Monthly Devotions

He is Able—But if He Does Not!


I recently preached the funeral of my dear friend Gordon Free. While I was going through his Bible and his study notes with his wife Amy, I ran across this writing. I do not have any reference as to the authorship but thought it was worth everyone having the chance to read, because at some point in life, we will face similar situations. I have modified the narrative slightly. It is based on the story of Daniel and his three friends after Israel was taken captive in Babylon by King Nebuchadnezzar. It is a story of rugged faith and uncompromising faithfulness to God.

                (Daniel 1-3). Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego where colleagues of Daniel who had refused to defile themselves with the forbidden royal food and wine offered them by the king. Now their commitment was being challenged again. One spiritual victory is not the end: in fact each day sees us at the foot of a different mountain to climb. Every day we are subject to being tempted to deny the Lord or compromise our beliefs.


Declarations of Independence: Properity or Destruction?

Declarations of Independence: Prosperity or Destruction?


            As we as Americans celebrate the 237th birthday of our great nation, it is helpful that we look back at our history and remember the foundational beliefs upon which our founding fathers boldly united and upon which our Republic was founded.

            Below is the majority of our Declaration of Independence of 1776 (all that is missing are the grievances against the King which I omitted only due to space limitations).


Blackie: One In A Hundred-In More Ways Than One

“Blackie”: One In A Hundred—In More Ways Than One

            “Blackie” as my grandsons and I called her, was the only Black Pearl pullet in a pen of 100. The other 99 were Golden Nuggets. Though all 100 pullets were hatched and raised together from day one, she really was ‘one in a hundred’ but not just because of her color and breeding. She also had a very different personality and responded and interacted with us differently from all the others.

            Perhaps it was because she was “different” and was ostracized and harassed by all the other pullets. Perhaps it had something to do with her breeding, but she bonded and interacted with us differently from the other 99. At every feeding as we scattered the feed, all the other pullets would scramble and fight for the pellets as we slung them out, but Blackie would only follow us, right at our feet, until we led her away and fed her out of our hand. I have raised a lot of chickens in my life, but I have never seen a chicken that seemed to show a sense of gratitude and a desire to show affection like Blackie did. Though she was surrounded by 99 others, it seemed she felt all alone and looked forward to spending time with us as she ate.


Who Is Holding On The Tightest?

Who Is Holding On the Tightest?

                “Now son, we are going to have to be real quiet when we get to the woods. I will get my big shotgun and you will get your BB gun and we will walk as quietly as we can to this special place where there are a lot of squirrels. When we get there, you will have to sit down against a tree and be real quiet and still, not moving anything but your eyes. If you be real still, we will see and shoot some squirrels for supper and we may even see some deer, wild hogs or even a coyote.” (I think I would have been better off leaving off the part about the “wild hogs” and “coyotes”).


That Must Have Been 20 Years Ago!

That Must Have Been 20 Years Ago!


Ever since Thanksgiving it seems that most of my time and efforts have been consumed with trying to complete the building of our new barn.   Lisa and I are building the barn for our personal use, but we will also use part of it to serve as our new Cattle for Christ office.

            During the office and barn building process, we have tried to do a lot of the work ourselves to save money and to help speed up the process. Thankfully a lot of friends have also helped us do what we could not do for ourselves. As the building project dragged out several weeks longer than what I had ever expected or planned and when it seemed like it would never be completed, (especially within my budget or timeframe), I remember praying several times: “Lord please don’t take me home while I am bogged down doing something so insignificant as building a building!


It's Almost Time

It’s Almost Time


            This first calf heifer had been in labor long enough that we now had to decide whether or not to intervene and assist her in the process of delivering her first calf. Jack first spotted her about four hours ago walking around sniffing the ground with her tail up looking for the perfect place to lie down. (I have always wondered just what a cow smells for that helps them determine just where they want to lie down and push during labor. They will walk and smell, walk and smell, until they find that perfect spot. They will continue to do that until they finally deliver. I will save that discussion for another time, but if anyone knows the answer to that question, please let me know).

            All that was visible when Jack first spotted this soon to be new mama was a little bit of her water bag protruding. We had just pulled a calf the day before because the water bag never broke and the heifer could not deliver the water and the calf. Once we broke her water (which was a lot of fluid), the calf was easily delivered. Now this heifer is mimicking the other heifer. Surely we would not have that problem twice in two days.


Keeping Me Awake At Night

Keeping Me Awake at Night

            Possums, hawks and owls are after my hens, coyotes are terrorizing my newborn calves, my barn construction is dragging out longer than I ever expected, and my “things to do list” is so long I cannot keep all the pages together. How in the world can I ever expect to get a good night’s sleep with all this going on? That is a question that I have been asking myself a lot lately—most often when I awake between 2:00 and 4:00 a.m. because all these things are on my mind and keeping me from going back to sleep.

