Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Time flies by

9/28/11 Wednesday
Wow, time flies by so quickly. As is often the case I was unaware of how long it has been since I posted on the blog. Got a comment from the fake Ricardo asking for me to update the blog so he/she could know how we are doing. I deleted it. Really don’t have time for those who are deceptive. Was just reading in Ezra about those who came to the Israelites who were rebuilding the temple saying “Let us help you, for we worship the same God you do”. They were liars and when their help was refused they proceeded to write the king of Babylon and get him to stop the rebuilding efforts. The more things change the more they stay the same.

This is the back of the shirt that was printed up for the Kairos. It is signed front and back by the men from the prison we ministered to.

We have been busy for sure. The Kairos walk for the Smith prison unit was two weeks ago. As always Kairos is a time of powerful moves of the Lord, with many lives touched and miracles happening every day. Last Saturday I went back up there for the follow up day, where we begin to train them on how to support each other in that prison environment, and to integrate them into the existing church at the prison. With that comes revelations of ongoing problems and issues. I had two in my group who expressed their dismay at not being accepted in a prayer group on their cell block. At lunch I sat at a table with another inmate, who has been in prison 21 years. He shared an issue he had regarding someone who went through the Kairos walk but was still actively engaged in homosexual activity. Come to find out it was the same person I had talked with earlier. It’s a sticky situation, where I was being asked for advice from both individuals separately. The answer in both cases is to love and forgive. We can hate the sin, but must love the sinner. In the end we all stand before the living God, who knows all things, even the deepest thoughts of our hearts. It is He who is the judge, not us. And it is God whom we must answer too, not man. In prison there are many uncomfortable situations and seldom easy answers. I can’t talk about lots of it but thought I’d give you just a small glimpse.

What else??? Oh, lots of things so I’ll fill in the best I can. Also teaching a class at the prison on Mondays, called “Quest for authentic manhood” that is biblically based. After the class I stopped at McDonalds for a bite to eat. There was a bible study going on that I was invited to join, so I did. It was interesting to say the least as one of the leaders definitely doesn’t fit into the normal “church” box. In fact several of them had been kicked out of churches and experienced many things in church that our Lord would definitely not approve of. Fact is that lately I have been running into a lot of people who have had problems in and with traditional churches. This type of things seems to be on the rise for sure. There have always been problems in churches. As a pastor friend of mine said “Church is great, except there are people there”.

People are human and thus suffer from the ailments that plague all mankind. Jealousy, envy, lust, ambition, greed, and all the other issues we must overcome, are the common downfalls of our civilization. The thing is though, these are also the same problems Jesus died to set us free from. Jesus’ final prayer, just before He was crucified, is found in John chapter seventeen. In it He said "I do not ask on behalf of these alone, but for those also who believe in Me through their word ; 21 that they may all be one ; even as You, Father, are in Me and I in You, that they also may be in Us, so that the world may believe that You sent Me.”

Our unity is to be the sign, the way, that the world will know that the Father sent Jesus to the world. What a shame it is that so many are so worried about their own personal desires, and are so not worried about what God or the world thinks, that they cause all this discord in the churches. They seem to have no fear of God, to be totally unaware of their selfishness and lack of true faith, and in fact often are proud of and flaunt their “religiosity” and hold high positions in the church. They are so self deceived that they are unaware of the judgment that faces us all and are confident they will be found pleasing to God.

We got this cute letter a few days ago. Someone went through a lot of effort to carefully print, cut, and paste our address on the envelope. When I picked it up I had to wonder what it was. Sure looks like some kind of ransom note or something. Opening it up we find a nasty note about our dogs and a story of the writer running off the road into our stone decorative wall to avoid hitting one of them. We looked, there are no tracks in the soft soil nor any evidence of anyone running off the road or hitting the stone wall. Whoever wrote it knows my name, post office box, and knows we are working to build a farm as revealed in their letter when she said we would lose everything we worked so hard for. A bitter person for sure, another example of that spirit that seems to be so prevalent in this area. And, like so many, a person that hides behind anonymity, a coward that speaks in hiding. It is so sad. We made sure to pray for them too, adding them to our list of people we hold up in prayer.

We bought a pump to boost the water pressure at the house and on the farm. Not sure how well it will work but got a good deal on it. Bought a pressure tank to go with it and I have gone online a few times to study up on this stuff. We will see how it works. I dug up where the pipe comes in from the well that is a half mile away. It is right were an old water well used to be so I took the rusted metal cover off and ran a string with a rock tied on it down the hole. I figured it would be a deep hole so worked to untangle at least a hundred feet of string for this task. It went down six feet and that’s it. This well is forty of fifty years old and had run dry long ago so was closed up. I wonder now about the possibility of clearing the old hole out and perhaps going deeper to find water that’s close to the house.

