Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Sold out

3/29/11 Tuesday
It’s a chilly day. The wind’s blowing out of the northeast and when I went out I could feel the mist of moisture that was in it. I prayed for rain despite the fact that no rain was in the forecast because the moisture is there. That moisture sure makes the cold go right to your bones.

I spent a lot of time yesterday repairing and putting in irrigation lines, along with distributing more manure to places it needs to go. Just touched the surface of what I need to do. With this cold I may not work outside this morning and plan on working more on the bathroom. I’m sure that Cherie showed me where she wants things like towel racks placed but I don’t remember so she will have to show me again. Not a big deal as there are shelves to build, tile to lay, and plenty of other things to do. The trim we bought for the window was pre painted but the paint obviously wasn’t high quality as it is peeling off the surface of the wood. I’ll have to scrape it off and paint over it. We bought the pre painted stuff because it was actually cheaper than the trim that was bare wood. Oh well.

Got paid what I consider to be the ultimate compliment yesterday. One of Cherie’s friends told her how blessed she was because I was sold out to God. I have my moments but if that is what people see on the outside of me that is a good thing. It’s a whole lot better than being seen in other lights.

I’m wearing my quilted flannel shirt to stay warm. My phone says it’s 46 degrees out and I don’t think it’s too far from that inside. Maybe I’ll actually fire up the wood stove for some heat. There’s still firewood laying next to it inside. I contemplated taking it back outside yesterday, thinking that we wouldn’t be needing a fire any more this year, but never got around to it. It’s going down to the high thirties tonight so I’ll probably fire it up for then.

Watching a story on the 700 club about a guy who had a motorcycle wreck and sustained a severe head trauma. Just like me he wasn’t expected to live but did. Watching this renews the understanding I have of the miracle my life is. I was declared dead, after no heart beat or anything for an extended period of time, like over a half hour. That in itself, the lack of blood to the brain, normally results in enough damage to permanently injure the brain to the point that there is only a vegetative state left. On top of that was the severe head trauma that destroyed ten percent of the brain, leaving big holes that show up in the MRI’s, and damage throughout the rest of the brain from it being shook violently like a bowl of jello. When I came out of the coma I was expected to be a vegetable, and they searched for a nursing home to put me in, where they figured I would lay bedridden, till I finally died. But God has different plans for me. Am I “sold out” to God? I just understand that my life, every breath I take, is a gift. I have difficulties and live with constant reminders of the consequences of decisions I made, but I am grateful for these reminders.

Here’s a thought on the “Sold out” to God concept. I’m not sure that sold out is the best way to describe where I am. Here’s the reality. I’ll start with the question that will be the title of one of the books I’m writing, “Do you really believe?” Really? A good part of America will say that they believe in God but I have to question that for many. If you really believe that God is God, and that we all will stand before the throne of judgment, why doesn’t your life show it? The reality is that if God is God and that the short time we live on this earth is just a prelude to eternity, then the only thing that matters is what we do that pleases Him. When we die we can take nothing with us, all the things we accumulate will be left behind. Do you really believe that you hold in your hands the gift of eternal life in heaven, that can be given to any who are willing to accept it? Do you believe? Show me by your life for what you do reveals what you truly believe.

Got work to do so bye now.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Test your heart, learn the truth

3/28/11 Monday
I’ll be working on preparing areas for planting. The funds I earned from the woodwork I did for friends will go to purchase plants. Got a bunch of plastic plant buckets from Aldridge nursery. They were old ones they didn’t need any more so I got them for free. Cut the bottoms out of them and set them out. Got 72 in one of the rows where we put up the T posts that will be used for vertical growing. That used up most of them so I’ll go get some more later.

It’s a slow morning. Having a hard time motivating. I suspect this is at least partially due to the pain medications. It’s pretty chilly also this morning and that doesn’t help. Mornings, during the work week when Cherie goes to work, are my time to spend with God. It is now I study the bible, pray, write, and ponder what has gone on.

There is much on my mind. My concern is first the welfare of my wife, what I can do to increase her happiness and security. After that, currently, comes the welfare of our church and pastor. That is a harder one because it’s not as clear regarding how I should proceed, what I can do to help. It seems like there is a stone wall there, a stone wall built with bricks that God is not happy with. How can I turn a stone heart into a heart of flesh. I can’t. Only God can do that and it will only happen when the hardened heart, that is stubbornly set on it’s decided path, humbles itself and submits to the will of God. All I can do is be there, present the truth as best as I am able, when I am allowed too, and wait.

We didn’t go to this church because we wanted to. We were happy where we were before, had friends and acceptance, and are still loved by the family of Christ there. So why did we go to this other church? For two years I would drive past it and every time feel a compelling in my spirit to make contact with it. I resisted that, happy with where we were, but God had plans. Through a series of events it was made clear to me that this is where God wanted us to go. In my prayers I understood there was great need in this church but it wasn’t clear what the need was. It’s clear now.

So here’s a word, for the one who reads to pass along. That which divides is from the devil, that which brings unity and fellowship is from the Holy God. It’s a simple litmus test for the heart. We must always test our hearts, examine our thoughts to see what it is that glorifies God and what does not.

Our enemy is a deceiver, the master of lies who puts on sheep’s clothing and make himself look like an angel, all with the purpose of leading astray and causing discord. He takes any opportunity, any weakness, and subtly moves to exploit it. Could it be a bitterness from times past? Could it be a small dislike for someone you met? Oh yes, and from these roots terrible things grow, like a cancer hidden and unrecognized, until it gets to big to ignore. Then you twist to accept it, deny it’s there, pride unwilling to admit you allowed such a monster to grow in you, and thus you feed pride too, allowing it to grow as well. The religious person then works to make the scripture justify their position, in order to maintain their standing among those around, further hardening their hearts.

2 Peter 3:14 Therefore, beloved, looking forward to these things, be diligent to be found by Him in peace, without spot and blameless; 15 and consider that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation--as also our beloved brother Paul, according to the wisdom given to him, has written to you, 16 as also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things, in which are some things hard to understand, which untaught and unstable people twist to their own destruction, as they do also the rest of the Scriptures. 17 You therefore, beloved, since you know this beforehand, beware lest you also fall from your own steadfastness, being led away with the error of the wicked; 18 but grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To Him be the glory both now and forever. Amen.

That small dislike is the definition of judgment, the kind of judgment that is spoken of in James 2:1 My brethren, do not hold the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory, with partiality. 2 For if there should come into your assembly a man with gold rings, in fine apparel, and there should also come in a poor man in filthy clothes, 3 and you pay attention to the one wearing the fine clothes and say to him, "You sit here in a good place," and say to the poor man, "You stand there," or, "Sit here at my footstool," 4 have you not shown partiality among yourselves, and become judges with evil thoughts? 5 Listen, my beloved brethren: Has God not chosen the poor of this world to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom which He promised to those who love Him?

You see, we all must make judgments in life, we are required to do so. It’s the motive of the heart behind that judgment that makes the difference between good and evil. When you look down on someone because of their position in life, or even the habits they have that keep them down, when you look down on someone period, think you are better than they are, that’s when you sin. I understand deeply that I am no better than anyone else, because I’ve had the privilege of being in the gutter and associating with the worst of the worst. “Privilege?” you say, wondering. Yes, privilege, for this is what Jesus did and I try to follow Him.

Mathew 9:10 Now it happened, as Jesus sat at the table in the house, that behold, many tax collectors and sinners came and sat down with Him and His disciples. 11 And when the Pharisees saw it, they said to His disciples, "Why does your Teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?" 12 When Jesus heard that, He said to them, "Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. 13 But go and learn what this means: 'I desire mercy and not sacrifice.' For I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners, to repentance."
Here's some of the rapidly dwindling horse manure I'm putting in the pots you saw in the earlier photo. Have another bin composting and that's it.

Who was it Jesus, the son of God, spent time with? The ones that everyone else didn’t think much of. If you want to build a church, these are the ones you should be talking to. The idea of building a church by attracting other religious people, luring them away from whatever church they go to, is so wrong, but it seems to be the only way some people know how to do things. Build a church by seeking the lost, reaching out to the rejected of society, by giving life to the dead. Oh, these people come with problems and responsibility, plus many of them don’t have a lot of money. OOOH, Did I say that? We’ve seen churches built based on marketing demographics, where the leadership picked richer parts of town and advertised, just like starting a business. To them it is a business and it is all about the money when all is said and done. Actually, money and prestige. There’s the big “Look what I did” part of the equation, and with it pride, the root of all sin.

