Friday, September 24, 2010

A sad morning

This morning's sunrise

9/24/10 Friday
It’s a sad morning for us. We both say little as we go about the morning routine of getting dressed and ready. I turned the TV off after listening to the first few minutes of the fluff they call news. Weather is about the most honest thing that’s presented, everything else has a slant to it. Silence sounds much better. Now that there’s enough light to see I went out and walked around with the dim and vain hope I would find Ben. Would have been surprised if I did and so wanted to be surprised. Now what I see is where they played, where they laid, where they lived with all the joy we could give them. One of the things I told Cherie, to comfort her, was that we gave them the best years of their lives. Both Ben and Gretchen were rescues. Ben we found on the side of the interstate waiting loyally after his sister had been run over. Gretchen was one of the many “Drop offs” we’ve had as irresponsible people get rid of their animals. She had been terribly abused and often beat before she came our way. Here she found love and affection and was able to overcome most of the fear instilled in her by people who vent the evil inside on that which cannot fight back. How I long for the return of Christ, when all that is evil will be done away with. That return comes with lots of turmoil and incredible pain as evil gives it’s last gasp in it’s anger and hate.

I prayed with Cherie, as I do every morning, and asked that God give her peace and joy, that He helps her keep her eyes on the future we work for. I also asked that He help me with my anger. Rascal and Trixie sense our pain and know something has happened, and Midnight does too. Now it’s just the three of them. We had bought three big bags of dog food knowing we had now five mouths to feed. That will last much longer now.

Ben had just chased a rabbit under this pile of...stuff. He got around pretty good for a three legged dog

As I ponder what happened to Ben and Gretchen I understand that they wandered, that they went out exploring and most likely went on other peoples property. Whether they caused problems with that I don’t know. I did talk with some of the neighbors and they were aware of that and said it wasn’t a problem for them. There is a problem with stray dogs in the county and some of them roam in packs. I suppose shooting them is a common way of dealing with that, but our dogs have collars and tags on so it’s pretty clear they are pets and belong to someone. A simple gunshot into the air would send them running but if you called them they would come for pets and loving. Now we need to find the funds to get Midnight, the most recent stray, fixed and to get his shots. These strays always cost us money. Even to give them away through Pet Smart requires the strays to be fixed and have shots. In this world there are those who care for life and others, and those who care mostly for themselves. When you care mostly for yourself everything that interferes with your personal desires is an inconvenience that is in the way, and thus should be eliminated. When you care for others there is little convenience and lots of hardship, but great long term reward. We choose to care for others, big and small, be it animal or human. This is the central command of Jesus, to love God with all your heart and strength and love your neighbor as yourself. It’s not the easy path, but it’s the only one that gives life.

Ricardo called. He is unable to come today and work on the bathroom. That works out as I need to see the widow anyway. I’ve neglected that responsibility. She called me the other day, needing to share what’s going on in her life. She told Jason that he needs to find another place to live. It’s about time and a good thing. He’s just a freeloader who does nothing to help her out, won’t even pick up the trash he throws on her lawn when she asks him to. We all reap what we sow, that’s an inescapable truth. He’s sowing some bad seeds and doesn’t seem interested in changing that. It’s always sad and hard to watch, knowing what the future holds.

I need to buy a special tool to replace the transmission cooler line that’s rusted through on my pickup. The part is only eight dollars and they have it in stock. It was suggested I bring in the old line to insure it’s the right one but at twelve dollars a pop in fuel costs to drive into Midland that probably won’t happen.

There is always so much to do and so little time and money to do it, but I keep on. This morning I’m taking someone’s advice and putting stones or something similar on Gretchen’s grave. This will prevent, or at least make difficult, coyote’s or stray dogs digging her up.

Here’s a spiritual question for you, based partly on what we’ve seen lately. Is loving others something you do only when it’s convenient, or do you make the sacrifice to do what you know you should even when it’s uncomfortable and perhaps requires swallowing a little pride. There’s a day coming when convenient Christianity will no longer work. With God it’s never been acceptable but in the days to come there will be great deception, and then a purifying of the church. To only be a Christian when it’s comfortable and to constantly compromise what you know is the truth is a dangerous thing.

Here’s an interesting take on a scripture found in James 2: 1 My brothers, as believers in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ, don't show favoritism. 2 Suppose a man comes into your meeting wearing a gold ring and fine clothes, and a poor man in shabby clothes also comes in. 3 If you show special attention to the man wearing fine clothes and say, "Here's a good seat for you," but say to the poor man, "You stand there" or "Sit on the floor by my feet," 4 have you not discriminated among yourselves and become judges with evil thoughts? 5 Listen, my dear brothers: Has not God chosen those who are poor in the eyes of the world to be rich in faith and to inherit the kingdom he promised those who love him? 6 But you have insulted the poor. Is it not the rich who are exploiting you? Are they not the ones who are dragging you into court? 7 Are they not the ones who are slandering the noble name of him to whom you belong? 8 If you really keep the royal law found in Scripture, "Love your neighbor as yourself," you are doing right.

