Wednesday, October 26, 2011

October Thanksgivings

On my way to a thousand thanks...

94. Sunrise view from my desk window
95. Cheese omelets made by Phil
96. My chapel where God dwells and time to be there
97. The Appomattox RailRoad Festival
98. Kelly G. and Susan
99. Meeting the author of the book I had picked up
while waiting for the parade and hearing about his life
first hand
100. That all authority has been given to Jesus on heaven and earth
101. Sunday afternoon naps
102. Hertzler gathering in eve. with Tom's and Mom and Dad
103. Freeman and Alli being Mr. and Mrs. Potato Head in the Christmas Musical
104. 11 Tim. 4:18
105. The sound of coffee making itself
106. Well spoken righteous anger
107. For the awe-full realization that if I don't trust Him
I'll become a control freak
108. The bald eagle at Happy Valley
109. Taking pictures at O'Briens
110. Susan cleaning up Happy Valley rooms
111. Susan's first handmade card-a picture of my mother and her
with a handwritten note sent to her grandmother
112. That someday God will wipe away all tears from our eyes
113. For Shepherds and their prayers
114. That God's grace and mercy are more than enough to cover our
mistakes, sins, and the works of the enemy
115. For the dark sanctuary and that Jesus was there
116. For the many wonderful kind people in Farmville today
117. Rough nights that turn into glorious days
118. The story of grace and redemption in Victor Hugo's Les Miserables
119. Friends who answer when we call
120. Mom and Dad coming and taking a nap first thing
121. Susan learning Spanish and her desire to learn a number of languages
122. That life experiences don't define us to God;
His names for us define who we are.
123. That thanking God for the answers to our prayers
help make us whole
124. Philip calling his grandma, "Doll-Baby"
and her laughter
125. Dad's prayer before they left
126. Crawling into bed at 9 and sleeping well until 5
127. Micah being here with G'ma and G'pa
128. Fitz and horses
129. Susan's posture after riding
130. Micah's monopolization of the Monopoly game
131. Eating supper around the game pieces
132. Truth bringing freedom
133. The clearing of the sky after rain
134. Phil's gift of a manger scene from the Abbey gift shop.
Three big boxes. Wisemen with hinged little boxes containing
real gold, frankincense and myrrh. Made me cry.
Had to kiss baby Jesus. He's so sweet.
135. The feeling of Christmas with Mom, Dad, Alli, Freeman,
Michael home from college, and the rest of us here-
laughing, carrying on, talking
136. The sweet mama in Walmart telling her toddler
how beautiful she is and how lovely her curls
137. All 5 of our children snuggling and wrestling on blankets
under the Milky Way with Grandma and Grandpa and other
relatives looking on
138. That the love we have for each other increases
139. Micah, hesitating, and then with all of our encouragement,
jumping into the tussle that the 3 big boys were having
on the ground
140. For the gospel-I am a sinner saved by grace
141. Lunch with Michelle
142. Patio time with Ginger
143. Supper with Betty and Kelly
144. Getting home late and Philip coming over to say hello
and playing a game with his sister before heading to bed
145. For another morning and another evening
146. A friendly phone call on a rainy blue day
147. 5 new calves for Philip and Susan's business venture-
she takes care of them in the morning and he at night and
they'll split the profits
148. Time with Micah, melting pressed leaves between wax paper
to make the ultimate stained glass door decoration;
making playdough which he played with for hours,
and the traditional Thurs. eve. activity-
watching The Three Stooges with Uncle Phil
and eating popcorn-it looked like it had snowed
on the living room floor
149. Fitz's horse farm in all its fall beauty
150. Time to walk
151. Hunter Safety Course for Susan
152. Time to catch up with paper work in the sun-
picnic table behind the library in Appomattox
153. Courage
154. Corn Combining time
155. 5 more calves
156. So many kind people everywhere I go
157. Bobcat's scream in the middle of the night
158. Warmer temperatures outside than inside the house
