Believe in Him

John 6:28-29 (New King James Version)

28 Then they said to Him, “What shall we do, that we may work the works of God?”
29 Jesus answered and said to them, “This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He sent.”

Beautiful day this Sunday! Church is done and I have a few minutes to sit back. Hopefully the nice weather that’s forecast will knock the snow pack down somewhat. Then maybe some jobs can start getting done around here. Its nice to see the cattle relaxing so much lately, not hunkered up against the cold. Last evening I was reading my Bible and came across the verses above and for some reason they hit me.

As winter slowly progresses and cabin fever seems to be affecting the folks in the area more and more about the only thing a person can do in the late evenings is read the Bible. Now there sure ain’t nothing wrong with that let me tell you, but I guess I’m a little like most folks around here and getting a little restless as we wait for the snow to start disappearing. Even with church I’m getting restless. Now there sure ain’t nothing wrong in church, just that I’m starting to like being out with the regular folks, spreading the Gospel, and I get just a bit bored in church where some folks think that church is where its all at. In many ways its a bit boring putting up with the same old thing all the time. I’m not alone in this at all though. There’s a few others that seem to be getting the bug to get out amongst the unsaved and spend a greater share of time with them. At least there when someone responds to the message it means something most of the time.

If a person truly believes the verses above a strange thing happens to them. Now, a person is a vessel that is supposed to be carrying the Holy Spirit around, doing the will of Christ, and the more a person just simply believes the words in verse 29 above the more he or she is driven to step out. Good thing to because I know that if a person is trying to spread the Gospel on their own power it usually doesn’t work out that great. I’d rather believe in Jesus with everything I have and then things go simply compared to just ol’  Tom trying to witness. Thus things simply come out because of belief. Life doesn’t get much easier than that in comparison to trying to go out on our own with some formula evangelism method that is about as comfortable as getting a root canal.

This next week there’ll be a few more personal visits to farms and homes. Kind of addicting for me.

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The Same

Hebrews 13:8 (King James Version)

Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever.

Windy day today so I laid a bit lower than normal around here. They’re talking a little cool down and then it looks like it’ll get better again in a couple days. All is well here and its a little different with the calves being gone, not all of them by any means, but a nice chunk of em! This afternoon I dug out some old steel wagon wheels that I got from a junk man a couple of years ago and brought them into the shop to thaw the snow off of them. Later I’ll spruce em up a bit and paint them. Talked to the neighbor today about getting a few tamarack trees from him.We don’t have any large ones on our land but a ways to the north there’s a thick grove of them trees. On one driveway, the driveway going to the home corrals I’d like to put up a large ranch entrance with the tamarack used as the upright poles. Tamarack lasts a long, long time and I believe they’d be some good’uns. It would have to be large enough for semis and large farm equipment to drive under and wider than the gate that it’ll be set over. Also looking with at some of the local longhorn cattle breeders to see if a fella can pick up a skull with some good long horns to be in the center of the top cross beam. Just one of those minor projects to spruce up this outfit.

Tomorrow evening is church but I won’t be in the main building, I’ll be teaching the younger ones out in the double wide along side of our country church. Always good practice teaching them kids cause if you can handle that ministry job everything else is simple! Then do a couple of visits in the next few days to farms and such to spread the love of Christ. Always an adventure, believe me, and plus spread the word around here and there that Jesus saves just as He did when He was walking on this earth.

I’ve been watching a video of a Glenn Smith sermon from Texas. Glenn was that pioneer of faith that spread the Word of God to rodeos, farms and ranches. Kind of a ground breaker is what he was. He passed away a couple weeks ago. Good sermon, had me laughing so hard I can still feel it! But the truth was preached with power even with all the simple country humor. Being that I’m linking the video I had better thank the church that supplied it, Round Pen Cowboy Church, out of Texas! If you have a higher speed connection you can watch it here.

The title to his sermon is the same verse on top of this post. Jesus, the same yesterday, today and forever. Simple as that! Hey, the Word of God says it, not just old Tom. It does seem to me that nowadays most folks don’t really believe that. Either its all about the Jesus that was, or about the Jesus that’s coming again. And somehow we’re left in a big empty spot where either we’re looking back or else looking forward and not acknowledging the fact that He is the same today, at this moment as He was back then or will be when He comes again.  Now if a fella isn’t all screwed up by religion and just believes what the Bible says things just seem to fall into place right easy. Used to be I always wondered, that was back when I was a church goer but not a Bible believing, born again to the bone Christian, I always wondered about the Gospels. Always wondered why the heck all that good stuff could happen back then but not now. Anybody know what I mean by this?

