Thursday, September 30, 2010

Setting priorities

9/30/10 Thursday
Ron and Paula are gone now, flown back to Georgia I presume. As always, their impact on our lives is tremendous. We drove them to Abilene yesterday where he spoke at a Torah group’s meeting. The Torah people are part of the Hebrew roots movement that is so prevalent these days. They are learning and exploring the Jewish heritage of Christianity. With that can come both good and bad as balance is always to be strived for in our faith and in everything the enemy works to disrupt and knock out of balance our beliefs.

We met a wonderful young woman named Jessica. I don’t know what happened to her, if she was born this way or had an accident but Jessica is severely disabled and seems to operate at a very young level, like three or so. She is unable to talk as we do but she can communicate in various ways, sometimes with hard to comprehend speech and sometimes with sign language. I suspect that she understands much more around her than we might think but is less able to convey that. Regardless, there is a purity about her, a childlike love and trust that I wish I could emulate. I can’t, I’ve seen too much and know too much of this world to be able to trust like her. Jessica is an artist who produces wonderful works that are amazing to me in their balance of colors and texture. She is unable to draw objects or people as there are not the fine motor controls in her hands that are required, but can put on canvas colors and patterns that are oddly spiritual. Watching her simple joy and enthusiasm, her love of life despite the great difficulties, as they sang songs at the Torah group, was an inspiration to us.

Ron spoke for two hours. He told of life in the Mid East, of the sacrifice Muslim’s make when they accept Jesus as their Lord and savior, and revealed how God is moving in that hard part of the world. Things are happening that can’t be explained in any logical way. In the Sudan there was a group of Muslims, 121 of them, who were praying in a mosque. They felt a presence and looking up saw Jesus standing there. All of them accepted Him as their Lord and savior, and as a result all of them were put in prison. This is happening time and again all over that part of the world. Where the persecution of Christians is the worst the miraculous happens the most. There are revivals in the prisons and everywhere else as Muslims learn of and find Jesus. The garbage cities, where converted Muslims are taken because they are then considered no better than garbage, are filled now with millions of people and growing.

Things are happening folks, things that can’t be denied. Here in America we have our namby pamby comfortable Christianity where we live in luxury as the world goes to hell, and aren’t willing to sacrifice even a little of it, because that would be inconvenient. So we are consumed with our greed, our lust for more and greater pleasures, feeding our souls that which only causes rot deep inside, deceiving ourselves into thinking we are spiritual, when in truth we are not.

I went to the grocery store today and noticed something called “Halal” (or something like that) chicken. “Strange” I thought so looked at the label more closely. It said the chicken was processed in such a way to comply with Fatwah #345, or some such number. A Fatwah is defined as a legal ruling or opinion of an Islamic scholar and a Halal is an Arabic word meaning lawful or permitted. So Islam is creeping in everywhere, even the grocery store. This is part of the Sharia law that fundamental Muslims want to subject the whole world to, and in doing so take our rights to decide for ourselves away.

We have to draw a line folks, or eventually go into hiding to practice the freedom we hold so dear. Little by little, bit by bit, our freedoms are being chipped away as we blindly go on with our lives, consumed by the entertainments we’ve surrounded ourselves with and concerned with expanding our personal fortunes, all the while death is at the corner waiting. Jesus will return but it won’t be until there has been much suffering. I don’t see this rapture so many talk about in the scriptures, I can’t find it despite looking. So this ticket out of trouble, this easy way out, this doctrine that encourages so many to sit back and be comfortable while the world crumbles around them, may not exist at all. I’m open to opinions on that and am always willing to search the scriptures and know the truth so talk to me.

There is a lot of catch up to do, much has been neglected as we served our friends during their visit here. So I must list them and make priorities. There are bible studies I feel strongly led to write, there are letters to write for the Kairos prison ministry, there are acres of weeds that need mowing, equipment to repair and maintain, a bathroom in the midst of remodeling, and that just scratches the surface. So got to go.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Root of bitterness

9/27/10 Monday

Hebrews 12:14 Pursue peace with all men, and the sanctification without which no one will see the Lord. 15 See to it that no one comes short of the grace of God ; that no root of bitterness springing up causes trouble, and by it many be defiled

I was up at 3:30 this morning, wide awake with the latest issues on my mind. Top of the list is the broken relationship with Steve and Janie and their apparent unwillingness to work on fixing it. Stopped at their house yesterday in an attempt to see them but they apparently weren’t home, so I left my business card. Now I know that I have a history of blunt honesty about my feelings and thoughts and that often causes problems in relationships. Unfortunately it seems that Steve and Janie interpreted every scripture I posted on the blog, and my written thoughts on them, as personal attacks on them. In truth some were inspired by what I saw in their lives but most were just what I was studying at the time. My blog is a journal of what I see, observe, and experience on a daily basis and in fact what I post is not everything we think or see. But I get mad, I get disappointed, and I write about it. Now I wonder what they have to say to others about the whole situation. There is a serious lack of trust in me now when it comes to those two and this shouldn’t be. To the best of my knowledge I’ve said nothing that wasn’t the absolute truth but will gladly, and quickly, acknowledge any mistakes I’ve made. So I’ll keep praying and keep pushing to open a door of conversation.

I pick up Ron and Paula from the airport later this morning. Ricardo was to come at 1:00 to continue working on our bathroom but I called and left a message to put that off till after they leave on the first. In the realm of things they are more important than a new bathroom. I was going to tear down the wall but will put that off too because that would open up the bathroom to everything, including whatever hides under the house, so it can wait.

Ron started the Cubit Foundation and ministers around the world, able to get into countries that are closed off to Christian missionaries due to his work as an archeologist. They built a factory in Haiti that makes water filters for individuals and homes. These are distributed, free I think, to the population to enable them to have safe drinking water. They build something like 80 churches in South America and distribute food, in what’s called “Bags of Hope” to widows and orphans in Muslim dominated countries. I could go on but won’t Google Cubit Foundation and you can read up on it.

We don’t have any money to give, were down to our last $20.00 till some money miraculously showed up through the generous help of a Facebook friend, but we have something more valuable than money, personal time, to give. So that we will give gladly. But the time I spend with Ron, and Paula, refreshes me greatly. In this world of halfway and lukewarm Christianity it is always a blessing to find otherwise. Now please don’t take this wrong, we know many good Christians who practice what they preach in this area. I guess I seen so many who are so sensitive to what I say that they take offense and feel it’s a personal attack when I wasn’t thinking of them at all. You know where you stand with God so if you know you have room for improvement don’t get mad at me. I have room for improvement and for that matter don’t know of anyone who doesn’t. Being a Christian is a constant striving against sin, a constant battle against that which we know is wrong. We have an enemy who is the master of deceit and who is ever ready to lead us down a wrong road, using our weaknesses against us. Pride is the most dangerous of those weaknesses and one that is inheritently hard to recognize in oneself because it blinds your eyes to the truth in front of you. Lust, anger, all that other stuff is easy to recognize but pride is much tougher to see.

