A Little Texas Boot

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“It’s just a little Texas boot Christmas ornament.” Tom said as he placed it in my hands at the Fort Worth Cattle Stockyard.

img_1392-1We were visiting our friends in Arlington, Texas, and they wanted us to see ‘the real Texas’ just like in the olden days. A cattle drive at the FW Stockyard.

The smells, the sounds took me back to a time in my childhood and I remembered my daddy’s beautiful red cows with snowy white faces. It was a big day in the tiny village of Walthall when he moved the cows from one pasture to another. Anyone who could ride a horse joined in the fun.

But the best day of all was the Cattle Sale. Daddy would round up the calves to take them to theimg_1411 sale, and many times my older sister, Chalie, got to go with Daddy. She came back talking about the auctioneer and how he rattled off words so fast it sounded like a he was yodeling. She ate hot dogs and drank Coca-Colas for lunch. Oh, My! It sounded like a grand day. I was assured that one day I’d be old enough to go to the sale too.

That day finally arrived. All week, Daddy had said I could go with him. My excitement soared as I tried to decide how many hot dogs I could eat, and for sure at least two Coca-Colas.

Early that morning I could hear the heifers lowing as Daddy loaded the calves into the trailer. My day had arrived. I ran out to be sure he didn’t forget me, but Mama stopped me at the door. She told me that one of Daddy’s friends showed up and wanted to load a couple of his own calves with Daddy’s and there would not be enough room for me in the truck. I must stay home this time.

Crushed. Disappointed. Shattered. Those words hardly scratch the surface of my wounded heart. I ran to my room, crawled under a table and cried and cried and cried. Mama was so sweet to me that day, knowing how disappointed I was. When Daddy came home he brought me a present, but somehow it just didn’t make a difference any more. I had missed the big event. And life moved on.

I don’t remember dwelling on it, but for years I noticed a huge fear of disappointment. It seemed that the pain of disappointment for me was a little out of proportion. At a restaurant, if my order was incorrect I would be so upset I could hardly eat. Or if someone didn’t fulfill a promise, I was deeply wounded. Rationally I knew this was ridiculous and I was always asking myself, “What is wrong with me?”

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And then Tom Schleuter placed a little Texas boot in my hand. Suddenly tears came to my eyes and I could hardly talk as I felt the sweet presence of the Holy Spirit. This little boot was a gift from my Heavenly Father.

I heard that gentle voice speaking tenderly to my heart. “Your Daddy didn’t realize how disappointed you were that day. He had a job to do, herding cows to the sale, and he did it. But I saw every tear under that table. I saw and I grieved for you.”

“I am a good Father, Ruthie.” He continued. “I have brought you to the most famous sale of all: The Fort Worth, Texas Cattle Stockyard! It doesn’t get much better than this one. Spend this delightful day with me watching the people have a good time; listen to the music of guitars; see the sidewalk bronze stars like Wild Bill Hickok; breathe in the smell of the cows and horses. This is our day together at the Sale. Enjoy this day to the max! Release the pain of that little girl crying under the table. I’ve waited a long time to bring you to the best cattle sale of all.”

After that trip to Texas, I took a morning alone time with my Father. Oh what a delightful  time remembering every step of that day at the Stockyard. I laughed, I cried, I praised and I worshiped as I held that little boot. I realized once again how specific our heavenly Father is and how extravagantly he loves us. There is never one tear wasted, nor hurt so small that he does not notice. I had actually forgotten that day under the table, but my Father had not. When Tom placed that little boot in my hand it all came rushing back, every detail so vivid, but no disappointment. What joy to see how my Father remembered all the details and met every expectation of my heart.

Since that time I realize that when I am disappointed, it just doesn’t hurt quite so deeply.

After all, my Dad took me to the Cattle Sale at the Fort Worth Texas Stockyard and healed my heart.

And I have the boot to prove it!

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Thanks, Tom.

 

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Bayou Bible School, Little Milly and the Snake!

