Thursday, March 28, 2013

God is in control

3/28/13 Thursday
            I know I haven’t posted in a while. Things are busy for sure and God has put a lot on our plate. Unfortunately I can’t write about some of what is going on right now. Must wait till a situation gets resolved. When that happens I have a great story to tell but you will have to wait to hear it. Meantime let me fill you all in on what has been happening on the Westbrook Farm and in our lives. God is good and God is in charge, no matter how crazy things may seem. I have a new job, one I was not looking for in any way but I recognize the Lord’s hand when I see it. A sweet older couple bought an office furniture business and said they needed help. I used to sell office furniture back before the accident that killed me so feel comfortable helping them, and in the process we will get some badly needed additional income too. This will be my second week working for them.

            Purchasing that old store is still in process. We just got ahold of a survey company that will determine the official boundaries of that property and in the process will provide the information the title company needs to warranty the deed. Everyone is busy doing oilfield work so we were lucky to find these guys. Actually the guy we are buying the land from found them for us as he is itching to get this deal closed. Of course I’m itching to get things going as well. I talked to the surveyor and told him our plans, that we hope to find partners to develop the 75 acres of land and he said he may know some folks looking to invest in that kind of deal. That would be great. What I know is that when all is said and done we will be able to say “Look what God did” because He is bringing things together for sure.

            I may not get to plant much this year. From the looks of things I won’t have much free time. I do hope to get corn and melons planted but am already behind on that. I still get tired easy but not nearly as bad as before so with me working all day by the time I get home I am worn out and don’t have the energy to go work in the dirt. However in all this I recognize that my healing continues, that I am in much better shape mentally and physically than I was just a year ago. I am always grateful for any improvement.

            I had the privilege of going into the prison dormitory that has been set up as the “Faith Dorm”. It is an area reserved for prisoners who have expressed their faith in God. The requirements are inclusive of all faiths so it is not limited to only those of the Christian faith. Through the Kairos ministry I was able to go there and we showed a movie on the Resurrection. It was great to be there in their “house”. I look forward to spending some more time with them, when the Lord makes that time available.

            This happened last Saturday and boy was that a long day. I got up at 5:30 in the morning to catch a ride to the Lynaugh prison in Fort Stockton, where we had a great time of fellowship with the men in white. I also was able to renew my training with the Texas Department of Corrections that is required for me to go into the prisons. In the business of my life I had forgotten about that and learned the training date had expired in November.

            I didn’t get back to the farm until after 5:00 PM and had to get to the Smith prison by 6:30 so Cherie fixed me a quick meal and I was out the door for the hour drive to Lamesa. By the time that was all done it was 8:30 before I could leave the prison. There was a sand storm that had blown in so the temperatures had dropped dramatically and visibility was poor. It wasn’t as bad as a sand storm I had driven home in last year but it was still nasty. There was a vehicle behind me that looks like the one the pastor that kicked me out of her church because she was jealous drives. I normally don’t like cars following me close but figured that whoever it was couldn’t see well so used my tail lights as a way of making sure they were on the road. Because of that I allowed them to follow me close without pulling over to let them go by.

            We went to a great event that was held here in Midland on Monday. It was a 4 day event that brought people from many churches together in unity to pray for the city and for God to move in a dramatic way. I wished we would have been able to attend all four days but that wasn’t to be. I was amazed at how many people we met whom we knew. There was one person there who has caused many problems for us through her poison tongue and I went to tell her we still loved her and were praying but she scurried past keeping her head down and refusing to look up even though I called to her. It is so sad to see such things but in these last days we will see much more than this. There is a lot of deception in the church and many wolves in sheep’s clothing, who have all the outward appearance of good holy people but inside are ate up with great evil.

            While at McDonalds, in line to order breakfast, a man saw my Vietnam Veteran hat and thanked me for my service. I appreciate that very much but the truth is no one shot at me because I was a crew chief on B-52’s so I don’t feel that I deserve much accolades because the ones who were in the thick of things are the ones who paid a tremendous price. I asked him if he would like to sit and talk as we ate breakfast and he agreed. He is an assistant pastor with a local church and also a war veteran, having done multiple tours in Iraq. There he was a chaplain assigned with special forces groups and would rappel down from helicopters with them into the fire zones. I enjoyed our time together and told him that there are no accidents in my life so suspect we will see each other again.

              That’s it for now. I must run to the VA hospital for my yearly check up. See ya next time.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

The fight continues

3/12/13 Tuesday
It’s another day of another week. Tried to get the lawnmower started yesterday and the cable broke. That poor lawnmower is about worn out anyway. Lost count of how many blades I wore out on it, mowing till there was not much left of them. If I remember right the spark plug kept fouling from the oil that gets into the cylinder. I have another lawnmower but it doesn’t have a catcher for the grass clippings and we make use of those clippings for the farm. If we come up with some spare cash I would like to buy a grass catcher for it.

Weeds are growing everywhere and I need to get the mower going to mow them down. Gophers are also active, moving into new areas and causing more damage. Perhaps I can devise something to hook up to the exhaust of the truck and use that to gas the gophers out. We have to do something and this is just one item of a long list. So the fight continues.