I’ve got to get going soon. There is so much to do that must be neglected for a time. We had lots of rain and usually that means I have things to do to take advantage of it. Midnight, the puppy someone dropped off last week, is fitting in well. I need to work on training him. At least he doesn’t go wandering like Ben and Gretchen did and is always here in the morning, sleeping at night like he should. We worry about him and I rush out whenever I hear barking to make sure he’s ok. The money we received is to get him fixed and shots but we will put gas in the truck with part of it because we must. Won’t be much, just enough to get us by till Cherie gets paid on the first.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

I found Ben

9/25/10 Saturday
I went out to hoe more weeds in the corn patch. As I did my thoughts kept going to Ben, along with the problems we have with Steve and Janie. I prayed for them and prayed to be able to forgive and let go the anger regarding whomever shot out dogs. I haven’t mentioned Steve and Janie’s name before but they’ve unfriended us on facebook and refuse to respond to any email, facebook message, or anything else I try to do to reach out to them. Perhaps someone that knows them will intercede so we can fix this. Otherwise these people, who talk about God all the time, are letting the devil win and ultimately doing his will, not God’s. I’ll keep trying and understand it puts pressure on them but running and hiding from problems only makes them worse.

I decided to once again go out and look for Ben. I crawled through the thick seven foot high thicket of some kind of weed or small tree for hours. Finally I prayed “God, help me find Ben”. When I did several vultures appeared. They weren’t there before because I always looked for them knowing they would find a body before I could. So I stood there not moving for what seemed like a half hour, watching them as they searched the area from high above me. I saw one swoop down across from the highway and land so I hurried over. Sure enough, it was Ben. He wasn’t far from where I found Gretchen but had fallen in dead grass that is the same color as his fur so despite walking over the area several times we never noticed him. He was pretty ate up by the vultures so it’s hard to tell where he was shot. But at least now I won’t worry that he is somewhere hurt but unable to get home.

So I’ll go bury Ben next to where we have Gretchen buried. It’s clear that they were both shot from the road by some ass who was driving by. They loved to go play in the thickets at the tank that is a hundred yards from us and I am sure were on their way home that morning. Why? I don’t understand. Was it someone who knew us and just wanted to hurt us anyway they could?

There is so much gossip going around, so much talk from people who don’t know us and never took the time to do so. The first church of Stanton folks had lied to the pastor, telling him about how they had come to visit when all they did is drop off some groceries and left without even five minutes of conversation. He was a Sunday school teacher and while we appreciated the groceries he said he had to leave so couldn’t visit. This story was turned into a nice long intimate visit when told to the pastor. The other guy dropped off a trailer of firewood and left. I unloaded it myself and he came to pick up the trailer when we were not there. This too was presented to the pastor as a personal visit where someone spent time with us being friendly. So pastor Dave has been sold a lie by those seeking to justify themselves and paint a picture of how good they are. This makes us out to be the ungrateful bad guys who lied when I said “No one has come to visit us in the year we went to church there”. No one did. Period. Dropping off two bags of groceries and leaving without completing three sentences is not a visit. So with all this hateful gossip, that grows in it’s intensity with time, could have spurred someone to kill my dogs. I don’t know, all the anger is welling up again. And then we have the hypocrisy of Mr. and Mrs. “We Love You Guys” who turn on us in an instant, the moment we don’t bow to them and let them do what they want.

It’s raining and lightening out now. I have a grave to dig and suppose this is appropriate weather for that. God, help me get over this anger. And help Steve and Janie be right with you.

They stayed together, they played together, and they died together. Now that I found Ben’s body they are buried together. I think I want to find a tree to plant where they are buried. My gloves smell like death so I threw them away. My pants smell like death so they’re outside in the rain. I’m soaked through, even my socks are sopping wet. I’m tired. Have work to do but lost all enthusiasm to do anything. Need to fix my truck and planned on tearing out the rest of the wall. I’m going to take a bath and lay down.

The anger is high. It’s clear now that someone driving by saw Ben and Gretchen, heading home, and stopped to shoot them both. I pray that I don’t find out who it was. I want to, but I don’t.

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.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Someone shot our dogs

We used to cover them up on the cold winter nights

At 10:30 I headed to Stanton to check mail and get rid of garbage. I notices a bunch of vultures about a hundred yards down the road and looking closer saw Gretchen. My heart stopped as I slung to diesel to the side of the road and jumped out. She was dead, and when I looked closer could see that she had been shot. Her body was still warm and there was no rigor mortise setting in so this had happened recently. Up on the road I found a spent 257 Weatherby shell casing. There was no sign of Ben anywhere. I searched the brush at the tank near there with out luck. The brush is as tall as me and thick. Been watching vultures all day long and every time I see them congregating I jump in the truck and run out there to see if it’s Ben.

When I called the police they sent a deputy out. He took down all the information. One of the questions he asked was if we had any enemies here. There are plenty of people who don’t like us, even though they have never talked with us, but I can’t imagine someone who would kill our dogs out of spite or hate. I am so not looking forward to breaking the news to Cherie when she comes home from work. She’s been stressed lately so this won’t help.

Ricardo came and started work on our new bathroom. He tore down part of the wall while I labored to dig a hole to bury Gretchen in. Had to run a hose out to where I decided to bury her in order to soak the ground, enabling me to dig the otherwise rock hard dirt. After he had part of the wall demolished I got out a tape measure and measured doors to see if we could get the tub inside the house. The tub is 32 inches wide and the widest door in the house is 31 inches. Not good. Then there are the internal doors, which are generally smaller, like 29 inches in our bedroom. This is a big problem. We ended up removing a door and the entire frame in order to get it inside.
We call Ben our thousand dollar dog. That's what it cost us after he got hit by a car/truck

Cherie came home. I asked how her day was and she asked how mine was. I dreaded that question and knew it was coming. When I told her that someone shot Gretchen it hit her like a truck, her shoulders just sagged, she grabbed hold of the dresser, and asked me again to make sure she heard right. “I can’t believe people are so mean. Sometimes I hate this place” she said intensely.

I took Cherie out to where Gretchen was buried. There were some pretty yellow flowers I noticed at the side of the garage so I dug them up and planted them on Gretchen’s grave. Linda called and when she heard about it she came over to comfort Cherie. We went out looking for Ben but didn’t find anything but their footprints all over the cotton field. It was their playground. Ben’s footprints are easy to detect as he only has three working legs. Odds are slim he is still alive but we will hope beyond hope. Midnight, the puppy someone dropped off, will be lonely now. I’m debating setting up the kennel again to insure he doesn’t wander at night.