On that final day, the day when we all stand in front of God, what’s important? Listen to what Jesus said. Then the King will say to those on His right hand, 'Come, you 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 food; I was thirsty and you gave Me drink; I was a stranger and you took Me in; 36 I was 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, saying, 'Lord, when did we see You hungry and feed You, or thirsty and give You drink? 38 When did we see You a stranger and take You in, or naked and clothe You? 39 Or when did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?' 40 And the King will answer and say to them, 'Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me.' 41 Then He will also say to those on the left hand, 'Depart from Me, you cursed, into the everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels: 42 for I was hungry and you gave Me no food; I was thirsty and you gave Me no drink; 43 I was a stranger and you did not take Me in, naked and you did not clothe Me, sick and in prison and you did not visit Me.' 44 Then they also will answer Him, saying, 'Lord, when did we see You hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not minister to You?' 45 Then He will answer them, saying, 'Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to Me.' 46 And these will go away into everlasting punishment, but the righteous into eternal life." (Mathew 25)

One last thought, a continuation of what I started on earlier. Things normally run in sequences, with one event leading to another. “But each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed. 15 Then, when desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, brings forth death.” (James 1:14) Thus it works with judgment. You meet someone and do what we all do, examine what we see. We don’t have to like what we see, but we need to look through God’s eyes, not our own. We don’t have to be comfortable with them, and sometimes wisdom tells you that you need to keep a distance, but we do have to love them. Love means to choose what is best for that person, to bring the love of Jesus and the gift of eternal life to them.

Suppose we make a judgment about that person. There are religious people who are very attuned to God, who strive to hear from God all the time and listen to what the Spirit says. That’s good but even in that care must be taken. In 1 Corinthians 14 Paul gives clear instructions for the order of things in the church, an order by the way that I’ve seldom seen practiced. In those instructions he says “29 Let two or three prophets speak, and let the others judge.” First we need to understand that a prophet isn’t just someone who predicts the future, they are those who speak the words of God and direct others to lead lives that are pleasing to God. By that definition most preachers could be considered prophets. Anyway, the point I want to make is that anytime someone thinks they hear from God that word is to be judged by those in the church. The reason for this goes back to the fact that the devil is out to deceive and can often fool even someone who has a long established reputation for hearing from God, thus this instruction in the bible to make all things known, bring them out into the light to be judged.

What do we use to judge? The scriptures. If you think God has revealed something to you about another person you must examine that, out in the open and the light of God’s word. So here is the sequence of events, what has happened. A person makes a judgment, feels like it’s justified and Godly, and shares that with another. Once those words have left their mouth they are committed. Now they look with eyes that seek to confirm their initial opinion, to prove they were right. This is the poison of judgment, for once made we filter everything we see through those eyes of judgment, and if you look for wrong you find it. In fact you see it where it doesn’t exist for everything is interpreted from that standpoint. Thus the gossip starts. “Did you see what he did? Did you hear what he said? I told you he was wrong” and in that process the gossiper establishes their “righteousness”, building themselves up while they tear someone else down. From this root only evil grows. Gossip spreads the poison like a cancer and the poor focus of all this doesn’t understand why so many are standoffish, because of course all of this is done in darkness, not out in the open for all to see, and the object of this talk is especially kept in the dark.

The “righteous” then make it a religious thing, pulling out scripture to justify their opinion. I’ve had a pastor one time tell me he was “Shaking the dust off his feet” concerning me, misusing what Jesus told His disciples to excuse his, and those under his leadership, actions and attitudes. Someone accused me of being bitter about this, another judgment. I’m not bitter, but sad and definitely bothered, for this can only cause harm in the body of Christ, and should not be.

I’ve heard Jesus’ words “Don’t cast pearls before swine” used to justify such actions and wonder about someone’s doubts regarding my salvation because of how they interpret a scripture in Hebrews 10:26. In the King James version it reads “ For if we sin wilfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins, 27 But a certain fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation, which shall devour the adversaries.”

I’ve wrestled with this scripture, because I had turned my back on God and returned to the lifestyle I had before I became a Christian, so I studied the scriptures diligently to determine the truth. There was a great fear in me that I was lost, doomed to spend eternity in hell, because of this, but despite that I decided I would serve God anyway, even if there was no hope.

I studied, and I talked to those I knew who understand the word of God, and thus I have a clearer idea about what this says. First of all we need to look at more accurate translations of the original words. In the New International version it says this “If we deliberately keep on sinning after we have received the knowledge of the truth, no sacrifice for sins is left, 27 but only a fearful expectation of judgment and of raging fire that will consume the enemies of God.” And the New American Standard says “Go on sinning willfully” so this speaks of a continuing pattern of activity, with evidently no remorse.

I have great remorse and have repented and turned away from my sins. What I understand is what Jesus told Peter in Mathew 18. Peter asked him, “How many times must I forgive someone who sins against me, up to seven times?” and Jesus replied “Seventy seven times”. Did He mean for us to keep count and call it quits after seventy seven times? No, the point is to always forgive. In Luke 17 Jesus says this “If your brother sins, rebuke him; and if he repents, forgive him. 4 "And if he sins against you seven times a day, and returns to you seven times, saying, 'I repent,' forgive him.

I believe that Jesus only asks His followers to do what He already does, and that Jesus wouldn’t ask anyone to do what He isn’t willing to do, so in that I have hope. There are many other scriptures that speak to God’s forgiveness of sin and also many that speak of His judgment of those who sin, and in this there are dangerous lines I take care not to play with.

What I know is that there is no question that God’s hand is on my life. Who am I? I am the prodigal son, I was raised from the dead, my life has been restored, I was lost yet now I am found, I am a walking living example of the love, mercy, and grace of the living God. If I choose once again to turn my back on God and return to sin, then I can expect a fearful end, but I choose life, not death. Judge me, if you will, but be careful in that, for I am here for a reason, and there are no accidents in my presence on this earth. The enemy knows this and so fights tooth and nail against us.

Return to 1 Corinthians 13, where you started when you first came to the Lord. Remember where you have come from and do not let the enemy have a foothold any longer. The bitterness in your soul will cause sickness. Do not think more highly of yourself than you ought, for in that there is grave danger. Humble yourself before the mighty hand of God and, please, stop hardening your heart, stop resisting what you already know is the truth.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Got a job

3/24/11 Thursday
It’s a little chilly this morning. There is much on my mind and I wrestle with what I can talk about here, and what I should not. What I won’t reveal to you I’ll put in the private journal so there is a record of it. That’s done so back to writing this journal. I’ll be heading out to the woodcarving job I got. Looking forward to it and there’s no doubt that it’s another provision from God. As always just in time and I’m sure it will be just enough. Not sure how long it will take but it’s important to take my time and do a good job.

Elizabeth Taylor died yesterday. It’s all you hear on the news and there are many special programs being produced to honor her. I know she was famous and rich, but I see things differently than most. Someone we know recently had a five year old girl they knew killed in a car accident. Elizabeth lived a long full life and the five year old girl had that future stolen from her, but they are both dead. Death I am familiar with. There’s not many who can say “been there, done that”. I used to wear a t shirt that said “death is certain, life is not” and that was in the day I wasn’t living right. Far from it, I flirted with death back then on a regular basis. When you really understand the uncertainty of life, that we all will stand before the living God and be judged, it should make a difference. All the chasing after wealth and temporary good times, in the end means little.

I’ve had someone “hint” (cause they so far refuse to talk directly with me so prefers to talk about me, while I am there) that I am full of bitterness and unforgiveness. Based on what? A two minute conversation? I may not smile much and am generally a pretty serious person, not taking life lightly, but I’m not full of bitterness. We have experienced much heartache at the hands of those who wear the label of Christian, but I’m not bitter over it. I have an abiding sadness at what I see around me, lots of lost lives heading for bad ends, and great hypocrisy unrecognized by those practicing it. When you see through the eyes of Jesus, the eyes of God, it can be hard.

Jesus spoke clearly when He directed His attention on those who were in positions of leadership, and who, while in that place of responsibility, led others astray. There was no hinting around, it was direct and plain, with no mistaking the meaning of His words. He spoke in parables often, knowing that only certain members of His audience would be able to understand His message.

2 Timothy 4:1 I solemnly charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by His appearing and His kingdom : 2 preach the word ; be ready in season and out of season ; reprove, rebuke, exhort, with great patience and instruction. 3 For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine ; but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires, 4 and will turn away their ears from the truth and will turn aside to myths.

This is a clear instruction. In order to reprove, rebuke, exhort, with great patience and instruction, you must sit down and have a conversation with people. To sit in a room and talk about some unnamed person who doesn’t conform to whatever standard, while that person is sitting there, disgraceful. Jesus is all about the light shining in darkness, clear truth and honesty, nothing hidden or disguised.

I also strive to bring life, and see much joy and happiness, taking pleasure in seeing those who’s decisions are wise and heading in a right direction. I suspect that the prophets of old were seen as bitter people, always pointing out what was wrong. That’s why they weren’t popular and often were killed by the people around them. Leadership in particular didn’t like them. Jesus is a perfect example of this. The ones who hated Him the most, grated hard against Him, and plotted His death, were the religious leaders of the day. In their mind they were somehow justified in their actions.