Why were there such miracles, so many signs and wonders and now it was just go to church, never knowing if your going to heaven or going to hell, just what ever mood God would be in the day that a feller gave up the ghost. In other words, no assurance of eternity in heaven, no power here on earth. Just dry religion. I remember folks talking in church,after a service and that’s kinda funny cause I would high tail it home so fast that there had better not be anyone in my way cause there would be a high chance of them being run over, either by me or by my truck. But they were talking about if heaven is just sitting on a cloud all day, playing a harp, that they weren’t looking forward to it all that much. Hmm, I had to agree. I didn’t look forward to Sunday service and heaven sure didn’t have all that much appeal in all do respect. Just that the alternative wasn’t all that great either!

But something happened over these last few years. Like stumbling into a simple Bible believing church, at the end of my rope and getting huge doses of nothing but the Word. A hunger spawned.Now I really don’t think its all that typical where a person at the end of their rope seeks out a church. But I did, I remember looking through the phone book at all the area churches listed in the yellow pages of our small country phone books and for some reason we decided to try a little church in a forgotten town of trailer houses and doublewides. Probably one of the poorest towns in the region. But that don’t mean anything to God! Looking back and looking at it now I do believe that God is more than likely at a place where the high and the mighty ain’t!

And the most amazing thing, in an out of the way, poor little country town, Jesus is the same today as He was yesterday in the Bible! Healings that are absolutely impossible have happened so many times that I lost count! People delivered for addictions, the addictions that the world and most churches say that you have to be in a program the rest of your life wallowing in misery every day in order to stay out of the addiction. Bam, delivered, delivered for good, no desire what so ever to get back into what ever addiction a person was in.Only the Word, only Jesus can do that. Injuries that should’a kept a person down for weeks, even months healed up in a day, I seen it! I believe it. Youth that are being brought up to believe, not like us old fogies, but to really believe that Jesus is the same today as He was when He walked this earth. Simple faith! And things happen that would have me classified as a complete stark raving nut when I relate them to luke warm believers.

Jesus is the same today! That is one of the greatest things any person could ever hang onto in this day and age of humanism and a religious church that just wants to go through the man made motions. Jesus is the same, Now!

Which Is Easier?

With the week winding down here tonight I look back and am satisfied. All is well here, the calves are gone and they commanded a high price. Three steers are butchered and hanging at the locker plant. The temps are beautiful and there has been very little wind since this past Monday. Things are slowly melting on the driveways and corral roads. I’m hoping the snow pack goes down a bit so I can make it into the woods. The wood pile here is getting rather small, the main farm woodpile is fine I might add, but the pile for this house is almost done. The snow is to deep to make it to the back forty and cut anything so it looks like I’ll have to borrow from the other pile and maybe get some slab wood from a sawmill locally to tide us through. No big deal.

Tomorrow is Sunday and that means church if the cattle are good. I decided to take a month off from speaking in church and get into some other things around the area. Just a temporary break, a time to refocus on the main mission. Tonight I was dwelling on something from the Bible. From Luke chapter 5.

17 Now it happened on a certain day, as He was teaching, that there were Pharisees and teachers of the law sitting by, who had come out of every town of Galilee, Judea, and Jerusalem. And the power of the Lord was present to heal them. 18 Then behold, men brought on a bed a man who was paralyzed, whom they sought to bring in and lay before Him. 19 And when they could not find how they might bring him in, because of the crowd, they went up on the housetop and let him down with his bed through the tiling into the midst before Jesus.
20 When He saw their faith, He said to him, “Man, your sins are forgiven you.”
21 And the scribes and the Pharisees began to reason, saying, “Who is this who speaks blasphemies? Who can forgive sins but God alone?”
22 But when Jesus perceived their thoughts, He answered and said to them, “Why are you reasoning in your hearts? 23 Which is easier, to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven you,’ or to say, ‘Rise up and walk’? 24 But that you may know that the Son of Man has power on earth to forgive sins”—He said to the man who was paralyzed, “I say to you, arise, take up your bed, and go to your house.”
25 Immediately he rose up before them, took up what he had been lying on, and departed to his own house, glorifying God. 26 And they were all amazed, and they glorified God and were filled with fear, saying, “We have seen strange things today!”

There’s nothing I love more than Gospel stories and the Gospel of Luke is a winner, or should I say a loser? Sometimes called the Gospel of Outcasts, I identify with so much of it.In reality all the Gospels are loaded with outcasts. That makes me feel right at home with them I guess! Many know the Gospel story above but I want to dwell on these words; 23 Which is easier, to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven you,’ or to say, ‘Rise up and walk’? The last couple of days this hit me! Hit me right between the eyes!