It’s hard. When morning comes I’ll run out hoping to see Ben made it home. The same question Cherie asked is the one I ask too, Why?

Demolition starts today

The new tub.

9/23/10 Thursday
Today is the planned start of getting a bathroom installed in the house. Getting all the players together is a hard part of that as they all have individual lives and activities. Ricardo said he could be here by 11:00. I’ll start tearing down the wall after clearing stuff out of the way.

Got the seal put in the transmission and come to find out the leak is from a rusted transmission fluid cooling line. Nuts! Don’t know what that costs, nor do I know if the auto parts store carries it in stock. I’ll be surprised if they do. We really need to get the truck running so that we can assist Ron and Paula Charles when they come to West Texas.

Had another detailed dream last night. This time someone stole my weed. I’m so glad I don’t have that issue in my life now. It’s good to be drug free. The exception is the pain medication but that’s something that helps me function and keep going despite how much I hurt.

That’s it. Too much to do to sit and write. Something on my mind is how people let a root of bitterness reside in their spirit and seeing how it effects their thoughts and actions. Good people who talk about love and all that but in the next sentence reveal how they despise someone. They don’t see or don’t want to see it. These roots of bitterness are dangerous to allow and I must work hard to keep them from growing in me for I know and have seen the end results of that. Pride is a big factor. The bible tells us to esteem the other person higher than ourselves, a sometimes almost impossible thing to do. When you think poorly of another you are essentially thinking of how much better you are than them. With Jesus it is the last who will be first and the least who will be the greatest. Humility is a key to heaven and good standing with God.

See ya next time. Pray for us and remember Cherie especially. Her stress level is high with all the goings on and stuff. I love her and want the best for my wife.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Godcidences (had to make up that word to explain what keeps happening)

11:27 – Went to Midland to get the right seal for the transmission first thing this morning. It cost $14.00 less than the other one so that was a blessing. When I walked out there was a fella looking at the big diesel for it has a for sale sign in it. He asked a few questions and when I told him I knew God he got a big smile on his face and shook my hand. Learning I was from Stanton he insisted I follow him and meet his pastor, who lived halfway between there and Midland. Said he felt an urgency in his spirit for me to do that. They are making a church out of an old nursing home in Midland and it involved ministering to the homeless, down and out, and drug addicts. That always gets my attention so I agreed to go meet the guy. Told him that first I needed to get some diesel fuel for the beast. He asked how much I was going to get and if I had money for it. I told him twenty bucks worth and he curiously asked if I had twenty bucks. A strange question to ask, so I said I had thirty in the bank and was going to use my bank card, only getting twenty so there was some left in the bank. He asked me to follow him to the gas station where he paid for forty dollars worth of fuel. Ok, that’s a blessing out of the blue along with getting fourteen bucks back on the transmission seal.

I followed him to the pastors house and come to find out it’s the same guy who installed our electricity and the hot water tank for us three years ago. Can’t remember his name, Dale I think but that’s not clear. His company is A&D Electric. He’s one of the people we met from Steve and Janie, back when Steve and Janie were still talking to us. There is a reason for everything that happens so I wait and wonder to see what will come of this unusual set of circumstances.

It’s almost noon already and there is lots to do. I must crawl under the truck and see if I can get it running. That would be real nice. Wanted to replace the transmission filter but don’t have time right now. We need the truck running so I can have it available when Ron and Paula fly in next week. We are so looking forward to seeing them. I’ll fix a bite to eat, because it’s smart and I’m supposed to, and get to work.

Whitewashing Islam

There is a storm coming

9/22/10 Wednesday
ABC is running a series on Islam that promises to be a whitewash. The first words out of the Muslim being interviewed is that Islam is a religion of mercy. History and present day practices around the world show otherwise. I know that, just like in Christianity, there are a wide range of beliefs and practices within the religion of Islam. Both religions are based and driven by their individual holy books, the Quran for Islam and the Bible for Christianity. In Christianity we find an incredible variety of interpretations and belief systems all stemming from the same book, and the same can be said for Islam. With both religions there are those who are stricter in their beliefs and practices and those who water it down, picking and choosing what parts they want to accept. Terms like conservative, moderate, fundamentalist, and extremist are used in both religions to identify these various factions and belief systems. When all is said and done it boils down to what the holy books say.

It is the way of man to compromise, to find, justify, and excuse various behaviors, and take the easy road that allows them to do what is more pleasurable or profitable. Throughout history this corruption of core beliefs is seen as that which was once forbidden becomes practiced. In both religions we see “revivals” where charismatic leaders generate movements returning the adherents back to the roots of their faith. As a Christian I very much see this corruption in my faith, those who excuse, and even accept, drunkenness, adultery, sexual perversion, greed, lying, gossip, and a wide variety of what is clearly identified as sin in the bible. I hope to return God’s people to the truth of their faith, to help them see their compromise and understand the path they are on.

When it gets down to brass tacks, the core of belief and what is espoused in both the Quran and Bible there are fundamental and dramatic differences. I suspect this will not be talked about in the ABC program in Islam, that they won’t delve into the truth of what is found in the Quran. This appears to be just another of the “Tolerance” lets all be nice and get along type of lets tell people how to think mainstream media thrusts.

With Christianity the core belief is Love. “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, mind, soul, and strength. And you should love your neighbor as yourself” are what Jesus identified as the two greatest commandments. Jesus talked about turning the other cheek and forgiving (Luke 17:3 If your brother sins, rebuke him, and if he repents, forgive him. 4 If he sins against you seven times in a day, and seven times comes back to you and says, 'I repent,' forgive him.) There is an evolution, so to speak, of thought in the Bible from the old testament to the new, where grace comes into the picture in a bigger way, though grace was always present. The death of Jesus to pay the price for all sin is the turning point, the culmination of it all.

There is an evolution of thought in the Quran as well, but it goes in a very different direction. Mohamed’s earlier writings were more peaceful and tolerant but in the end turn quite violent and demanding. Their doctrine teaches that the later writings override the earlier ones so what is in the end has precedence. Mercy I don’t find there, but death and deception I do. It is encouraged to lie in order to advance the cause of Allah so presenting a false image to hide the cold reality of that religion is a central doctrine. My friend, Ron Charles, spends extensive time in the Mid East and sees firsthand what Islam does. People are killed, tongues cut out, hands and feet cut off, and all kinds of ugliness are an everyday part of life. They say we need to be tolerant but they tolerate nothing that doesn’t bow to their belief. Wolves in sheep’s clothing is an apt way to describe what Islam is trying to do. It’s presented as a religion of love but the truth is they want to destroy and subjugate us. Americans are happily skipping along the sidewalk of ignorance, entranced with their childlike vision of lollipops and life is all fun and games, all the while blind to the death that is skipping along beside them in children’s cloths.