159. God's consistent still small voice-
"Don't worry. Trust Me."
169. Corn harvest finished
179. The planting of rye in its place
180. Freeman building a very large chicken grazing area.
Little roosting barn is in place. Chickens are about to arrive.
181. A talkative teenager
182. Watching Susan spontaneously give someone a hug
who used to have to pay her a dollar to get a hug from her
183. Thank you notes written to Phil
184. That Jesus was a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief
and He was a man of joy above all His brethren
185. For Jamie's statement that the DNA of Christ
is the DNA of the body of Christ, the church
186. For the low voices of our men chatting early in the morning
187. That I am the apple of His eye and He sings over me with joy
188. That I am an oak of righteousness, a planting of the LORD
that He might be glorified
189. That His thoughts toward me are too many to count
190. That Jesus is my friend sticking closer than a brother
191. Lunch and a walk with DDF
192. Friends I can trust
193. Michael flying twice a week
194. The nice surprise of seeing Alli at Chick Fillet
195. Time to sit by myself and read sustaining Words
196. Mom's and More
197. Esther's Courage in the face of danger
198. For the fun sweet ladies at the eye glass place
who sent some wild glasses home with me yesterday to surprise Susan
and then called today to find out her reaction
199. For DR getting a week off and how much I miss her
200. For Philip taking Susan with him where he goes
201. That Susan now has brown boots and red boots
due to the 50% off sale
202. That last week I had said that I wish we could watch
'I love Lucy' and when I went to Salvation Army a few days later,
I found two DVD sets-one never opened-for $2.00 each
and now we have 56 episodes to watch
203. Chicken corn noodle soup made with organic chicken
and our own 'incredible' sweet corn
204. For those who give their time to help us
205. That eye has not seen, nor ear heard,
nor has it entered into the heart of man
the things which God has prepared for those
who love Him
206. Quick trip to Farmville with Phil to make a bank deposit
and to get ice cream cones from Dairy Queen
207. Afternoon/eve. with Micah, getting pinecones from O'Brien's, attaching a pipe cleaner at their tops, spreading pb on them, and rolling them in bird seed-a gift for the birds this early winter;
making chocolate chocolate chip cookies, putting cookies and cream ice cream in between two of them, wrapping them in wax paper and freezing them in honor of his daddy's birthday coming up Nov. 4, and as always, 3 Stooges and popcorn in the eve. Oh-Philip made Micah his very own bow and arrow too.
208. Missi sharing Ps. 42
209. Glorious sunrise
211. Photo shoot in the rain with Susan dressed in red boots, jeans, white shirt, black jacket, and sporting a red umbrella taken against red fall foliage over at O'Brien's. Almost every photo a winner.
212. Michael tooting horn loud and long when he comes home from college.
213. Michael spending time with Susan editing and enhancing the photos we just took.
Blues guitar playing as they work.
214. Phil and Philip taking load of scrap metal from fire to recycling dump, picking up Micah on the way, stopping at McD's afterwards, giving him his own money to spend, helping him to order.
215. Family night-watching The Two Towers, eating popcorn
216. Phil's cheerful love
217. NLAG
218. Chinese food
219. Sunday afternoon of watching "I love Lucy Show"
220. Susan's invitation to watch her feed calves and Philip's invitation to watch his pigs eat
221. Philip's praying over sick calf while he fed it electrolytes and his dry statement, "I shouldn't have called him 'Goliath.'
222. That a dear old friend of ours, born without legs, and experiencing many trials in life, is now walking and leaping and praising God in heaven! But we still had to cry.
223. For the book, "In the Footsteps of Jesus" written by the actor who played Jesus in the movie 'Matthew'
224. Good discussions at home
225. Mom and Dad's 8 inches of snow and absence of electricity!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

