Ties That Bind

Deciding what fence-splicing method you choose depends on where the break is and how much tension the wire holds. Here at the Cross-Dubya, some of our fencing is approaching 20 years old. Checking and repairing fences is an almost daily event. All those years of being leaned on, stretched, and tore loose from your anchors require constant maintenance.

Fence repairs range from replacing missing fence clips or installing fence stays to keep the cattle from stretching the wire too far. I’ll never understand why, but cattle have an insatiable need to taste the same grass as what’s on their side of the fence. Pushing their heads between the strands of wire and straining to reach just one more mouthful results in stretched or broken wires.

When fence strands break or stretched to the point they’re loose and flopping around, it’s time to break out the fence stretcher and don the leather gloves. If the wire stretches and hangs loose, then we gather all the slack in between the ends of the stretcher, cut the wire and affect a repair. If broken wires don’t have enough slack to join them together, you insert a bridge between the two ends. In all these cases, the way you tie these wires together depends on how strong a repair you want.

If you’re in a hurry and don’t have your fence stretcher, you might choose to make a loop splice. Here you create an eye/loop on one side, then pass the other wire through the loop and pulling the wire tight by pulling against the opposite wire. Then you tie the second loop. It’s fast and handy to string a wire, but it isn’t very long lasting and almost always requires repairs later.

When you have your fence stretcher, a tool designed to tension/tighten a wire, there are several better methods to choose from. By-pass methods include using Gripples or compression sleeves, which allow wires to be joined. Gripples have spring-loaded wheels that only move in one direction. This prevents the wire strand from backing out. Someone can crimp a compression sleeve down on the two wires. These are fairly quick repairs, but they’re not long-lasting. I’ve found these lose their integrity over time and when wires stretch, they’ll give way or break.

If you can pull the wire tight to have a four-to-six-inch overlap, you can use a much stronger inline splice, often called a Western Union splice. This joins the two ends together by tying each end over the other in opposite directions so they pull against one another. Creating a stronger union by bonding the two ends together allows it to withstand more tension.

When splicing two ends together, and especially when adding a bridge, I use a method taught by an old cowboy when I was a teen. The Y-splice divides the two strands of twisted wire and then joins the two ends together by tying the divided wires onto the opposite end in opposite directions.

The Y-splice method creates a bond that is stronger than the fence itself. I’ve seen old fencing that is falling apart and rusty and those splices still hold tight. The secret is how the individual strands wrap around the core wire so the splice pulls against itself. The more tension you put on this connection, the tighter it gets.

My bull Mavric has broken the fence many times this year; but not one of these splices has failed. I can’t say the same for the other methods. When tying these splices, there’s one verse that always comes to mind. Though one may be overpowered by another, two can withstand him. And a threefold cord is not quickly broken.” (Ecclesiastes 4:12, NKJV)

In the same way my fence splices are unbreakable when intertwined, I pray daily that all components of my faith bind together, becoming as strong as those splices. That can only happen when I pay careful attention to all three strands of faith. When one part becomes neglected, it weakens. And just like the links of a chain or the splice of a barbed wire fence, it always breaks at its weakest point.

Our faith becomes most effective when wrapped in the threefold cord of God’s word, prayer, and fellowship with other believers. Click To Tweet

I pray also that your faith remains tightly bound with the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Christians around the world will experience lots of tension and pressure being applied in the coming days. My brothers and sisters, I encourage you to hold strong in your faith with the ties of faith that bind us together.

God’s blessings,

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50 thoughts on “Ties That Bind

  1. You took me to school this morning! I love these lessons from daily ranch-life. Not that I’ll ever have to splice a wire fence, but the parabolic meaning is strong. Thanks again for enriching my devotional time this morning.

    1. Thank you so much Ms. Dottie. I pray you never have to repair a barbed wire or electric fence either ma’am, but it’s nice to know how we can apply those same steps to creating a strong bond between ourselves and heaven my friend. God’s blessings sweet friend.

  2. Love the Y-Splice! Great analogy!! ❤️

    I know you MUST have a book in progress for these wonderful ranch stories! They’re fantastic!

