Thursday, August 11, 2011

The more things change the more they stay the same

8/11/11 Thursday
The wind is kicking up early today, so it promises to blow lots of sand. I went out and turned the irrigation off where we had it run all night, and then turned it on for the tomatoes and melon patch. Surveyed the damage rabbits did. It can be discouraging but I keep trying and hoping that we can get at least a few of the Israeli cantaloupe to survive. We are on our second replanting of them.

It is always interesting to observe what God is doing and how the enemy can get in to wreak havoc. What’s sad is that the enemy can only cause trouble when those who are called by the name of Christ open the door for it, when they do what they know in their hearts God doesn’t approve of. I’ve been reading 2nd Corinthians lately and learning from Paul much about how I should approach things. It’s fascinating to read what was written two thousand years ago and find myself experiencing the same things. In his letter to the Corinthians Paul expounds on the issues he is facing within that group. It’s hard to imagine, but there were those, who called themselves apostles, within that church, who worked to put doubts in the peoples minds regarding whether or not Paul truly represented Christ. In fact several translations interpret Paul’s reference to them as “Those who call themselves ‘Super Apostles’”. Earlier in the letter Paul talked about those who commend themselves and measure themselves with each other. This I have been seeing more and more, those who pat themselves on the back and are anxious to impress others with how “Spiritual” they are. I see it on TV and have seen it in some of the churches God has led me to visit. There are no accidents in my life, so I know these things I was meant to see. I know why I was meant to see them but that will be between me and the Lord for now.

So, because of the doubt and confusion these false apostles were causing Paul felt it necessary to explain again who he was in the Lord. This is found in chapters eleven and twelve, and is good reading. Elsewhere in the bible we find the instruction that we are not to think more highly of ourselves than we ought. Paul didn’t want to boast in who he was, but had to in order to counteract the poisonous talk of those who wished to be seen as somebody. How I can relate to that. In a church I once attended the pastor would tell others that what I did, I did in the flesh, that the Spirit of God was not with me. In fact she even intimated that I wasn’t saved several times in several ways. The devil delights in this kind of thing, to tear down and not build up, to despise and not love, to steal, kill, and destroy all that is good and glorifies God.

Why do I write this? Why do I expose these things? It’s not anger, it’s not bitterness, though those who wish to justify themselves will accuse me of those motives. It is because of great love and concern. How can I talk with those who refuse to listen, and who have judged me to be an enemy when I desired only to be a friend and fellow servant in the Lord. I can only pray for now, and show love where I can. But I watch the poison spread, and see the effects of gossip increase, and fear for them for the end of that way is not good. Again I relate to what Paul writes here;

You have thought all along that we were defending ourselves to you. [No], in the sight of God we are speaking in Christ, and everything, dear friends, is for building you up. 20 For I fear that perhaps when I come I will not find you to be what I want, and I may not be found by you to be what you want; there may be quarreling, jealousy, outbursts of anger, selfish ambitions, slander, gossip, arrogance, and disorder. 21 I fear that when I come my God will again humiliate me in your presence, and I will grieve for many who sinned before and have not repented of the uncleanness, sexual immorality, and promiscuity they practiced. (2 Corinthians 12:19)

I’m not saying all these things are present with those who treated me so poorly, but some of them certainly are. I would gladly be humbled in order that they may be found perfect before the Living God. My desire is that they learn the true meaning of Love and practice it. Here is how Paul ends his letter;

Finally, brothers, good-by. Aim for perfection, listen to my appeal, be of one mind, live in peace. And the God of love and peace will be with you. 12 Greet one another with a holy kiss. 13 All the saints send their greetings. 14 May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.

There is so much I want to say, but I’ve learned that anything I say will be interpreted as an attack, as coming from a bitter spirit. I know this and much more, for God has revealed much to me. My desire is only for them to walk as Jesus walked, to be that true light before the world, that no fault be found in them. I was accused of using the scripture to manipulate and control others, and understand that because they view me through that judgment there is nothing I can say that won’t be interpreted negatively. Yet I reach out still, knowing that some among them read this blog to keep tabs on what I am doing. I’ll close this section with the words of Jesus. Yes I am trying to manipulate you, trying to coerce you to do what Jesus commanded, to convince you to love as He loved. What a crime that must be, for me to encourage others to do right. Biting words? Not intended to be but the truth is often uncomfortable.

