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.

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Dead to the World

“Or have you forgotten that when we were joined with Christ Jesus in baptism, we joined him in his death?  For we died and were buried with Christ by baptism. And just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glorious power of the Father, now we also may live new lives.” Romans 6:3-4

Its late here Saturday evening, almost time for bed. Was a somewhat rough day working with the cattle in muddy conditions. But this evening I listened to a sermon on the internet, a subject not talked about all to often in Christian circles and that is the two sides of the coin about pride. Most know about what we’d call puffed up pride, but I ain’t talkin about that tonight. I’ll talk about the other side of the coin, called false humility, which is a form of pride because in all reality as a Christian we are disagreeing with how God sees us. When God looks at a blood bought believer He sees righteousness, He sees the righteousness of Christ because we are washed in the blood. When we call ourselves poor sinners we are throwing out God’s view of ourselves and replacing it with our view, which is pride.

We are dead to that old sinner man in God’s eyes. God does not see it, He sees the Blood. God never stops loving us or looking at us differently from the moment we became Blood bought believers when we were born again. He sees His child! He will never leave us or forsake us. Only we can walk away. And walking away is pride, whether its puffed up pride or if its self condemning pride.

I like old Paul, he gets to the point, he says we are dead, the old man is dead. We are new, new creations in Christ. We don’t have to worry what God thinks of us as long as we remain in Him, and we don’t have to worry what man and the world thinks of us either. That fear of man that cripples so many Christians. And its a hard one to overcome unless we put our faith in the finished work of the cross and what that means in God’s eyes concerning us. And once we get that revelation on who God says we are, bit by bit that fear disappears and we become more like Jesus!

One way to say it is, imagine if I was dead, in the coffin and some folks were talking against me, calling me every name in the book, saying all sorts of things about me that weren’t all that great. I truly wouldn’t give a hoot, why, because I’d be dead. Nothing on this world can affect a dead man, he’s dead. No power, no person, not anything could affect me in the grave, cause I’m deader than a door nail. Tonight it hit me, my old self is in the coffin, he’s dead. No man can hurt me, no talk can affect me, I’m dead to this world in the eyes of God. And I’m not letting pride get in the way and try and bring the old man out of the grave, he’s dead! And I’m alive in the eternal heavenly kingdom!

This is one of the most wonderful truths of the Gospel! To know who we are in Christ. All of a sudden things look different. The fear of man and the world is fading. I always looked forward to preaching the Word before but there was always a fear there. A fear of man. That’s diminishing, and there is only that reverent fear of God. Makes it much easier to get out and preach.

 

 

Road House

As Jesus was walking along, he saw a man named Matthew sitting at his tax collector’s booth. “Follow me and be my disciple,” Jesus said to him. So Matthew got up and followed him.

  Later, Matthew invited Jesus and his disciples to his home as dinner guests, along with many tax collectors and other disreputable sinners.  But when the Pharisees saw this, they asked his disciples, “Why does your teacher eat with such scum?”

  When Jesus heard this, he said, “Healthy people don’t need a doctor—sick people do.” Then he added, “Now go and learn the meaning of this Scripture: ‘I want you to show mercy, not offer sacrifices.’ For I have come to call not those who think they are righteous, but those who know they are sinners.” Matthew 9:9-13

I’m writing this on a Monday evening, its hotter than you know what outside and after a day out there I’m showered up and not going out in that heat again unless there’s an emergency. A good day though, all in all, and yesterday, Sunday, was a day I’ll remember for a long time. Had some church business to attend to in the afternoon which require a few of us from our little country church to travel to a near by city and spend a few hours there. And being the country boy, cowboy at heart type of person I am I had it planned in there to go eat while a fella was near by all those eating establishments. When you live out in the countryside, quite a ways from the city, a fella has to make any trip to town worth it and that’s what I do. But I’ve been itching to try out a place called Texas Road House that I’ve been hearing about allot lately from folks.

Sometimes I wonder how in the world a fella like me can even be considered for ministry and all. Just don’t fit with the regular mold. But when I walked through them doors yesterday into the Road House I was at home! Noisy, peanut shells all over the floor, crowded with a regular folks type of clientel. Now when I’m in a high class restraunt I’m about as uncomfortable as you can get. Here I was relaxed even with the loud country music and hustle and bustle. The waitress durn near had to shout to be heard, instead of some waiter trying to use a fake accent to impress phony people that he was a real high fauluting waiter, but mean while probably goes home and watches All Star Wrestling while drinking a 12 pack of cheap beer. I like real, not fake.

