusted to me, and I want to honor the trust and not be a part of any kind of destruction. No one is perfect in regards to the tongue. Most of my regrets in life are because of things I said or did not say. And so I am hiding these verses about 'words' in my heart, that I might not sin against Him.

The Words of My Mouth

Psalm 141:3~"Set a guard, O LORD, over my mouth;
Keep watch over the door of my lips."

Proverbs 18:4~"The words of a man's mouth are deep waters;
The wellspring of wisdom is a flowing brook."

Proverbs 2:23~"Whoever guards his mouth and tongue
Keeps his soul from troubles."

Proverbs 31:26~"She opens her mouth with wisdom,
And on her tongue is the law of kindness."

Isaiah 41:6~"Everyone helped his neighbor,
And said to his brother,
"Be of good courage!"

Isaiah 50:4~"The Lord GOD has given Me
the tongue of the learned,
That I should know how to speak
A word in season to him who is weary.
He wakens me morning by morning,
He awakens my ear to hear as the learned."

Hosea 14:2~"Take words with you, and return to the LORD.
Say to Him, 'Take away all iniquity;
Receive us graciously,
For we will offer the sacrifices of our lips.'"

Matthew 12:34b-37~"...For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good things, and an evil man out of the evil treasure brings forth evil things. But I say to you that for every idle word men may speak, they will give account of it in the day of judgment. For by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned."

Colossians 34:3-5~"...pray for us, that God would open to us a door for the word, to speak the mystery of Christ, for which I am in chains, that I may make it manifest, as I ought to speak. Walk in wisdom toward those who are outside, redeeming the time."

1 Timothy 4:12~" an example to the believers in word, in conduct, in love, in spirit, in faith, in purity."

Hertzler Doings-July 25-31, 2011

Mon.-Debra and boys left around 7 for Pa. Philip left for camp at the same time. Phil and Freeman left as well. Michael left shortly afterwards and soon I had to run a lug wrench out to him on Hixburg Rd. Had to get all new tires in Appomattox. Thankful it didn't happen on 460 or in the driving rain yesterday when he lost control several times. Tire had huge rip. Rotten. Debra called later. It was raining so hard 5 hours from here that they had to pull off and wait. They did get some rain later, at home. Thank God. It was so dry up there. Lindsay and the girls came. Picked up the huge mirror frame Phil built her from cedar wood. She loved it. Later in the eve, I went out to Diane T.'s for a party for Lindsay who is moving to Conn. in 2 weeks. I am excited for them. I am also happy for Connecticut. But I grieve for myself, our family, and New Life. We will miss them so very much. ///I am thankful for the 1.7 inches of rain we got tonight and the 1/2 inch we got yesterday. I am thankful for Lindsay's friends and the way she loves and sees the best in everyone. I am thankful for bacon wrapped apricots, broiled to a crisp in the oven, perfect the way they were, even though the smoke alarm went off several times, served tonight amidst a table laden with other wonderful food.

Tues.-Catching up on a week of blogging. Leroy and Sarah came for corn, as did Phyllis later on in the day. Caught up on some chores. Didn't get much done today. So tired.///I am thankful for Phil's tan happy face and the way he smiles at me. I am thankful for Phyllis's good idea. I am thankful for Debra's iced coffee mix. I am thankful for the phone and for face book and how it keeps me in touch with friends far and near.

Wed.-Nice morning at home. Went to Holliday Lake and hung out with Janelle and her fun-fun aunts, Lucy, and Beth. Michael and Corbin were there, playing like brothers in the water. Meredith and Bethany brought Susan home around 5 from Girl's Camp. The puppies were happy to see her and she raved about how much they had grown. Went out to church in the eve. Went to Dairy Queen with Lindsay and a few other spontaneous good sports. Then walked and talked with Lindsay on the trail until pick up time. I wonder if this perpetual lump in my throat has to do with the fact that they are leaving soon.///I am thankful that Lindsay asked me to be part of her life some years ago. I don't know how many because it feels like we've always been friends. I am thankful that it is possible to be so happy for someone and so sad for oneself all at the same time. I am thankful for the nice time floating with a noodle in the lake, talking to sweet ladies who know so many of the same people I do. I am thankful that God has such good ideas.

Thurs.-Found out yesterday that we can get high speed internet out here so went ahead with connecting Susan with Liberty Academy on-line for school this year. Met Marcie at school. Took some corn to the Hubler's and received some unique heirloom tomatoes from them. Marcie took me to O'Charley's for lunch where I had a huge black and blue salad-blackened steak ceaser style with blue cheese on top of salad. Went to Kohl's where I began to feel sicker and sicker and long story short, ended up back to school early, skipping our Goodwill shopping, losing my lunch, and sleeping on the loveseat in the library for an hour before going shopping for groceries at Walmart. Took me an hour and a half because my brain was whacked out and my equilibrium compromised. Came home, put groceries away, tidied up, and went to bed, but didn't sleep. ///I am thankful for Marcie and the opportunity to practice what I preached to someone else this week. 'It doesn't matter if you're good company or not. We love you.' I just had to accept that love from Marcie and stop feeling bad that I was lousy company. I am thankful that Marcie and I gave each other gifts-almost identical gifts in almost identical bags with an identical lack of card. Willow tree angels. She gave me the friendship angel and I gave her the forget-me-not angel. She also gave me a Simple Gifts Tree design pewter magnet. I am thankful that Susan mowed the lawn. It was a jungle around here. I am thankful for the girl's retreat and how much it blessed my Suz. I am thankful for the cool dark quiet of the library in school; for the safe feeling of being locked inside with no one around, and for the pull and desire to be back again some day, and for the certainty and peace that comes with knowing we are doing the right thing for now.

Fri.-Mahlon and Naomi came down from Harrisonburg to spend two days with us. Tomorrow is her birthday and this is what she wanted to do for her birthday and I'm so glad! We had a lunch of tortilla's and then headed to the river where she and I sat and talked for at least 3 hours. After a supper of sweet corn and BLT's, we went to Baine's to hear 'Up the Chain.' The young guy, Reed, is on tour. He is from our neck of the woods in Pa. It was his second day. We got home close to 11. Mabe and Naomi got a motel in Farmville. They are in vacation mode. ///I am thankful that Philip had a great week at camp. He's been hugging and kissing Suz and I and saying how much he missed us. I am thankful that my best friend is a counsellor. I am thankful for the lovely step back in time we experienced at Baine's this eve. We sat and drank iced/regular coffee and chatted amidst the melodies of well sung songs. A couple our age played Scrapple on a table, keeping time with their feet to the music, smiling pleasantly at one another. We knew no one else there and yet we were united in our enjoyment of this young barefooted singer guitarist.

