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.

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.

 

 

Lord, I Believe!

Here it is in the middle of February, haven’t written here in a while. But that can get changed tonight. God is Good all the time! The weather up here in the north country has been very pleasant this week with a melt starting and should continue for a couple more days. Was a bit worried if the truckers with the cattle trailers would be able to make it in this week to load calves but that went alright with the warm up coming about an hour after we loaded the calves for the salesbarn. Tomorrow its off to the barn and get em sold.

Lookin to join the local cattleman’s association one of these days. I used to belong to the state and national groups but for some reason lost interest over the years, maybe because they were so remote. But I was reading in the local farm and ranch paper that the local that started up is doing pretty good and I figure why not! Don’t plan on getting deeply involved but wouldn’t mind seeing what they are up to. Mostly though my interests are just raising cows and spreading the Gospel. Who knows, might be some connections with the cattleman’s association that could further the spread of the Gospel, you just never know what God opens up. I’ve seen amazing things happen in the past when a person just has their spiritual eyes open.

Jesus said to him, “If you can believe, all things are possible to him who believes.”
Immediately the father of the child cried out and said with tears, “Lord, I believe; help my unbelief!” Mark 9:23-24

Lord, help my unbelief! This scripture is one that always hangs on to me. One of the top ten in my book. That desperation from a father that had no where else to turn. The drama that unfolded in the verses before and after the ones I posted is awesome to be sure. Now I don’t care who a person is, many times we think we are in control, but rest assured we are not. We can think we are all high and mighty but it only takes one little thing for all of that to come crashing down. Whether its a doctors report, an unexpected notification in the mail, an unexpected notification by the sheriff’s department of a family disaster or something along those line, we are not in control.

Many folks think its in God’s plan for us to have these disasters, maybe, maybe not. The god of this world is exactly that, satan is running fairly free in this world to destroy everything we have and its only by the grace of God we are even breathing. But when satan hits us, which he will by the way, there’s a God that will see us through and we will come out in victory if we “only believe”. That father in the verses cried out to God with tears running down his face for help. And what did Jesus do? He went into immediate action! There was no fooling around having the father wait, there was no fooling around in order to teach the father to wait on the Lord, no, the action taken was immediate! Now I don’t know about anyone else but I do believe that this is how God works. Jesus said if we have seen Him we have seen the Father and if Jesus did it that way then this is the Father’s will, simple. We tend to complicate matters allot in religion and churches, making excuses for unanswered prayers. But my Bible says that Jesus cares for them, and heals them all!

Now I’m a pretty simple guy, just out here where the northern plains meet the north woods and I keep my nose to the grindstone. My beliefs are simple, and even when I listen to Christian radio during haying season in the tractor I sometimes have to shut the radio off because of the shear unbelief being preached. I’m just a cattleman preacher and I figure if the Bible says it, that’s the way it is. No need to complicate it, no need to make it into a ceremony, no, just believe it, have faith in the Word of God and I must say, things do happen when a person does. Situations change fast, healings do occur, what was once a problem is somehow solved.

I’ll take the Jesus that’s in the Gospels any day! Now that’s someone to follow! He ain’t out to get a person like I read and read from many so called preachers. Nope, He gave it all on the Cross for everyone that looks to the Cross and to Jesus as their Saviour. Ever notice if your a Bible reader, and even if you only read a little of it or just had the Gospel stories told to you a long time ago how Jesus always helped out those misfits that were in need and the only time He ever got all angry was with the so called religious folks? My Jesus loves the down and out, He loves those that are struggling with terrible problems, those that have or are losing it all. Ever notice how He’d hang around the folks that in today’s world wouldn’t even be welcomed in a regular church. Ever notice how so many churches demand that one changes before your accepted into their little group. In other words religion demands that you change before God will accept you. That you have to clean up your act. I hate to say it, cause many folks will disagree with me but there ain’t one person on this earth that can clean up his or her act before coming to Christ, no, not one. And if you figure you did clean up good enough to come to Him my advice is to get on your knees and ask for forgiveness and ask to be born again because rest assured your not if you did it on your own power. Come to Jesus, because He’s the only one that can make you clean. Come as you are and let Him do the work.

The salesbarn is one of my favorite places to go, which I will be doing tomorrow. When I see the hustle and bustle, when I see the day workers, the different farmers and ranchers, I see the Gospels exploding in front of my eyes! The regular folk, and Jesus took the Cross for each and every one of them, and me. God loves them, and so do I. This is farm and ranch ministry!

 

 

 

Published in: on February 15, 2011 at 8:18 pm  Leave a Comment  
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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 Rugged Cross

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

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

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

Then, Now and Forever!

Glory to God! I think I have the last of the hay baled as of this evening! It was quite a ride this summer putting up all that hay with the wet weather, but I think I only have around twenty round bales that were baled up a little tough. Other than that the bales were pert near perfect! The total is 1120 round bales of hay, not counting straw. Now tomorrow get to cleaning the silage pit and start getting ready for that. Today was hot and humid, but tomorrow is supposed to be cool and windy, Praise the Lord! Perfect for that job. In fact getting ready for silage might take me all week, and the plan is to start chopping next week. The corn here is maturing very fast and I hope by the middle of September all will be done.