Truth, that which is revealed when light is shined in darkness, truth needs to be exposed regarding Islam, and for that matter everything else. Jesus said, in John 3:19 This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but men loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. 20 Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that his deeds will be exposed. 21 But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what he has done has been done through God."

I know someone who runs from the truth, who refuses to face up to his actions and hides from me, running and avoiding all contact. When I sent him a Facebook message saying I was praying for him his response was to make his page unavailable to me. He’d already unfriended me but I could still see his information but now that’s been blocked.

For him I put this scripture up found in Ephesians 4:17 So I tell you this, and insist on it in the Lord, that you must no longer live as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their thinking. 18 They are darkened in their understanding and separated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them due to the hardening of their hearts. 19 Having lost all sensitivity, they have given themselves over to sensuality so as to indulge in every kind of impurity, with a continual lust for more. 20 You, however, did not come to know Christ that way. 21 Surely you heard of him and were taught in him in accordance with the truth that is in Jesus. 22 You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; 23 to be made new in the attitude of your minds; 24 and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness. 25 Therefore each of you must put off falsehood and speak truthfully to his neighbor, for we are all members of one body. 26 "In your anger do not sin": Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, 27 and do not give the devil a foothold. 28 He who has been stealing must steal no longer, but must work, doing something useful with his own hands, that he may have something to share with those in need. 29 Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. 30 And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. 31 Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. 32 Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Blessed just to be here

9/21/10 Tuesday
It’s another day. Everyday I wake up I remind myself that I am blessed just to be here. Yesterday was a little harder to do that with because of the seizure. There are not like epileptic seizures. I use the word because that is what the doctors call them but mostly I describe them the way they affect me, as slowdowns. Yesterdays was a pretty bad one and took a lot out of me. Today will be better because I said it will. I think that the first thing I’ll do is take the big diesel into Midland and get the right seal for my transmission. It would sure be nice to get the pickup running even if the air conditioner doesn’t work. Easier and cheaper to drive for sure.

Had some wild and vivid dreams last night. In them I was back to using drugs, not at all a pleasant thought. Woke up at three and have been up since. Suspect I’ll be pretty tired by the end of the day. I’m to meet Linda at 3:30 to go pick up our new bathtub from Odessa. Some people bought it and I guess it was the wrong size so never installed it. The tub is still new in the box and we are getting it for half price. Actually the church is paying for that. What a blessing out of the blue that is. Linda was telling the pastor and others at church about our bathroom and they all decided to build us a new one. In my mind it is almost a luxury but to Cherie and others having a shower and working tub is more of a necessity. I’m a little rustic having lived on the streets homeless and enduring some pretty rough situations so it doesn’t take much to make me happy. Shoot, when we first moved into this house there was no hot water and we used a bucket to go to the bathroom in. It was much harder on Cherie than it was on me. God always provides, even when we don’t ask for it. When some stepped down from helping us He filled the gap with others.


11:00 – It’s pain break time. Been pulling weeds most of the morning and when my back couldn’t take any more of that I hopped on the tractor and disced up more areas. Have to do it to keep the weeds down. The weeds I’ve been pulling are mostly tumbleweeds. They’ve intertwined themselves through the fencing around one of my plots so it wasn’t an easy task. Had to use the razor knife to cut many of the branches and pull up what I could. Because the wire fence runs through the middle of it all I’m unable to use a hoe or even the chainsaw so it was a painstaking one big tumbleweed at a time battle.

Yesterday the tractor was blowing lots of black smoke and overheated pretty quickly. It did that while at Linda’s too. This morning it seems to be running much better and did not overheat so whatever it was fixed itself. Hope it stays fixed.


Out of the hundred plus seeds I planted of the Lincoln peas only eight came up. I keep trying, keep planting, keep hoping. They say the definition of insanity is to do the same thing and expect different results. By that definition I’m crazy. Of the five fifty foot rows planted with various things only the 8 peas germinated. For sure it’s a water problem. A friend was going to have our water tested at a different lab but something seems to have happened. She doesn’t respond to emails or much of anything else. I have to wonder if I said something or someone else did that poisonous words thing out of vindictiveness. We’ve certainly experienced a lot of that, good people who talk about loving God but do the work of the devil. I’ll keep trying, keep beating my head against the wall, keep working till I hurt too much to work any more, rest, then work some more. Don’t know how many seeds I planted this time but it was two rows where I had over a hundred in one row last time.

I’ve got to leave for Midland in an hour. Need to rest the back a bit before I get back at it but have to figure out what I’ll do next. Want to fire up the tiller but don’t have time for that. I think I’ll just pull more weeds.

I just learned that we aren’t going to pick up the tub till tomorrow. That gives me more time to work around here so I guess I will fire up the tiller.

Monday, September 20, 2010

A reminder of How far I've come.

What a reminder this is. I so do not miss these situations. Couldn’t find the word I wanted so situations will have to do. This is a severe slowdown and it is a reminder of how far I’ve come and how much my brain has healed itself in the nine years since the accident. Cherie called a moment ago and could hear it in my voice. She reminded me to eat, something I often forget to do. Not feeling the sensation of hunger makes that easy to forget. Cherie told me there were some tamales in the fridge I had bought at Super Mercado so I heated them up. So far Super Mercado makes the best tamales I’ve found though someone at church said their daughter makes and delivers them. I’d love to give that a try. I bought the hot ones and they are make you sweat hot.

Anyway, I got the wiring done. Somewhere in my mess of a garage is an outdoor electric socket set but I couldn’t find it. (My mind seems to be clearing up now, judging from my typing speed. Thank God for that.) Looking through stuff for it just amplified the confusion I must fight during slowdowns. I got the wires hooked up, found something I could plug in to test the socket, and switched the breakers on. Nothing sparked or snapped and the grinder worked well. Hallelujah, managed to get it done despite the mental fog. Gathering my tools I went back to the garage. Walking in with my arms full I had to face an overwhelming confusion just trying to figure out what to set down where. This is a definite reminder of what every day was like shortly after the wreck. Making a simple decision was, and for this moment as well, a major hurdle. You can read about it in the early blog entries. I would freeze up in a store, overwhelmed with the myriad of choices just on the cereal isle and unable to decide. It’s like being drunk or on drugs without drinking or using drugs, only worse. I managed to set everything down, just dumped it all, and came in the house. Even walking is difficult as the part of my brain they taught to operate the paralyzed right side is hampered at times like this.