More from Matthew

I can't seem to get out of Matthew 15.

After Jesus left the region of Tyre and Sidon;
after He had healed the 'Little-Dog-Woman-of-Great-Faith's' daughter;
He skirted around the Sea of Galilee and went up into the mountain
and sat down.

Over 4,000 people came to Him there,
bringing their sick, lame, blind,
and otherwise needy friends and family,
and they laid them at Jesus' feet
and He healed them all.

Can you imagine the party and the
faith flowing freely
as one person after another was healed?

Jesus didn't 'do' a mass healing.
He ministered personal healing
with personal touches and words.
This took a good three days
and even after everyone was healed,
no one wanted to leave this mountain
of heaven on earth.

Jesus, however, knew it was time for Him to move on
but first He wanted to feed everyone
because it is one thing to not be hungry
amidst joy and wholeness
and quite another thing
to journey back down the mountain
toward home on an empty stomach.

So, He put the problem of food to the disciples
and they asked Him, "Where could we possibly
get enough food in the wilderness to feed all
of these people?

Their question reminds me of the Psalmist's
writings in Chapter 78.
He recorded the miracles that God performed
for the Children of Israel,
and then, when they had another need,
they said things like,
"Sure, He gave us streams of water from a rock,
but can He give bread also?
Can God provide a table in the wilderness?"
And this made God furious
because they did not believe Him
or trust in His salvation.

And here again,
Jesus had down all these great things
for His children,
and yet the disciples wondered where they
would find enough food to put on this
table in this wilderness.

And I realize, sadly, how many times I do this to Him.
"Yes, you have helped me through many troubles,
but I am not sure if You are big enough to help
me through this one."
I am more of an atheist with fearful controlling ways
than I am a trusting thankful believer.

Lord, I believe.
Help my unbelief.

And that's what He did for the disciples.
He helped their unbelief.
He didn't get mad this time.

"How many loaves of bread do you have?" He asked.
"Seven, and a few fish," they answered.

And Jesus blessed what little they had
and fed the multitude
and from the seven loaves of bread
came seven baskets of leftovers.

I wonder if the people took food with them on their journey home.
Their hands would have been free to carry bread
because they were no longer using crutches,
or carrying litters, or leading the blind.
I wonder if they shared their miracle bread
with others they met on the way.

the needs of the multitude overwhelm us.
We think they are taken care of-
healed and made whole-
and then Someone points out that
they are also hungry and then we've got
to worry about feeding them.
With humans,
it's always one thing or another.

Jesus took the time to relate to people on a personal
level when He healed them,
but He fed them enmasse.
He put His disciples to work to organize the multitude,
then He gave thanks, broke the bread,
gave the food to His disciples,
and they passed it out to the people.
His personal touch was obvious
but so were His administrative skills.

God and Jesus have asked interesting questions
over the years.
To Moses, God asked,
"What's that in your hand?
You think it is just a rod,
but it is really a serpent
that will swallow other serpents.
It will part waters so My people
can walk on dry land across the sea.
You think it is a piece of wood,
but by trusting Me,
and obeying Me by using what you have,
you will come to see it as
the arm of the LORD,
working wonders for My people."

To the obviously blind and lame, Jesus asked,
"What do you want Me to do for you?"
and "Do you want to be whole?"

we want Christ's forgiveness
but we don't want to be whole.
We want the attention our sickness affords.
We don't want the responsibility
that comes with being made whole.

And to the disciples He asked,
"How many loaves do you have?"
And their answer held the obvious answer,
"Not enough to feed this crowd."

We are human.
We've only got a rod,
the excuse of sickness,
and a measly seven loaves of bread to feed thousands.
We don't have enough.
We're not going to always get it right.

And even though I thought I loved and trusted Christ
for years,
I am realizing anew,
that if I don't trust Him now,
I will become an absolute control freak.

That if I don't really believe that He is bigger than life's problems
and that He has conquered sin and death
and that nothing can separate me from His love
and that He works everything together for good-
if I don't really trust Him,-
then the rod I hold in my hand
will be nothing but an earthly weapon to use out of fear,
and I will choose to pull the covers over my head
and remain in hiding
because I don't want to face life
and be made whole,
and I will hoard my seven loaves and few fishes
until they are eaten by bugs and rodents.

All of this comes down to one question.
Two actually.

Do I trust Him?
Will I obey Him?
For Moses had to use his rod in the way God commanded him;
the lame had to get up;
the blind had to wash the mud off their eyes;
and the disciples had to break the loaves
and start passing them out.

There comes a crisis moment when God says to us,
"Throw down your rod, get up and walk, and break the bread."
"What if's" want to take dominance.
"What if nothing happens when I do what He says?
What if my rod stays a rod?
What if it makes just a silly little splash in the "Red Sea?"
What if I wash the mud off my eyes and I am still blind?
What if I can only feed 14 people when I break the loaves
in half?

Faith is risky.
Presumption is dangerous.
And sometimes they look the same.
We must know His word and His ways.
We must know His voice.
And we must know Him.

He works outside of man's box
but He works within the perimeter's of
His Father's Kingdom and His rules
of authority, wisdom, and honor.

He won't ask us to do things contrary to His Word.
Many a saint's faith has been ship-wrecked when they
acted on something they thought God had told them to do
when God would never consider saying
such a thing in the first place.

But even in the mistakes we make discerning
hearing His voice, He teaches and redeems,
saying, "This is what My voice really sounds like
and this is My Word on the matter."
So even in our mistakes,
we can better learn to know
the voice of the Shepherd.

life happens,
and our itty-bitty God boxes get
blown to bits.