But again, here I am in ministry and I’m more at home in a Road House than some swanky place where the “real ministers” hang out. And the verses above just flowed through me while I was there and afterwords too. And that quiet voice saying, “I died for these folks too.” In my heart its settled, was settled a long time ago really, that the regular folks are my people. I don’t want to put on a fake face and preach fake to people who really don’t care anyhow. I want the underdogs of society. And really they ain’t the underdogs, but it just looks that way the way society is set up nowadays. It seems the underdogs are really he folks that a fella can trust. I know out here in the countryside that is the way it is. Folks give their word and that’s that for that. It ain’t dead, as much as society wants it dead.

I can tell you, at them high class places you won’t see no cowboy folks. But you get to the places where the religious folks look down on and they’re everywhere. Just like in the days of Jesus, and Jesus went into those places and enjoyed Himself. I ain’t saying it, the Bible says it! And who am I to argue with the Bible? Give me the cowboys, give me the ranchers and their families, give me the farmers and anyone else who loves the life out here. Regular folks! People that can understand a sermon about doctoring a calf, about getting hailed out for the year, about high and low cattle prices. Yep, regular folks. I’m looking forward to our next trip to the Road House one of these days!

 

Speak To Them Bones!

 The Lord took hold of me, and I was carried away by the Spirit of the Lord to a valley filled with bones.  He led me all around among the bones that covered the valley floor. They were scattered everywhere across the ground and were completely dried out. Then he asked me, “Son of man, can these bones become living people again?”

   “O Sovereign Lord,” I replied, “you alone know the answer to that.”

  Then he said to me, “Speak a prophetic message to these bones and say, ‘Dry bones, listen to the word of the Lord!  This is what the Sovereign Lord says: Look! I am going to put breath into you and make you live again! I will put flesh and muscles on you and cover you with skin. I will put breath into you, and you will come to life. Then you will know that I am the Lord.’”

  So I spoke this message, just as he told me. Suddenly as I spoke, there was a rattling noise all across the valley. The bones of each body came together and attached themselves as complete skeletons. Then as I watched, muscles and flesh formed over the bones. Then skin formed to cover their bodies, but they still had no breath in them.

 Then he said to me, “Speak a prophetic message to the winds, son of man. Speak a prophetic message and say, ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says: Come, O breath, from the four winds! Breathe into these dead bodies so they may live again.’”

 So I spoke the message as he commanded me, and breath came into their bodies. They all came to life and stood up on their feet—a great army.

  Then he said to me, “Son of man, these bones represent the people of Israel. They are saying, ‘We have become old, dry bones—all hope is gone. Our nation is finished.’  Therefore, prophesy to them and say, ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says: O my people, I will open your graves of exile and cause you to rise again. Then I will bring you back to the land of Israel. When this happens, O my people, you will know that I am the Lord.  Ezekiel 37:1-13

Dry bones, nothing but dry bones. It seems like that’s the way it is nowadays. Like a prophet of old a fella sometimes wonders if anyone even cares. If anyone cares about what Jesus did for us, or is it just filling time at church, or no time at all as folks get caught in the hustle and bustle of everyday modern life. Well I had a day off today of sorts, was raining. Did basic cattle chores and that was about it and this afternoon headed to the county seat to get a haircut so I’d look half way presentable next month at the cowboy church service that I’m preaching at near here during a summer event. Figure at least if they botch the job with the haircut it gives it a few weeks to repair itself. At the county seat, and this town only has 7000 folks living there, it was all hustle and bustle and everyone was in a rush. A guy like me notices that because even though I have to rush many times around here with the work, especially in hay making season, I do realize its at a much different level. Its just man against work and most of the time man wins. But there’s none of the hustle and bustle of normal society out on this outfit. A man’s word is still his word, work isn’t a bad word, and God is God and we ain’t.

Seems like everyone got a cell phone growing out of the side of their head so they can’t even relax on the drive home from a hectic day at some job, its all the time hurry, hurry and hurry. Now, I have a cell phone but its about the least used thing I have, but it is handy when there’s a breakdown a couple miles out when I’m in the field. Folks like to stretch the truth allot nowadays too, especially to get what they figure they deserve, which is another thing implanted in folks the last couple of decades or so. Folks look at the government as something that is supposed to support them and get all high and mighty when its suggested that folks can make their own way, again, by a thing called honest labor.

Honesty, integrity, a fella’s word meaning something are all going by the wayside at a rapid pace. Now its just me, me, what can you do for me. Even religion has turned that way and is making the Lord a heavenly vending machine that has no choice but to bless you of all your earthly desires if you so called “speak it and believe it”. The folks that do go to church don’t need much of an excuse to miss to do something “fun”. And so many have turned their backs entirely away from God and are totally immersed in the world system. It doesn’t look all that good anymore from a man’s point of view, no sir it doesn’t.

