Have You Reviewed Your Collection Of Tee Shirts Lately?

Our clothing tells those we meet more about us than anything else we put on our bodies.  More than makeup.  More than cologne.  More than hair gel.  Even strangers we briefly encounter and will never meet again receive a message from the clothing that we adorn.

This is especially true when it comes to the everyday, relaxed clothing that we wear; the kind that we just haphazardly pull out of the laundry basket or drawer, then rapidly throw on.

Everyday tee shirts that have a message printed on them definitely make a first impression on those we meet because they specifically express our thoughts in words and symbols.  Most of these shirts have accumulated through the years. They were once important to us. We bought them because they made a statement with which we proudly agreed, or maybe they illustrated a particular lifestyle in which we indulged.  Some of these shirts were given to us because we were involved in a charity or worthwhile event.

Through the years, these shirts were demoted from the “let’s impress someone” and the “let’s make a statement” wardrobe to the “let’s just be comfortable” drawer.  Yet, these tees still tell those we meet much about us.  They say that the message emblazoned across our chest is still important to us.  We have not discarded them, because the advertised slogan, lifestyle or event has become so much a part of our everyday lives, that we enjoy comfortably, openly proclaiming our approval of the printed message without so much as a second thought.

Do you want to know who you are?

Sometime, go through your everyday tee shirt laundry basket.  What do you see?  Save the whales?  Drink more beer?  Run for a cure?  Live for Christ?  Party until you can’t?  Go Cats?  Roll Tide? Sexually express yourself?  Curse the world?  Feed the poor?

If we haven’t recently taken inventory of those old messengers, the communication that the world reads on our chest may be totally different than that which we believe we are relaying.

“9 Do not lie to one another, seeing that you have put off the old self with its practices 10 and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator. 11 Here there is not Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave, free; but Christ is all, and in all. 12 Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, 13 bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive.” (Col. 3:9-13 ESV) (Note: To “put on” means to “clothe one’s self”)

1 Since therefore Christ suffered in the flesh, arm yourselves with the same way of thinking, for whoever has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin, 2 so as to live for the rest of the time in the flesh no longer for human passions but for the will of God. 3 For the time that is past suffices for doing what the Gentiles want to do, living in sensuality, passions, drunkenness, orgies, drinking parties, and lawless idolatry. 4 With respect to this they are surprised when you do not join them in the same flood of debauchery, and they malign you; 5 but they will give account to him who is ready to judge the living and the dead. (1 Peter 4:1-5 ESV)
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Which Had You Rather Have, Steak or Hamburger? Which Had God Rather Have, Steak or Hamburger?

If you advertise a meal consisting of a grilled 6 oz. boneless fillet of beef, a baked potato, and a side of corn as a “Top Sirloin Steak Dinner”, then price it at $7, customers in a small country diner will say, “That’s not a bad price.”

If you grind the same piece of meat, grill it as a patty, and place it on a bun; if you substitute the side of corn with a small salad consisting of lettuce, onion, tomato and pickles; if you slice and deep fry the same potato; then if you advertise the meal as a “Deluxe Hamburger with Fries”;  the same customers patronizing the same country diner will complain about paying $5.50.

Serve either of the exact same meals in a franchised restaurant located in a congested area on the side of an interstate and the exact same customers will smile at the cashier as she charges them $10.  They will then compliment the value of the meal and tip the server another $3.

Why?  It’s all in the head.  If we think we have enjoyed a unique experience, if we think we are getting a bargain, or if think we are getting “steak” rather than “hamburger”, then we gladly pay the extra money and relish the deliciousness of the cuisine.

The same is true when it comes to our worship to God.

In reading about the worship offered by the 1st century christians, it’s hard not to be impressed by the simplicity of their veneration.  They performed no pageantry.  They played no instruments of music. They displayed no insignia or icons.  They appointed no clergy or “worship leaders”.  The first century worship simply consisted of plain folks singing, praying, giving, communing, and reverently learning God’s word.

But man (not God) has never been happy with “hamburger.”  In order to be satisfied, man must have “choice steak” worship,  served to himself on a silver platter, in a cathedral or sanctuary decorated to create the maximum ambiance, and served by either the most entertaining performers, or the most captivating orator.  If man feels that he has enjoyed a unique experience, then he will exit the building enthusiastically complementing the “meal” and generously tipping everyone in sight.

