Monday, February 28, 2011

Wind died down. Thoughts on Charlie Sheen

2/28/11 Monday
The wind has died down and it’s to be a nice quiet day today. I went out with the camera to take pictures of what the wind brought. Things weren’t as bad as I thought they might be, as bad as we’ve seen with sandstorms in the past, but it was just a cursory walk around so I’m sure I’ll find some stuff later. Meantime we’re grateful there hasn’t been a lot of damage done. I took some pictures to show how the sand builds up around anything that will cause an eddy in the wind so it will deposit what is being carried. Our land is several feet higher than the farms around us, due to how much dirt has collected in the weeds and grass over the decades and how much has been eroded away from the plowed fields.

It’s dry, so dry. We haven’t had a measurable rain for almost half a year now. What will this year bring? Will we get enough rain to wash the salt out of the soil that has built up from the irrigation? Will we get enough to plant and grow any crops? These are the questions we face every year, the questions all dry land farmers face. We will have to depend on the Lord more this year than ever before, depend on Him to supply our needs for this farm and for all our future hopes. So watch and see, what the Lord can do.

I was watching the short clips of an interview with Charlie Sheen on ABC, where a reporter was allowed to spend a whole day with the actor. It brought back lots of memories of my last days before the accident, of my slide into madness. Charlie was bragging about how much crack cocaine he would use at one setting, talking about how “normal” people couldn’t handle it. Multiple times he expressed his belief that he was beyond normal people on both a physical and mental level and essentially showed his “I’m superman” disconnect from reality.

This is a psychosis that is directly related to Charlie’s intense drug use and something I’ve seen and experienced during those last days before I died. For me there wasn’t a huge ego and the sense of invulnerability, quite the opposite. I no longer cared about living and used drugs to escape from reality. But in the process I used massive amounts of drugs and with it came a definite disconnect with reality. Adding to that was another traumatic brain injury and a stroke that had gone undiagnosed so I was way out there. I remember shooting at the ninjas who were rappelling through the ceiling of my warehouse to steal my dope. In talking to people who knew me then I heard some scary stories about behavior that went beyond bizarre. Some of them feared for their life and thus stayed away from me. This is all a reminder of how blessed I was to have that accident, how I had to die in order to live once again.

I fear for Charlie Sheen. Once again we will watch the public destruction of someone rich and famous as he indulges in every wanton pleasure he can grab. Just watching him on TV, as he chain smoked his cigarettes, you could see how his lifestyle was aging him. Sad doesn’t begin to describe it, but he thinks he is on top of the world.

There is lots of work to do. I must call the VA rep because we got a letter from the VA asking questions and saying they thought we were exaggerating when we said we spent $100 dollars a week on food, along with other stupidities. What world do they live in? So that fight continues. Meantime I continue to work on the bathroom. Learned what “Mudding” means along with phrases like “Floating the drywall” when the contractor asked me if I had any mud. That had me stumped so he explained that mud is what comes labeled as joint compound and putting it on is called mudding. “Did you float all this drywall?” he asked, referring to the work I’d already done. I didn’t think drywall floats, and it probably doesn’t, so asked if that meant I put it up and he said “yes”. Don’t mind looking dumb, sure I do that all the time.

That’s it. Work to do and this stupid laptop is doing crazy stuff so I must run the spyware program. It keeps shutting down on me because the battery doesn’t work and the power cord is loose and worn so if I’m not real careful it gets unplugged and I lose everything.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Teeth gritting day

2/27/11 Sunday
The predicted winds have arrived. When we left for church things were calm but you could sure hear it wind up during the service. Walking out we could see the sand blowing so knew it would be bad at the farm. It is. This is teeth gritting weather because only a few seconds out in it and your teeth are grinding with the sand. Blowing your nose leaves a brown stain on the tissue, evidence of how much sand you’ve breathed in just a few short moments. I went out to make sure nothing was blowing away and turned on some water to the herb garden and flower areas. Sure wished I had goggles to wear because of all the sand that got in my eyes. Quickly decided I would stay inside most of the day. That’s ok, plenty of work to do on the new bathroom.

Visibility is one telephone pole away. That means you can't see the next telephone pole, just one.

Don’t know what to say about church, so I won’t say anything. It was interesting. I’ve had an urgency to pray for two days now and woke up at two this morning with the same sense of dire need so spent some time praying then. Prayed all through church too, though under my breath so as not to disturb anyone. There’s something going on, but I don’t know what. Could it be my friend Ron, who’s overseas in the mid east? I know things are dangerous there for sure. I don’t know but often pray that the light of God’s truth illuminate and expose the works of darkness.

There seems to be a lot of error out there in the Christian world, people just accepting what they are told face value without checking to make sure it’s right. I’ve heard some things that are way out of line expressed confidently by those who should know better. But this is to be expected, especially if it’s the last days, as I suspect. Read what it says in 2 Peter 2:1 But there were also false prophets among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you. They will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the sovereign Lord who bought them--bringing swift destruction on themselves. 2 Many will follow their shameful ways and will bring the way of truth into disrepute. 3 In their greed these teachers will exploit you with stories they have made up. Their condemnation has long been hanging over them, and their destruction has not been sleeping.

Error creeps in several different ways. The laziness of those who won’t take the time to investigate what they hear is one way. Another portal to being deceived is pride. That’s a big one. Pride is at the root of all sin, whether it’s greed or giving in to sensuality, they all pander to selfish desires and it’s pride that makes what you want more important than what God wants.

The wind is hitting gusts that are shaking the house. Not comfortable at all to feel this bed move under me. Hope things are battened down good enough outside. We always discover what the wind has done the next day.

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 pebuckalew@yahoo.com


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.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Almost had a fire

2/22/11 Tuesday
Progress has been made. We now have a bathtub with running water, though the shower head isn’t installed yet. The toilet was moved over to a better spot than I had planned on. I planned on keeping it where it was, just aiming it in a different direction, because there was no way I could mess with the heavy cast iron and also lead pipes that were already in place. Paul, the contractor, however had no problem with that so opted to put the toilet where it would work best. The old toilet Linda had bought leaks and needs a rebuild kit but we can deal with that. Cherie will be so happy when she gets home and a happy Cherie helps make me feel better.

There’s still plenty of work to do so they will be back tomorrow. Paul seems to be quite efficient at what he does and certainly knows more about it than I do. I told him that if he didn’t mind I’d like to take his picture and post his contact info tomorrow. He’s fine with that.

Tonight I plan on clearing out an area so they can get up into the attic, and also laying the Hardy board over where the toilet used to be. As soon as Paul and his helper are done we hope to get the tile laid in the bathroom. I did some tile work for my brother way back when he got me from the hospital after I woke from the coma. I hope I remember what he taught me, but if not I’ll wing it. Gotten pretty good at winging it. Paul said he was impressed with what I had done in the bathroom, especially considering I didn’t know what I was doing to start with.

