Thursday, December 01, 2011

The first day of December

There are storms coming, storms that will rock the world and cause many's hearts to fail them for fear

12/1/11 Thursday
First day in December, the last month of the year. Time moves so fast but plans and dreams seem to still move at slow motion. I’m desperately working on the booster pump for the well project, making lots of mistakes because I don’t really know what I am doing and there is no one I feel comfortable seeking advice from. I’ve asked some for help but when I do it seems that they become distant. One enthusiastically told me he would come out to the farm and look around, even offered to bring equipment to help dig out the well from the wall of sand that has overtaken it. I saw him a few times since and tried to gently remind him, but still got positive “I’ll be out there” words but no actions at all. If asking for help estranges friends then I won’t ask for help.

There are some who have been wonderful in their assistance but I know that can get strained. I don’t want to be the person always asking for help. It is such an awkward position to be in. But then I must wrestle with the truths of our faith I believe in. The bible is pretty clear regarding these things, that we who believe, the family of God, are to look out for our brothers and sisters, and always be not just ready but anxious to help, to show that true love which is illustrated by actions, not words. As a preacher of the good news of God, and a teacher who has the responsibility to encourage others to follow the truths of the bible I find myself torn. For I know that some will not willingly receive a message that they are falling short, and will resent what they will interpret as a judgmental attitude. Then there is the concern that my words would be seen as an attempt to manipulate others for my personal gain, and thus find my reputation damaged. I’m not sure what my “reputation” is in many circles as it is, but I know that in some there has been plenty of talk and gossip and in those arenas I am not well thought of.

I cannot let that bother me. However I know that what others think of me reflects on my Lord Jesus Christ and for His sake I will be concerned. So I will live my life to please God and try to walk with care concerning my words and actions. We have seen so much hypocrisy it astounds us, and have also seen how that keeps others from coming to God. For the rest of the world sees it too, and rejects God because of it. It is the core value that seems to be missing or compromised. What value is that? Love. “Oh we love!!!” I can hear some protesting but the reality of their actions reveals the truth. What you really believe is shown by what you do, and true love compels action, not just talk. I am so tired of empty words, of those who talk but not much more. Love is patient, Love is kind, it does not envy, it does not boast. Love is not proud, it is not rude. True love doesn’t seek selfish desires but puts the needs of others before personal wants. Real love is not easily angered but keeps no record of wrongs done. Of course it doesn’t delight in evil, in putting down those who have made mistakes. Love rejoices in the truth. Love always protects, always trusts, always hopes for good to come, and perseveres in the face of adversity and doubt. Jesus only gave two commandments. Love God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength is the first. The second is harder. That is to love your neighbor as yourself.

When you see someone close to you, a family member such as your mother, brother, or wife, in need of help what do you do? Most of us will take time out of our day, sacrifice that which is most valuable, our time, and do whatever it takes to resolve that issue. That is most of us. These days I see the bible prophesy, that in the last days the love of many will grow cold, coming true in so many ways. Love has become a thing of convenience for so many, and an empty concept with no teeth for others. How we remember our former friends, who would always make a point of ending a visit with the words “You know we love you guys”, but who proved themselves liars and hypocrites later. Because I do love them and have great concern for their well-being, I pray for them constantly, for they will answer to God, as we all must. I so want that final time of judgment for them to be one with no faults found. But they seem blind to the truth and have placed God into the box they want Him to fit in, a box that allows them to practice the fleshly pleasures they enjoy without fear of any accountability.

If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. 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. If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing. (1 Corinthians 13)

If the church, those who are believers in and followers of Jesus Christ and the only true God, who created the universe and gives life, would practice this true love, it would change the world. Part of this love requires us to make others more important than ourselves, and demands humility along with sacrifice. There is no room for judgment here, for looking down at others and thinking you are better than them. That in itself is a sin, and a bad one. If someone is trapped in problems, whatever they may be, love requires us to work to help them get better, to throw them a life raft so to speak, to lift them up and not tear them down. This is what our God longs to see in us, for this is how the kingdom of God will grow. God so loved us He sent His only son to die for us, so that we may live and not die, so that we may be set free from all that enslaved us. And Jesus said that we are to follow His example. This is the core, the foundation and bedrock of our faith, the first love that so many have left behind as they pursue religion and the accolades of others around them, and in the process forget that they too were brought out of the mud and washed clean by God, because of His love.

I will mix up some more concrete this morning and try to get it right this time. What I did yesterday didn’t turn out the way I wanted so I hope to do better this time. Then comes the plumbing part. That’s where it gets scary for me because once I cut those pipes coming from the well I must get it right. If I don’t we have no water for the house or anywhere else.

There is much else on my list of things to do but on top of that is visiting the jail. I helped lead a young man there to make the commitment to accept Jesus as his Lord and savior so with that comes a great responsibility. Jesus said we are to go out and make disciples of others, not just to “Get them saved” as so many preaches seem to think. The world is filled with people who “Got saved”, or who had an emotional experience brought on by skillful oratory coupled with music and other psychological pressures to make a “decision”, but were then left alone as the preachers proudly made more notches in their records so they could brag about what great things they had done. This is so wrong. I need to spend some time with this young man, to teach him the things of God so that he can understand what he has done as well as comprehend what lays ahead for him. Oh, I’ve got things to do, but nothing more important than a life hanging in the balance, so I must choose correctly.

2 comments:

Amy E said...

Anyone who knows YOU Bob knows you wouldn't and don't manipulate people for material gain. The important people (like me LOL) who know you and love you are the ones that truly matter. I will be in prayer for you and Cherie. Keep warm! We have our wood stove fired up too lately ;-)

Bob said...

Thanks Amy, What I know is that God's hand is strong on my life, having been raised from the dead and then seeing so many miraculous events coming together in ways that can only be God. Because of that we also know we have an enemy, Lucifer and all of his angels, who sees this and understands God has something planned for me. So the devil uses whatever tools he can find to do his best to hinder everything I do. It is sad that many of those tools are those in the church. We appreciate you Amy very much.