After all, it takes a lot of money to put on such a grand and moving production.

23 But the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father is seeking such people to worship him. 24 God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.” (John 4:23-24)

16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. 17 And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.” (Colossians 3:16-17)

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How Is It Possible For A Few Men With Yellow Flags and Whistles To Maintain Order Between Two Armies of Massive Football Warriors?

A fight nearly broke out during the first half of today’s Alabama/Vandy football game. A referee trying to separate the huge linemen was accidentally knocked down. Other officials arrived on the scene and order was restored.

The field officials were physically very small compared to the massive football players.  Their numbers paled in comparison to the number of emotionally-charged gridiron warriors which surrounded them.  Yet they restored order.

Why?

It wasn’t their physical strength.  It wasn’t their whistles. It wasn’t their yellow flags.  It wasn’t their words.

It was their vested authority.

Those huge linemen stopped scuffling because they have been taught since their peewee days to respect and fear the authority of the referees.  They understood that any one of the officials could impose penalizing consequences upon them and their whole team.  They understood that any one of those officials could eject them from the game. They understood that an ejection would mean having to give an answer for their conduct to coaches, university officials, and possibly even the NCAA. They understood that one unchecked punch could end their careers and shatter their dreams forever.  So, they stopped their scuffling before it culminated in devastating consequences.

The violent, competitive nature of American football naturally lends itself to angry flare-ups and fights. If the massive athletes did not respect the field officials’ authority to enforce the rules of the game, or if they did not fear the possibility of having to suffer major consequences for their illegal actions, there would be no way that a few men with flags and whistles could keep the emotionally charged participants under control.

Respect for authority. Being taught this respect from early childhood. Comprehending the necessity of enforceable rules and regulations. Fear of consequences for rejecting the authority, or breaking the rules. Responsibility to a brotherhood. A belief in individual accountability.

We understand that all these are necessary for the success of a sporting event.

Are they not just as necessary for the success of life? Are they not just as necessary for the success of any society?

“1 Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God. 2 Therefore whoever resists the authorities resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment. 3 For rulers are not a terror to good conduct, but to bad. Would you have no fear of the one who is in authority? Then do what is good, and you will receive his approval, 4 for he is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword in vain. For he is the servant of God, an avenger who carries out God’s wrath on the wrongdoer. 5 Therefore one must be in subjection, not only to avoid God’s wrath but also for the sake of conscience.” (Romans 13:1-5)

“13 Be subject for the Lord’s sake to every human institution, whether it be to the emperor as supreme, 14 or to governors as sent by him to punish those who do evil and to praise those who do good. 15 For this is the will of God, that by doing good you should put to silence the ignorance of foolish people. 16 Live as people who are free, not using your freedom as a cover-up for evil, but living as servants of God. 17 Honor everyone. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the emperor.” (1 Peter 2:13-17)

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What Did That Penny Cost You? Your Home? Your family? Your Soul?

One of the first memorable moments that occurred after Sarah and I married, and I found myself in charge of making repairs, concerned an old-time fuse box. When the clothes washer would not work, I knew enough to check and change the fuses, but I still could not get the appliance to operate.  When Daddy came down to help, the first thing he did was screw the fuse in tighter, and, “Viola!”, the washer ran like a brand new one.

Fuses are electrical safety devices intended to keep an appliance from burning out due to its pulling too much amperage.  They also prevent the household electrical wiring from overheating and possibly causing a fire.  Each fuse has an amperage rating. Only a specified maximum amperage fuse is supposed to be used in the protected circuits.

The old small-based, screw-in type fuses were single use. They were considered “safe” because the threaded shafts were various lengths so that only a 15 amp fuse would work in a 15 amp circuit, etc. However, as it is with most safety features, many people found this to be annoying and inconvenient. When a fuse burned out and they did not have one with the correct amperage, they either had to do without their appliance for a time, or they had to find a way to rig the fuse box so that they could replace the blown fuse with a stronger one.

People soon discovered that a penny placed behind a stronger rated fuse bypassed the safety feature. A 20 amp or even 30 amp fuse could be screwed in to replace the 15 amp safety device.  They often reasoned that the stronger fuse would work better since the higher the amperage, the less likely it would shoot again. This would save money and time.