Sat.-Alli and Freeman were here to visit with Mabe and Naomi a bit this morning. Danielle stopped in to pick more corn and Gabby and her baby brother were inside with us while she worked. They are so sweet and they loved Alli. Freeman made Mabe some of his iced coffee and I made Naomi some of mine. Naomi turned 49 today. She still doesn't like to have her age told but I kind of brag about mine now so I think I have crossed over the top of the hill. She and I went out to the little shops in Appomattox and I took her to the tea room in the Gallery for lunch. We had chicken breast opened faced sandwich on crousants with havarti cheese sauce and asparagus on top with spinach and tomatoes surrounding it and a cucumber salad on the side. We had french pressed coffee and a parfait dessert of lemon curd, fresh strawberries, bits of chocolate chess pie, and whipped cream. Plus lots of sweet tea. When we came home, I took her over to Happy Valley to see the house and Phil and Mabe rode over on the four wheeler and then we came back and had root beer floats before they left. As they were going through Appomattox they were hit with such a storm that made visibility a challenge and folks were driving 20 mph. We had a storm here as well and lost power for several hours. ///I am thankful that they came to be with us for Naomi's birthday, even though I am sad that they are gone. I am thankful for the chance to sit with Phil under the roof of our front porch and have a front row seat to the sights, sounds, and smells of the rain. I am thankful for the tin roofs on our property.

Sun.-S.S. nugget-Don't follow anyone's revelation outside of the Word of God. Be careful how you listen. Church-duel preaching by children's pastor and youth pastor on the Good Samaritan-who is our neighbor? The Samaritan was moved with compassion to help the man who was wounded on the side of the road. The priest and the Levite had passed him by. Was it his fault that he was robbed? Didn't he know what would happen if he went this way? Because the Good Samaritan became emotionally involved he also became spiritually involved, physically involved, and financially involved. He poured on oil->symbolic of the Holy Spirit; poured on wine->symbolic of the blood of Christ; loaded him on a donkey and took him to an inn->physical involvement; and paid for his keep->financial involvement. Who was this man's neighbor? Christ asked. The one who showed mercy. Go and do likewise. I was struck by the realization that unless we are emotionally involved, unless we love, the other things we do will be part of a serving check-list;a to-do list that will make us feel like we've done our part. It is important to serve but it is important to serve in the context of relationship. It is 'easy' to 'do' ministry, pouring on oil and wine. It is easy do something for someone. It is easy to give money. But it's not easy to relate to someone and give them our time and ourselves. It is not easy to love when it doesn't suit us. It is not easy to love when the circumstances aren't right. Came home. Ate lunch. Played Dutch Blitz with Susan and watched Knight and Day again. Phil read the good book I finished reading from Marcie 'The Strands' or something like that. Alli and Freeman came over and we girls played Dutch Blitz and for the record, I won this time. Then we watched a ship movie-something like 'Master and Commander'. Very good. Had some popcorn. Susan went out the lane to talk with Makenzie on her phone. I blogged. Phil finished the book. Sheriff got into mischief. Caught a chicken and killed it. Uh-oh.///I am thankful for Sara and her comfort today. I am thankful for Michelle and how normal it feels to sit beside her in church. I am thankful for Sunday afternoons and popcorn and root beer floats and games and movies and holding still and doing nothing.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Hertzler Doings~July 18-24, 2011

Mon.-I'm always so wiped out on Mondays. Maybe I eat too much popcorn and ice cream on Sundays. Did some wash. Took a nap. Started over and accomplished more.///I am thankful for the freedom to love everyone. I am thankful for the constant song playing in my soul's piano, "When the Storm passes Over." I am thankful for words like, 'passes,' and 'through', and 'for a little while' and 'season.' Hopeful words when the storm blows fierce. There will be an end to this hurricane.

Tues.-Went to chiro. and out to Appomattox to run some errands. Got sick in my stomach in eve. after Isaac, Philip's dog, left me a 'gift' to clean up off the kitchen floor. ///I am thankful that God holds all things together through the power of His word. I am thankful that Janelle and Micah came over for supper in the eve. I made a Moroccan vegetable dish and couscous with raisins. Also made bruschetta. Maybe the mix of Italian and Moroccan upset my stomach too. We watched Three Stooges. I am thankful for Phil's sympathy and kindness. I am thankful for the kind words I read in Susan's CCA year book.

Wed.-Getting ready for company today. Took Susan to VE in eve. Visited with Marvin and Melva at the Zook's. Walked with Michelle and Lindsay on the Trail. Brought Kelli home. Debra, Bradley-11, and Taylor-15, were here when we got home, eating sweet corn around the table. Phil and Taylor enjoyed their love for guitar/music by listening to Phil's new favorite song. Their faces glowed as they relished the sound of the steel guitar.///I'm thankful for Adina's words, 'Thank you for Susan.' No wonder Susan says Miss Adina is the 'sweetest most beautiful lady in the world.' I am thankful for safe travels for our family. I am thankful for the unusual Hertzler musical gifts-the ability to hear a song once and be able to sing it or play it. Sometimes, Susan is singing a song and I ask her, "Where did you hear that song?" And she says, "It was playing at Krogers." Taylor is the same way with his guitar. He is playing Joe Satriani's music like a pro.

Thurs.-Went down to the river. It is HOT! Came back up. Kids played 'Apples to Apples'. Took the kids to a movie in Farmville in the afternoon while Debra and I went shopping. Had to buy shoes for Brads because he forgot to wear them. Ran to the Dollar Store and he got to the movies on time. ///Thankful for air conditioning, grace, and sweet corn.

Fri.-Played 'Imaginiff'. Went to Appomattox with Debra and met Janelle at Baines. Went to Helen's in eve for Pizza party. Alli and Freeman came too. Tommy and Taylor were rolling out pizza dough like professionals. Michael came later. It was nice to see him. Guitars were playing. Songs were being sung. Hide n' Seek game in the dark outside. Got home shortly before 11. Tom got there with Serena before we left. He had been on the road for 3 days. ///I am thankful for the rich heritage we have as a family. I am thankful for the music that is inseparable from our heritage. I am thankful for those who have chosen righteousness in the generations that came before us. I am thankful for these blessings. I am humbled by them and quickened by them as well, for much has been given to me, therefore much is required. It's not a burden; it's a trust.