I feel like I am just starting
my walk of faith.

I am thinking anew
about trusting Him
and obeying Him.

The choices to trust and obey
are minute by minute choices.
Do I trust or do I worry?
Do I obey or do I shrink back?

One thing I do know is this.
I have never regretted trusting Him.
And I always wish I had trusted Him more.

And with obedience
comes a cross,
but with obedience,
also comes joy.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Little Dog Worship

One of my least favorite stories about Jesus is also one of my most favorite. (Matt. 15:21)

Remember when the Canaanite woman came to Jesus, saying,
"Have mercy on me, O Lord, Son of David. My daughter is severely demon-possessed."

And Jesus just plain ignored her.
The disciples urged Him to send her away because the way she kept crying after them
was getting on their last nerve.

So Jesus answered her and said something like, "I didn't come to earth to help you.
I just came to help the Children of Israel-not a Canaanite like you. (See notes at end.)

But then she came and worshiped Him, saying,---
She worshiped Him with a request.
Did she bow down?
Probably. I would have.
But she said, somehow, worshipfully,
"LORD, help me!"

Isn't it a thrill to realize that worship is acknowledging
that He is the LORD who can help me now?!

That asking Him to help me and proclaiming His Lordship
is indeed 'Worship.'

My need. His strength.
His strength. My need.
All in the same sentence as 'worship.'

But Jesus answered her saying, "I really shouldn't be giving
the Children of Israel's bread to the little dogs."

And she said, "That's true, but even little dogs eat the crumbs
that fall from their Master's table."

Isn't she something?
She didn't try to pretend that she was anything other
than a little dog.
She knew that a crumb from Jesus' hand would be enough
to heal her daughter.

Jesus thought she was something too.

"O Woman," He said. "Great is your faith.
Let it be as you desire."

And her daughter was healed even as He spoke.

Worship with persistent personal request moved Jesus outside
of His ministry box in order to honor her great faith.

Perhaps it is when we have great need,
or great love for someone in great need,
and merge that need with our great faith
in Someone who can meet that need-
perhaps, that is when we truly worship.

Notes from The New Spirit Filled Life Bible:
"The restriction on His mission did not involve racial exclusivism, but was strictly a matter of His limitations as a person and distinct priorities set by the Father. In God's plan the gospel must first be offered to the Old Covenant people, because of their calling and the responsibilities it entailed. The gathering of Israel must precede and prepare for the gathering of Gentiles (Rom 1:16).

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Sometimes, it really is about us~

Matthew 15:30,31~"Then great multitudes came to Him, having with them the lame, blind, mute, maimed, and many others; and they laid them down at Jesus' feet, and He healed them. So the multitude marveled when they saw the mute speaking, the maimed made whole, the lame walking, and the blind seeing; and they glorified the God of Israel."
There are times in our lives when we are part of the multitude which brings others to Jesus, and there are other times, when we are the maimed, the shamed, the lame, being brought to Jesus by the multitude.

And isn't it a wonder that we can bring ourselves and lay ourselves down at Jesus' feet; mute,-struck dumb as it were by life's disasters; maimed in soul; deprived of usefulness; crippled, disabled; reeling from the results of being blind-sided.

When I was younger, I would lay on one side of my bed, and hold out my hand, so Jesus could hold it while He slept with me. And now that I am older, I don't always think of holding His hand. But I lay there in bed, and I say, 'Oh, Jesus. I receive all of Your ministry for which You came." And I hold out my heart and receive the anointing of His life. I take it in for myself and my loved ones and for those who mourn in Zion. Because He preaches good news to our poverty and heals our broken hearts. He proclaims liberty to the captive and the opening of prison to those who are bound. He proclaims favor and the acceptable year of the LORD, and the day of vengeance of our God. He comforts and consoles all of us who mourn in Zion. He gives us beauty for ashes and the oil of joy for mourning. He clothes us with new garments of praise and takes the burdens off of our shoulders. He calls us trees of righteousness; His planting of strength, so He might be glorified."

And just as Isaiah proclaimed 700 years before Christ came that Jesus would come and do these things and that God would be glorified, so it happened. The multitudes glorified God when they experienced the ministry of Jesus.