The problem?  Since the safety device would not work correctly, wires melted and fires burned down houses.  What did that penny cost those people?  Their home and sometimes their lives.

We have a built-in safety feature.  It is called our conscience.  When we are young, this safety feature is very sensitive and can easily “shoot”, which is a good thing; how many times do we tell our kids, “If someone asks you to do something that doesn’t seem or feel right, don’t do it.”

As we grow older, that sensitive conscience becomes inconvenient. It’s continual “blowing” annoys us because it won’t let us do what we want to do without feeling guilty.   We search for ways to bypass this safety feature. We soon discover that inserting a “penny” will allow us to install a stronger fuse which requires a more shocking act of immorality to cause our conscience to prick our hearts.

“I’m an adult,” is one penny many use, but it bypasses the fact that simply growing older does not transform anything from being sinful to being righteous.

“Different situations allow for different reactions” is another penny people insert behind their consciences. By reasoning that their unique circumstances in life justifies a sinful act, they can practice it without pricking their consciences.

Other pennies range from, “Everybody’s doing it,” to “I’m only hurting myself,” to “Times have changed.”  What do these pennies cost these people when their consciences do not “blow” as they should?  Their families, their self-esteem, their dignity, their lives, and many times their eternal souls.

“3 As I urged you when I was going to Macedonia, remain at Ephesus so that you may charge certain persons not to teach any different doctrine, 4 nor to devote themselves to myths and endless genealogies, which promote speculations rather than the stewardship from God that is by faith. 5 The aim of our charge is love that issues from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith. 6 Certain persons, by swerving from these, have wandered away into vain discussion, 7 desiring to be teachers of the law, without understanding either what they are saying or the things about which they make confident assertions. (1 Timothy 1:3-7)

“Unto the pure all things are pure, but unto them that are defiled and unbelieving is nothing pure; but even their mind and conscience is defiled.” (Titus 1:15)

 

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Warning! The Following Contains Disturbing Information That Should be Read By Every Man, Woman, and Teen!

“Did you know that it only takes 3 minutes to empty the dishwasher and 4 minutes to refill it?”

I wrote this on my Facebook page several years ago, and one lady jokingly responded, “Now he’s gone to meddling!”

When a person begins speaking to us about biblical doctrine, especially if he is asking us to scripturally question one or more of our long-held foundational beliefs, we may jokingly respond, “Now you’ve gone to meddling.”  If the person continues, and we begin to realize that the cited scriptures conclusively teach a doctrine conflicting with our long-held belief, we may stop listening or reading. We may become frustrated and angry. We may walk away and demand that they stop meddling in our business.

Today, I’m meddling.

Did you know that the Bible teaches that one must be baptized (immersed) in water before he can be reconciled to God?  Jesus commanded it. Peter taught it. Paul wrote it.

(Please be sure to hover over the scripture references to read the Bible’s teachings.  This is important so that it is evident that the statements are biblical, and not my own opinion.)

We all have fallen short of the glory of God. (Romans 3:23).  This means that we all have sinned. These failures have separated us from God. (Isaiah 59:1-2).  God has offered us a way back to him. (Romans 3:23-26). Jesus embodies, expresses, and culminates the saving grace of God. (Romans 5:1-2, Romans 5:6-11). God pleads with us to be reconciled to him through the blood of his son. (2 Corinthians 5:17-6:2).

To be reconciled to God, we must be saved by Jesus. (Acts 4:12). To be saved means that our sins are forgiven. (Acts 10:42-43). To be saved means that our sins have been washed away, or symbolically, that we have washed our robes in the blood of the Lamb. (Revelation 7:9-14). To be saved, we must call upon the name of the Lord. (Romans 10:13). To be saved, we must be born again. (John 3:3). We cannot be saved without being found in Jesus. (Ephesians 1:7).

To be reconciled to God, we must be saved, but how do we accept the saving grace of God?

Jesus commanded the Apostles to preach the gospel to everyone. He concluded that anyone who believes the gospel and is baptized will be saved.  In one sentence, Jesus summarized the reconciliation process.  Hearing the good news about God’s saving grace produces faith; faith produces baptism; and baptism produces salvation or reconciliation.  (Mark 16:15-16).

Peter echoed this teaching when he stated, “Baptism . . . now saves you.” (1 Peter 3:21). In his first gospel sermon, Peter taught that to have our sins forgiven, we must repent and be baptized. (Acts 2:38).

