Saturday Evening

Its Saturday evening and the week is winding down out here. Put in an honest day today, as usual, and this afternoon baled some second crop hay and also 57 big round straw bales for winter bedding in the loafing sheds. There’s allot more to go but the critical hay is baled and the remaining straw can wait until next week some time. It’s not as picky as hay is and it’ll bale up good. I had enough at seven this evening and decided to check a couple of pastures and head for home.

This is a year of plenty around here and I ain’t arguing the fact either. It sure beats drought, by allot, and this long winter when the winds howl off the northern plains we can be assured a feed supply for all those beef. This afternoon baling I was listening to a country station on the radio, good ol’ AM radio, and figuring about every third or fourth song is a Christian one anyhow I figured I’d spend the afternoon with that on. One song really stuck in my head for hours after hearing it, a Hank Williams Jr song, I forget the name but he sings, “I’m a country plowboy, not an urban cowboy”.  Over the years I’ve heard it hundreds of times and always liked it but today I thought about it and thought about it hard.

Reminds me of the book I’ve read about a dozen times through the years called, “The Time It Never Rained”, by the late Elmer Kelton.Now that book is easily my favorite novel of all time. One of the most factual books ever written about the lifestyle of ranching and also the thoughts and emotions that go with it. I’m talking the real thing, not urban cowboy stuff. The real thing isn’t for folks that want to live life like everyone else, with vacations, weekends, holidays, traveling and all that stuff. No, the real life is tough. I’ve thought about this allot lately, probably much more than I should, but I can’t help it,

And I thought about the ministry angle of it too. This isn’t something for sissies. There ain’t no show being put on. A person’s word is his word. I had that experience a week or two ago, when I found out that I needed a prescription for some animal medicines, I had sent a family member in and they couldn’t sell it. I got on the phone and said it was for my cattle and they stretched the state’s rules and handed it over, on my word. When I go to town I very seldom even carry a billfold or a check book. They know I pay, even when there’s abig sign at the business establishment saying to pay now. Plus I don’t have plastic.

I thought about all the “near death” experiences through the years on this outfit, and there are plenty. I also thought about some of the “saves”, that saved a person’s life at exactly the right moment. Bull attacks, run away machinery. Mad cows! There have been plenty! Nope, this ain’t no white handed, clean cut ministry. This is the real thing! There ain’t no going back to a job on Monday, back to another life. This is life! I know many times at church even, when they get talkin about all the usual stuff that folks talk about nowadays I feel like a different breed altogether. I don’t say anything, just let em go. But my mind is on other things. Hundreds of other things. A different point of view than most by a long shot. I can’t conform.

But there’s a place for folks like me. Those independent beef men, that make their living doing this. In many ways its probably the best thing, because the way I figure it, there’s a need for folks that don’t go by schedules, that can say no, and mean it. That can look a person right in the eye and tell if they are just plain lazy, or full of bull. There ain’t none of that suburban mush, that political correctness that is the way for much of the American church nowadays. Call a spade a spade.

Tomorrow’s Sunday, that means get up extra early in order to get things done here in order to even make it to church. It ain’t a day of sleeping in, its a day of hitting it earlier than normal, and normal is pretty early! But I wouldn’t trade it for the world!

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Published in: on July 31, 2010 at 8:27 pm  Comments (1)  
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Cattle Company

Busy is the word out here! Things are moving along though, but there is no end in sight for another month and a half at least. The storms yesterday didn’t do much damage around here besides knocking down a tree here and there that needed knocking down, plus we got an inch and a half of rain out of the deal so considering firewood and welcome moister, all things are a plus! Cut a beautiful field of second crop hay this afternoon and this evening between times here on the computer its a heat detection time over in the heifer lot. They should explode into full heat by morning and all is set to A-I them tomorrow. I’ve done this a few times before with amazing results. Plus its a great way to get blood from a $50,ooo bull for pennies on the dollar. Tonight’s Wednesday, which means church night, but we’re taking an evening off for once. Its a rare time when we do that, but a much needed one for all. A fella can burn themselves out by chasing everything that’s going on, so we decided to step back for a bit. Out here we don’t really have a thing called a vacation, so just slowing down on some things definitely helps allot keeping a person going.

