Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Divine Influence

This morning I noticed a little phrase in Colossians 3:16. In fact, Colossians 3:12-16, pretty much sums up what could 'fix' us all, if we lived in and by it. The little phrase is this: "...singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord." What does it mean to have grace to the Lord and to sing with this grace to Him?

Webster always throws a fresh light on things, even though he's been dead for years.

Under 'grace' in the dictionary, there is a theological definition.
The first one sounds familiar.

Grace is:
a) the unmerited love and favor of God toward man.

This is the grace that comes through Jesus Christ.

John describes Jesus as 'full of grace and truth.
Of His fullness we have all received,
and grace for grace.'

We've been given His fullness
and grace to receive and give grace.
Oh, to be filled with the fullness of God!
Full of grace and truth!
This is probably my favorite verse in the entire Bible.

Then, Webster gives two more theological definitions for grace.

Grace is also:
b)divine influence acting in man
c) the condition of a person thus influenced

The unmerited love and favor of God towards us
divinely influences us to give His unmerited love and favor to others.
And to ourselves.

And this grace also makes us a gracious person.
It becomes the condition in which we exist.

This grace affects our singing.
"Singing with grace in our hearts to the Lord."

This grace affects our speaking.
"Let your speech always be with grace, seasoned with salt,
that you may know how to answer each one." (Col.4:6)

This grace affects our strength.
" strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus."
(11 Tim. 2:1)

This grace affects our hearts.
" is good that the heart be established by grace."
(Hebrews 13:9)
Establish=to make stable;settle
A stable, settled heart because of grace.

This grace affects our stewardship.
"As each one has received a gift,
minister it to one another,
as good stewards of the manifold grace of God."
(1 Peter 4:10)

Get this.

Manifold means 'having many and various forms and parts.'

A steward is a 'keeper;
one who is in charge of the affairs
of a large estate.'

We are keepers of the large estate
of the many and various
forms of the grace of God!
We are keepers of grace
to give it away!

This grace also grows.
"..but grow in the grace and knowledge of our
Lord and Savior Jesus Christ."
(11 Peter 3:18)

Grace is living.
Never stagnant.

It grows as we receive His grace
and give His grace
and sing with grace
and speak with grace
and are strengthened with grace
and are established with grace
and are keepers of grace.

Being filled with grace
and operating out of His grace
will make us people of grace.

If we live in this grace
we won't operate out of our insecurities
about what others think of us.
We will give them grace.

We'll have grace to give grace
and grace to receive grace.

For just as we must give grace to those who do not deserve it
so others must rely on grace when they are relating to us
when we least deserve grace.

It's all about grace.

And of His fullness we have all received,
and grace for grace.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Hertzler Doings~March 26-April1, 2012

Mon.-Psalm 138:3,7,8-"In the day when I cried out, You answered me, And made me bold with strength in my soul. Though I walk in the midst of trouble, You will revive me; You will stretch out Your hand against the wrath of my enemies, and Your right hand will save me. The LORD will perfect that which concerns me; Your mercy, O LORD, endures forever; Do not forsake the works of Your hands."
Naomi called. Made plans to spent Thurs. and Fri. night with her this week. Susan took a history test and worked for several hours on her eggs. Janelle sent a picture of a snake to us on face book and then called, asking for help in identifying it. She had been cutting some herbs and realized that it was dangling just a few inches away from her. I told her who to contact and right away that person said that it was a Corn Snake and would do only good. Now Micah wants to keep it as a pet. Booked hotel room for CS weekend. Washed clothes and tidied up house and went for an adventurous drive on the gator down to our river and the river over at O'Brien's. Got stuck in the mud over there and was several miles away from the main road. It would have been a long, mountainous walk back to the main road. Thankfully, God helped me. I began to put twigs, etc. down to cause some traction. I wrote about it in 'Carpet of Blue.' In the evening, Susan and I went to Cornerstone Christian Academy to see their spring Recitatio. It was great. They should take it on the road. The older students quoted from memory facts about the twentieth century, one decade at a time. They would feature one of the facts with a song, dance, or speech. It was wonderful to see the teachers and students too. Oh! Even Elvis showed up. It was a complete surprise to the kids.

721-Thankful for the song that Mikayla and Sidney sang for me in the gym after the program.
722-Thankful for friends who are still friends even when I haven't seen or talked to them for awhile.
723-Thankful for God's blessing on CCA.
724-Thankful that God literally delivered me out of the miry clay. I was really thankful. I was beginning to feel like 'Survivor Woman.'

(I'm writing this on my new laptop and can't seem to save it so I guess I'll print it right away. That should make Gil happy.)

Tues.-"He loves me too, He loves me too, I know He loves me too..." Susan is learning a lot about taking care of a baby calf and not everything is pleasant. We went out to homeschool co-op and ran some errands. I had lunch with DDF and then picked up Susan and we met Judy and another friend at Sweet Frog. We spent a nice hour together, catching up and just being together. Phil heard from the boxer people and Susan likes the picture of the puppy that was sent our way. She's dipping eggs tonight, Phil is catching up on paper work, I'm thinking about cleaning off my messy desk and getting ready for the week ahead, Philip is at a cattlemen's meeting, and I talked with Michael and he was on his way to Buffalo wild wings.

725-I am thankful for my younger friend, who always brings me back to the gospel and what it teaches. She is young in the faith, as far as years, but she is way beyond me in her pursuit of God and her desire to obey Him. She asks me questions but I have so much to learn from her.
726-I am thankful for the loaded trust-filled question I was asked today. After consulting with every family member, we said, "Yes."
727-That love keeps a record of rights and believes the best about people even if they might not deserve it.

Wed.-(I haven't been able to blog for at least a week, due to being away, and due to blogger switching over to google and messing up my style. Lindsay has put it all back together for me and I am writing this a whole week late. I have some notes and will go from them.)
Today, at Mom's and More, Lindsay texted Ginger and Ginger read her note aloud. Lindsay said that I was one of the ten finalists for the Zondervan New NIV Mom's devotional Bible writing competition. That made me so happy! Lindsay is even more 'stoked' than I am. People can vote for my writing and we'll find out the final results on April 14. Had lunch with Dianna and Friends. Shopped at Belk's. Susan and two of her friends went to see 'The Hunger Games'. (Oops-I had earlier written 'Hunting' Games. I went with them. They wanted to be independent and guardianless, so I sat in back, far away from them. The movie is very disturbing. The one girl had read all of the books and said that there are more movies coming out. I told her that there had better be a revolution among the people and she said that there is. I had to think about abortion and Hitler and something else that hasn't quite revealed itself to me yet. Finished packing in the eve.

Thurs.-Left around 8 and got to Mother's new place around 5. She moved to an assisted living location at her retirement home. She has one room now, instead of a nice sized carriage house. It's lovely but it is different. Change is hard. Redbuds are losing their bloom in Va. but as I traveled north, the pink trees were at their finest. Spring is coming to Lancaster County. There are so many beautiful shades of green covering rich loamy soil. I ate supper with Mother in the dining room and watched Jeopardy at 7. She has a waterfall outside her window and a gazebo and a flower garden. I liked telling her that her blog-I.B.Lieve, has had nearly 2,000 page views. I went outside after supper to get her the lilacs I had brought from home. I went out the wrong door and couldn't get back in. I got seriously lost and didn't find my way back until after a long walk and 20-30 min. of trying. Got to Naomi's around 8 and we talked and laughed with Ashley, Krissy, and then, Mabe. What a good home this is.