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Mildred Bean, an amazing Bible teacher and dear friend grew up in the Bayou Country of Louisiana. Recently she called and, tongue in cheek, told me she was developing some new teachings called Bayou Bible School, because she realized that some of her foundational lessons of life came from the Bayous of Louisiana. I have asked her if I could blog some of her tales. I think you will enjoy hearing the story of little Mildred and the snake!

“About one third of Jesus’ teaching was in parables, brief stories from everyday life told by way of analogy to illustrate spiritual truths”. (New Spirit Filled Life Bible)

Bayou Bible School Lesson 1

“Righteousness will go before Him, and shall make His footsteps our pathway.”Psalm 85: 13 (NKJ)

I began to go hunting at an early age (6-7 years of old) with my dad. Today I realize that it was not because I liked to hunt – I had no clue at that age- but is was because I wanted to spend time with my dad and I liked what he liked.

05-bayou-pop-top-ladyThe woods in central Louisiana bayou country are very dense with trees, briers, thorn bushes, palmetto (thick fanned shape plants), with scattered boggy water holes during the rainy fall and winter months.

I remember that my dad made certain I dressed properly for the hunt, not so much for me to be camouflaged, but for my protection as I followed him through those thick, brushy woods. Thicker pants and a long sleeve shirt or hunting jacket was my attire. When the briers would try to tear at me, I was protected. And of course I needed good boots, not only to keep my feet dry through the muddy water holes, but also and more importantly, for protection against snakes.

11041145_10205882926688196_1187870115772654674_nMy dad loved to tell stories of my first few hunting adventures with him. On these grand exploits he would walk directly in front of me to forge the path through the thick undergrowth, protecting me from the briers or Palmetto branches that would want to flip back into my face. Being taller, he could see where we were going and where to step carefully. I knew it was very important for me to step where he stepped. On one particular adventure a snake suddenly appeared on our path and my dad stopped dead still. Fear gripped me and I began to run, back through the woods, away from my dad and this deadly snake! After a brief run through the thick brush I finally heard my dad’s voice shouting at me to stop. And I did. My Dad would laugh and enjoyed telling the fact that, first of all this was not a poisonous snake but a blue runner, and that I was running side by side with the snake. He couldn’t decided who was more afraid, the snake or little Mildred!

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The Holy Spirit began to speak to me through the remembrance of this tale. “In this season, you will be walking through some ‘dense places’. Your Abba Father has made sure you are clothed correctly for this journey. It is important to walk directly behind your Father, stepping in His footsteps. He knows where He is going and can see when you can’t. He will forge the path ahead of you so don’t let sudden fear lay hold of your heart and change your path. Don’t run with ‘fear’ or with snakes, for that matter! Walk in faith and trust! Stay next to your Father, listen to His voice, and obey Him.”

“Lean on, trust in, and be confident in the Lord with all your heart and mind and do not rely on your own insight or understanding. In all your ways know, recognize, and acknowledge Him, and He will direct and make straight and plain your paths.”

Proverbs 3:5-6 AMP  

Jehovah-Rohe/Redemptive Gift of Giver

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Over the next few weeks I am posting excerpts from my new book, Your Destiny, His Glory! Hope you enjoy and order a copy soon!  Just click on the picture to order.

Jehovah-Rohe is the pastoral word for shepherd.

Psalm 23. “The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He makes me to lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside the still waters.  He restores my soul; He leads me in the paths of righteousness for His name’s sake. Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; For You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; You anoint my head with oil; My cup runs over. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life; And I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.”

More than any other gift, the Giver needs much reassurance of his safety and security; therefore, the compound name of Jehovah for this gift is Jehovah-Rohe, our Good Shepherd of Psalm 23.

The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want. Knowing God for His faithfulness builds a security for the Giver to give him confidence that this Good Shepherd will supply all his needs according to His riches in glory.

He makes me to lie down in green pastures. Only when he is fully convinced in his spirit that God is in control, and He is big enough to take care of all his needs, will the Giver lie down and rest from his multitude of projects and people.