Unless we receive the ministry of Jesus for ourselves, we cannot pass on His ministry to others. Sometimes, it really is about us. Sometimes, life happens, and we must learn the lesson we must learn. We cannot learn someone else's lesson. For Jesus came for me. His ministry is for me. And if I look around at others and think they are in harsher prisons and worse pain and more broken-hearted than I am and I talk myself out of my own sorrow in a guilty sort of way because I am not in as much trouble as others, then I short-change what God could do in my life. I belittle my need for Him and then I don't learn what He wants from me in life's circumstances and I definitely don't receive His ministry. And then He is not glorified.

Sometimes, when people come to us, full of life's pain, we want to delve into the why's and wherefore's of their condition. And sometimes that is necessary for wisdom's sake, in order to prevent future injury and to gain understanding.

But Jesus didn't spend alot of time figuring out why people were lamed or shamed. He just healed them and said things like, "Neither do I condemn you; go and sin no more."

I hope,
when people leave our church doors,
when they walk out of our home,
when our children leave our bedroom,
when a friend hangs up the phone-

I hope that they are healed by Jesus in us
and I pray that they are fed and sustained with bread from heaven,
so they have strength for the journey towards Home.
Matthew 15:32~"Now Jesus called His disciples to Himself and said, "I have compassion on the multitude, because they have now continued with Me three days and have nothing to eat. And I do not want to send them away hungry, lest they faint on the way."

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Catch up Gift List for September into Kentucky Trip/Oct.3

37.-That we overcome satan by the blood of the Lamb and by the Word of our testimony, which is really all about the life and the blood of Christ and what He has done for us. My testimony is not about my righteous life, but about His righteous, spotless life. Thanks be to God for His speakable gift.
38.-Les Miserables-a story of grace and redemption-Susan's homeschool drama group performing it in November.

40.-A lender repaid.

41.-That dear kind lender and his dear kind words, 'We have prayed to have friends like you.

42.-"Thunder" and "Lightning"-our two new baby calves

43.-The wild light show tonight-Dark clouds with red and yellow lightning-three different areas of constant showing off

44. Suitcases waiting eagerly in the trunk since yesterday

45.-Safe travels to Kentucky. (Sept.28-Oct.3)
46. Changing leaves and foggy mountain

47. All Caps Texts between Makenzie and Susan as they 'scream' about our soon arrival

48. Country music with a good message

49. Girls wrestling and Jackson barking

50. Sitting wrapped in a blanket on a back porch in the mountains of Kentucky

51. A bowl full of Reeses peanut butter cup

52. A Whirlpool bath

53. The peace of now

54. Being hungry
55. The Holy Word of God that still creates-
safety, peace, justice, compassion, wholeness, beauty, double honor, good, a spotless bride
56. Waking up and realizing I had slept 8 hours straight!
57. A long walk with Lynn through 'the holler'
58. Suz and Mak riding double bareback on gentle old horse
59. Happy laughter and "we need to video-tape everything we do today!"
60. Sitting in the sun on the front porch rocker with nothing to do but read
61. Air conditioning and heat all turned on sometime in the past 24 hours
62.My favorite dead men, John and Isaiah, come back to be with me today with their old familiar living words.
63. Girls on job box in back of truck as we drove down windy back roads to see the 'holler'
64.Teisha and baby
65. Susan's cheery inquiry into Phil's day over the phone
66. Phil's shirt to sleep with... of Jesus tucked inside it
68. 12 hours in bed almost all of it asleep!
69. 50 degree weather!
70. Being able to hear the girls in the fitting room at JCPenney's no matter where we walked in the store.
71. Great sales at JCP. $2.30 for $30+ shirts
72. Cheese fries with Ranch dressing at greasy spoon diner
73. Sam's sister, Kathy, a "kind soul"
74. High School football in small town America
75. Aaron who reminds us of Philip
76. That darkness and light are both alike to God. Ps. 139
77. Lynn's gift to Susan-a silver charm bracelet with meaningful charms
Oct. 1~Kentucky continued...
78. Rainy, cloudy days
79. Electricity going off
80. First fire of the season in the fireplace
81. Peanut butter eggs coated in chocolate
82. no-bake chocolate oatmeal cookies
83. Calling home and hearing a party going on
84. Phil's "It will be nice when you are home."
85. Beautiful giggling girls getting gussied up for photo shoot
86. Meeting Makenzie's extended family
87. Safe, not stressful ride back home-a good 8 hour trip
88. A house to clean up
89. Laundry to do
90. Susan making supper
91. Philip excited about archery season-camouflaged!
92. The flaming sword welcome home
93. Cold night in which to snuggle