Real Milk or Milk Replacer

Fall on the northern plains and northwoods usually means calves bellering, weaning time all around in every direction. Its short lived, after about three days the only sound you hear is a stubborn calf with a raspy voice trying to get some last bawls in, but there ain’t much enthusiasm in it any more. The cattleman is satisfied, the calves are learning the bunk, the waterers, bedding down nice where its dry. All is well. There’s some late calves, a little smaller than the front runners, but they’re full of zip and no problems with them either. Another year, calves are in the backrounding pens and there’s a thankful looking back at the season, from spring till now. A large group of calves, good looking and no bottle calves this year. During spring calving a person has priorities, one is to make sure calf and cow are alive and well after calving, doctor anything that needs doctoring, and up there in importance is to not end up with bottle calves.

A person will go the extra mile to make sure there isn’t any of those labor intensive little fellas around the place. You can feed a 100 cows in the time it takes to feed a bottle calf milk replacer twice a day. One of the most dangerous jobs around here is making sure this doesn’t happen. It involves locking the cow up in a headgate and trying to get the calf to suck if its a dumb calf. Or on the other hand, the cow is crazy and mean and hates the idea of being a mother till fall, same thing, lock her up and help the calf to get safely along side the cow, close enough to the cow so when the cow tries to kick it to death, the calf is pressed along side of would be mama and is fairly safe. Mean while the person trying to help all this along gotta watch for their lives when them kicks come at lightening speed and make sure they miss by a hair. This doesn’t happen all too often anymore on this ranch, the problem cows have pretty much gone down the road to grace fast food establishments and supermarket meat counters. Every once in a while for one reason or another, it all fails and a fella ends up with a bottle calf, either that or the calf dies of starvation.

At first its kind of fun, feeding the little rascal, knowing its life is saved. Soon you become the center of that calf’s life. It’ll be ready when you come there with the bottle of milk, it’ll follow you around anywhere. Kids like to help with this, for a couple of days, then there’s some important school work to do or some other excuse. And the thrill soon fades away leaving the busy cowman to tend to it twice a day, seven days a week. The calf eats and eats day after day, but soon falls behind the calves that are getting milk from there mammas. There’s already a loss, in money that is for what ever the reason the calf is living on milk replacer, the cow didn’t do her job, the expense of the milk replacer, not to mention labor, allot of labor for so little. Come fall the milk replacer calf has a poorer hair coat, is scrawny with very little meat compared to the pastured calves who were with their mammas. The calf can’t be sold in a large group because it doesn’t fit in at all. Most of the time, when selling, they’d get sold alone for allot less than what they would have brought if they’d a been normal.

Christians are like those calves. Some will grow up on mama’s milk, grow fast, have shiny coats, and be able to take right off growing fast after weaning. They had the real milk. The real milk is God’s Word. It builds strength and endurance, it has everything needed to grow healthy and fast. But some end up on formula milk, something that isn’t real milk, has additives and is different from the real thing. Formula milk, or milk replacer, is full of additives. Programs, works, reading Christian book, but not the Bible, following ministries because they’re popular and entertaining. But lacking the immunity building ingredients of the real milk, the Word. They’re still Blood bought Christians just like that milk replacer calf is still a calf. But they end up as spiritual runts, and have very little defense when the world’s problems hit em.

A person has a choice, get into the pure, true, sincere milk of the Word. Or a synthetic “formula” from a bag, that man has produced, instead of God.

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Published in: on October 12, 2011 at 8:04 pm  Comments (8)  
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I Will Pass Over You!

Where the northern plains meet the northwoods a warm fall is hanging on for a day yet. Then its back to more normal temps in the lower sixties and fifties. I’m looking forward to that. Seems like when the fall gets warm, every kinda bug there is tries to have its last hurrah. A cool down takes care of that. Snakes are looking for some place to hole up for winter too, and there was a little one in the basement the other day that ended up under the heal of my boot. Such is life. Calves are weaned and have quieted down, getting used to the new way of living, without their mamas. They’re starting to eat more and more and now instead of running away when I come to feed, they’re waiting on the other side of the gate, waiting for me to open it so they can hit the bunks and chow down. Another three weeks or so life should settle down here, the corn will be harvested and stored in the bins. Many times that’s not a fall job here, because everything gets chopped into silage for the cows and calves, but this year it took less than half of the acreage to fill the huge pit and anything not chopped is turned to cash. Its nice when that happens.

