Did I Understand That Correctly? Wow! I’ve Never Heard That Before.

Being able to distinguish and understand every word of a song can make all the difference in your appreciation and valuation of the song.

For several years, I have not been able to clearly understand the words of music being broadcast through electronic speakers, regardless of the source of the broadcast; whether it was from an automobile stereo system, a home stereo system, or an electronic device. Part of the problem has been the necessary volume; needing the volume so high that it is uncomfortable for all others around me.

A few days ago, I bought a pair of cheap external speakers for my laptop.

And it has made all the difference in the world.

Now, when my wife is not home, I can adjust the volume to the point that I can not only hear the melody and catch the basic message of the verses, but I can actually distinguish and absorb every word of the lyrics. Many of my favorite songs of the past have taken on a whole new meaning and produced much stronger emotions than ever before. I’ve also come to realize that some of the lyrics I once “sang along with” contain words and messages that I have always found vulgar; I won’t be listening to or singing along with these tunes anymore.

Being able to comprehend and meditate upon the true meaning of some of the “golden oldies” has made a major difference in my appreciation, valuation and the content of my “playlist” of favorite songs.

Spiritually, clearly hearing and understanding the scriptures make all the difference in our appreciation and valuation of them.  Clearly hearing and understanding the scriptures make all the difference in our identification of right and wrong, righteousness and sinfulness, good and evil. Clearly hearing and understanding the scriptures make all the difference when we “test the spirits”, judge a message to determine if the messenger is a false teacher, or when we endeavor to speak the “sound doctrine” of the Bible.

“Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is.” (Ephesians 5:17)

“Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, for many false prophets have gone out into this world.” (1 John 4:1)

“If anyone teaches a different doctrine and does not agree with the sound words of our Lord Jesus Christ and the teaching that accords with godliness, he is puffed up with conceits and understands nothing.” (1 Timothy 6:3-4a)

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“We Have a Cow Trying to Abort Her Calf.”

Several years ago, when we first moved back to the dairy farm, I told my wife that one of the cows was “trying to abort her calf.” I had heard this terminology used several times over my early years growing up on the farm to describe a cow enduring the pangs of prematurely giving birth to her calf due to pregnancy complications; the calf had mysteriously died inside her and needed to be expelled.

My daughter, who was 12 years old at the time and new to our farm terminology, mistook my meaning. She thought I was saying that the cow was intentionally trying to kill her baby by purposely putting forth an effort to induce a premature delivery. As she tried to wrestle with this concept, the question that most perplexed her was “Why? Why would any animal purposely do such a thing?” The concept of any mother of any species purposely trying to kill her offspring at any stage made no sense.

Often, out of the mouth of innocence comes forth much wisdom. The concept of any parent intentionally trying to kill her/his offspring makes no sense, regardless of its stage of life. Especially when both the parent and baby are created in the image of God.

“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you; I appointed you a prophet to the nations.” (Jeremiah 1:6)

“For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb.” (Psalm 139:13)

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“Did You Find Anything You Couldn’t Live Without?”

“Did you find anything you couldn’t live without?”

Someone jokingly asked this of an individual who had just returned to his group from meandering through a hodgepodge of booths at a local community festival. Vendors hawked clothing, honey, maple syrup, crafts, balloons, festival type food and drinks, and flea market merchandise. Various candidates seeking election to local offices gave away trinkets promoting their respective candidacy. Most visitors to the festival carried away some type of impulse purchase for which they had shelled out cash.

“Only this,” the individual replied with a matching intent for jocularity as he pulled a pocket-sized copy of the New Testament and Psalms from his jeans. “Someone was giving those away, and that’s the only thing I saw that I thought I needed or that I couldn’t live without.”

Unbeknownst to him and unintentionally on his part, the individual had taught a valuable lesson to the group. In his wanderings, he had perused the abundance of “stuff” with curiosity and intent. Sometimes he stopped to handle and more closely examine a finely made craft which caught his eye. He had shaken hands and conversed with some of the candidates which he knew. But throughout his wanderings, he had ignored the allurement of the trinkets of this world, and had only accepted a proffered copy of the Bread of Life. In his extemporaneous attempt at humor, he had spoken the truth about all of life.

“That’s the only thing I saw that I thought I couldn’t live without.”

“And he humbled you . . .that he might make you know that man does not live by bread alone, but man lives by every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord.” (Deuteronomy 8:3) ESV

“But he [Jesus cw] answered, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.’” (Matthew 4:4) ESV

 

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“The Grass Is Always Greener On The Other Side Of The Fence”

“The grass is always greener on the other side of the fence.”

Most everyone has heard this cliché before.

For many people, it produces an image of a man standing in his own lush, well-manicured yard, enviously peering over a fence at his neighbor’s lawn.

But for a livestock farmer, the image produced is one of cattle or horses on bent knees, awkwardly wedging their heads under a tight boundary fence trying to reach grass which they believe is tasty; the whole while, ignoring the lush pasture on which he has spent several hundreds of dollars for their benefit.

One of the more frustrating daily events for me as a dairyman occurred when I would feed the dry cows their morning grain ration; dry cows are those who are not producing milk because they are near their calving due date. The milk cows would stop their grazing to line the fence in envy.  They had already consumed their high-quality grain ration, a quantity that was twice or three times that which the dry cows were given. The milk cows had consumed the best quality hay and were grazing on the best quality pasture. All they were expected to do throughout the remainder of the day was to eat as much grass as they wanted, and to laze around.

But when the milk cows saw me pouring grain into the trough for the dry cows, they could not stand it. So, each morning, they would waste 30 minutes jealously peering over the fences and roadway which separated the two groups, vocally expressing their feelings of unfairness in hopes that I would give them some of the dry cows’ ration.

“The grass is always greener on the other side of the fence.”

It means that no matter how good a person’s life is, he will always think that someone else’s life is better. No matter how much he has been blessed, he will believe that someone else has unfairly been blessed more than he. It means that no matter how good a person’s life is, he will never be happy because he can never see himself as having enough, nor can he be content.

“The grass is always greener on the other side.”

This is true for both livestock and people, for both farmer and city dweller.

“Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have, for he has said, ‘I will never leave you nor forsake you.’ So we can confidently say, ‘The Lord is my helper; I will not fear; what can man do to me?’” (Hebrews 13:5-6)

“But godliness with contentment is great gain, for we brought nothing into this world, and we cannot take anything out of the world. But if we have food and clothing, with these we will be content.” (1 Timothy 6:6-8)

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