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.

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.

The Stubborn Calf

It seems like a fella just got thrown right into fall around here, summer came to a screeching halt, got cool and rainy for a bit and now there’s a good run of dry sunny weather predicted for a week or more. So one adjusts. The lowland meadows couldn’t get the hay cut and baled off of them this summer because it was too wet. Now it carries the tractor fine so today I was down there cutting and tomorrow too. There’s the meadow hay to cut and bale, there’s firewood to make, (allot), there’s cattle to work, fall is busy on this outfit. There probably isn’t anytime of year I like better than right now with the fresh and cooler air and most of the summer work a memory. Looking at the cowherd, the calves are still with them a bit longer, I start thinking back to all the adventures and misadventures of the season and one thing comes to mind that taught me a lesson I’ll never forget.

This spring I was recovering from a rather painful operation and wrestling calves was out of the question so I was just praying for an uneventful calving season. Now our cows are some pretty good cow and the trouble makers have long since passed through the food chain. All was going pretty good considering the muddy season we had for calving. One Sunday after going to our little church in the morning I came home and was looking over some of the new cow/calf pairs and all looked good at first but a fella has some extra sense or something and a good looking pair just kept bothering me. I started to wonder if that calf sucked his mama yet and couldn’t quite be sure. Usually I can tell but I had some doubts with this one. I had help that afternoon so we walked the pair through the mud to our smaller loafing barn where I have a pen with a squeeze chute and headgate just for these occasions. Got em in there but didn’t lock mama up right away and I sat there watching the calf with its mama and after some time I had to make the decision to lock up mama and teach that stubborn calf to suck. He’d be right there, at the fountain of life, but would not open his mouth and take er in.  Locked mama up, and we cornered the calf, which by the way, was one loaded cannon! All the while I was praying that I wouldn’t rip myself open from the surgery which I was told would not be good news. First thing a fella does in this situation to get the calf thinking of milk is the old cowman trick, stick a finger or two into its mouth. Well, most of the time a light bulb lights up between their ears when a person does that, they start to suck one the fingers and then you just get em wrestled over to mama’s milk supply and bingo! But not this beautiful Angus calf. It just put that four wheel drive in reverse and he’d have no part of sucking at all. Plan “B”, milk mama a little bit, put milk in a bottle and shove the big rubber nipple into calf’s mouth as he was being held in place. Milk was pouring out the side of his mouth, but not one thing that resembled a sucking action. By this time I’m getting a little perturbed.  I knew this was the only time I’d have help for quite some days so then we went to plan “C”, which meant getting the stomach tuber out, mix up some milk and force some food into its stomach to buy a little time. I truly thought I was done for wrestling that 90 some pound calf so much, not to mention milking the Angus cow a short while before. Ain’t like milking ol’ bossy back on the dairy farms, no sir. These have kicks that could out pace lightening and then the cow will hold back her milk just to make things more interesting to boot. By the time we stomach tubed the calf I was soaking wet from sweat, shaking from over exertion having just spent weeks in the house doing nothing recovering from surgery. Allot of pain in my lower abdomen to worry me sick too. Got the calf fed that once and my help had to leave and I said maybe the calf would figure things out itself, which they many times do even in this situation. Kept the pair in the pen, hoping there’d be no more problems with other pairs and left them. I knew I couldn’t be wrestling any more and figured it was either the calf or me, so I decided me.

For the next week I checked on them all the time. The mother was a perfect mother, did everything right, been with the herd for years and never had a problem. The calf stuck with his mother, did everything right, except that is, to suck and get that life giving milk. The mama always was licking the calf, standing in the right positions, nudging the calf back to where the milk was like them real good mothers do. But that calf would have its nose right against the milk supply and wouldn’t take it. The days went by one after another, and i watched but didn’t have help around and the calf got skinnier and skinnier. When its mama got up, the calf would get up and they were the perfect pair, except that calf never took that free gift of life that was offered it day after day. On day nine the calf died, starved to death and I felt bad being helpless to really help. When something like this happens, when a calf dies, I never get used to it and always feel bad about it. This time more so because I was so helpless to wrestle life into it. The rest of the calving season went pretty good, there were some screw ups, but nothing like the calf that refused the milk.

A few weeks later I was thinking about it, about that time in spring and its like God spoke direct to my heart and said, “you were like that calf for years, and you’da ended up like him too, but near the last moments you grabbed onto the free gift of life.” I was stunned! It was so true, all those years Jesus was offering me the free gift of eternal life and I never took it. I was starving down, getting weaker and weaker, and not even realizing that life was right in front of my nose. Just like that calf I did allot of the right moves, I went to church, I followed along, but I never took that free gift of life till October 19, 2005. Life came into me from then on and I ain’t letting go. And let me tell you, from durn near starved down to growing by leaps and bounds. Yep, God musta spoke to me and showed me one incredible story, my story, the story of the stubborn calf.

