Sunday, April 16, 2017


As I read the 4-15-17 FB post and saw the photos, by Mary Jean Owens, a rancher in Eden, Texas, I began to view a spiritual side.At my request, Mary Jean has graciously given me permission to re-post her writing and photo (plus one) so I can share my view. You will very much appreciate Mary Jean's review of "just one of those mornings" and I hope you will read and consider the follow-on message.
Here, with a special THANK YOU is Mary Jean's Message:
Knew it would be a strange day for some reason this morning - maybe because I got up a tad bit late (about 10 minutes), maybe because the outside dogs were too quiet - or maybe just some other reason - was mostly a feeling. The young cows in the small pasture in front of the house (the House Trap) didn’t come in as early as usual, so off I went hunting - expecting to find them just out of sight in the trap - but I didn’t. Decided they had to be on the east side of our road - until I got to the main road, glanced down toward the county road - and KNEW we had problems. Seems that somehow in the night something happened to the gate fastener - and the gate was WIDE open. GULP!!! Down to the county road I went as fast as the mule would “boogie”. A quick glance up and down and I spied all the evidence I needed to know the cows (3 cows, 2 baby calves, and the young yearling bull) were MISSING -- a “cow pie” in the road told me that. Back to the house I went, and into the pickup and off down the road. Of course I chose the wrong way to go for I didn’t spy any more sign for 2 miles. Drove on to the mail box because I just may have missed a sign in the ditch - but no sighting of those missing cows was had. Grab the mail, turn around and dash back up the road 3 miles to start hunting west from the gate. Wasn’t long before I knew I was on the right track this time - started seeing cow tracks on the edge of the county road. Starting hoping they had turned into a lane between our place and the neighbors place on the west. Got there, looked up that lane and spied a black cow!!! Had found 1 - the rest were not in sight but I had high hopes that 1 cow would not be all by herself (they do not like that). Where were the others??? Soon I discovered the others - in some tall grass, up next to the fence laying down. YEA!!! Up to the end of the lane in order to turn around, back down (a mile,
let Brooke gal out and get those lazy, very full, missing cows started for home. Fleck was along for the ride, but this was work for the experienced, not the novice. Down the lane, followed by a “Brooke - RIGHT” and those cows were turned to the east and headed home. Do not know who was rejoicing more - me for getting them back home, or the cows for getting back to their pasture - and able to go get a good drink of water! Could have been a bad thing if those cows had wondered on west - or even gone to the end of the lane for that lane led to a huge (many hundreds acre) pasture and no telling if I would have ever found them.

    I see a spiritual lesson in this missing cows saga. Jesus told of how one would leave the 99 to search for the missing one. In both stories I think we have immediately (and rightly so) latched on to the emotional stresses of the human in the loss and search of the lost.
    For example, in Mary Jean’s story, the day started with her senses telling her something more than her sleeping late seemed off: first, perhaps it was the quiet of the outside dogs, but upon looking, the usual appearance of the young cows in the small pasture in front of the house showed they didn’t come in as early as usual. Are you feeling how the human must have felt concern? An immediate search, as fast as the mule would go, with the discovery of a wide open gate and no cows proved something had happened during the night to the gate fastener. Now, are YOU on the edge of the driver’s seat, tightened muscles and all? Are YOU there, going for the truck, with a feeling of satisfaction once able to go faster, as you travel one country road after another, searching roadside and all around, breathing a sigh of relief at finally seeing that one cow? Whew! BUT, there’s still the others  . . .  Oh, FINALLY! There they are! Let Brooke out to give them the commands they need to guide them home to their much-needed water and security. Are YOU feeling relief? But, wait... there’s more!
    What about the cows?
    I’m looking at this from the spiritual side of the cows! Generally those cows are protected in ways they don’t know to appreciate. They are given everything they need that any human can give them: food, water, shelter, rest, medications/medical care, protection in every possible way, but not absolute freedom. They are kept in a secured area.
    Then came the night when something happened to the gate fastener and the gate that greeted the young cows that time was wide open.  Was it the influence of “the dark of night”, because “the grass must have looked greener”, a sort of “follow-the-leader” syndrome, or just the absolute freedom that encouraged them to leave? Whatever it was, they took advantage of their few hours of “freedom”, away from water, shelter, medications/medical care, and protection, but they had plenty of food for the time being and then, except for one, they lay down to rest. Somehow that one got left behind the others. How must she have felt to have started on what was to have been a fun time to now find herself alone, plus away from the peace and security of home with no idea of how to get back there? So, she wandered until, WAIT! She heard familiar barking! Brooke was bringing the rest of the wayward crew and she was so relieved when Brooke came toward her. Brooke didn’t even have to nip at her heels to get her to run toward the others! She was happy to run to them because she knew Brooke would guide them back to where they would have water. She was so thirsty. She needed that water more than she had ever realized before she had walked away from it so easily. She didn’t think she liked being kept in a sheltered life, but now she knew given a choice, she would choose the food, water, shelter, rest, medications/medical care, protection in every possible way that she had in her secure home.
    We humans are so like those cows: we can have security in Christ, the Living Water, if we make the commitment to live forever sheltered in Him.  Humans tend to wander away, yet He has given His life, not just the usual plans for a few hours of a morning, in search for us. Will we realize the wisdom in not even having to have “our heels nipped” to join the fellow wanderers in heading back Home?
    Obviously, there are more similes to be found. These are a few of the  simple truths  I saw as spiritual messages from the runaway cows ~how about you, will you share a few more that you see?

