Monday, August 29, 2011

The adventure continues

8/27/11 Saturday, Sunday, and Monday
I got on the tractor early this morning, hurrying to disc up the soil before it dries out. Was surprised yesterday at how fast it was drying. In the morning had planted cantaloupe seed in soil that was plenty wet from the big rain we got the night before. When I went back out after dinner the soil was already bone dry for the top inch, and had hardened into a crust, so I knew that in this 100 plus degree heat it would dry out fast.

I haven’t run the tractor much this year, only once I think. That would be the one other time we had any moisture in the ground in eleven months. Unfortunately the tractor has a leak and most of the hydraulic fluid had disappeared. I discovered this when I went to raise the discs up so I wouldn’t chop up my irrigation tubing. It didn’t raise and I chopped it up. Nuts!!! So I poured what was left from the five gallon bucket of fluid into the tractor and that still didn’t register on the dipstick at all. Oh well, it was at least enough to lift the discs so I got back to discing up the soil.

Then I had another surprise. Running back around to make another pass on one of the pathways we have I was amazed to find a flood of water pouring out of an exposed PVC pipe. The reason I was amazed was this pipe had been installed three years ago. A good friend had rented a trencher and bought the pipe so we could install this vital part of our farm, the plumbing to extend water to most parts of the five acres we have initially used to create this business. The pipe you see was buried almost two feet deep in the ground. What is amazing is this is a clear illustration of just how much soil the wind can erode away over time. Of course we didn’t really notice it, at least not how much it was, because this happened slowly over three years. However I believe most of that was just in the last eleven months of drought. That’s a lot of dirt gone. We have other areas that are now two feet higher than they were and areas like this that are two feet lower. When I can get grass growing it will prevent further erosion, but till then we get this. There is so much we can and plan on doing, but it all takes money and more labor than one person with a bad back can do.

The next picture shows a blessing that came with the storm. All these telephone poles are the ones that the storm snapped in half. I saw the crews working and picking them up yesterday so stopped and asked if I could have them. “Sure, it would save us a trip taking them back to the yard” the foreman said. When they pulled up later to unload I made sure to give the guys some watermelons. There were some melons that the storm was so strong it rolled them down the path quite a ways.

I had wanted more telephone poles anyway so this way I had them delivered. I’ll get the chain saw out and chop off the splintered parts and use the rest as fence posts and liners for garden plots.

Had a good meeting with the elders we visit with on Friday afternoons. It’s sad the HeBrew has closed and looks like I won’t be able to get it opened back up. Was surprised at how unenthusiastic the former manager of the place was regarding my desire to obtain funding and support for it. I guess after 8 years it was wearing on him. I don’t know, but all ministry can be a burden, and we all can become weary.

I was asked about the church that kicked me out. It was hard for me to not express my views on what really happened there, not go into details, for to do that would make me guilty of the same gossip that had been used against us, make me just as big a hypocrite as they are. But it also raised up my responsibility regarding those who performed this deed. My concern isn’t at all about the wrong done to us, about the hurt caused, but it is for their spiritual well being. I have forgiven them from my heart, but fear for them also. What’s done to me is of no consequence, for if I am persecuted for righteousness sake that is a blessing. People can spit in my face, and that just blesses me for so they did with Jesus before me. What I know though, is that they will have to stand before the living God, who will judge us all, so for that I have great concern. Jesus was clear, many times, regarding the consequences of how we treat others. In Mark 9:42 He placed a child on His lap and said “Whoever causes one of these little ones, who believes, to stumble, it would be better for him if, with a heavy millstone hung around his neck, he had been cast into the sea”.

In Mathew 25 Jesus tells succinctly of that final day. He starts out with the sheep being separated from the goats, a telling illustration that speaks of the same thing His parable of the wheat and weeds does, how in the church there will be both good and bad present, those who are true believers and those who just think they are.

Mathew 25:31 "But when the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the angels with Him, then He will sit on His glorious throne. 32 "All the nations will be gathered before Him; and He will separate them from one another, as the shepherd separates the sheep from the goats ; 33 and He will put the sheep on His right, and the goats on the left. 34 "Then the King will say to those on His right, 'Come, you who are blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. 35 'For I was hungry, and you gave Me something to eat ; I was thirsty, and you gave Me something to drink ; I was a stranger, and you invited Me in; 36 naked, and you clothed Me; I was sick, and you visited Me; I was in prison, and you came to Me.' 37 "Then the righteous will answer Him, 'Lord, when did we see You hungry, and feed You, or thirsty, and give You something to drink ? 38 'And when did we see You a stranger, and invite You in, or naked, and clothe You? 39 'When did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?' 40 "The King will answer and say to them, 'Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did it to one of these brothers of Mine, even the least of them, you did it to Me.' 41 "Then He will also say to those on His left, 'Depart from Me, accursed ones, into the eternal fire which has been prepared for the devil and his angels ; 42 for I was hungry, and you gave Me nothing to eat ; I was thirsty, and you gave Me nothing to drink ; 43 I was a stranger, and you did not invite Me in; naked, and you did not clothe Me; sick, and in prison, and you did not visit Me.' 44 "Then they themselves also will answer, 'Lord, when did we see You hungry, or thirsty, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not take care of You?' 45 "Then He will answer them, 'Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to Me.' 46 "These will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life."

At our luncheon meeting I was surprised to find myself teaching these elders of the Christian community in Midland. I had opened my bible and it naturally opened where I had a bookmark. Cecil said “What do you have to share with us today?” so I looked down and saw it was on Isaiah 58, an area I had just been studying. I read a great part of it and it speaks of the same thing I just addressed above, of the religious people who are so far off base. “"Yet they seek Me day by day and delight to know My ways, As a nation that has done righteousness And has not forsaken the ordinance of their God. They ask Me for just decisions, They delight in the nearness of God”. That sounds pretty good doesn’t it? What can be wrong here? How many people we know and have seen who seek God daily, who delight to display their Christianity, who crave and bask in the nearness of God, or at least think they do. There is a self deception that religiosity brings, a dangerous deception that can lead to hell. In it great pride reigns, great self aggrandizement as they strut proudly displaying their faith. But…

But the prophet goes on to reveal God’s view of these people. They complain “'Why have we fasted and You do not see ? Why have we humbled ourselves and You do not notice ?' and God answers "Behold, you fast for contention and strife and to strike with a wicked fist.” I have watched, watched as prayers are not answered but also watched as those who’s prayers aren’t answered pretend they are and call it “Walking in faith”. Claiming the victory when nothing has happened, denying the reality before them. And I have watched their confusion as they try to hide it. It was sad to see, sad to watch the blind leading the blind, knowing they both will fall into a ditch.