Time to get my tools out, sharpened, and on the road. Sorry for ending on a less than positive note, but I deal with reality, not the fantasy many strive to believe, and that often isn’t fun.
Working on the counters was harder on me than I thought it would. After two and a half hours my pain level was so high I had to call it quits. There was no lifting heavy weights or anything difficult like that, it was just the way I had to stand and sit. It’s like when I wash dishes. That kills me much more than shoveling a whole load of horse manure into Cherie’s truck and then shoveling it back out, though that hurts too. I’ll go back tomorrow and hope to finish the job.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Like a little child

Here you can see sand that blew in through the door. This is a regular problem.

3/23/11 Wednesday
It’s going to be a beautiful day. No wind in the forecast. That’s good because I’m still getting sand out of every orifice and there’s lots of it around the house that blew in through any crack or crevice it could find. You’d think, after five years, we’d be used to this. We know it’s coming but it will always be a pain. Sand, sand, everywhere sand. In the hair, in the eyes, in my ears, in my teeth, and sometimes in the food. The food we can protect better as everything’s wrapped up and stored in airtight containers, we just have to rinse clean dishes and cups before we use them because even in the cupboards this fine sand dust creeps.

Yesterday ended up being a very interesting day. The widow returned my call, letting me know she was home, so I stopped peeling the filters out of our air unit and headed out there. Had to gather some horse manure first and get the tomato plant we had bought for her because I was going to plant the tomato in the upside down thing she had. Right after I got off the phone with Geneva Cherie called. She had gotten off work a half hour early so when I told her I was going to Geneva’s to plant the tomato she agreed to meet me there.

It is always a blessing to visit with her. The reason I identify her as “The widow” is because it not only helps protect her identity but also for other reasons. I believe my life should be an example, should mirror the principles found in the bible. In our world the elderly are often neglected. We’ve seen many who have been parked in nursing homes and left there, getting only rare visits from family, if they get visits at all. The book of James says “Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.”

Of all the people in the world, God’s heart goes out the most to the ones who have the least. I’ve heard a pastor, from the pulpit, mocking, making fun of, and belittling, those who didn’t conform to whatever standard the pastor had for acceptance. It bothered my heart deeply but made me examine myself, to see if I had any of those judgmental attitudes in me.

In Mathew 18 Jesus spelled it out pretty plainly. 1 At that time the disciples came to Jesus and asked, "Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?" 2 He called a little child and had him stand among them. 3 And he said: "I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. 4 Therefore, whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. 5 "And whoever welcomes a little child like this in my name welcomes me.

One of the things I’ve learned is that in the original Greek Jesus referred to one of the little children he presented as an example as a “Ta” child. The word “Ta” is one used when talking about the children who were less than others, who had been born with some kind of disability like Down’s Syndrome. These children were considered trash in that society and were often used as slaves for the amusement of wealthy Roman’s and others with means. They were demeaned, abused, and often treated worse than dogs.
You can just see Rascal racing along the top of the ridge, with Trixie much closer to me.

But this is who Jesus presented as our example, as what we should strive to be like. It wasn’t just someone’s healthy baby, the kind of child that we all love to love, it was the one that was less than beautiful, that had obvious flaws and problems. I’ve seen children that reminded me of a dog that had been beaten too much, that ducked when you raised your hand and cowered, longing for acceptance and love. It stirred up an anger in me, anger at whatever circumstance created this, but it stirs up my heart and a desire to love, heal, and comfort.

This is God’s love for us all, and especially for those who are looked down on by the ones who think they are so much better than others. Of all the sins, pride is the worst for it is pride that is at the root of all the others. It was pride that caused the fall of Lucifer in the first place and pride he used to tempt Adam and Eve. Pride, once allowed in, grows like a cancer, warping and perverting everything it touches, all the while disguised so as to be hidden and hard to recognize. Pay attention to verse 5 in this next scripture.

1 Peter 5:2 Be shepherds of God's flock that is under your care, serving as overseers--not because you must, but because you are willing, as God wants you to be; not greedy for money, but eager to serve; 3 not lording it over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock. 4 And when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the crown of glory that will never fade away. 5 Young men, in the same way be submissive to those who are older. All of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, because, "God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble." 6 Humble yourselves, therefore, under God's mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time.

I’ve got to go. Lots of work to do but I feel so compelled to speak of these things, to present God and His principles on life. I always must cut these short and always regret doing it. But I am the Lord’s. He raised me from the dead and restored my life for this reason. I suppose I am a shepherd but am not sure where my flock may be. In a way I am a voice crying in the wilderness, speaking the truths I know and have been shown, saying “Make ready the way of the Lord” for I know the last days are here. We’ll end with the rest of what Jesus said in that scripture in Mathew 18 I started out with.

10 "See that you do not look down on one of these little ones. For I tell you that their angels in heaven always see the face of my Father in heaven. 12 "What do you think? If a man owns a hundred sheep, and one of them wanders away, will he not leave the ninety-nine on the hills and go to look for the one that wandered off ? 13 And if he finds it, I tell you the truth, he is happier about that one sheep than about the ninety-nine that did not wander off. 14 In the same way your Father in heaven is not willing that any of these little ones should be lost.

Remember, it doesn’t matter how bad you’ve been, or how far down a wrong road you’ve gone, for God loves you and is always waiting, holding His hand out, ready to forgive the moment you truly repent.

When I went to post this I saw that, after going into an unintended bible lesson, I forgot to write about the rest of the day, what made it so interesting. Cherie and I spent a couple of hours with the widow, hearing about the ED children she cares for with the school system among other things. It breaks our hearts to hear of these children’s lives, of the problems they must overcome and in some cases of the surrounding reasons that cause the problems. We pray for them with her and pray for wisdom in her words, that she speaks what the children need to hear, and perhaps the parents too, though she is not in a position to speak with them. She also works with the court system for supervised visitations of parents and children, another area of deep need. There are generations of children being raised with out God or any other system of morality, and we will be bearing the fruit of that soon enough.

While there I got a phone call from a friend we haven’t seen in a while. He said I’d been on his mind for days, I just kept popping up in his mind. They have an issue with some furniture that had been custom built for them and, knowing I have a background in woodworking and am a wood carver asked if I’d look at it when I was in town next. I explained we were in town now so we decided to stop by on the way home.

Looking at the furniture I made some suggestions on how I could fix it. The idea was better than what they had been thinking so next was “How much do you want to fix it?”. My reply is one that is hard for some to accept, they are not used to it. “Let me do the work and just pay me what you want” was my answer. I’m really not worried about it because I have a deep trust that no matter what, God will take care of us. It made them more comfortable to settle on an hourly rate so we did that, after I explained that I would do it for free if they asked me.

From there we got into some great conversations. We spoke about Islamic threats, bible prophecy, food shortages, and the farm. It was late, for us cause we go to bed early, so we had to resist sitting down and making a night of it. Jay plans on introducing me to some friends, who are influential and successful businessmen, with the hope of finding some work I can do to earn the funds we need for the farm.

I ended the conversation by telling Jay “There are no accidents in my life. God’s hand is on me so everything happens for a reason. You watch and see, it was no accident that I was on your mind so God is putting something together, and it’s more than me fixing your furniture”. So, y’all can watch with me and we can all find out what God does together. I don’t have a clue but know that something is up.

See ya
Here you can see some of the slow accomplishment of my vision. This used to be full of tumbleweeds and other trash. Now, after several tries, there is grass and windbreak trees growing. With care the grass will cover the area and stop the constant erosion. I can picture it in my mind complete, like I picture apple orchards and so much else that is planned.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Who scheduled this wind?

3/22/11 Tuesday
It’s scheduled to be a windy day today. Wish they would schedule some rain but I guess I’ll have to pray that in. Having a hard time getting going this morning. Wonder if it’s from the pain meds I took for the first time yesterday. We will watch how this stuff works carefully. I talked to the new doctor quite a bit. It’s nice to have someone who was born here and can communicate clearly as a doctor. Basically I have to train each new doctor, teach them about brain injury and the issues that come with it, because that isn’t clearly spelled out on the computer the doctors get their information from. I asked her for a pad and pen so I could take notes, explaining that when I left her office much of what she told me would be forgotten.

There’s always a lot to do and that is especially true at this time of the year on a farm. First step is for me to make a list of what needs doing so I can organize a bit. Not sure about this pain med as I am feeling awful sluggish. I don’t like pain but I don’t like being doped up either. Need clarity of mind, which is a rare thing as it is. Took the slow release stuff two hours ago.

Time to go.
There was a plant here yesterday. All gone now.

It’s 10:43. So far I’ve scrubbed out the dogs room with bleach, and while I had everything out, scrubbed the part of the living room floor that Rascal has occasionally used to relieve himself. There was a large dose of bleach in the water I used in order to kill the smells and any germs that might exist. One of the problems with the brain injury is my sense of smell is diminished. Last night, as we were preparing cereal to eat, Cherie said, “Smell this milk and see if it’s any good”. I smelled it, couldn’t detect anything, but knowing my sense of smell issues, handed the jug to Cherie, saying, you’d better check”. She took one whiff and I heard a loud “EEEEWWW”. I’m sure that in the days (Now thankfully past. We are grateful to those who helped) when we didn’t have a bath or even a sink in the bathroom, there were times I was a bit odiferous, but wouldn’t have a clue.