Was thinking today while cutting hay for hours during a day totally the opposite of yesterday. Today was much cooler, much more comfortable. Yesterday was stifling, the intense heat and unbearable humidity. Today was mostly blue skies and a nice breeze out of the NW, highs in the lower seventies. Just plain nice to be out in a lush hay field! But anyway, as I said, I was thinking. I was wondering what a person would classify me as, as far as making a living. I guess you could say I farm. But at the same time we run allot of cattle, beef cattle which requires allot of pastures and ranch style work. Now all the crops are for feeding the cattle herd through the long and tough upper midwest winters. When the winds rush across the northern plains and hit us head on. So I ain’t a cash crop farmer at all. Just bringing in feed for the herd for over winter. So if I’m a farmer, plus a cattle rancher, and having a hard time deciding what is really the case, I decided today that this can be called a “cattle company”. Simple! Because that is exactly what it is. For this area we raise allot of cattle, most folks are much, much smaller in size. Folks around the area know that I’m a beef man. That’s what I’m mostly known for.

One of my main interests is rodeo, although at this age about all I do is provide a shady spot for the spectator bleachers which is alright with me because I get enough thrills working the cattle around this place. Nice to just be a big fan and watch others do the duty! And the main thing to top all of this off is the fact that I’m saved by Jesus Christ, as is everyone in this household. Because without that things would not be the same. How thankful I am for that!

I am excited about all of this, especially the Jesus part combined with the cattle company part! Opportunities are huge, in all directions and starting this fall it will really take off, one way or another! Just follow Jesus!

The Wayward Calf

Tonight is more a kick back and relax type of post. Been swathing oats fields most of the day with one more day to go if the machine decides to keep running, which by the way would be in the major miracle department. My story is about a calf though, a Hereford calf out on the south pasture a couple of miles away. In our beef pastures I’ve used a hot dividing wire the last few years to split the pastures into different paddocks and have learned that doing this gives about three times the grass than a continually grazed pasture will. As the grazing season progresses and the cows are moved to different pastures with their calves it doesn’t become a chore, because the cows are waiting for the move. A major move only takes a few seconds once the bovines are trained in. Last week though, one Hereford calf decided to go under the hot single dividing wire and act like it was smarter than the rest. And as usual for calves, it had no trouble going under to the wrong side, but then would not come back under that hot wire to save its life.

For five days it stood on the other side of the fence and bellered for its mama and its mama stood on the opposite side bellering back. Seeing that this pasture was two miles away, the bellering really didn’t bother me all that much. I tried to chase it back, but every time I made a move to do so the calf took off for the high country till I left. By today I figures the whole herd could go into the pasture section where the wayward calf had taken up residence. I opened the electric gate and in a few seconds every cow and calf were over there. I watched and that calf found mama right away and commenced to getting some milk from a tight bag if I ever seen one! And that old Hereford cow didn’t even mind, tight bag and all. All’s well I figured and went on my way this morning.

This late afternoon I drove the swather out to that area to start a field and I could see the pasture down the slope a ways. All looked well for a while as I swathed away up on the field until on a pass that took me closer to the pasture I seen something that only has me shaking my head in bewilderment. The herd was grazing that nice grass, all spread out like a beautiful picture. Then I seen it. Way back by the electric dividing wire, the Hereford cow standing there bellering at her calf that sometime today crossed under the hot wire and went into the paddock that I moved the cows out of today and now would not come back! I think I’ve seen it all when it comes to self destructive behavior!

Well, I figure that cow and calf can beller for another week, seems like they kinda like it the way it looks to me. And if they like it and ain’t on any neighbors lands I guess they can do what they want. Now the way I figure it, being a cowman and Bible believing believer there just gotta be a parable in this story!

Outcasts

Just finished up another day out here. It was a whirlwind type of day for a while. Running around like nuts this morning getting things ready for synchronizing heifers for A-Iing next week. I didn’t know that they had tightened up the rules for some of the products that we use in this and it requires a prescription from the vets. So there was allot of running around the countryside this morning and I felt like some big time rancher driving, (fast) down the rural state highway, on the cell phone putting things in order. All’s well though, things got taken care of, the stuff got sold to me, even though I wasn’t picking it up. Just got sold on my name and because of my name. That’s one thing about life out here in fly over land allot of regular folks don’t believe or understand, how a reputation and a man’s word mean so much. I know that most of the folks that I call friends are using plastic in order to by stuff. But I guess I’m just an old hold out and prefer cash, green. It never fails to amaze me how many businesses love it when paid this way!