He leads me beside still waters. Sheep are not very good swimmers. Their wool is thick and will quickly absorb water. This hazard can set up a recipe for drowning. Swiftly moving water would be a dangerous place for sheep to drink. But the Good Shepherd knows this. After all, He created the sheep and knows his fear. So He leads him beside still water for a drink. When the only water available is running water, the Shepherd scoops up the water and gives him a drink from His own hand.

The Good Shepherd knows the dangers and fears the Giver faces. He goes ahead of him to make a place of quiet waters so he can drink deeply of the Living Water of life, even from His own hand. Oh, how He loves the Giver! Oh, how He understands him, his fear and anxiety, his need for control. But oh, how He longs to be his friend! To eat a covenant meal with him like he did with Abraham, to share His heart with him, to have the Giver know Him intimately, face to face.

When his life is out of control, and he cannot provide all he needs, the Giver must quickly run to his Shepherd. Run to Him, spend time with Him, get to know Him face to face. God wants to be the Giver’s BFF (Best Friend Forever). Then this precious Giver can partner with the Creator of the Universe to change nations, birth new ministries, and see His Kingdom advanced in the world around him. In this place of peace and rest his soul will be restored.

There will be no compromise in his life style, because he understands God is the Supplier, not himself. Never breaching any lines of integrity with halfway obedience, the Giver can live in full confidence, trusting the Lord that he will be in the right place at the right time with the right provision, because he is with the right Shepherd.

He can walk through the valley of the shadow of death, because his friend, the Good Shepherd, is with him.

Your rod and staff are a comfort. While visiting with a local shepherd several years ago, he showed me his rod. It was an ominous looking club. He told me sheep are literally hardheaded, and sometimes he had to “bop” them on the head to let them know he is trying to lead them, but they are not following. For some of his sheep, however, he only has to lay this club on their neck, and they respond quickly to the touch of his rod to follow their shepherd.

When he did have to “bop” them, it was not because he was upset or wanted to punish them. It was to make sure they stayed on the path he had chosen for them or to keep them from eating or drinking substances that were not good for them. His rod was a comfort because it was a sign that he was near and was watching out for their good.

When the sheep dog got a little “nippy,” the shepherd could use the rod to protect his sheep. What a Good Shepherd we have. The Giver can also be a little hard-headed at times. He can be relentless, never giving up easily. If this hard-headedness is focused against the will of the Shepherd, He will discipline him so the Giver remembers who is really in charge.

He prepares a table, a communion table. It cost our Good Shepherd a high price to set this table, but He says to the Giver and to all of us, “You are worth it!” As a Giver looks at the cost of this table and the immensity of the Shepherd’s love for him, he has a choice:

  • He can turn away with the attitude of “I deserve all I get and I can supply all of my needs. I choose not to become vulnerable.”
  • Or in all humility, he can bow low at the cross, become vulnerable, and with a grateful heart kneel at this table. As the enemies of the Shepherd watch this extravagant display of His boundless love and commitment to this one, they realize once again their powerlessness to harm His sheep.

Then out of His mercy and grace, the Shepherd pours His oil, His anointing, on the Giver and releases so much living water, so much life, that it spills over on all around him. From this place of overflow the Giver releases the blessings of God’s grace everywhere he goes. Life springs up all around him. A trail of mercy and goodness is left for others to follow and discover where our Lover keeps his sheep (Song of Solomon). That is evangelism at its finest for the Giver.

I have asked several Givers what their greatest fear might be, and I have been surprised at their answers. Three of the five interviewed answered the same way, “That I would die needy and poor.” The Great Shepherd knew this, too, because in this psalm He spoke of having no fear of death, that goodness and mercy would follow the Giver all of his days, and that he would dwell in God’s house forever. Such comfort, such peace. Such a Shepherd.

When the Giver finds his security, provision, and safety in Jehovah-Rohe, our Good Shepherd, and responds in holiness from his heart, the payoff is generationally extravagant.