Now I must confess with my limited human reasoning I always read this and for some reason when Jesus said your sins are forgiven I always figured that was the easy part and I waited for the “good” part, the action part where the man gets healed to the Glory of God. But I confess I was wrong. Which is easier?

Sometimes God is so touched by what He sees that He gives us what we need and not simply what we ask for. Cause face it, what we ask for is simple, very simple for God! Healing, having our needs met, all very simple for God and His promises are all over in the Bible regarding all of this. But God is a whole lot smarter than us folks and sometimes He will jump over what’s obvious to us, the needs we see and He’ll jump right to the very heart of the matter, the parts that are much more important than what we see.

Nothing is more important to God than our standing with Him. He wants no one to perish, He wants eternal life to all, to all that will believe in His Son. We all have problems, some have terrible problems but one thing is for sure, none of us are immune to problems. God sees all of our problems and cares for us as a good father would. But since the beginning of time I wonder if anyone has ever uttered a prayer like this. To tell you the truth I don’t think one person ever has since the world began. Why? Because we can’t think like God thinks. “God, would you please hang yourself on a tool of torture as a substitution for every mistake I have ever committed?” And then have the gall to add, “And after you forgive me, could you prepare a place in your house to live forever?” And if that ain’t enough, “And would you please live within me and protect me and guide me and bless me with more than I could ever deserve?”

No, we only ask for the small stuff. Praise the Lord God took it upon Himself to jump over our small needs and get right to the big need! Every promise and every blessing in the Bible is available to those who “only believe”. But isn’t it good to know we have a God that is far ahead of us, who knows our every need and goes far, far beyond what we ask for in our simple ways!

That Gospel story has a very new meaning to me this winter evening. A God that cares for me much more than I could ever ask.

Loaded Out

Tomorrow’s the big day, heading for the salesbarn. A beautiful drive ranging from rich farm country to thick northwoods and lakes, all within a 45 mile drive. Salesbarn food, jokingly referred to as as fresh as it gets! Today was sunny out with a west breeze and the temps were slightly above freezing during mid afternoon. The calves left around noon, and afterwards we moved around fifty steers to different pens to fit the operation better. Work should slack down a hair now which is alright with me. Seems like I spend allot of time feeding in the dead of winter. I’ll notice a few hungry calves missing tomorrow morning!

Had a good time with the cattle truckers as usual, I get along with them folks just fine. My kinda people! Some hard working folks for sure. One said he was delivering cattle till three in the morning and was already trucking at  7 AM. I was his second major pickup of the day. No wonder they have them huge coffee makers at the salesbarn with all the free coffee a fella can handle. In fact they have two huge ones side by side! Plus when we head up there there’s always a chance I’ll meet up with ranchers from that area that I know. Funny how over the years a person can sure get quite a list of folks that you know!

I jokingly refer to this week as ulcer week, plus nail biting week! But it always turns out just fine. By this time tomorrow evening I should be calming down to my normal high strung self.

Some Cattleman’s Thoughts

The wind has been howling since yesterday in these parts, from the north. Luckily it isn’t really cold out or anything like that. Some minor snow drifting is all, nothing to be concerned about here. Today, this afternoon to be exact, we sorted calves here for selling this week. A beautiful batch this year and a while ago I just got off the phone with one of the truckers that will be coming around noon tomorrow to pick them up and head em north to the beef feeder sale at the salesbarn. Prices have firmed since the fall run of calves so I’m looking forward to this sale Wednesday afternoon. My kind of place with my kind of people! Reputation cattle is what we have got, I’m finding this out. Today, this morning,I called the salesbarn and listed the calves. The manager knew me instantly, didn’t have to tell him where we live, didn’t have to tell him what kind of cattle we have, nothing. He knew! He said our cattle were second to none and backed it up saying they were the top selling cattle at the barn two different years. That floored me I tell you. I always knew we got top prices every year but that statement really got to me. In fact it humbled me more than anything. Funny how when a person is with those cattle year round he starts to figure that they ain’t that great and sometimes even wonders if they are good enough to sell even at a half way decent price. A feller gets to used to them I guess but when they come out onto the salesbarn floor it just goes wild! Last year was crazy to say the least. They opened the door to let the cattle onto the floor and from where I was sitting in the stands I could see that they we our cattle back there. And were they wild! They were trying to climb the walls and everything! Most came flying into the ring full speed and turned around and flew back out. They did this several times,wilder than heck and I was starting to sit pretty low figuring who in their right mind would bid on a crazy wild batch like that? Well, after several attempts to get that batch of steers in there they finally got em in and they almost filled the ring. Then the bidding started and it just went through the roof, I couldn’t believe it! Guess them feedlot folks want some cattle with zip! Well they sure got it!