Still boggles my mind that I used to pay money to get in such a state on purpose, and called it fun. We know people, as I’m sure everyone does, who drink and dope as a regular part of their life. It’s a sad trap that is easy to fall into. There’s a fine line that one never quite knows when they cross it, a line between “it’s ok” and “it’s a problem”. My brother is a serious alcoholic but sure has it justified in his mind. “I just have too much fun” is how he puts it. Linda’s friend is realizing he has a problem so is now no longer drinking whiskey, just drinking beer. It’s a start. Realizing you have a problem is the first step in getting free from that demon. Part of what many people don’t realize, or at least refuse to acknowledge, is the long term damage that alcohol abuse absolutely causes. There is brain damage, kidney and liver damage, and a host of other problems that don’t show up till later years. I am so grateful to be free. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think having one or two beers or a glass or two of wine with dinner is wrong. It’s drinking to the point you are impaired that is not good. That used to be the goal back in my drinking days and in fact having fun at a social gathering, whether it was friends at home or in the bar, pretty much required alcohol. So drinking was a prerequisite for having a good time and in my thinking I needed that buzz to “loosen up” and enjoy myself. One of the benefits from the TBI (traumatic brain injury) is that alcohol triggers seizures. “Benefit?” you might think, but it truly is for me. I fear returning to those things that kept me down, those habits that are in the end destructive and only lead to death, whether spiritual or physical. So the threat of seizures is a powerful inducement to not drink. On top of that nicotine also triggers seizures. Smoked a cigarette while using a nicotine patch and it put me in the hospital for three days. Yep, I’m blessed with a brain injury and it sure has helped me clean up and just stop doing stupid stuff, most of which was nasty anyway.
Click to enlargeI carved this while recovering in St Louis. It says what I believe.
These slowdowns always drain me, just suck all the energy right out of my body. Feel like I’ve been up for days and worked a twenty hour shift in the factory. That’s too bad cause I’ve got work to do so have no time to rest. Besides the brain is working again so I’ll just have to push through.

4:20 – Sure not getting a lot done. The seal for my transmission is the wrong size so I’ll have to take it back. Will wait for Cherie to come home from work and use her truck as my big diesel gulps down about ten or twelve bucks worth of fuel just to run to Midland and back. It’s a twenty two dollar part so that’s half the price just to get it and I drove the diesel to buy it in the first place. It’s sprinkling outside, always welcome. Not much but any moisture is good. I noticed hundreds of mosquito larva swimming around in my rain barrels. Not good and I don’t want to put poison in that water. Maybe some bleach? That evaporates away in a day but the dogs drink that water. I’ll check online for ideas but right now I need to see about a rental car for Ron and Paula Charles when they come to town at the end of the month. Need to get one out of Abilene cause that’s where they will fly out of.

Been planting seeds in my seed starter things. Then I think I’ll clear out more weeds. That’s a job that never ends.

Everyone lives next door, with the internet

This morning's sunrise

9/20/10 Monday
Church provided the recharge I needed. It’s so good to have people close we can fellowship with but we sure miss our friends at First Baptist in Midland. Distance is an inconvenient part of our world but through the internet distance is sometimes not noticed. A friend on facebook is getting married and asked online regarding a wedding arch. I told about one that is visible in Stanton at a wedding shop and even gave directions on how to find it. She replied that they live four hours away. Oops. With the internet I sometimes forget about location and everyone seems like they are next door. Oh well, it was funny, kind of.

So it’s Monday, the start of another week. Geese, can’t believe it’s already the twentieth of the month. We’re almost in October. Time flies for me. This morning I am planning on installing the new rear seal on the transmission of my pickup. That’s been out of commission for a month or so now. Had to wait for Cherie’s check to have the funds to purchase the seal. Then I need to find a way to get electricity out to where the big truck and trailer are so I can charge up the battery on the tractor. Finally got that home. Had to wait for the ground to dry up some in order to get it out of Linda’s roping arena.

Spent a lot of time helping Linda with weeds and stuff. Her weeds were about ten feet tall in some places. You know weeds are bad when you need a chain saw to cut them down. I forgot to take the chain oil the first day so only got a few down that time. Forgot the chain oil again the next time I went but used the chain saw till it seemed to freeze up. Nut’s, I thought I’d damaged it but come to find out it was just the safety thing on the saw that stops the blade from spinning. I’ve done this several times before as it’s a bar across the top that locks up the blade when it’s pushed forward. Each time I get confused about it and figure it out after I take the saw apart, trying to figure out why it won’t work. Here’s a classic example of how the short term memory is a detriment as I have to figure out all over again what I’ve figured out before. The chain saw is about four years old and has cut a lot of wood each year as that is how we heat our home. I’ve seen how worn the drive gear is and it has finally given out. Hopefully I can buy a new gear at Lowes. They have chains and other parts there and I really don’t want to buy a new chain saw when all I need is the gear.
Discing Linda's roping arena a second time. It had rained so that meant the disc could cut deeper into the ground that had been rock hard when dry.

At some point I need to run the mower and mow down some of the two acres of weeds that are growing where I planted the Bermuda hay seed. I’ll use the mower with the grass catcher as all the clippings will make great compost despite the fact that it’s full of weed seeds. Most of the seeds will be destroyed through the high temperature composting method I normally use. I’ll put some in the worm bins and the worms seem to take out seeds too, at least from what I’ve read about them.

The Christmas corn is coming up well in most places. I planted four different kinds of corn and some of the seeds didn’t come up as well as others. No surprise there. Other areas, where I planted a variety of fall vegetables and had to use well water prior to the one good rain we had, haven’t done well at all. Only an occasional plant has sprouted, three or four on one fifty foot row, and none on the others. This certainly verifies how bad the well water is and how it poisons the soil. The corn was planted after the rains if I remember right.

Always so much to do and always not enough me to do it so can’t waste too much time writing but do need to keep y’all up to date on things.
One of Linda's horses. Can't remember the name but remembering names is a weak point with me anyway.

This is, so far, an unusual day. I haven’t used the bob scale in probably two years as my slowdowns are fairly rare occurrences these days. Today everything is a struggle to think through, and as I type my ability to put thoughts together and hit the proper keys gauges how slow my brain is working. So I guess I’m operating at a four on the bob scale, that goes from one to ten with one being the slowest. For you long term readers of my blog, that goes back to September 2005, you are familiar with the bob scale.

It’s been a struggle all morning long. I don’t know if it’s because there is so much on my mind, if it’s due to having to once again figure out and understand what I’m doing as I hook up electrical wire, or if it’s because of the stress and sadness I feel from the broken relationship with the ones we once called “Friends”. Perhaps it’s all of them combined that triggers this. I’ve explained this phenomenon, (the slow downs) this way; It’s as if my brain becomes an old 286 computer that takes much longer to process information and bogs down easily, sometimes freezing up altogether. As far as the “friends” I doubt that they are bothered at all. Seems like they just sloughed us off like excess baggage as there has been no word from them. I suspect one of them contacted some mutual acquaintances and said a few of the kind of words that poison minds as they stopped communicating with us at the same time things fell apart. We’ve seen that kind of vindictiveness before, people who talk about loving God yet do the work of the devil.

