Posts tagged ‘help’

July 10, 2012

True Friends

by pastortimfowler

Today I was asked to give a friend a ride to work. When I picked him up, his dad said, “Make sure you give him some gas money”. I appreciate the gesture, but refused the money. This friend was a young man who just graduated and working his first job. His parents have one car and sometimes they run into a conflict with work schedules and need transportation help. So I thought I would let him know that because I did not need gas money to help him, I was not going to accept any from him. My hope is that he will remember that when someone asks him to help and a similar situation arises.
True friends are valuable and hard to find. I am not talking about the kind of friends that are just people you know and like. I am talking about a friend that is there for you through thick and thin and one that you can trust even in the toughest times. This type of friend is rare and valuable and takes time to develop.
I believe many people have that one person who they think is a true friend but when they are needed, they charge them for gas. It is usually a person that you have known for a while and been through many similar things together, or should I say at the same time gone through something together. School produces a lot of these so-called friends. But they are not willing to sacrifice for you and I believe sacrifice is a vital key to a true friendship.
Social media has been a hindrance to the development of this type of friends. Texting and Facebook and Twitter allow for constant contact at the spur of the moment but often displaces personal time that friends must have to know each other in a deeper way. We tend to be friends in this era with those who like the same trends and follow the same pages and forward the funny videos. But this does not make for a true friend.
Here is what a true friend is all about. It is about investing in someone else’s life to better their well-being. A true friend knows you personally. They know what makes you happy, sad, stressed, or relaxed. They know your hardships and know your dreams for success. They are willing to give without expecting anything in return because they know that you would do the same thing. They will text and facebook and tweet you, but nothing can replace a good sit down, face to face talk. They care about your job, your health, your marriage, your kids, and your relationships with others. They are there whenever you need them and aren’t offended when you need time alone. They don’t leave when you have a bad day, week, or month, because they know that life is tough and true friends are in it for life, not just a good time.
My perfect example of a friend is Jesus. He said that he would stick closer than a brother. He doesn’t disown you if you aren’t what He expects you to be. He allows you to be real and always listens when you need to talk. He said that there was no greater love that one could have than to lay down his life for a friend and then He laid down His life for us as an example of that kind of love. He doesn’t expect us to be perfect, He loves anyway. He is our friend even when we are anything but good. His friendship is not based on what we can do for Him but rather what He can do for us. Jesus is a true friend.

Advertisements
March 20, 2012

Dogs and Sonar

by pastortimfowler

 