    1. I have a feeling you’ve tied a few of those young lady, so you understand how strong that bond is. Am so pleased you enjoyed the post ma’am. God’s blessings. As for the book, where God leads. 🙂

  3. I never had any idea of how fence wire is mended and held together, J. D. And what a terrific analogy you’ve given us here about our faith being woven like a threefold cord. Yes, may our belief and trust in God remain strong and sure, especially in these troubling times.
    Blessings!

  4. Loved this J.D.! Actually used this verse in my novel as the rancher-veterinarian thinks about the relationship he wants to have with his lady love. The wire splice info is fascinating.

  5. Love the great word pictures of how to tie broken strands of fencing together–used one or two of those methods on things that weren’t fencing, but the same principle applies. Most of all, I am blessed by the thought of how God binds us to Him. The devil lives to divide, and his favorite division target is the bond between us and the One who redeemed us. Like Mavric, I’m so prone to go after things on the other side of the fence. Thank God, unlike our country these days, God believes in boundaries, patrols them faithfully, and puts the broken strands back in place–often even stronger than they were before. Great illustrations and powerful affirmations this morning. God bless you for the encouragement, my friend. Unfortunately, I’ll be traveling and may miss tomorrow night’s PJNet gathering, but we’ll be praying for you as always.

    1. He (Satan) surely does Mr. Ron. I know we’ve discussed in the past that Satan isn’t worried about those living in sin (even professed Christians), because he’s already got them. He focuses on those Christians who are doing their best to grow in Christ and live godly lives. If he can derail their faith, by division, discouragement, and doubt, then he weakens their testimony and thus their impact for God’s kingdom. He’s not fighting a winning battle, he’s already lost! He’s waging a battle of attrition by doing all he can to derail our journey in faith. If he can do that, then he keeps us from sharing the good news of the Gospel of Christ to others. He’s not fighting to win, he’s fighting to minimize his losses in defeat. Great thoughts my friend. Safe travels this week and we’ll talk with you when you return.

  6. I learned a lot from your message today–a fence repair review and the importance of being wary of attacks on our faith. In our household, there was a definite division of labor by gender. The females did all the domestic duties, plus yard work, plus gardening. I also milked our dairy cows (by hand) and helped chase the beef cattle when they escaped. However, I have no experience repairing fences (much to my chagrin now when my horses escape) because that was a man’s job in my house. As always, I love the lessons you share from the Cross-Dubya. You are right–we must be aware of dangers that threaten our bonds as Christians and remember, “where two or three are joined in worship and Christian fellowship, God is with us.” May God bless you, my friend.

    1. Wish I were there to help when those fence repairs are needed Ms. Katherine. And while I know you would do a fabulous job, I’d still love to see one the boys in your family come do those things for you. Heck, I’ll even FaceTime or phone with them and walk them through it. God’s blessings my friend.

  7. Every time I read one of your messages about the farm, I feel as if I am right there along side you. Thank you for sharing the farm life and the lessons from God. Your words are inspiring. Have a glorious day!

  8. Oh my, how I love this illustration of Ecc 4:12. I’ve heard it applied at weddings regarding marriage – the three cords being the bride, groom, and God.

    Binding together His Word, prayer, and fellowship with other believers certainly strengthens our faith, and in turn increase the impact we have on others.

    Maintaining fencing sounds harder than weed maintenance.

    1. A little bit more work, and I always end up bleeding it seems, but it’s enjoyable work (anytime you get to work outdoors is for me anyway). I’m so glad you enjoyed the post Ms. Candyce. Thank you so much ma’am.

  9. Yet another example that there’s more to this life than what we see on the surface. Lord, teach me to see things through your eyes!

    1. Amen Ms. Lori. Sometimes I’m overwhelmed at all God is teaching me here on our little ranch. I feel I’ve grown more here in my journey in faith than I have all the years before coming here. We bloom where God plants us indeed my friend.

  10. There’s so many lessons about farm life and I love how you always tie those lessons into spiritual lessons. “And a threefold cord is not quickly broken.” My husband and I had that verse printed on our wedding invitations. The threefold cord is God, Dave and me.