Some critter has already eaten the cilantro we planted, along with one of the two basil plants. The oregano is as of yet untouched. There was a tomato plant in the garage that we had gotten for the widow, to put in one of those upside down planters that are so popular now. I had it up on the work bench but the rats get up there all the time, so I suspect it was rats that ate part of that plant.

The tomatoes. Only two planted so far but we plan on about 30 more

In my studies of farming techniques, I’ve seen row covers that are used to protect plants from critters and birds. There are many versions of these and many sizes. One of these days, when God provides us the ability, we will incorporate these methodologies on this farm. We just barely can afford seed and plants for now and my creed “I do the best I can with what I’ve got” is definitely being practiced.

Haven’t made it out to the three tomato and four jalapeƱo plants I put out yesterday, so don’t know if they survived the night. The tomatoes are all planted in five gallon plastic buckets with the bottoms cut out, so that provides great protection from rabbits, as I doubt they will climb the sides of the buckets. If any of y’all have, or know where you can get, five gallon buckets, like the ones paint and all kinds of stuff come in, let me know. I could use a couple of hundred but will be happy to come by and pick up one while I’m in town anyway. They don’t have to be clean, but provide powerful protection from the wind and the sand it blows, along with critters.
Here's the four jalapeno pepper plants.

Gophers are active now. There’s lots of signs of their digging, with mounds showing up all over the place and our dogs digging trenches trying to get them. I’ve spent some time poking a steel rod into the earth to locate their tunnels, and when I do pouring poison in the holes. It’s hard because of the lack of rain that has made the soil like concrete. I’ll be able to plant potatoes or asparagus in the old bathtub we removed from the house as that will provide protection from the gophers tunneling under to get them. There was evidence of extensive gopher or mouse tunneling in the spice garden. Looks like they might have cleaned out the mint section as nothing is coming up there.

Pray with us for this farm. There is good money to be made, but it requires funds to make it. My vision for the place is clear, I know where to go and how to get there, but the ability is lacking.

11:15 – that’s it for my half hour break. I hear the wind picking up. Took a pain pill, but it doesn’t seem to be doing much. No biggy, I’ll do what I always do, press on as long as I can.

Monday, March 21, 2011

It's important to eat, and hard times are coming

3/21/11 Monday
Monday’s just keep rolling around. It’s already 21 days into March. I’ve got lots of work to do, always. We bought some plants at Alderage greenhouse so I must get them in the ground. Will go through my seeds from last year and see what can still be planted. Got a truck load of horse manure Saturday, unloaded it Sunday, and was sure reminded that I’ve broken my back and neck three times, on top of being out of shape. As always, I will press on. Cherie’s happy to be able to take showers, we’re grateful for the help to make that happen. I’ve got lots of detail work to do in the bathroom, like laying tile and putting up trim and baseboards. Then there are income taxes to do and the business plan needs to not be forgotten again, so busy will be the order of the day for a while. On top of that we have the Kairos prison ministry weekend coming up at the end of April so there’s work to do for that. No time for frivolous stuff so internet will be neglected.

Today I have an appointment with the VA hospital in Big Spring, one I had to press them to get. Seems that they have been losing lots of doctors, I’ve had four that went elsewhere and then there was a waiting list to get one. I’ve been expressing my uncomfortability with the acetaminophen in my pain pills for four years now and the FDA finally issued an alert regarding how it damages the liver. Hopefully this doctor will listen to me. I’m taking a printout regarding the FDA alert with me.

Time to go. Need this farm producing because bad days are heading our way and being able to eat is important.

Just got back from the VA. Got a slow release pain pill and a quick release one for the moments of intense pain that come from when I work to hard. (which seems to be a lot more now that it’s warming up and I need to get the farm going) It would be so cool to be able to work a whole day without having to take a two hour break laying down flat on my back because I hurt so bad. Whether that happens or not we will have to wait and see. The VA appointment took four hours out of my day so there’s catchin up to do. Got tomatoes, peppers, oregano, and cilantro planted. Need to get the irrigation set up for them. Decided to go with an individual drip system on these plants instead of the drip tape, but that means more work.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

We're all dogs to God

3/17/11 Thursday
It’s another day, more stuff to do and more thoughts on my mind. Tried to fix the window on my truck and it’s not fixable so I pulled it up as high as I could and will live with it. It wandered down some when I drove to get the mail so that will be a constant issue. If it slides all the way down then I’ll have to take the door apart again to get it up. It’s always frustrating to have to relearn what I already learned and such it was with the door. I’ve taken that door panel off the truck maybe five different times to repair a variety of issues but couldn’t remember how I did it so had to figure it all out again. Good thing I’m fairly good at figuring things out.

There is so much on my mind these days. I spend hours praying and see so much that bothers me. I suppose it would be bad if I wasn’t bothered by the things I see. God reveals to me many things but I’m at a loss what to do about it. I worry about how to keep my wife happy, there’s lots of pressures, insecurities, and fears in our life right now and I don’t seem to be doing much to help that. Praying doesn’t solve all the problems, we are required to do things, not just sit there thinking prayer is like a magic wand that fixes everything without us having to put forth effort.

As I worked on the truck, Buddy, our new dog, wanted so much to help and tried to crawl into my lap as I sat in the dirt removing the door panel. I shoved him away several times and finally got mad and had to yell at him to get it across that he didn’t need to be in my lap right now. When I yelled Buddy groveled on the ground, realizing I was not happy, and crawled up to me, still wanting attention but this time it was different.

I’ve been learning from so many things around me, so here’s a statement. To God we are like dogs. I can only imagine right now the reaction many will have at this statement. “There’s no way I’m a dog to God!” one might exclaim. “We’re worth so much more than that to Him. God loves us!”. Some will get mad and some perhaps confused so let me explain.

There’s a scripture that says “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than you ways, and My thoughts higher than your thoughts, says the Lord”. As I try to relay to Buddy that he’s getting in the way and not really helping, I can see that he isn’t able to quite comprehend that. So it is with God, who’s thoughts and ideas are often beyond us to comprehend. We don’t understand why things are so hard, or why something doesn’t work out the way we want. But often, years later, we can see how it was a good thing we didn’t get our way, or discover that because of that hard time a series of events came to pass that otherwise would never have happened.

Our dogs love us, and so look forward to when we come home, most of the time. Rascal and Trixie were raised with us from pups and know they are not to chase cars or get into the garbage. They know these are wrong and that doing them raise the ire of Bob. When we come home and the garbage can in the kitchen has been pulled over, all the garbage strewn across the house, they know they are in trouble before we open the door, and are sometimes hiding in the living room. I yell, I express my frustration, and they cower, but then I say “Come on” and they run to me, leaping with joy that I forgive them and still love them.

So it is with us and God. We know when we do wrong, and we know God is not happy with us. But we know, or should know, that when we ask forgiveness, when we repent and are truly sorry for what we did, He forgives us and never stopped loving us.
Rascal and Trixie are trained from birth, though we didn’t do a stand up job of training, they know to come, sit, and stay off the highway. Buddy however came to us grown, a stray who’s past we know nothing of, and is not trained. But he craves love and attention, and is the friendliest dog I’ve ever seen. This can be a problem. There have been trucks that pulled off to the side of the road for various purposes, such as a flat tire. Buddy runs out into the road to greet these strangers, jumping up on them for pets as he does with us. It is dangerous as he doesn’t pay attention to traffic, and it is uncomfortable to those he is running too. They don’t know if he’s going to attack or what, but he loves to be loved.

I try to correct him, but he doesn’t listen well. He doesn’t understand. So it is with many of us in our relation to God. He tries to correct us but we don’t quite understand the need. We get so focused on what we want that the concept of getting run over by something that can kill us isn’t even vaguely there. At some point with Buddy, I must do what I had to do with Rascal and Trixie, discipline him in a way he will take notice of. God has already done this with me and I try real hard to make sure He won’t have to do it again. We can be so blind to ourselves sometimes, caught up in our personal things to the point we can’t see the bigger picture, can’t see what God sees.

But Buddy loves us, he craves attention, and we love him dearly. It will break our heart if anything happens to him, just as it broke our hearts every time we lost a pet. Just saw pictures of Ben and Gretchen, our two dogs that someone shot, and it brings back all that sorrow and pain. I can only imagine the pain God feels when He loses one of his children, and He loses them all the time. But I must also imagine the anger God feels when one of his children harms another, when they refuse to do what they know God wants them too, and in the process damages the others walk in life. There is great love in the bible, and there is great anger. Jesus said “But if anyone causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to have a large millstone hung around his neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea.” (Mathew 18:6)

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

The last days, earthquakes and more

3/16/11 Wednesday

I am sure we have all heard about the earthquake in Japan, though I was surprised when a spiritual leader we know was only dimly aware that something happened “In China or someplace” and said we should pray for them. There are many good reasons to seclude yourself and I hope that was why she was so unaware of what is going on in the world around us. Isolation can be good or can be dangerous, leading to a disconnect from reality. I think a big part of the world is disconnected in many ways, even here in the United States. Governments purposely disconnect their populations, feeding them only the stories they want them to know, and thus leading their sheep in whatever direction they desire. Truth and information become enemies to those who deal in falsehoods, thus wiki leaks is considered to be such a threat.