Sat.-Chace, Michael, Philip, and Taylor made a big breakfast for everyone. Homemade scrapple and sausage, eggs from our chickens, homemade hash browns, Aunt Deb's iced coffee. (I'll blog the recipe.) Temps over 100. Played 'Pick One', watched 'Second Hand Lions'. Cancelled river party due to storms. Janelle, Micah, Freeman and Alli came over and we had the picnic inside-hot dogs, watermelon, fresh vegetables, corn, chips, roasted veggies. Philip and the boys played Risk. The ladies went outside and built a fire and played an improvised game of 'Mad Gab' to humor me. We made s'mores and were soon joined by the others, plus Tommy and Michelle. Philip was playing with his dog, Isaac. Isaac will let him do anything to him. He'll drape him over his shoulders like a Shepherd holds a sheep. He lays on his back between Philip's legs and Philip makes him 'do' the macarina. Susan videotaped it. Emilee dyed Philip's hair today. He has a Mohawk. She bleached his fuzz and his hair and then dyed the tips black. He kept asking me if I liked it and I said, "I like you, Philip." And he said he was satisfied with that. He actually looks rather striking with his black shirt, white necklace, white teeth, dark eye brows, and white hair and black tips. He did this for kid's camp. The kids all love when he has a mohawk. Tommy spent the night on the living room floor with Brads and Taylor.///I am thankful that Micah was totally into helping Philip play 'Risk' for what seemed like hours. I am thankful for 'Christmas' in July. That's how I felt with all of our kids being together at one time with other family joining us. I am thankful for the rain and the storms and for the drop in temperature-nearly 25 degrees.

Sun.-Six years ago, today, on a Sunday morning in Thailand, we lost our beloved Johnny, in a motorcycle accident, when a drunk driver hit him headlong with his truck. Yesterday, Phil was watching the funeral tape. He didn't even realize that it was 'that time' again. He put in the DVD after church while we made lunch and we couldn't keep it on long. What a loss. It was nice to talk about him and remember him. Phil called Mom later in the day and talked for about an hour.
"Grace"-the foundation of our faith, was the message in S.S. and church. We came home quickly and Susan packed for Girl's Camp while we ate lunch. We took her over to meet Michelle and Amy and they took her to Girl's Camp in Crewe. She'll be there until Wed. Tom took Bradley, Taylor, and Tommy swimming in the Fisher's pond while Helen, Abby, Serena, Debra, and I headed off to Appomattox to tour a beautiful Bed and Breakfast. In the eve, Michael, Philip, Brads, and Taylor played Risk, instead of fishing, due to the wild rain storm. Phil, Debra, and I watched 'Knight and Day'. For some reason, this is one of my favorites. We enjoyed popcorn and ice cream for supper. ///I am thankful that if people can open doors to welcome loved ones back home, how much more does God open doors to welcome His loved ones back to Himself. I am thankful that if we really knew who we were in Christ Jesus, we wouldn't be thinking about ourselves or our insecurities. We would walk in confidence and love and confidence and love would be multiplied rather than insecurities and fear. I am thankful for John Hertzler and the way he lived and the way he loved. I am thankful for the gifts he gave us. We cherish his many gifts, especially, Janelle and Micah.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

"Always" and "Never"

Marriage counselors tell their clients that the words 'always' and 'never' should never be used in a conversation involving confrontation and conflict with their spouse.

For example, never say, "You always interrupt me when I'm talking; you never listen to me" or "You always leave the seat up and you never flush the toilet."

There are, however, nice times to use these words like when you say, "You always smell good and you never make me feel like I have to earn your love."

God uses the words 'never' and 'always.'
Check it out.

Matt. 28:20b-"...and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age."

(If He is with us until the end of the age, surely He will be with us when we come to the end of our 'world' as we know it.)
Luke 15:31-"Son, you are always with me, and all that I have is yours."

(The father spoke these words to his older son who thought he was being too merciful to his prodigal son. We who live with the mercy and grace of God, should not resent God for giving mercy and grace to any child who returns back home to Him.)
1 Thess. 4:17,18-"Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord. Therefore comfort one another with these words."

(Be comforted with these words. Someday, we, the redeemed, shall always be with the Lord. He will wipe away all of our tears. The older son will stand with his prodigal brother and both will sing the song of the redeemed. Don't lose hope. It's going to be worth it all. The troubles of this life are not even worthy to be compared with the glory that will be revealed in us. Live well. Finish well. For soon He comes.)
John 6:35; 11:26~"And Jesus said to them 'I am the bread of life. He who comes to Me shall never hunger, and he who believes in Me shall never thirst.'"
"...And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die."

(Never hunger, never thirst, never die.
Aren't these the very things that give us discomfort in life?
Hunger, thirst, the process of dying?
'Never', He said, in regards to these things.)
1 Cor. 13:8a-"Love never fails." (It is always right to love.)
Hebrews 13:5-,6-"Let your conduct be without covetousness; be content with such things as you have. For He Himself has said, 'I will never leave you or forsake you.' So we may boldly say: 'The LORD is my helper; I will not fear. What can man do to me?'"
(Because He will never leave us, we have boldness and freedom from fear. We are also free from the continual lust for more.)
And so, my friend,
He is always with us; now and forever.
He will never leave us; now and forever.

We never need to fear because
He is always near.

Be still.

Merciful Rain

You've heard the phrase, "He makes His rain to fall on the just and the unjust."
I've always associated that with the idea that no one is exempt from the difficulties that come with being human and alive. The 'rain' had a negative context, as if it 'rained' on the day of our Pig Roast and spoiled our party.

But as I've heard the men around this place, (who have a small fortune invested in fields of corn), praise and thank God for any rain we get, I decided to take a second look at the Scriptures.

Will you join me?

Matthew 5:43-48-Jesus is speaking.
"You have heard that it was said, 'You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.' But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven; for He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. For if you love those who love you, what reward have you? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? And if you greet your brethren only, what do you do more than others? Do not even the tax collectors do so? Therefore you shall be perfect, just as your Father in heaven is perfect."

The commentary notes at the bottom of the page in my Bible confirm and deepen my change of perception.

"Love is not a matter of sentiment alone, but practical concern, blessing, prayer, and positive wishes for well-being, extended to friend and enemy alike."
"Just as God indiscriminately sends rain and sunshine upon the just and unjust alike, so Jesus' disciples must be indiscriminate in their extension of love to friend and enemy."
"The emphasis in the command to 'be perfect' is not a flawless moral nature but an all-inclusive love that seeks the good of all. Instead of following the example of sinners who love only those who love them, we are to be like the Father in also loving those who do not love us."
I can't tell you what this does for me, after spending a sleepless night, wrestling with conflicting thoughts of loyalties, justice, and truth.

Choosing sides divides.

But here,
Jesus tells us to have mercy on those who deserve it
and on those who do not.
He commands us to love everyone
just as He loves us all.

I am free.

I am free to obey Him.

I am free to love my enemies
and I am free to love yours, also.

And you are free to love me
when I am just,
and when I am not.

