Wednesday, April 25, 2012
Monday, April 23, 2012
Wednesday, April 18, 2012
This is going to be a busy day for sure. Tomorrow I head to Lamesa for 4 days of prison ministry and there is much that needs to be taken care of before I go. So much has been neglected because I have been busy working for a friend. He came to me in February and said “I need some help” so I dropped everything to do so. I didn’t exactly drop everything but it sure slowed things down. I asked for Friday’s off and that gave me three days a week to attend to farm, home, and ministry to others. Ministry to others takes a higher priority in my mind that taking care of my own stuff so much has suffered because of that.
These pictures will show so much that hasn’t been done. Many areas of the farm should have already been cleared and planted but sit with weeds growing. The fact that our tiller seems to have burned a valve and will no longer work puts a big damper on things. Clearing and tilling by hand is hard and slow work that brings with it extremely high pain levels.
We are unsure of what will happen with the RV park. In a conversation with the brother, who said he would help back the project, he said “I’m one hundred percent invested in my other projects” indicating he had no funds to spare. I must email him and get a clarification on that for we have worked hard towards that dream and it would not be good to have the water well drilled only to find we can’t pay the guy.
Just got off the phone with the company that has a pipeline running across our land. Come to find out this pipeline has been in place for 35 years. It’s a crude oil line and he informed me that we can’t build anything within 20 feet of either side of it. He will come out tomorrow and mark the line clearly as well as help me understand the rules and laws concerning this stuff.
So as I write time is burning. There is so much I want to say but each minute on this computer is another minute I am not working on the farm. I hope to be able to mow a widows property today but we will see. I was able to go visit the Stanton jail yesterday and spend some time with the prisoners there. For that I am grateful. Ministering to those guys is another thing I sacrificed to help the friend and that bothers me.
Monday, April 16, 2012
So much on my mind these days, as I watch the world fall apart and the fast progression of insidious schemes designed to overthrow. Meantime I watch the church continue to blind it’s eyes and not speak up as people focus on their personal kingdoms and wealth. This morning’s scripture reading included a statement Jesus made in John 13. A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another
It is this most basic, most central theme of the Christian faith, that is the most lacking in the church. Oh, they will say “We love!” but the reality of their actions reveal the truth. They love when it is convenient, when others are watching, and for a display, but when it comes to making any kind of real sacrifice, when it costs them something, that all seems to disappear. It’s easy to love the lovable but Jesus asks we love those who are not so easy to love. And real love, the kind that chooses for the highest good of the other person over what is good for you, means you give something up. The church that kicked us out talks about love and will tell you to your face that they show love, but not one of them sat down and talked with us. Now the pastor hides her face whenever she sees one of us. Cherie has seen her several times at the post office and she will study carefully the mail she has, keeping her eyes down, or start up and drive quickly away. This hypocrisy breaks our heart for we know the world sees and despises Christianity because of it. Plus we know that we (including me) will all stand before the judgment seat of Christ and have to answer for what we do and don’t do.
I went to Kairos prison ministry training Saturday and one of the men there told me he saw “great sadness” in my eyes. He was perceptive for sure. There is a great sadness in my eyes as they see so much that others seem blind to. There is a new song I heard on the Christian radio that talks of how many in church are busy pointing their fingers and judging others, more worried about looking for faults in others than about those around who have needs, whether spiritual or material. It is the same kind of self-righteous religiosity that motivated the Pharisees and religious leaders to kill Jesus. In fact most of the prophets of old were killed or persecuted, and the same still goes on today. A true prophet presents the standards of God, and in that the sin and error of those around are exposed. With that comes jealousy, envy, and anger. If someone, who claims to be a prophet, (there are a growing number of them these days as it is a popular part of some segments of Christianity) always says what is pleasing to your ear, beware! That is a sure sign of a false prophet. A root of all this is pride and the desire to have others look up and admire you.
I wrote another email to the pastor that kicked me out, always reaching out with the hope that she will repent and thus escape the judgment of God, but I fear she chooses to not recognize or acknowledge any fault in her. Here is a story about a little church I am familiar with. The pastor came to one of its wealthier members and cried “we don’t have enough funds to help those in need, because people aren’t tithing like they should”. It was evident that she was appealing to this man for more money and presenting the “need” to help and minister to others in need. Soon after that we saw this church asphalting their parking lot, a not too cheap project. How clearly this illustrates the error in mind that exists in so many churches. I know of a pastor who told me that if the church parking lot was full of Cadillac’s more people would come. The same mentality exists when you think that a paved parking lot will attract people to church.
Jesus was clear about how to grow a church, reach out to the lost, not the rich per se. Have a true compassion for those in need. To truly love your neighbor as yourself means to look at them and understand that without a saving faith in God they are doomed, and do not have eternal life in heaven to look forward to. And then to act based on that, to reach out to them, make a personal sacrifice of your time and effort, to care enough to do something.