We sold the big red diesel truck Sunday and the trailer today. Didn’t get as much as I wanted for it but we need the money to get a new pickup that is more reliable. I am thinking of running up to Ohio where we can go to an auction and buy a truck for a decent price. It would be great to visit up there again. Sure want to see the dad of my old friend, Bernie, who died last year. And of course there are others it would be nice to see again. Some of them are friends from a different life, a life I no longer care to live, but friends just the same. I think I am well able to resist the temptations presented there but will be careful just the same.

Watermelons are doing well. Coyotes come in regularly and steal some, dragging them out into the field, where they eat them. Later we will be able to build fences and keep them out but meantime will just have to absorb the loss. With weather getting cooler we have hopes tomatoes will start producing. The Israeli cantaloupes have finally gotten established. I learned that letting weeds grow around them protected them from the rabbits. Why I don’t know but it worked. Noticed some cantaloupe growing in weeds unmolested while cantaloupe I had planted nearby was steadily being eaten so figured I’d give it a try.

So things are moving here at the farm. We look forward to seeing what God has in store for us.

Monday, September 12, 2011

It's gonna be a busy week

There is so much going on I have a hard time keeping up. Today I must submit to a psychological evaluation for the department of rehabilitation. I've done this before. It's a battery of tests that includes and IQ test. Look forward to seeing how much my brain has improved. All of this is to jump through the hoops necessary to get help purchasing the equipment we need for our building performance certification.

First thing on my list this morning is to crawl under the truck and search again for the wiring problem that has caused the rear lights to no longer work. This makes the truck unsafe to drive as there are no brake lights, and undrivable after dark. There are no dash lights now either.

I will be going to a prison for four days starting Thursday, so have much to do before then. Our missionary friend is arriving Wednesday. We will pick him and his wife up at the airport and enjoy a dinner together, but then I must leave. Hate to miss any time I have a chance to spend with this man of God.

Farming is a constant battle with nature. But we have at least won with the watermelons and some cantaloupe. Water pressure continues to be a problem. We have decided to install a booster pump to help that. Sold some of the stock I inherited from my dad to help with that. It would be nice to have more than a dribble coming out of our new shower. Salt and mineral buildup in the pipes and new shower head is an issue. Talked to a farmer with the Kairos prison ministry who told me about putting in elemental filters that should help some. More expense we can't afford but I will see if I can build one myself and just buy the activated charcoal used in bulk to save money.

Here's the bible reading Cherie and I did a few days ago. It is a significant teaching that Jesus made, through His example, and one we all need to contemplate on. This is out of the book of John, thirteenth chapter.

1 It was just before the Passover Feast. Jesus knew that the time had come for him to leave this world and go to the Father. Having loved his own who were in the world, he now showed them the full extent of his love. 2 The evening meal was being served, and the devil had already prompted Judas Iscariot, son of Simon, to betray Jesus. 3 Jesus knew that the Father had put all things under his power, and that he had come from God and was returning to God; 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.

Jesus taught time and again about how we are to not think too much of ourselves, consider us as being too important to bow before anyone. Humility is the principle key to our faith. It is the opposite of pride and pride is the source of all sin, including the reason for Lucifer's downfall. Pride flies into the face of God, before whom we all shall bow. It is because of pride we have resentment, jealousy, anger, or any of the many other problems we all face. There is a quote from president Roosevelt's wife that stuck with me. "No one can offend me without my permission" Hmmm, that says a lot. It is pride that allows offense. "How dare he/she say that. Don't they know who I am?" is a thought process that often goes with being offended.

I knew a pastor once, who would expound from the pulpit on how offended she was when someone, who was sick with a fever, actually asked her to come and wipe her brow with a wet cloth. It bothered her so much that I heard this story several times in church, and each time my heart would break. How she missed the heart of God in this, how blind she was to her own pride. But more important than that was my concern on the effect this "Servant" of the Lord had on those she is a shepherd to, on how she was leading them down a road our Lord does not approve of. We pray for her every day, often several times a day, for the fruit of her ministry has been division and the self exaltation that comes from pride. God sent prophets to her, though some didn't know they were prophets, and all were chased away.

A prophet isn't just someone who foretells the future, a true prophet does much more than that. They lead others away from sin, and often do it by exposing those sins to the light of God's word. This is what Paul said about it in 1 Corinthians 14:24 But if all prophesy, and an unbeliever or an ungifted man enters, he is convicted by all, he is called to account by all ; 25 the secrets of his heart are disclosed ; and so he will fall on his face and worship God, declaring that God is certainly among you.