We are all free
as we walk in obedience
and extend
God's kind of merciful weather
to those around us.

Thank you, God,
for the warm sunshine of your love
that You shed abroad in our hearts
towards one another.

And, thank you, God,
for Your wet drops of mercy,
that causes our crop of love to grow
so we have a bountiful return
when it's time to reap the harvest.

Thursday, July 14, 2011


Last night, I went walking on a trail with Lindsay. We were walking right into dark clouds. After awhile, the lightning began and the thunder threatened and I queried, "Should we turn back?" "No!" she replied.
We kept going. The winds picked up. Leaves were flying. Lightning and thunder were beginning to coincide with each other. This time, I didn't ask. "We'd better turn back," I stated like a reasonable person. "Okay..." she reluctantly complied.
As soon as we turned back, it started to rain. Large cold drops pummeled us from head to toe. I tried to locate a dry spot on my body to hide my valuables-cell phone and a watch. I finally decided on my back jean pocket.
She wondered if we should get under the trees but I thought that would not be the best place with lightning zinging all around us. So, we started to run. But then we stopped and just walked because it was already too late. We were soaked.
Soon I couldn't see anymore. It was just exhilarating. I was shrieking and laughing and she was giggling. Later, when I noticed my voice was hoarse, Lindsay told me that I had been 'really loud.' We went back to her place where we put my clothes in the washer to spin and then into the dryer. I felt high. Not that I know how that feels but I think I do. I slept that night really well for the first time in weeks. And I think I will sleep well again tonight. The storm broke into my despondency and comforted me with its wild friendly fury.
Our family went to our Michelle's house for supper last week.
Erin and the Banton's were also there.
Just as we were getting ready to leave,
Phil picked up Michelle's guitar and began to sing.
We stayed and all of us sang together for at least an hour
and it was another favored time
that we will never forget.

One of the songs he sang was "Till the Storm Passes By."

I've been posting the verses on face book and one of my friends said that this song literally saved her life when she was a young teen. Others are also expressing appreciation for the words.

It was written by Mosie Lister and copyrighted in 1958.
The Gaithers have since made it popular.
But no one sings it like Phil.
When he gets home tonight,
I am going to ask him to sing it to me
as I drift off to sleep.
I love when he does that.
In the dark of the midnight have I oft hid my face,
While the storm howls above me, and there's no hiding place.
'Mid the crash of the thunder, Precious Lord, hear my cry,
Keep me safe till the storm passes by.

Till the storm passes over, till the thunder sounds no more.
Till the clouds roll forever from the sky;
Hold me fast, let me stand in the hollow of Thy hand,
Keep me safe till the storm passes by.

Many times Satan whispered, "There is no need to try,
For there's no end of sorrow, there's no hope by and by"
But I know Thou art with me, and tomorrow I'll rise
Where the storms never darken the skies.

Till the storm passes over, till the thunder sounds no more.
Till the clouds roll forever from the sky;
Hold me fast, let me stand in the hollow of Thy hand,
Keep me safe till the storm passes by.

When the long night has ended and the storms come no more,
Let me stand in Thy presence on the bright peaceful shore;
In that land where the tempest, never comes, Lord, may I
Dwell with Thee when the storm passes by.

Till the storm passes over, till the thunder sounds no more.
Till the clouds roll forever from the sky;
Hold me fast, let me stand in the hollow of Thy hand,
Keep me safe till the storm passes by.
"And He arose, and rebuked the wind, and said unto the sea,
"Peace, be still." And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm."

Sometimes, it seems like Jesus is asleep in our boat,
and has no idea how close we are to drowning.

I think we can trust Him in several ways.

We can crawl to the back of our boat
and snuggle up beside Him
and go to sleep too,
or we can wake Him up with our cries
and ask Him to hurry up and do something.

Either way, we win.
Because He's in our boat.
And He cares about us.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011


Marsha Moseley
Mother of Jordan
Twin to Marva
40 something
Driving on 460
Had a seizure
Lost control
Hit a tree
Died on impact
July 12, 2007

Worked at Ruby Tuesdays
Lived with Marva
Lived with Papa
Jordan and Alicia
Stood in front row
Worshiped God
Tears streaming
Hands upraised
Always smiled at me
Always kind

I often thought
her tears of worship
told a story
of heartache
and longing
I often thought
that someday soon
He'd wipe her tears
and give her joy
He did it sooner
than I thought

To all who loved her
and who are
asking quietly,
or not so quietly,
"Why, God, why?"

Hertzler Doings~July 11-17, 2011

Mon.-I am thankful for sweet corn. I am thankful that we put up 20 packs for Freeman and Alli and 22 packs for our family. I am thankful that we did all this from 6 this eve. until 9:30.

Tues.-I am thankful that Sammy Jo came to visit me today. We painted with water colors and I took her for a ride on my gator to the mailbox and I picked her some blackberries on the way back. I am thankful that Judy stayed awhile and ranted and raved over my oriental cooking. I am thankful that she sang,"He Giveth More Grace" with me as I played it on the piano. Later in the day I ran out to Appomattox and my hair dresser put me in for an appt. I ran some errands and stopped in at school to see if anyone was available inside so I could pick up a yearbook. I waved at a cop on the way in. I shouldn't have gotten his attention. (The cops live right there near the school and I always wave in appreciation because of how they protected our school during the sniper situation. ) A few seconds later, well....I am thankful that the cop who pulled me over for an expired inspection sticker was a very nice young man. I am thankful that the garage was open on the way home and that they willingly inspected my car within an hour of my getting pulled over. I am thankful that although the blue lights threw me into a tizzy of all kinds of other insecurity, that Lindsay was available to talk me out of them. She even had me laughing at myself. I am thankful that Michael came home tonight to do some financial paper work in preparation for school.

Wed.-Froze more corn. Went out to Farmville early for a meeting and then went walking on High Bridge Trail with Lindsay even though the sky looked dark and foreboding. She would have walked longer straight into the pending storm but the high winds, lightening, and thunder turned me into a bit of a chicken and I thought we should turn around. We were pummeled with huge cold rain drops and then a deluge from heaven focused on our heads and we ran screaming and laughing back towards the trails entrance. I had to find other places for my phone and watch and the only dry spot on me was the very back of my pant legs. It was an exhilarating 15 min. and my voice was shot till it was all said and done. Lindsay said,"You were really loud." We went back to her place and she gave me a change of clothes while mine rung out in her washer and then we threw them into her dryer, watch in pocket and all. It still works. Definitely one of my highlights in Farmville and with Lindsay. A warm hot bath was waiting for me when I got home which topped off my evening and I slept well for the first time in some weeks.///I am thankful for the opportunity to spend some time with Michael at the bank in Appomattox this morning. I am thankful that I'll see him again soon. I am thankful for people who can focus on others even when their heart is heavy. I am thankful for laughter in the midst of a storm.