They speak of hearing the “Voice of God” but what they hear is their own imagination. For God brings unity, God brings peace, God brings fellowship and compassion. God is Love and love is that which chooses for the good of the other person over what you may desire. It is sacrificing your will to help and build up the other. If the “voice” they are hearing brings division and discord, separation and not unity, if it tears down, not builds up, that voice has it’s roots in the demonic realm. It is the voice of Satan, not the Holy God who so loved the world He gave His only son, who gives life.

Isaiah said “You fast for contention and strive, to strike with a wicked fist” and this is something I have also seen, and experienced. Was talking to a brother recently who told of a church he was asked to leave. In this church there were “Words from the Lord” and prophesies, but these prophesies were told in private to individuals, not publicly to be judged as the scripture instructs. These prophesies caused division and clearly were a tool used by this pastor to achieve her goals. I have talked to others who have also had similar bad experiences in church. Cherie and I experienced this at a huge level during our first marriage, as those who were “Spiritual” had prophesies and words from the Lord that were aimed at tearing our marriage apart. And they did. They were even casting out demons from me by proxy, having others stand in for me as a group surrounded them, all laying hands on the person representing me, and just having a holy good time doing what the bible clearly forbids. Then patting themselves on the back regarding what a great work for the Lord they had done, how they had beat back the forces of Satan with their prayers, when all they had done was the devils work.

There is so much “Counterfeit Christianity” out there, it is often hard to discern the truth from a lie. The sad part is the participants are often totally deceived, thinking they are doing God’s will, when they are far from it.

Life is getting busy as ministry opportunities increase. We have some full schedules ahead with two Kairos events at two prisons coming up, along with other chances to teach in prisons. I’ll go check out a new one today at the Smith prison, called The Quest for Authentic Manhood, and decide if I want to be involved.

Meantime there is always farm work to do. A brother in white just got out of prison after 15 years in and we were surprised and glad to see him at the Stepping Stone halfway house. Had gone there for a recruitment barbecue for Kairos when I heard a voice say “Bob”. Looking around I saw him and ran to give him a hug. It’s scary to be free after 15 years in prison. Everything has changed and is different. Cell phones were not common when he went away so even operating a phone requires education. But he has great support at Stepping Stone and with those of us who knew him in prison. That’s what it’s about, loving and caring for others, showing Jesus in your life and actions. Even saying that brings sadness because of what we experienced in that little church in Stanton. May God have mercy on them.

Got to go. Busy day scheduled.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Storms, rain, blessings, problems, life goes on

8/26/11 Friday
Well, we got rain, and then some. The storm blew in hard with a first wave of sand followed by hard rain. Then a few moments later the second wave blew in. That one had wind much more intense than the winds that came with the first wave, which were pretty hard. I think these are called straight line winds. They ripped the latch off the front door so I had to struggle to hold it closed, putting all my weight into it and still barely able to keep it shut. We ended up wedging all kinds of things, like the dog crate, up against it.

When the storm blew through, only minutes later, I heard Cherie say “Bob, there’s something going on at the corner. Cars are stopping and all bunched together”. Going out to check on this I saw that ten or eleven power poles had snapped off like twigs. We now understood why the power had gone off. Actually it had gone off with the first wave so this was in addition too whatever caused the power to fail.

When it settled down enough to walk outside I took the camera to get some pictures of the damage. All our corn, the last batch that was doing so well, has been laid down by the wind. Oh well, such is life out here, always a fight with nature. But we got rain, a significant amount that will make a difference. How I long for the time we can have a catch basin built to catch these torrential occasions, but for now we are grateful for this rain that will wash the salt out of the soil, salt deposited by our well water.

With that comes work, lots of work. I’ll be able to disc up some soil now but weeds are going to sprout like never before. We were impressed at the response of the electric company. In minutes there were trucks all over the place, soon numbering ten or more, repairing the damage. I walked out and talked to some of the guys, asking if I could have the broken telephone poles. They were busy so I didn’t get a clear answer but there are some left out there this morning so I will fire up the tractor and drag them onto the farm.

It was a rough night. With out power there were no fans running, and with the rain lots of humidity, so it was sweltering to say the least. On top of that was the sounds of trucks and machinery working across the street repairing the power lines. They had the power on by two or so in the morning, an amazing feat. We were woken when fans and lights came on, and grateful.

That’s it for now. I’ll be busy, lots to do, more than usual.

In Prison south of Houston

(I had decided to not advertise the fact that no one was home on the internet so didn't post this earlier)
8/19/11 Friday
We’re in Angleton Texas this morning. Cherie and I are preparing to go into a prison here, where we will help conduct a marriage seminar with inmates, and their wives. The wives will be provided hotel rooms and food for this three day event, and will be allowed to enter the prison, where they can sit with their husbands for this. I was able to observe this program a couple of weeks ago and agreed to accept a paid position with the organization doing it. Cherie will be observing and we look forward to being able to work together, serving the Lord. It’s not a “Christian” program per se, as it is funded through a federal grant, but when all is done we can discuss things of the Lord with them privately on the last day.

Angleton is just a few miles from the Gulf of Mexico, and you can feel the humidity. I mean you can “Feel” it on your skin and as you breath the air. Dramatically different from the West Texas desert we have become used to, but still very familiar to us because Toledo, Ohio, is in what was called “The Great Black Swamp”. It is forecasted to hit 103 degrees today, so that heat with this humidity will be rough. I hope the area in prison we are to conduct this seminar is air conditioned. If not we will be drenched in sweat within seconds.