This is the way that I love to live though. Straight forward, no nonsense, where the word is everything. I know that’s really falling by the wayside nowadays, even in the church. Guess you could call me old school in many ways. Some say,”well now Tom, you gotta keep up with the times!”, but I don’t really care. Just look at how churches today are trying to be models of suburbia. Now let me tell you,  you start trying to shove modern suburban religion down this old cattle man’s throat and the out come ain’t all that great. I remember years ago, when I wasn’t on fire for the Lord, but still attending church here and there, I would always say that I’d trust the good ol’ boys at the salesbarn or the bar borrowing money from me than these church folk.Cause I knew that the chances of being paid back by many of the church folk were nil. In fact, and this is a fact, a few of them would spend more time in bankruptcy court than trying to pay back what “they owed”. What they borrowed. Now nobody forced them to borrow, they just had to keep up with the Jones.

Then a life changer happened to me a few years ago, about this time of the year. I attended a wake and a funeral for one of the good ol’boys in the area. Now this good ol’ boy was a rock solid Christian although I do believe he would be looked down at in many of today’s high class churches. And it was at those events where I know I received a major call on my life. Why? Because there was allot of “good ol’ boys” attending. In regular work clothes, some didn’t know that they should take their hats off during the funeral service and all. If ever I had a tug on my heart from our Lord Jesus Christ it was then. That was when I seen the call on my life, to go to the outcasts, to go the regular folk. And there are so very many!

I was dwelling on this today after running the heifers down the chute and I finally went out baling in a meadow. There I have time to think, to dwell, to talk with God. This is why I love the Gospel. This is why I’m attracted to the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Because it destroys the high and mighty and reaches down to the unwanted. This is why I always said that its better to be a town drunk than a modern church goer most of the time.  At least when your a drunk you are what you are. Jesus went to the unwanted, Jesus loved them. Jesus also loved the high society, religious people cause He ain’t no respecter of persons. Jesus didn’t reject those high society religious folks, they rejected Him. But the outcasts didn’t.

They call the Gospel of Luke, the Gospel of Outcasts and it truly is true. When a person reads it with that in mind, that comes shining through like a bright light! I don’t want some religion where everyone acts so “good”. Cause its just an act and that’s all it is. I don’t want to waste my time with suburban religion, nope, just keep it simple and talk about the Blood and the Cross. Stick to the truth, not tickling folks’ ears. Yep, that’s why I love the Gospels. That’s why I read them over and over because without them a fella has nothing. I don’t think I’ll ever be an epistle preacher because I am more the Gospel type person. I love to proclaim the Gospel, I love the Good News!

Praise the Lord for the Good News! That news that can set anyone free. Jesus suffered and died on the cross for the outcasts, as much as for any proper church folk. The countryside is full of people starving for the real thing, not what’s called church by in debt, middle America, but the real thing. A God that changes lives, not making folks proper to attend these modern churches where they aren’t welcome anyhow. The outcasts, saved by the Jesus on that cross. Lord, how I love this Gospel! The hope it brings to the folks that aren’t understood and are looked down upon.

Power in the Name!

Last evening was something else. My wife and I went to the county seat to the Mexican restaurant that we sometimes go to. Love the place, its a real one, run and owned by a Mexican family, ( a mighty big family if I might say so), and the food is great! Well, we had severe thunderstorms rolling through the area at the time and last evening while sitting in that restaurant the storm sirens were blowing and the sky got so dark a person would have sworn it was the middle of the night. There was a tornado north of town and I watched small hail come down during the torrential rain that was coming. Now I had me something different at the time in the restaurant, a T-Bone steak made Tex-Mex style and was I ever full. Plus it was about half the price of a regular restaurant, with some shrimp to boot with the deal. Told the wife, “if a tornado hits now at least I’ll go to the promised land with a full stomach”. But the tornado never came into town and the good news was that this storm didn’t hit the home place, we just received a good rain which is a blessing in the middle of July in these parts let me tell you! Now today is a beautiful day with lower humidity and clear skies and a NW breeze, a fella couldn’t ask for anything better!