I went out to where the gophers have invaded the garden with the idea of probing for their tunnels and putting poison down in them. That didn’t work out. It’s been four or five months since we’ve had rain so when I would locate a tunnel, and carefully pull the steel rod out of the ground, sand would just pour into the hole. There’s a chance of rain or drizzle tomorrow so if that happens I’ll try it again for the wet sand won’t run into the hole.

Buddy has me worried. He loves to chase us when we drive off and doesn’t look when he runs across the highway. Paul said he saw him run across the road when the oil company truck pulled in the check the oil well. Sure would hate to bury another dog. It would be sweet if we could afford one of those shock collars to train him with.

It seems that every conversation I have, with Christians who know the bible and keep up with current events, turns to whether or not it’s the last days. The general consensus is that all the signs are lining up and it definitely could be. I am convinced of it personally. Things are happening too fast and too drastically to all just be a coincidence. This increases the urgency we have to build this farm, to create a greenhouse operation that can produce food and medicinal herbs year round.

Last night, at about ten minutes past midnight, I woke up to a strange smell and the sound of something crackling and popping. Couldn’t figure out what it was so turned on the light. Could tell it was coming from under the carpet, right next to where I was laying in the bed, so I pulled the carpet back. Nuts!!! Could see the blue light as sparks snapped feebly on the extension cord that had been laying under the carpet. It seems that one of the dogs, probably Rascal, had decided to pee on the wood floor of the living room. The urine had run down the floor to the edge of the carpet and evidently there was a small crack in the insulation of the extension cord so when the moisture got into the crack it provided a path for the electricity. Good thing I woke up. This had all just started and could well have triggered a fire.

One of the first things we’ll have to do is buy a new seat for the toilet. It’s nice to have a toilet that doesn’t require a bucket of water next to it that you must pour into the bowl when you flush to insure everything goes. I know, these are the mundane details you could well have lived better without knowing, but I have a reason for sharing such things. We watched on GLC about a ministry in Africa where they had to walk through mud mixed with urine and feces in order to get to the church and school. The villagers and children were barefoot or had open sandals on, while the visitors, who were filming this place, wore tall rubber boots to protect their feet. When I see this it helps me understand just how blessed we are.

It may sound strange, but I consider the time I wandered homeless, carrying everything I owned in a garbage bag slung over my shoulders, looking desperately for a safe place to sleep each night, getting napkins from whatever fast food place was near so I could have toilet paper, wondering if I would get a meal, as a blessing. You see, it brings things into perspective. There are some who marvel at the hardships we endure, who can’t imagine ever having to experience such things, but in our worst condition we have more than so many others. I was blessed as I wandered, for even then I had food to eat, and there are many who do not and in fact starve to death daily.

I heard a pastor talking about how someone had a “spirit of poverty” and recounting the tale of how this man, a bank president, would carry his shoes and walk barefoot in order to not wear the shoes down, how he would gather heels of bread from the drug store and skimp on so many things. There’s no question this was extreme behavior but I must wonder what he had seen and endured in life that might have triggered such actions. Odds are he and his family had gone through the great depression or similar hard times. Was this healthy behavior? Probably not but who am I to judge? Some would say that we have a “spirit of poverty” because we are frugal and don’t waste.

If I was a multi millionaire (Understand that at one time, with multiple companies, my net worth was in the millions) I don’t think, or at least hope, that I would spend it on lots of frivolous finery. Odds are I would own a vehicle that had all it’s forward gears working, and would have some nicer things, but I have no use for a big fancy house or a brand new Cadillac. There are so many I know, and so many I know of, who are in dire need. In my reality, God is, and God is a rewarder of those who do good. I was born naked and when I die (again, having already died once) I can’t take anything with me. Will God be impressed with my cars and finery? NO!!! At that moment, when we all will stand before the living God, we will learn what is and isn’t important. The words of Jesus always bring truth. Mathew 6:19 "Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. 20 But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

Like it says on this plaque I carved soon after waking from the coma, “Money and things can vanish in a flash. What has true lasting value, is the lives you touch”

Monday, February 21, 2011

Some will like this, some will not

2/21/11 Monday
In the busyness that came with warm weather, I was surprised to see that the last journal entry was a week ago. I’m always surprised at how quickly time passes and what hasn’t gotten done. That’s part of living with short term memory loss, where you think you just did something but it ends up to have been a week ago. So bear with me all you faithful readers, who probably wonder when or if I’ll write again. I thought I did.

Ok, so what’s happened over the last week? I don’t know, don’t have the journal to tell me cause I didn’t keep it up. Actually I can piece much of it together as I remember better these days than I did a year ago.

Here’s the good news. Our friends and those we consider family from First Baptist church in Midland have been following our lives through this blog, and thus were aware of the whole bathroom saga. They got together, took up a collection, and hired someone who knows how to do plumbing and all kinds of other general contractor type work. Wally brought him out last week to get an idea of what we need. He’s aiming to be here this morning and start on the project. So after nearly four months we will have a bathroom, we will be able to take a shower for the first time ever as all we had before was just a tub.

Cherie has gone through a severe depression because of all this, and depression can be debilitating. Just having hope renewed that we will once again have a bathroom and that in that the rest of the house, which is piled up with stuff due to the unfinished construction, can be restored to functionality, has lifted her spirits immensely. I’ve been feeling helpless, unable to wave a wand and make her feel better, so it’s a big relief for me too.

Our church family, at the First Baptist church in Midland, had a fellowship party Friday, a simple get together with food and fun. It was so nice to go there and feel the genuine love of those we had grown close too during the time we worshiped there. Just kind of a big relief, big weight off our shoulders, greatly encouraging moment of time for us. I don’t understand why we can’t seem to find this at other places we go. There is something going on I can’t put my hands on, but it’s palpable and there in other places, something that doesn’t quite agree with the Love of Christ, that Love which is to accept and care for all despite any preconceived notions of what is good and what is not.

In my journey, God has placed me in the path of many spiritual leaders of the church lately. Some of these leaders have traveled the world and some have been sort of founding fathers locally, involved in the beginnings of many churches and ministries in the area. There is a common thread in what I’m hearing from them, and part of that is God’s desire for the church to begin practicing the true love Jesus practiced and taught about.

I’m going to preach a little here. There will be some who will choose to be offended at what I say, but such is the way of things. When presented with truth people will do one of two things, they will either recognize a wrong in their life and repent, thus returning to a right relationship with God, or they will harden their hearts, allow bitterness to pollute their souls, and in doing so fall deeper into error and the self deception that blinds the eyes and leads to death. My hope and prayer is for restoration, for the love of Christ to triumph over all that would fight against it. But I know the reality of the human spirit. No one likes having their faults exposed to the light and often rebel against the truth and attack the presenter of that truth. Such has been the case for all the prophets of old, who many times were tortured and killed for shining the light of truth on the lives of those they preached too.