The question then is “What is the truth?”. That question is often hard to answer for we are surrounded by so many stories and discerning what is a lie and what is not can be difficult to say the least. This is true on so many levels but the most important realm where we need to discern the truth is in the spiritual one. In the spiritual realm we have God, Yehova who is the light of the world and in whom there is no darkness or falsehood. And there is Lucifer, who is the opposite, a liar and the father of lies, hater of all that is good, and the epitome of evil. Lucifer desired to be God and thus started a cosmic battle, that we are in the middle of. It’s like a cosmic chess game and we are the pieces moved about on the board, only we can make choices in the process and thus control our fate. But it’s a wicked game, though calling it a game is incorrect so contest would be more accurate, but in this contest there is life and death facing us all.

I believe we are in the last stages of this contest, a contest that has gone on for as long as mankind has been on the earth. The earthquakes we are seeing are just the birth pangs, preliminary tremors of what’s to come. It is at this time that we must find the truth, and I see that truth in Jesus and His words, spoken over two thousand years ago, verify that. “Then he said to them: "Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. 11 There will be great earthquakes, famines and pestilences in various places, and fearful events and great signs from heaven. (Luke 21)

It is always important to not pick just a sentence out of the bible, or any other book for that matter, and build a doctrine on it. This is how the father of lies can introduce destructive heresies into the mix, and thus cause discord and lead many astray. This speech that Jesus made regarding the last days is recorded on three of the gospels and can be found in Mathew chapter 24, Mark 13, and Luke 21. I highly recommend reading all three versions of it in order to glean as much truth as possible.

These last days will be like nothing we, here in the U.S., living in our comfortable luxury, can comprehend. Even as I wandered homeless, with severe brain damage and only the clothes on my back, unsure of where I would sleep, or where my next meal would come from, even then my life was good, for despite the hardship I was fed and clothed. There are many who’s life is much worse, who are killed daily because of what they believe and many who starve, are raped, tortured, and maimed, so I understand I am blessed. These words of Jesus are happening right now “You will be betrayed even by parents, brothers, relatives and friends, and they will put some of you to death. 17 All men will hate you because of me. 18 But not a hair of your head will perish. 19 By standing firm you will gain life.” (Luke 21:16) In the Muslim countries, such as Egypt, there are rewards paid by the state to those who turn in anyone who was born a Muslim but accepts Jesus Christ as their Lord. Egypt paid out over fifteen million in rewards in just one year. Most of those rewards went to family members who turned in their father, sister, brother, mother, or other relatives and friends, knowing that death was a result in many cases.

Here’s an interesting thing I just noticed in this scripture. Jesus said “They will put some of you to death” and then two sentences later said “Not a hair on your head will perish”. How can that be? Understand that Jesus sees through spiritual eyes. He is eternal, has always been and will always be. We find at the start of John’s gospel this opening statement;

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was with God in the beginning. 3 Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. 4 In him was life, and that life was the light of men. 5 The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood it.” Jesus is God, the part of God that came to earth and suffered in order to offer us eternal life. So when Jesus says “Not a hair on their head will perish” He’s referring to how those who die for Him, who endure to the end, will live forever with new bodies in heaven with Him.

Let’s go on with this study of the last days. It’s not going to be a complete study by any means, for that would require a book to cover it all and debunk the myths and lies that have crept into Christian theology. There is so much wrong that is just blindly accepted by so many, who also blindly follow anyone who is put on a pedestal and can talk well.

Mathew 24:3 As Jesus was sitting on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to him privately. "Tell us," they said, "when will this happen, and what will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the age?" 4 Jesus answered: "Watch out that no one deceives you. 5 For many will come in my name, claiming, 'I am the Christ, ' and will deceive many.

In all three gospels where this speech is recorded, Jesus starts out saying “Watch that no one deceives you”. This concern with deception is found throughout the bible, both old testament and new. It’s no accident this is included as the church has been plagued with falsehoods and lies since the beginning. Here’s an interesting take on the “Many will come saying I am the Christ” part of this. Most interpret it as saying people will be presenting themselves as Jesus returned in the flesh again, and that is probably true, but lets expand that. I think that this can also refer to those who say that Jesus is the Christ, the son of God, but from that basis, that truth, go on to deceptive doctrines and ideas. There are many who say they believe in Jesus but when you compare their beliefs to others interpretation of the bible it’s clear that they aren’t compatible.

You will hear of wars and rumors of wars, but see to it that you are not alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come. 7 Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and earthquakes in various places. 8 All these are the beginning of birth pains. (Mathew 24)

There have been many wars and earthquakes since the time of Jesus, and with them all many who proclaim “It’s the last day. Jesus is coming”. World war one and two spawned a lot of this and with it came some cults such as the Jehovah’s Witness that started by setting a date for His return. When Jesus didn’t they rearranged their theology to explain it away and continued on their deceptive way. What we need to look for is all the pieces of the puzzle coming together, and part of that puzzle is found in Zechariah 12, where it reveals that all the nations of the earth will come against Jerusalem. It is this part of the puzzle that I see happening before my eyes, happening this very moment with all the riots and revolutions in the Middle East. All the countries that were in any way sympathetic with Israel, or the U.S., are under attack and falling to radical Islam.

Despite the growing secularism in this world, the rise of atheistic belief that there is no God and religion is something man made up, these last days will be a religious war. Jesus said it will be like the days of Noah, where every man does what is right in his own eyes, and that we see for sure, but in the midst of it we see a rise of Islam, this radical religion that preaches death to further it’s cause. When faced with death most people will bow to the wishes of the one with the sword in his hand and at least feign allegiance to their god.

"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. (Mathew 24)

The history of all religion involves death. It is this history that turns many away from the truth of God’s love. In that cosmic contest, between good and evil, it is evil that always stirs up the pride and ego in those who have endorsed a belief in good, yet turn to doing the very things they deplore. An illustration I would like to use is a clean clear pure glass of water. I can take one drop of anything that is not clean pure water and put it in the glass, and thus corrupt the whole thing. You may not be able to see it, or taste it, but corrupted it is still. This principle holds true in our lives and is one I work hard against, to try and achieve that pureness Christ desires in me.

I know that my sins have been forgiven, that I have been made as pure as freshly fallen snow, but that doesn’t mean I can keep on doing what I know to be wrong. One of the most damnable doctrines that is widely accepted, because it sure sounds good and makes life easy, requiring almost no effort, is a form of grace that says you can keep on purposely doing what you know you shouldn’t and not have to worry about a thing. Because I have things to do I can only touch on this. Here’s two scriptures that need to be recognized.

Hebrews 10:26 If we deliberately keep on sinning after we have received the knowledge of the truth, no sacrifice for sins is left, 27 but only a fearful expectation of judgment and of raging fire that will consume the enemies of God.

1 John 2:1 My dear children, I write this to you so that you will not sin. But if anybody does sin, we have one who speaks to the Father in our defense--Jesus Christ, the Righteous One. 2 He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world. 3 We know that we have come to know him if we obey his commands. 4 The man who says, "I know him," but does not do what he commands is a liar, and the truth is not in him. 5 But if anyone obeys his word, God's love is truly made complete in him. This is how we know we are in him: 6 Whoever claims to live in him must walk as Jesus did.

Ok, three scriptures 1 John 3:2 Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when he appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is. 3 Everyone who has this hope in him purifies himself, just as he is pure. 4 Everyone who sins breaks the law; in fact, sin is lawlessness. 5 But you know that he appeared so that he might take away our sins. And in him is no sin. 6 No one who lives in him keeps on sinning. No one who continues to sin has either seen him or known him. 7 Dear children, do not let anyone lead you astray. He who does what is right is righteous, just as he is righteous. 8 He who does what is sinful is of the devil, because the devil has been sinning from the beginning. The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the devil's work. 9 No one who is born of God will continue to sin,

The reality is none of us are perfect, but God judges the heart and in that I take comfort. I don’t want to do wrong but when I do I feel bad. It’s when you no longer feel bad, when you’ve developed a hardened and calloused heart and choose to do wrong, that you are in danger of eternal judgment.

Back to the subject of the last days. One of the pieces of the puzzle will be a revival among the Jews. Whether you like it or not the Jews are, and always have been, God’s chosen people. A good part of the trouble we see in the world is the hatred that Satan has for God’s people, and that hatred is stirred up in all whom are manipulated by that enemy. It’s sad that down through the ages many of those easily manipulated have been those who call themselves followers of Christ. Understand, Jesus was a Jew, all the apostles were Jews, and the fact is that we, who are followers of Christ, have been grafted in to the vine.