Fri.-Had a nice leisurely breakfast with Naomi after sleeping straight through the night. Homemade granola, vanilla yogurt, fruit, and coffee with cinnabon creamer. Met Rosalee at Mothers soon after 9. Worked on her other house and sorted through some things. Went to Lickety Split for take out lunch and brought it back to Mother's. Went back and worked in the afternoon. Abie came and put up more pictures and a mirror for Mother. Ate supper with Mother and picked up Amber's marathon bag at the front entrance. Got to hear Janet Oberholtzer speak for about 10 min. I had seen her book in the lobby and walked over to it. I recognized the cover. Jerry, Janet's husband, said, "Hi." Oh, I said. I recognized your wife's legs before I recognized you. Then he told me she was speaking so I snuck in and sat in the back. She did see me and face booked me. I hadn't wanted to 'throw' her concentration, but she didn't mind. She is an excellent speaker. Buy her book, "Because I can." It tells her journey about a life threatening accident where she nearly lost one leg and now she is running again. I'm so proud of her. Went back to Naomi's. Amber and Brayden were there. We decided to refer to me as 'Aunt Annette' and when I got up to go somewhere, Brayden, 3, said, "Where is Clarinet going?" Morgan was home from Temple. It was great to be around all of the girls at one time. Coffee and chocolate cookies for bedtime snack and I slept on the cot in the computer room. Michael called today and requested that I write more of my memories of childhood, grandparents, etc. on my blog.

Sat.-Woke up to a happy little voice in the house. Went to Squire Side Cafe with Mabe, Naomi, the girls, and Brayden. Amber was running in the marathon. Went over to Mother's. Rosalee and I worked over at the other place. Mabe and Naomi picked up my dry sink and wicker table and chairs. They are storing it for me until we get up with a truck. Got lunch from Lickety Split again. We were eating it in the lobby. A lady walked by with her Mennonite mother. I said, "You look really you know my friend, Naomi Glick? She works at Auntie Anne's counselling center." The lady said, "I AM Auntie Anne." That was so cool. I had read her book at the shore and recognized her from her pictures. She is the Auntie Anne of the Auntie Anne's soft pretzels. She was taking her mama home over night. We introduced my mother and played the Mennonite Game. My mother told her that she had been a Landis and I said that the guys used to sing to her in the hallways at school, "Oh, Beulah Land...sweet Beulah Landis..." something like that anyway. Anne started to sing, "I've reached the land of corn and wine..." and we joined in, harmonizing, "and all it's riches freely mine...there shines undimmed one glorious day, when all my night shall pass away...Oh, Beulah Land, sweet Beulah land..." It was a precious time. Anne encouraged my mother, saying, "We don't always like the way life is here, but it will be worth it all some day." My mother told her that her cousin, Jake, owned the farm that Anne had bought to build the center. Jake still lives on the farm and Anne was going to give him greetings from his cousin, Beulah. Sometimes, it's really worth it to speak up and say, "Do I know you? You look familiar to me." I had supper with Mother and then said a hard good bye and went to spend the eve. and the night at Mom and Dad's. Had such a nice visit with them. Jim's, Pauls, and Joe's, came over, and little Jonathan was very lovey dovey with me, in spite of the fact he had a temp. of 102.5. First time being sick. Fever only symptom. Karen said he is that friendly with every one, so I guess I'm not so special after all. ;) Got to see Jim's boys and Karalee, too. Paul's hand is doing great. What a thrill to see how well it has healed. I took pictures so I could show Phil since we've only seen it wrapped up. Mom served us pumpkin custard and apple crisp. Later that eve, as I was getting ready for bed, I listened to the radio station the were playing in their room. Old hymns took me back to my childhood. "The Old Rugged Cross" and other songs. I found a note in Susan's childlike handwriting in the guest drawer. "I love you Grandpa and Grandma. Love, Susan Hertzler.

Sun.-Mom made me breakfast. We had a sweet time of prayer together and a group hug. Just Dad, Mom, and I. Then I said, "Now, I have to take you back to Va. with me." Left around 8:20 and got home around 4:20. We drove again in the eve., about 1 hour and 10 min. away, to check on Susan's week old boxer puppy. They weren't home. We decided to wait for 5 min. in the driveway, and glory be, they came! We hadn't been able to reach them via phone. Susan has posted pictures on face book and she looks like she's in love. I got to hold the little thing for a brief 5 seconds. It's good to be back home. I really truly can't wait until heaven, when we will no longer need to say good bye.

Carpet of Blue

The Virginia Blueballs are in full bloom down at our river. The heavy rain was hard on them but they still swing with beauty in the breezes of spring. They are a carpet of blue, covering the forest floor. A little poem came billowing into my mind and when I reached the house, I grabbed pen and paper and jotted it down.

"O' gathered bells of heaven's blue,
Ringing and Singing, "He loves me, too."

As far in the wood as my eye can see,
They're ringing and singing His love for me."

Leaving our property here,
I ventured over to O'Brien's-
our other farm a few miles away.
I drove the gator on the main back road,
leaving Susan and Angel at home
to catch some sun's ray's on the porch.

Once there, I took some panaromic pictures of pretty red buds
parading their paintings of pink in the pasture.

Then I drove the gator down the long rocky lane
to find the bluebells down at the river.

Alas, the heavy rains had bowled over the bluebells
and the bank was a mass of mud.
I drove down into the land mine
and as I turned around to leave,
my back tires spun helplessly
in the very wet mud.

I put it in four wheel drive
and I think that made it worse.

The sun was hot.
I pulled out my phone to call Susan,
thinking she could come down to get me
on the four-wheeler.
My phone had no reception
and as I took note of that fact,
the battery died.

I started to pray.
"Jesus, help me."
I began laying down twigs
in front and in back of the front
and back tires.
Slowly, about a foot at a time,
I began plowing my way
out of the mudslide.

This went on for quite some time
and finally,
after using nearly all the available debris
in the area,
I gained enough momentum
to spin onto more solid ground.

My feet, hands, and clothes,
were smathered in mud
and the gator had clumps of brown matter
all along its' sides.

I should have known better than to drive down into
that mudhole,
and I'm not sure why I did it.

Next time I venture so far from home
wearing only crocs on my feet
and having no cell reception,
I'll work it out with Susan ahead of time,
saying something like,
"If I'm not home in an hour,
come looking for me."
Psalm 40:1-3-
"I waited patiently for the LORD;
And He inclined to me,
And heard my cry.
He also brought me up out of a horrible pit,
Out of the miry clay,
And set my feet upon a rock,
And established my steps.
He has put a new song in my mouth-
Praise to our God;
Many will see it and fear,
And will trust in the LORD."

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Hertzler Doings~March 19-25, 2012

Mon.-"One glimpse of His dear face...all sorrow will erase...So gladly run the race...Till we see Christ.." Monday morning wash and clean up. Susan's calf, Lucy, is sick. Susan's worried. She's working on filling her egg orders. Alli came over to use the internet. Watched part of Bride Wars. Phil picked up meds for Lucy. Phlip found a baby pigeon. It walked right over to him and into his hands.

707-Thankful for the glorious pink and blue sunrise this morning.

708-Thankful for farm life. Looking out screen window and watching Susan bottle feed Lucy and Philip holding his pigeon while he visits with her. Love it.