This morning I was running pastures a little earlier than normal. Ain’t like city folk that take it easy on Sundays, nope, here a person gotta get the work done if there is any thoughts of attending church, which there always is. Chores went good, no cows up to mischief, and I happily drove from one pasture to the next. In fact I enjoy Sunday morning chores more than any other day because there’s a couple of great radio programs on while I drive around the countryside. The earlier one is with an Oklahoma rancher going through the Bible and its really interesting, and the later one which I catch the beginning of is more country gospel music with a word put in here and there. So chores got done without a hitch and I came in and ate a second breakfast cause those church services get mighty long sometimes and if its quieter in church around noon ol’ Tom’s stomach starts growling up a storm and I shift around and try to quiet it down to no avail. So a long time ago I learned that on Sundays its a four meal day for me!

After second breakfast I figured I had might as well get cleaned up, shower, shave and all of that. I commenced to shaving, (with a razor), and durn, wouldn’t you know, I cut myself deep. At least I wasn’t preaching today, so that was a relief! I bled like a stuck hog and just couldn’t get that blood to stop. I used more toilet paper and Kleenexes and even the wash rag but I couldn’t get that thing to stop for the life of me! Now this was getting serious cause I didn’t want to miss church! Besides the importance of worshiping the Lord in a group setting I also do look forward to fellowship before and after service, because in this life style there comes some weeks where there is very little human contact, depending on how busy we are at the moment. That bleeding would not stop for anything, musta hit a good vein, and I was getting more and more desperate. I remembered reading about a verse that the old time faith healers would use.

6And when I passed by thee, and saw thee polluted in thine own blood, I said unto thee when thou wast in thy blood, Live; yea, I said unto thee when thou wast in thy blood, Live.  Ezekiel 16

Cowboy preacher Glenn Smith used that verse too, on horses and humans and it always works to stop the flow of blood immediately. But darn it, at the time I was so busy just keeping blood from getting on stuff that I knew I couldn’t leisurely look the verse up. Time for desperate measures! I said, “in the Name of Jesus, blood stop”. And you know what? It stopped instantly! From full force bleeding to absolute stop! Well I tell you, I had said that in faith, but still a person goes into awe when it happens to you! I know that I know that for the bleeding to stop like that was naturally impossible, without any doubt! And I praise the mighty Name of Jesus here tonight! Now I know this was no big deal, a cut like that was not threatening at all, but it did stand to ruin the day somewhat. There’s power in that Name!

Mid Summer Report

The summer work load continues out here in the countryside. The weather is warm, if not down right hot, but the pastures and crops look good across the area. The cows are fat, the calves are growing, and this is one happy fella even if there is a big work load. But better a big work load now than a winter with limited feed! I was just checking today about when the two local rodeos were being held this year and both are in August. One right at the end of August and I sure do hope I can attend at least one, if not both of them. I always loved that, made my summers and sure do hope all falls into place so I can go!

Ah, feels good to sit down here this evening. I just came in from a couple of pasture checks and all is well out there. Looking forward to tomorrow, even though there is nothing planned but regular work. They’re talking possible storms and rains tomorrow,we’ll see when the time arrives. You never really plan everything according to the forecast, just get out there a do what needs doing. I’m also getting things lined up for working a bunch of heifers next week and getting them ready for artificial breeding. I’ve done this a few times before and it has worked out really well in the past. Breed em to a 20 or 30 thousand dollar bull for $12 bucks a piece, my kinda deal! But these ain’t no regular bulls, oh no they ain’t, these are the good doing kind, smaller framed, what I call “real Angus”. Seems like in this day and age the good breeds just keep getting bigger and bigger until they’re losing most of the good traits that made them famous. Through years of observance I have seen in our own herd of Angus and Herefords that the smaller framed cows will out do and out last the larger ones, sometimes by allot. Plus they eat a heck of allot less than the big girls do. Then come the beginning of September when we chop silage corn, allot of that too, I know it goes further than if they were all a bunch of huge cows.

After silage this year is what I’m really looking forward to. That signals the end of gathering in the crops for the year. The feed supply is set then, no more wondering. The way it looks at present there will be a huge supply here and I will even be able to sell allot of small grains. I haven’t done that for a while and that will be a huge boost to the income around here. Then later in October its calf working time, separating them from the mama cows, listen to them beller for a few days and then backround them for a few months till mid-winter when the prices are usually much higher than fall. But once that silage is chopped and put in the pit and one a secondary pile, the workload really does go down and the days are getting shorter. This is when farm and ranch ministry gets allot more attention.