My ears are ringing now. Not a good sign. Damn it, I’ve got work to do. It is so inconvenient but I am grateful that this doesn’t happen often. Used to be an every day struggle. Needed to hook up the electricity to the old henhouse behind the garage so I can run an extension cord out to where the tractor is and plug in the battery charger. Now I must proceed carefully because I can get easily confused. I am looking at work I did before to understand what color wire goes where. Everything I learned about electrical wiring I must learn all over again. But that’s the way it is with everything and just the frustrating result of a traumatic brain injury and a price I gladly pay for the privilege of still being alive.
This is, so far, an unusual day. I haven’t used the bob scale in probably two years as my slowdowns are fairly rare occurrences these days. Today everything is a struggle to think through, and as I type my ability to put thoughts together and hit the proper keys gauges how slow my brain is working. So I guess I’m operating at a four on the bob scale, that goes from one to ten with one being the slowest. For you long term readers of my blog, that goes back to September 2005, you are familiar with the bob scale.

It’s been a struggle all morning long. I don’t know if it’s because there is so much on my mind, if it’s due to having to once again figure out and understand what I’m doing as I hook up electrical wire, or if it’s because of the stress and sadness I feel from the broken relationship with the ones we once called “Friends”. Perhaps it’s all of them combined that triggers this. I’ve explained this phenomenon, (the slow downs) this way; It’s as if my brain becomes an old 286 computer that takes much longer to process information and bogs down easily, sometimes freezing up altogether. As far as the “friends” I doubt that they are bothered at all. Seems like they just sloughed us off like excess baggage as there has been no word from them. I suspect one of them contacted some mutual acquaintances and said a few of the kind of words that poison minds as they stopped communicating with us at the same time things fell apart. We’ve seen that kind of vindictiveness before, people who talk about loving God yet do the work of the devil.

My ears are ringing now. Not a good sign. Damn it, I’ve got work to do. It is so inconvenient but I am grateful that this doesn’t happen often. Used to be an every day struggle. Needed to hook up the electricity to the old henhouse behind the garage so I can run an extension cord out to where the tractor is and plug in the battery charger. Now I must proceed carefully because I can get easily confused. I am looking at work I did before to understand what color wire goes where. Everything I learned about electrical wiring I must learn all over again. But that’s the way it is with everything and just the frustrating result of a traumatic brain injury and a price I gladly pay for the privilege of still being alive.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

a rough Sunday morning

9/19/10 Sunday
This morning I am disturbed in my spirit. There are doubts plaguing my thoughts, questions about my salvation and worries about what I’ve said and how it’s been received. I wonder who I’ve again offended, I question if I’m correct in what I see and what I think about what I see. Is my theology correct, my interpretation of what I read in the bible? Am I rejected by God? How difficult this is. I pray and don’t know if God hears it. What an attack this all is! Bam, a flood of doubt washes over me, robbing me of confidence and faith. It will be good to go to church today.

I went out to pick tomatoes to take to church when all this hit. Only picked two tomatoes. There are more but I gathered the rotten and damaged ones first and removed a fat tomato worm. Then I put the bad tomatoes in the worm bins to feed them. Pulled weeds and looked at how much work I’ve failed to do. That just adds to the despair. How I need a recharging of my soul. Called Stepping Stone to see if Sam was ready for us to pick up and take to church but he evidently already left to go to a church with Tony. I wonder if I said something to upset him, all part of this wave of doubt. It’s a rough Sunday morning.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Sacrifice brings joy

9/18/10 Saturday
Cherie and I are getting ready to attend the Kairos prison ministry training today. There are many other things we both have to do but when it’s all weighed in the balances us working together for God is most important. Doing this means sacrifice. Personal sacrifice is one of the cornerstones of Christianity, one that isn’t presented very often in this world of “Let’s make it all fun and easy” Christianity. Does that mean there is no fun in living for God? Oh no, it doesn’t. There is a pure kind of joy that comes with serving others that far surpasses the fleeting moments of frivolous laughter found in other moments. America is consumed with searches for entertainment, things to fill every moment of our lives with. In doing so we then avoid having to think about the hard facts of the world we live in and life around us. So we laugh and sing while the boat is sinking, our entertainment blinding our eyes and helping us deny any cold hard reality that is unpleasant to consider. Jesus spoke of this in Mathew 24:37 As it was in the days of Noah, so it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. 38 For in the days before the flood, people were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, up to the day Noah entered the ark; 39 and they knew nothing about what would happen until the flood came and took them all away. That is how it will be at the coming of the Son of Man.

The training runs from nine to three. I didn’t go get my tractor yesterday because Linda told me her place was flooded to the point that even getting into her driveway was difficult. In order for me to get the tractor I would have to drive across the yard and that would certainly tear it up. The thought is that it should dry up enough by today to get it so we will see. Regardless, when we get back from the training I have to hit the road running. Pulled seven and eight foot tall weeds yesterday while the ground was soft from the rain. Did that till I hurt too much to pull any more so called it quits. Yesterday was a three shirt day. With the rain and resulting high humidity I sweated buckets. Had to take my shirt off and towel dry in order to lay down and let the pain ease and putting a soaking wet shirt back on an hour later just wasn’t something I was willing to do. I have to hang the shirts up to dry before they are put in the dirty clothes basket for if I don’t they get pretty nasty as they sit there over a few days.

With the rain came more sink holes from our deteriorating cesspool. Cesspools are what they had before septic tanks were developed or widely used I guess. The one we have was built by my grandfather way back when the house was built so is perhaps forty years old. I had learned about it when some of the steel roofing he used to cover the top was exposed after a storm. Digging around to figure out what was there I discovered we had a cesspool, all part of learning what was on this farm. It is made with railroad ties for the walls and some of those walls are now collapsing. Hence it's an adventure and potential disaster to walk across that part of the back yard for you never know when you might fall through into know, sewage.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Hallelujah Rain

9/17/10 Friday
Hallelujah!!! We got rain. Serious rain, enough to fill the buckets and drums I’ve got placed under the roof lines to collect rainwater. That means I have lots to do. Weeds pull much easier when the ground is wet and seeds need to be planted, even though it’s late for that. My tractor is still at Linda’s. I put the repaired tire on it yesterday but it was late so left it there. That’s good because with the rain the ground I had disced up is now soft. I’d gone over it dozens of times with the disc before and it barely touched the surface. Now I can disc it up right so will do that when I go over there to pick up the tractor. I suspect I should wait a bit because if she got as much rain as we did the ground will be mushy with mud and that might make pulling the disc a challenge.