 

Published in: on September 23, 2011 at 8:31 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Old Lew and the Pot Bellied Stove

It was cold out. In the north country that doesn’t mean freezing, it means maybe 60 degrees colder than that. The wind was howling outside and when the work is done you don’t linger around. Dark out by four thirty in the afternoon and a fella just heads for cover. Take off a good twenty pounds or more of jackets coveralls, boots, gloves, fur caps and wonder if any body parts froze up. The cows were hunkered up with plenty of hay in front of them at all times to stoke their fire in the gut. The night before I checked em and the thermometer said 47 below, those cows never even laid down, they got in a tight group and kept lifting their legs in order to keep some blood flowing and not freezing. I do remember those days in my younger years and there’s one special memory that keeps running through my head during weather like that. Its about a guy named Lew, an oldtimer that was born in 1900. A friend of mine and I miss him. He died in the year 2000, made er to a hundred and never went to an old folks home, just stayed out on his small ranch and had himself a few Herefords near the end. By the end he couldn’t drive a car any more so he drove around on his little Ford tractor when ever he wanted to go some where close by. I used to visit Lew, and my favorite times were those cold winter nights. I’d have to go out every hour or so and start the pickup so it would still turn over because of the cold, but a feller didn’t think anything of it. Those evenings around Lew’s old potbellied stove are some of my fondest memories.

Being born in 1900 a person was in a world not all too much different that the time since creation. Lew never seen a car till he was a teenager and a little later for the first airplane. He was from a large family and sometimes in those days that meant just taking off when you’re in your mid teen and make a go of it on your own. Lew and myself would sit pretty close to that blazing hot pot belly stove because that old time house wasn’t exactly weather tight and they had no insulation. He’d get that stove where it would turn red on the side, had a huge pile of hard maple limbs cut up outside the porch just for the evenings and later he’d put in a night block or two when it was time for him to get to bed under a thick feather tick. Sittin close to that stove a fella would almost start on fire on the side close to the stove and probably be freezing on the other side. Typical back then was the curled up wall paper in the close area around the stove, curled up from the intense heat in that corner of the kitchen.

When Lew struck out on his own as a young teenager he was in practically every state west of the Mississippi at one time or another working for cattle outfits or grain farms. And his stories held me spell bound. At that age he worked mostly in Arizona and western North Dakota, both not having been settled all that many years before. Most of the time when you signed on to an outfit the owners were the original settlers from a few decades before and seen the opening of the west. They knew open range, they knew how the land was when it was first settled. The stories were amazing and one thing about Lew, he didn’t stretch the truth. Personally my favorite stories were when he was working for years on different outfits on the hi-line, which is mostly Montana, but I always put northwestern North Dakota in that too. A new land that was opened up by the Great Northern railroad. Making it possible to ship out cattle by train and get supplies in to and from Minnesota. I know the area well and could just see what he’d be talking about in my mind.

Another thing that struck me years ago was Lew’s faith, something I didn’t even have at the time, but he planted some seeds in me faithwise and some memories as well. Lew was a simple man by all appearances, but held allot of knowledge inside of him. He’d know about me screwing up, but never ran me down or condemned me for anything. Always calm, always deliberate in what he’d say, I knew I was in the presence of a man with wisdom. He’d tell me about “wolfin” in the winter in the very early days on the hi-line. Large packs of wolves, hungry, and they were reeking havoc with the livestock back then. Earned extra money in winter doing that, both from the ranchers and the county bounties. He’d talk about how the packs would come circling as he’d be riding his horse, or be driving a wagon, always with rifle and pistols. And they’d use em.

Sitting here tonight I miss old Lew. Knew him for a few decades, went to his funeral and remember with a smile how he’d tell his stories. I know Lew is in heaven, without a doubt. He trusted Jesus in everything. There ain’t nothing new about cowboys trusting Jesus and I know that for a fact. They see His creation all around them every day. I think I might start looking arround for an old pot bellied stove to sit around come winter.

Published in: on September 22, 2011 at 8:06 pm  Comments (6)  
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We Walk By Faith

Well, its a Saturday evening here on the home place and I’m plum tuckered out tonight. Didn’t do anything big or special to make me tuckered out, just allot of little things with the cattle today. Plus I’m on the verge of starting silage making which is intense when we start. Hoping to get that done in a week or so and behind us so I can get going on fall jobs that I enjoy. Not that I don’t enjoy making a couple thousand tons of silage, smells good and don’t itch, but its one of those things that I’d rather have behind me than in front of me. Just getting a few things ready for church tomorrow, got some speaking to do there, nothing much, nothing like last Sunday’s outdoor event where I was blown away by how good it went. Trouble is tomorrow I won’t be speaking with my cowboy hat, durn. Every day is a bad hair day for this cattleman.

 “For we walk by faith, not by sight.” 2 Corinthians 5:7

Now one of my favorite subjects is faith, could talk about it till the cows come home, and if they’re out in a lush alfalfa field as they were today, (against my wishes), they ain’t coming home on their own anytime soon. One thing I know in life is that when we have some faith in Jesus, its a whole new ball game. Years ago I was so hungry for this, but I will admit, in religion its not important. There its more important to follow man made rules and such. Oh how many decades did I hunger for God, but always had religion instead.

Years back, when I finally gave up on religion and this old world and came to the altar something happened. Something incredible. I found what I had always been looking for. I found God! Finally! And found out that God is the same now as He was back in them Bible days of old. Right off the bat, without even realizing it, I was using simple faith. I’d read it in the Bible, let er soak in, and believe it, and as folks that know me say, “Tom, you learn it, you believe it, and you apply it!” Well, I don’t want to be a braggart, but looking back its true enough. And I couldn’t imagine any other way once a person comes face to face with a merciful and loving God.

A fella just gotta walk the walk by believing Jesus. Simple as that, just believe. Oh how I love simple because over the years I’ve found out that simple is the most powerful faith. Simply believing Jesus. And that’s when heaven comes to earth and there are no exceptions.

Published in: on September 3, 2011 at 8:16 pm  Leave a Comment  
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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.