For Nothing Is Impossible With God

“For nothing is impossible with God.”  Luke 1:37

I remember reading in the book, “Apostle Cowboy Style” how we tend to make ministry something of our own and set God aside in the process. These last couple of weeks I’ve been going through some soul searching and am finding out many things about which way I was heading. Also I know that I was relying on myself a bit to much. God puts dreams in a person. That’s what got me into the cattle business many years ago. And even before that I would buy some Holstein calves and raise em up just to have some cattle around. No matter if I was working out full time, I just had to have cattle, even if it was just a hand full. Then twenty years ago I remember on a snowy winter day, buying my first bred beef cows. And the blood still flows around here from those original cows in many cows today in the herd. This was always my dream, to build a good sized cowherd of reputation stock and kinda make a living at it.

My other dream was ministry. These last few years I’ve really worked hard at it and I have dreams associated with it for sure. Ambition and dreams are God given, if we didn’t have them we wouldn’t get very far, so there is nothing wrong with that. When the dream becomes an idol, well that’s when the problems appear. In the book mentioned above, Glenn Smith relates how he was trying to build up “his” ministry and it didn’t work all that great. In fact for three days after a year or two trying it on his own power he flat out quit. In the end though he realized that his job was to just tell the folks what God wanted him to tell and leave the rest up to God. And that’s when things took off. He released the ministry to God. The same thing happened here a few years ago when I released the cow herd to God, things took off!

A person looks around the area here and sees the church hardened people and it can seem depressing at first. I think and think what can I do to get to some. The last few months after remembering the story from the book above, I just gave up trying to debate with people , gave up trying to convince people, and just laid out Bible verses and let God do the work. And so far the results are like day and night. To see a person change fairly fast as God works inside of them is a site to behold!

This year as I am giving up some church duties and knew this would be a year of change. There’s many irons in the fire so to speak and I’m getting more and more excited every day. The main thing is to trust God to do the work in the hearts of the people. I just deliver the message.

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Scars

“Anyone who God uses significantly is always deeply wounded. We are each and everyone of us an insignificant people who God has called and graced to use in a significant way. On the last day, Jesus will look us over not for medals, diplomas or honors, but for scars.”

I don’t know about anyone else but that quote hit me between the eyes! In fact, I needed it bad. It seems like nowadays the teachings in the modern American religion are that everything will go OK as long as a person believes it, has faith in it, and speaks it forth. As long as a person has allot of stuff the modern church figures your pretty good with God. But I read the Bible and read it over and over and I can’t find that theme anywhere. What I find are real people that suffered and made mistakes all the time. They had disasters, they had tragedies, they lost so much so much of the time, but the followed God through thick and thin, that is when they didn’t falter and almost go down for the count.

I read about people that were mocked, were made fools of, that were scorned because of their faith in God. I read about persecuted people, about suffering because of standing up for God’s Name, not about people saying, “Look, he has so much stuff because of his faith in his God and I want what he has!”, as is commonly spoken by televangelists. That is the biggest pile of manure anyone could ever, ever preach from any pulpit or anywhere else for that matter. In other words they are preaching a different Gospel than the one the Bible has. Then when things do go wrong, which by the way, they do, a person’s so called faith in that different gospel is shattered, they get down and out, and many leave Christianity behind them for good. The young people nowadays are not dumb. They want God, they want to know a living and a real God, but what do we give them? Well, I highly doubt we’re giving them the real thing most of the time. Instead of giving them God, let’s give them a church program, one that is really close to something popular in the carnal world at the moment, but let’s put a little bit of God in it to make us grownups think we are doing something to further the kingdom of God and go home feeling good about ourselves.

But where are the scars? Where are the marks on us that identify us as followers of Christ? Where are the rejections, the scoffings, the ridicule that the world hammers out on believers of Christ? I’ve been pondering this as of late. About the only thing that the world does to us in this neck of the woods is ignore us. We are no threat what so ever to the kingdom of darkness. None! In fact I suffer to say that the kingdom of darkness is very satisfied with the church because of it being no threat what so ever. We have programs and programs but none of them do anything to fulfill the Great Commission. They don’t even get a person started. Church bookstore are chuck full of self help books telling you how to live an abundant life, a life of your dreams where all goes well. There are marriage manuals written by all the experts. There are books to build up your self esteem.

Funny thing is, when you read the Bible it says that we are to die to self. Think about that. No wonder we aren’t a threat to the kingdom of darkness. In fact we’re right where the devil wants us. Powerless. Week after week folks in churches are living defeated lives following these things. They read the book and when that doesn’t work more books are looked up for them to help them regain happiness and self esteem, in a little while that doesn’t seem to work either. Nothing works. Nothing that the modern church can dig up out of their human reasoning.