The thing about truth is that it applies to all. There is no need to aim or point when it’s declared, for the Word of God, the basis of all truth, “ is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart”. (Hebrews 4:12) Many pastors have had members of their flocks come to them expressing the thought that the sermon had been preached directly at them, exposing their faults to everyone. Such is the way of things, and any pastor, who preaches the truth, should understand that they are not going to win the popularity contest. Unfortunately all of us like to be popular, accepted, and looked up to, so the temptation is great to avoid the controversial and only say those things that are easier on the ears. “For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. 4 They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths”. (2 Timothy 4:3)

Most of us look for the easier path and when I’m working on the farm if I find an quicker or less expensive way to do things it is generally a good thing, and perhaps wiser. But when it comes to the ways of God, this doesn’t hold true. "Enter through the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the road is broad that leads to destruction, and there are many who go through it. How narrow is the gate and difficult the road that leads to life, and few find it.” (Mathew 7:13)

Many of the spiritual leaders I’ve met, those who travel throughout the world, reveal that there is a great awakening happening everywhere, except the U.S., England, and European countries that once were the source of Christian outreach to the world. What has happened? Over the centuries the church has evolved and turned into that which doesn’t come close to resembling what was in the beginnings of our faith. Having itching ears, desiring easier paths, and wanting to avoid that which is not comfortable, doctrines and traditions have crept in and become accepted as truth. There are always revivals where these things are fought against and truth is restored, to a point, but inevitably it gets watered down again.

So it is today. We now have what I call “Comfortable Christianity”. Sometimes I label it “Convenient Christianity” in reference to those who wear their “Christian” label when it works out for them. Please understand, I’m not out to make others feel bad or to point fingers from some position of spiritual superiority, but this I know, that wide and easy is the way to destruction and that the way to eternal life is the hard one and there are “Few that find it”. My motivation is love and concern for the well being of all whom I can reach. There is eternal life and eternal destruction waiting us all, choose life and don’t deceive yourself, avoiding a truth you may not want to hear.

The bible scripture I read to Cherie this morning, as we did a quick devotional before she went to work, was in Luke chapter 14, vs 12 "When you give a luncheon or a dinner, do not invite your friends or your brothers or your relatives or rich neighbors, otherwise they may also invite you in return and that will be your repayment. 13 "But when you give a reception, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind, 14 and you will be blessed, since they do not have the means to repay you; for you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous."

These are the words of Jesus, and many times throughout the gospels this same principle is presented. In fact in the next paragraph Jesus describes a man who gave a great feast, inviting many. Those invited had many excuses on why they couldn’t come so the giver of the feast had his servant go out and compel those in the street, be they sick, poor, or lame, to come in and dine.

Jesus purposely spent time with those whom the rest of the world looked down on, and was often chastised by the spiritual leaders for doing so. His response once was "It is not those who are healthy who need a physician, but those who are sick. 13 "But go and learn what this means : 'I DESIRE COMPASSION, AND NOT SACRIFICE,' for I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners." (Mathew 9:12)

The reality today is that many of us are just like the “righteous” people Jesus had to deal with when He walked the earth in those days. We know we are religious and are confident in our religion, but we are not willing to get out of our comfort zone and associate with those who make us uncomfortable. We surround ourselves with those who support us in this, those who tell us what we want to hear, and pat each other on the back for the good we do when we throw a dollar at someone who has less than we do.

It’s easy to love those who love you, but much harder to love the unlovable. But this is what Jesus has called us to do. His words are hard to obey, but He knew this. Just a little farther down in Luke 14, the scripture I’d read to Cherie this morning, Jesus says "Whoever does not carry his own cross and come after Me cannot be My disciple. 28 "For which one of you, when he wants to build a tower, does not first sit down and calculate the cost to see if he has enough to complete it?”

Many of us have heard the light and easy version of Christianity, the simple one where you just believe Jesus died for your sins, say that out loud, and your saved!!! Hallelujah!!! But it’s not that easy, or that simple. I’ve watched many people, over the years, pick out a sentence here and a verse there, out of the bible, in order to make it say what they wanted. And they sit back confident in what they have created saying “It’s what the bible says” when in reality it isn’t.

There are two commandments that Jesus specifically named as what we need to follow. "YOU SHALL LOVE THE LORD YOUR GOD WITH ALL YOUR HEART, AND WITH ALL YOUR SOUL, AND WITH ALL YOUR STRENGTH, AND WITH ALL YOUR MIND ; AND YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF." (Luke 10:27)

The word “Love” in Greek is Agapeo. One of the most pertinent definitions of it is “To choose for the highest good of the other, over what is good for you”. It is a sacrificial love, one which Jesus personified when He died on the cross, died so that we might have life. When we Love God we are to choose what God wants over our own personal desires. When it comes to loving our neighbor as ourselves that means we are to think as much of them as we think of us but beyond that to adopt a servants attitude towards them. This requires humility, a requisite part of our faith. Philippians 2:3 Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves ; 4 do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others. 5 Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, 6 who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, 7 but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men. 8 Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.

You understand, I hope, that pride is the opposite of humility. It is pride that makes one not want to associate with another, pride that allows them to look down on others and hold them in disdain, and pride that separates us from God. “You younger men, likewise, be subject to your elders ; and all of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, for GOD IS OPPOSED TO THE PROUD, BUT GIVES GRACE TO THE HUMBLE.” (1 Peter 5:5) I’ve listened to people of God express their opinions of others, saying things like “They want everyone else to do for them, instead of doing for themselves” and wondered who they were talking about, but mostly wondered about the attitude. I’ve been helpless before, wandering with amnesia and severe brain damage, unable to comprehend the world around me or even complete a task, so I’ve experienced that kind of judgment and disdain, and it hurts. But Jesus helps the helpless and loves those who are less able to fend for themselves, thus setting the example we are to follow.

James 2:1 My brethren, do not hold your faith in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ with an attitude of personal favoritism. 2 For if a man comes into your assembly with a gold ring and dressed in fine clothes, and there also comes in a poor man in dirty clothes, 3 and you pay special attention to the one who is wearing the fine clothes, and say, "You sit here in a good place," and you say to the poor man, "You stand over there, or sit down by my footstool," 4 have you not made distinctions among yourselves, and become judges with evil motives ? 5 Listen, my beloved brethren : did not God choose the poor of this world to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom which He promised to those who love Him? 6 But you have dishonored the poor man. Is it not the rich who oppress you and personally drag you into court ? 7 Do they not blaspheme the fair name by which you have been called ? 8 If, however, you are fulfilling the royal law according to the Scripture, "YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF," you are doing well. 9 But if you show partiality, you are committing sin and are convicted by the law as transgressors.