I go to Midland today to attend the HeBrew fellowship meeting. Look forward to that. By the way, Chaplain Raines, the chaplain at the Lynaugh prison we minister at, was hospitalized with severe chest pains. I’d appreciate it if those of you that pray would remember him in your prayers. He’s made a huge difference in the short time he’s been at the prison. Lives have been changed and tensions between gangs reduced, the message that God loves each and everyone of them so much that Jesus paid the penalty for every wrong they did goes out effectively through Rayne’s’ (not sure how to spell his name) leadership.

Need to get out and play in the mud. No doubt I’ll be a mess before the end of the day. Please pray for the repair of the relationship with the people who disappointed and hurt us so much. It’s in his hands to move forward as he cut off communication and said he would not respond to emails. My response to him was that we would see how important it really was to them through their action, or inaction. It’s been two weeks now. I’ll wait a month and if there’s no response will tell all. The truth is a wonderful thing when you live right but the truth is something to run from when it exposes that which is not good. My hope is to write about reconciliation, a simple statement that God is Lord and we have all submitted to do what we know is right, and swallowed the pride that always goes before a fall. In all things we should understand that the world watches those of us who bear the name of Christ and whatever we do should be for His glory. The unfortunate other side of that coin is that the bad we do is also seen by the world, especially those who don't like or resist God or walk fences looking for excuses not to make a decision on which side they want to be on.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

A wonderful sunrise,

9/16/10 Thursday
This was a wonderful sunrise. With the days getting shorter the sun comes up later and goes down earlier, shortening the time I have to work out in the fields. Today will be like all days, busy. Church was interesting yesterday in that we discussed a verse that most preachers and bible teachers avoid. That’s the one found in Hebrews 10:26 where it says “If we go on sinning willfully after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, but a terrifying expectation of judgment and the fury of a fire which will consume the adversaries.” Frankly, this scripture scares me because I turned my back on God after accepting Jesus as my savior back in the 70’s. But I take comfort in other scriptures and the key of this one is where it says “Go on sinning willfully”, which indicates a continuing action. I now, while far from perfect, strive to not do what I know is wrong to do. The clearest definition of sin in the bible is found in James 4:17 Therefore, to one who knows the right thing to do and does not do it, to him it is sin. It’s when you do what you know is wrong and do it so much that it doesn’t bother you at all (Having your conscious seared is the way the bible puts it) that you are playing with a deadly fire. So I fail all the time but I keep striving. This is the path of following Christ. Jesus said in Mathew 24:13 "But the one who endures to the end, he will be saved. We must take up our cross daily. In Revelations it says many times “He who overcomes will I give…” and lists the rewards. The fact is there is no “Easy” Christianity and the “Tickle your ears” message many preach is a dangerous and deceitful one that many will follow to eternal separation from God. Again the words of Jesus say it best Mathew 7:13 "Enter through the narrow gate ; for the gate is wide and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and there are many who enter through it. 14 "For the gate is small and the way is narrow that leads to life, and there are few who find it.

Ok, enough of that. There’s a reason it is on my heart and someone out there needs to hear it so please hear what it’s saying and don’t harden your heart. I’ve got to get out and dig a trench, get my tractor back from Linda’s (now that I have the tire fixed) do some laundry, by a transmission seal for my truck, put it on, plant more seeds (might or might not happen) cut weeds and wood at Linda’s, and always have weeds to cut here, hook up soaker hose to encourage Bermuda grass to grow in the lawn, and who knows what else. That’s just the off the top of my head list of things that need doing.

I got the trench dug. Next I’ll need to locate some pipe and extend the water system out to the end of the trench. This will allow me to irrigate this area at the far side of our five acre plot. The blackeyed peas I planted just a few days ago are already coming up. Just a few here and there where there was evidently enough moisture to germinate them. Came in and took my second pain pill for the day and backed up this laptop. Hadn’t done that in a while. What a pain that turned out to be as the external hard drive not only backed up what was on the laptop but also restored all the stuff I’d deleted long ago. Now this computer is once again cluttered full of stuff I don’t want. I don’t have a clue how to keep that from happening every time I back it up.

Great, a fly drowned in my tea as I was dealing with all this. There are lots of flies in the house lately. All those tomatoes sitting in the kitchen draw hundreds of these small gnat kind of flying things so I’ll put them outside. We have all these tomatoes but unfortunately Cherie doesn’t have the time or strength to process them. By the time she comes home from work she’s exhausted. They are already going bad so I need to sort them. But I’ve got so much other stuff to do. I forgot to take a few buckets of them to church to give them away. Then there’s all the peas that were picked a couple of days ago that need to be dealt with. When they are green they go bad quick, real quick. We once had about eighty pounds of them get moldy and nasty in just a few days last year because I thought they would keep longer. They were in an ice chest and I’d closed the lid thinking they would last longer. Come to find out closing the lid made them go bad and they would have lasted longer out in the open, just would have dried up.

Break time’s over. Had a turkey sandwich for lunch and the pain level is back to manageable.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

The price of being good?

9/15/10 Wednesday
I see it’s been nearly a week since I wrote in this journal. There are pictures that will help me remember what has gone on, and there has been a lot. Going back and looking at the pictures I see some really great ones and remember parts of what I did. I’ll try to write about it. There’s good and some not so good stuff. The not so good we just learned about yesterday. In the mail we got a letter from the treasury department stating that our income tax refund check was seized by the VA for “Payment of a debt”. This is a serious kick in the gut. The “Debt” talked about is in dispute with the VA and has been an ongoing issue for a couple of years now. Our worry is that they will also seize the CRP check we get once a year for the farm. That would be real bad. We depend on that check to pay our property taxes and look forward to it in order to purchase seed and supplies for the next year on the farm, along with clothes and necessary items. Perhaps even an air conditioner? We are careful with every penny, wasting nothing, but if this check is seized it will put us in a serious bind. I had to accept some money from a friend in order to have fuel for the big diesel truck. With my other truck’s transmission out it’s the only thing I have to drive and boy does it suck fuel.
Ben Casey with the seeder I bought at a garage sale. Boy is it a labor saver. It only came with one size template so won't work for many seeds but using tape I made it work well with black eyed peas. Can whip a row out in seconds that otherwise would take almost an hour by hand.

Cherie got paid today so we can pay our bills but there is never much left over after. At times like this my frustration with our “friends” grows. He asked me “Please forgive us” but still they have cut off communication. I so want to tell everything they did, to name names and expose the truth, but have resisted so far. Some of the scriptures and writing posted during this time was inspired by them and they took offense at it. Still waiting for them to follow through on the promise to find a third party and talk this out, but like I told him, we’ll see how important that really is too them, so we wait. I wonder what his definition of forgiveness is? Is it to just forget and pretend everything is ok? Then, have they forgiven us? Because there is still no contact or movement from their camp. Perhaps it’s just a one way street where we are supposed to forgive them and they can go on their jolly way unburdened by the fact that they did anything wrong and in the process hurt us deeply. Meantime we are left out in the cold and wonder what they truly think. Odd enough we have stopped receiving emails and contact with several others who are known by them, they just stopped and in fact have not replied to my repeated emails. Leaves me wondering.
Here's a blessing. Linda knew where we could pick up these fifteen sheets of steel roofing. Each one is 30 foot long and unused. They'd been sitting outside on the ground for quite a while but are galvanized and have no rust. They will go far when it comes to our plans to build a barn and extend the garage. It cost me over a thousand dollars to tear down a "free" barn and get material in much worse shape but doing that helped someone else anyway.