Amy, if you read this, we will see if we can meet with you on the way back to pick up that air conditioner. I have your phone number somewhere in the emails or messages, but we left our address book home, so send me an email or private message on FB to give me the number. No promises as we are at the mercy of the director, who provided a ride for us. Besides, we are not sure if there is room in his vehicle. There is some room, it depends on how big the air conditioner is.

We had thought this seminar wasn’t till next week and I was out working on the farm when Ron called saying “I’m running a little late”. “Oh? Am I going somewhere?” I responded. Ron said “I hope so” and explained the seminar was this weekend. I immediately dropped what I was doing and ran to the house to let Cherie know, as she was just getting ready to head to the Laundromat. From that moment on it was panic mode. Cherie searched for clean clothes and we rushed to get bags packed, food out for the dogs and cats, and prepare.

This laptop caught another bug. The spyware hasn’t found it, but there is something wrong for sure. It refused to perform the restore function for one thing, and stuff is missing or moved around. I hope I don’t lose another hard drive. Already have to start the book over because all that was lost the last time it crashed, along with forty or fifty bible studies I had done. Can’t wait for that time we can afford to get another laptop, hopefully a Mac as they have less problems with this kind of thing.

This will be a slow day, as we must wait for the wives to arrive and the only thing scheduled is to take them out to dinner this evening. Tomorrow is when the real work begins. Perhaps I’ll get some writing done, or at least some research, today. I went out and prayed as I walked around the parking lot. I’m so used to doing this on the farm, and greatly enjoy that time with the Lord I have as I walk about pulling weeds or checking irrigation. As I wandered in the parking lot of this hotel praying I wondered what someone would think if they saw me apparently talking to myself or muttering. Oh well, there are plenty who think I’m a little crazy as it is anyway.

So that’s it for now.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Examine yourself

8/12/11 Friday
The bible study we started out our day with was finishing up the 2nd book of Corinthians. Cherie and I try to start every day in the word of God and with prayer, though there have been a couple of mornings we got busy quick and that didn’t happen. In 2nd Corinthians we discover the issues Paul had with those who wanted to be seen as somebody in the church. How familiar this all was. We have seen and heard of these kinds of things our whole life, discord, pride, egos, division, and the power of the tongue to corrupt many.

It’s hard to imagine what Paul wrote about. Paul had been the one to first tell of the gift of eternal life Jesus made available through His death in Corinth so had founded the church there. Corinth was a sinful place to be sure, the Greeks had a saying, one of those common things heard in that day where everyone understood what it meant, a word that meant “to act like a Corinthian” that meant the person was fornicating. We know today how hard it is not to be influenced by all around us, but it could well have been much harder in Paul’s day.

Despite, or perhaps because, of the great sin in that city the message of the Love of God resulted in a growing and thriving group of believers. But, predictably, the lifestyles these people were coming out of often infected that group. This Paul addressed in his first letter to the Corinthians with no equivocation about it. By the time the second letter was written another problem rose up, in addition to the constant battle with immorality.

What was this problem? It was those who wanted to be put on pedestals, to be in charge and looked up to, who wanted to control this growing church. How did they go about this? First by tearing down Paul, the spiritual father of that church. In studying Paul’s response to this I have learned many things. His grace and humility are amazing to me as I read him striving to communicate the truth of who he is in Christ and to help them understand the errors they have become a part of. But in this letter are many clues to what was going on. In chapter two he mentions those who “peddle” the word of God. In chapter four those who “Walk in craftiness, adulterating the word of God”. In chapter six Paul says “We wronged no one, we corrupted no one, we took advantage of no one” indicating some of the gossip and accusations being thrown around regarding him. Chapter ten reveals that some were saying Paul was walking “According to the flesh”, accusing him of not being really spiritual. Wow! This is amazing, that such a thing could be spread regarding Paul, who in founding the church did so with many signs and wonders. But this too I was accused of in the church that not so politely escorted me out and said “Don’t come back”.

Chapter ten is where Paul begins to directly address the problems of those who sought to build themselves up by tearing him down. Verse ten of that chapter says “For they say ‘His letters are weighty and strong, but his personal presence is unimpressive and his speech contemptible”. And thus the gossip goes, that tool the devil most effectively uses to tear down and not build up.

All of this put Paul into a most awkward position, especially for a man who possessed true humility. Now he has to talk about himself, to counteract the gossip designed to make everyone think less of him, to show who he truly is with the Lord, that he indeed is an apostle chosen by God. How we can see Paul wrestle with this in his letter, and in his honesty. In it we hear of those who purport to be “Super Apostles”, evidently big on blowing their own horn.

I had started writing this Friday. Now it is Sunday morning and I am just getting back to it. Saturday I spent in Lamesa training for the Kairos prison ministry at the Smith prison unit. Friday afternoon we went to the HeBrew ministry, to say goodbye to the volunteers who have worked there for something like 7 years. It was a shock to hear they were closing it down. I am working to drum up support and keep the ministry alive. Have several pastors that have expressed interest but also seem to be running into some brick walls. I know the devil definitely wants that ministry to die, as it is a light shining in the darkness and is a powerful voice for the Lord to the high school students across the street.

So back to the short bible study. Paul now goes into detail to remind the Corinthians of who he is. He tells of the hardships he endured to tell of the Love of Christ, and then reveals how he was taken into heaven. What a glimpse into his life this gives us. It is no accident that Paul wrote a large portion of our new testament. He was truly a prophet, as were John and many others, though many don’t view him that way. But here we find Paul having to counteract the poison of the lips that had spread and infected many. In chapter 12 verse 11 he says “I have become foolish; you yourselves compelled me. Actually I should have been commended by you, for in no respect was I inferior to the “super apostles” even though I am nobody. The signs of a true apostle were performed among you with all perseverance, by signs and wonders and miracles.

What an amazing thing, that Paul would even have to remind them of these things. Evidently the poison of words had created great doubt and controversy in that church, so much that even the signs, wonders, and miracles the Lord performed through him were discounted. In verse 16 we read what appears to be tinged with some sarcasm where he says “I did not burden you myself; nevertheless, crafty fellow that I am, I took you in by deceit.” And spoke of Titus and the other brother he had sent to the Corinthians saying “He did not take advantage of you, did he?” so that leads me to believe these gossipers were anxious to tear down anyone related to Paul as well.