Thurs.-Took car over to garage since it needed brake pads to pass inspection. It took a chunk of change. Sara and Amber came over this afternoon and we went down to the river. Sara and I spent several hours talking with our feet in the river while Amber and Susan went swimming in the deeper end. It was just wonderful. Sara took me to the garage to pick up my car. Phil went to practice with a band tonight. He's playing bass for them this Sunday at a church in Cumberland. Philip got his stitches out today and they were pleased with how well his gash had healed. He and Susan continue with their Monopoly card game competition on an almost daily basis.///I am thankful that we always wish we had trusted God more. I am thankful for Sara's loyalty to our friendship and how she believes and sees the very best in me. I am thankful that her ankles didn't hurt her after she soaked them in the water. I am thankful that I got to wash the dust off of Phil's bass guitar case tonight. I am thankful for how happy he was as he carried it out the door.

Fri.-Went over to Happy Valley today to see Kathy L. in from Calif. Fitz, our neighbor, came over to meet Kathy since they both love horses. Fitz had told Philip some time this week that she never met such a nice kind group of people like those who were at the Pig Roast. I made Chex Mix for a good five hours and then went over to Dianna's to get ready for the 'Shee-Haw' Progressive Supper for the women of New Life. Lindsay brought the BBQ, baked beans, sauce, and coleslaw from the Grill. The baked beans slid under her driver's seat and spilled and Steve couldn't get all the beans out of some ruts. I don't like to think about how her vehicle is going to smell in a few days. Our eve. started over at the Liotta's and we had watermelon and Chex Mix there and played a farming name tag game. Then everyone came to Dianna's. Michelle shared her heart and a powerful message straight from God for such a time as this. So good. Then we ate and after that we did a little line dancing. Some of us are definitely better at this than some others. I'm in the 'some others' category. We did some Karaoke. I sang 'Delta Dawn' with Lisa. That was fun and then we just had one group of singers after another and it was a hoot. Had some serious conversations with some friends and the eve. was a perfect mix of work, fun, truth, sorrow, and joy. I got home around 11:30 and had no idea it was that late. /// I am thankful that we can only sow seeds in people's life. The shape of their soil is up to them. Therefore, we plant and move on, allowing another to water and shed light, and another to reap the harvest. Fertilize your soil. Feed it with good things if you want the seed of the Word to bring forth a harvest. I am thankful for the bond between the women at church and I am thankful that we are all in need of a Savior. This is our common bond.

Sat.-Froze 23 packs of corn today. Tidied the house a bit. Alli and Freeman got a freezer today and took home their corn and meat. I am excited for them. Phil worked on the fields. Susan and Philip went over to help Freeman carry in the freezer. I sang 'Delta Dawn' to the puppies out on the porch and they weren't sure what to think. They listened politely and laid down their heads as they looked up at me with questioning eyes. I had never given them a private concert before.
Phil and I went to Charlie's for about 15 min. in the eve. to support a friend's 20th anniversary of sorts and then we went to Kroger's and got ice cream and came home and watched 'Inception' with Susan. I understood it a bit better this time around but I am still not crazy about it.///I am thankful that He has called us out of darkness into His marvelous light. I am thankful that Philip was around to go help Freeman carry the freezer into their house. I am thankful for chocolate chip ice cream with black cherry topping.

Sun.-I don't think I slept a wink, what with the confusing movie, a large consumption of ice cream and sweet peach tea too late in the day, and a general all over feeling of uneasiness. And yet, after struggling all night, and calling out to Jesus loudly in my spirit most of the night, I 'awoke' with an answer. "Love one another. Love the just and the unjust. Don't worry about what others do or what others think about what you are doing, just love one another as I have loved you." And I blogged my answer under the title 'Merciful Rain.' I am learning not to be distressed when I can't sleep because an answer is coming in the morning. Philip took Susan to New Life and Phil and I headed to FM Baptist Church in Cumberland. He played bass for the band, "Second Time Around." The Pastor taught on praise and singing and then the band had the service and the church joined in singing several songs-"I'll Fly Away," "The Sweet By and By, "How Great Thou Art," etc. It was a friendly church. People were calling out announcements and prayer requests and there was a family feeling to their whole service. I was moved with the communion service and realized anew, that God's spirit is everywhere, and He lives in His people and desires to share His love through us to each other. At the end, we all stood up and held hands and sang, "Blest Be the Tie that Binds." It was wonderful to hear all of the voices blending together and to see the smiling faces giving each other a benediction for the week ahead. We then headed into Farmville where we met Freeman, Alli, Susan, and Kelli at Country Cookin' for lunch. Phil and I took a nap when we got home and then Susan and I spent some time in the sun. We watched Pirates of the Caribbean-#1 in the eve. I never saw it before. Loved the music and the choreography.///I am thankful for the humming birds. Susan saw baby ones at Happy Valley the other day. I am thankful for the new song 'Shelter', that Phil is learning to sing for a special occasion coming up. I am thankful for the tomatoes and squash and cucumbers that our neighbors are giving to us. I am thankful that Tom's will get home tonight after their week long tour up to Niagara Falls. I am thankful that God was in Christ, reconciling the world to Himself, and that He has given us the ministry of reconciliation.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

A Time of It

I am an optimistic melancholy.
I am a sober sanguine.
Supposedly that is not possible,
but, hey, here I am.

(I kind of think that Jesus was a
melancholy sanguine too-
A man of sorrows anointed with joy
above His brethren. )

What I mean to say is that although
I am not a pessimist,
no matter how I look at things,
I think we are in for a time of 'it.'

'It' being a time of trouble upon trouble,
crisis after crisis,
sprint followed by marathon,
endurance test after endurance test.

Someone or something
is pulling rugs out from under people.

When you have had this experience
and are laying there on your back
just trying to get your breath,
you don't have time to figure out
who or what pulled out the rug.

You just want things to be the way they were.
You want to feel 'normal' again.

I've been thinking about ways to be proactive
during this season of rug pulling.

If you have some thoughts,
please pass them on to the rest of us.
We are in this together
and there is no guarantee
about what tomorrow will bring
for anyone of us.

Speaking of rugs,
it would be best not to sweep our
messes under them.
This complicates the recovery process.
We must deal with things.

(I'm not real good with this to be honest.
I tend to think that if I ignore something,
it will go away.
Besides, I hate conflict.)

Also, now is the time to be close to people.
In the midst of a crisis, people need close friends,
not new ones.
We all have blind spots.
If we are close to people,
the warning shouts of,
"WHOA!" tend to
be more effective.
Watch out for each other
and pray for one another.
Do not stay in isolation.