Most people read this and feel it’s talking about how a church acts towards others, and it is. But think of this, how do you, as an individual, respond to others? When they are people of your own “class”, people who make a decent living and live the life you do, or better, do you treat them better than you would a poor man, who struggles to just get by? Of course your more comfortable with people like yourself, that’s a given. However Jesus made it clear, by His example and His teachings, that it’s the poor, the lost, the rejected, the downtrodden in life, whom his heart goes out to the most. Are you, as a Christian, making an effort to reach out, to learn to be understanding and comfortable with those who may not smell good? I often don’t smell good because I work hard and we don’t have a shower, but does that make me a bad person? Who I am is not dictated by the clothes I wear or the ability to take a shower, it is dictated by my relationship with God. We’ve seen the self righteousness of the Pharisees demonstrated and displayed right here in West Texas. It’s hard to watch and almost impossible to address. This kind of self pride in who you are and your position in society shuts the door to accepting any kind of criticism, whether constructive or not. It’s part of what killed Jesus. He pointed out the errors and self deceit to the religious leaders of that day and in doing so stirred up all kinds of hate and animosity. “How dare anyone tell us we are wrong” was the response of those who’s pride blinded them to the truth right before them.

I’ve got to go. Keep hearing Midnight barking and keep wondering if he hears Ben somewhere struggling to come home. This will be hard for days.

It’s 11:00. There is no joy today. The Bible says “the joy of the Lord is my strength” but I sure don’t feel it. I’ve always objected to living by your feelings for in that there is often deception. I live by faith, a cold hard choice to believe despite what I feel. This choice overrides what I feel, at least it’s supposed to. I might feel like lashing out but I know that it’s wrong and will bring only sorrow. Sometimes what I feel wins, sometimes faith and common sense wins. The more I learn to overcome what I feel the stronger a Christian I can be. There are some in the church, and in fact some whole churches, that operate on their feelings. “Can you feel the Spirit” is often said. That’s not wrong, and there are times there is no question you can “feel” God’s presence, but He’s there whether you feel Him or not. A regular part of many church services is a pump you up pep rally sort of thing using music and whatever else that can contribute to this. Is it wrong? No, it’s not wrong, but if that’s what you require to “feel” God or get in the mood to worship it raises questions. As in all things there are fine lines to be found and that are easily crossed. Invisible lines almost between the heart and the truth.

I certainly need a “recharging” of my soul many times, particularly at times like this, and a word of encouragement goes far. But ultimately it boils down to my faith, my trust that there is a God and that He does love me and has a hand in our lives. So when I “feel” down, when the depression I must constantly fight almost overwhelms me, when it seems like everything I do is a wasted effort, it’s what I believe that pulls me out. Lately there has been so much disappointment, so much hurt caused by some who talk about how they love God, but the reality of their actions speak otherwise. Love is a sacrifice, love comes with a price, love chooses for the highest good of the other person over what you want. Like the rock song says “Love hurts”, but in the end love triumphs over evil, but it’s not an easily won battle.

So I “I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 3:14) By keeping my eye on the prize before me I can overcome or not be distracted by all the problems around us. On a spiritual level there is no question that the devil is working to discourage and destroy us. It’s uncanny how so many who bear the label of Christian are easy tools in the devils grasp and end up doing his work instead of God’s. Tell them that and they get all kinds of upset, blinded to the truth of their actions, running and hiding from the light that reveals the truth.


Just Amy said...

I am so sorry for the loss of your beloved pets. One of our many dogs (some of whom were strays and rescues too) was shot and killed by our friend. He was keeping the dog for a few weeks while I was out of town with a difficult pregnancy, and one night while drunk shot and killed a coyote. Only next morning found out it was our dog who had gotten out of his yard. Somehow it's harder to deal with this when you can kinda sorta see the shooter's point of view.

I also wanted to let you know that the rest of today's blog is well written and moving. God bless you always.

Stranger Amy
(otherwise known to my friends as
Just Amy)

Bob said...

Your not a stranger to us. Though some might think you strange ;)lol

drinking and guns definitely do not go together. We knew this was possible as they wandered at night and there was nothing we could do about it. Eventually I'll fence in this 75 acres. That would be nice.

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