Before he was reconciled to God, the Apostle Paul was told to wash away his sins by being baptized. (Acts 22:16).  Paul was also told that his baptism would be the means by which he would call on the name of the Lord. (Acts 22:16). It’s especially interesting that Paul had just spent three days and nights fasting and praying to God.  Jesus knew that Paul was praying. (Acts 9:9-11). Yet Paul still had not called on the name of the Lord in such a way that his sins were removed from him.

In his inspired writings, Paul taught that we are born again when we are baptized. (Romans 6:3-5). In our baptism, we die to the old man of sin, and we rise to walk in newness of life. Paul also taught that we enter Christ by being baptized into him. (Galatians 3:26-27).

As we search the Bible for the answer to the question, “How can I be reconciled to God?”, we find many elements involved; grace, faith, repentance, confession, forgiveness, being born again, calling on the name of the Lord . . .and baptism. None of these can be overlooked.  None of these can be omitted. None of these can be disconnected from the others. None of these can be deemed inessential to our salvation. For they all play a part in God’s plan of reconciliation.

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I Don’t Understand! I Am Doing The Same Thing Today That I Did Yesterday. Why Am I Not Getting The Same Results?

The first few years that I operated the dairy, I fed a grain ration that seemed to promote superior milk production regardless of the quality of my forages.  Daddy called it the “Golden Ration.”

At some point, due to the fluctuation in milk and feed prices, I decided to cheapen the feed by changing the mixture just a little, increasing the percentage of one ingredient and lowering the poundage of another. My milk production decreased some, but not enough to warrant going back to the higher priced ration.

Sometime later, I decided to cheapen the feed even more by replacing a key component with a completely different one. As before, milk production went down, but seemingly not enough to warrant reinstating the original ingredient or going back to the “Golden Ration.”

This continued throughout the years.  Each time that I cheapened the mixture, the results were always a drop in milk production. By the end, the production results were not even close to the original ones.  Each time I altered the recipe, I took at least one step away from the original, until eventually, formula wise, the mixture did not even resemble the formula for the “Golden Ration”.  It looked and smelled much the same, but it was not the same.

Mentally I knew each new alteration was a further departure from the original, but each variation seemed so minor that it didn’t appear to matter.  Mentally, I knew that each change led to further decay in my production, but the results did not seem to invalidate the method.  Why? Because I did not compare each alteration and its results with the original. I compared it to its immediate predecessor.

Then one day, I researched some old records. I compared the original production records with the current ones. The difference was shocking.  I also compared the “Golden Ration” to the current grain ration.  The mixture wasn’t even close.  Although in my mind, I was still feeding the original, I had gradually completely changed a key part the early success of my operation. In my mind, I had barely altered the ration, but in reality, I had arrived at a completely new formula.

Slowly but surely, the original evolved into something totally different and the new did not serve the same purpose as the old.

Spiritually, we can fall into this same trap. Much of the religious division found in Christendom today has come about through multiple subtle changes which have occurred over the centuries. Each generation has taken the liberty of adapting the Bible’s teachings to its specific desires or felt needs.  That generation then passed those adaptations down to its successors as God-ordained truths.  Over time, as each new generation has made its own alterations, Christianity has moved further and further away from the original, until much of what is believed and practiced in Christendom today comes nowhere near the original.

Will an altered or reformed version of the model accomplish the same as the original God-ordained version? Listen to Jesus and Paul:

 “24 “Strive to enter through the narrow door. For many, I tell you, will seek to enter and will not be able. 25 When once the master of the house has risen and shut the door, and you begin to stand outside and to knock at the door, saying, ‘Lord, open to us,’ then he will answer you, ‘I do not know where you come from.’ 26 Then you will begin to say, ‘We ate and drank in your presence, and you taught in our streets.’ 27 But he will say, ‘I tell you, I do not know where you come from. Depart from me, all you workers of evil!’” (Luke 13:24-27)

“21 “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. 22 On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ 23 And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’” (Matthew 7:21-23)

“2Preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching. 3 For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, 4 and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths.” (2 Timothy 4:2-4)

 

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Never write Off Anyone Just Because She Has Suffered an Injury That Would Appear to Diminish Her Quality of Life.