Everything is set, and more things are happening. Bibles are on hand to be given away, allot of them. Gonna clean up the three quarter ton flatbed truck and get a new seat cover and that’s the local ministry truck. Anything further than local can be done with a car. I’m looking forward to a new season, the workload will diminish and the Lord’s work will take up much more time. But I don’t feel guilty doing limited ministry work in summer, the bills have to be paid and the cattle operation takes care of the bulk of that. Glory to God for His provision! That don’t mean He’s going to just plop it into a fella’s lap, more than likely a fella has to work his butt off gathering the provision God has provided! And I praise Him for it! God is good, all the time! Even a few years ago during the terrible droughts here when there was very limited feed, God provided, I just scrambled to keep up with what God provided! And there are so many huge testimonies from that period, on how God kept this cattle herd going. Times were tough, no doubt about that but God seen us through. Not once did we go below zero, close to zero but never under!

Our God is an awesome God that cares for His own!

Where Were You?

Another day of baling here. More and more hay being rolled up for the tough northern winter. Down in the meadows at the moment and soon will be oats harvest and second crop upland hay. When I bale I have a fairly modern tractor with a nice quiet cab and I can listen to the radio in air conditioned comfort. Which is OK with me because round baling isn’t exactly what a person would call a clean job. Those balers really belch out the hay dust. But in the tractor I don’t get any dirt on me at all. A couple of weeks ago I was baling and was listening to Christian radio and on a talk show there was a call in and that call in is one that I don’t think I’ll ever forget as long as I live. This evening I want to share a bit of it, it has affected me down to the marrow.

The guy calling into this national Christian radio talk show caught my ear instantly because he was identified from right in this area. No name of course, but said he worked for the DOT, which is the highway guys whom I respect allot, because this is Minnesota and a person depends on those folks keeping the roads clear in the long winters. Plus one of my good friends works for the same outfit from the same area. It seems over the last five years I’ve learned more about the state highway department than I had ever figured I would and i do find it incredibly interesting.

The caller started with how he was on the road and heard the call of an accident very close to where he was. So he went to the location and was the first on there. The victim was a young lady, probably 18 to 20 years old. She was pinned in the car and hurt bad. He couldn’t get her out and was waiting for the crew with the jaws of life to arrive. While waiting he shared Jesus with here and tried to comfort her. She was hurt and pinned so badly she could only look with glazed over eyes. She couldn’t talk. The caller kept up sharing Jesus with her and comforting her as the crew arrived with the jaws of life and after they extracted her from the car they took her in by ambulance. That was the last the caller seen of her. That evening he called in to find out what happened to her and found out she had died.

Emotions over whelmed him. That powerless feeling of knowing he could do nothing. And he got angry with God, very angry, asking why, why, why? He told God in no nice terms that He should have been there. “Where were you” he yelled at God. Mad, bitter, in a whirl,not knowing what was going on, he angrily confronted God. Remembering that young life passing away in front of him, praying to God for help, but she passed away.

All of a sudden the power of God settled over him and spoke to his heart as if a person was speaking next to him. “Where was I during all of this? I was in you!”  The man’s eyes were opened and he understood like he never understood before. Christ in me, not some where hanging around. Not some far off place where He’d have to be called. But in him. With tears streaming down his face he asked God one question, “is she with you?” God answered, “Yes, she’s with me.”

Since that time life has taken on a whole new meaning for that state worker. Now instead of lip service about having Christ in me, he knows its true and lives it. He shares the Gospel all the time with folks he meets. When I heard this testimony on the radio I can tell you, the tears were streaming down my face. Later that evening I found out my wife had heard the same testimony while driving to town and she was moved to tears listening to it. Today baling I was thinking about it and a small revelation came to me. I clearly see now what Paul talks about over and over in the epistles, about being crucified to self, about carrying our cross, about dying to self. Why, to let Jesus move using us. To let Jesus be real through us. Its so embarrassingly simple.  Oh, the power of a regular person’s testimony for making the scriptures clearer!

Are You The One?