            Perhaps if I go ahead and get up now during the wee hours of the morning and drive across the road where the new calves are I can catch the coyotes in the spotlight and get a shot off before they kill another calf. Or, if I get up and walk out to the chicken yard right now I might catch that possum or ‘tag’ that owl that is killing my hens at night. Did the plumber working on the barn put that pipe in the right place so that it will be in wall? I had better go ahead and get up, get dressed, grab my measuring tape and a flashlight and go check for myself just to make sure so that I can clear my mind and possibly go back to sleep before I have to get up at daylight. I am tired, I need the sleep, but these things are so important to me that they are keeping me awake at night!


Better Be Dressed

Better Be Dressed


If you read my devotionals regularly, you may remember I recently wrote about depopulating my entire chicken flock in order to eradicate from my farm a common respiratory disease in backyard chickens.   This was a stressful and painful experience, but looking back, I learned so much and am a better producer having gone through it and having made the necessary changes in my management practices to protect my flock in the future. You can rest assured, if there is anything I can do to prevent it, I will not have to go through or put others through that experience a second time!

After disinfecting all our facilities and equipment and staying ‘chicken free’ for 30 days, I was referred to a breeder in Alabama who raises ‘certified’ disease free breeding stock. I purchased all of my new stock from this breeder. I still had to verify that my premises was indeed disease free, so sixteen weeks after I purchased the new birds, Mrs. Peggy Vardaro from the State Veterinary Office came and bled and swabbed my entire flock, testing for disease. I can now rest assured that my flock and my premises are disease free. If I am diligent to take all the preventative measures to protect my birds and my premises, I should not ever experience this problem again.


CHRISTMAS My Favorite Time of the Year


For as long as I can remember, Christmas has always been my favorite time of the year. There are several reasons why this season has always been so special, and I suppose if I am honest, those reasons have evolved throughout my lifetime. I remember when it was all about the toys and the anticipation of what Santa would leave under the tree. My Daddy always loved this part too. Like me, he enjoyed the anticipation of not only what gift you might get to open, but how others would enjoy the gift you bought or made for them. He always made sure that on Christmas morning, the entire floor under the tree was full of gifts that had to be opened—one gift at a time, one person at a time. (We all hated that part of having to be so patient—but as far as I know, we all continue that same practice today in our own homes just to emphasize the ‘anticipation factor’). A few gifts would be wrapped in Christmas paper, others in newspaper and even some in brown grocery sacks, but it was always a sight to see.


A Nation Without God is a Nation Without Hope

A Nation Without God is a Nation Without Hope


Perhaps you are not familiar with what we in the cow/calf business refer to as a “Free-martin heifer.” This is a physiological and hormonal deformity that causes infertility in the female cattle born twin to a male. When a heifer twin shares the uterus with a bull fetus, they also share the placental membranes connecting the fetuses with their mama. This causes the exchange of fluids (blood and antigen carrying characteristics) that are unique to each sex.

When these antigens mix, they affect each other in a way that causes each to develop with some characteristics of the other sex. Though the bull calf is rarely significantly affected, the heifer calf’s reproductive organs are deformed or underdeveloped and she is almost certain to be infertile and unable to reproduce. In other words, no matter how beautiful she may be or how deep her pedigree, she is missing the internal organs that are critical to her reproductivity and she is totally useless as a mama cow to give new life and is only suitable for slaughter.


Bush Hogging During a Severe Drought?

It was miserably hot and extremely dry, but all I could do was just keep easing along in 2nd gear trying to bush hog through the now head high iron weed and waist high pig weed. All I could think about (except where the next hidden bull hole or wasp nest might be) was how quickly the pasture had changed and what a waste it was to be cutting weeds where perfectly good grass had been growing and could or should have been growing again.

This same time last year, we had some beautiful and fleshy bred heifers and a group of fine yearling bulls on these same pastures and the grass was fine.   In just eleven months since we sold most of our cattle and had moved off this particular farm, the weeds had taken over and had suppressed or completely overtaken these once beautiful pastures. Having to bush hog what could have been perfectly good pasture just seemed like such a waste, especially in a year when rainfall and quality grazing have been so rare.


When the Heart Dies—the Whole Body Dies With It

Back in the mid 70’s and early 80’s I leased several old broiler houses and raised chickens for a living. In the 70’s, the houses had the old hanging feeders that had to be filled by hand every morning, water jugs that had to be hand washed and refilled twice daily with a water hose, and the temperature was regulated by hand lowering or raising the curtains, depending on how the chickens were doing. I hope modern day producers appreciate the modernizations that science and technology have brought about since those days.