Take care of yourself.
Eat healthy foods.
Drink water.
Exercise. Take walks.
Get your rest.
If you can take a break,
take it. Guilt-free.
Prepare for a sprint
AND a marathon.
Any kind of endurance
helps you endure
any kind of race.

It is easy to feel 'brain-dead'
during this time.
Mental health is when your
feelings and expressions of emotion
fit your circumstances.
So keep it real.
With God, yourself, and others.
And keep a journal.
It will help you keep your perspective.

Be consistent in what you are sure about.
If, however, Jesus has upset the tables in His temple
near you, be careful about going 'back to business as usual'.

Now that God has your attention,
don't be setting up shop and doing
the same old same old right away.

Find out why He went to such measures
to get your attention.

Hover in His holy heaviness to hear His heart.
Don't hastily hop back into happiness.

Dig your wells deep in Him.
If there was a 'drought' in the land
would you still have 'water' to 'drink'?

And 'feed' yourself.
Be mindful of the quality of what you 'ingest'.
If you were 'snowed in' for two weeks,
would you survive?
What are you made of?
What's in your 'cupboard'?

Read, study, eat, drink
the Word of God.
Have it on your desk,
on your walls,
in the bathroom,
and in your heart, mind, and spirit.
Obey it.
Lay in provisions for yourself
and for others.
Give yourself sustenance.

Be aware that everyone else is most likely
having their own personal crisis
and are
tied into other crisis's as well.

The 'ambulances' are all busy.
The 'emergency rooms' are chaotic.
The 'hospitals' are full.

we have to figure out how to bear our own burdens
and yet humbly share our burdens with others
and bear their burdens as well.

In other words,
do your part to make yourself strong
and yet be sure to ask for help if you need it.

Have sufficiency in yourself
and yet don't be pridefully self-sufficient.

Learn from the troubles that are purifying others.
Be purified by them as well.

Pray, "Search me, O God,
and know my heart.
Try me and know my ways.
See if there be any wicked way in me,
and lead me in Your path everlasting."

Don't even think about pointing a finger
at somebody else because before you know it,
you will be provided with a reminder
as to why you are always in need of a Savior.

Strengthen what you think is strong
and strengthen what you think is weak
in your own life,
in your own home.

Stay hidden in Christ
but don't hide your light.

And last, but not least,
when you are in a crisis,
whether it be of your own making,
the devil's destruction,
the Lord's refining fire,
or just plain life,
remember what Jesus said to Peter,
"Simon, Simon. Satan has desire to sift you.
But when you have returned,
strengthen the brethren."

Peter betrayed Jesus.
He denied Him completely.
And not many days afterwards,
Jesus gave him a job to do.
"If you love me, feed my sheep."

It was Peter who later wrote in his book,
"But the God of all grace,
who called you to His eternal glory
by Christ Jesus,
after you have suffered awhile,will Himself perfect,
establish, strengthen, and settle you."

Peter knew what he was talking about.
He experienced it first hand.

If it is true that when we sow sinful seeds
we'll reap a harvest of remorse,
it is also true, that when we sow seeds of righteousness,
we will reap that harvest as well.

If you are reaping a sad harvest,
endure the chastening and begin to
sow good seeds in the midst of that difficult reaping.
Because eventually,
harvests have their end,
and eventually,
you will reap that harvest of righteousness.

Paul said to Timothy,
'Be an example to the believers
in word, in conduct, in love,
in spirit, in faith, in purity.'

If you sow those kind of example seeds in a time of tears,
think of the harvest you will reap in joy.

The Bible is full of stories about people
who failed. Badly failed.
And God remembers them,
and we do too,
as men and women after God's own heart,
full of faith,
and beloved by Him.

And think of Job.
If only he could have read the back of his book
when his rugs were flying all over the place.

God knows the back of your book.
And He's smiling, you know.

"Take courage," Jesus says, in the midst of our storms.
"It is I. Be not afraid."
Psalms 51:6,10,17b~"...You desire truth in the inward parts, and in the hidden part You will make me to know wisdom...Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me...A broken and contrite heart, O God, You will not despise."

1 Peter 4:7,8-"But the end of all things is at hand; therefore be serious and watchful in your prayers. And above all things have fervent love for one another, for 'love covers a multitude of sins.'"

Galatians 6:1-5-"..if anyone is overtaken with a fault, you who are spiritual, restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness, considering yourself lest you also be tempted. Bear one another's burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ. For if anyone thinks himself to be something, when he is nothing, he deceives himself. But let each one examine his own work, and then he will have rejoicing in himself alone, and not in another. For each one shall bear his own load."

Hebrews 12:5,6,11-"'My Son, do not despise the chastening of the LORD, Nor be discouraged when you are rebuked by Him; For whom the LORD loves He chastens, and scourges every son whom He receives'...Now no chastening seems to be joyful for the present, but painful; nevertheless, afterward it yields the peaceable fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it."

Isaiah 12:3-"Therefore with joy you will draw water from the wells of salvation."

Matthew 13:21-(reverse translation)-"Have root in yourself, so when the seed of the word is sown, you will endure to the end, no matter what tribulations or persecutions arise."

Jeremiah 15:16-"Your words were found, and I did eat them, and Your word was to me the joy and rejoicing of my heart; For I am called by Your name, O Lord God of hosts."

Matthew 5:16-"Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven."

Psalm 57:1b-" the shadow of Your wings I will make my refuge, until these calamities have passed by."

Isaiah 57:15-"For thus says the High and Lofty One Who inhabits eternity, whose name is Holy: "I dwell in the high and holy place, With him also who has a contrite and humble spirit, To revive the spirit of the humble, And to revive the heart of the contrite ones."

Psalm 71:1-3-"In You, O LORD, I put my trust; Let me never be put to shame. Deliver me in Your righteousness, and cause me to escape; Incline Your ear to me, and save me. Be my strong refuge, To which I may continually resort; You have given the commandment to save me, For You are my rock and my fortress."

Monday, July 4, 2011

Hertzler Doings~July 4-10, 2011

Mon.-Fourth of July! Did very little today. Susan slept until 2:45 this afternoon. I woke her up. Phil and I were headed to the Timma party but it was storming so badly and we heard that it was down pouring there, so we turned around when we were halfway there and came back and watched a movie with Susan and ate our side dishes of watermelon, chocolate cheesecake cupcakes, and the first sweet corn from our garden. Phil got out his guitar after the movie and sang while Susan talked with Michael on the phone and Philip hung out with a friend somewhere. Thinking about many things, especially freedom. /// I am thankful for this day in which we celebrate our freedoms. I am thankful that true freedom is internal and that my spirit cannot be imprisoned unless I allow it to be. I am thankful that Susan is home and is so happy for every little thing about being home. I am thankful that she whipped up a cheesecake because she wanted to make something.