Yesterday, Sunday,was a good-un. The message at church hit home. But as sometimes happens, even in a message that is about one thing, questions were answered about another thing, or two. I love that when that happens. In my last post I was talkin about the Cross. Yesterday during the sermon we were in Revelations and something struck me.

“You are worthy to take the scroll
and to open its seals,
because you were slain,
and with your blood you purchased men for God
from every tribe and language and people and nation.
10You have made them to be a kingdom and priests to serve our God,
and they will reign on the earth.”

This is from revelations chapter 5. These are the praises in heaven. Here’s more from the same chapter.

Then I looked and heard the voice of many angels, numbering thousands upon thousands, and ten thousand times ten thousand. They encircled the throne and the living creatures and the elders. In a loud voice they sang:
“Worthy is the Lamb, who was slain,
to receive power and wealth and wisdom and strength
and honor and glory and praise!”

Wow! The praises in heaven at the throne are about the Cross! Now back down here on this old ball called earth I’ve heard preachers say that we got to get away from the cross and move on. But I say nothing could be farther from the truth. Because when we cross that River Jordan and head into the promised land the events of the Cross are what everyone will be singing about. Because there is nothing else that is responsible for getting folks eternal life, than Jesus on the Cross! He was born for the Cross, (thank God), and that is the only thing that gets us right with God. The Lamb Who was slain! It sure ain’t nothing that I did or you did, it was the Lamb Who was slain on the Cross that did it all.

I’ve been dwelling on this for a couple of months and now that I was directed to the Book of Revelations Sunday on another subject the pieces came together more and more! Not only is the Cross a back then event, its a now event, and an eternal event!

For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God.

I might just be a country fella, but I do believe that this all says allot!

Where Heaven and Earth Meet

I tell you, I am happy tonight with this weather cooling down! Its been a stretch, hot and humid, the kind of weather where a person is soaking wet from morning till night. This evening in celebration I’m wearing a long sleeve denim shirt and it feels good! Had some pasture work today. This morning while making my rounds I discovered about 50 feet of barb wire fence ripped out, including posts from a bull fight. So, fix it all up this morning. Then for a little while this afternoon I checked the south pasture a couple of miles away and wasn’t satisfied with the electrical power in the electric fence there. So with the help of the Honda Rancher fourwheeler I checked out the whole works and wouldn’t you know it, two trees down on the farthest part of the pasture from yesterday’s storms. The electric wires were touching  the ground wires with those trees on top of em, so there I was without a saw so I just grunted and lifted and pulled those blowed down trees off the fence. After that the fence would fry a cow down if she touched it.

Now I’m on the home stretch. One more hay field to make and then get the silage pit cleaned up and start getting ready for corn silage chopping. The corn crop is about as good as it gets so no complaining here. The silage crop is what gets me through a long, long northern winter with all these cows, steers and young stock around the place. Those Angus and Herefords do like to eat, allot! So I figure a month from now things will be slowing down around here a bit. Full work days as always but the evenings will be much freer. I’m looking forward to it, those months of slower paced work. Starting the middle of September I gotta do a church service at our church and I already got the basics figured out for that one. This fall and winter will be a busy time beyond the church walls the way its looking to me though. And that’s where I love to be! The 3/4 ton pickup will be cleaned out somewhat for that duty once the last bales are hauled in. But then again if its doing some dirty work it can still get this feller around doing the work of the Lord in the countryside.

“Thus saith the Lord.” Yep, that’s all a feller really is asked to do by our Saviour. Lay it on the line to folks and don’t stray from the message of the Cross. If the accept it great, if not that’s their problem, not mine. A person is only a messenger, carrying the Gospel to any and all and its not up to us to demand results. We ain’t no better than our Master, and He didn’t convince everyone. In fact He was hated for the “Good News” by the religious.

Last evening I came across some song lyrics that spoke to me.

Tis at the cross of Christ
Where earth and heaven meet
Where sin is overcome
To God the victory!

At the Cross, Amen. I’ve been dwelling allot on the Cross lately and the more I read in my Bible the more and more important it is to us every single moment! Its not so popular to talk about it nowadays but that is the message that we are told to preach, the message of the Cross! And that message has a place on every farm and ranch in this country and beyond. Foolish to many, but powerful to those of us who are being saved! Where heaven and earth meet, durn I got struck by that!

That Cross which is so despised nowadays is where heaven and earth meet. Where God reaches to human kind in order to bring them back to Him! It doesn’t matter what a person is doing on this old earth, if we are doing it without the power of the Cross it is all for nothing, plain and simple. This is the message in a hurting rural America. This is the only hope that there is. There is absolutely no hope coming from this tailspin society, the bankrupt government, or any other human endeavor. There is only hope where heaven and earth meet, at the foot of the Cross!

Published in: on August 14, 2010 at 7:16 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Outcasts

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

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

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

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

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

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

Where Were You?

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

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

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

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

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

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

Dry Bones

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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