Tues.-"James the Just, James the Faithful, James the Righteous." Finished the study on James. Read about how he died and had to cry because I felt I had lost a friend. It's one thing to think about martyrs from a distance, but Stephen or James could have been Johnny, and the Christians in the early church suffered many and real things. Busy day. Went out to Belk to get Susan's skin rechecked. We are going to stick with the program since it seems to be working okay now. She quit everything last week and then added one thing at a time. We brought Mandy two peanut butter eggs and one buttercream. She ate one right there and her eyes rolled and she cried in ecstacy, "Oh my God!" and I think she meant it. I told Susan that her eggs brought glory to God. Went to the bank, Walmart, and Tractor Supply. Gave Susan my card and she came out of the store with two twenty five pound bags-one under each arm. She said the clerks wanted to help her and she declined. "No, I'm fine." She looked fine, too. Took her to Biology and she later hitched a ride out to LBC for play practice. I met Ruth H. for lunch at ShoGun. Came home and took pictures of spring. Phil came home early and rode down with me to the river. I took pics of bluebells and also of the fields and the eagle flying. Phil cut some watercress down at the spring. A bit later, Phil, Freeman, and Philip showed the ol' boar who's boss and now that he's missing something significant, he might not be so mean. Went out to Appomattox and picked up Andrew F. and Susan. I was reading in the car and we started getting some wild weather. The kids got wet from the church door to the car door and as I pulled out, it began to hail. I drove 460 straddled between both lanes because it was flooding and not many cars were out. It was hard to see. Then, suddenly, 460 was dry. I dropped off Andrew and then we got the storm. I dropped off Susan and headed to KNIT group. We're studying the book, "What Women Fear" by Angie Smith. Really good. I patted Erika's very pregnant belly. This is her second. Susan and Philip were working until midnight, processing their goods.

709-Thankful for the beautiful light shades of green and the pink red buds and the yellow forsythias growing along 460 and back roads too. Why does this beauty make me hurt with a estatic sort of sobbing joy?

710-Thankful for the newness. The sense of being born again. The looking at people and wondering where they have been these past months. Am I just seeing them anew?

711-Thankful for the revelation that the same people who resent you because they think you and your life are perfect will resent you when they find out you are not as perfect as they thought. And the same people who love you and think you're perfect will still love you when they find out you are not.

Wed.-Phil 1:29-"For to you it has been granted on behalf of Christ, not only to believe in Him, but also to suffer for His sake." "We are the generation...rising up to take our place...right on our knees...right on our knees.." Erika had her baby at 8:30 this morning after going into labor two hours earlier. Little boy. Took pics with Susan at Happy Valley. The reflection of clouds on the water was clearer than the clouds in the sky. Cleaned up some outside and did some more cleaning at the chapel. Hope to finish tomorrow. Phil and boys are home working with scrap metal. Susan and Philip out to Calvary tonight for Bible Study. Started DF. Detoxing and miserable physically and emotionally.

711-Thankful for the love around here.

Thurs.-Rough night. Throwing up. Few hours sleep. Has happened before when at the beginning of detoxing. Took Susan and Andrew out to LBC for drama practice from 9-6. We brought peanut butter eggs for her snack to share. Delivered eggs to Jamerson's and Nolen's and CCA. Visited with the 'school' for about an hour. Snuck a preview of Recitatio. Great to see them all. Got groceries. Iced foot and watched a movie. Talked with Nanette for awhile and sat in the sun. What a dear friend she is. Went down to the chapel and put it all back together.

712-Thankful for the first mowing of spring grass when all that good green chlorophyll and wild garlic fills the air.

713-Thankful for Susan's happy day and the friends she has made in this group. She plays the part of Laverne as in Laverne and Shirley in the pirate play.

714-Thankful that CCA is doing so well. I love those people.

715-Thankful for Helen's help and advice about my foot and ankle.

Fri.-Acts 2:42,46,47-"And they continued steadfastly in the apostle's doctrine and fellowship, in the breaking of bread, and in continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, they ate their food with gladness and simplicity of heart, praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily those who were being saved." Fertilizer sprayed today on owl field and low grounds. Susan made some coffee flavored eggs to give to a few friends. She posted a picture of one on facebook. I think she caused a face book riot. She now has to sell them. And people are not even minding that they are twice the price as the others because of the coffee extract expense. Someone messaged her and wants to sell her eggs at their store. She's thrilled. I took some eggs to Sherri and got to see Lydia F. for the first time since they moved down. Took Helen some watercress and an egg delivery and borrowed her foot detox machine. Made an appt. to get a deep muscle massage in hopes that I can loosen up a muscle in my left leg which should allow my foot to loosen up and not hurt so much. Susan's play was in the eve. at LBC. "Jolly Roger and the Pirate Queen." I was on deck to help if needed but another mother had it under control. It's been nice to reconnect with Dawn F. Her son, Andrew, is in the play too.
716-My friend, Lori, said that she had 5 of Susan's eggs in her house and they are no longer there and her family didn't even know they had been there. She also said that she gained 10 pounds in two weeks. I was relieved because I ate 5 eggs too, and gained the same amount. I used to try to gain weight; I was so scrawny. I can't seem to get rid of the mindset that I need to eat or I am going to waste away.

Sat.-Rain woke me up early. Col. 1:21-23-"And you, who once were alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now He has reconciled in the body of His flesh through death, to present you holy, and blameless, and above reproach in His sight-if indeed you continue in the faith, grounded and steadfast, and are not moved away from the hope of the gospel which you heard, which was preached to every creature under heaven, of which I, Paul, became a minister." Made blueberry muffins, tidied house. Susan worked on eggs. Alli and Freeman stopped by to borrow a truck. Our whole family went out to LBC to watch Susan as 'Laverne' in "Jolly Roger and the Pirate Queen." Susan got the loudest cheer at the curtain call because of all the Hertzler's in our row. The cast went to MacDonald's afterwards. We ran to Walmart afterwards to get more ingredients. Got to bed very late.

Sun.-Raining. Went to church. Thoughts I came away with-Forsake your old identity-like the woman at the well forsook her promiscuous lifestyle, the fishermen left their nets, etc.-to become a follower of Christ. Being a follower of Christ became their new identity. Love what God loves. Be proactive in pressing for the goal. Do not lose heart. The afflictions you are going through are not worthy to be compared with the glory that will be revealed in us.
Went to Chinese for lunch. LL was there with many celebrating his 48th birthday. When we went to pay, he had already paid our bill. That was so much fun I wanted to do it for some one else! Came home and relaxed all day. Alli and Freeman came over for a little and then went walking at O'Brien's. The redbuds are in full bloom over there. Learning to write a blog on my laptop which Phil and Michael got for me yesterday, which is thanksgiving #717! I feel so awkward and can't seem to make the one finger, two finger thing work.
718-Christ's DNA is the church's DNA.
719-Michael said that one of the speaker's at Liberty said, "Eternity is too long to be wrong."
720-That revival is not fun until we are experiencing the fruits of repentance.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Hertzler Doings~March 12-18, 2012

Mon.-Jeremiah 17:14-"Heal me, O LORD, and I shall be healed; Save me and I shall be saved, For You are my praise." Mom and Dad, Janelle and Micah, joined Michael, Susan, and I for a breakfast of sausage, scrapple, and cereal. I got an offering of only one egg and had to chase the hen off the nest to get it. The rooster considered me a liability and came after me and I gave him a good kick in the head each time he came at me. What a rush! Michael said that Grandma started laughing in the house and said, "You should see your Mother!" I gave Janelle the egg and she made it to her liking since she is on a special diet and could only eat the protein on the table. They all pulled out around 10. Janelle and Micah took Buddy with them. He needs a bath after being on the farm for almost three weeks while they were in Fla. Susan formed and dipped lots of eggs today and I caught up on wash, etc. Phil and I worked pretty late into the eve. vacuum packaging scrapple. Michael and Susan and the guitar kept each other company and Phil sang the blues while Michael played. I always think Phil should sing at open mike at Baine's one of these eves. I love his voice. Michael hung out with Chace and Jordan for part of the day. He brought home a jewelry box with beautiful blue birthstone earrings for Susan for her birthday. The blue matches her eyes exactly.

684-I am thankful that Susan showed me her new little heifer today. She is such a nice little calf. Peter and Ilvana came over and we had a nice little visit. Ilvana thought the calf looked like a 'Lucy' and Susan liked it and adopted the name, since the calf was still nameless. They wait for awhile, sometimes, to name a calf, until it shows its personality.

685- Fresh sausage to eat!