So get them calves loaded and on the road tomorrow, then go to the old dairy barn and the corrals around that and separate three larger butcher steers and head them down to the calving barn for butchering on Thursday. So by Thursday afternoon all this cattle stuff should be a memory for a bit. Crazy week but at least it breaks up the winter somewhat. Plus it’ll be a little less work with the main batch of calves finding a new home. Then start getting somewhat ready for spring here although a person is never fully ready even when spring arrives but somehow everything always gets done. I’m looking for more pasture land this week too with a couple of hot leeds in that department. I tell you, all it takes is a year where the rains return and a fella sure does get that younger feel again!

With the salesbarn event happening this week it points me to the thing I truly love, the cattle business. Nothing quite like it and I consider it a privilege to spend a good share of my life time in it. I know allot of folks that are living a life that they really don’t want to be living and I’ve been there and done that. A long time ago, (believe me), I always dreamed of running cattle. That was always my main dream concerning what I wanted to do to make a living. Its not for the weak hearted either. You name it, it can go wrong. You got everything to contend with from every angle. Not to mention a critter that could easily kill you if they so desire. But its in my blood and that’s what I do.

Thus comes the mix. A cattleman and a preacher of the Word. It took me more than twenty years to even believe that I had become a cattleman and it seems to be taking a bit for me to believe that I’m actually in ministry too. I must be kind slow in certain ways I guess. Yesterday I was feeding a bit during the day and it dawned on me, (its amazing how I really forget this stuff), that I’m really, truly in ministry, even officially. Sure don’t seem like it at times. Nobody addresses me as pastor or reverend around here, nobody. So I forget except when I get the mail and there’s a letter addressed to Reverend Tom. Don’t matter though because I am who I am and that’s good enough. A strange thing is happening though. Folks are coming to me for spiritual matters. So I just keep it simple and things happen. There’s folks talking that won’t talk to no regular preacher. I know I’ve touched this before but it never ceases to amaze me. There’s a trust of sorts.

What a wide open harvest field there is around here! To bring Christ to folks where they are at. Not to try and make them into something they aren’t. The Gospels never said to believe and then go live like the Pharisees, nope, they brought the Kingdom of God right down to the people. Not trying to bring the people up to the religious. The Gospels are chuck full of ministering to outcasts. In fact that’s the theme. The down and out, to those that just don’t fit in. That’s the beauty of it in my eyes. Hope for the hopeless. A common people’s hope. Hope that society or religion just can’t seem to materialize.

That’s the thrust here. Never to compete with a local church. There’s no competition at all. There’s plenty that will never step foot in a traditional church but are hungry for truth, hungry for God’s love. Wanting to know the way to salvation but turned off by the religion in it all. Turned of by dead tradition. I don’t think there are very many people that get more turned off than me by meetings and churchy stuff. I love truth, I love the Gospels, I love the hope for the hopeless and believe me I was there! Only the Word pulled me out, simple as that. Hearing the Word, not some canned sermon. And Jesus set me free and I have never looked back since then.

The Kingdom of Heaven Suffereth Violence

Winter keeps on around these parts but I sure can’t complain about the weather these last few days. In the twenties in the afternoons and sunny with very little wind. Saturday night out here in the countryside and all is quiet except for the constant sound of snowmobiles in the distance. I just noticed this afternoon, or should I say thought about it, that on our township road, named Dairy Road, there’s not on snowmobile track. Not one all winter! Its one of those rare places around here that is totally peaceful and untouched in the ditches. Now that is really something rare around these parts! And I must say that I sure do love it!

These last three days there was not one evening when I was home. Always gone, mostly with church stuff. But that’s water under the bridge now and I’m looking forward to the coming week. Selling calves, butchering a few steers and then the winter hump is safely crossed after that. Chores will cut down somewhat after the main calf herd finds a new home, don’t have to worry about keeping them in tip top shape any more! Now tonight I just gotta put up a Bible verse that I always loved.

Matthew 11:12 (King James Version)

12And from the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven suffereth violence, and the violent take it by force.