When I was operating the dairy, I was bad about writing off a cow if she suffered an injury or became ill. If an individual could not get to the barn or ran a high risk of more severe injury should she walk through the daily routines with the rest of the milking herd, I would generally send her to the livestock market as quickly as possible.

On one occasion, a cow injured her hip causing her to hobble every time she moved.  I planned to sell her, but daddy and my brother talked me into allowing three newborn calves to nurse her.  Each day, twice a day, this cow would willingly limp into a pen so that three rambunctious newborns could nurse their way to strength and health.

Never write off anyone just because she has suffered an injury that would appear to diminish her quality of life. The world continues to be filled with examples of brave women and men who have suffered seemingly totally debilitating wounds; injuries that prompted even medical professionals to predict that their lives would not be worth living. Yet the victims’ resilience and courage would not allow them to give up.  They have shown the world that one person’s prognosis of complete disability is another person’s challenge to triumph over tragedy.

“16 So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. 17 For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, 18 as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.” (2 Corinthians 4:16-18)

“3 Give justice to the weak and the fatherless; maintain the right of the afflicted and the destitute. 4 Rescue the weak and the needy; deliver them from the hand of the wicked.” (Psalm 82:3-4)

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Mama! Get the Diesel Fuel! I’ve Cut my Leg Plum Off This Time!

Diesel fuel served as the number one multifunctional fluid on the farm on which we were reared. Its primary purpose was tractor fuel.  Daddy kept a 300-gallon bulk tank filled with the smelly liquid year-round. At least one of the diesel farm tractors was used every day, so the abundant supply was necessary.

But that was only one of the many purpose for which we used diesel. It aided in the starting of warm fires on cold mornings. A mixture of insecticide and diesel saturated the fly-control backrub applicators that hung around the farm. Diesel was the first choice as a topical medicinal dressing to be applied to open wounds or sore feet on the cattle.  It’s cousin, coal oil, served as a remedy for bovine bloat.

And diesel fuel’s medicinal use didn’t stop at the barn.  This was the number one topical dressing applied to any of our cuts or injuries.  The oily, sulfuric substance helped wounds remain supple; it took the soreness out of even the nastiest cut.

One summer day when I was about 5 years old, I mashed off the tip of my right index finger between a bicycle chain and the bike’s back-wheel drive sprocket.  The first aid practiced on that day consisted of my eating a popsicle while soaking the gushing wound in a can of diesel.  The injured member was then wrapped with clean gauze, and the fresh popsicle sticks were used as splints.  For the rest of the afternoon, I held the finger about shoulder height, and ate several more popsicles.

From that day on, any time I injured myself, I headed straight to the diesel tank.

When I fell off a walk board onto a roll of barbed wire, I bathed my hand in diesel.  When I cut a big gash on my foot while playing in a sinkhole full of broken bottles, I soaked the foot in diesel. When mamma had to screw a grooved roofing nail out of my foot with pliers, my foot spent a little extra time in the diesel can.

I could tell of many more incidents, but suffice it to say, I knew where the fuel tank, the can, and the most comfortable seat near the fuel supply was located.

When I left the farm, the injury accidents became less numerous.  Since a ready supply of diesel was not available, when they did occur, I began using over the counter topical antiseptic ointments instead.  The memory of the warm, soothing sensation of soaking an injured member in the pungent home remedy soon faded away.

The longer I was away from the farm, and the more I became integrated into a segment of society which trusted modern medicine above home remedies, the more I became leery and afraid of practicing that which had healed the hurt so many times. Even today, after having moved back to the farm, with the fuel supply so near, I still question the wisdom of treating an injury in that fashion.  Although I can give myself many personal experiential testimonies about diesel fuel’s safe effectiveness in easing the immediate pain and preventing any future soreness, I can’t help but argue that maybe it wasn’t as safe or effective as I believed.

That which I trusted to heal my most serious injuries has almost become a superstition to me.  Why?  The length of time since I last practiced it.  The doubts of my past and present influential peers. The acceptance of the notion that “scientifically proven” medicine must be better than an “old wives’ tale” home remedy.

