When It Happens …

A wonderful blessing of this ranching life is the opportunity to think about things in a relaxed, no pressure atmosphere. Don’t get me wrong. When you’re sorting cows, mowing hay, or plowing a field, you’d better have your head in the game and pay attention. Other times, when you’re watching over the herd or watching a sunrise or sunset, there’s the opportunity to consider things.

Cows aren’t the best conversationalists, but they sure are good listeners. Sometimes, that’s exactly what we need to figure things out. When I’m outside, I often lean against a fence and talk. There, I might visit with a neighbor or friend. Often, I fall into an easy conversation with God. Other times, usually when I’m contemplating things, I talk with some of the cows who wander up to visit with me. That’s what I did the other evening.

A few weeks ago, and I can’t remember where I heard it, someone shared a thought that’s been rambling around my brain. It’s one I’d like to share with y’all because of how it has impacted my life.

In these days we’re living, which I call “Matthew 24 Days”, there is much this world wants us fearful of. As a Christian, I’m aware of what’s going on in the world. I’m heartbroken at the terrorism gripping the nation of Israel, the decline of decency and moral living, and the rampant hatred that seems to increase by the day. Yet, I try not to focus my attention on these things so much that they draw me in. It happens, sometimes more easily than I might like. Instead, I try to rely on my faith in God’s promises of what is coming.

Second Corinthians 4:16-18 are what I call anchor verses. They anchor my faith and provide the truth I need to standfast in the face of this life’s trials. I pray you too find solace in these words.

Therefore we do not lose heart. Even though our outward
man is perishing, yet the inward man is being renewed
day by day. For our light affliction, which is but for a moment,
is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of
glory, while we do not look at the things which are seen,
but at the things which are not seen. For the things
which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not
seen are eternal.
(2 Corinthians 4:16-18  NKJV)

If indeed we are living in biblical end times, which many believe we are, then Christ’s return is near. Whether He returns before I get this posted or centuries after my soul has left to be with the Lord makes no difference to me. While I’d much prefer to be in that second group raptured (1 Thessalonians 4:17), this Christian is going home either way.

So what is the thought that has captured my attention? It’s one God has used to help me in my personal struggle to take every thought captive.

“When Christ returns, what will He find you doing?”

God knows my thoughts, and He knows what I will do before I ever do it. God is God. I believe He shared this thought into my life to help equip me in my struggle with temptation. We all see and hear things that entice us to engage in seeking worldly pleasure. Being tempted is a fact of life. It isn’t even a question of when or if, but a part of this world. The question is, “How do we deal with it?” The answer God sent me is to apply this filter to every thought, every temptation.

When Christ returns, what will He find you doing? #OvercomingTemptation #SeekGod #ServeGod Share on X

This wonderful gift has simplified my life by giving me a life filter that fits every circumstance. I believe Christ’s return is imminent, and when He comes, I want Him to find me living a life worthy of His sacrifice for me. I will get angry at injustices, immorality, and wrongdoing. But if I filter that anger through this question, I silently give it to God. That’s a much better response than spewing my indignation in a verbal assault against it. All that does is raise my blood pressure. Whenever temptation attempts to woo me, I can apply this filter. Do I want Jesus to find me doing this when He returns? What a wonderful short-circuit of temptation this is becoming for me.

I can’t tell you it works perfectly yet. I’m still learning to use this precious gift, but it sure is helping me take every thought captive and think spiritually before reacting. For me, this is the secret to living a Coram Deo life, one that is lived out before the eyes of God.

Friends, if we are indeed nearing the last seconds of the last day of the Church age, then let us be mindful of this in our lives. Let us live each moment in such a way that when Christ comes for His true church, He finds us serving Him. We best do that when we actively take part in His work of sanctification in our lives, and we endeavor to carry out His great commandment and great commission.

God’s blessings,

60 thoughts on “When It Happens …”

    1. We all need a cow to talk to Ms. Rosemarie. My favorites are “Mavric” the bull and my sweet “Lulu Belle”. She’s the one with white tears under her big eyes. I can sit and talk to them for twenty minutes at a time. For “Mavric”, it’s until the treats run out. LOL

  1. Brother, thank you for this precious tool that I will start practicing to implement. Miss you all and tell Mr. John I asked about him! Blessing!

    1. We all miss you and Ms. Lisa too sir. When I shared with Mr. John that y’all asked about him at the “Mia” said “Hey”, the biggest smile came across his face. He told me how he wishes Mia could meet his new gal, “Mercy.” She’s a purebred german shepherd and without question has stolen his heart. God’s blessings my faithful friend and brother-in-Christ. Stay strong!

      1. That’s so wonderful to hear. I bet Mercy is a pure joy for him and I hope she will be an added asset to the farm.
        Have a blessed day !!

      2. Evelyn Mason Wells

        Thank you for posting this today. Earlier I found myself getting angry at our country’s leadership. I really needed this reminder today. God is our strength and the one on whom we can depend. No matter what we face, we have guidance and assistance in our loving God. Thanks be to our Lord Jesus Christ.

        1. I can sure understand that Ms. Evelyn. With all of the corruption and coercion happening in Washington these days, and in many state and local levels of government, it can be quite frustrating. I remind myself often that these too are worldly institutions and that one day, Christ our King will appoint His brethren as caretakers of His millennial kingdom. All injustices, graft, and corruption will be removed and we will finally live in the freedom God intended when He created man. Until that time, we must pray for both patience and endurance precious sister-in-Christ. May I add once again, what a joy and blessing it was to have you and your friends come visit our humble home.