Yep, one of those power verses that was used quite often in days gone by. Now allot of folks can have different interpretations of this verse and that’s fine with me cause it is the Living Word and the Word can come alive in all sorts of ways.This verse has been special to me the last few years because of reading about it being used so often by circuit riders of days gone by as they went everywhere in the heartland of this nation spreading the Gospel to any and all who would listen. And now in the dead of winter it has my heart stirring again, those men that preached in houses, cabins, outside, anywhere really, spreading the Word of God!

Nowadays its not fashionable to just deliver the Gospel straight forward, might offend someone is the current attitude in this luke warm society. I’m talking Christians here as being luke warm. Scared that they might offend someone by declaring the Word of our Almighty God. Brainwashed into thinking that everyone is OK going their own way, seeking what ever way they think is right. Don’t want to offend, heavens no, what kind of Christian offends. Well, the truth is, if a Christian isn’t offending the world, they might be Christian in name only. Jesus offended, often. Later every one of the Apostles offended and also paid the price for it with their lives. If those circuit riders of yesteryear would see the current attitude of many Christians today they would come unglued! Those men that hardly ever reached middle age because of the cause of spreading the Gospel to every nook and cranny in this younger nation.

Now we have church with programs, with well laid out services that hardly ever get off track. Folks would never think of kneeling at a service, but back then they knelt during every prayer, every one! They had joy in the Lord but also knew who the Lord was! In fact I do believe they had allot more joy in the Lord than many today just because they knew who the Lord was, not how He’s made to be today. Back then He was the same God, but folks knew He was an almighty God. Now He’s been gradually reduced to a heavenly vending machine that we cry out to when we “want” something to make us keep up with society and make us look good. For many the only Bible verses they know are out of self help books on how to get your blessings.

But I know with all of my heart that there are a people today that really go after God, go after Him for all the right reasons. They’re in every church, in every denomination. They might be the quiet ones that never seem to make a splash, never make too many waves that would catch the notice of the status quo in their churches. But they are there, searching for God with all they got. I do believe this number is growing rapidly too. I really believe it! I believe just as in the days of old in this country there are folks that are violently seeking Him, not taking no for an answer!

Oh Lord, I do believe! I do believe that God wants folks to violently seek Him. To grab a hold of Him in prayer and not let go. To get into His Word with a hunger that would probably make the average church goer laugh and shake their head. To be labeled as a nut, a fanatic. But, and this is a big but, all the great people of faith were fanatics for the Lord, all of them without exception. To not care what folks think, either the world, or the church, to go after Him with every thing they got. To stand amongst people and not be ashamed to speak the Gospel of Jesus Christ. But you say, it might offend someone, they have their rights. No, no, no,….one thing has to be perfectly clear, and it will be at judgment, to not speak up, to supposedly not want to offend anyone……..the Bible is very clear about. Its nothing more than shame. Nothing more. Shame of our Savior, nothing less.

Jesus Christ suffered and died on the cross so we could be free, a sacrifice for every man, women and child there ever will be on this earth. We must not be ashamed that He saved us, ever. That’s all it is, its not respecting someone’s beliefs, its our shame of our Savior. It unbelief. I don’t want to spend the little time I have on earth cowering in shame of the One who took my sin and washed it away with His Blood. Never! The Kingdom of Heaven wants folks that grab onto it with violence, who won’t let go for anything or anyone. To be total fools for Christ! Then, and only then will a person see the windows of heaven open wide, pouring out its blessings on those that won’t let go!

Thou Shalt

I’m just setting down with a cup of coffee here this late afternoon and figure I could write something. Between plowing snow and chores today that just about filled the entire day here. Things are fairly caught up with the snow plowed all around the corrals, barns, silage pit, round bales of hay rows along side of the silage pit, and a dozen other places. Our township road is plowed out nice and the county road is in pretty good shape. Then to make me busier a cow had a calf today, first noticed the thing walking around with its mother while I was almost ready to feed those cows this morning. The cows are the last thing on my feeding list, with the steers fed first, then the backrounding calves,then finally the cows. Great I thought, now I gotta dig out gates, and dig out the side sliding door on the calving barn and with all this new snow and drifts all over the place this just makes my day. I hate when I get these “unwed” mothers, durn! Calving is supposed to start in late April around here but to stretch feed the last couple of years I had the bulls with the cow herd till they started calving in spring. So now I have 7 calves with their mothers in another pen, but I’ll take em! After this year things should be back to normal and I won’t be getting a few of these strays in the wintertime. I’m not set up for winter calving but I reckon I can handle up to ten cow calf pairs without any damage being done. Then when the main calving comes in late April I’m not depending on a barn or any other kind of shelter when that main run hits. More my style and a fella doesn’t even have to worry about the weather so much, they make it just fine unless there’s a late April/early May snowstorm, which does happen by the way, just to keep this beef guy on his toes. Now with feed supplies being abundant this will be history when next year rolls around.