Now we come to the concluding remarks, and in it we see Paul’s heart. Verse 19 “Have you been thinking all along that we have been defending ourselves to you? We have been speaking in the sight of God as those in Christ; and everything we do, dear friends, is for your strengthening.” Those that work against the things of God tear down, not build up. They create division instead of unity. They are the ones who refuse to talk with another, preferring instead to deign themselves as better than the others and thus separate from them. And they do it in the name of the Lord, purporting to be wise they become fools,(Romans 1:22) false shepherds leading many astray.(Isaiah 9:16)

For I am afraid that when I come I may not find you as I want you to be, and you may not find me as you want me to be. I fear that there may be quarreling, jealousy, outbursts of anger, factions, slander, gossip, arrogance and disorder. 21 I am afraid that when I come again my God will humble me before you, and I will be grieved over many who have sinned earlier and have not repented of the impurity, sexual sin and debauchery in which they have indulged”.

Hear Paul again expresses his concern, concern that exists because of his great love for these people. He expresses his fear that some will not repent and explains how that will break his heart, that he will mourn for them if they have not. But then he also warns them of his authority in Christ. There is great grace in the things of the Lord, but great severity also.

On my return I will not spare those who sinned earlier or any of the others, 3 since you are demanding proof that Christ is speaking through me. He is not weak in dealing with you, but is powerful among you. 4 For to be sure, he was crucified in weakness, yet he lives by God's power. Likewise, we are weak in him, yet by God's power we will live with him to serve you. 5 Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith; test yourselves. Do you not realize that Christ Jesus is in you--unless, of course, you fail the test?

I must end this as we are heading out to church. “Examine yourself” it says, “Whether you are in the faith”. What a good instruction this is for us today. We should all examine ourselves and see if there is any unclean or improper way in us, so that we can bring them to the Lord and be cleansed of it. This I do daily, as my desire is to be found pleasing to the Lord in all my ways and thoughts.

Be blessed.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

The more things change the more they stay the same

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Got to go, bye now.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

a controlled burn

The readership of this blog has risen dramatically during the last two weeks. There is a reason for everything.

8/10/11 Wednesday
There has been lots of change in the last day or two. Change is generally good. Cherie’s job didn’t work out and she made the decision to end it. For one thing, the job was more physically demanding than she expected, and caused her lots of pain. Adding to that was the way the company nickeled and dimed it’s employees, not paying for all the miles driven and demanding they spend lots of personal time creating reports when not on the clock. There were other issues as well but all in all it was a good decision to quit. Cherie said it was like a world of weight being lifted from her shoulders. This frees her up to work with me on the marriage seminars. Could be God putting us together for this ministry. I think so. We will go to Houston together for another marriage seminar as part of the training.

We finally had a chance to do that controlled burn. I thought the pile of wood and brush would burn three of four hours but in thirty minutes it was gone, just a pile of ashes with hot coals that would take a day to burn out. With that went a haven for the rabbits that have caused so much damage. One ran out of the pile as it burned. Despite that rabbits still attacked the cantaloupe, and for the first time ate some of the watermelon vine that they had not touched prior to this. I think the reason they ate the watermelon is that all the cantaloupe has been destroyed, with the exception of the Tuscan variety. That is doing well and we are now harvesting cantaloupe from it. With this drought we have the only green vegetation for miles so I’m sure that, desperate for food, rabbits are traveling to the farm. We’ve seen other signs of the devastation this drought and heat are causing. There was a young dove that showed up where our white dove has been getting fed by us. It was clearly in bad shape and two days later died despite having food and water.

Now that the school has ended, (Though we have yet to take the final exam) we were able to once again visit the widow. When I saw the tomato plants we planted for her I realized just how long we had neglected visiting her. Need to be more diligent about that. I spent a couple of hours pruning and guiding the tomato plants up strings. The are now taller than I am, but had been growing on the ground, having long ago topped the four foot tall tomato cages I had put in. I pruned away about half of each plant so they should be healthier for that and make lots of tomatoes.

The heat was…well, hot. The widow has air conditioning, something we aren’t yet blessed to have, so that helped. I would work out in the heat for a short time and run back in for water and to bask in the cool air. Kind of didn’t want to come home to our hot house after that, but our hot house is home. Several have said they could get us a small window unit but it seems that something gets in the way every time.
Duke is fitting in well. What a beautiful dog he is. Now that he is getting fed and loved there is a noticeable improvement in his coat. He is happier now, more secure, and enjoys running and playing. Just like Buddy, Duke can be in the way as he strives to get pets and hugs from me while I work with the garden. How like our relationship with God this is.

The Ministerial Alliance meeting was yesterday. It is always good to get together with fellow servants of the Lord. Fellowship is such a vital part of our faith that Jesus and the writers of the scriptures, both old and new testaments, all talked about it. When it came time for us to break up into small prayer groups, where we discussed and prayed for each others needs, my only request was for the welfare of the church that had rejected me. This surprised the pastors when they learned of it. I didn’t go into detail, just said there was great need. They complimented me on my concern and lack of bitterness regarding that. “I’m not bitter or angry, just have an immense sadness for I know the Lord’s heart, and He is pained too” I explained.

Another pastor we know commented on the reaction he had received from other churches and ministries regarding the fact that he had gathered all who desired to watch the “Response” prayer event that Governor Perry had initiated in Houston, via live streaming video. He was surprised at the nastiness of the emails other ministers, representatives of Jesus, had sent him. Just set him back. I spoke up and told him “Get used to it. For in these last days there will be great persecution and a lot of it will be coming from those who call themselves Christians”. We just talked to another brother in Christ a couple of days ago who had also been kicked out of a church, and it was an amazingly similar story to mine. Lots of control and self righteousness involved, along with using things like the gift of prophesy to say “Thus says the Lord” when it was just using God to justify and manipulate, in addition to protecting their power and authority in the little kingdom they had built for themselves. My heart breaks when I hear these things, for I know the end of those involved will not be good, unless they repent and submit to God, instead of being masters over their flocks, become servants of all.

