Thursday, February 24, 2011

We have a bathroom (Updated)

2/24/11 Thursday
We have a bathroom. Praise the Lord, and big thanks to our friends and family who pitched in to help make this happen. I must talk about Paul Buckalew, the contractor. Back when all this started our pastor had come out with a guy she uses and he said it would be a $5,000 dollar job but because it was for her he would only charge $3500. Paul did it for $1245.00, including materials. There are a lot of materials we had already purchased that aren’t on that bill but regardless Paul got the job done quickly and efficiently.

Now it isn’t a completely finished job like the other guy was bidding but Paul moved the toilet and had to redo the sewage pipe and that required a lot of crawling under the house along with dealing with the big cast iron and lead pipes. I encouraged Paul to leave work for me to do, in order to keep the cost to our friends down, among other reasons. Can’t find his business card right now. Looked for it but it’s not readily available. As soon as I find it I will post Paul’s contact information and encourage you all to use him. Paul has an extensive construction background and even worked on the Lynaugh prison we minister at, back when it was originally built.

Paul’s info. It’s called “Just call Paul” and his business card says “your everything fix it guy” Paul’s number is 432-631-1624 and his email is

I was so grateful to take a bath. In fact, I was in a hurry to do so. Can’t take a shower till we get a shower curtain installed but just being able to take a bath somewhere other than the kitchen sink is a blessing. What was left in the tub testifies to how badly I needed to bath. This will greatly improve our lives and we are so very grateful to our friends, who saw a need and met it.

I was going to attend a prayer meeting this morning, composed of pastors and other leaders in the church, but had misread the invitation so missed it. Right now we are in the midst of a typical West Texas sand storm, with wind gusts hitting 45 mph and lots of sand blowing. Some stuff blew away and a brand new sheet of drywall Paul had left got damaged, but that’s all part of living out here.

Yesterday I noticed a backhoe working over on our oil well so walked out to see what they were doing. Took the camera with me just in case there was something I needed to document. I’ve learned that you can’t always trust these guys so try to keep up. They came on the land a couple of years ago and dug up a pipeline, presumably to repair it, but did so without saying a word to us. Come to find out, anytime they dig up your land they are supposed to pay damages. This time the guy was building berms around the tanks, which were supposed to be there anyway, so it wasn’t a big deal. He mentioned how badly the weeds had grown around the well and said that if the Railroad Commission saw that they would be unhappy. I listen and learn all the time so add this to my limited knowledge.

These days there is much on my heart. My eyes see clearly things I wish they didn’t see, but at the same time I see much good and that which gives me hope. What is this burden that is on me? This revelation of error and sin unrecognized? This desire to lead and guide those who’s path wanders dangerously close to a precipice toward the true way that leads to life and peace? There is a sense inside me that says “It is time” but not a full awareness of what it is time for, yet an urgency connected with that, a realization that events are soon to unfold and that we must be prepared for them.

Thus I preach through this blog and present truths that are not always practiced despite being well known. What has happened over the years is these truths have been corrupted with concepts that help those who are uncomfortable with them justify not obeying the Laws of God. I’ve heard things recently that disturb me, that stir up the Spirit of God and reveal the heart of others. I must be careful here so as to not point fingers and to remain faithful to God’s commandment of respecting elders and those in authority.

Here then is the word of God.
1 John 3:16 This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers. 17 If anyone has material possessions and sees his brother in need but has no pity on him, how can the love of God be in him? 18 Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth.

I’ve heard several times someone talk about those who always want others to do for them when they don’t do for themselves. This we’ve all seen many times and a part of our culture is now made up with those who have been trained to think this way through the welfare society. With that comes a laziness that does little to help them move forward in life and in reality traps them in poverty. But there is a problem that can develop with the attitude this person expresses so often. All of life is full of fine lines between right and wrong and these lines are often blurred so as to be indistinguishable. It’s a matter of judging, another subject with fine lines.

You see, I know that in the church, if an individual has a need they should let their church family know about it and as the scripture above indicates, we should help them. The early church, as described in Acts, held property in common with people not selfishly hanging on to their possessions. In fact, when a couple came in and lied about property they sold but had decided to keep a portion of, they were struck down dead. (Acts 5.1) Were they struck down for keeping the property? No, not at all. It was because they lied and did it to impress everyone with how spiritual they were.

So what do you do if you think someone is just taking advantage of you? Jesus was pretty clear on that. Mathew 5:38 "You have heard that it was said, 'AN EYE FOR AN EYE, AND A TOOTH FOR A TOOTH.' 39 "But I say to you, do not resist an evil person; but whoever slaps you on your right cheek, turn the other to him also. 40 "If anyone wants to sue you and take your shirt, let him have your coat also. 41 "Whoever forces you to go one mile, go with him two. 42 "Give to him who asks of you, and do not turn away from him who wants to borrow from you. 43 "You have heard that it was said, 'YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR and hate your enemy.' 44 "But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45 so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven ; for He causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. 46 "For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have ? Do not even the tax collectors do the same ? 47 "If you greet only your brothers, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same ? 48 "Therefore you are to be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.