Tues.-"Hallelujah..Holy, Holy...God Almighty...Great I Am!" This is playing so loudly in my head I can't even think of sleeping and who wants to with that kind of heaven's music on earth. Gal. 6:14-"But God forbid that I should glory except in the cross of the Lord Jesus Christ by whom the world has been crucified to me and I to the world." Lindsay told me about the NIV Mom's Devo. Bible competition and I thought that all of the scriptures they gave had probably been explored in every way. But then, I read something in 1 Cor. differently. "Love keeps no record of wrongs," and I got an idea. So, I tried it out with Michael. "Michael," I said. "If love does not keep a record of wrongs, what does love keep a record of?" He thought for a moment and quickly said, "Rights!" Yes! Love keeps a record of rights. So today, after I dropped Susan off at co-op, and I ran my errands to the P.O. (pillowcase is on it's way), the bank, etc. I stopped at Walmart and bought a special fuchsia notebook in which to keep a record of rights. What 'God does right', my husband and children do right, the church and neighbors, friends, do right, etc. And then I realized that I should keep track of what I do right as well, and I think that will be hardest of all. God is love, and love keeps no record of wrongs. Therefore, God keeps no record of wrongs either. So, I wrote up a little devotional and hope to remember to send it tomorrow. Betty, Kelly, Susan and I went to Belks around 5 where we had an appt with Mandy to get the girls makeovers. Susan's skin is so sensitive we have been trying different products and we are hoping that Clinique will do the trick. Mandy was a wonderful person and did Susan's make up flawlessly and kept her looking younger than 20 which is always a good thing. Kelly was more reluctant but eventually, she had her makeover too, although both girls are beautiful and wouldn't need a stitch of make up to make them more so. Then we went to Pino's and had cheese steak wraps and a salad. Susan and I split our dishes. We got home around 9 and Susan still had to bottle feed two little calves. She was so excited about her skin care and make up.
686-Michael's home on spring break this week! So nice to have him to hug every morning.
687-Found a Big/Tall yellow shirt for Michael at Goodwill and a real treasure of a devotional book by Henry Nouwen. A twenty dollar book for 2 dollars worth a million dollars more.
688-Stopped at Jamie and Gingers after dropping Susan off at Faith Bible and delivered 5 chocolate eggs. I visited them during their lunch hour and Jamie started slicing up the peanut butter egg and sharing it around. Ryder, 3 1/2, said in his slow southern drawl, "Daddy, if you would give me another piece of that, I would be so happy, and I would give you a hug." He is so adorable. Ginger said that he talks about me every day but when he sees me, he gets all shy.

Wed.-Not much sleep again due to the song blasting in my brain, "Hallelujah!! Holy, Holy!! God Almighty!! Great I AM!!" But it's much better to stay awake because one's soul is soaring than to stay awake because of a troubled mind, so I'll take this any day. The study today at Mom's & More was on the importance of instilling hope in a child. Hope keeps you from shame. Hope lifts up your head. Hope gives you a future. And I'm thinking about how the Lord disciplines us. His discipline gives us hope. He never disciplines in an angry reaction. He always disciplines for our good. But HOW does He do it? Through His Word? Through circumstances? Through people? Through failure? With His eye? (That's how I want His discipline. I want Him to guide me with His eye so I know what to do next.) Also, today I got to thinking about success. Success is not a fruit of the spirit. And failure is not necessarily a lack of holiness. Think of the person who has been open with you about their failures. Do you not feel that you can also be vulnerable with them? And this is the stuff with which true friendship is welded together. Susan woke up with a reaction from the Clinique and was so disappointed. She grew increasingly more uncomfortable during the day. We took Judy out for her birthday at Sho-gun and by the end of the meal, Susan's face was even more red and rashy and her eyes were swelling. We went right back to Belk's and Mandy wasn't there but 3 other concerned clerks at the counter gathered around and offered their advice and concern and their love. They told her that she was still beautiful and they gave her some lotion to calm things down. She basically had a chemical peel done to her face because the products were too strong.They told her to wait until it calmed down and to start back slowly and see which of the products caused the reaction. They will exchange anything we want. I was so impressed and warmed by these dear ladies who cared so much for my daughter. We then went to Walmart and snuck in the garden center. She didn't want anyone to see her. We got some lotion for her face with a sunscreen because they said that any sun exposure would just burn her more. I got some Benedryl and she took it in the car and she took a long nap as soon as we got home. The cows were out later and she had to go out and chase them in, wearing sunglasses , because her eyes were so sensitive. It's gotten worse instead of better even though everything's been washed off. She's skipping youth group tonight and we had pizza and watched 'Sense and Sensibility.' Phil, Freeman, Philip, and Dave Plank drove south 10 hours today. Dave's uncle is putting them up and they are going wild boar hunting. They'll be back Sat. eve. Michael's feeling a bit sick in the stomach. Something he ate while fishing.
689-I remember realizing years ago that true friends love each others children. I am so thankful for those friends who are kind to my children and invest in their lives. I am thankful for those who think the best of my children and want the best for them too no matter what that looks like.
690-I am thankful that I was talking to Janelle and she said something that reminded me that I needed to submit my writing to the NIV devo contest and I submitted it with about 20 min. left in the competition. I wish I had copied what I wrote because I had only jotted a few notes down and wrote from that and sent it away.

Thurs.-James 5:13,14,15 has been getting my attention.
"Is any among you suffering? Let him pray. Is anyone cheerful? Let him sing psalms. Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer of faith will save the sick, and the Lord will raise him up. And if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven." I love that. If you are sick-ask for prayer and you will be healed and forgiven. If you are suffering-pray. If you are cheerful-sing. The activity fits the situation. James is so practical. Susan's face is not inflamed this morning but her eyelids are still swollen. Great day at home. Washing, cleaning, napping, making cole slaw and macaroni salad, etc. Michael went away in the eve. to Chace's birthday party and played guitar with his buddies. Alli came over for a girl's night out and we had hot dogs, cole slaw, and mac salad, choc. chip cookies, and popcorn while we watched 1 1/4 movies-"Runaway Bride" and "Nicholas Nickleby."(finished NN Friday)

691-Thankful for Susan running around in her yellow shorts and floppy barn boots with her calf, Little Lucy, chasing after her in our back yard.
692-Susan wanting to plant her own garden. Planted peas in Happy Valley raised beds.

Fri.-"I wait for the LORD, my soul waits, And in His word I do hope. My soul waits for the Lord more than those who watch for the morning-Yes, more than those who watch for the morning." (Psalm 130:5,6) Why does a watchman watch for the morning? Because then he will no longer be responsible to figure out the things that go 'bump' in the night? Because then what is mysterious has an explanation? Because then he can go home and rest? Watchman, straining his eyes to see the light of dawn, waiting until the expected time. Susan and I went to Prospect Fire Hall for their yard sale this morning. Saw Judy there. She said when she reads about our farm or sees pictures of it on face book, it makes her think of heaven. It makes her feel like she's home. She got all teary eyed and needed to stop talking about it. We got an infant pillow seat for Susan's baby boxer when he comes. He can sleep on that pillow beside her in bed. The cows got out repeatedly today. Grrr....