John 13:4 so he got up from the meal, took off his outer clothing, and wrapped a towel around his waist. 5 After that, he poured water into a basin and began to wash his disciples' feet, drying them with the towel that was wrapped around him. 6 He came to Simon Peter, who said to him, "Lord, are you going to wash my feet?" 7 Jesus replied, "You do not realize now what I am doing, but later you will understand." 8 "No," said Peter, "you shall never wash my feet." Jesus answered, "Unless I wash you, you have no part with me." 9 "Then, Lord," Simon Peter replied, "not just my feet but my hands and my head as well!" 10 Jesus answered, "A person who has had a bath needs only to wash his feet; his whole body is clean. And you are clean, though not every one of you." 11 For he knew who was going to betray him, and that was why he said not every one was clean. 12 When he had finished washing their feet, he put on his clothes and returned to his place. "Do you understand what I have done for you?" he asked them. 13 "You call me 'Teacher' and 'Lord,' and rightly so, for that is what I am. 14 Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another's feet. 15 I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you. 16 I tell you the truth, no servant is greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him. 17 Now that you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them.

This happened at the last supper, where Jesus shared the cup of wine that represented His blood, and the bread that represented His body, and foretold of His eminent death, the ultimate act of Love, by which we are saved. And then the final command "A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. 35 By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another."

What do I seek? My desire is to see this in all the churches, to find Love without conditions and judgment.

Moving on to our everyday life on the farm. God has brought into our life an old friend, a piece of my past going back to the days I was in high school. He just showed up out of the blue through facebook and has already filled in some of the blank spaces in my memory. I look forward to meeting with him in person, but that will take a week or so because of his work schedule. As I work on the book, that God is encouraging me to finish, I find great difficulty because of the memory loss from the brain damage. I say this often, for I find it to be true, there are no accidents in my life. Those who find it comforting to say God is not with me choose to not see this, but every day contains miracles, every day shows the hand of God directing and leading us.

I went to the Stanton jail yesterday and had a great bible study with the three men I spoke with last week. We discussed the last days, reading through Mathew 24, where Jesus described what is to come. I explained my belief that we are in those last days, that the time is coming near and told of the evidence we are seeing all around us. This evidence is found in the rise of false teachers and prophets, false doctrines, Islam in the world, nations failing and falling into Islamic control, the world turning against Israel, the rise in famines, droughts, and earthquakes, just to name a few. Jesus said that in these last days the love of many will grow cold, another truth we are seeing played out before us.

There was an old hotel that had been torn down a few weeks ago. There are many good cinder blocks in the rubble that I could use so I kept looking to find someone there and get permission to pick some out of it. Never saw anyone so decided to get some anyway, figuring it was all going to be hauled to the landfill anyway. After teaching at the jail I stopped and started picking up the bricks that were still good. The owner of that lot stopped to make sure I wasn’t stealing copper or scrap that he planned on recovering. I was glad to see him and got permission to get all the cinderblocks I could use. Cool. Always feel better to have permission so that there is no room for someone to speak badly of me.

We got our first harvest of cantaloupe yesterday. I took much of what I picked and took it to the courthouse, where I gave some to the judge, the sheriff, and a few others I know. I always like to do that, give the first fruits of my farm to others. Many of the cantaloupe had split open. I had been withholding water from them because it makes the melons sweeter so it must be this hundred plus degree heat causing them to split open.

We are looking forward to the opportunity to present marriage seminars in prisons and also for those out on parole. It’s an exciting powerful life changing ministry that Cherie and I can do together, and will provide some much needed income. This is another door that God has opened and as always it is in His timing. How grateful I am to have the Lord in our life.

I’m still working on writing my testimony. Trying to keep it short but I’m at seven pages already and barely halfway through. Already skipped so much stuff and will skip a whole lot more before I’m done. But it will help me when it comes to writing the book as well, so that’s a good thing. Hope to finish the testimony today.

Got to go, bye now.


Anonymous said...

Maybe I buy some of your cantaloupses, yes?

Amy E said...

Cantelopes were great this year...ours finally finished, and we tilled the garden tonight to plant another crop, hoping to get some beans in to can before winter.

Ours split too, so it must be the heat, we didn't water that often, but the most recent ones weren't as good as the first ones.

You are a good guy for giving the cantelopes away...we had so many we had to do the same, we were so tired of cantelope and watermelon ;-)

Bob said...

Sure anonymous, just come on by the farm.

Thanks Amy for your input. We appreciate you.