“Do you really believe?” is a question I want to ask so many who wear that Christian label proudly on their chest. “Really?” because I can’t see it in your actions. Read what the early church was like right after Jesus died on the cross. This is found in Acts chapter 4:32 And the congregation of those who believed were of one heart and soul ; and not one of them claimed that anything belonging to him was his own, but all things were common property to them. 33 And with great power the apostles were giving testimony to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and abundant grace was upon them all. 34 For there was not a needy person among them, for all who were owners of land or houses would sell them and bring the proceeds of the sales 35 and lay them at the apostles' feet, and they would be distributed to each as any had need.
You see, when you really believe, and understand that this time on earth is like a job application for eternity in heaven, when you really believe that you WILL stand before the judgment seat and give account for what you did, THEN others needs are more important than your own, THEN doing what is pleasing to God is more important than just taking care of yourself, THEN you understand who you are and learn to be a servant, to humble yourself and work to build up others. Until that happens in your heart all your religion is empty and worthless.
This is a warning to take heed of. Jesus will be the judge on that day. Why? Because He lived here on earth in a human body, because He endured all the temptations we all have, and because He died so that we can have life. Listen carefully to what Jesus, who will be your judge, says. First in Mathew 7:13 - "Enter through the narrow gate ; for the gate is wide and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and there are many who enter through it. 14 "For the gate is small and the way is narrow that leads to life, and there are few who find it.
It’s not easy folks, the easy way is the wrong path. Be careful for there are many who go to church but will not be found acceptable. Just a few paragraphs down Jesus said “Not everyone who says to Me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter. 22 "Many will say to Me on that day, 'Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles ?' 23 "And then I will declare to them, 'I never knew you; DEPART FROM ME, YOU WHO PRACTICE LAWLESSNESS.'
Did you catch that? These are people doing things in the name of Jesus, they are “Good Christians”, at least in their own minds, but are not. Sure they are doing things, good Christian things, but their hearts are poisoned. So many do things to be seen by others, to impress those around with how holy they are, but not because of real compassion and love. It is not what you do that is important, but why you do it.
I will leave you with the words Jesus spoke in Mathew chapter 25 and hope that you will understand and take to heart what He said. "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."
We will all be judged on how we treat those around us. These are the words of Jesus, the son of God, before whom we will all stand and answer. Remember, Jesus said, “To the extent that you did, or did not, do it to one of the LEAST of mine, you did it to me”. In Jesus’s eye, how we treat others is how we treat Him.
I have taken 2 weeks off of work so I can attend two Kairos events in two different prisons. This will cause great hardship financially but working for my friend, who came and said “I need help” has put me almost three months behind on my farm. Weeds are growing wild, drip irrigation is not installed, and crops have not been planted, so I have made a great sacrifice to help a friend and dearly hope to catch up on those three days a week I have available to work on the farm. But I will still spend time to help the widows we have been honored to serve, for this is pleasing to God. Remember me in your prayers as I strive to accomplish so much.
Wednesday, April 04, 2012
As I opened this journal, the last words I wrote stuck out to me “Till it gets too dark to see”. My thoughts are heavy this morning as I watch the gathering gloom in the world around us, and even here locally with many we meet. On the news there is little news, but a presentation of ideas and views that are diametrically opposed to all that we hold dear as servants of God. As the views are espoused there comes with them the concept that if you don’t agree or accept the worlds view, there is something wrong with you. There is the Miss Universe pageant entry who was born a male but had a sex change operation so, after some publicity, the pageant has changed their rules, to “Keep up with modern thinking”.
There is so much I see, for I see with eyes that are different now. When I woke from that coma the whole world was new, as if I was a baby just born into the world. In the eleven years since I woke up much has returned regarding my memory but that fresh outlook still remains. I watch people who have money cling to what they have, guarding it carefully so no one else can get it. Their money has become their God, the idol they worship, but they are blind to that in themselves. There is a self-deception that is common in this, as they surround themselves with others who also diligently guard their riches and each pats the other on the back as they complement themselves for all the great charitable work they do. I have watched as those who have money develop the fear or attitude that everyone who is not as well off as they are after their money. This is often true but not always, but it sets up a defensiveness and distrust in their minds.
Today was a high pain day. Worked for Jim at his milling machine and that is like washing dishes for me. There was little heavy lifting but standing there and having to stoop slightly to observe my work is what hurts the most. Yesterday was similar so by the time I get home I am shuffling along carefully.