Michael went flying. Susan cleaned her room, did her wash, and studied History. I worked on the outside flower bed and the little pigs were happy to eat the chickweed I pulled. I dumped it in their pen for them. Sidney came and visited me while I pulled weeds and then tried to get me to rub him instead of doing my work. He laid down in the dirt. He's quite a grunter, that pig. I went down to the chapel and gathered all the linens together to be washed and they had been chewed on, burrowed into, ETC. by insects and rodents. I sprayed the wasps that were hanging around and the nests of stink bugs nestled under the rocking chair cushions. It will take several hours of cleaning to get my little sanctuary back into being a sanctuary but it's that time of year when spirits and souls and chapels need to be aired out and refocused. Michael went flying and he called on his way back with the exciting news that he had solo-ed for nearly 45 min. Three take-offs and 4 landings or was it the other way around. Probably not. Then, his instructor cut off his shirt tail. !!! It will be displayed in the training room and given back to him at grad. I guess I can always sew it back on. I asked, "Were you wearing that new yellow shirt I just got you?!" "No, I was wearing that blue shirt. Remember, the one that you got me and I already had one just like it?" Michael wanted to celebrate so we are going to make homemade pizza! I have the dough and sausage starting even as I write this. So far, the guys haven't gotten any wild pig but Phil said that he is just about as relaxed as he's ever been. I'm so glad that he gets to have this vacation. I am sure he needed it. I don't know anyone who works so hard. He works all day in Richmond and comes home and does some farm work and paper work and manages to give the rest of us some attention as well. All cheerfully. I miss him and I am thankful for him. I always get a little off balanced emotionally when he is gone. I'll be glad when he's back home.

693-Missi sent us an order of eggs from the Woodland. She had been talking them up to her fellow workers. Thank you!

694-Michael, walking through Kroger, with a large portion of the back of his shirt cut out. (Thankfully, he was wearing a t-shirt under his shirt.)If someone asked, he gladly told them why. They always like to see him in there. They miss his sunshine.
695-A Cutco friend of Mike's spent the night in the mancave. He has some business in the area and needed a place to stay for a few days.
696-Redbuds blooming
697-Bluebells threatening to erupt into ethereal blue beauty.
698-Susan's joy in loving Lucy, knowing that she'll never have to sell her. She's for Susan's heifer-calf project-college fund in the works.

Sat.-"...our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and He will deliver us from your hand, king. But if not, let it be known to you, O king, that we do not serve your gods, nor will we worship the gold image which you have set up." Daniel 3:17,18-

This scripture reminds me of Hebrews 11, where people did die, without receiving the promise, full of faith in God. I've been listening to the later part of Hebrews and the book of James on CD for weeks now and am always struck by the common factor of faith that those listed in Hebrews had with one another. And some of them received their dead back to life and others were tortured and killed. But the ones who lived and received their dead back to life didn't look at the others who didn't make it-who died without receiving the promise-as those who didn't have enough faith to gain a better circumstance. Faith is believing in God whether or not your circumstances change for the better. The three Hebrew men believed in God and were willing to die for Him regardless if He rescued them or not. But they believed He would. If He had not, it would not have been because they did not have faith. Sometimes we are afraid to believe that He will answer our prayers because what if He will not? But faith is believing in God and believing that He will answer our prayers and believing in Him even if He does not. Believing in God is not about believing He will do what we want. Believing in God is believing that He is, and believing the things are true which He spoke about Himself. This kind of faith in God will not be destroyed when He doesn't show up and deliver us when we are in the fiery furnace. It believes in Him regardless. I have no idea about this kind of faith but I think I've got a little seed of it in my pocket to plant somewhere in my spirit.

Took Susan to Calvary where she met up with a pile of kids all going out to Liberty's Ice Skating Rink in celebration of Daniel F's birthday. She went home with Jenny and spent the night. I washed curtains and dusted walls and blinds and washed and vacuumed floors and then went to Dianna's and we went out to town for lunch and looked for book shelves, a chair, and a picture but we didn't find anything. Came home and put up my feet and took a little nap and Phil, Philip, Freeman, and Dave got home close to 7. They have been pig hunting in Georgia for a few days. Got nothing, but that's fine because the freezers are full of sausage and scrapple. They are busy trying to find the hole in the fence because the cows are everywhere. I couldn't sleep last night very well because of their lowing. I had a humidifier and fan running, a CD playing, and earplugs in. I don't sleep well with all that cover noise either because I listen more for things that go bump in the night when Phil's not home. But I decided to let God keep watch and finally fell asleep. Michael had a Cutco demonstration today and then went fishing with Chace and Travis for Chace's birthday.

699-I am thankful for the invitation to go to Tom's for lunch tomorrow.
700-Dianna's blooming white trees in her back yard.
701-Phil's long hug
702-Angel's happy again. Phil's home. She gets so depressed without him. They tell me she gets depressed when I leave too, but I think she's worse when he's gone.
703-Getting to see Sheriff yesterday with Susan. It made her sad for a little bit. He was so happy to see us. What a good boy he is.
704-Philip, telling me about the little cabin they stayed in. No electricity or running water. No outhouse! Don't ask.

Sun.-This morning in church we were singing a song with the words, "I see a generation...rising up to take their place...with selfless faith...with selfless faith." So often, we think of that particular generation as being the younger generation but this morning, those words became mine and I knew that every one of us was that generation. That every one of us, in the generation we are in, must take our place with selfless faith. For we will become complacent if we think we are not a generation that will influence the world to believe in Him. If I do not believe that I am that generation, I will lay down my gifts, and callings, and anointing, and allow someone else younger and stronger than I to pick it up, and His gifts and callings are without repentance. They are for me to use no matter what age I am! This revelation filled me to the brim today. I am not a 'has been!' God has more for me to do in His kingdom. Every one of us is important and needed in the body. Every Bible believing church in the area is important. Thank God churches are springing up and growing. We are going to need every church we have to help bring in the harvest; to help bring in the nets full of fish. We have to know who we are and whose we are and not a one of us is too old or too broken to be used to bring people into a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ and help them grow in Him. I am that generation who seeks Him! I am on my knees! Perhaps the place we are rising up to take is the space we take up on our knees?! I hear and see a revival now! Not coming! Here! It's here! Through repentance comes renewal in the church and then the world sees the church being renewed and they want to come back to Life! Revived! We can't work up revival. Humbling ourselves is the opposite of working up something.
If My people will humble themselves and pray and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways-then Revival! It's up to us! Because then He will hear from heaven, forgive our sins, and heal our land. Isn't that revival? But who wants to repent? Who wants to mourn over their sins? Oh God, cleanse me from a religious spirit. I want Christ's spirit. I don't want the spirit of those who persecuted Him and told Him He wasn't righteous enough. Imagine telling God He isn't good enough. Wow. A religious spirit can look at 'free' worshippers and say, "I used to act like that but now I'm more stable and balanced." A religious spirit can look at the 'quieter' worshippers and say, "They are too proud to show God their love for Him. They are afraid of looking the fool. But not me. I still have my first love." Oh God, cleanse me from a religious spirit within and without. I don't want to manipulate others and I sure don't want to be manipulated either. Christ knows the true worshippers no matter what they may look like to others. We should accept one another then just as He has accepted us. Oh God! Cleanse me of pride! Cleanse me with hyssop and I shall be clean! Wash me and I shall be whiter than snow. Restore to me the joy of Your salvation and renew a right Spirit within me! THEN! THEN I will teach transgessors Your ways, And sinners SHALL BE converted to YOU!!!! Personal cleansing and repentance...a restoration of the joy of our salvation...Then we can help the world. Then there is Revival. Psalm 51. A broken and contrite heart, O God, You will not despise. The beginnings of revival...brokenness...contriteness...Holy Holy God. Don't take Your Holy Spirit from us!