But God’s ways ain’t our ways and God doesn’t want to lose a single person, the Bible says so. And I figure if it looks impossible, it looks like there’s no hope, like its all going down the tubes all I have to do is read my cattleman’s handbook, (the Bible), and I’m told differently. God can take the impossible and make it possible! That’s what keeps this old cattleman going, knowing that God will tax the furtherest star to bring in more folks into His corral.

Like I said, God’s ways ain’t our ways and that Handbook is very clear He loves us! He ain’t sittin up there waiting to hurl a lightening bolt at us for every goof up we make. I read some where, forget where, that nothing, and I mean nothing pleases God more than when we look to Him with some trust. You look at them oldtimers in the Bible and almost every one of them was a screw up of sorts, always screwing up, failing in so many ways, but God backed em up every time when they cried out to Him. There’s a lesson there I tell you! But back to the dry bones, I get so excited just talkin about Jesus I just keep on yammering. (Nothin wrong with that.)

Can God take an area like where I live and bring it back to life? Yes sir, He can! Of course He does want some solid folks to get out there and do some of the work. Solid, but I didn’t say perfect, cause like I said, them heros in the Bible were sure normal people. Just normal folks that did what they thought was impossible and changed the world. But they were folks that feared the Lord more than man and when you get right down to it, man is nothing compared to God. God can and will use anyone that accepts His call on their life. Use them big, having them do things that would seem totally impossible a short while before. He can bring them old dry bones and bring em right back to life, real life! And He’ll do it in ways that sometimes don’t make sense to regular folks. He’ll even use cowboy preachers, yes He will!

There’s gonna be some bones rattling in this region! The Word gets right into the very marrow! I’m excited to be riding for the brand finally! Excited about preaching the Word like the old circuit riders, like cowboy preachers, to the regular folks and not in a church. Over a year ago I had a vision and I don’t get visions all to often, believe me, and it was about these verses up above and I seen the dry bones in this area waking up, coming to life. But I didn’t know what to do. I knew there was the call but didn’t have the slightest idea where to start. I argued with God a bit, kinda like ol’ Moses when God called him from the burning bush, I was saying I can’t do it but God said don’t worry about the impossible details. He’d take care of em. And over the last several months what was once totally impossible has become possible, nothing of my doing. The right connections, details taken care of that I had not the slightest idea on how to take care of. All is getting set, and my only job is to speak the Word of God in the Valley of Dry Bones!

Rained Out Tonight

This has been a hay makin week up here on the Northern Plains and I finally got shut down early this evening by a welcome rain. Durn near got everything I had down rolled up, so I can’t complain. I’ll start again in a day or two. 

Well, the outfit I wrote about earlier has a web site now, click here, Save the Cowboy. Its in the makins yet and just gets better as time goes on. If your interested in any of these types of ministries give them a holler, or just holler here and I’ll pass it on fer ya.

  • Sale Barn Ministries
  • Circuit Ridin’ Preachers
  • Cowboy Churches
  • Rodeo Ministries (Bullfighter, rough-stock riders, ropers, barrel racers, and rodeo announcers)
  • Ranch Day-workers
  • Chuckwagon Ministries
  • Ranch Rodeo Teams
  • Mounted Shooting
  • Old West re-enactments
  • Photographers
  • Leather workers and Saddle makers
  • Trail Rides
  • Dutch Oven Cooking
  • Musicians and Authors
  • Radio Personalities
  • Horse Trainers and Clinicians
  • Dog Trainers
  • Ranchers
  • Farmers
  • Breeders
  • Whew!!!…..Let’s add your ministry to this list.

From time to time I’ll be posting reminders of this great ministry.

Save the Cowboy

The sun popped out this evening, the first time in over a week. In fact I can’t rightly remember the last time we had a sunny day. The Northern Plains are wet, very wet. We don’t have the flooding some have but its still wet. Have the whole hay crop looking me in the face, and I’ve never seen so much hay in my life. It just keeps growing and growing. That’ll keep this cattleman out of circulation from people for a bit once I start. But there ain’t nothing better than more hay than a fella needs when winter comes knocking at the gate here in the north country. Got the twine all bought, the haybine and baler ready, now just to dry up a bit and then hit er.

Don’t worry about squat, but just be thankful and ask God for all you need. Philippians 4:6 Simplified Cowboy Version (SCV)

Now for folks that don’t know it yet this verse is coming from the Simplified Cowboy Version. From my friend Kevin Weatherby out of Kiowa, Colorado. He heads up Campfire Cowboy Ministries and Save the Cowboy. Probably some of my favorite reading on the web, my kinda stuff. Kevin has the heart to reach the cowboy and give him the news about Jesus. Same as me. That’s probably why I get hooked on his writings. By the way, he writes allot better than this cattleman does. We both have a heart after God and want to share it with any and all who will listen.