I’ve been in churches all over this country and seen this in action. Heard of a preacher saying “I’m tired of hearing songs about streets of gold in heaven. I want my gold now”. WOW!!! In the parable Jesus told, one we’ve all heard of about the prodigal son, the son went to his dad and demanded his inheritance in gold NOW. We all know how that worked out. Jesus was clear when He said "Do not worry then, saying, 'What will we eat?' or 'What will we drink?' or 'What will wear for clothing?' 32 "For the Gentiles eagerly seek all these things ; for your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. 33 "But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.” (Mathew 6:31) There is nothing wrong with a pastor wanting their congregation to prosper, but they must be careful not to put the cart before the horse.

If you want to see your church grow, to fill the seats, care for the poor. Read Job 29 to see the perfect description of how we should all be. I feel a need to say something here. Church is not about the pastor, in fact the early church didn’t have a single pastor standing at the pulpit directing the audience. If you read in 1 Corinthians 14 you can get an idea of the order of the service back in those days. Everyone contributed and participated, some teaching, some having words of knowledge, some prophesying, each according to their individual ability and gift, but all very much involved. The Amish today conduct things in a similar fashion. There are shepherds of the flock, elders who have proved themselves to be wise and faithful but everyone has a part to play. The concept of just going to church, singing a few songs, listening to a sermon, and calling it a day, is foreign to the new testament church concept. They met in homes and sometimes synagogues, where they enjoyed meals and each other’s company, sharing with each other their lives and needs, and caring for each other as family.

Today we have those who have been placed on pedestals, whom we have handed the burdens and duties of studying the word and caring for everyone. When Moses led the estimated 2 to 6 million people out of Egypt there was a similar situation. His father in law, Jethro, saw this and wisely set Moses straight. He suggested that Moses should spread this burden out, to appoint those who had proved themselves positions of authority to share the load.

There will always rise up leaders in any group. As a businessman I always looked for them, people who displayed selfless traits, who saw the big picture, who could make decisions based on what’s good for the company, and whom others naturally looked up to. They needed to be guided and watched, some more than others, but when trained up in the way they should go proved to be invaluable assets to the company.

The same is true in churches. However, when it comes to church and the things of God there is an additional element, that is the spiritual. In church, just as in business, there are egos and personalities to deal with, along with pride, ambition, jealousy, and a host of other human traits. Everywhere there are things of God there is the enemy at work, who’s goal is to steal, kill, and destroy. He will tap into and make use of all those human weaknesses, finding any opening he can manipulate to his advantage. This he does well, having thousands of years of experience to draw on and the patience to take a lifetime to destroy someone. It is discord and division that are his favorite tools, pitting one person against another, using gossip and judgmental hearts to create these situations.

These things can only work when the true Love of God is not present, for it is Love that overcomes these things. 1 Corinthians 13:4 Love is patient, love is kind and is not jealous ; love does not brag and is not arrogant, 5 does not act unbecomingly ; it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered, 6 does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth ; 7 bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. 8 Love never fails.

It is in the absence of Love that the devil can rule. Real love, not the outward “We love you” verbal kind that in reality is empty wind. This is what all these spiritual leaders I’ve met brought out, that there is a need for true love to be revived in the church. A sacrificial love that gives of oneself for another, that isn’t selfish or self serving.

The guys are here working on the bathroom. I’m moving a little slow and did something I haven’t done in a while. Was going to cook eggs for breakfast, turned the stove on and forgot, leaving the frying pan on it and melting the plastic spatula. Time to go.

Monday, February 14, 2011

It's a heat wave!!!

This morning's sunrise

2/14/11 Monday
It’s a heat wave!!! With the warm weather we discover the damage sub freezing temperatures have caused. I’ll make a run to the well in a few minutes to check for problems there. It did freeze and there was no apparent damage when I thawed it out but this warm weather may expose what was hidden before. I went to turn on the irrigation to the wind break trees and discovered one of the pipes out there has broken. Must make a run to the store and purchase what I need to make the repair. Hate to make a forty mile run for a twenty cent part so will check the Stanton hardware store first. If I must pay three times the cost it’s still worth not spending the time and gas to drive forty miles for it.

With the warm weather comes the need to prepare for spring planting. Gophers have invaded the rear garden plot, as evidenced by gopher mounds and the trenches our dogs dug in their quest to capture them. Lots of damage done there. I’ll work on getting poison down into their tunnels, but it’s hard to do when the ground hasn’t seen rain for four months. That hampers my ability to probe for their tunnels with the steel rod I use. Just another year in the ever going war against the gophers.

It’s going to be a real tight year when it comes to farming. With the VA seizing all our federal funds, including income tax refunds, the money normally available to buy seed and supplies with is no longer there. We’ve tried to get this remedied but our file has been placed in the VA’s “Pending” rack, and we were told by the Texas VA rep that once there it can remain undealt with for years, lost in space so to speak. And all of this trouble because some bureaucrat didn’t fill out the correct form six years ago.

I’ve made some progress on the bathroom. Got the mirror installed the other day, along with the new light fixture. Had to buy 4 mirrors to get one that wasn’t broken. Actually went through six of them, opening each one at the cash register after taking three home and finding them damaged. Getting the mirror and light up sure helped Cherie brighten up. This whole bathroom fiasco sure caused a lot of heartache and maybe a little depression for her. I’ve been praying for help and help is coming. Got a call from our church family from the Baptist church in Midland. They’ve been keeping up with us through the blog and facebook and decided to pitch in and help. That is what true Christianity is about, when you see someone in need reach out and help.


Carman Kitty has been sick. Don’t know what was wrong and we can’t really afford the vet, still paying for when Midnight was poisoned and died, but Carman seems to be coming out of it. He’s old, about 90 in people years, so we understand that he’s delicate. This cold weather didn’t do him any good either. Cherie has mentally prepared herself for the inevitable result of old age with her companion of 14 or so years, but she doesn’t need that extra stress at this time of turmoil in our lives. Her workplace has gone through lots of changes, with former employees who ended up being persistent liars and backstabbers, and had to be either fired or took other jobs without any notice. I would love to help the company out, having an extensive background in starting up and running companies, in addition to being a paid consultant to help others start and run theirs. Offered my services but the offers were not responded to.