Paul makes this clear in Romans 11:11 Again I ask: Did they stumble so as to fall beyond recovery? Not at all! Rather, because of their transgression, salvation has come to the Gentiles to make Israel envious. 12 But if their transgression means riches for the world, and their loss means riches for the Gentiles, how much greater riches will their fullness bring! 13 I am talking to you Gentiles. Inasmuch as I am the apostle to the Gentiles, I make much of my ministry 14 in the hope that I may somehow arouse my own people to envy and save some of them. 15 For if their rejection is the reconciliation of the world, what will their acceptance be but life from the dead? 16 If the part of the dough offered as firstfruits is holy, then the whole batch is holy; if the root is holy, so are the branches. 17 If some of the branches have been broken off, and you, though a wild olive shoot, have been grafted in among the others and now share in the nourishing sap from the olive root, 18 do not boast over those branches. If you do, consider this: You do not support the root, but the root supports you. 19 You will say then, "Branches were broken off so that I could be grafted in." 20 Granted. But they were broken off because of unbelief, and you stand by faith. Do not be arrogant, but be afraid. 21 For if God did not spare the natural branches, he will not spare you either. 22 Consider therefore the kindness and sternness of God: sternness to those who fell, but kindness to you, provided that you continue in his kindness. Otherwise, you also will be cut off. 23 And if they do not persist in unbelief, they will be grafted in, for God is able to graft them in again. 24 After all, if you were cut out of an olive tree that is wild by nature, and contrary to nature were grafted into a cultivated olive tree, how much more readily will these, the natural branches, be grafted into their own olive tree!

Zechariah, which I referred to earlier, says 12:10 "And I will pour out on the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem a spirit of grace and supplication. They will look on me, the one they have pierced, and they will mourn for him as one mourns for an only child, and grieve bitterly for him as one grieves for a firstborn son.

This to me is a clear indication that in the last days the Jews will come to understand who Jesus is, a miraculous thing God will cause to happen. Watch for it and understand that when it happens the end is near.

14 And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come. 15 "So when you see standing in the holy place 'the abomination that causes desolation,' spoken of through the prophet Daniel--let the reader understand-- 16 then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains. 17 Let no one on the roof of his house go down to take anything out of the house. 18 Let no one in the field go back to get his cloak. 19 How dreadful it will be in those days for pregnant women and nursing mothers! 20 Pray that your flight will not take place in winter or on the Sabbath. 21 For then there will be great distress, unequaled from the beginning of the world until now--and never to be equaled again. 22 If those days had not been cut short, no one would survive, but for the sake of the elect those days will be shortened. 23 At that time if anyone says to you, 'Look, here is the Christ!' or, 'There he is!' do not believe it. 24 For false Christs and false prophets will appear and perform great signs and miracles to deceive even the elect--if that were possible.

There are already many false prophets. In the Charismatic circles of Christianity we find quite a stir in this area. There are houses of prophesy opening up where you can go get prophesied over. Am I saying they are bad? No, I can’t do that and it would be wrong to blanketly categorize anyone. I can say this though, if all you hear from someone who claims to be a prophet is what you want to hear, be wary. Everything must line up with what the bible says and if any “prophet” says something that doesn’t, they are false. Prophets call God’s people to righteousness, to living a pure life that is holy and acceptable to God. A prophet, who truly hears from God, is never wrong. The test in the old testament was clear, if you were wrong you were stoned to death. Despite that there were plenty of times when the prophet business was booming, with hundreds of people prophesying, often for money. So here’s a prophesy. There will be an earthquake in Indiana that will effect the Ohio river valley. But that’s just one of many that will come.

25 See, I have told you ahead of time. 26 "So if anyone tells you, 'There he is, out in the desert,' do not go out; or, 'Here he is, in the inner rooms,' do not believe it. 27 For as lightning that comes from the east is visible even in the west, so will be the coming of the Son of Man. 28 Wherever there is a carcass, there the vultures will gather. 29 "Immediately after the distress of those days " 'the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light; the stars will fall from the sky, and the heavenly bodies will be shaken.' 30 "At that time the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky, and all the nations of the earth will mourn. They will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of the sky, with power and great glory. 31 And he will send his angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of the heavens to the other. 32 "Now learn this lesson from the fig tree: As soon as its twigs get tender and its leaves come out, you know that summer is near. 33 Even so, when you see all these things, you know that it is near, right at the door. 34 I tell you the truth, this generation will certainly not pass away until all these things have happened. 35 Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away.

That’s it. I’m out of time and have many responsibilities calling my name. Forgive me for an incomplete study, but you bear a responsibility to study and learn for yourself. Got to go.

Monday, March 14, 2011


3/14/11 Monday
Time seems to be flying by. It’s Monday already, another Monday and another start of a week, and on top of that we are already halfway through the month. Next Sunday is the official start of spring and I have lots of work to do for the farm. Cutting back this tree for Gary turned out to be a much bigger job than I thought. That’s not unusual for me as I seem to be consistent about overestimating my ability to accomplish tasks. What I thought would be a two day project has taken seven. Today I’ll go and clean up the mess I made and that will be the end of that. Of course I underbid the job so all in all I earned about $43.00 a day but I’m not worried about it as I helped someone out, and that’s more important than making money. God always provides for us. He supplies our needs, not luxuries.

Rascal and Buddy chasing the thousand or so birds that regularly park here. We've had lots of power outages and while out clearing brush off the trailer I heard a loud "POP" and saw a flash of light. Looking up I saw lots of these birds quickly getting off the power lines they had weighed down till two of them touched. Coming inside I once again found the clocks all blinking from losing power. Now we know what caused it.

There are some who believe, and even preach, that God desires for us to all be rich with lots of luxuries. Well, yes and no is the truth regarding that. The fact is that few of us can handle what comes with wealth. It sounds good and this kind of message is one that gathers lots of followers, and in the process lines the pockets of those doing the preaching. Does God want you to be poor then? Absolutely not!!! What God wants is what is best for Him first, and best for you second. That is the order things have to be in, God first, and everything else second. It is so important to keep balance. Balance in our lives and balance in what we believe. Our enemy seeks constantly to upset that balance for once we swing one direction or the other out of balance then we become vulnerable to temptations, and often don’t even realize we are being tempted, thinking we are pursuing something correct when it is evil.
Here's most of the wood we got from the tree job, though there's still a small amount on the truck. We'll need double this come next winter so I'm halfway there.

I’ve seen this so many times and it is always a sad thing to watch, knowing the end of the path someone is on. You are often unable to help for they protest “But the bible says” and repeat the unbalanced teaching they have received and cling to because it says what they want to hear. I remember hearing someone, who had received the “prosperity” teaching, question the faith of those Muslim converts to Christ in Egypt, who live in the garbage cities because they believe in Jesus as their Lord and savior. One of them was worth millions, a dentist to royalty, but as soon as one of his family members reported to the government that he had accepted Jesus as his Lord, he lost it all. His homes, cars, bank accounts, were all seized, and he and his immediate family were issued death certificates, tattooed to identify them as “Enemies of Allah” and taken to the garbage dump. He has since died, killed for the cause of Christ. My brothers question was about why these people weren’t living in prosperity if they truly believed in God. What he failed to realize is that there are riches far beyond anything we can gather here on earth and those who gave their lives for Jesus are richer than we can imagine. When it is all said and done, only what we do for God matters.

Working on this tree for a week has sure set me back on other chores that need to be done. So much has been neglected and now I must pay catch up. The three hundred dollars I earned will buy a new pair of boots as the ones I have are worn out with a hole torn where the leather separated from the sole. Plus now we can buy some plants and seed so there is a hope of growing something. Pray for rain. There hasn’t been a significant rain in six months, though we did get enough to moisten the soil after we went to the women’s aglow meeting a couple of weeks back. They had asked me to pray for rain and the next morning I walked out and found the ground wet with evidence of rain drops pounding the soil. Everywhere else was dry so it must have been a small little shower that hit our place. I think I’ll pray for more rain.
The second load of brush from Gary's tree.

Today I’ll clean up Gary’s yard and thus be done with the tree job. Then I must do my laundry as I’m running out of clean work clothes. Several of my jeans have worn out, gotten so thin they are ripping, so we are keeping our eyes out for sales on jeans. I wear out boots and jeans pretty quick. There’s someone who seems to have classified me as a person who expects everyone else to do for me and that I do nothing for myself, but I sure wear out clothes and boots doing nothing, on top of about twenty pair of leather gloves each year. I pray for that person, and the words she speaks that tear down and don’t build up, and fear for her for I know my God, and He isn’t too happy with those who do these things. Lord be merciful, help them see the truth and recognize the lies they have received, that they may honor You and be pleasing in Your sight.