Matthew 11

Jesus and John the Baptist1After Jesus had finished instructing his twelve disciples, he went on from there to teach and preach in the towns of Galilee.

2When John heard in prison what Christ was doing, he sent his disciples 3to ask him, “Are you the one who was to come, or should we expect someone else?”

4Jesus replied, “Go back and report to John what you hear and see: 5The blind receive sight, the lame walk, those who have leprosy are cured, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the good news is preached to the poor. 6Blessed is the man who does not fall away on account of me.”

7As John’s disciples were leaving, Jesus began to speak to the crowd about John: “What did you go out into the desert to see? A reed swayed by the wind? 8If not, what did you go out to see? A man dressed in fine clothes? No, those who wear fine clothes are in kings’ palaces. 9Then what did you go out to see? A prophet? Yes, I tell you, and more than a prophet. 10This is the one about whom it is written:
” ‘I will send my messenger ahead of you,
who will prepare your way before you.’ 11I tell you the truth: Among those born of women there has not risen anyone greater than John the Baptist; yet he who is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he. 12From the days of John the Baptist until now, the kingdom of heaven has been forcefully advancing, and forceful men lay hold of it. 13For all the Prophets and the Law prophesied until John. 14And if you are willing to accept it, he is the Elijah who was to come. 15He who has ears, let him hear.

I’ve read these passages countless times in the past but today at a small mid-summer joint church service which our little church was involved in these verses literally exploded into my heart. It was a beautiful day out here in the countryside. Sometimes we take it for granted living out here that this is the way it is for everyone, but I know that its sure not when a person sits down and dwells on it. But today’s message, given by a local county chaplain who is a rarity amongst them, one who is one fire for Jesus Christ and not just a generic chaplain,  was a life changer of huge proportions!

The message was about doubt, about wavering faith. The message was about how a person can be on the mountain top with all the faith seemingly possible and then be brought down into the pit and the faith starts to shake. Now some religious folks figure a person has to maintain an air of perfect faith all the time and never complain or question, just keep putting on the show and making it look like everything is OK. Well, I don’t know about anyone else but sometimes things are not OK. Ol’ John was in prison for months for speaking out the truth against Herod. John had seen Jesus baptized,he had seen the Holy Spirit descend on Him. John knew that He was the Lamb of God. But John was now locked away for a long time and doubts started to creep in. Where was this new Kingdom,where was this new day?

Ever have times like that? I sure do, all the time. They creep in quietly, they creep in especially after being on the mountain top where a person figures it’ll never get bad again. But that’s when the hit comes. It happens to all Christians, the question is how do we deal with it. How did John deal with it? How did others in the Bible deal with it? The answer is that they came directly and asked God, are you Him? How did David deal with everything that happened so tragically in his life? The answer is he came and asked God, sometimes in anger, sometimes in frustration,but he always brought it to Him.

How do we deal with tragedy? Do we just try and put on our church act where we act like everything is OK? That’s just dishonesty. It ain’t OK, so why put on a show. The saints can’t help, or share when the show is being put on. When John had his disciples come to Jesus there wasn’t a rebuttal for unbelief. On the contrary Jesus gave John the Baptist some pretty good praise! Because John honestly questioned while being down in the pit.

This got me thinking today. A good day by all standards. Was at the small town joint church service. After that had some treats and coffee from a neighboring church. Then found a good spot, set out the lawn chairs and watched the annual parade for an hour. Came home and in an hour or so got together with some really close friends from church and went to the city 35 miles south east of here and ate and then went to a plant nursery where everything was bare bones price. My kinda deal. Both families each bought a cherry tree and we helped each other plant em at our respective places. Got home this evening did pasture checks and I was still dwelling on this message today. A life changer if I ever heard one.

Jesus knows what its like to be in the pit. He knows what its like to wonder where God is. He knows the darkest hour and the terrible feeling of not knowing where God is in all of it. Don’t believe me? Yes, He knows! Matthew 27:46

About the ninth hour Jesus cried out in a loud voice, “Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani?”—which means, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”

Jesus will never leave us, never! He knows what we go through, no matter what we go through. In our darkest hours we have the right to call out to Him! You know, that’s real faith! When all hell is breaking loose, to call out to God. A person is smashed down to nothing. What we perceive as faith is almost non existent. And in the misery and dispare we call out, we cry out, we yell out, or we can’t even find words and just groan. Is God ashamed of us as some religious folks would have us believe? The Biblical answer is no. That’s when He is closest!