The Kairos prison ministry is preparing for another event in April. We are looking to recruit anyone who would like to become involved so this Saturday we are offering a free lunch for anyone who wishes to come by and check us out. If you would like to see what the Kairos ministry is about, you are welcome to come to the First Baptist of Midland facility in the back of the church this Saturday. Let me go online real quick and check the time. Ok, it starts at 9:00 AM in room 101 on the North end of the building. First Baptist as on the corner of Louisiana and Garfield.

That’s it for now. Plenty to do so enough writing.

Friday, February 11, 2011

While the world crumbles, we party


2/11/11 Friday
It’s going to be a busy day. I first need to return the mirror we bought for the bathroom because, when I took it out of the box, I found it was damaged. At noon I will attend the fellowship meeting at the He Brew coffee house that is across the street from the Midland high school. At 4:30 I plan on meeting Robert in Midland and riding with him to the Lynaugh prison in Fort Stockton. I usually get back from that after midnight. At some point in all this I need to mail a package to the Cubit Foundation, our friends who minister all around the world, including Egypt.

Watching the news is frustrating. What I see is so slanted and so not true. Oh, there’s a little truth in there for such is the nature of deceit, to mix a little truth into the lie in order to make it believable. Any mention of the Muslim Brotherhood is passing and ignores their publicly stated goals and beliefs. As ABC ran a story regarding the state of affairs in that entire region, they showed a map of Israel. On the map ABC had marked Israel in a bright yellow but there was a huge region, around Jerusalem, that was clearly identified as not being Israel. This is the “disputed” territories that Palestinians are laying claim to. The fact is that this area never belonged to the Palestinians, who had, by the way, been kicked out of Jordan half a century ago.

The Muslim Brotherhood announced that one of the first thing they intend to do when they take over Egypt, is to cancel the peace treaty Egypt has with Israel. They said the peace treaty is an offense to all Arabs, all Muslims. So they have publicly stated they intend to take over Egypt, and for that matter their written mandate in the Brotherhood’s founding documents, clearly outlines the goal to restore the Ottoman Caliphate, and from that base take over the world, converting all to Islam. Egypt and Jordan are the two countries on Israel’s border that maintain a level of negotiated peace and both are under siege. Hammas, Hezbollah, Alkaida, and pretty much all Islamic terrorist organizations, are tied to the Muslim Brotherhood, along with a large number of front organizations with benign sounding names that hide their true agenda. Understand that lying in order to achieve your goals is an integral part of the Islamic religion and is clearly outlined in the Quran.

Just as I desire to share the love of Jesus, to lead people to accept the gift of eternal life, they desire to spread their religion. The problem is that these two religions are dramatically different. Islam purports to be the religion of peace but the reality is it is a religion of hate and violence. Jesus said to love and care for your neighbor as yourself, to give and sacrifice for the other. It’s sad that there are so few who wear the Christian name tag actually practice that. Love, forgiveness, mercy, are to be the identifying hallmarks of our faith, and there are many who practice what they profess, but you have to look to find them. The reality of Islam is seen in their countries and mosques, even here in the United States. Women are like cattle, beaten and subjugated, not allowed to be educated, and killed when they don’t comply. Islam hates the Jews, Christians, and even other Muslims who don’t conform to a particular sects belief system.

I was just watching a program that showed the concentration camps in Austria, where millions of Jews were systematically murdered. Islam denies the holocaust ever happened, while at the same time states their desire to repeat it on a much grander scale. This hatred of Jews is an amazing thing. It won’t die or go away and shows up in so many forms, in so many different cultures and ethnic groups, that one must wonder, why? I believe this is a spiritual thing, something bred through demonic activities, and fed by entities that hate all things God, that desire to do nothing but steal, kill, and destroy. What marks this people for hate? As a general rule the Jews are successful people with a high degree of morality. They work hard, they care for others, they are intelligent and have contributed to the world through fantastic science and medical breakthroughs, so what’s the deal? Of all the people in the world, these qualities are the ones I’d seek when looking for friends and people I want on my side. So this hate has no reasonable or fathomable foundation, but it still lives and spreads like a cancer, infecting all who look for someone to blame their problems on.


I watch the news, seeing these things happening and then see how the news focuses on inane things, that which doesn’t matter in the scheme of things. The world is being rapidly infected with many diseases, Islam just being one of them. Nuclear arms are being disseminated to those who have no qualms about using them, communism and greed grow with their ambitions, and that which is good and clean rapidly becomes that which is held in derision and laughed at. Like the bible says “Good will be called evil, and evil good”. So while the world crumbles we are entertained, distracted by our TV’s and all the things that in the end don’t really matter, fed a rosy picture that is not true. We work, we strive to obtain things, to impress others with how successful we are, and we try to have as much fun as we can. All the while the ship is sinking. Get real folks. Whether you like it or not, we will all die, some earlier than others, but it’s appointed for us all to meet God. Then we learn what was important, and what is not. For me, I seek the truth and work to discern what is a lie. What is important isn’t money or popularity, it’s the lives you touch and ultimately that which pleases God, who gives life.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Turn the other cheek? Not there yet

2/10/11 Thursday
Another cold morning, 4 degrees according to the news. We stayed fairly warm, it was 49 degrees in the bedroom when I got up at 4:30. I checked on Buddy outside, and covered him up again. The electric blanket keeps him safe from these extreme temperatures. Then I loaded up the wood stove after stirring the left over hot coals to the surface of the ashes. By the time Cherie got up it was much warmer. Not having any strong winds blowing helped that immensely.

Yesterday I drove to Odessa to attend the prayer luncheon where Mark Case was speaking. His message and view of the future is very much in line with mine. For me it serves as a confirmation, that I am not in error with my vision of what is coming. We look forward to seeing what comes of this relationship with Mark and his ministry. I shared our testimony with a few individuals, and could see the impact of revealing what God has done in our lives.

Rascal is such a big baby. I just let him and Trixie back in so they are both on the bed as I type this. He’s snuggling up next to me and keeps pushing his nose under my arm for pets and attention. Sure makes doing this difficult. But our dogs desire to be loved, and the love the return so avidly, are a refreshment to us. Buddy is even more desirous for love than Rascal and Trixie and stands up on his two feet to get as close as possible as he seeks his pets. There is a pureness in this that lightens my soul. It sure would be nice if people could love as freely and without strings as our pets do.