We had a controlled burn at the farm, but so many things that happen here are mirrors of what will, and sometimes is, happening in the world. There are no accidents in my life, and sometimes it is a wonder to watch, then understand events. Simple things like a white dove showing up and deciding to take up residence, unafraid of the dogs. The dogs, especially Rascal, spend their days chasing birds. There are barn swallows in the same veranda area the dove stays that Rascal chases and jumps in an attempt to reach, yet for some reason he doesn’t even attempt to get the dove that is sitting calmly five feet away. So we nurture this creature, this anomaly of nature, as it has a damaged foot. Biblically a white dove is a symbol of the Holy Spirit of God. Now God’s Holy Spirit can in no way become damaged in itself, but our relationship with it certainly can. What I see around the nation is a gross misuse and misrepresentation of the Holy Spirit. It has become a tool in the hands of others to not only manipulate others but to manipulate God too. On top of that there are many who flaunt their “gifts” like a badge of authority, and use it to impress others with their “spirituality” and place themselves on pedestals, saying “Look at me. Come to me! I’ve got an in with God you don’t!” And in that they follow the footsteps of Lucifer, the most beautiful of God’s angels, wise and talented, the song leader of heaven, who in his pride corrupted and brought down one third of all the angels in heaven. It is a dangerous thing, to think to highly of yourself, to forget that Jesus, the son of God, bowed down and washed His disciples feet, saying “As I have done so should you do also”. It is the last who will be first in the kingdom of heaven, and the first will be last.

Malachi 3:1 "See, I will send my messenger, who will prepare the way before me. Then suddenly the Lord you are seeking will come to his temple; the messenger of the covenant, whom you desire, will come," says the LORD Almighty. 2 But who can endure the day of his coming? Who can stand when he appears? For he will be like a refiner's fire or a launderer's soap. 3 He will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver;

There is a controlled burn coming, a refining where the evil in our hearts will be made known, for all to see. Some will repent and return to the Lord they first loved, not the one who has taken first place in their hearts. For many that false god they worship, the one who has replaced the true Lord, is themselves. Humility is false, designed to impress others, and the ones they fool are themselves, thinking they are holy when they are not, believing a lie that will kill them, rushing headlong down a path to destruction, singing and happy, confident in their cause, taking many others down that path with them, gaining comfort from the crowd, seeing it as verification their way is truth, when it is a lie. Willfully blind to the truth in front of them, unwilling to listen when they are warned, their pride clouding out all truth. Destroyers of those who do not conform and agree, judges with evil motives, for in your judgment you make others less and place you on top, thinking in your heart “I’m better than they are” when the Lord loves the least the most. The fire is a warning, a torment with the hope of redemption, the Lord’s last call. Please take heed. Please open your eyes and see.

Wow! Where did that come from? You must be the judge of that.

Sunday, August 07, 2011

Drought, physical and spiritual.

The new corn is doing well. I will be planting a new batch soon, the last batch

8/7/11 Sunday
I’m back from the prison now. Always appreciate the opportunities my Lord makes available to me, and have a deeper realization of how much good can come out of the not so good life I lived. There is power in the testimony of God’s hand on our life, of the miracles He has performed in restoring my life, wife, and faith.

What I participated in was a marriage seminar. “A marriage seminar in prison!!!???” I’m sure you might wonder. Absolutely. Fact is that marriages suffer greatly anytime someone is incarcerated, many end before that person is released and something like 80% end in divorce within a year of a persons release. The figures are even worse for female inmates. In all of this there is much pain and heartache, not just for the married couple but the whole family, especially if there are children.

It was a wonderful time, where we were able to bring the wives into the prison unit for this two day seminar. During regular visits there is normally no physical contact allowed but with the seminar they are able to sit next to each other and even hold hands. A normal visit only lasts a predetermined length of time but with the seminar they were able to spend a total of fifteen or so hours together, under supervision of course. I was there as an observer this first time, to see if this is something I would like to become regularly involved with. It is. I look forward to serving in this ministry.

Turned the TV on and went to the Christian station we can usually get. Once again I heard someone selling God. It would be one thing if the 49 dollar teaching DVD presented the truth but this one was far from the truth. I’m seeing more and more false teachings being presented as the truth, and always for money. This is accepted blindly more and more and those who speak the truth are rejected and even attacked. On the TV at the hotel, where I could get stations not available to us on the farm, I saw stories of men who conned millions out of churches that had the least, and other tales of those who use the name of the Lord for their personal gain. There is great deceit and many who, not aware they were deceived, are passing on the false message they so gladly received, confident they are speaking the truth and leading others to righteousness. These messages appeal to the flesh, speak of gaining wealth and spiritual powers, stroking the ego’s and feeding pride.

Opening the local paper I read the column produced by the pastor that led her church to reject me, and was not surprised at what I saw, just saddened. This pastor, who refused for a year to sit down and talk with me, rushes to talk about me. How can she be so blind? How is it she is unable to recognize the wrong in her actions, unable to discern what a great sin she is committing? Is it because of her age? I know she gets lost and confused as she teaches, so perhaps it is that. I don’t know, I pray for her, love her in the Lord, and fear for her because I know God, that His patience only lasts just so long, and then it’s hammer time. But God’s discipline is only to get us to repent, to change the direction we are heading in, too save us in the end.
You see the patch of green on the third hill on the left? when I left all twenty plus hills visible were covered with melon vines like that. More about that a little farther down

What I read in the paper revealed confusion. She talked of those who think they are saved but are not and said they cause destruction everywhere they go. Salvation is a judgment that only God can make, and anyone who dares to stand in that place of judgment, who puts themselves in the position of God, is deceived and deceiving themselves. She talked of those who know the bible, who can quote it, a not so veiled reference to me, something I’ve heard many times while at that church, and intimates that the person “hates” those who know the Lord. Fact, she has never sat down to talk with me. Fact, she made judgments regarding who I am and how I think, calling it discernment, yet never talked with me. Fact, she gossiped and talked about me to others, under the guise of “spiritual” concern. Fact, she never followed the clear instructions from Jesus, Himself, despite the fact I emailed and wrote them with the hope she would do what Jesus said. Instead, in the hardness of her heart, and stubbornness, she said I was using the scripture to manipulate her, stiffening her neck even farther. Is she unaware that God sent me to this church, that I didn’t come because I wanted to? Or is that just an inconvenient possibility. But now she is talking about destruction. Makes me wonder what has happened for I have no idea. However I do know my Lord, the One she denies I know. Here’s the scripture He gave me a few minutes ago.