Pastor Frank's sermon was from Daniel 4. God showed grace to King Nebuchadnezzar by giving him a dream, giving him an interpreter and interpretation of the dream, and givng him a year to repent and get his ducks in a row. But instead of repenting, he became more proud, and thought that everything he had was due to his own greatness, and the dream became reality, and he found himself eating grass like a cow for seven years. It's good reading. Like a novel, only it's true! The kingdom was taken from King Nebuchadnezzar. Do not take for granted the grace of God and keep on sinning or you may lose your kingdom. You may lose your blessing if you don't start obeying.( Build yourself up in your most holy faith and fight the good fight of faith. Keep the balance between building and fighting. Nehemiah had builders building the wall while they kept a sword in hand to ward off their enemies. If you don't build, you won't have anything to defend! You won't have a fortress to run to! You won't have a wall to keep your back as you fight the foe with your sword.) Keep balanced and rid yourself of those things that are prideful and distracting. Give honor to one another. Every person is made a little lower than the angels. Respect and love everyone. Make it easy for those who are in authority over you whether they be your pastor, parent, or spouse. Esteem others as better than yourselves. Work out your salvation with fear and trembling for it is God who works in you both to will and to do of His good pleasure. Now is not the time to be critical or judgmental of one another. We are family! We are in a battle! All hands are needed on deck! (Ok. I admit. That was a mixture of our pastor's sermon and my own thoughts as I was writing his sermon out but unless you were there, you'll never know the difference.)
WELL! We left church and went to Tom's for a glorious lunch of their own beef roast, potatoes, carrots, green beans, corn, applesauce, homemade rolls, 7 layer salad, chiffon marble cake, vanilla ice cream, whipped cream, strawberry sauce, and mint tea. We sat around the table and talked for awhile and then came home. Phil and I went out to church in the eve. Susan had spent the night at Jenny's and Sara G. was there as well and they were up untl 3 talking and then had to get up shortly after 6 so she stayed home.
Philip 'preached' in children's church. I wish I could have heard him. Michael had a nice weekend with his buds but they decided to come back and sleep here last night instead of staying outside to be food for the mosquitoes. He went back to Lberty this eve. after being here for a week of Spring break.
705-At least four older women spoke words of encouragement into my life at church today and for that, I am truly grateful.
706-That I understand a little more than I used to about the book of Revelation and the time line of history; the difference between the Rapture and the Second Coming of Christ; and a few other things among many yet to grasp after attending church this eve. and hearing a teaching on End Times. How am I supposed to sleep tonight?

Sunday, March 11, 2012

The Ministry of Tears

I was reading in Psalm 127 about Israel's return to Zion.

They had been in the Babylonian captivity for seventy years and when they were released to return to their homeland, their mouths were filled with laughter and singing. They praised the LORD for the great things He had done for them.

And then comes the familiar verses. "Those who sow in tears shall reap in joy. He who continually goes forth weeping, bearing seed for sowing, shall doubtless come again with rejoicing, bringing his sheaves with him."

My Bible notes gave some references of other kinds of weeping and I looked them up and share them here with some thoughts. Charles Spurgeon defined the 'ministry of tears' as 'liquid prayer.'

The Bible says that our tears are very important to God. He cares. He collects our tears in a bottle. He will answer our cries because He is for us. (Ps.56:8,9)

1) Tears of Sorrow or Suffering-11 Kings 20:5-

Hezekiah, being sick and about to die, sought God earnestly and wept bitterly. The LORD spoke to him through Isaiah, saying, "I have heard your prayer, I have seen your tears; surely I will heal you...and I will add to your days, 15 more years..."
Isaiah then told his caretakers to put a poultice of figs on Hezekiah's boil and through God's miraculous intervention and also, through the obedience to the wisdom of natural medicine, Hezekiah was healed. Hezekiah used some of his extra time wisely-making a pool and a tunnel and bringing water into the city, and some of his extra time not so wisely-showing the whole of his treasure to the Babylonians. My mother used to say that she wondered if he ever regretted receiving those extra years, but you can read the rest of the story, and decide for yourself.

2) Tears of Joy-Genesis 33:4-

Jacob had wronged Esau by taking away his birthright during a moment of weakness in Esau's life, and again, later, when he deceived their father into giving him Esau's blessing. He then fled for his life at the encouragement of his parents in order to escape being killed by Esau. After many years of living with his relatives and acquiring two wives and quite a few children, he was returning to his homeland with his family, his servants, and all of his animals. When Jacob saw Esau in the distance he kept going towards him, bowing, bowing, bowing, bowing, bowing, bowing, bowing..."but Esau ran to meet him, and embraced him, and fell on his neck and kissed him, and they wept."
Makes me weep too.
They were not only brothers, after all.
They were twins.
And they were restored.

3) Tears of Compassion-John 11:35-

Two little words.
"Jesus wept."

Jesus had waited when He had received the urgent message from Mary and Martha that His friend, their brother Lazarus, was sick unto death. They wanted Jesus to come and heal him, but Jesus waited awhile. When He finally arrived on the scene, Lazarus had been dead four days. The sisters rebuked Jesus, saying, "Lord, if you had been here, Lazarus would not have died."

Jesus saw them weeping and all the Jews with them weeping and He groaned and was troubled and said, "Where have you laid him?" and they said, "Lord, come and see." And it was then that Jesus wept. He wept the way they do in that culture and I think we'd all be better off if we did too. It was obvious that He was weeping and He probably made noise because people noticed it. They said, "See how He loved him. See how He cared..."

I love this story.
They wanted a healing.
And He gave them a resurrection,
even though He knew that performing
this miracle would put Him on
Israel's Most Wanted List.

He wanted to help people believe in Him.
He wanted to increase their faith.
And He wanted to help Mary and
the others close to Him
to understand
the meaning behind His words,
" I will rise again after the third day."
How could they know what 'resurrection' meant?
And so, He gave them a preview.

4)Tears of Desperation-Esther 4:1,3-

Haman had tricked the king into signing a document
that set in motion the actions that would
destroy the Jewish people.
Mordecai, Esther's Uncle, heard the news,
tore his clothes, put on sackcloth and ashes,
and went out into the midst of the city,
crying and weeping loudly
and with bitterness of soul.
Every Jew that heard the decree gave way
to loud mourning. They fasted
and laid down in sackcloth and ashes.

When Esther found out what was going on,
she was faced with the disconcerting fact
that she was put in the palace as queen
for such a time as this.
She intervened on behalf of her people
at the risk of her own life
and the Jewish people were not only saved
from their enemies,
but many of their enemies
were destroyed as well.

5) Tears of Travail or Giving Birth-Isaiah 4:14-

"I have held My peace a long time,
I have been still and restrained Myself.
Now I will cry like a woman in labor,
I will pant and gasp at once!"

(Boy, isn't that the truth.)

I'm not sure if I get this exactly,
but I think it means that God had withheld
intervening on behalf of His children
and the time had finally come for Him to straighten
things out and help His own to return to Him.

Because, it goes on to say,
"I will bring the blind by a way they do not know-
I will make crooked places straight.
These things I will do for them,
And not forsake them."

I think God still travails over His children today,
as we turn to other gods instead of to Him
and we reap evil instead of the good He so
longs to give us.
I am so thankful He steps in
and labors over us,
bringing us into the righteousness
that is our inheritance through
His Son, Jesus Christ,
much as a woman in labor,
brings forth her child into the world.

6) Tears of Repentance-Joel 2:12,13-

God the LORD is calling His people back to Him,
saying, "Now, therefore, Turn to Me
with all your heart,
with fasting, with weeping, with mourning.
So rend your hearts,
and not your garments;
Return to the LORD your God,
For He is gracious and merciful."
Tears of sorrow.
Tears of joy.
Tears of compassion.
Tears of desperation.
Tears of travail.
Tears of repentance.

Those who sow tears of
and repentance,
shall reap in joy.

He who continually goes forth
weeping tears of
and repentance,
shall doubtless come again with rejoicing,
bringing his sheaves with him.

A great harvest of:
1-answered prayer
3- people knowing you care for them
4-spared lives
5-loved ones birthed into the kingdom of God

Do you weep a lot?
You don't need to feel bad about that anymore.

If you would like to weep more,
just pray and ask God
to give you His heart for people.

While you're at it,
ask Him to open your undertanding
so you can know, at least in part,
how much He loves you, too.