Listed three more fat steers to be butchered next week this afternoon and also have to call the salesbarn later this week to sell the calves I’m backrounding. That’ll sure be nice when they’re gone, plus a help to the pocket book also. Nice batch this year and they’re plenty big too with the higher quality feed that a person gets when that most important fertilizer is abundant, water! What a difference some July rains can make to a guy like me. Praise the Lord for em!

7And thou shalt speak my words unto them, whether they will hear, or whether they will forbear: for they are most rebellious.

That verse is from Ezekiel chapter 2 and I’ve been dwelling on it a bit. It kind of hits home in allot of ways. “Speak My words unto them”, something that simple, that direct. Not Tom’s words but the Word. Its not my business if people listen or ignore it. Keep it simple, and heaven forbid, never speak my opinion, (which is usually wrong anyhow), just stick to the Word. Here’s what I’m talking about, when faced with a question, never, ever give my opinion as far as faith matters are concerned,just stick to what it says in the Bible, simple. Its when we come up with our idea on what it means that we get in trouble. Basics is all, just stick to the basics.

Once in a while I visit farmers, ranchers, even a logger and I have a good time with them. Funny how easy it is for me to just josh with them. In fact there’s at least two places I visit that probably wouldn’t allow a clean cut preacher to visit them. But they have no problem with me stopping by, even when they know that somehow,someway, I got licensed  and even have the title reverend when I get mail from the church outfit that does the covering. I tell you, I sometimes go weeks forgetting that I really got that title. In other words I must not dwell on it all too much. Really doesn’t matter either, but doing God’s work is what matters.

Sometimes I wonder about this kind of ministry. It sure ain’t a glorified one. Once earlier this winter I was visiting with a small time beef guy who’s wife had left him years ago and bad luck follows him closer that a over tamed house cat. Sat there a couple hours in his rather messy house just visiting him. Plus he was well on his way to being drunk when I arrived. Did that bother me? No. In fact we had a rather good talk, mostly about beef, but I got more than enough of the Word in there to pay for the gas. This is the kind of folks that I visit once in a while, and I must say that a compassion rises up in a person that I could never get doing something in church. This is reality, this is where the misery is, this is where the unbearable hurts are. And this is where much to often there is no hope. Just day to day survival with not one thing to look forward to.

This is where some folks such as myself are called. To the very low ministry that has no glamor, no recognition, and no pay either. The towns folk don’t recognize a person as a church pastor, there’s no special invites into respectable peoples homes. But its real! I stay away from writing this more often than not, but this is real here. Armed with one of my little Cowboy pocket Bibles which fit into the blue jean jacket pocket ever so well, I have all I need physically. And God provides the rest, well, in fact most of it.

I guess I won’t ever be one of them big time glamorous preachers that get all tuned up and take pictures with fancy poses. Nope, just some dirty Wranglers that could very possibly have some cow manure on the cuffs, spreading the Word of God. Speaking it and if they listen or not is not my concern. God said, “Thou Shalt”, so I will.

Paying Tribute

Snowing out most of yesterday and all of today. A north east wind blowing it into drifts all over the place. I spent much of the day just plowing snow around the place. Those that know say it should taper off tonight and hopefully tomorrow I can catch up around here a bit. But its warm outside so that means allot of things go good compared to if it was 30 below zero! Cars and trucks start, cattle waterers don’t have the slightest problem, generally just plain good. Taking allot of bedding for the weaned calves though, that’s much easier to keep clean when its colder outside and everything freezes dry. I have the Bobcat parked in the attached garage to our house tonight, as I did last night too, that way even if it drifts up tonight I just hop in after a big breakfast and plow er out as I go. Kinda lazy I must admit, or maybe I’m just getting smarter as time goes on, one of the two I guess.

I was saddened a little while ago to find out that a man that I really respected went home with the Lord today. Glenn Smith, cowboy preacher, in fact one of those that truly blazed the trail in bringing the Gospel to farmers, ranchers, rodeo folks, just about anyone rural. I’ve mentioned him a few times in posts months back, the influence his life was having on mine. I preached about him at least twice in full length sermons months ago in church and also brought up much of his stuff in the shorter tithes and offering talks that I have been giving these last 6 months in church.