Sounds like I’m one of the many complainers out there. Sounds like I’m a church basher. Maybe, maybe not. I just love the Gospel is all. The true Gospel of Jesus Christ. The more I read, the more I let it soak in the more I don’t care who reads my writings, who hears me talk, because I only want to speak the Gospel from the Word. Jesus said, “the world will hate you because it hated Me.” I know the world doesn’t hate the majority of Christians around here, they just ignore them or laugh it off because to put it bluntly there ain’t a whole lot of difference between the Christians and the unsaved world.

The remedy? Preach the Word! Live the Word! Don’t compromise. And you will get scars. Its guaranteed.

There Is Nothing Free Except…….

“You must pay for everything in this world one way or another, there is nothing free except the grace of God. You cannot earn that or deserve it.” from the novel True Grit.

No, there ain’t nothing free when a person is trying to make a go of it out here with the cattle and all. Sometimes money is pretty hard to come by and when it comes it seems to sometimes go out faster than its coming in. Then there’s the sucker biller. Things that a person really gets nothing for but in this day and age many times its the law you have to pay these bills. Such as different insurances and such. Years ago, and I ain’t all that old, there were very few sucker bills and a person worked for the things he needed and was sometimes able to even save some for hard times. Times were simpler then and I do miss that.

When building a cattle outfit there’s a tremendous amount of work and long term investment put into it. More like a lifetime’s worth. Allot of sweat and back aches, allot of sleepless nights when the weather is rough. It ain’t a free ride by any means. Get a bug in the young calves with some rough weather to boot and a fella finds out what life is all about and it ain’t easy. There’s people problems too, from family to total strangers, a person never knows what a new day will bring. There ain’t nothing free in this life apart from God.

Well, a person could say there’s allot of things that are free and we can enjoy them. Yes, true, but all are provided for us by the grace of God. Its not only salvation that is provided free to us undeserving folks, but all the little things too. All those small and large joys that warm the heart are gifts from God.

Salvation is the ultimate gift though and without it everything else is done for nothing. It took me decades to realize that but thank God I do realize that now before its too late. A free gift for us, but it cost and incredible price to obtain it for us. Nothing we could ever do could take its place. Take the place of Jesus on that old rugged cross, shedding His Blood for us, to pay for our sins. Yes, its free to us, offered freely to any and all who will just surrender and accept the very fact that Jesus suffered, died and rose again to save us from ourselves.

This is the Good News, this is the message of all the ages. That we have been offered a free gift, we just have to accept it in faith!

The Lord Looks At The Heart

But the LORD said to Samuel, “Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The LORD does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.” 1 Samuel 16:7

This is one of those stick to you verses. You can’t judge what’s in a person by the outward appearance. You get out here in the countryside and that’s about as true as it gets. A person looks around and in the midwest there’s allot of folks that try and act like cowboys. They buy the big truck, usually on payments that they try and cover with there normal town job. They get all spiffed up and really put on the show. But so often these folks have never known what its like to go through a few years of hell with droughts or what have you. Get in a conversation with them and all they can talk about is their weekend cowboy activities.

The same goes with church, there’s allot of folks that can put on the act, and to put it bluntly, they can do it very well. They can talk all the right talk when required to keep them in the perfect social position in any given church, but when the going gets tough and more is required, well, then it becomes a different story. Oh, they can jump into church activities with zeal, but the thing is, church activities don’t impress God all that much. I always figure the first church program recorded in the Bible was when the children of Israel made the golden calf out at the foot of the mountain while Moses was up there getting instructed by the Lord. Instead of waiting as told they had to do something to impress themselves how good of a church folk they were, but all the while disobeying God.

God picked young David for being the next king of Israel and old Samuel was going through the sons of Jesse, impressed by how well they looked for the job. God had different ideas though. He knew that the working boy out in the pasture was the one that was fit for the job. While the brothers looked good, dressed good, did all the right things in their society, scruffy David, tending the sheep out in the pastures was the one God knew was the one fit for the job.

Let’s never underestimate ourselves when we are following God, while we are seeking God. God is interested in folks that seek Him, not man. Folks whom man figures have arrived will be the least when God gets through with it all. He’s interested in folks that are willing to surrender their lives, their dreams. To hand them to God and let Him take care of what needs taking care of.

God isn’t interested in weekenders, He’s interested in folks that want Him all the time!

The Rugged Cross

For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard.  Yet God, with undeserved kindness, declares that we are righteous. He did this through Christ Jesus when he freed us from the penalty for our sins. Romans 3:23-24

That old rugged cross! Without it we would be doomed! But God sent His Son to pay for our sins and to give us ever lasting life, eternal! This is my faith, this is the faith that I preach! This is the Good News, the Gospel! Simple, direct, real. Ranchers, farmers, rural people, all can have eternal life by coming to the Cross. No matter what a person ever did, no matter what the life style was, God has forgiven you and a person just has to come to the cross and surrender. No strings attached, just surrender the fight against God and against life itself. We were made to be eternal being, to have fellowship with God the Father, the Creator of everything there is.

This new year this is the message, the message that I will be preaching to any and all that will listen. From farm to farm, ranch to ranch, small town to small town, this is the message, the Good News!