This pureness is what God desires to see in us. Titus 1:15 says “To the pure, all things are pure. But to those who are corrupted, nothing is pure”. I know of no one who is truly pure, but I know many who have high degrees of pureness and have not been terribly corrupted by this world and the things in it. A child is as close to pure as there is, but all of us become jaded to a point through what we see and experience in the world around us. Pureness, for me, requires cleansing out all the impurities that lie within. A hard and long process. For a smelter, purifying gold or silver requires intense heat to burn out or reveal that which is not a precious metal. Often these impurities lie hidden and undetectable within the metal until this fire exposes it. A thief suspects others of stealing from him, and a liar doesn’t believe what others say. All of us see the world through stained eyes, and thus it distorts our perceptions. When Jesus taught regarding judging He addressed this when He said "Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother's eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, 'Let me take the speck out of your eye,' when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother's eye. (Mathew 7.3)

We all tend to do this and must make concerted efforts to examine how we judge others in the light of the truth, and through the love that Jesus requires of us. A recent event at my wife’s work brings out another aspect of pureness, a not so comfortable part of it. When one has a high level of pureness, and the innocence that goes with it, they often are more trusting and thus surprised and sometimes victimized by those who are corrupted in their thinking. We have seen a lot of this, where those with corrupted minds play on and take advantage of trusting Christians. They are wolves in sheep’s clothing, presenting themselves as great godly people but in reality have poisoned words and cause great disruption. Jesus said that if someone takes your coat, give them your shirt also, and if someone slaps you on the cheek, present the other cheek for them to slap also. To tell the truth, I’m not there yet. I really have a hard time letting anyone take advantage of me. But I understand it’s where I need to be and strive to achieve such a state. Don’t know I’ll ever get there but know it’s a goal to reach for.

Got work to do so it’s time to go.

Wednesday, February 09, 2011

The answer is "Yes and No"


2/8/11 Tuesday
I am always amazed lately, at how quickly time flies by. Tuesday? Already? What happened to Monday? Cold weather just blew in. It will go down to 16 degrees tonight and they are predicting 8 degrees tomorrow night. I’ll have to cut some more wood for tomorrow but we’re good for tonight and most of the day tomorrow. Last entry was Saturday so what has happened since then?

We had a guest speaker at church Sunday. Her name is Alice Patterson. She’s written a book about racism and politics, who’s title I can’t remember now.


2/9/11 Wednesday (47 degrees in the bedroom this morning)
That’s all I got written yesterday. Had to leave for the Midland Ministerial Alliance meeting and never got back to writing in this journal. The Midland Ministerial Alliance is an organization that seeks to bring unity in the Christian community. The members are pastors and those involved in ministry. How did I get involved? I was invited to attend their yearly event at the Baptist camp and there encouraged to get involved. For me, it is exciting to be accepted.

One of the things I brought out of the meeting, actually out of the conversation with the two whom joined with me for prayer and discussion of needs in our lives, was a sense of growing discord and increasing coldness involving compassion for others. This isn’t only seen in churches but also in other areas of life, including the medical profession as indicated by a brother who is involved in senior care. There is a change in our society, but also in the entire world. I believe that this is part of the last days, that seals have been opened releasing spiritual forces to accomplish this.

I sense God’s hand in being directed to the Ministerial Alliance, an evolution in my Christian walk as He leads me on paths long ago fore ordained. Where these paths go I do not know, but understand that the miracle of my life is an ongoing journey. I don’t think I was raised from the dead to sit here on this cold farm and do nothing. There is no question in my mind that the last ten years, since I woke from the coma, have been an orchestrated series of events that clearly show the hand of God on them. The restoration of my mind, marriage, faith, and life are a wonder to me.

Part of what I understand is that in every story of success is hardship. For all the great men and women in the bible there was tremendous tribulation. Our life hasn’t been easy and my journey back to a relationship with God has been rocky to say the least. The biggest problem, and greatest disappointment, has come from others who bear the name “Christian”. One might suspect that because there are consistent issues with my relationship with others in the church, the problems are caused by me. My answer to that is “Yes, and no”.

Part of the equation is one I’ve talked about before, the loss of social skills due to multiple brain injuries. When at the meeting with Mark Case we met a woman who is very active in the Kingdom of God. She surprised me with the statement “I’m good at judging people by their faces”. I regret not checking her on that. It was so wrong, so opposite of scripture, and such a surprise to hear from someone who should be spiritually mature. This judging based on outward appearance is one of the problems I constantly face. A lady at our church told me recently about having developed an opinion of me based on how I always “Sat and stood so prim and proper”. She asked forgiveness for doing this, but it really revealed what has been, and still is, going on in that community. I doubt many even realize just how much in error they are with this, just how opposite of God’s heart and desire doing this is. I’ve broken my back and neck three separate times, along with many other bones. I’m paralyzed on the right side from the brain injury. I’ve had a stroke on top of all that and the parts of my brain that control things like facial expression are damaged as well. I sit and stand “prim and proper” because I must to reduce the pain I live with every day. One of the aspects of traumatic brain injury is often the lack of showing proper emotion to events that happen. There’s a story, to be found on Lash and Associates website, about someone with TBI receiving some bad news and simply saying “OK” and walking out.

My pastor told me that she had been “observing” me ever since we started attending the church, and had developed opinions on who I was based on that. The problem is she has never talked to me, never spent the time to learn my heart. She doesn’t understand that those perceptions, once formed, color everything she sees regarding me. I dearly love her, and desire to help wherever I can, but these judgments in her heart prevent her from trusting me or allowing herself to learn the truth of who I am. I pray every day for her and the church, believing that I am there because that is where God wants me.

I remember being told, by a pastor at the church in Toledo we were “invited” to not attend any more, that he concluded I was “arrogant” based just on how I stood while waiting to go into the service. Again, I stand up straight, and sit that way too, because it hurts less. Now with the brain injury, I sometimes don’t say things in the most socially acceptable way. There’s no sugar coating of thoughts and I often don’t consider or understand the social ramifications of statements. I’m much better now than I was ten years ago, having relearned over the years many basic social skills, but in some ways I am still immature in those areas. I write this with the hope that it will help others understand the issues that come with traumatic brain injuries. Especially for the others, the estimated 1.5 million brain injuries that happen EVERY year. But mostly I hope and pray that those who wear the name “Christian” will learn not to judge based on outward appearance, and will learn to love the way Christ loves us still today.

It is Love, that is too be the hallmark of our faith. It is Love that is to be the means of identifying who are true followers of Christ (and who are not). It is Love that tears down all the works of the enemy. But it seems that love is often the hardest thing to find in a church. Much of this is on the forefront of my mind because I am writing a book on discord, and the proper way to deal with it in the church. I’ll leave you with the hallmark chapter on love, 1 Corinthians 13

1 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. 2 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. 4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. 8 Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. 9 For we know in part and we prophesy in part, 10 but when perfection comes, the imperfect disappears. 11 When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put childish ways behind me. 12 Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known. 13 And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.
Click to enlarge. I carved this shortly after waking from the coma (Shortly being a few months)

Love is a choice, not a feeling or an emotion. Feelings and emotions can lead you astray, and often are tools used by the enemy to deceive and divide. Watch out for pride folks. Spiritual pride is the one hardest to recognize. When you are confident in your ability to discern or your spiritual superiority to another, be careful, for this opens the door for the enemy to lead you astray. Is what you think in your heart that which builds up, or is concerned about what is best for the other? Does it match the guidelines found in the above scripture? These are questions to ask yourself. Be careful what you say about others, God is always listening.