Went out to find the string attachment for our weed wacker and couldn’t. Nuts, I know it is somewhere but don’t have a clue where. Of course I can’t remember what I did with it so searched high and low in the garage. No luck but it sure brought out some frustration. My garage is like a picture of my life, full of unfinished projects and things I had planned on doing. Searching through the garage was a reminder of the shortcomings this brain injury has caused.
As I looked I saw this black plastic box and wondered “What is that?”. So I dug it out from under the pile of stuff on top and opened it. “Wow!” I exclaimed as I saw it was a brand new never used electric impact wrench. Here’s the deal, I don’t remember ever buying it, don’t have a clue when I could have, and despite seeing it still can’t remember. It could have been sitting there three or four years. I found a box of tools that was new to me but at least I think I know where it came from, the old red diesel service truck I had. It is a little depressing to be faced with these reminders that I still have the results of that brain injury to overcome.
I’m tired tonight. Usually I get out and work on the farm when I come home from working for Jim but not this time. The pain pills only dampen the pain and being reminded of my disability sure curbed my enthusiasm. So I decided to just crawl in the bed and write this. Having a hard time staying awake so I’ll probably sleep good tonight. That little rant about the darkness I wrote this morning shortly after waking up. Part of that is the fact that I am getting so tired of the hypocrisy I see everywhere. Hope I don’t offend any of you. All I desire is for those who believe in God to get real about it, and understand that we all will answer to God. Nuff said. Good night folks.
Tuesday, April 03, 2012
It’s been a busy month and now we are already into April. I’ve been working for Jim in Odessa for going on 7 weeks now. He came to me and said “I need some help making this truck”. We needed to earn some money and I am always eager to help a brother out so agreed to work for him. “How much do you want me to pay you?” Jim asked. I told him he could pay me whatever he felt was right. I did remind him that it was a 90 mile round trip to his shop and with my diesel truck only getting 14 miles to the gallon it cost me $25 each day I came to work. So I’ve been a welder, machinist, and painter for Jim, enduring great pain but not saying a word about it, other than requesting a lunch break so I can take my pain medication and get a half hour of rest.
Meantime I am way behind on so many other things. I requested Friday’s off so I can keep helping the widows we serve and take care of things on the farm. It turns out that I have not been able to keep up on those things so helping a brother has come with great sacrifice that wasn’t foreseen. As of this moment I have yet to get a single thing planted, with the exception of the strawberry plants we ordered. The nice tiller someone blessed us with is down. I think it burned a valve or something. Not surprising considering how much work it has done since we got it, I think three years ago.
I get out with the sun every morning to work on the farm. Lately my focus has been on getting the drip irrigation installed where we hope to plant melons. I used the old cultivator we picked up from Mary on the area I hope to have corn planted. It was the first time I had ever used one and in the process destroyed some of the drip irrigation lines that were buried there. I need to buy some new blades for it so will pray we find funds to do that. I had wanted the corn to be planted by now. With the tiller out of commission getting areas ready to plant will be harder. We should have tomatoes and peppers in by now but the funds for that haven’t appeared yet. All the money I make working for Jim go to pay bills and necessary items and there is none left over. There are some medical and dental needs we are asking God to help us cover as well.
The RV park project isn’t moving along very well. Part of the problem is my inability to remember and follow through on things. This frustrates me to no end. I suspect that many people think I am lazy or don’t care because I don’t get things done, choosing to not understand the struggles I have with this brain injury. The concept that I must be reminded of things like a little child is hard for many to grasp when they can see that I am fairly intelligent. I did finally get prices on septic systems and what it will take to get electricity run to the area. Finding a good source for Caliche hasn’t been done. My plan is to rent a back hoe to dig the septic system and a trencher for plumbing and underground electricity. I really don’t know if there are any backhoes available for rent.
We spent a great part of the weekend mowing lawns and weeds for the two sweet little old ladies we help, with Cherie visiting with them while I worked. I think the visiting is more appreciated than the work for in this day and age people seem to have little time to spend with others on a personal level. There are some who would suggest I should spend less time helping others out when my farm is being neglected. They don’t understand the priorities I maintain. I serve God by helping others. Jesus said we are to “Love our neighbor as we love ourselves” and true love is the one that comes with some sacrifice. The parable He told of the rich religious leader giving a chunk of money with lots of pomp and public display, versus the widow who only gave pennies, illustrates this well. He didn’t suffer at all from what he gave, didn’t cost him much for it was excess for him, but she gave all she had and it could well have cost her a meal or two. God looks at the degree of sacrifice involved with what we do. We know some who are happy to give their leftovers, what they were going to throw away anyway, and that is not wrong at all. But what does it cost you? There is the truth of the matter.
I have to leave for work soon. When I get home from working for Jim I generally sit down till the pain subsides, eat the dinner my lovely wife prepares, and then go work on the farm till it gets too dark to see.