Tues.-Woke up thinking about the differences between being consistent and being 'back to business as usual.' The neighbors offered us green beans free for the picking and I picked a 5 gallon bucket full while Susan slept. Her sleep patterns are so messed up. I am just going to let her sleep when she wants to. Susan and I snapped the beans while we watched the A-Team. I love that movie. Phil and the guys came home early. They were finished with their work. Susan and I went down to the river for a short time with Roxy, Angel, and Sheriff. They kept making their rounds between Susan, who was laying on the beach, and myself, who was sitting on my chair in the river. Came back and made a huge Asian stir-fry with brown rice. Erin came over for supper and I adjusted her dress straps. We all sat around and watched an old Pink Panther movie and ate popcorn.///I am thankful for friends who feel like family. I am thankful for our neighbors, Laura and Bob, and their sweet steady quiet witness of God's grace and love in our community. I am thankful that Susan is so thankful for every little thing about home.

Wed.-Song-"How long, how long...till we awake in Your Likeness..." Thinking about 'divide and conquer' and 'us and them' mentalities. Judy called to tell me that she took Sammy Jo with her to visit a friend and when they left there SJ said, "I'm mad! I thought we were going to Annettes!" I love it. Made gluten free brown rice bread today. Delicious. Worked on Susan's sundress and she does not like it. We may have to use it for a night gown. Or a hoe down. Went out to church in the eve. and visited a sweet friend in the eve. and had a wild time with her two little sons when they came home. They were roaring and I was doing my 'Aborigine's yell' and chasing them around their house. Talked with Michael late at night. He was contacted by the head of the aeronautics program at Liberty and he is IN! He was so excited. All of his classes are lined up and his dorm has been picked. He will come home from college on weekends and we will see him again! Phil told me about Philip around 11. Why do I find out these things late at night? Philip thought there was more room on the roof and took a step and began falling. He hung on to the edge with his left hand but then dropped and hit a ladder and was swung around and he hit the dirt with his face and just that quickly, Phil came down from the roof and Freeman came up from the basement and they slowly straightened him out and took off his tool belt so he could breathe better. He was in terrible pain but suddenly felt peaceful and wanted to sleep and had no pain and he wondered if he was dying. They roused him a bit and he's still with us. (I heard more about this from his angle Thurs. morn.) ///I am thankful for the gift of life and that God protected Philip once again and saved us from this sorrow. I am thankful that He made His presence evident to Philip after his accident in a tangible way. I am thankful to have found out what Susan was hiding from me. Philip didn't want me to know until later because he didn't want to spoil my evening. He had told Susan and told her not to tell and I kept thinking she was hiding something from me so I kept asking her questions. I had prayed specifically today for God to do something wonderful for Phil and I realized that He did-He gave him his son again.

Thurs.-Philip is up and about. Went to a job meeting and then out to the prison to do some measuring. He is so aware that he is a walking miracle. God protects us from falling every day. It is when we fall and He protects us that we are more aware of His protection. Mom called and it was nice to hear her voice. We went to Michelle's in the evening along with the Banton's and Erin. We had a lovely evening, eating, talking, and singing. Gil and Phil played the guitar and we sang hymns and other worship songs. It was a precious time. I'll not forget it. It is so nice to be with people who completely take us in and believe the best of us. We feel the same way about all of them as well.///I am thankful for our refreshing evening. I am thankful for friends like these. I am thankful for God's protection and the way He watches over us body, soul, and spirit.

Fri.-Sewed a bit. Adapting Susan's sundress to fit Lindsay by adding 5 inches to the strap. We won't use this pattern again. Phil called and asked for the Drs. number. I gave it to him, and hung up. My denial kicked in overtime. He called back to tell me what had happened and asked me to call the Dr. since they were on hold and were going through a bad area. I got through and made an appt. Philip had been working with a grinder. He had been working with it earlier and a spark had flown under his sunglasses so Phil made him put on sturdy safety glasses. The grinder hit something and flew up into his face, glancing off the safety glasses and gauging into his cheek. Blood spurted everywhere and he used his shirt to soak it up. To make a long story short, the Dr. didn't want to touch it. She sent us to a plastic surgeon who took us in immediately. He had a deep gash basically to the bone 3 cms long. They said he was fortunate that it hadn't gone through into his bone. About 20 stitches later, he looked pretty good. Susan and I watched the whole procedure. They numbed him and used the scapul to cut off the rough edges and then cauterized the edges to make them stop bleeding. He has 10 stitches to hold the outside skin together and just that many inside. It was amazing to see but both Susan and I felt sick in our stomachs. We knew the receptionist and she was the first person we saw and that was a comfort too. We came home and ate some corn and wound ourselves down and went to bed.///I am thankful that Philip still has his sight. I am really thankful about that. I am thankful for the kind doctor who had us in her office for 40 min, cleaning up his wound and setting up another appt. and refused to charge us for her time. I am thankful that the plastic surgeon was still open and stayed after hours to fix Philip up.

Sat.-Alli came over today and us three girls went for a walk and then did some baking and cooking for tomorrow. We watched a bit of 'Get Smart' before she and Freeman left. Freeman was working with Phil this morning. We needed to skip a party in the afternoon since we missed most of yesterday and I need to get the house in order and Phil also has work to catch up on. ///I am thankful for a full refrigerator and a clean house. I am thankful for the fun we had cooking together. I am thankful for the song I can't stop singing this week, "Till the storm Passes over..."

Sun.-I am thankful for the Sunday School lesson on God's abundant grace and our confidence to reign with Him because of His grace and the gift of righteousness He has imputed on to us. I also loved this truth-that Jesus is the author and finisher of our faith. Peter, stepped out of the boat onto the water in faith. He lost sight of Christ in the midst of the waves and Jesus reached down and got him. Jesus, the author of Peter's faith, "Come" and the Perfecter of it, as He reached down and saved him. I am thankful for PAlvin's good sermon, especially the idea that Eve was not frightened by the serpent. He looked harmless and she must have been familiar with him. And these are the reasons we say, "I didn't see that coming." The temptation was in a familiar form and looked harmless enough. I am thankful for my nap in the afternoon. I am thankful that Alli's family came over to help celebrate Freeman's birthday. Free made up the ribs from the Pig Roast pigs along with some chicken, and we had the coleslaw, baked potato salad, and carrot cake that we made yesterday, as well as watermelon and ice cream. We had a nice time playing 'Imaginiff.' Later on, Phil, Philip, Erin, Susan, and I sat out on the front porch and heard many interesting thing about Chinese culture, language, etc. Erin's just about to set out for another adventure in that part of the world. After three weeks there, and three weeks back in the states, she will head to England for a year of study, and we will miss her very much.