There was a delay on the RV park property and old store. The company that was to do the title search seems to have gotten confused and the person working on it said she was told to hand it to someone else and someone else didn’t get it until I called to inquire. Meantime the owner of the property is anxious to sell, along with having others who want to buy it. The title company just called and said there is a discrepancy between the property descriptions from when the previous owner bought it and then sold it to the man I am purchasing it from so that has to be clarified. Nothing is easy these days.

It is time to start planting and there is lots of work to do for that. I read about how the Indians used to plant their gardens and will try doing some of it that way. They planted corn first in groups called hills. When the corn was a foot tall they would plant beans that climb, what are called pole beans. The beans would use the corn for support and also supply nitrogen for the corn. Then they would plant squash that would provide ground cover and reduce the growth of weeds. Sounds good to me so will give it a shot. It’s a whole lot different from doing it in rows.

The tomato area needs totally revamped. The T-posts I put up need to be supported as they could not handle the weight of the tomatoes. Plus, because of the gophers, I must replace all the five gallon buckets that had their bottoms cut out with buckets that still have bottoms in them. This way the gophers can’t tunnel in and eat the roots as they did before. All of this will require a ton of work and redoing the drip irrigation.

Meantime I work to focus on what is important. What is most important to me is understanding what is important to God. I know that God desires for me to provide for my wife and that is why we are pursuing this RV park and old store but what is most important to God is bringing others to know about God’s love for them and that their sins have been forgiven, but they must submit to God to receive that. I could build the biggest RV park in the world but that would do me no good if I do nothing for others. There are two commandments and everything is based on them. Love the Lord with all your heart mind soul and strength and love your neighbor as you love yourself. Either I really believe or I just play at being a Christian. It is one or the other. Can’t be both. In Revelations Jesus said “I wish that you were either hot or cold but you are lukewarm and because you are lukewarm I will spew you out of my mouth”. The early church got it. They would sell their land and use the proceeds to help those who were poor and in need. They understood that we all will die and then face eternity. Death you cannot escape from and judgment is inevitable too. In describing that Jesus said “I was sick and you visited me, hungry and you gave me food, thirsty and you gave me water, in prison and you came to see me. The righteous will reply and say “When did we do that for you?” and Jesus replies “when you did it to the least of those I love, you did it to me” (bob paraphrase from Mathew 25 starting at vs. 30)

The RV park would provide badly needed income but mostly would be a channel I can use to tell others about the love of God. There are many visitors to this area, people coming to look for jobs. Plus there are many who already live here but are not accepted by some area churches. I hear this every week at the jail and it is sad to hear from those who went to church looking for God but found a not very welcoming atmosphere. These are the ones I want to reach out to.

Also there are the books I must write. Seems that when I sit down to write things come up, distractions always. I must be more disciplined about this. Time is wasting so must get busy. Cya next time.

Thursday, March 07, 2013

What really matters?

            There is an increasing sense of requirement I have. How do I explain that? How do I put it into words? It is not a simple thing so demands explanation. There are many factors involved in this sense of requirement, many areas of our life and responsibilities that come into play. Part of that is a premonition of impending events, an urgency to get things done in time. There are many things we are doing that require attention. We are buying the property on the interstate and then must prepare it to park a dozen or so RV’s in addition to opening the store. That requires shelves, counters, cooler, washing machine and dryer, along with a long list of things. It is quickly approaching planting time on the farm so much is required there as well. Ground needs to be cleared and plowed. Irrigation systems installed and repaired. Fertilizers and worm castings need to be mixed and some material purchased. Seeds are mostly bought or saved from previous plants but we still need a few more. I have renewed my efforts on writing the book, having had to start over because so much material seems to have vanished into thin air. There is an increased urgency in my spirit to write or finish writing the bible studies and doctrinal papers, along with two books that are in addition to the biography I mentioned before.

            At the heart of all this is the realization that God requires much of me. Someone just said the other day “You know God didn’t raise you from the dead for nothing. He has big plans for you”. In my prayers I constantly ask “Why me Lord. Who am I to represent you?”. I understand deeply how far short I fall, how flawed I am in the eyes of God, how unworthy I am to stand before anyone and represent the creator of the universe. But I find myself being put in the most awkward position of having to warn others about the direction they are heading. Jesus one time said something about taking specks out of other people’s eyes when there is a log in your own eye and I am big time aware of the logs my eyes have. There are those who love to point out the faults of others, and are almost gleeful about it, but the problem is in the heart, the motivation behind it. I want people to be better, to help them improve, and have no interest in publicly belittling them, preferring instead to talk with them privately and personally. This sense of requirement comes into play here, coupled with an urgency. The urgency is related to knowing what the future holds, the understanding that we are living in the last chapters of the bible, the last days are upon us soon. During the times of hardship to come the body of Christ needs to be united together, not divided and torn apart by jealousy, strife, personal ambitions, and the pride that is the source of all these things.