The city we live in is going through our neighborhood and getting rid of the above ground utilities and putting everything underground. For the last few weeks they have had our road down to a one lane road most of the day. Yesterday they were drilling under our yard and I just happened to be home when they started. There was a guy who had a portable sonar that he was using to detect water and sewage lines so that they did not drill through them as they buried the power lines. As he was walking toward our fence, our dogs began to bark and so I went outside to assist. The guy told me that he needed to walk through our yard to monitor the drilling and asked if the dogs would bite. I quickly said yes, but not if I am here. So I stood there as he slowly walked, following this drill that no one else could see. And he could only see what his instrument said was there, but he seemed to trust it.
I was in the Navy for 9 years and I understand sonar. It uses sound waves find objects that are either under water or under ground or in some cases, in a belly. It always amazes me how clear and detailed the pictures that can be gotten from using sonar. If you have ever seen the face of a baby in the mother’s womb, you are familiar with what I am talking about. But for whatever reason I was not confident in the device, especially as they were getting to close to my water and sewage lines.
Needless to say, my concerns were short-lived and they passed under our lines with no problems. My dogs held true to my statement that they would not bite while I was there and we still have a few more weeks of a one lane road. In the end we will not have poles with power lines running up and down our road and I am sure that everyone will be thrilled with that.
This morning I was thinking about this and it reminded me of this verse from the Bible: 1 Samuel 16:7 But the LORD told Samuel, β€œDon’t look at his appearance or how tall he is, because I have rejected him. God does not see as humans see. Humans look at outward appearances, but the LORD looks into the heart.” So many times we think that what we feel can’t be seen by anyone, but that is not true. God has the ability to see our hearts. No, I am not talking about our physical heart, but that part of every human that desires to know that someone cares.
We spend our lives in search of someone who cares about us. We want someone to understand who we are and what we are feeling. Often we find a friend or a family member who understands us and sympathizes and we feel comforted. But sometimes we feel as if no one is there that can truly know what we are going through. I believe that God has put that feeling inside of us in hopes that we will turn to Him. He can understand because He can see our hearts.
God uses many ways to try to reach out to people. He uses His people, but people often fail. He uses nature, the old theory that says that where there is a creation there must be a creator. But we are often to busy to see the obvious. But then that is the heart and the heart cannot be denied. Something deep inside that says that there has to be more than this.
My old mentor use to say that God calls and we often turn and walk away, so when all else fails, He will put us flat on our backs so that we have no other choice but to look up. Of course those who look at things as half empty will say that God is cruel to let someone get that low. But knowing what we all know about human nature, we are stubborn and hard-headed, sometimes people who love us have to yell scream and eventually grab us and shake us to get our attention and they do it because they love us. God loves us more.
Not being able to see God makes it difficult to trust God. I could not see the water and sewer lines running under my yard. I had an idea that they were there and knew the general location but they were deep inside the ground. Someone with a power that I did not have, was able to clearly see what I could not and understand my concerns, and control the situation to help me feel better about something that I didn’t even tell them was bothering me.
Because God can see the hearts, He is able to do things that no one else can. He can guide us through the troubled times and make what is on the inside that worries us become nothing but a story of how He fixed what we could not. But there is something that could have changed it all.
Remember the dogs. Like a mail carrier, this guy could have chosen to not come in my yard because of the dogs and the whole thing would have been delayed. Sure, eventually they would have caught me at home, probably by leaving a note on the fence telling me of the situation, but that would have made the other problem of a one lane road go on longer. Sometimes we have dogs to protect us and that is okay, but when that protection becomes a hindrance to someone who can help us with a problem that the dogs can’t prevent, we need to make the right decision to call off the defenses and let that person in. So stop letting the dogs out every time that God wants to help and let Him in. You can keep the dogs, but don’t let the dogs keep you from meeting a God who only wants to help.

March 2, 2012

Child Addiction

by pastortimfowler

My wife is addicted to little children. Our own children are grown and cannot or will not produce babes fast enough for her. So she has a plan to have every baby and little kid at our church think that she is their Mimi too. I am pretty sure that this is not dangerous, but I do think it is an addiction.
Last night she went to help a couple with a baby that is only a month or so old. Both of them are sick and they are new parents and they were just worn out. My wife is a very compassionate woman. She will help almost anyone. But when she sees an opportunity to hold and spoil a baby she quickly jumps to feed her habit. I got the call that she was going to their house about an hour before she got off from work and was told that they were desperate and needed her help. I immediately knew that she just needed a baby fix.
Guess what she is doing tonight? Going to visit our son who lives a couple of hours from here so that she can “help” them. And guess what they have at their house? Yep. A baby. She is staying there for the weekend and my suspicion is that she is gonna be so wired up on baby that she won’t be able to drive home and that is why she is staying the weekend. She really does not know how to take babies in moderation. As an ex addict myself, not to babies, I know the signs. You always try to justify what you are doing, but no matter how much you try you always end up over indulging. There have been times when she would come home from “helping a friend” and she would smell like baby or small child.
Don’t misunderstand, she is not dangerous and I am not scared of her when she is using. Rarely has she ever missed work and she has never lost a job because of it. She has never threatened me seriously with violence and for the most part it does not interfere with our marriage. There are times when I will choose to sleep on the couch because she is so strung out on babies and children, but it has not approached the point to where it threatens our relationship. From time to time she will stretch the truth about her habit. The other week she said that she was only going to have one or two kids and it ended up being six kids at once. I can tell you that one kid will take the edge off, but she is not satisfied until she is totally loaded with kids.
She tries to limit getting children from only people that she knows. Family and friends are her biggest suppliers. But she will quickly run to anyone who comes into our church with a child and try to, as she likes to call it, “love on them”. I have seen her trying to talk to strangers about their children but for now, I feel she can restrain herself.
I have to watch her closely. We cannot have children anymore. I thought that doctor had fixed the problem, but occasionally she will mention adopting. I am strong for her and I remind her that she is an addict and does not need children in the house all the time. Sure, I should probably put my foot down and get her some help, but without children, she can be difficult to live with, so I turn a blind eye and just try to help manage her addiction.

