Monthly Devotions

Go Fishing—You Never Know What You Might Catch

 

On the 4th of July, my youngest son Tyler and I went bay fishing. I was so excited the days before the trip anticipating the catch, being alone with my son, and just being on the water for the first time in over five years. The excitement and anticipation made it difficult for me to sleep. We had set aside a whole day to fish, so we got up at 3:00 a.m. so we could be on the water early and not waste a minute of daylight.

            What I love most about bay fishing in the Gulf Coast is that you never know what you might catch. Though you may use a bait to target a particular species, when something takes the bait, you just never know what or how large it may be. Some will be keepers, others will be ‘throw backs’, but they are all fun to catch. You just have to keep casting your bait, over and over, and catch whatever hits.

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Some Droughts are Preventable

I hate a drought! I know that there are people in the U.S. mid-west and around the world who have had so much flooding this year that they are praying for a drought so they can repair or rebuild their homes and businesses and perhaps replant their crops. I am grateful that I have only had to personally endure one flood situation in my life. I remember Mama and Daddy trying to put all the beds and furniture up on blocks, but to no avail. I can only imagine how they must have felt trying to raise six young-uns and see everything they had under water with no flood insurance.

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Celebrating ‘True Freedom’

The 4th of July is a very special time when we celebrate the birth of our country and our freedom as a nation. Many, many people have sacrificed so much, even their lives, their loved ones, and all they possessed to secure the freedoms we enjoy today. We are the freest nation on earth, yet in the midst of “freedom”, so many of us live enslaved lives.

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Stepping Out of Your Comfort Zone

I have noticed through the years that God always incorporates our life’s experiences, abilities, skills, and interests to prepare us for what He wants to do in and through our lives. Most of the time, He will lead us out of our comfort zones, stretching and growing us, as He equips us to serve Him and fulfill our purposes in life.

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Victory Through Surrender

“I know it’s not much, and I don’t know if it will do any good, but this is my entire paycheck for the week and I want to give it if you think God can use it.”

 Dr. Stephen Petcher, Doug Townsend and I were recently visiting with a group of very inspiring and hard working students at Berry College in Rome, GA laying the groundwork for a Berry College mission trip to the Amazon. After making a slide show presentation and telling some of the stories of the people we have had the privilege of meeting and ministering to around the world, one young lady, who did not think it was important that we knew her name, made the above statement and gave us $9.62 (one $5.00 bill, four $1.00 bills, two quarters, one dime and two pennies). Her gift, her tears, her sacrifice and the desires of her heart blessed our lives, encouraged our ministry, set an example and replicated a story in the Bible that needs to be retold.

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Responding Like a Sick Calf?

“Kuuuh”, “kuuuh”,“kuuuh”. If you have ever been around a sick calf suffering from respiratory infection, you know the sound I am trying to spell out. If not, imagine a child that has a terrible cough, severe congestion and a high fever that demands immediate treatment, and perhaps you can visualize the condition of the sick calf. This year in Southeast Alabama, we have had to treat several calves for various degrees of respiratory disease.

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Our Life’s Investment: A Time for Reflection

 

(If my life ends today—will what I have invested my life in produce a positive eternal yield?)

 

            This is indeed a thought provoking question and one that deserves serious consideration, reflection, future planning and perhaps a change in our priorities and activities. If what we leave behind when we die does not outlive us, not just for the short-term, but for eternity, what is the significance of it all? Are we really fulfilling God’s plan for our lives or are we wasting our lives? This question must also be considered in light of the words of Jesus in Matthew 6:19-21: “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart is also.”

            Have you ever noticed that Jesus’ instructions were for our eternal benefit? We often read or interpret this verse as something God requires of us for His good, but in reality, Jesus gave this command for our benefit. The treasures we store up by loving, obeying, worshiping and serving Him are stored up for us, for our benefit, for all eternity. When we invest our lives in loving and serving God, doing His will His way, these are the only investments that will outlive us and the only treasures we can take with us beyond this life! If this is indeed the case, we best make sure that all our investments are for His purposes.

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Preg Checking: Open! Bred! I Ain’t Sure!!

 

Whoever heard of a cow, a woman or anything else being a little pregnant or almost pregnant? While some cows may be what we call ‘short bred’ (in the first trimester of their pregnancy) and others may be ‘heavy bred’ (in their last trimester), both groups are still pregnant. There are only two options: she is pregnant or she is open! Somehow, I always end up with a few “I ain’t sures”, but in the end, they are always, without exception, either pregnant or open.