A couple of things stick to me from Glenn’s life and preachings. One is to always preach Jesus Christ the same yesterday, today and forever. To never veer from that. makes allot of sense too. Just stay with the Word, don’t try to tickle ears that want some tickling. I also loved his humor. I was listening to some of his sermons, in fact there’s a link on this blog’s sidebar that I use to listen to him. The down home talking is about as good as it gets for a fella like me. Nothing at all fancy, just the plain facts.

I wrote several times months back about his book that I purchased last spring, “Apostle Cowboy Style”, and besides the Bible in this past year that little book about how he started in his ministry is the most read book that I have. Practically every day I read some of it. I was even reading some at mid day today, before I found out that he went home to be with the Lord.

So tonight as its still snowing and blowing out here where the northern plains meet the north woods I pay tribute to this man that helped me in more ways than I can imagine.

Bulls, Tamales, and Just Believe

Ah, mid winter, now rumor has it that we’re in for a snow storm of sorts tomorrow and Monday. That’s what happens when it warms up in this area. Just got home after a double chores day. Went to the county seat 20 miles away and checked out a Mexican restaurant that we’ve been hearing about for some time. I am pleased to report that it gets five stars from me. Good food, plenty of it, and cheap!  My kind of place! Tomorrow being Sunday means in a little bit I had better get some things gathered together for tomorrow’s church service. Gotta do some minor preaching which means get a couple of verses prepared and away we go! Now this time of year besides seed catalogs to page through guys like me get bull buyer guides.What that consists of is a magazine type of thing with articles on bulls and bull buying and the publication is chuck full of ads from various ranches in the upper Midwest announcing their sales and such.  I’ve been around long enough to know who hypes the best, who grain feeds their bulls where they create a bull that will “melt down” in real world conditions out in pastures, and who sells just some good doing proven bulls. The cattle business isn’t for the weak hearted let me tell you cause you can lose a bundle fast following some fad and hype. Well, I was going through the bull buyers guide and I just rest easy when I see the ranch advertisement where I like buying bulls. The “Old Reliable Sale” and I tell you, they are. Never a problem, tough bulls, bulls that don’t melt down in real world conditions, plus durn good folks to do business with. This is a real bull sale, with the sales reps from the upper Midwest working the crowds.the sale is at the ranch, in a building they built a long while back for just such an event every year. There’s cowboy hats galore and these ain’t drug store cowboys neither! These are folks that make a good share or all of their living raising beef cattle. A long ways back I figured out how to buy a top notch bull at a much lower price than the high selling ones and still end up with durn near the same quality. Bump up the birth weight just a bit and you can knock a thousand dollars off the price tag. And still have the same quality if not sometimes even better than the high sellers. A long while back I discovered not to go overboard on low birth weights. The reason is that our Black Angus cows don’t have the slightest problem with moderate weight bulls. The money savings are huge, plus another problem is avoided too. That is the problem that many are discovering with repeated breedings of low birth weight cattle, these low birth weight cattle start having birthing problems after a few generations. Moderate ones never really do. Just an old cattleman’s trick and I ain’t even charging for the advice, can’t beat that deal eh!

Well, with all that free advice given and the Mexican food settling in finally I figure I had better tend to some faith things in a bit for tomorrow. Simple faith, simply believing, that’s what I like to talk about the most. There ain’t nothing moving from heaven to earth without faith being the thing that jump started it all. Where does a person begin,how does a person build up faith? Start simple, just believe.Now allot of folks just can’t get it, they say that they can’t get any faith moving and such.So I ask, (as always), do you read the Bible regular? The answer is always no. Well, that’s it then. How can you believe the Word if you don’t know the Word? You ain’t going to get fed watching TBN or something similar. Oh, it might keep you alive but sickly, but a person needs the Word, not stuff like that to move the mountain that needs moving. I liken it to the difference between a good beef cow’s milk and milk replacer. You take a good old cow and let her take care of the calf and that beef calf will grow and grow. It will flourish on that rich milk and then start nibbling the green grass in the pastures. It’ll grow strong and healthy. You take that same calf and take it away from its mother, buy some milk replacer and have it live on that and it’ll never even come near what that cow raised calf has become.

Its really simple, this modern day cattleman’s parable. Go for the rich mama’s milk and it will flourish. Get some imitation stuff and rely on that and the calf will end up a few hundred pounds lighter come fall. The milk replacer calf will never have the beautiful coat that its mama raised counterpart has and its frame won’t develop near as well as the calf’s that has been feeding on the real thing.

The Word of God is the real thing. Not some imitation to keep us going. As the Apostle Paul would say, “barely saved”. There’s allot said in that. Barely saved, living a defeated life, not living in victory as we were intended to. And always its from lack of knowledge as the Bible says. The only way to get that knowledge in a good dose is to get into the Word! It sure would save pastors an incredible amount of time if they wouldn’t have to be counciling defeated Christians all the time.