So now with the sun being out for the last hour after a long, long time without it, I’m gearing up to do what I do. Work out there in the great outdoors and I must say I love making hay. It seems once a person is started, day after day and really week after week I just get all calm inside. Take my cowboy pocket Bible with in order to take a quick read here and there through out the day. And it seems when a fella is going full snort I don’t worry about squat, just like the verse says above. It seems like hour after hour out there in the sunshine I just let God have everything and I’m as calm as any feller can be. Yep, I’m looking forward to it! And I ain’t all that afraid to ask God for what I need nowadays either. Once was, that’s for sure but the Bible says to ask. So I do! Simple, and I ain’t dwelling on it.

 

 

 

 

Thanking Him For His Goodness

Last night here in the north we had some snow again and this morning the roads were flat out terrible. But its March and by early afternoon the roads were perfect and pepper dry. How I can see the changes compared to the month of January! I’m tired out a bit tonight, but happy. Got to get around a little bit today on the place. Didn’t really do anything except feed the barn cats and fed and water the chickens in the old chicken coop. But it does a man good to get out and do something after being locked up in the house for over two weeks. Its just not in me to be in the house. Not a house type of guy. Oh, I like being in the house every day during normal times but I always head back out for this or that, never have I been confined to the house for this long in all my born years.

I’m flat out looking forward to spring work, I’m flat out looking forward to calving season and then pasture season, plus all the hay making I do all summer. There’s allot to do on an outfit like this, believe me, but its my life and that’s what I do, and enjoy. I farm in order to get enough feed to winter the hundreds of cattle over, if I didn’t have to do that I wouldn’t farm all that much. I guess I’d rather just work on the cattle side of things. But reality is that allot of cattle take a lot of feed so that’s why I do it. Around these parts things have changed over the years and I tell you there’s allot of places with beef cattle and there’s probably even more small outfits with horses. Every where a person looks there’s horses nowadays, which sits OK with me. The other day, a week after my surgery I had to go for the one week check up to see if it was all OK or if I was falling apart and I’m pleased to say that the verdict was everything was OK. Well, the county seat where the hospital is located is twenty some miles away. On the way home along side of the old Mississippi River we stopped in at a small town so my driver could go into the butcher shop and buy some sausages and stuff. I elected to stay in the car cause at that time I didn’t want to push it walking around and stuff. I sat there for a while and was parked on the opposite side of the street. For some reason I looked on my side of the street to a building that had always been a cafe but wasn’t doing all that hot these last few years and I was in for a shock that almost had me yelling a healthy YEE HAW! The former cafe was now a saddle and leather shop and I never even knew it till then. I made a vow to the moon and starts that as soon as I got enough snort to get around safely by myself I would give this establishment a visit. Well, I haven’t made it yet but will shortly when I feel good enough to get around and still have the time off. Since then I’ve been inquiring about it and now I really want to go. Surprised the dickens out of me to see my kinda store open up almost in my home town! This is a good sign but no wonder with all the horses and small outfits around that there wight be a place for a business like this in the immediate area. God is good and this is the culture I love. I’m a salesbarn type of guy, love the livestock business, love the people and all.

There is a place for this western ministry around here. I look in the papers and there’s horse sales galore around the region, there’s salesbarns all over the place. The pulse of the whole area is animal agriculture. Its one of the main hobbies too. No wonder God called me a long time ago into this and I must admit, I always figured He did wrong cause this wasn’t what a person would call exactly a western style area, until now. The last twenty years there have been steady, major changes and I’m all for em! God is good. God knows what is needed. God picks the foolish and I guess I’m at the top of the list in that catagory, to carry out His plan.

Yep, I’m raring to go. Now I ain’t got a church building and I don’t know if I’ll ever have a church building but it don’t make me a hill of beans difference if I do or not. I love talkin one on one, I love preaching to crowds. My style is different and it hit me today that when I preach to a crowd its almost the same as how Glenn Smith used to preach. And it sure ain’t intentional, it sure ain’t something I practiced, its just that I’m a down to earth person, from the land, that knows the livestock industry, and this is what naturally comes out. Maybe I’m not some stiff necked, serious type of preacher, (well they officially call me an evangelist), and I have no problem talkin like the regular folks because quite simply I am one. Lord, how I love to do that and see em come to the Lord, to see people change, to make em laugh and to convict them in the next breath. To see the change  come over folks that were Gospel hardened is one of the greatest miracles there is!

OK, no teaching tonight, no big revelations, just dwelling out here in the country on a March evening. I’m just thanking the Lord for His goodness!

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!