Pregnancy testing is always something that I both look forward to and dread.   There are always one or two really good young ones that I just do not want to let go because they are open. So instead of doing the pregnancy testing early and culling based on the results as I should have, this year I put it off until closer to breeding time. This way, if the really good one is open, I can more easily rationalize keeping her since we are so close to breeding season.

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Confidence To Face The New Year

 

Sick with Lyme disease and other co-infections, weak in the flesh and the spirit, I found myself dependent on my wife and others to meet my needs and for the most part, to carry my burdens for both my family and the ministry of Cattle for Christ. Taking aggressive IV treatments for almost a year, unable to travel and do much of the work of the ministry that I had always done, and too tired and weak to be able to enjoy and invest in the lives of my family, I experienced feelings of helplessness, uselessness, discouragement and loneliness.

Sometimes I was unable to find the strength or clarity of mind to talk, respond to emails, return phone calls or spend time with others, even close friends and family.   Unable to fully focus on all the needs of the ministry, I saw all the work that needed to be done that was going undone, and that only made things worse. The Lord had my permission to do whatever He wanted to do, but what was He doing? What was I to do? Where He was leading me? What was I to learn these trials and suffering? Would I ever feel any better and have the strength to do the things in life that make a difference in the Kingdom and the lives of people that bring me joy and purpose for living?

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Two Virgins and a Baby—The Irony and the Gift of Christmas

 

Due to her condition and a treacherous journey, it was probably very late on a dark, cool night when Joseph and Mary arrived in the crowded town of Bethlehem. In fact, the crowd was so great that they had to make their beds in a lowly livestock stable because there were no rooms for them at the inn, nor were there homes that had space to take them in. Every bed in the town was already taken when they arrived.

            There they were, with no wealth, no notoriety, no room in which to stay, no place to eat, engaged to be married, making their beds in a dirty animal stall. Two virgins, yet that night she would give birth to her firstborn, who was not conceived by Joseph or any man! Two virgins giving birth to a baby! How ironic is that?

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Precious Moments in the Calving Pasture

 

It is one o’clock in the morning. There is no manmade sound to be heard, only an occasional lowing or a cough of a heifer somewhere in the calving pasture. In the distant south pasture, I hear a calf bawling and its mama calling out to it to let it know where she is and that she is on her way. I cannot see them, but I hear other heifers close to me stand up from their rest and moan as they stretch to get the blood flowing again. The chill of fall is in the air and there is a gentle breeze, just cool enough to be comfortable in my sweatshirt. There is complete darkness, just enough moonlight to help me see the shape of the heifer that is giving birth to her first calf. We bred her nine months ago, and if all goes well, the calf we have been waiting for is just moments from taking its first breath.

It has been over an hour and a half now, and I am getting anxious, restless and a little sleepy after a long day and now into the second day without sleep. What will it be, a bull or a heifer? Will it be twins again like the cow that calved yesterday? Is it positioned correctly and is she making progress in the delivery? Occasionally, I turn on my flashlight and give her a quick look to see if I can get a glimpse of the front hoofs letting me know that a leg is not turned back and that the calf is not breach.

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Working On a Building

 

Slabs poured, shelters built, utilities installed, the For-Most equipment bolted down, the Tru-Test scales installed, and with just a few more days of mounting guard rails and hanging gates, our cattle working facilities will finally be where we can use them. After almost three years of setting up and taking down makeshift catch pens and alleyways, we sure are looking forward to having some workable permanent facilities that are ready when we need them—especially since calving season is here and breeding season is just around the corner.

                This all reminds me of when Lisa and I built our dream home in 1988. I so vividly remember drawing out the plans on paper and spending a lot of time working out all the details getting everything just like we wanted it years before we ever started moving dirt.   So many details, researching and negotiating with subcontractors, picking out materials and appliances, choosing colors, strategically planning the placement of wall plugs and light switches—all with the expectations that everything would be just like we wanted them for the rest of our lives.   Of course the Lord changed our plans and we sold our home and Angus herd in 1998 to attend seminary and start Cattle for Christ International.

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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
  • HOPE IN THE PIT
  • 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!
  • THE RICH FAMILY IN CHURCH
  • Where did it go CFCI devotional
  • The Day ‘Tater’ Died
  • Life’s Lessons from the Chicken Yard
  • RESOLUTION OR SOLUTION?
  • Christmas Choices
  • BROKEN CISTERNS
  • 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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