So this will probably be the theme of tomorrow’s talk in church, believing the Word, not trying to figure out what it means to us because rest assured a fella ain’t going to figure it out. Not until one just simply believes it. A preacher from years gone by named Smith Wigglesworth, a powerful, powerful preacher said, don’t try and understand the Bible,  just believe what it says and nothing will be able to shut the windows of heaven from pouring out blessings on the believer, (Tom’s paraphrase). Just believe!

Against the Flow

Pretty good day in these parts. Started out with around a couple inches of new clean snow on the ground, not enough to slow anything down around here. No wind so everything just stayed put where it fell. It was in the twenties today with sunshine much of the day and as I cut some firewood this afternoon I worked up a good sweat. Water was dripping off the roofs, even though it was below freezing, the sunshine gaining more and more power every day. This is paperwork season and to tell the truth I don’t like it all that much. I guess I was never cut out for that kinda stuff, its more a chore than anything else. Makes my eyes sore after a couple of hours. My regular days are pretty much always outdoors, just doing what I do all the time. In the fresh air, no matter what the weather, farming and doing what needs to be done.

Once I get done with this paperwork I gotta get into the seed catalogs and get some seeds rustled up for the family garden. Plus look around a bit for some seed for the farm. Alfalfa, clovers, grass seeds and the like. Amazing the price differences when a person looks around a little bit on the farm supplies. In my experience,which is considerable, I have found that the forage seeds that I buy at the local farmer friendly co-op and at a local Fleet Store can run circles around the big named seed company’s high price seed.

This year I have no idea what will all happen around here on the farm and I guess I ain’t worried about it very much. We take it as it comes, there’s not much else a person can do. Just like the oldtimers of faith, which I respect s very much. Not really the big named preachers of yesteryear, although I have allot of respect for them, just the old time people of simple faith that used to farm, used to raise families, used to trust God in every part of their lives. Funny, I read a book a long while back, a couple in fact, written a hundred or more years ago. And it was well documented how people when prosperous would stray away from the God that took them there in to prosperous living. I see it all the time, how folks can put together a new religion where living for materialism and calling ourselves Christian become respectable.

Are these new fangled gadgets evil? The answer is no. In fact the other evening when in the hospital waiting room I literally ran the farm and parts of the family from a cell phone. That was basically my first time ever truly using one, normally I never touch it cause the little thing is so small I figure I’ll drop it down my collar on my shirt or something. I need a phone with a receiver a person can grip with his hand, not fingertips. That’s just me though and I sure don’t judge anyone that prefers them. Its when the gadgets, the stuff, starts to rule us that we stray from the Lord.

Lately though this has been on my heart more than normal. About how we think society has the answers to man’s problems. How some figure certain political parties make a person more Christian and so on. I believe that there isn’t much difference in the parties, both run on corruption so I stay away from setting my hopes on them at all. I still vote, I still stay informed, but never give them any hope for changing anything because their system is the world system and that is going to burn away soon. No, I’ll put my trust in Jesus Christ, our King!

Here it is early February and I’m getting more and more stricken with spring fever. Dreaming about getting out there, working the fields, fixing fences, doing cow checks in the pastures everyday. Working in the yard and garden in the evenings to wind down the days. Going down to the creek and see what a person can spot lingering down there. Visiting some neighbors or visiting some friends from church. Heading off to church on Sunday mornings without having to warm up the car in order to keep from freezing down. All these years of writing have shown me that I still value what I did a few years ago. The good life out here. Its what you make it, it can be a disaster or a dream come true, its up to the person.

Wow, did I stray writing, I was trying to talk about the oldtimers of faith. Those farm families of yesteryear. Hard working folks! But they also knew how to stop working and talk with the Lord. Whether at meals, or reading the Bible by lamp light or candle light. About taking every Sunday off after chores were done and fellowshipping with the saints. Not worrying about some football game on the hellivision, not overwhelmed with the deafening noise of a society bent on self destruction through unbridled materialism and worship of self. Just getting together, talking the talk, enjoying each other, eating good!

We’ve lost allot. More than we can imagine. But this is one area where a person can change it themselves. And it might be harder than a person thinks depending on how addicted they are to the world. I know I have addictions in this world, but I also know I’d rather live the life God intended for us to live. To really live, not just go with the flow. I read somewhere that only dead fish go with the flow and by golly they are right. I have never seen a fish pointed down stream except to reposition themselves, live fish are always pointed against the flow!