Isaiah 44:24 "This is what the LORD says-- your Redeemer, who formed you in the womb: I am the LORD, who has made all things, who alone stretched out the heavens, who spread out the earth by myself, 25 who foils the signs of false prophets and makes fools of diviners, who overthrows the learning of the wise and turns it into nonsense, 26 who carries out the words of his servants and fulfills the predictions of his messengers

Time will tell. I love you pastor Jannie, though you refuse to understand that. I still pray for you and the rest, and will continue to do so. Anytime you wish to talk, I’m here. I serve in many places, both far and near, give much of my time helping others and do it to show the Love of Christ because His Love resides in my heart, and I see through the Lord's eyes.
There were seven Israeli cantaloupe on this hill, they covered the whole thing so you could barely see the ground. Multiply that by 40 hills and you've got an idea of the damage

I missed my farm and was anxious to go out and see what happened over those three days I was gone. It wasn’t all good. Seems the rabbits have almost totally wiped out the Israeli cantaloupe. They don’t mess with the water melon for some reason, bypass them to get to the cantaloupe. I have replanted much of it and will replant more tomorrow. Now that I have permission for a controlled burn I can get rid of one of their hiding places, but there are many more. It’s just hard but that’s a part of farming. If I had the money I could put up fences and other devices to keep rabbits away, along with gophers too. All in time, it will happen as God provides.

The other cantaloupe is doing well, at least the Tuscan variety that rabbits never messed with too much. Some of it has become ripe so I ate the first one just before I left for the prison. Ate another when I got home. Some of it split open. I think that is from too much water or something, though I haven’t watered them much lately because I heard that drought makes melons sweeter. Dogs haven’t messed with them much so that is good. There was one that had a bite mark, and was pulled off the vine, but it was never opened, just played with.

If you want to know what the Lord says about drought, read Jeremiah 14, all of it. It also speaks of the false prophets who say “Peace” when there is no peace.

Friday, August 05, 2011

Each day is a gift from God

8/5/11 Friday
Praise the Lord for another day. I understand deeply that every day I live is a gift from God. I also understand that each day contains battles that must be won, tests that strengthen me, and revelations that will enable me to better explain the word of God to those in need of it. And in those tests I find my enemy, the devil, using those whom have given him access through the hardness of their hearts, pride, envy, and other doors opened through not submitting to the Lord. Here is today’s scripture.
Here's a picture of the car I died in on November 11, 2001

Mark 8:31 He then began to teach them that the Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders, chief priests and teachers of the law, and that he must be killed and after three days rise again. 32 He spoke plainly about this, and Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him. 33 But when Jesus turned and looked at his disciples, he rebuked Peter. "Get behind me, Satan!" he said. "You do not have in mind the things of God, but the things of men." 34 Then he called the crowd to him along with his disciples and said: "If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. 35 For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me and for the gospel will save it. 36 What good is it for a man to gain the whole world, yet forfeit his soul? 37 Or what can a man give in exchange for his soul? 38 If anyone is ashamed of me and my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, the Son of Man will be ashamed of him when he comes in his Father's glory with the holy angels."

This was an amazing moment, Peter, the man who would become a rock of the early church, being called “Satan” by Jesus. How can this be? What happened here? It’s pretty simple, in a scary way, for Jesus explained it "You do not have in mind the things of God, but the things of men." So in that moment Peter was allowing the devil to influence him. It seems like such a harsh thing for Jesus to say, like a slap in the face, but remember, Jesus is the son of God and sees things much more clearly than we do so He knew the source of Peter’s not being happy about Jesus foretelling He would be crucified.

I have been guilty of this too, and I suspect we all have our moments when we are more concerned about the things of men than what God desires. It is hard in this fast paced world to not be caught up with the minute by minute decisions and directions we must choose and get our eyes off of Jesus. But we need to stop, take control of a moment, to meditate on what is going on, to pray a bit, and to see with God’s eyes. All of us fall short of the glory of God, but it is His love, grace, and mercy that restores us to where we should be. However, that only can happen when we recognize the wrong direction we have wandered into and turn away from that. The bible says we are to confess our sins one to another, one of the many clear instructions we have to communicate, to talk and be involved with our brothers and sisters in Christ.

Always, with Christ and God, it is about Love. Not cheap talk like “We love you” without any real action to go with it, but the love that requires some personal sacrifice. Otherwise we are just like what Isaiah prophesied, which prophesy Jesus quoted in Mark 7:6 He replied, "Isaiah was right when he prophesied about you hypocrites; as it is written: " 'These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me”. Real love, as described in 1 Corinthians 13, is like this; 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.

Was this what we saw and experienced in the little church in Stanton? It is with great sadness I must say “No” but I continue to pray and hope that they will see and understand that for a moment they were not seeking the things of God, but the things of man. I hope for the best, but fear for them should they continue in the hardness of their heart, for God is just and will discipline His children when they go astray.

It was Peter’s words that sparked Jesus’ response, and in the prophesy of Isaiah we hear 'These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me”. So what comes out of our mouths reveals our heart. It is with the mouth we confess our sins and with our mouth we condemn and judge our brothers and sisters.