Dry Bones

The summer is progressing here where the Great Plains meet the north woods. Making hay all the time and already have more made than all of last year, and there’s allot to go.  Just started the meadow hay and as I work daily I see the second cutting hay is growing up rather rapidly and there won’t be much of a break between the first and second crops. This weekend there’s a large summer carnival in a small town about 13 miles away and we’ll be heading over that way this Sunday morning for a joint church service of area churches, although several churches supposedly are involved, only two really show up and do the work. But that’s the way it usually goes in this day and age.I must say though, that those two churches are the type of churches that I feel very comfortable with. The real thing, not some old dead religion.

With all this summer work its almost my off season as far as ministry work goes. Just a bit too busy most of the time, but the way it looks, the ministry season should start earlier than the last few years this year because things slow down here, well kinda, after corn silage is chopped. I don’t pick much corn and won’t be picking any this year that I know of so if silage chopping is around Labor Day, things will slow down so at least the evenings will be much more open. I can’t wait! I was thinking about getting a different pick up truck but have decided not to, to many other things that want that money, so instead of a good used pick up to drive around the area in I figure on cleaning up the three quarter ton flat bed truck and buying a new seat cover and away we go. That thing is a gas hog but its a bear in bad weather. It’ll go through almost anything.

There’s stacks of Bibles to pass out, and there will be stacks of tracts too. A while back I was reading a book called Apostle Cowboy Style, written by the late Glenn Smith and he was writing about his earlier days in ministry and how the Bible opened up to Ezekiel and he got inspired to go on with the thankless ministry that he had been doing. And after a while it did take off because he was doing it God’s way, not his way. That evening while checking out what ol’ Glenn had read the pages landed on Ezekiel 37 and I read on. What I read amazed me and spoke to me.

1The hand of the LORD was upon me, and carried me out in the spirit of the LORD, and set me down in the midst of the valley which was full of bones,

2And caused me to pass by them round about: and, behold, there were very many in the open valley; and, lo, they were very dry.

3And he said unto me, Son of man, can these bones live? And I answered, O Lord GOD, thou knowest.

4Again he said unto me, Prophesy upon these bones, and say unto them, O ye dry bones, hear the word of the LORD.

5Thus saith the Lord GOD unto these bones; Behold, I will cause breath to enter into you, and ye shall live:

6And I will lay sinews upon you, and will bring up flesh upon you, and cover you with skin, and put breath in you, and ye shall live; and ye shall know that I am the LORD.

7So I prophesied as I was commanded: and as I prophesied, there was a noise, and behold a shaking, and the bones came together, bone to his bone.

8And when I beheld, lo, the sinews and the flesh came up upon them, and the skin covered them above: but there was no breath in them.

9Then said he unto me, Prophesy unto the wind, prophesy, son of man, and say to the wind, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Come from the four winds, O breath, and breathe upon these slain, that they may live.

10So I prophesied as he commanded me, and the breath came into them, and they lived, and stood up upon their feet, an exceeding great army.

When I read this I had a vision. Now let me tell you, I’m not one of those folks that has visions all the time. In fact I have only had two that I can ever remember and this is the second one. The first one was over four years ago. This is a day time thing not a dream. But I seen something that has shook me allot. I seen a valley, a valley in fact where the town where the carnival is happening this weekend, and I seen it all from an areal view, perfectly. I seen a valley of dry bones, I seen a people living there, the living dead, so many of them. And the Lord say, “go speak to these dry bones and I will make them alive.” There’s allot more to it all, the surrounding town, farms and ranches, but this is the nucleus of it. To preach the Cross, to preach the Blood. Its not up to me to convince anyone, its not up to me to “save” anyone. Heck I couldn’t even save myself, Jesus did that for me on the Cross! My calling is to say, “Thus saith the Lord.” To preach to any that God sends in front of me. To wait on God’s timing,not Tom’s timing.  To not worry what man thinks, to only fear the Lord, not man.

The Lord showed me what would happen with simple obedience, the dry bones would come to life. Since this vision happened a couple of months ago, I brought it to the prayer group before every service at our little rural church and we have been praying this through. We have been speaking it forth in prayer, believing, standing on the Word of God!