            I remember so many times just when the birds were fat and ready to sell, looking down the house on a hot day checking everything out, and I would see first one and then another chicken jump straight up in the air and land on its back with legs stretched out as far as they could go. Most all the time, these were the fattest and largest roosters in the house. When I approached the downed birds, I noticed that they were unconscious and their combs were turning from a bright red to a dull blue or purple color. I assumed that they must have had a heart attack.


Devotions by Year

  • Even Bulls Can Learn To Get Along
  • Changed Minds
  • Today is the Day
  • Sometimes We See What's Not There
  • Why Do You Farm?
  • Misplaced Aggression
  • Feasting On Filler
  • 'Get Some Rest': Not As Easy As It Sounds
  • Lessons From Freddy
  • Just Tired and Reflecting
  • Safe Pasture
  • Sin: Just Like Fall Army Worms
  • Blood Cleanses
  • Just Cute Little Harmless Pups
  • Life: A Series of Pipping
  • Just Because He Loves Us!
  • No Excuses!
  • Oh! Now You Tell Me!
  • Live Like You Were Dying
  • But You Didn't Tell Me!
  • Time to Choose
  • A Gift for the Man Who Has Everything and Realizes That He Really Has Nothing
  • Celebrate the Harvest
  • Falling Stars
  • Easier To Lead Than To Drive
  • Weeds, Weeds, Weeds!
  • Grace Is Like Grits
  • We Can’t Do It ‘Ourselves’!
  • I Wouldn’t Make a Good Cowboy
  • What Are We Thinking?
  • Your Walk Talks
  • Activity is No Substitute for Reproduction
  • Who Would Have Ever Thought It?
  • Thankful for Boundaries
  • Cover It Up Or Fix The Problem?
  • What Will Your Legacy Be?
  • I Wish I Had Been There! I Wish I Had Not Forgotten!
  • If God Can Use a Dove....?
  • Hope In The Midst Of Hopelessness
  • I Don't Know You!
  • Like A Straddled Squirrel
  • Sounding the Alarm: This Is Not a Test!
  • Don’t Let The Urgent Keep You From The Most Important
  • We Never Know Who We Have In The Basket
  • Uh Oh--Jesus' Got Toothpaste On His Head!
  • A Moment of Silence is like Preg Checking a Bull
  • A Chicken's Right to Choose
  • Got to Leave Right Now! What Do I Take With Me?
  • He is Able—But if He Does Not!
  • Declarations of Independence: Properity or Destruction?
  • Blackie: One In A Hundred-In More Ways Than One
  • Who Is Holding On The Tightest?
  • That Must Have Been 20 Years Ago!
  • It's Almost Time
  • Keeping Me Awake At Night
  • Better Be Dressed
  • CHRISTMAS My Favorite Time of the Year
  • A Nation Without God is a Nation Without Hope
  • Bush Hogging During a Severe Drought?
  • When the Heart Dies—the Whole Body Dies With It
  • Depopulate and Eradicate (or) Expiate and Propitiate
  • If I Could Only Say One Thing and Had One Last Chance to Say It
  • Go Ahead and Jump Son—Daddy Will Catch You
  • The Final Dispersal
  • Chicken Piping—He Sees Them All
  • “Takes the Teeth Out”
  • Making It Harder Than It Is
  • Why Was He Born?
  • What to do when you don’t know what to do
  • A Dry And Thirsty Land Where No Water Is
  • If Only These People Will Change
  • Go Fishing—You Never Know What You Might Catch
  • Some Droughts are Preventable
  • Celebrating ‘True Freedom’
  • Stepping Out of Your Comfort Zone
  • Victory Through Surrender
  • Responding Like a Sick Calf?
  • Our Life’s Investment: A Time for Reflection
  • Preg Checking: Open! Bred! I Ain’t Sure!!
  • Confidence To Face The New Year
  • Two Virgins and a Baby—The Irony and the Gift of Christmas
  • Precious Moments in the Calving Pasture
  • Working On a Building
  • What is the Foundation of Your Faith?
  • To Walk on Water—You Have to Step Out of the Boat
  • Only One Life to Live
  • The Uniqueness of a Mother’s Love
  • A Prayer That God Will Always Answer
  • Lessons from a Boar
  • When You Have Done All You Can Do to Stand: Stand Firm
  • Lowing in the Distance
  • Not My Dirty Feet!
  • Where did it go CFCI devotional
  • The Day ‘Tater’ Died
  • Life’s Lessons from the Chicken Yard
  • Christmas Choices
  • Experiencing God in the Calving Pasture
  • FAMILY: On and Off the Farm
  • Unity is More Than Important—It is Absolutely Essential
  • God, I’m not ______________. I AM!
  • The Rod and the Staff
  • The Good Shepherd Leads the Way
  • The Good Shepherd
  • Blessed to be a Blessing
  • Mama Should Have Named Me Martha
  • FENCES: On the Farm & In Our Lives
  • The Harvest Depends on the Heart
  • The Gospel & Our Response to God's Grace
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