Spiritually, many in this world have experienced these same types of circumstances.  Their families reared them in a Bible-based faith. On several occasions, they personally used that faith to pull them through the storms of adolescence.  But then they moved away from the ready supply of support and encouragement.  They integrated themselves into a segment of society which questioned the wisdom of believing such old-fashioned methods of dealing with life’s difficulties.  And soon, the precious memories began to fade.  Until one day, even when they return to their faithful hometown support group, they just can’t bring themselves to trust the faith that once provided them with strength, comfort, and assurance.

That which they once trusted to heal their most serious spiritual injuries has become nothing more than a superstition.

“14 But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have firmly believed, knowing from whom you learned it 15 and how from childhood you have been acquainted with the sacred writings, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. 16 All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, 17 that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work.” (2 Timothy 3:14-17) ESV

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One Visit From An Old Friend Can Easily Undo Everything We Have Worked So Hard To Attain.

I generally tried to raise my replacement heifers in small groups, all of them being about the same age.  I would try to synchronize their breeding so they would calve within a few days of each other, thus all being integrated into the milking herd at about the same time.

On one occasion, two of the heifers calved about two weeks earlier than any of their peers.  For two weeks, those two heifers acted with calmness, cooperation, intelligence, and level-heads.

Then one of their peers entered the milking herd.  The three rekindled their friendship.  The third heifer demonstrated a much more free-spirited personality than did the previous two.

And it did’t take long for her influence to create havoc.

From the very moment the young heifer entered the holding pen, the demeanor of the two older bovines deteriorated. The once calm and cooperative young cows became nervous, uncertain, and balking.  They acted as if they had never seen the open door leading into the milkroom, and as if they had never eaten feed from the troughs in front of them. It was if they had forgotten all their past training and their purpose in life.

I had hoped that the two mature heifers would positively influence the new addition, but the arrival of their peer robbed them of the majority of their common sense and cooperative spirit.

Funny how one visit from an old friend can cause us to forget all we’ve become and to once again become all we were trying to forget.

“Do not be deceived: ‘Bad company ruins good morals.’  Wake up from your drunken stupor, as is right, and do not go on sinning. For some have no knowledge of God.  I say this to your shame.” (1 Corinthians 15:33-34) ESV

“Be not envious of evil men, nor desire to be with them, for their hearts devise violence, and their lips talk pf trouble.” (Proverbs 24:1-2) ESV

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Which Had You Rather Follow as a Standard: “They Say” or “It Is Written”?

“They say” is the standard on which a dairyman bases most of his decisions.

He feeds his livestock different rations at different stages in their lives because “they say” the practice is needed to provide the most nutrition. He conducts the general operation of his farm in a certain manner because “they say” the method is the most efficient and profitable manner available. He implements certain milking procedures because “they say” these routines are the most conducive to quality milk production.  “They” are supposed to be scientists who have carefully weighed the many options to determine the best methods for operating a dairy.

A dairyman continuously alters his financial decisions based upon news reports and rumors which “they say” are occurring in the milk market. “They say” that the milk market is a virtual roller coaster driven and affected by the worldwide market. “They say” that a New Zealand dairyman adding a cow to his herd will inevitably lower the price which a dairyman in Kentucky will receive for his milk. But “they also say” that an increase of 40% in U.S. exports of dairy products has no positive bearing on the price. “They” are an anonymous, unspecified group of CEOs, economists, and investors who supposedly stay abreast of the current and future markets.

In every business division, every career field, every governmental agency, and every aspect of our lives, important decisions are implemented solely upon the “expert” opinions of an unidentified, unknown, anonymous group of people – “they”. When asked why one does what he does, the only answer available is “They say it’s the best way.”

The good news is that when it comes to making decisions concerning our soul’s salvation, we do not have to depend upon a standard established by an unknown, undetermined, anonymous group of “experts”.  Instead, we can begin our explanations for our actions with the words, “It is written”. We, as individuals who are responsible for our own decisions have a comprehendible, written standard which we may peruse and meditate upon. Each of us is expected to regularly exercise our right to do so. Why? Because when we stand before God in judgment, “they say” will be an inadmissible defense.

God gave us his word so that when asked why we believe and practice our faith, we will never be left with the lone option of shrugging our shoulders and replying, “They say.”

“For we will all stand before the judgment seat of God; for it is written, ‘As I live, says the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall confess to God.’ So then each of us will give an account of himself to God.” (Romans 14:10b-12) ESV

“Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth.” (2 Timothy 2:15) ESV

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