Got to go to Odessa. Bye.

Saturday, February 05, 2011

Godcidences


2/5/11 Saturday
Hallelujah!!! It’s warm. Amazing that we would consider 45 degrees warm but after the below zero wind chills we’ve endured for days this is wonderful. It’s forecast to reach 51 degrees today, a heat wave. I’m sure our electric bill will be high considering we’ve had every space heater in the house running along with the woodstove and fans to circulate that heat to other parts of the house. Despite all that we had a hard time getting the bedroom up to fifty degrees on the worst days.

There is always much going on. I was blessed yesterday when I made it to the weekly prayer and share meeting at the HeBrew coffee house. Almost didn’t make it as I was posting on the blog when I noticed the time. It was a quartet till twelve and the meeting starts at noon so I just said “Got to go”, posted the entry, and jumped in the truck. Getting there I was surprised to see Mark Case was a guest, along with two of our friends who travel the country ministering with their unique memorization of scriptures and reenactments of biblical characters.

It was comforting to hear Mark’s perception of the state of Christianity in the US was very similar to mine. There is so much compromise and tickling of the ear doctrine that I wonder what Jesus would think if He walked into many churches these days. Mark’s website is www.proclaimit.org and well worth a visit. He has ministered throughout the world, helping pastors in such places as Iraq immediately after the “Shock and Awe” campaign. When you deal with pastor’s who’s lives are literally on the line, and whole groups of believers who must meet in secret, you find a purified church that has little compromise in it. There is a purification coming to this country, and it won’t be nice, a fire that will burn out the dross and test the foundations many stand on.

I am convinced that many of the things we have experienced and seen involving churches and people who wear the label of “Christian” haven’t happened by accident. Since I woke up from the coma, after having been raised from the dead, there are no accidents. Lot’s of things haven’t been real fun but certainly have been very revealing. Much of this will be incorporated into the books I’m writing. We’ve seen so much blindness, blatant hypocrisy, and sin represented as good, that it boggles my mind. I was just reading psalms 36 where it says “There is no fear of God before his eyes. 2 For in his own eyes he flatters himself too much to detect or hate his sin. 3 The words of his mouth are wicked and deceitful; he has ceased to be wise and to do good”

This stuck out to me. There are people we know who seem totally unaware of themselves, of the reality of their words and actions in the light of all that God calls holy and good. Proverbs says “There is a way which seem right to a man, but the end of that way is death”. Several times we find the phrase “Everyone did what was right in their own eyes” in the bible. One time was just before the flood of Noah came and destroyed the earth. Another time refers to the last days of man before the return of our Lord, a time I fear is much nearer than most think.

Things are lining up, all this turmoil in the middle east is not an accident.

Cherie and I had communion this morning. Our church doesn’t seem to practice this very much and the one time they did have it the pastor kept saying “This is not a ritual” like an apology and…well it was awkward. So we bought some unleavened bread and grape juice and had the Lord’s supper with just the two of us. We do it because the bible says to, and we did it to remember the death and resurrection of Jesus, and the fact that His death is what brings us forgiveness of sins. Like it says, “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believes on Him shall have eternal life”.

Friday, February 04, 2011

Truth about Egypt

2/4/11 Friday
We got the temperature up to 61 degrees in the bedroom, an all time high for this cold snap. The rest of the house doesn’t fare as well but I did keep the fire roaring in the woodstove to combat the cold. Part of the problem there is the types of wood I have to burn. Burned up all of the Mulberry logs long ago, except some pieces that were too big to fit in the wood stove and lots of small branches. So there was some elm left and elm is a poor wood for burning. Doesn’t burn very hot, leaves lots of ash, and smells bad. I’ve gone through two cords of wood this winter and the elm is left over from last winter’s firewood.

There is so much on my mind, but I can’t share most of it. I see things happening that I am unable to halt and it grieves my heart, for I know the outcome of what I see. We have experienced so much hypocrisy from people who apparently are unaware of how they offend the Lord, willfully blind to themselves. But we find gems in the mud, wonderful people who live what they profess. All of this confirms the truth of the bible as what we see and experience was spelled out pretty clearly thousand’s of years ago. The events in Egypt and around the world with Islam have been accurately foretold, in addition to the corruption in the church, and how the love of many will grow cold in the last days.

Speaking of Egypt, let me share with you what we have heard from our friends who minister there. Ron is currently in Columbia after building an orphanage or church in Ecuador but is in contact with his people in Egypt. These people include some of the highly placed government officials who had been forced to step down as president Mubarak tried to appease the protestors. Naturally much of what we see on the news only dimly resembles the truth, and has been whitewashed to create an impression that supports our president’s position and actions on this. It was interesting yesterday, as I watched ABC news, to see Diane Sawyer say “And what about the mysterious Muslim Brotherhood? What is their influence in the peoples revolution?” at the start of a series of live reports from Egypt. I watched carefully, anxious to hear their spin on it, and not another word was spoken about the Muslim Brotherhood.

This reveals the influence and false perceptions presented by this organization. The Muslim Brotherhood was founded in 1929, shortly after the Turkish Caliphate was dismantled in 1926. It’s stated goal and purpose is to reinstate the Islamic Caliphate, which is basically an alliance of all Islamic nations under the rule and direction of a central authority. It’s goal is then to subdue the world and make all subject to Sharia law. Islam is not just a religion, but a complete political system that requires all to submit, or face death. There is NO tolerance for any other religious beliefs, NO tolerance for anything except complete submission. This religion, and their three holy books, including the Koran, among other things, promotes deceit as a good thing to do in order to further the cause of Islam.

And deceit is something they are good at. They lie to their own people and lie to the rest of the world, portraying themselves as guardians of peace and love, when at the core of their written beliefs is subjugation and death. In the Muslim Brotherhood’s written documents are plans on how to creep in to governments, schools, and even other religious organizations, make friends and to influence them to believe that Islam, and Sharia law, are good and peaceful. History reveals the truth of this matter, and recent history paints a clear picture of what the ultimate goals of this system are and the shows the end result.

Remember way back to the Shah of Iran? How he was deposed and the Ayatollah Khomeini took over? There is a letter the shah had written, I think to his daughter, where he expresses his fears for Iran should the radical Islamists, led by the Muslim Brotherhood who were behind it all with the Ayatollah, take over. His words came exactly true after President Carter turned his back on our ally and betrayed the shah in his ignorance, under the guise of promoting “democracy”. We now see the fruit of that ignorance and are repeating it. Obama is turning his back on our ally, President Mubarak, saying it is to promote democracy and to give “The people of Egypt” their freedom. It’s not the people of Egypt who are protesting, it’s the thousands of young, unemployed, easily manipulated youth who are tools of the Muslim Brotherhood and their influence through the Imam’s at the mosques, along with the internet and mass media.