I have to leave to meet my wife and eat lunch with some of those who helped us out, so don’t have time to finish this. Here are some of the scriptures I was going to discuss. Perhaps this can be finished later, but I often fail to finish things but we will see if God’s grace will help it happen.

Ok, back at this short lesson. I mentioned in previous posts that one of the definitions of love is “To choose for the highest good of the other person, over what you want to do”. So what if someone wants to take advantage of you!!! If the need is real then the need is real. Here’s where some wisdom is needed. I won’t give an alcoholic begging for money any money if I feel he will run to the liquor store and buy some booze. He/she might say “Could you give me a couple of bucks so I can get something to eat” as a ploy to get money, so go buy them some food. I hear all the excuses not to do anything all the time. “If I gave money to everyone who had needs I would be broke” There is a legitimacy to that but…does that mean to do nothing at all for anyone? There is so much need in our world and I know we can’t help everyone, but we can do more than we do, in general. I know people who do all they can, who sacrifice greatly for others, and in some cases who give their lives for others, and I look to that as an example, a standard of excellence to be strived for.

The reality is, many of us just do the little we feel required or pressured into, just enough to make sure our Christian friends and those in our circle know we are doing something for God. For some, it’s all about image, but not about sacrifice. Here’s where the rubber meets the road. In 1 Corinthians 13 it says “If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. 3 If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing”. One of my favorite things to say is “It doesn’t matter what you do, but why you do it”

Jesus talked about how, in the last day, the time of judgment, many will say "Not everyone who says to me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. Many will say to me on that day, 'Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?' Then I will tell them plainly, 'I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!' (Mathew 7:22)

So let’s spell this out, make it simple and clear. Jesus is talking about people in the church, people who believe they are Christians. They are doing things in the name of Jesus, big things like prophesying and casting out demons, performing miracles and such. Jesus says here that the only ones who will enter the kingdom of heaven are the ones who are doing the will of the Father. Is not prophesying and performing miracles doing the will of the Father? Only when it’s done in love. Once again, I turn to the words of Jesus, the words that always makes things clear. Mathew 6:1 "Be careful not to do your 'acts of righteousness' before men, to be seen by them. If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven. 2 "So when you give to the needy, do not announce it with trumpets, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and on the streets, to be honored by men. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full. 3 But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, 4 so that your giving may be in secret. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.

And here’s another scripture. James 2:14 What good is it, my brothers, if a man claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save him? 15 Suppose a brother or sister is without clothes and daily food. 16 If one of you says to him, "Go, I wish you well; keep warm and well fed," but does nothing about his physical needs, what good is it? 17 In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead. 18 But someone will say, "You have faith; I have deeds." Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by what I do

The will of the Father is based on one thing, “Love the Lord with all your heart and Love your neighbor as yourself” Maybe that is two things, but if you truly Love God you will love those He loves too, and feel God’s pain over those who are lost and fallen, so I think they are one and the same.

So back to those who “expect everyone to do for them, instead of doing for themselves”. Here’s what can lay at the root of that thought, judgment, and that’s a dangerous thing. Not so much for the person who is being judged, but for the one doing the judging. It is hard, very hard, in life to not let these little thoughts and opinions to enter in. We look at someone and see their clothes, mannerisms, and listen to what they say. The older you are the more experience you have to relate all that information too, people you’ve met who looked or acted the same. We often must draw conclusions to protect ourselves from some harm we’ve seen or experienced in the past, but in the process we forget to love the other person. You see, when we do this our eyes are on ourselves, our personal space, protection, or even ego. What will others think of me? Will that person embarrass me? And so forth.

The problem is that once these thoughts, these small little judgments, enter in, they poison everything that follows. Once you make that judgment, everything you see and hear from that person being judged is viewed through those colored glasses, those stained eyes. If you suspect them of being a liar you examine everything they say, wondering if it’s the truth or not. If you think they are just out to use you, to get what they can, then every need they have is a conspiracy to get what’s yours, and in the process you forget that everything you have is from God to start with. So from that act of judgment greed and selfishness enter into your life and begins to corrupt. That’s the danger we all face, every day, as we try to keep our thoughts and lives pure. Just a little leaven leaven’s the whole loaf.

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. 8 If you really keep the royal law found in Scripture, "Love your neighbor as yourself," you are doing right. 9 But if you show favoritism, you sin and are convicted by the law as lawbreakers.

It all comes down to Love. Real love, not the fake or shallow stuff so many make a show of, that fades away so quick every time the going gets tough or some kind of personal sacrifice comes into play. Love is the basis of our faith, and the determining factor if that faith is real or not.

1 John 4:7 Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. 8 Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. 9 This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. 10 This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. 11 Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. 12 No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us. 13 We know that we live in him and he in us, because he has given us of his Spirit. 14 And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent his Son to be the Savior of the world. 15 If anyone acknowledges that Jesus is the Son of God, God lives in him and he in God. 16 And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in him.


Anonymous said...

Enjoy your bath!!! love, Jen

Bob said...

We do and are so very grateful. May God bless those who bless us.