            Who am I to be involved in such thing? I am God’s child, raised up by Him for tasks only He knows. I was raised from the dead in two ways. I was physically dead for sure, officially declared dead by the coroner and listed as a fatality by the state of Oklahoma. But I was spiritually dead too, even before the car accident. I had long before turned my back on God, walked away from the faith and ministry I was in, falling to the point where I denied or doubted that God even existed. So I was twice dead. But now I am twice alive. My body, beat up and damaged as it may be, is alive. In a way it was like I was born all over again for they had to teach me how to talk, how to walk, had to wear diapers like a baby till I was able to use a toilet. Heck they even had to show me how to flush it. I was taught how to brush my teeth and take care of all the basics of life. In the same way I was reborn spiritually. That was harder and took a while because the required first step is to believe that God is. My first prayer was “God, are you there? If you are I really would like to know, help me believe.” It took years and many miraculous events before I was convinced that there really is a God and He really does get involved in men’s lives.

            Thus we get to this point in time, now. Now I know there is a God and now I understand so much that was lost on me before. Now I speak with the living God on a daily basis and hear from Him as well. No, I don’t hear any voices. There are many I have heard say “God told me” but I don’t have that privilege of hearing God’s voice in a clear audible way. What I do have is an understanding of things that is beyond what I had before. I read the Bible and things are suddenly clear that weren’t before. There are still plenty of things in the Bible that I don’t quite get but what becomes clear is often just what I needed to know when I needed to know it.
            What I know now is that things are going to change. What was once secure, what people thought would always be there, that they could rely on, will be shaken. Complacency will have a cost. Deception has always been around but it will be released. A lie will be seen as the truth and truths we know will be portrayed as lies. Division has always been a curse we have had to deal with but it too will be unleashed in ways beyond what we have seen before. It will come through gossip, back biting, and despising or looking down on others, thinking you are better than they are. This will increase and the love and forgiveness Jesus teaches will be practiced less.

            Meantime things are progressing on many fronts. I was contacted by a man who was looking to buy land for an RV park and when I told him we were working on putting one on our land he asked if I would be interested in a joint venture. Of course I will look at that, but must be careful because I am not what a friend called “Sophisticated” when it comes to investment stuff. The title search on the old store is being done now and when completed we plan on finalizing the purchase of it. This is a nervous time for both Cherie and I. We have had so many things go wrong and not work out it is hard not to be gun shy. I know I am to trust in the Lord with all my heart and lean not to my own understanding and I do trust in the Lord, it’s people I have a difficult time with. We know there is an enemy who is very capable of swaying good people to do bad things and have seen that many times.

            Work continues on the farm but there is always something that gets in the way. I bought tractor diesel and put the hydraulic fluid in to replace what leaks out all over the place. Charged up the battery so it would start, all this 3 days ago and have yet to get the tractor started. Will be doing that as soon as I get done writing and posting this.

            Had to dig a water hose out from under the sand dune that covered it with two feet of dirt. That took about 45 minutes of digging by hand. Paid for it like I pay for all physical labor, just a little pain, nothing unusual but always slows me down. Ran the sprinkler to get some water to the rye and hairy vetch seed I planted last week. It never rained and the birds ate some of the seed. They say there is a chance of rain tomorrow and the day after. That would be cool.

            One of the jobs I must do with the tractor is to remove some of the sand dunes that blew in with the recent wind storms. There is an area we put fencing up a few years ago and I want to plant the climbing type plants along it so they can use the trellis to climb on. But to do that I must remove the extra sand and then place drip irrigation tape along the fence. Years ago I buried drip tape along the fence line but that has been lost for some time now. Some was damaged by gophers and who knows where it is now. The land here moves around so much. Some areas rise and others are blown away.

This is a wheelbarrow of worm castings. The white specks are bits of eggshell from the table scraps we feed to the worms to make compost. There are many more I need to sift out and recover.

          There is so much work to do and so little of me. I dream of getting the RV park going so I can afford to hire some help. In the balance of things there are other things I do and in the unbalance so many of them get neglected. The books I need to write but don’t get to work on them as much as I want. Of all the things I do the most important in my mind is what I do to bring knowledge of God to others. I visited the jail again yesterday and there were two new guys I haven’t seen before. One was young, looked fifteen though I know he is considered an adult because he was facing charges. I talked to them about the love of God and how through God we have a future. Not only a better life here on earth through living right but an eternity in heaven.

            What I understand is that it does not matter if I become a wildly successful businessman worth millions of dollars because when I stand before God on judgment day that has no value to Him. What matters in the long run is the lives I can touch and help, the sacrifices I make for others. For me getting the RV park or anything else going is mainly about freeing up my time to serve God, providing some security for my wife, and helping others by providing jobs or places to stay.

            There is work to do. I don’t have a list and as always am not sure of what I need to be doing. I wonder if there is something I should be doing regarding the RV park but can’t think of anything. I washed some dishes for Cherie. It is hard when you can’t remember things. So much gets neglected and forgotten. So I will press on and get on the tractor to at least start that process.