And then, carry tissues with you,
wherever you go.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

All These Other Things

Hey Everybody!

Here's another 'Must Read.'

Check out the 'There is No Random' blogsite
to your right, written by my friend, Erin W.
who is a brilliant writer and student.

She writes about 'All These Other Things.'

The other day, after she read my 'Homesick for the Rock'
writing, she inboxed me in face book,
and wrote me a compassionate note,
full of understanding, wisdom,
and a bit of exhortation
to remember that I will always
be part of the Rock from whence I was hewn.
That Rock being Christ.

My blog is not set up to receive many responses
but occasionally,
it's nice to read someone's thoughts about
what I've written.
Thank you, Erin.

You will want to save this current writing
of hers and read it again and again.

Introverts in the church

Hey Everybody!

Check out the blog to the top right-'Holy Experience' and read the article-"Where do Introverts Fit into the Church." Do it quick before it changes.

This writing will be a great comfort to those of us who are complete introverts
or half-introverts, which would be my case.

(I can be whatever you need me to be if you ask nice enough.
Introvert. Extrovert. Nerdyvert. You name it.
I know.
I need therapy
but I can adapt to just about anything
and that makes life a bit easier for me.)

Also, if you are guilty of judging the quiet ones
this would be a good article for you to read as well.

Don't worry.
It's not condemning.
It will just give you a different perspective
that may set you free.


Soldiers-Part Four

This morning I woke up with the hymn "Onward Christian Soldiers" marching its' tune through my head. I looked up the story in my book about hymns-"Amazing Grace" by Kenneth W. Osbeck. If you like the old hymns, you would like this book. It is a daily devotional of '366 inspiring hymn stories.'

Without further ado,
I give the credit for this story
to my friend, Ken,
and his side-kick,
Sabine Baring-Gould.

"The Christian life is often compared in Scripture to a warfare-the struggle of sin against righteousness and of the flesh versus the spirit. Each follower of Christ is called to be a "good" soldier. This involves motivation, training, discipline, good equipment, and endurance.

This hymn text reminds us that the church universal, the "called out" body of believers from every age ,race, and culture, is to be an aggressive, unified body. It must always be moving forward in its mission. We cannot allow ourselves to become stagnant and contented with the status quo.

The author of this text, Sabine Baring-Gould, a Church of England minister, has left this account regarding the writing of this hymn:

'It was written in a very simple fashion, without thought of publication. Whitmonday is a great day for school festivals in Yorkshire, an one Whitmonday it was arranged that our school should join forces with that of a neighboring village. I wanted the children to sing while marching from one village to the other, but couldn't think of anything quite suitable, so I sat up at night resolved to write something myself. "Onward, Christian Soldiers" was the result. It was written in great haste, likely less than 15 minutes.'

Yet these words that were written hurriedly for marching children became the text for a hymn that God ordained to inspire lives around the world, challenging Christians with their responsibility to be aggressive in advancing His cause both individually and with other members of the "Church of God.""

The hymn-

"Onward, Christian soldiers, marching as to war, with the cross of Jesus going on before!
Christ, the royal Master, leads against the foe; forward into battle see His banner go!

Like a mighty army moves the Church of God; brothers, we are treading where the saints have trod. We are not divided, all one body we-one in hope and doctrine, one in charity.

Onward, then, ye people, join our happy throng; blend with ours your voices in the triumph song. Glory, laud, and honor unto Christ the King-this thru countless age men and angels sing.

Chorus: Onward, Christian soldiers, marching as to war, with the cross of Jesus going on before!"
I can hear the bass part, like a drum, going up and down the octave in the chorus.
This hymn projects a vision of a healthy body of Christ.
Too often we fight against each other
and against the human race.

My mother says it this way,
in a poem she wrote entitled

"Strange Malady"

"What ails the
That attacks its own
Rather than the
That lies in wait?

Yet members of
Christ's kingdom
Do it again
and again
and again."
It's a sobering thought for a Thursday morning.
God help us.
I mean it.
God help us.
The way the enemy wages his war against the church
is to get us to turn on one another, fighting and devouring
our own comrades.
Sounds like a story from the Old Testament.
God forgive me.
Cleanse me from the wrong kind of fighting.
Help me know who my real enemy is.
Deliver me from evil
within and without my soul.
And help me love others
the way you love me.

Soldiers-Part Three

Here are some verses to consider when you think about engaging in battle
as a soldier of the LORD.

Joshua 1:9-
"Have I not commanded you? Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go."

11 Chronicles 20:17-
"You will not need to fight this battle. Position yourselves, stand still and see the salvation of the LORD, who is with you, O Judah and Jerusalem! Do not fear or be dismayed; tomorrow go out against them, for the LORD is with you."

11 Timothy 2:3,4-
"You therefore must endure hardship as a good soldier of Jesus Christ. No one engaged in warfare entangle himself with the affairs of this life, that he may please him who enlisted him as a soldier."

Psalm 24:8-
"Who is this King of glory? The LORD strong and mighty, The Lord mighty in battle."

Psalm 140:7-
"O GOD the Lord, the strength of my salvation, You have covered my head in the day of battle."

Daniel 11:32b-
"...but the people who know their God shall be strong, and carry out great exploits."

11 Corinthians 10:4,5-
"For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ,..."

Ephesians 6:10-18-
" strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God; praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints-"

1 Timothy 6:11,12-
"But you, O man of God, flee those things and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, gentleness. Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, to which you were also called and have confessed the good confession in the presence of many witnesses."

11 Timothy 7,8-
"I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Finally, there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give to me on that Day, and not to me only but also to all who have loved His appearing."
There are many other verses about battles, wars, conflicts, weapons, strife, struggles, etc. You can study more by looking them up in a Strong's concordance or online.

I don't know about you, but just reading these verses and typing them out has had a strengthening affect on my soul. Sort of like when you read a book about raising children and you feel strengthened in your resolve to be consistent, strong, and gracious, all at the same time. It's having 'an authority' to back you up that gives you that strength and resolve.

Looking at those verses from top to bottom,
we can notice several truths.

We are never alone in this battle of life.
God is with us. He's fighting for us.
He's our Commander in Chief.
He's got the battle plan.
He's strong and protects our heads.

It's important to know Him.
It's important to endure.
It's important not to let ourselves be distracted.

Our weapons are great.
Know what they are and how to use them.
Put them on and don't take them off at night.

Don't be double-minded.
Don't love the carnal things of this world
and then think you can turn around
and fight against them the next day.

Fortify yourself with healthy 'food'.
Watch the mixture.
Fight the good fight of faith.
Don't think you're off the hook
because you're too old
or not in ministry
or not engaged in hand to hand combat.

And guess what?
It's going to be worth it all.
You're going to receive a crown of life
so keep fighting.

And guess what?
Take a look at Hebrews 11.
It's the Hall of Fame on Faith.
Every one of those people mentioned
messed up big at one time or another.

But eventually, they got up
and kept believing.

That's the biggest battle.
Believing. Having Hope.
And that is our work.
"To believe on Him whom God has sent."

There you go-
That's your first order of business.
Or of battle, I should say.

Believe on Him.
Read the Gospels.
Matthew. Mark. Luke. John.
Read your favorite Gospel 5 times.
And you will get to know Him in a way
you never have before.

Ask Him to reveal Himself through the Scriptures.

He'll be happy to get to know you, too.

Soldiers-Part Two

In the process of thinking about soldiers and battles,
I looked up many verses.
I share some here with you.

I know that in the natural
we send our young and strong into battle.
But my mother said not long ago
that the battle in her life
has been most severe
these past few years.
(And she's fought many a battle.)

She may not be going into battle these days
with offensive action,
but the battle has come to her
and she has had to use defensive action-
especially in her mind
to combat fear.