Look at what has, and is happening in Europe and England, as well as the UN. Most of us are not really aware of what goes on in the rest of the world, or knowledge of these things only coming from what we see on TV. Part of the Islamic strategy to win the world for Allah involves having as many children as possible and thus spreading Islam through population growth. There are now whole areas of France, and for that matter enclaves established throughout the world, including here in the US, where not even law enforcement cannot go. I’m not making this up. Through this growing population comes increased political influence, for politicians, ever hungry for influence and power, sell out to these populations. Now there are Sharia courts in England, France, Sweden, and many other countries, where the existing law of the land has been usurped in order to appease the Islamic demands.

At the core of this is a prevailing evil, a satanic presence. When Mohammed invented the Muslim religion, he chose out of the three hundred sixty or so Babylonian god’s worshipped at Mecca, Allah. Allah was the god of war, the god of lies, the god of the sword, and the god of the moon, which represented death. This is the root of Islam, this is what hides under the guise of being the religion of peace. Muslim’s are bullies, demanding their “freedom”, which means they want to do things their way and not to submit to any other law or system of governing. In France and England they regularly gather and purposely disrupt life, stop traffic by lining the streets and sidewalks to pray, saying it’s their right to practice their religion.

In the UN, the Islamic countries have become powerful, as is expected now that the world depends on their oil. They have pushed for an international law that makes it a crime to discriminate against any religion. This sounds fine on the surface, like it protects all people’s rights to worship however they want, but the reality is very different. Islam doesn’t tolerate ANY religion, except it’s own. Go to any Islamic country and you will find persecution and hate at a level beyond comprehension. They kill, maim, discriminate against, and persecute all who do not conform to their way of thinking. They even kill each other over differences in how they interpret the Quran.

OK, back to what our friends have heard, directly out of Egypt. The Muslim Brotherhood, under it’s many names and guises, is directly responsible for this terrible uprising. Many have barricaded themselves into their homes for fear of the roaming mobs. These mobs are not just randomly attacking and looting, (though in some cases they are, to take advantage of the chaos) but often are directed against those who represent any threat to radical Islam. They have tried, unsuccessfully, to get past the army, that is guarding the garbage cities where an estimated 4 million Muslims, who converted to Christianity, are forced to live. The stated goal of these attackers was to kill all those who abandoned their Muslim faith and became Christian, an offense that requires death under Sharia law. Banks don’t have money and food is running out at the stores.

During all this we are told by our president and other leaders, that we “Support the people” and our government is pressing Mubarak to step down. Oh, this is to allow “democracy” to happen? It is Iran all over again. Our government is disgracing itself, abandoning an ally, turning our back on one of the two Mideast countries we counted as friends. We are allowing our enemy to gain power in yet another country. Jordan is falling too. Iraq and Afghanistan are on the brink, just barely holding on against the radical elements that are actively killing our soldiers every day. Do we have a bunch of blind idiots running our country? Or are there elements crept in with their own agendas? The last two countries, with borders on Israel, are falling. With that comes more pieces in the Caliphate puzzle being put together, with the stated goal of wiping Israel off the map and killing all Jews and Christians.

Please look up Act for America, an organization founded by Bridgette Gabriel that exposes and fights against all these elements in our country. Get on their mailing list and get involved, for this cancer is here in America and growing in the same way it has elsewhere in the world. Even Russia and China are under attack, with terrorist events a regular happening and great discord as Muslims press for more power and influence, all in the name of their “Rights”.

I’ve got to go.

Thursday, February 03, 2011

Drink only milk and you'll stay a baby

2/3/11 Thursday
Another cold day, but thankfully we still have water. We keep the faucets running slowly to help keep the pipes from freezing again but I also double insulated everything at the well. We wear our winter clothes in the house as the space heater and wood stove can’t keep up with this cold. I’m thinking on running an extension cord and placing a second space heater in the bedroom. We need to be real careful about that and avoid fire hazards. We sure look forward to warmer weather. It’s hard to get out from under the warm covers on days like this. Buddy is surviving well outside, staying on his electric blanket. When I got up at three in the morning to put more firewood in the stove I covered him up with the blanket but he was back on top of it this morning. We can see him shivering and so keep covering him up but it’s up to him. At least he stays on the electric blanket.

My thoughts go to things of God a lot these days, worrying about the things I see but seem unable to do anything about. I must leave them in the hands of God and pray for His hand to move in the situations. Watching a teacher on GLC Christian TV talking about false teachers and deceptive spirits that are foretold to come in these last days. She’s making a point about those who strive to be “spiritual” but attach themselves to that which appeals to their desires instead of the Spirit of God. These teachings and spirits seem godly but in reality are not true to what the bible says. Recently I actually heard a teacher suggest, using I think 1 Corinthians 3.1 (Brothers, I could not address you as spiritual but as worldly--mere infants in Christ. 2 I gave you milk, not solid food, for you were not yet ready for it. Indeed, you are still not ready.)
that those she was teaching should stick with milk and not reach for the meat of the word.

I had a hard time not speaking up at this. Why would anyone desire everyone to remain in a childlike state in their Christian walk? Listen to what Paul wrote in Hebrews 5.12 In fact, though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you the elementary truths of God's word all over again. You need milk, not solid food! 13 Anyone who lives on milk, being still an infant, is not acquainted with the teaching about righteousness. 14 But solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil.

I don’t understand this mindset. How opposite of the desire of our God, who wishes for us all to obtain a deeper walk with Him. In fact, if you drink only milk you grow weak and become easy prey to that which will kill you.

The electricity just hiccupped. Sure hope we don’t get a blackout like some other areas have experienced. Time to get going.
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I just plugged in the second space heater. Always wondered how cold it was in the house and guessed it was around 45 degrees. This second space heater has a built in thermometer and is designed to shut itself off when the temperature meets whatever level we set it for. When I got it going I was surprised to discover just how cold it is in our bedroom. 36 degrees, and that’s with the radiator type space heater running at full bore in addition to the wood stove, which is in the back room of the house. I knew it was cold (Obviously could feel it) but didn’t think it was that cold. Poor Cherie has been suffering terribly and there isn’t much I could do about it. This second space heater was set up in the kitchen, where Cherie would use it when she bathed at the kitchen sink. At times like this it’s hard not to be angry about the whole bathroom fiasco. When it had walls we could put the space heater in that smaller room and warm it up nicely.