February 1, 2012

To Work or Not To Work?

by pastortimfowler

To work or not to work? Poverty is a problem world-wide. It always has been and always will be. In Matthew’s gospel, the 26th chapter and 11th verse, Jesus said that we would always have the poor with us and I believe what He says. That does not mean that we should not care about them, the question is how should we care for them? Our country has an ongoing argument about how the poor should be dealt with and I have talked about this before in a few blogs.
The best thing a poor person can do is to get a job. I am not saying that we should not provide for those who can’t work, and I am not saying that it is a simple thing to get a job. I am saying that if you can get a job it is better than living off handouts. In fact the Bible says that if a man will not work, he should not eat. Sadly we have developed a culture of people who believe that they deserve to have the government and anyone else who will, take care of them. I get many calls a week from people who are “professional” beggars that have developed a phone script to ask for handouts from churches. They know the agencies that I try to refer them to before I can even get the list out of my drawer. I ask them if they are willing to come do some work around the church and they almost always say no. FYI, I have never turned someone away who is in true need of food or shelter.
Many people who are poor are going through a difficult period in their life that is due to circumstances beyond their control. Sadly they often become comfortable with having the unemployment checks sent to them and begin to enjoy not having to work for their money. Soon they stop looking for work and become a burden on society. Often the excuse in the beginning is that they can’t find a job making enough money. Many times people are not willing to do a job for less than what the last one paid but are more than willing to take less for doing nothing. I have a problem with that.
Working more than one job can overcome the difference in salaries. I know of multiple places that are hiring right now if you are willing to work for minimum wage. Having two and even three jobs is not a bad thing if it pays the bills. Many of our parents and grandparents worked multiple jobs as a way of life. It is not something to be ashamed of. And before you jump to the conclusion that I don’t know what it is like to work two jobs, I do. I have done it as recently as last year. Why? Because I needed to pay my bills and I was not willing to sit around and sponge off others when I could do something to help myself.
Being on government welfare is too often the hindrance of people who would work, but don’t because of convenience. Unemployment insurance should not be extended automatically to everyone who is accepting it. The money does not come from the government, it comes from the tax payers. Sure, most pay unemployment insurance while they are working, but it is not for indefinite benefits. After the allotted time for those benefits, it becomes other people’s money that pays for it. If the checks stop, people are more likely to look harder and take whatever jobs needed to feed themselves and their families.
The bottom line is not about being compassionate or not. It is about enabling those who are fully capable of working but won’t. People who can’t work and are in need must be helped. It is the right thing to do. One of the commands of the Bible is to help those who are in need. But personal responsibility is also a command of the Bible. Laziness is a sin. Not supplying the needs of your family when you are able, is a sin. The church nor the government, should ever help someone sin. But we better be ready to help those who can’t help themselves. If we don’t, then we sin.
But when someone can work, they should. We do no favors by letting people have handouts when they could find a job. While they are in that difficult spot of in-between jobs, we need to help. We need to assist in food, housing, and the overall well-being of anyone in that position. But we must remember that old proverb that says, give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime. To work or not to work? WORK!