I’ll be able to finish up the bathroom now too. Need to tile the floor, put up towel racks and the toilet paper holder, build shelves and put up doors for the linen closet, and then install the trim and baseboard. Also on the must do list is our taxes for last year and the business plan information for UTPB. Plus there is a ton of work to do on the farm. Lots of beds to clear of old weeds and yards of irrigation tape that has been eaten by rodents over the winter to repair. Then there is writing to do. I must finish the book on discord, along with several bible studies I’ve started and not completed, plus the biography of my life.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Earthquakes and false prophets

3/11/11 Friday
It’s an unusual morning. My heart is heavy and my thoughts on the events around the world and what is happening here locally. There is much I see, things others seem blind to yet to me they are clear as day. I finished the hard part of the tree and have only to clean up to finish that job.

This morning I will teach. We start with the words of Jesus and a parable many of us are familiar with, the parable of the wheat and weeds found in Mathew 13

24 Jesus told them another parable: "The kingdom of heaven is like a man who sowed good seed in his field. 25 But while everyone was sleeping, his enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat, and went away. 26 When the wheat sprouted and formed heads, then the weeds also appeared. 27 "The owner's servants came to him and said, 'Sir, didn't you sow good seed in your field? Where then did the weeds come from?' 28 " 'An enemy did this,' he replied. "The servants asked him, 'Do you want us to go and pull them up?' 29 " 'No,' he answered, 'because while you are pulling the weeds, you may root up the wheat with them. 30 Let both grow together until the harvest. At that time I will tell the harvesters: First collect the weeds and tie them in bundles to be burned; then gather the wheat and bring it into my barn.' "

One must wonder, Why are the weeds and wheat allowed to grow together? On my farm weeds are an enemy for sure and it’s better to pull them up early and not allow them to grow for they choke out the good plants and cause a lot of damage. But here Jesus is talking about the kingdom of heaven and there are some truths revealed here we need to understand for they certainly apply to our lives today.

Principle number one; It is not easy to be a follower of Christ, and not all who start on that journey will make it to the end. There are many these days who preach an easy gospel and make everything nice and gentle, but the truth is not in them, though they are often unaware of it, being self deceived and having bought into a lie.

2 Peter 2:1 But there were also false prophets among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you. They will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the sovereign Lord who bought them--bringing swift destruction on themselves. 2 Many will follow their shameful ways and will bring the way of truth into disrepute. 3 In their greed these teachers will exploit you with stories they have made up. Their condemnation has long been hanging over them, and their destruction has not been sleeping

Here’s another uncomfortable truth, God is picky, He won’t just accept everyone who wants to come in, but only those who pass His tests. There is a weeding out process as illustrated not just in this parable but throughout the scriptures. I told someone once “It’s like applying for a job, there is an application you must fill out and complete in order to be chosen”. Jesus said “Many are invited but few are chosen” when He told the parable in Mathew 22 about a King who was throwing a wedding banquet for his son. In the parable…well please read it for yourself. One of the things I am very uncomfortable with is teachers who pick out sentences from the bible to make a point for in doing so they often twist the scriptures to make it say what they want. So here’s the parable.

1 Jesus spoke to them again in parables, saying: 2 "The kingdom of heaven is like a king who prepared a wedding banquet for his son. 3 He sent his servants to those who had been invited to the banquet to tell them to come, but they refused to come. 4 "Then he sent some more servants and said, 'Tell those who have been invited that I have prepared my dinner: My oxen and fattened cattle have been butchered, and everything is ready. Come to the wedding banquet.' 5 "But they paid no attention and went off--one to his field, another to his business. 6 The rest seized his servants, mistreated them and killed them. 7 The king was enraged. He sent his army and destroyed those murderers and burned their city. 8 "Then he said to his servants, 'The wedding banquet is ready, but those I invited did not deserve to come. 9 Go to the street corners and invite to the banquet anyone you find.' 10 So the servants went out into the streets and gathered all the people they could find, both good and bad, and the wedding hall was filled with guests. 11 "But when the king came in to see the guests, he noticed a man there who was not wearing wedding clothes. 12 'Friend,' he asked, 'how did you get in here without wedding clothes?' The man was speechless. 13 "Then the king told the attendants, 'Tie him hand and foot, and throw him outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.' 14 "For many are invited, but few are chosen."

Make note, if you would, that those who were invited and chose not to come were all busy with their businesses, their jobs so to speak, and chose to attend that instead of the wedding banquet. So who did the King get to come? Those on the street, both rich and poor, good and bad, and even then there were standards that had to be met. That standard was to be dressed in the proper wedding clothes. There is a background to this parable Jesus told that most of us are unaware of. Jesus was very up to date on current and historical events of His day and used these events to make His message real to those who heard Him.

Some of you history buffs may be aware of the love affair between Cleopatra and Marc Antony, a Caesar of Rome who was emperor during the time of Herod. His wedding with Cleopatra could well be what Jesus was relating to for in that wedding there are many parallels. For one there were many who were not happy at this union between Marc Anthony and Cleopatra and refused to come to the wedding. It was learned that there was a plot to assassinate Mark Antony at the wedding. The wedding was the grandest most exotic event of the day but when the assignation plot became known Marc devised a means of discovering who the assassins were. He had special clothes made to be worn by all the wedding guests, a uniform so to speak, so that those who came uninvited would be instantly recognized and thus the assassins revealed. It actually worked and the assassins were captured, tied hand and foot, and cast into the dungeon.

That’s interesting but the truth of what Jesus was saying is that only those who are clothed in righteousness, that can only come through the power of Christ in our lives, will be allowed to take part of the wedding feast of the Lamb of God. Here is Jesus’ explanation of the parable of wheat and weeds.

Mathew 13:36 Then he left the crowd and went into the house. His disciples came to him and said, "Explain to us the parable of the weeds in the field." 37 He answered, "The one who sowed the good seed is the Son of Man. 38 The field is the world, and the good seed stands for the sons of the kingdom. The weeds are the sons of the evil one, 39 and the enemy who sows them is the devil. The harvest is the end of the age, and the harvesters are angels. 40 "As the weeds are pulled up and burned in the fire, so it will be at the end of the age. 41 The Son of Man will send out his angels, and they will weed out of his kingdom everything that causes sin and all who do evil. 42 They will throw them into the fiery furnace, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. 43 Then the righteous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father. He who has ears, let him hear.

Jesus had already said in the parable that the reason the weeds weren’t pulled up was to prevent any of the wheat from being pulled up by accident, so it was to protect the wheat. We know that God loves us and His desire is for all to be saved, but the sad reality is that many will not make it. The gate is wide and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and there are many who enter through it. "For the gate is small and the way is narrow that leads to life, and there are few who find it. (Mathew 7:13)

Another parable Jesus told helps us understand these things. It is the parable of the sower and the seed, and is actually the one found right before the Mathew account of the wheat and weeds parable we started out with. I’ll just go straight to where Jesus explains the parable but you can read the whole thing in Mathew 13.

"Hear then the parable of the sower. 19 "When anyone hears the word of the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what has been sown in his heart. This is the one on whom seed was sown beside the road. 20 "The one on whom seed was sown on the rocky places, this is the man who hears the word and immediately receives it with joy ; 21 yet he has no firm root in himself, but is only temporary, and when affliction or persecution arises because of the word, immediately he falls away. 22 "And the one on whom seed was sown among the thorns, this is the man who hears the word, and the worry of the world and the deceitfulness of wealth choke the word, and it becomes unfruitful. 23 "And the one on whom seed was sown on the good soil, this is the man who hears the word and understands it; who indeed bears fruit and brings forth, some a hundredfold, some sixty, and some thirty."

Again we see that not all will make it. Whether you like that or not won’t change the truth of it. The purpose of leaving the weeds in the first parable is not only to prevent wheat from being accidentally removed, but to test the wheat, to make it stronger and to reveal the wheat that is defective. So in the church we find all of these elements, good people, bad people, liars and cheats along with those who care about the things of God and don’t just play Christian, all mixed up together. You usually can’t tell one from the other and it really isn’t our job to even try to do so, for trying to find the weeds will lead to a judgmental spirit, a dangerous thing for Christians. Our desire should be to help our brothers and sisters become stronger and more pure in their faith, to build up and not tear down, to create unity and not division. It’s hard to do, and I fear that sometimes I am guilty of causing division instead of building up. There are so many fine lines to walk and we must be constantly diligent in examining our hearts, the motives we have for doing things.

Part of what has inspired this was the news this morning, the news of the earthquake in Japan. Every day I become more convinced that we are in the last days, that I will see Jesus returning. Jesus made clear what the signs of His eminent return would be. Part of that is a prevalence of false teachings and false doctrines as mentioned by the apostle Peter in the scripture I gave earlier. Read with me the words of Jesus on that.

"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!' (Mathew 7)

These are people in the church, people active in the ministry, who are by all outward appearances great godly people doing wonderful things for the Lord, BUT…
That folks is a real big BUT that must be examined. These folks are prophesying, casting out demons, and even performing miracles. They are putting on great shows and impressing many people, however their heart is not right and it’s the heart that God judges. In the process of doing these great things and impressing so many, they are also leading others astray and as Peter said “Introducing destructive heresies”

There are so many doctrines and teachings that have crept into the church over the centuries that it’s hard to keep up. Many of them I was taught and had accepted because they were taught by good people who know way more about the bible than I do. Some of them I learned in Bible College and some of them in church, but all things must be examined in the light of the scriptures. In fact even the bibles we have these days, with many different translations, have been polluted somewhat, modified from the originals to fit others agendas so we must be careful in our studies to learn the truth.