The Back Cover

Written on the back cover of my mother's 2007-08 Biblical journal, are the following scriptures. They are verses declaring the character of God in similar ways by different authors.
I've just added several writings from my mother's journal to her blog, IBlieve. You can gain access to it on my sidebar.
"You are God, ready to pardon, gracious and merciful, slow to anger, abundant in kindness." Neh. 9:17

I thank you that 'underneath are the everlasting arms.' Deut. 33:27

"Your great love never ceases, for Your compassion's never fail. They are new every morning. Great is Your faithfulness." Lamentations 3:22,23

"You are gracious and merciful, slow to anger and of great kindness." Joel 2:3

"To those who fear and reverence Your name, You, the Sun of Righteousness, will arise with healing in Your wings." Mal. 4:2

"You are merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love."
Ps. 103:8
Some have said that the God of the Old Testament was harsh and unloving.
The authors of these Old Testament books speak quite highly of Him.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

God's Endurance

I've been thinking about the word 'endurance' for the past few weeks.
I've been looking it up in the Bible and in Webster's Dictionary.

Endurance means-'the ability to last, continue, or remain; the ability to stand pain, distress, fatigue, etc; fortitude; duration'

Endure means-'to stand (pain, fatigue); bear, to put up with; tolerate;to last, continue; remain;to bear pain without flinching; hold on'

Enduring means-'lasting, permanent, long-suffering.'

You get the idea.

I noticed in Psalms that God is a great 'Endurer.'
The character of His Being gives a positive light to the word 'endure.'
His favor endures for a lifetime. (Ps.30:5)

The goodness of God endures continually. (Ps.52:1)

His truth endures to all generations. (Ps.100:5)

His mercy endures forever. (Ps.106:1)

His righteousness endures forever. (Ps.111:3)

His praise endures forever. (Ps.111:10)

Your name, O Lord, endures forever. (Ps.135:13)

Your dominion endures throughout all generations. (Ps. 145:13)
Thy Favor, Goodness, Truth,
Mercy, Righteousness, Praise,
Thy name and Thy dominion
Endure forever and ever.
When your own endurance is fading fast,
trust in God's endurance to make yours last.

Marshall's Song

In Sunday School class this past Sunday, our teacher shared the words to a song he had heard on his way to church. He sang the last part of it, his voice breaking with emotion as he did so, and I have been singing it ever since, in much the same way. It was a morning of grace and I was overwhelmed with a flood of it as soon as I walked into church. Perhaps the words will mean as much to you as they did for some of the rest of us.

The Song is entitled, "He Giveth More Grace" and it was written by Annie J. Flint over half a century ago. I wonder what she had experienced in life for her to write such powerful, meaningful words.


He Giveth More Grace

He giveth more grace as our burdens grow greater,
He sendeth more strength as our labors increase;
To added afflictions He addeth His mercy,
To multiplied trials He multiplies peace.

His love has no limits, His grace has no measure,
His power no boundary known unto men;
For out of His infinite riches in Jesus
He giveth, and giveth, and giveth again.

When we have exhausted our store of endurance,
When our strength has failed ere the day is half done,
When we reach the end of our hoarded resources
Our Father's full giving is only begun.

His love has no limits, His grace has no measure,
His power no boundary known unto men;
For out of His infinite riches in Jesus
He giveth, and giveth, and giveth again.

Fear not that thy need shall exceed His provision,
Our God ever yearns His resources to share;
Lean hard on the arm everlasting, availing;
The Father both thee and thy load will upbear.

His love has no limits, His grace has no measure,
His power no boundary known unto men;
For out of His infinite riches in Jesus
He giveth, and giveth, and giveth again.
Sometimes, life gives us more than we can handle.
It is when we come to the end of our own strength
that we can discover His unlimited grace and endurance.

Perhaps we should not wait until we come to the end
of our own strength before we discover His.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Professional Wrestler

I was reading the story this morning about how Jacob was bringing his large family back to the home he had come from and how he spent a night alone, wrestling with a Man. He came away with a limp and the blessing of a new name. It was such a defining moment for Jacob when he realized just Who he had been wrestling with that he named the place, 'Peniel',(pronounced-'Pen-eye-ul'-accent on the 'eye') meaning, "I have seen God face to face and my life is preserved."

Wrestling with siblings is part of the growing up process. My big boys still wrestle on the hardwood living room floor; howling, laughing, pinching, yelping, thumping, and sometimes, I hate to say it, biting. It is their way of saying, "I missed you so much. I am so happy to see you!" And it's all done in fun but it's still a bit hard on my nerves if the truth must be told and you know that it must.

I, myself, am a professional wrestler.

('Professional' as in one of Webster's definitions-
"having a particular profession as a permanent career.")

That's me, alright.

I wrestle with conflicting thoughts, bad eating habits, worry, doubt, fear.

But most of all, I wrestle with God.

I grasp His torso, trying to fling Him down,
while I gasp through gritted teeth,
"What do you think You are doing now?!"

He wrestles back without breaking a sweat
and replies, "Just trust me."

"Unbelievable!" I exclaim incredulously,
and push against His holding arms.

"I love you," He says. "And I love those you
love more than you do."

"It's not fair!" I shout and shove Him away.

He doesn't even stagger,
but comes closer for my next blow,
even while He says,
" I know."

"Then DO something!"
I try to trip Him and make Him
lose His balance.

"I have and I am," He says,
and shows me His hands.

I lock on to them with my own,
avoiding His scars.
I push and shove and
twist and turn,
my eyes of fury never leaving
His steadfast face.

And then I see His tears.

They run down into His beard
and it's just too much
and I give up my fight
and hold Him close,
wanting now, to comfort Him,
for He's weeping for me
and my layers of pain.

I feel His heart beating
and His lips kissing the top of my head
as He rocks me back and forth.

I hear His words,
"You can be angry with Me.
But be angry to My face.
Don't turn your back and be angry with Me.
Wrestle with Me face to face."

And I am quieted.
My Wounder has become my Healer.

I will wrestle Him again
I am sure.
Perhaps before the sun goes down.

But for now,
I walk with a limp
and bear a blessed new name
for I have wrestled with God
face to face
and have lived to tell.
Psalm 131~
Lord, my heart is not haughty,
Nor my eyes lofty.
Neither do I concern myself with great matters,
Nor with things too profound for me.

Surely I have calmed
and quieted my soul,
Like a weaned child with his mother;
Like a weaned child is my soul
within me.