“When I see the blood, I will pass over you.” Exodus 12:13

Last evening while reading my Bible I came across this part of a verse and really hung up on it. All day its been speaking volumes to me. God saying when He sees the blood He’ll pass over me. By passing over you gotta remember, it ain’t like He’s ignoring you, nope, it means He will pass over you and you do not face His judgment. Which is a pretty good deal as far as I’m concerned cause there ain’t one person on this earth “good enough” for God. We’re all fallen, we’re all sinners. But those who believe Jesus, believe what He done for them, are washed in the blood, and judgment will pass over the believer.

Now, the Gospel ain’t really all that complicated when you get right down to it. God made it simple and even a fella like me can understand it. He made it so simple that little kids can usually figure it out without a problem while older folks are trying to come up with some rules to make em feel like the accomplished something on their own. But no one accomplishes anything remotely good in God’s eyes. That’s why we need the blood. Which works out fine with me because I fail and fail. I remember in religion, years ago, when I was in a religion totally based on work, our own works to get us to God, how I failed and how miserable I was. A fella just knew he was headin for hell, there was no doubt, and I never heard the Good News,  just heard church doctrine. Never heard about a loving God that don’t want any to perish, just heard about a god that gave total authority to the big wigs of the church to lord over us as we tried to accomplish the impossible.

But you know how God got in this house? And it took a long time to sink in, believe me. Way back in 1991 I was paging through a cattle magazine because that’s what I read, cattle and ranching, and there was this ad about this cowboy organization that believed Jesus and they’d send anyone a free newspaper. Back in them days there was no internet, at least not out here, so a person did it the old fashioned way, wrote a note requesting the free paper, included the name and address, and mailed it off in the mailbox. Weeks later I got the first issue, still have it 20 years later, and there was a story about this rancher that was going down and down, drinking hard and all, and how he found Jesus and how his life changed from that time on. I betcha I durn near memorized that article, read it over and over, wondering about such a thing like I’d never really heard of before. A God that loved you, and a way to Him. Oh Lord, that caught my attention. Month after month, year after year, the paper came and I read it from front to back over and over, this really was something I could understand. And I knew, way back then, a person headed for hell, that there was only to things that I wanted to accomplish in this life. One was to ranch and the other was to be a cowboy preacher. Many years later I surrendered to Jesus and haven’t looked back. I was washed in the Blood, finally! God’s judgment would pass over me! I was His!

But there is work for the Lord to do. Not to get me to heaven, the blood did that, but to work because of what He did. To spread the gospel to folks like me, cause I do understand folks like me. I see em all the time and I know how they feel. It was a cowboy ministry that had a huge part in leading me to the Lord over the years, and it is in a cowboy ministry that I’ll do my part, its just plain natural to preach the gospel where your at. If God ever wants me some place else, than so be it, but for now and as long as I can see there’s gonna be a cowboy ministry in the livestock country of central Minnesota. I have never been so at peace with anything in my life, although there are plenty of unknowns in it. I just am so durn thankful to folks like Kevin Weatherby of Save the Cowboy that allow me to hook up with such a good outfit. Now there’s a job to start, and its going to be a quite a ride. Riding by faith in Jesus!

 

 

Worry Ain’t Healthy

“Can all your worries add a single moment to your life?” Matthew 6:27
Amen and that’s what Jesus is asking us. I’d bet the herd that them worries probably take away quite a few days from a fella. Not only the lost days worrying, but run ya down earlier in life than it should’a been. You know, when you get right down to it, worrying is simple unbelief in Jesus. I don’t need that. Out on the land, running cattle, a person can get over burdened with worries if you let it take root. Besides raising a family and making sure everything flows smooth there, the cattle, the pastures, the crops, and hundreds of other things are on a fella’s mind every day. Battling the weather, which we sure can do in the northern plains is another thing to throw into the mix. And how worry can creep up on a person, basically its fear taking root. Its all relative though. Funny how there’s times when I start to worry and I do believe its God talking to me all of a sudden, telling me, “what are you worrying about?” Now this ain’t the normal message that tells a person to trust God in the face of everything and anything thrown at ya. Cause I don’t care who it is, there’s going to be a little worry or fear in many a situation. Its what you do despite it!