I think of those who are in their 50's and 60's.
When I was a young mom,
I used to call on women of this age
to come teach a Bible Study at our church.
So often they said that they had too much going on.
And then they'd explain that at this age,
they had aging parents to think about,
and a teenager or two to raise,
and some grandchildren to take care of,
their own health issues,
and the realization that their retirement fund
has dwindled and they still need to work.

Maybe I should have been helping them
instead of thinking they'd be available
to teach young mom's on 'how to do it all.'
And no wonder they said that they had served
their time in the nursery.
No wonder they needed a strengthening word
and a Sabbath rest when Sunday morning
finally rolled around.

It's funny, isn't it, how our perspectives change
with age. We're so quick to judge.
We're so quick to "know" people.

But every age has its challenges
and battles.
I certainly wouldn't want to face the challenges
our young people face these days.

So, really,
We must fight for each other.
We must be there for each other.
Encouragement is the word for the day.
Forget about competition and comparison.
Compassion goes a long way in every generation.
We're a family, after all.

You need my wisdom and kindness.
I need your strength and straight forwardness.
You need my failures and mercy.
I need your weaknesses and acceptance.

We're in this together,
are we not?

Well, so much for sharing verses.
I guess I just shared my soul.

Maybe this 'soldier' subject will
take up more space than I originally thought.

Soldiers-Part One

I stood among soldiers.

Have you ever felt a heart's cry?
I think I felt their heart's cry.

Before you send me into battle...
they cried.

Before you send me into battle...
remind me again-
Who it is I'm fighting for?
Who is sending me?
Who will I come home to?
Who will search for me?

Before you send me into battle...
remind me again-
What it is I'm fighting for?
What is my position?
What is required of me?
What awaits me there?
What am I to wear?

Before you send me into battle...
remind me again-
Why am I fighting?
Why me?
Why must I win this war?
Why do I feel so unprepared?

Before you send me into battle...
remind me again-
Where is the battle plan?
Where are the secrets hidden?
Where are my battle clothes?
Where is my leader?
Where do I belong?

Before you send me into battle...
remind me again-
When will I feel ready?
When will the war begin?
When will I be on the front line?
When will I know what to do?

Before you send me into battle...
remind me again-
How to get ready.
How to engage in battle.
How to know when to retreat.
How to lose a skirmish
and then return to the war.
How to use the weapons I have.
How to be a team.

Before you send me into battle...
remind me again-
Am I strong enough to fight?
Can I fight with unhealed wounds?
What will happen if I fall?
How will I find my way back
if I get lost?
Why should I trust my fellow warriors?
When can I come home?
Where do the wounded go?

If I am a casualty of war
will I be replaced with another
and then be forgotten?
If I am missing in action
will you come looking for me
never stopping until you find me?
If I embarrass you, fail you,
or am not as promising as you had hoped,
will you love me anyway?
Will you then be especially near?
Will you weep and hold me if I die?

Before you send me into battle
remind me again-

I stood among soldiers
and I felt their hearts cry.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012


God is many things.

God is love.
God is good.
God is Sovereign.
God is All-Sufficient.
God is scary.
God is holy.
God is eternal.
God is a burning bush and a pillar of fire.
God is a rock and a shield and a fortress.
God is the Way, the truth, and the Life.
God is light and in Him is no darkness.
God is all wise and all knowing.

I could go on and on.
I know Him in part.
Some day I'll know Him
even as I am known.
And I think that is why there will be
no end to our worship.
There will be no end to the revelation of God
so there will be no end to our cries,
"Holy, Holy, Holy.
To Him who is, and was, and is to come..."

But for weeks now, maybe months,
I've been thinking about the kindness of God.

Webster says kindness is the
state, quality, or habit
of being kind.

God has a habit of being kind.

I like that.

What does it mean to be kind?

Webster says it means to be agreeable,
gracious, pleasant, sympathetic,
friendly, gentle, generous, cordial.

God is in the habit of being agreeable-
all of His promises are "Yes" and "Amen."

God is in the habit of being gracious-
that is why we can come boldly to the throne
of grace to obtain mercy and find grace in our
time of need.

God is in the habit of being pleasant.
Surely goodness and mercy shall
follow me all the days of my life.

God is in the habit of being sympathetic.
He is our great High Priest who was tempted
in every area just as we are and He sympathizes
with our weaknesses.

God is in the habit of being friendly.
No longer does He call us servants;
He calls us friends.

God is in the habit of being gentle.
He gathers us lambs in His arms.
His gentleness makes us great.

God is in the habit of being generous.
He daily loads us with benefits
and has given us richly all things to enjoy.

God is in the habit of being cordial.
He crowns us with loving kindness
and tender mercies.

The Psalmist said that God showed him
His merciful kindness in the midst of a
besieged city. There was no way out
of the mess he was in
and God was there in the midst
of his mess, showing him His merciful kindness.
God is not a respecter of persons.
He loves you as much as He loved that Psalmist.

The Psalmist prayed that God's merciful kindness
would be his comfort,
according to His word.
God has promised to comfort us
with His merciful kindness.

Paul, in Ephesians, says
that God has raised us up together
and made us sit together in the heavenly places
in Christ Jesus so that in the ages to come
He might show the exceeding riches of His grace
in His kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.
I don't think I can even begin to fathom
what that means,
but I get the idea that He intends to be good
and kind to me once I get to heaven,
and that comes
after His goodness and mercy have been
following me around all the days of my earthly life.

And then, in Titus,
it says that God has made us His heirs
by justifying us by His grace through Jesus Christ
and this was all done through the kindness
and the love of God our Savior
which He poured out on us abundantly.
Read it for yourself.
It's a bit hard for me to grasp.
Titus 3:4-7.

So the kindness of God is not based on whether
or not you deserve it.
You don't have to earn it.
It will be there whether you receive it or not.

In fact, it is His kindness, that will draw
you to repentance-
not the other way around.
Your repentance does not start up His kindness
but His kindness may start up your repentance.

Repentance sounds so uncomfortable,
but really, I think it basically means,
that we'd rather be closer to God
than closer to our sin.

And if you and I really knew how kind God is,
we'd want to be close to Him.

Homesick for the Rock

I'm homesick.

I'm homesick for my childhood.

I miss My Mother's voice reading from Egermeir's
Bible Story book and The Little House Series
until her voice could read no more.
We'd get her a drink of water and scurry back
and she'd take a sip and selflessly read more,
as our bathed, p-jayed little bodies
pressed in as closely as possible
to the soft reader who always smelled good and loved
Jesus and us and words more than anyone we'd ever know.

Now, her lungs are giving out,
and I catch my breath
as she talks on the phone,
and hold back my tears,
and thank God for the time He's given
me to have such a one as this for My Mother.

I hang up the phone,
and breathe again,
and then I weep.

I miss those childhood summer Sunday afternoons
when our family would pile into a car
and go visit friends
or sit on the front porch
and wait for visitors to come to us.

I miss riding bike barefoot,
and walking on railroad tracks
and balancing on top of white fences
and walking out the lane at night
in complete darkness,
looking out for polecats and wowzers,

I miss youth group nights
when we gathered around the piano
and sang hymns in four part harmony.
Holy, Holy, Holy.
Great is Thy Faithfulness.
Come Thou Fount.

I miss going to church when our children were little
and taking turns teaching a nursing mother's
Sunday School with other young moms.

I miss holding our babies on the back of the
front pew while they danced and waved their
hands during happy worship,
and sniffed and wailed during
minor chord song worship.

(Susan thought that everyone
worshiped like the one she watched.
Kel Zook was her worship mentor and
she clapped and moved just like him.)

I miss simpler days.

I miss Line upon Line
Precept upon Precept
Sweet Sunday Sabbath
Family Fellowship Friendship
Hymns and Spiritual Songs

I miss the rock from which I was hewn.