"Don't you see that nothing that enters a man from the outside can make him 'unclean'? 19 For it doesn't go into his heart but into his stomach, and then out of his body." (In saying this, Jesus declared all foods "clean.") 20 He went on: "What comes out of a man is what makes him 'unclean.' 21 For from within, out of men's hearts, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, 22 greed, malice, deceit, lewdness, envy, slander, arrogance and folly. 23 All these evils come from inside and make a man 'unclean.' " (Jesus in Mark 7)

I will close with this out of James, 3:2 We all stumble in many ways. If anyone is never at fault in what he says, he is a perfect man, able to keep his whole body in check. 3 When we put bits into the mouths of horses to make them obey us, we can turn the whole animal. 4 Or take ships as an example. Although they are so large and are driven by strong winds, they are steered by a very small rudder wherever the pilot wants to go. 5 Likewise the tongue is a small part of the body, but it makes great boasts. Consider what a great forest is set on fire by a small spark. 6 The tongue also is a fire, a world of evil among the parts of the body. It corrupts the whole person, sets the whole course of his life on fire, and is itself set on fire by hell. 7 All kinds of animals, birds, reptiles and creatures of the sea are being tamed and have been tamed by man, 8 but no man can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison. 9 With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in God's likeness. 10 Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers, this should not be.

I have been accused of using the bible to manipulate people into doing what I want. Strange, at least to me, for I am a preacher of the good news of life in Jesus and the bible is my guide for all things of the Lord. Every preacher that is correctly shepherding the flock, also uses the bible. Is it manipulation, or do they just want to lead people to live in a way that is pleasing to God? All prophets speak to exhort, lift up, guide and lead to righteousness. But those who’s hearts were pricked by the word of God, who were exposed by the light of truth, rebelled against what they knew was right and often persecuted or killed the prophets. The more things change, the more they stay the same.

I have a busy day ahead. Got permission to burn the pile of brush that has become a haven for rabbits and must hurry to do that before the wind picks up. I’m supposed to go to Lamesa and train for a teaching position with People of Principle, but haven’t heard from them yet so am not sure what’s going to happen. Got to go.

Wednesday, August 03, 2011

A little leaven corrupts the whole group

8/3/11 Wednesday
11:20 – It is already hot out there and we haven’t reached noon yet. I’ve been mowing the areas of grass that we managed to grow. On these small areas if grass I keep placing the water hoses that leak despite being turned off, so that none of the water is wasted and it encourages the grass to keep spreading out. Eventually they will spread to the point we actually have a lawn. A little unforeseen issue is that anywhere there is something that catches the blowing sand the sand builds up. I have some areas of grass that are almost 24 inches taller than the surrounding surface now, despite it all originally being the same level. Most of the areas are only 6 to 10 inches higher and close to the house it’s not a noticeable problem as the house disrupts the wind.

All of the grass clippings I am saving. Worked hard to get the mower that has a grass catcher running and after much playing have managed to override the governor that kept the RPM so low it would stall out in anything deep. The grass clippings are full of nitrogen, as in fertilizer, while green, so makes wonderful compost. It doesn’t stay green long in this dry heat so I pile it up in the composting bin where it won’t dry out quick. A lot of it I am placing in the center of the melon hills I worked hard to create. There it will provide some protection from the sun baking all the moisture out of the soil and some of the nitrogen will make it’s way into the soil.

I must replant many of the Israeli cantaloupe as the rabbits have discovered that patch. Went out last night to turn the irrigation on and my flashlight revealed a rabbit busily destroying them. I had thought that rabbits didn’t come out at night, that the best time to catch them was dawn and dusk, so that’s when I went out with the shotgun. Never found them at that hour and guess I know why now. Fact is I don’t know much about rabbits at all, other than they are destructive as all get out and prefer young tender plants over stuff that’s been growing a while.

This mornings bible reading included 2 Corinthians 2:5 through verse 11. I read the scriptures with the things we’ve seen and experienced always in mind and so it was with this one.

6 The punishment inflicted on him by the majority is sufficient for him. 7 Now instead, you ought to forgive and comfort him, so that he will not be overwhelmed by excessive sorrow. 8 I urge you, therefore, to reaffirm your love for him. 9 The reason I wrote you was to see if you would stand the test and be obedient in everything. 10 If you forgive anyone, I also forgive him. And what I have forgiven--if there was anything to forgive--I have forgiven in the sight of Christ for your sake, 11 in order that Satan might not outwit us. For we are not unaware of his schemes.

There is a good chance that the person spoken about here is the one mentioned in 1 Corinthians 5, where a member of the church was sleeping with his fathers wife. In that situation the church evidently weren’t doing anything about it, and in fact Paul indicates that they were both arrogant and boastful. Paul gave clear instructions regarding how to deal with this sin and that included casting the man out of the assembly and advised them not to associate with immoral people. “A little leaven leavens the whole loaf” Paul stated, talking about how one persons corruption spreads to infect all around them.

Then Paul makes a statement that has thrown many into a quandary. He said “I have decided to deliver such a one to Satan for the destruction of his flesh, so that his spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus”. WOW! Do you see though, the final intent of Paul’s heart in this? First his concern is for the whole assembly there, that they not be infected with the sin that so easily creeps into our lives. But finally, that the person referred to be saved in the end, that he make it to heaven and not get condemned to hell.

So here we are a period of time later, and Paul evidently brings this subject up. It appears that the assembly did indeed cast this man out, but now Paul instructs them to forgive this person and “Reaffirm your love for him”. If it’s the same person or not I don’t know, but the principle revealed is one we should give attention to. Jesus said we should “Love your neighbor as yourself” and so it should be with one who had been caught up in sin and ostracized. Our goal, in everything we do, should always be for the betterment of other people, but NEVER for spite, jealousy, or any other personal reason.

Of course I contemplate this in relation to being “Cast out” of the little church in Stanton. What did I do wrong? I really don’t have a clue, because not one person took any time to explain it to me. What I know is what has been said, though no one directly spoke to me. There was all of this round about kind of speaking but no one had the integrity to speak to me. Domingo sat there next to me on that day, as we had class, talking about “Someone” who was in the church trying to change things, but they were doing it “In the flesh” but not “In the Spirit”. I figured he was talking about me so turned and said “Could you say that again” and watched his eyes as he repeated himself, confident that he was speaking the truth and looking directly at me with that righteousness he was given through whomever had filled his heart with such lies.