God has a way of telling every person in a way that person understands. Might be way different for me than for others, but God can figure anyone out and He’s always right. I remember going to the doctor’s office and the news wasn’t really the greatest on earth, in fact they were suspecting something real serious and I remember giving it to God in them times. I worried a bit, yes I did, but I did have a calmer reassurance that surprises me to this day. And God sure does use that to remind me in my day to day worries that pop up around here running cattle and land. That reminding voice in my heart will tell me, “remember in the doc’s office how you thought, I’ll never worry again about the day to day stuff if I can get out of this situation OK?” At that time I’da given anything for the day to day worries around here which in reality are absolutely nothing in comparison to what I was going through at the time.

God takes care of us in different ways, at our own levels and there ain’t a one size fits all solution coming from heaven the way I figure it. He is in control and all we have to do is rely on Him in simple faith. Church today is way to complicated in my humble opinion. Guess that’s why I love the simple cowboy way of doing church. Keep it simple, keep it in faith, believe Jesus and live for Him. And I ain’t going to worry my life away. Would rather talk about Jesus and what He did for a fella like me.

The Stone Was Rolled Away

Sometimes a fella has to put a song up cause its just plain good!

Published in: on October 5, 2011 at 9:40 pm  Leave a Comment  

Like Calves Let Out To Pasture

“But for you who fear my name, the Sun of Righteousness will rise with healing in his wings. And you will go free, leaping with joy like calves let out to pasture.” Malachi 4:2

The calves around here ain’t exactly what you’d call leaping for joy today, they just got weaned off their mamas and its a noisy one for sure on this place. The yearly ritual of weaning em off, get em going on some corn silage and second crop hay, back round em till late January or February and take em to the salebarn and get em sold. Hopefully the whole bunch gains some good weight by that time but don’t get fat. The buyers want a good frame that meat will grow on easy and fast. Those calves just have a shine on em in February and the buyers go wild bidding em up.

But looking back over the season I gotta admit, one of my favorite times of the year is about in May when the calves for the most part are just a few weeks old. They might be in the calving pasture yet which is a lot that’s seven acres of mostly well drained land, or they might’a just been put out on fresh, lush pasture with their mamas and enjoying every minute of it. Either way, many times on those really nice, calm, quiet spring evenings, just before the sun is going down for the day, they many times do what I call the “calf dance”. To me its probably on the top ten list of things that make life worth living. Now if you’ve never experience it you probably won’t get excited about reading about it, but for me its one of the most joyess things in creation!

By that time of the spring there’s quite a few calves on the ground, (that means born for those who ain’t living out here and don’t really understand the language). They’re little yet, but putting on some muscle fast, bones toning up and they are getting down right quick. Mama’s milk does wonders fast in those young calves. They’ve learned a bit about herd life by then, they follow along fairly good when the herd moves, but they also have friends, the calves around them. Come near sundown and those calves are prancing around, butting heads with other calves, sparring with each other and having fun. I don’t know what touches it off, but all of a sudden they will do what I call the “calf dance”. A group of them will all of a sudden take off in a run, all together, tails up in the air, hooves looking like they aren’t even touching the ground. They run fast, weaving in and out of the cow herd, then breaking free of the herd they just take off in the open land, all together like a flock of birds, making the same turns, running together so free spirited. The cows watch from the sidelines, probably chewing their cud, keeping one eye on their kids but letting them have the fun. Soon the sun will be going down, the calves get settled back with their mamas, the show is over for the day. I’ve watched from a distance, sometimes up close, right in amongst the herd. In the later part of calving the cows are so used to me I can be anywhere right among them and they don’t even get up. I can hear the calves breathing hard when the shoot past, feel the little hooves pounding the earth. There’s just something about it that brings a person closer to God, like no church could ever do. Life, newer life, celebrating life!

Its just a memory now, a memory until next spring starts the cycle over again. Those dancing calves are growed up allot bigger than they were back then. My cattleman’s handbook, (the Bible), says,  “And you will go free, leaping with joy like calves let out to pasture.” That’s a promise when we believe the Son, when we believe Jesus and what He did for each and every one of us on that old rugged cross.