I was accused (and we know that Satan is the great accuser, and the source of all such things, the putting down of others to build yourself up) of using the Word of God to manipulate others. All I did was quote the scriptures in bible studies to go along with what was being taught, but it seems that those words cut, exposed the hearts of some who heard, and thus they lashed back. But they lashed back in private, behind closed doors, and never to my face, instead talking about me, not to me. I love them, and pray for them, for I fear for them. I know my God, and His heart. Without repentance judgment comes. No, I am not offended. I knew it was happening for all this was revealed to me by my Lord. I am saddened however, and greatly troubled in my spirit that the way of the Lord will be maligned because of those who bear His name.

"Men occasionally stumble over the truth, but most of them pick themselves up and hurry off as if nothing ever happened." -- Sir Winston Churchill

Got work to do. Bye now

Wednesday, September 07, 2011

Slow down, type of seizure

9/7/11 Wednesday
Am in the middle of a major slow down. Haven’t had one like this in a while. Been more slow downs lately. For new readers, these are a form of seizure stemming from the brain injury. Basically my brain slows down. Hard time talking, get lost easy. Even walking gets hard. Hope it doesn’t last long. Rough. Used to happen daily. Not so much lately.

Monday, September 05, 2011

A few hundred years ago...

(I didn't write this but sure agree)

A few hundred years ago, some rather courageous men and women decided that they'd had enough of living under someone else's rule-- that the right of self-determination was stronger than any benefit or protection from living under a corrupt government.

The US Declaration of Independence eloquently posed the colonists' grievances against King George III, including among others, that he had:

"erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harass our people, and eat out their substance;"

"obstructed the Administration of Justice, by refusing his Assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary powers;"

"[deprived] us in many cases, of the benefits of Trial by Jury"

The Constitution was supposed to address all of these grievances as the Founding Fathers sought to create a government where no single branch or office had too much power. Even to this day, US government officials swear an oath to support and defend the Constitution against all enemies-- foreign and domestic.

My guess is that most of them haven't bothered to read it.

Take the Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) under the US Department of Interior, for example. A few months ago, a government agent from FWS showed up to the home of an eleven-year-old girl with a federal summons in one hand and a citation for $535 in another.

The girl's crime? Saving a baby woodpecker from being killed and eaten by the family cat. The bird's mother was nowhere to be seen, so the girl (an aspiring vet) convinced her parents to let her care for it for a few days until the bird was well enough to fly away on its own.

Noble act? Wrong. Federal crime. It turns out that the bird is on the government list of protected species... and according to the government's newspeak, protecting a bird that's on the protected species list is a crime.

It sort of echoes Thomas Jefferson's line about King George having "erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harass our people..." It seems not too much has changed.

What's more, the agent obviously couldn't come alone to confront an 11-year old girl and her mother. No, that wouldn't be threatening enough. That's why FWS requested to be escorted by a Virginia State Police Trooper who "stood on the porch and said nothing."

It's government fear and intimidation tactics at their best... a far cry from supporting and defending the Constitution.

Then there's the case of Gibson Guitar , a legendary American company that manufactures some of the most famous, high quality guitars in the industry. Less than two weeks ago, armed government agents (also from the US Fish and Wildlife Service) raided Gibson Guitar's manufacturing plants and corporate headquarters in Tennessee.

Gibson Guitar's crime? Being in possession of a rare ebony wood imported from India; they use it in their manufacturing.

Here's what's funny: possession of said wood is not illegal in the United States.

Here's what's really funny: Gibson Guitar has clear evidence-- letters from the Indian government-- proving that their possession of the wood is not illegal in India either.

And... here's what's really, really funny: This is the second time in two years that the company has been raided and inventory been seized by federal agents. Gibson's management team is STILL waiting for a court hearing to get their property back from the 2009 seizure.

Again, echoes of Thomas Jefferson: that King George "[deprived] us in many cases, of the benefits of Trial by Jury."

Welcome to the new reality. Executive agencies in the United States have extraordinary unchecked power. They can seize your assets, freeze your bank accounts, intercept your emails, comb through your credit card transactions, and even take away your children... all without so much as a court order or any form of oversight.

We've explored before how you can end up on the wrong side of a government agency, even if you haven't done anything illegal. If you are so much as suspected of wrongdoing, they can come after you... even if you're just in the wrong place at the wrong time, they can come after you.

These are two cases where the government has come after its citizens-- even when they are doing the RIGHT thing.

Think about it: two of the most unlikely people in the country have become enemies of the state: an eleven-year-old girl who wants to save a baby bird, and a manufacturing company that has managed to stay in business (and continue hiring!) in the midst of the worst recession in the nation's history.