M Sue

Tuesday, April 4, 2017


Dear Little Sister ~
    I wish we could sit side by side or face to face to have a discussion regarding your questions as to how to find time for personal Bible Study. How I long to show-and-tell you that yes, God wants you to put Him first in your life. Absolutely!  As a wife and mother who is not only a fulltime homemaker, but also a fulltime outside-the-home worker, how do you do that? Exactly by doing what you are trying to find time to do!  Yet, you say finding time is only one of the issues. Setting aside your study time at the end of the day is not working. You keep falling asleep. From the time I was a high school junior, I battled sleepiness during midday study halls. Reading has always been relaxing for me, so though I agree that being tired does have its effect, perhaps timing is not so all important as what we have allowed ourselves to think! After all these years that I have been reading the Bible, and it’s only recently with the use of the iPad, the You Bible, and the Easy to Read Version, that I have found more simple pleasures from “the Old Story.” I still have to choose my times or I am prone to falling asleep, but my interest is kept more alive by the easier understanding. I don’t think I am the only one to find it so.
    In the response you received, I noticed someone recommended you use a Children’s Bible and include your children. The idea of making use of the Easy Reader Version is similar, though different in that as an adult only, you’d likely have less interruption. However, the kinds of interruption brought about by children can be excellent. Their minds work on a different level than that of an adult, and the word pictures and questions they produce can give even the best-educated Bible scholar pause for thought!
Other recommendations I noticed were for certain apps. It’s likely they are similar to a little booklet seemingly designed for people to use each morning, that John and I use each night, called Power For Today. It is $11.95 a year, a quarterly subscription delivered through the mail. Each daily reading starts with a scripture recommendation followed by a single pertinent scripture. Men and women from all over the US and beyond, present brief messages of encouragement related to the verses of the day, adding a recommended hymn, ending with a prayer. There are pages contained in these that I find I MUST tear out to save for future reference and /or to share immediately.
Added to the suggestion of listening to the recorded Bible, etc., as you go to and from work, I think you may have read recommendations from the book, Muscle And A Shovel, along with other publications, to copy scriptures on index cards, to keep where they are easily within reach for when you have those unexpected spare moments such as time spent waiting in line either in your car or waiting to check groceries through, etc.
There’s that one scripture in particular, that came to mind as I was considering your question: Philippians 4: 6-8 (ERV) 6 Don’t worry about anything, but pray and ask God for everything you need, always giving thanks for what you have. 7 And because you belong to Christ Jesus, God’s peace will stand guard over all your thoughts and feelings. His peace can do this far better than our human minds. 8 Brothers and sisters, continue to think about what is good and worthy of praise. Think about what is true and honorable and right and pure and beautiful and respected.
Contained in those few verses are so many lessons, showing that it’s not the number of verses that’s important, but the content you glean. This is not to say, it’s not needful to read longer passages of scripture; if we don’t read lengthy passages, how are we going to get “the rest of the story”? The ERV is truly like reading a story, and for beginners is as its title implies, an “easy-to-read-version”. In reading through the Bible this year, I have found it delightful. The advantage we have by using the You Bible (as I know you do) is that we can easily switch back and forth between versions if there is a familiar verse that seems “off” to us in the ERV or whatever version we are currently reading.
I understand people have aversions to different interpretations of the Bible. The thing we need to remember is this: few of us have access to the original manuscripts, and if we did, even fewer have the ability to interpret, so to argue over the interpretations, seems to me a waste of time that could be better spent by simply comparing the version(s) with which you are comfortable, while praying for wisdom to come to the conclusion God would have you to understand. Is that not doing exactly what the above quoted verses tell us to do? Remember: Simple faith. God does not ask us to do the impossible, but as the good Father that He is, He does give us responsibility to do our part while He continues to do His. 
A brief STUDY GUIDE to taking these few verses apart to see what they say to me (i.e. the individual):
Philippians 4:6-8 Easy-to-Read Version (ERV) 6 Don’t worry about anything, but pray and ask God for everything you need, always giving thanks for what you have. 7 And because you belong to Christ Jesus, God’s peace will stand guard over all your thoughts and feelings. His peace can do this far better than our human minds. 8 Brothers and sisters, continue to think about what is good and worthy of praise. Think about what is true and honorable and right and pure and beautiful and respected.
Who wrote these verses? (You could do a follow-on study by learning more about the author.)
To whom are the verses written? (You could do a follow-on study by learning more about these people.)
Take verse 6 apart, section by section; what does each section say to you personally?
Is verse 7 meant for every person who reads it? Why or why not?
Verse 8 is a continuation as to whom the section is written; is it important to consider the verses in context (i.e. the verses that come before and after)? Why or why not?
In preparing this response for you, my Dear Little Sister, the one who asked the original question, my hope has been and is, to encourage you and many to draw closer in simple faith and obedience to THE ONE WHO wants to be GOD AND FATHER to us all.
In His love,

M Sue