Tuesday, February 21, 2012

We are what we pretend to be

2/20/12 Monday
It’s getting busy here now. Start working for a friend building oil field trucks today. That will last 3 months or so. On top of that we have been approved for the new business where we will secure and clean up foreclosed homes in a 5 county area and will start that in earnest soon. Things are still in process for the home energy analysis business in addition to building an RV park. I am wondering if we are biting off more than we can chew with all this. Things struggled along for so long and now it suddenly seems to open up. I’m still working on the model AA Ford truck and there is lots of work to do for the two widows we help. Plus we are in training for two Kairos Prison Ministry events coming up in April. Last, but perhaps most important, is this burden on my heart to start a bible study in Stanton that will reach out to all those who are less accepted in the area.

I reached out to the pastor who seems to think so poorly of me again, sent her an email expressing our love and concern for her and those she leads. Here is her response “Bob I quit reading your messages,a long time ago, because they are all alike. They point judgment at all other people. You are supper spiritual and perfect. So you might not want to waste your time writing. We are not the only ones who have released you to find a place you liked better . Because you complained about all of us all the time. I hope you have found a church that you are not condemning constantly.”

How sad this makes me to read. I’m sad and feel bad for her and the apparent blindness she has to herself. She first says I “Point judgment at ALL other people” and in the next sentence proceeds to judge who I am, calling me “supper spiritual” (I’m sure she meant super, not supper) and “perfect”. The fact is I reached out for over a year just to sit down and talk, which she refused and avoided, so she hasn’t even taken the time to know who I am. But this statement from her reveals the opinion she has developed and confirms the gossip she promotes to justify her actions. Somehow, being spiritual is a bad thing and being perfect is a horrible goal to try for. The poison of jealousy and envy have eaten deep into Jannie’s soul and she continues to harden her heart against doing what Jesus so clearly instructed. Here is the email I sent to her that garnered this response.

Dear Jannie, God continues to place you on my heart and I must obey Him for the scriptures clearly say that if someone knows what is right to do and does not do it, he sins. So I will continue to reach out along with daily praying for you and Hosanna. Hebrews 12:14 says Make every effort to live in peace with all men and to be holy; without holiness no one will see the Lord. 15 See to it that no one misses the grace of God and that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many.

You accused me of using the scriptures to manipulate you and others. I simply try my best to live by what the scriptures say, for to do otherwise makes me a hypocrite. Whatever my motive in quoting the Word of God may be, it doesn't change the truth of His Word. Jesus said to judge by the fruits and the fruit of what happened at Hosanna was division. Jesus prayed for unity before He surrendered to be killed, so that we can be free from sin. It is Love that is the mark of a true Christian and the church. The devil steals, kills, and causes division, Christ brings love and unity.

I saw you at the post office the other day. I waited patiently so that I could say "Hi" and show Christ's love. It was with great sadness I watched you work to avoid any contact and ducked out the front door with your eyes to the ground so as to not even look at me. Do you even understand how this must break Jesus' heart?

Do you not realize why your prayers no longer have the power they once did? God sent me to serve you and to help you see. Pride blinds us all when we allow it to have a place in our life. Jealousy and envy are cancers of the spirit that cause much harm to the body of Christ. Gossip is an evil God hates for He knows how it spreads poison.

Jesus was clear many times when He instructed us to talk to each other, to expose what is done in darkness, to reconcile and forgive, and mostly to Love God and Love our neighbor as ourselves. Are you being honest with yourself in this? Do you really believe that what you did and allowed was pleasing to our Lord? I will continue to reach out to you, to try to restore and bring about that unity and love Christ desires.

The one thing you said, as I was being shuffled out the door of the church, was "What about Linda?". I have wondered about that ever since. Of course I don't read minds and you have failed to talk to me about anything so I am at a loss about this. Linda was a sister in Christ whom Cherie and I both helped many times. She was friendly and fine until the day I had a word from the Lord for her. That word was that Satan was at the door and there was sin that would give him opportunity to come in. I now know this word was true and in fact had already come to pass. Linda's reaction was almost violent and from that time forward she cut off all communication. The only other time we talked was when I asked for her forgiveness. Her reaction to that was equally unpleasant. From that point forward we have not said one word to each other. So, what about Linda?

Jannie, you are the shepherd of God's sheep at Hosanna and thus will be held accountable for what you do and what you lead them to do. I fear for you and wonder if you truly understand that God holds you to a higher standard because of this. You know what is right to do, what God desires. I am always here, ready and hoping for resolution and restoration, for God to be exalted in our hearts as we surrender our will to His. Again my number is XXX-XXX-XXXX and you know my email address.

I went to a funeral this weekend. It was the brother of some old friends, who suddenly turned on us, going from “We love you guys” to “You are not our friends anymore” when we refused to sign over the control of our mineral rights to them. They also wear the big holy Christian label, when it is convenient. I reach out to them too, sending emails on occasion to show Christ’s love despite how they treated us. It is sad to watch such blatant hypocrisy, to see the look on their face as they avoid contact, but I continue to pray for them, to hope for the best. The problem is it is hard to change when you don’t, or won’t, recognize you did anything wrong. There is the pride, the hardened heart, and the stiffened neck, that refuse to bend or acknowledge the truth. These are the things that lead to death. It’s nothing new.

I am acutely aware of my shortcomings and examine myself daily, for I know that I will stand before God, who sees the heart and sees right through the fake front we put up, the show for others. I suspect that in trying to fool others we often deceive ourselves into thinking we are what we pretend to be. God said that what can be shaken will, that all our works will be tried with fire and when that happens only that which is true will survive. I remind myself of that, and I refuse to not be afraid, for the fear of the Lord is what keeps me on the right path. Jannie may have hurled the accusation that I am “Super spiritual and perfect” at me, thinking perhaps this would hurt or revealing her opinion of who I think I am, but I know I am a worm, not worthy of any of the many blessings I have. Jesus told of the rich Pharisee, the religious leader whom everyone looked up to, and the tax collector, who understood who he was. This is found in Luke 18.

To some who were confident of their own righteousness and looked down on everybody else, Jesus told this parable: 10 "Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. 11 The Pharisee stood up and prayed about himself: 'God, I thank you that I am not like other men--robbers, evildoers, adulterers--or even like this tax collector. 12 I fast twice a week and give a tenth of all I get.' 13 "But the tax collector stood at a distance. He would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said, 'God, have mercy on me, a sinner.' 14 "I tell you that this man, rather than the other, went home justified before God. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted."

Here is a core principle of our faith. The last shall be first and the first last. The greatest the least and the least will be lifted up. Jesus, the son of God, washed His disciples feet, saying this is how we should act towards others, as servants. How is it that this integral key to life is so seldom a part of our life? Why do we not hear this message often preached? Because it’s not comfortable and requires sacrifice. Sacrifice is that missing ingredient. We so often are happy to be Christians, as long as it doesn’t cost us or isn’t inconvenient. But Jesus was clear, He said we should count the cost before we even start, He said we need to die in order to live, to surrender it all.

Gotta go to work folks, bye

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