These “friends” were to look at our oil lease and work with an oil company that wants to drill on our land. We’re sitting on top of millions of dollars worth of oil but in the complex world of oil leases, and the greed that exists anytime there’s that kind of money involved, everything is stalemated, or seems to be. But they got greedy. If I don’t hear from them soon I’ll tell the whole story. Meantime we struggle to pay bills and we do without while the help we need to make this a viable income producing working farm lies underneath our feet. And it stays there because those who already have much and live well wanted even more, and wanted it at our expense. Because they couldn’t get what they wanted they now refuse to help us get what we need. But that’s OK. You see God is God and He does get involved in these things. We will put our trust in Him and know that our needs will be supplied. It’s just sad that the “friends” talk about God but it’s the practice that tells the truth. We hope this gets all gets reconciled and everyone ends up better for it, and there is no room for those who talk bad about Christians because of how they act to say anything.

Just talked to the Texas Veteran’s rep on the phone. He asked if Cherie and I could come to the office while he calls the VA but I explained that would require her taking time off her job so he will see if they will talk to him without me present and call back.
We've got thousands of Lady bugs on our peas. That's wonderful as they keep the aphids and other damaging insects in check. Wish they'd do in the squash bugs but we take what we can get.

Meantime, let me tell about the week. As always there is more to do than one person can accomplish on this farm, but I keep trying. But despite that there are people we meet who need help and I do what I can. Now some will probably call me irresponsible for neglecting things here to spend time and energy helping others but that’s what being a real Christian is about, sacrifice for others. When I see someone in need and have the ability to help I don’t have to think about it. But while I do that vegetables are rotting on the vine and weeds encroach back onto cleared areas. I’m sorry, but I must help.

1 John 3.16 We know love by this, that He laid down His life for us; and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren. 17 But whoever has the world's goods, and sees his brother in need and closes his heart against him, how does the love of God abide in him? 18 Little children, let us not love with word or with tongue, but in deed and truth.

While I may be surrounded by those who find this uncomfortable I don’t live my life seeking comforts but the good of others. So I won’t conform to the “norms” around be but will practice what I believe, even if it costs me. No, I won’t be like everyone else, especially when I don’t think much of how they act. I will work to please the One who’s opinion of me is the only one that matters. Now I know that I often fail in my relationships with others and often fail to meet my own standards, but I don’t fail to keep trying.

Sam, a former employee we had when there were funds for help, and a resident at the Stepping Stone halfway house, had some time off from the oil rig he worked at so volunteered to come help despite the fact that I couldn’t pay him. Linda needed her car taken to get a fuel pump installed and also some work around her place done so while I had Sam with me that’s what we worked on.
Linda and Sam sorting peas. What a blessing it is to have people around we can share things of God with comfortably, on top of the invaluable help.

Monday we used a come along to winch her car up on my trailer. That took about three hours I was told. Don’t remember but believe it cause it was not a fun job. Finally getting it loaded we took it to Midland where someone was going to install this three hundred plus dollar pump at no charge to her. It’s so good to find real Christians who do real things for others. He took a hammer and banged on the bottom of her fuel tank and the darn thing started right up. Sure wish I’d known that trick, we could have drove it here.

At some point before this, don’t remember at all when, I had taken my tractor to Linda’s place on the trailer and disced up her roping arena. The weeds had grown waist high and it was full of rattlesnakes so was dangerous for her to ride her horses in. The ground was rock hard so despite going around it dozens of times there were still weeds up but I got almost all of them. I also took my weed eater that she could use to cut down other weeds.

It was yesterday that Linda and Sam came over to the farm and picked the peas that were drying on the plants. They also picked tomatoes, many of which had rotted on the vines, and ran twine to hold the plants up off the ground. We sorted and shucked peas at Linda’s place and I brought my chain saw to cut some dead wood out of her tree. I forgot to bring oil for the chain so couldn’t finish the job. I’ll do that later. It was a blessing to have their help on the farm, but a little embarrassing too. I’m afraid that people will think me lazy seeing all that doesn’t get done, but I work from morning to night, or until I can’t walk anymore. That happens a lot. There is so much possible with this farm, good money to be made, but it requires more than I can give by myself. God will provide, this I trust and pray for.

While discing Linda’s place I got a flat tire on the tractor. Don’t know what happened but it went flat real quick. Fortunately it’s a front tire and looks like it has a tube in it. That’s fortunate because it will cost much less than one of the big rear tires would. Don’t know how much yet but Sam helped me to remove it from the tractor. I’ll take it in today and see what it will take. Fortunately Cherie got paid today.

With five dogs to feed now, and one of them a growing pup, our dog food doesn’t last very long. It sure is a crowd. The new puppy is named Midnight now, a great suggestion from one of our readers. Wish she lived closer so we could send her a load of veggies. Midnight is getting along well with the others but is aggressive with Ben and Gretchen. Rascal and Trixie let him know who was boss real quick but Ben and Gretchen are both not as able to establish dominance. Ben only has three legs and was run over and Gretchen just seems to be getting old, and I think that litter she had here took a lot out of her. At least they don’t seem to wander as much as they used too.

Here's Cherie with one of Linda's horses. One of the exciting happenings here was Cherie rode a horse for the first time at Linda's. It wasn't this horse but one of the others. Cherie had ridden a horse once before but it was one of those lead around rides and Linda said that doesn't count, not really "Riding" a horse. She did good and the horse behaved surprisingly well. In fact the horse shown tends to bite anyone around and Linda was amazed to see Cherie tickling the side of his face as she talked to him. He had put his head over the top of the fence and craved for more. Eventually I will ride a horse for the first time as well.

The Texas VA rep found our farm. Had to drive around to do it and his GPS thing didn't help at all. He looked at the letter we got in January regarding the VA's claim that I bore responsibility for the whole deal and thus should pay. Couldn't believe what he read because he knows about the brain injury and knows what that means regarding my ability to remember to do things or process information. I'm in much better shape these days than I was then and I still have problems, but not nearly as bad. There are several we've met who sure tried to take advantage of me, counting on my memory problems and cognitive impairment to enable them to pull the wool over my eyes. And then there are the ones who say they understand but don't really try to.