Paul ended his discourse on this with “I have forgiven in the sight of Christ for your sake, 11 in order that Satan might not outwit us. For we are not unaware of his schemes.” It saddens my heart to know that in this little church Satan has indeed outwitted them, that he was successful in his scheme. My prayer is that they be able to see and understand the great evil they have committed, in the name of the Lord, in the guise of holiness and religion. Still there is no contact and though I reached out to Clarence he has not responded in any way. At the heart of all of this is pride, and there is evidence that the pastor was envious and jealous of the fact that I graduated from bible college and also that I have such a powerful testimony. God, have mercy on them, but bring them around to know the truth that no one else be treated in such a way.

I’ve had my break, drunk more fluids to rehydrate. Now I think I should grab something to eat, then run into town to check mail and deposit a check that came yesterday. The new dog, Duke, is doing well. He’s a beautiful animal. Now we have a white dove and a white dog. It would be real cool if I could get them to pose for a picture together but I know the odds are that will never happen.

Monday, August 01, 2011

May have a new dog

8/1/11 Monday
First day of August. Triple digit heat predicted for the entire week and no chance for rain forecast. We may have acquired a new dog. A FB friend had this white German Shepherd mix dog show up in the alley behind his house and spoke about it on facebook. For some reason it stirred me. After talking with Cherie we agreed to go see this dog and perhaps bring it home to see how it gets along with the others. Buddy is an outside dog, not allowed in the house, so somewhat lonely at night. Besides he us just too friendly to be a guard dog. Runs up to all for pets, hugs, and love, so that doesn’t do much to deter someone. With all these melons turning ripe we want to discourage the theft we experienced before, where someone went through all the cantaloupe at night, cutting and taking them all whether ripe or not.

When we got to Robert’s house they were waiting for us. The dog was skittish but still readily came to me. Seems to prefers males, which indicates he had a male owner before becoming lost or abandoned. So we brought him home and named him “Duke”. First introduction was with Buddy, who wasn’t sure at first, but the acid test was Rascal and Trixie, who were raised here and view this farm as their property and rightfully insist on being dominant over all other canines that show up. (There have been quite a few over the years) I let them out of the house with trepidation, didn’t know if it would be an instant fight or what, but they got along ok. Time will tell more. Duke seems very laid back and not at all aggressive so it looks promising.

This morning we must run to Odessa college early, have to arrive at 8:00, for preparation for the final exam with the House Performance course. We should leave by 7:00 to get there in time. It’s 6:30 and still dark out so I need to go out with the dogs and let them run, along with interact with Duke. Time to go. I have much more to write about but that will have to wait.
As you can see, the dogs are getting along. Too bad people can't show the same acceptance.
Spent the day in Odessa. Longest time we've had in the class ever. Spent classroom time reviewing what we learned and then went to the house we will test at to get familiar with the equipment and make a dry run. It was interesting and a good thing for we learned a lot.

Finally made it home by 5:00. Anxious to see if Duke had stayed around and not wandered off, plus there was the fear that he might wander out onto the highway and get run over. We were grateful to find him and Buddy just fine and happy to greet us. I let Rascal and Trixie out and we all went out to walk the farm. They ran, I walked. Duke wanted to play and enjoyed very much the freedom and room to run. It was good to watch.

There is always much on my mind. When I went to the prison Sunday I discovered that I was scheduled to be there at 2:00 pm, not the 9:00 AM I thought. I had a lot of time to burn and making the hour drive back home, only to come back again, didn't make any sense so I drove around looking for a church. Prayed "God, lead me to where you want me to go" and spied a church with a non denominational name so went in. I was warmly greeted and sat to wait on the service. What proceeded was one of the most unusual church services I have ever seen and I prayed hard to not be judgmental but wondered at what I saw. God speaks to me through the scriptures often and I opened my bible and found "Son of man, look with your eyes and hear with your ears and pay attention to everything I am going to show you, for that is why you have been brought here. Tell the house of Israel everything you see." (Ezekiel 40:4)

We live in a world with great spiritual deception, false teachers and false prophets leading many down an emotional and sensual road where deep biblical teaching is replaced with pump you up pep rallies that have little substance. And in the process these teachers and prophets, who love titles and the acclaim of others, make sure they milk the sheep for all they can, especially in the area of finances. I so don't want to be in their shoes when they stand before the living God.

Mathew 2531 "When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his throne in heavenly glory. 32 All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. 33 He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left. 34 "Then the King will say to those on his right, 'Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. 35 For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 36 I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.' 37 "Then the righteous will answer him, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38 When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39 When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?' 40 "The King will reply, 'I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.' 41 "Then he will say to those on his left, 'Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. 42 For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, 43 I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.' 44 "They also will answer, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?' 45 "He will reply, 'I tell you the truth, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.' 46 "Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life."

Then there is this in Mathew 7:15 "Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves. 16 By their fruit you will recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? 17 Likewise every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. 18 A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit. 19 Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. 20 Thus, by their fruit you will recognize them. 21 "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. 22 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?' 23 Then I will tell them plainly, 'I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!'

The pastor of a church we once attended was adamant in exclaiming "It says these people "SAID" they did these things but they really didn't". No, that's not how it reads, and there are other scriptures that talk about those who show lying signs and wonders in order to deceive many, so these people are praying for the sick and claiming healings, and the devil will make things happen in order to continue the lies, and to help others believe the lies. These are the last days and we will be seeing all kinds of stuff, hard to believe stuff, hard not to believe stuff

Mathew 24:24 For false Christs and false prophets will appear and perform great signs and miracles to deceive even the elect--if that were possible.

What many don't want to understand is that much of this will be going on IN the church. When the scriptures talk about being drug into the synagogues, persecuted, and beaten, understand that the word synagogue was the closest thing the writers of the scriptures had to describe what we call church today. It is the same spirit, the same self righteousness, the same "I'm better than you are" attitude that killed the prophets, and killed Jesus, that is alive today in the church. Talking to a brother today about other churches he had been involved with where egos and pride overcame humility and servant-hood, and in the process the weak, along with the ones who walked with God, were disliked, seen as threats, talked about, and run off.
Mathew 24:9 "Then you will be handed over to be persecuted and put to death, and you will be hated by all nations because of me. 10 At that time many will turn away from the faith and will betray and hate each other, 11 and many false prophets will appear and deceive many people. 12 Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold, 13 but he who stands firm to the end will be saved.