I would like to point something out in the parable of the wheat and weeds, something that might disturb some accepted teachings about the return of Jesus. The parable is clear about that final hour, that time when Jesus returns. With the rapture doctrine people are told that all the good Christians will be removed first and only the bad people will be left to go through all the hard times and tribulations but that’s not quite what Jesus said here, or anywhere else for that matter. Jesus said “The harvest is the end of the age” so it is that last day, and the harvesters are the angels. They then pluck out the weeds and the weeds are thrown into the fire so who’s left? Those who are right with God, those who are the good seed and have passed the test are left on the earth and it says in Mathew 13 “Then the righteous shall shine like the sun in the Kingdom of their Father”. This is a controversial area and requires in depth study to clearly reveal what the scriptures teach.

Just for fun, and to stimulate you to search the scriptures, one of the oft quoted rapture scriptures is found in Mathew 24.36 "No one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. 37 As it was in the days of Noah, so it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. 38 For in the days before the flood, people were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, up to the day Noah entered the ark; 39 and they knew nothing about what would happen until the flood came and took them all away. That is how it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. 40 Two men will be in the field; one will be taken and the other left. 41 Two women will be grinding with a hand mill; one will be taken and the other left. 42 "Therefore keep watch, because you do not know on what day your Lord will come.

When quoted to support the rapture it’s usually just the part that says “One taken and the other left” but it’s important to read carefully and understand the context. The rapture doctrine says those taken are those raptured but look at what it says regarding the days of Noah, “They were eating and drinking up to the day Noah entered the ark; and they knew nothing about what would happen till the flood came and TOOK THEM ALL AWAY. The ones taken were the ones who were not with God on the ark. The weeds will be taken in the last day and the wheat left for God’s harvest.

Jeremiah 6:13 "From the least to the greatest, all are greedy for gain; prophets and priests alike, all practice deceit. 14 They dress the wound of my people as though it were not serious. 'Peace, peace,' they say, when there is no peace. 15 Are they ashamed of their loathsome conduct? No, they have no shame at all; they do not even know how to blush. So they will fall among the fallen; they will be brought down when I punish them," says the LORD. 16 This is what the LORD says: "Stand at the crossroads and look; ask for the ancient paths, ask where the good way is, and walk in it, and you will find rest for your souls. But you said, 'We will not walk in it.' 17 I appointed watchmen over you and said, 'Listen to the sound of the trumpet!' But you said, 'We will not listen.'

There are many these days, who say they are prophets. We see them come into churches and put on their shows, but they always have good things to say, they always say what people want to hear. They tell the pastor “Your church will be full” and they tell the people “You will be wealthy”, but they don’t warn of the days that are ahead, of the hard times to come. When a prophet only says good things it causes me great concern.

What is a prophet? A prophet isn’t someone who just predicts the future, that’s what psychics and diviners do. A prophet of God is someone who speaks for God, who not only encourages but who’s words bring conviction of the wrongs in someone’s life, who reveals error and thus brings about repentance and holiness. Paul said, when giving instruction of the order of things in the church, that those with the gift of prophesy must have their words judged by the rest of the congregation. Why is this? Because everyone is prone to error, and we all have the possibility of letting our imagination get confused with what the Spirit of God is saying. Ultimately it all must line up with the bible. I don’t care if it’s a preacher on TV or someone who has proclaimed themselves to be apostles or prophets, they must all be judged by the word of God.

Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world. This is how you can recognize the Spirit of God: Every spirit that acknowledges that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, but every spirit that does not acknowledge Jesus is not from God. This is the spirit of the antichrist, which you have heard is coming and even now is already in the world. You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world. They are from the world and therefore speak from the viewpoint of the world, and the world listens to them. We are from God, and whoever knows God listens to us; but whoever is not from God does not listen to us. This is how we recognize the Spirit of truth and the spirit of falsehood.

Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us. We know that we live in him and he in us, because he has given us of his Spirit. And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent his Son to be the Savior of the world. If anyone acknowledges that Jesus is the Son of God, God lives in him and he in God. And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in him. In this way, love is made complete among us so that we will have confidence on the day of judgment, because in this world we are like him. There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love. We love because he first loved us. If anyone says, "I love God," yet hates his brother, he is a liar. For anyone who does not love his brother, whom he has seen, cannot love God, whom he has not seen. And he has given us this command: Whoever loves God must also love his brother. (1 John 4)

And so many these days have a message of riches, prosperity. Here again is a fine line, a balance that must exist. God is not against prosperity but the reality is that with riches comes temptations and problems. The biggest problem of all, and the most dangerous one, is pride. 1 Timothy 6:3 If anyone teaches false doctrines and does not agree to the sound instruction of our Lord Jesus Christ and to godly teaching, 4 he is conceited and understands nothing. He has an unhealthy interest in controversies and quarrels about words that result in envy, strife, malicious talk, evil suspicions 5 and constant friction between men of corrupt mind, who have been robbed of the truth and who think that godliness is a means to financial gain. 6 But godliness with contentment is great gain. 7 For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it. 8 But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that. 9 People who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge men into ruin and destruction. 10 For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.

Make note on this next scripture of verse 28. Peter said “We left all” and Jesus, in His reply says “No one who has left home or brothers…for Me and the gospel, will fail to receive a hundred times as much IN THIS PRESENT AGE” It’s clear there is an earthly reward but the priorities must be in order, you leave, you sacrifice, you put God and His kingdom first, and THEN you can be trusted with material things.

Mark 10:17 As Jesus started on his way, a man ran up to him and fell on his knees before him. "Good teacher," he asked, "what must I do to inherit eternal life?" 18 "Why do you call me good?" Jesus answered. "No one is good--except God alone. 19 You know the commandments: 'Do not murder, do not commit adultery, do not steal, do not give false testimony, do not defraud, honor your father and mother.' " 20 "Teacher," he declared, "all these I have kept since I was a boy." 21 Jesus looked at him and loved him. "One thing you lack," he said. "Go, sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me." 22 At this the man's face fell. He went away sad, because he had great wealth. 23 Jesus looked around and said to his disciples, "How hard it is for the rich to enter the kingdom of God!" 24 The disciples were amazed at his words. But Jesus said again, "Children, how hard it is to enter the kingdom of God! 25 It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God." 26 The disciples were even more amazed, and said to each other, "Who then can be saved?" 27 Jesus looked at them and said, "With man this is impossible, but not with God; all things are possible with God." 28 Peter said to him, "We have left everything to follow you!" 29 "I tell you the truth," Jesus replied, "no one who has left home or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or fields for me and the gospel 30 will fail to receive a hundred times as much in this present age (homes, brothers, sisters, mothers, children and fields--and with them, persecutions) and in the age to come, eternal life. 31 But many who are first will be last, and the last first."

I’ve got to go, it’s late already. Here’s a scripture God led me to a few days ago. It’s heavy but it’s the truth, like it or not.

Ezekiel 13:10 " 'Because they lead my people astray, saying, "Peace," when there is no peace, and because, when a flimsy wall is built, they cover it with whitewash, 11 therefore tell those who cover it with whitewash that it is going to fall. Rain will come in torrents, and I will send hailstones hurtling down, and violent winds will burst forth. 12 When the wall collapses, will people not ask you, "Where is the whitewash you covered it with?" 13 " 'Therefore this is what the Sovereign LORD says: In my wrath I will unleash a violent wind, and in my anger hailstones and torrents of rain will fall with destructive fury. 14 I will tear down the wall you have covered with whitewash and will level it to the ground so that its foundation will be laid bare. When it falls, you will be destroyed in it; and you will know that I am the LORD. 15 So I will spend my wrath against the wall and against those who covered it with whitewash. I will say to you, "The wall is gone and so are those who whitewashed it,This is what the Sovereign LORD says: Woe to the women who sew magic charms on all their wrists and make veils of various lengths for their heads in order to ensnare people. Will you ensnare the lives of my people but preserve your own? 19 You have profaned me among my people for a few handfuls of barley and scraps of bread. By lying to my people, who listen to lies, you have killed those who should not have died and have spared those who should not live. 20 " 'Therefore this is what the Sovereign LORD says: I am against your magic charms with which you ensnare people like birds and I will tear them from your arms; I will set free the people that you ensnare like birds. 21 I will tear off your veils and save my people from your hands, and they will no longer fall prey to your power. Then you will know that I am the LORD. 22 Because you disheartened the righteous with your lies, when I had brought them no grief, and because you encouraged the wicked not to turn from their evil ways and so save their lives, 23 therefore you will no longer see false visions or practice divination. I will save my people from your hands. And then you will know that I am the LORD.' "