    Blessings!

    1. I love that you, God, and Mr. Dave all came together to build your marriage. I’ve heard that verse quoted at a number of weddings through the years, but to see the results of practicing it, as you have, is a blessing indeed ma’am. God’s blessings, and prayers for lots more years together.

  11. I had no idea fence repair techniques required this much work and offered choices. Your last paragraph offers wisdom and encouragement, J.D. Placing our trust in anyone other than God is no more secure that a poorly repaired fence when Maveric the bull pushes against it. Thank you for this memorable comparison.

  12. I love how God in His wisdom, designed things in His creation and engineering in such a way that we would see the parallels in His word. Nothing He created is without intention to point right back at Him.
    This is a memorable quote: “Creating a stronger union by bonding the two ends together allows it to withstand more tension.”
    As a result of this post, I’ve decided the hero’s father in a book I’m drafting now is … a rancher with the heart of JD Wininger. 🙂

    1. Awww.. Now see there young lady; you went and made an old man tear up and get all misty-eyed. Must be the pollen in the air tonight. Thank you so much for the great honor and the exceeding kindness ma’am. You know you just sold several copies of that book here in Cooper, TX tonight don’t you? 🙂 God’s blessing Ms. Mary; so glad you appreciated the post ma’am.

  13. Beautiful image of the importance of having our lives entwined with Christ. I love how God shows you these great connections between your ranch and relationship with God. Keep them coming.

  14. From the title, I thought you might “tie in” one of my favorite gospel songs, J.D. – – “Blessed Be the Tie that Binds”. Great post, regardless!
    That Mavric – – he is a “rounder” for sure!

  15. Another informative lesson on the ranch! Thank you, J.D., for always teaching me something new and tying it into our spiritual lives. These 3-fold cords can never be broken: The Father, Son, and Holy Spirit; The Word, prayer, and fellowship; a husband, wife, and Jesus. God’s plan is always perfect. Bless you, brother. 🙂

  16. I’m amazed at what I never knew about fence repair. There’s so many parallels that can be drawn through this lesson. I think of how we are always stretching the fence for just one bite of what’s on the other side when the very best is already within the bounds. Thank you JD.

    1. Thank you Ms. Terri. I too am amazed at how many parallels God is showing me between His natural world and my spiritual walk. What a blessing it has become to look forward to what He teaches me each day around here.

  17. Wonderful imagery, J.D. You have a way with words and analogies that drive great spiritual truths home in my heart. I also pray my “faith remains tightly bound with the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. “

  18. “Our faith becomes most effective when wrapped in the threefold cord of God’s word, prayer, and fellowship with other believers. ” This is so true, J.D.! Thank you for this reminder that we need all three.

    1. Thank you so much Ms. Kathy. Often, in my own life, when I ignore any one of these three faith areas, I feel myself becoming off-balanced. Much like the analogy of a three-legged stood or an artist’s easel or photographer’s tripod. God’s blessings sweet friend.

  19. Every time I read one of your posts, J.D., you offer unique perspectives. Now that I live in a more rural part of Idaho, I drive by ranches and will now look at their fences with appreciation for all the hard work. And the metaphor for Christian growth.

    1. Such kind words Ms. Kathy. Farming and ranching are indeed hard work ma’am, but they definitely comes with their rewards. I was never able to gain the spiritual insights I do here at the Cross-Dubya while I was immersed in the demanding, busy, dog-eat-dog, corporate world. While things can still be plenty busy and demanding, and definitely need doing with fewer resources as a large 120K employee global aerospace and defense contractor, being able to work outside in God’s natural world, with a generally slower pace and more time to reflect and commune with God certainly has its perks. 🙂 Praying you find the same in your little slice of heaven on earth in Idaho. God’s blessings ma’am.

  20. Just goes to show you there are many ways to repair a fence adding strength back into its appointed use. Hmmm, sounds a lot like how God does a work in our lives as messengers for His service.

    1. I’m so glad you enjoyed Ms. Marilyn’s post. I did also ma’am. Like you, she’s a fantastic writer. 🙂 So glad you’re back from Honduras. I missed you my encouraging friend.

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