  2. What a simple and yet powerful tool to use in our everyday lives. Thank you my friend. I fear I fall short much more often than not, but what an inspiration to keep going.

    1. Thanks so much for reminding me of the great treasure our Lord has given us through His Precious Promises. What an Awesome God we serve! Blessings!

    2. Thank you Ms. Ann. I suspect we all feel that we fail more often than we want to. I further suspect that upon our upward call to glory on that Day, we’re going to learn just how pleased God has been with our effort.

  3. That outlook certainly puts a new filter on our eyes and hearts, J. D. When Jesus comes, what will He find me doing? I pray I will be serving Him and serving others with the power of His great love. May our Lord find us worthy when He comes.
    Blessings, my friend!

  4. I need to find me a cow and a fence 🙂 J.D., such a good and wise post. You have brought us back to the one question that truly matters – “When Christ returns, what will He find you doing?” Like you, I know where I will be for eternity. But my hope is that I make every day while I am here count for His glory. I am so grateful God crossed our paths as your ranching lessons are most precious. Blessings, friend!

    1. Amen Ms. Joanne. To come to the end of the day and be able to say, “I did this for Your honor and glory, Lord; won’t you please accept my meager gift?”, is I think a wonderful way to end each day. I can see your saying this a lot my friend. Thank you!

  5. Kathy Collard Miller

    JD, That is a stellar biblical principle for life. Thank you so much for sharing it. So appropriate for these days which could be the last. And we are eager for that to happen. Blessings to you. See you there!

    1. Thank you Ms. Kathy. I pray it helps others as much as it has me my friend. God’s blessings. And yes ma’am, I can’t wait to visit with you and Mr. Larry and share how much all y’all have encouraged and helped me in my walk in faith. Then we’ll all get to worship our Lord together. Ain’t that gonna be sumthin’? 😀

  6. I hope He’s coming soon! And your question is a good motivation to walk in a manner worthy of our calling. Thankful for the Holy Spirit’s power and work in our lives to keep going.

  7. Well, my friend, your message will have many of us asking ourselves the question you pose. It gives us an entirely diferent perspective when someone asks us the ordinary question, “What are you doing today?” I’ve been reflecting on your question and prayed that I can continue to ponder and reflect each day until I go to be with Jesus. Your message is an inspiring and encouraging one, but also a firm reminder to focus on what is most important–our relationship with our Savior.

    1. Right there with you Ms. Katherine, which is why I wrote this post. It’s something I’ve been pondering a lot lately too. Thank you for all your kind and encouraging words ma’am. Makes a fella want to try harder knowing I’ve got so many inspiring friends who are cheering me on. God’s blessings sweet sister-in-Christ.

  8. I’m late to the party again, J.D., but I’m joining the ranks of your other fans who’ve expressed their love for the picture you painted about the relaxing time with your four legged friends. Unlike some of them, I don’t wish I had a bull and/or a cow. Mavric would probably gore me and run away from home after a day or two because I’d never be able to take care of him as well as you do. Even if he didn’t, the HOA would turn me in and take hime away from me and probably slap a fine on me or something. My alternate stress-relieving plan is simpler. I’ll just revisit the scene you engraved on my mind in this post and that’ll probably take care of it just fine.

    I agree with your designation of the chaos unfolding around us as “Matthew 24” days. We’re certainly a prime example of conditions like Jesus described. And, like you, I don’t want to get so sucked into the endless exposition of human depravity filling the airwaves 24/7. I’m striving to find a balance between the “stick-your-head-in-the-sand-and-pretend-it-isn’t-happening” crowd, and the “can’t-think-of-anything-else” bunch. Diane and I do our best to hand over to God those things that can and will have direct impact on us, but that we have no direct control over. We trust Him to handle them and to protect and provide for us if and when disastrous things come our way. But in the areas that we are called and equipped to engage, we pray for the wisdom, discernment, and courage to do what we can.

    I love the filter about not wanting Jesus to call me home in the midst of engaging in some behavior He has condemned. It has been a regular “go-to” protective mechanism for me for a long time. I only wish I had applied it every time some temptation came calling, but regrettably, I have left that tool in the toolbox far too often. Thank you for the protective reminder and I’ll endeavor to keep it handy as the challenges unfold.

    There’s one other thing that concerns me re. the rapture or whatever other exit plan the Lord has in mind. While I don’t want Him to call me out of here in the midst of some embarrassing activity, I don’t want Him to come and find me doing nothing. I don’t want to be one of those “Jesus activists” that remind me of one of those whirly-gig fireworks that folks throw on the driveway. They crackle and squeal and spin around like crazy for a while and when the powder’s burned up they fizzle and go dark. They get lots of attention, but the energy they expend accomplishes nothing. When the smoke clears, nothing remains but some paper trash and an acrid smell. There may not be anything spectacular about what God has called me to do, and the details may change as life evolves, but He expects me to be doing it until He shows up. Paul made it clear in his first Corinthian letter that some parts of the body aren’t all that impressive, but they’re all necessary.

    So, God bless you, treasured friend and Brother in Christ. for yet another encouraging, thought provoking, and spiritually uplifting post. Our prayers for you and Diane and John (and the rest of the Cross-Dubya family) continue.

    1. My friend, I don’t think “Mavric” would gore you, but I’m pretty sure your HOA would have a bird if they saw a big ol’ 2300 lb. Red Angus bull eating all the grass in the median, then leaving his five-pound calling card. 🙂 As for how God calls us out of this world? I’m with you in that I don’t care how, or when, just remember to call me, Lord.

      Also like you, I pray God doesn’t find me sitting on my hands waiting for someone else to do something. Not sure if you’ve ever heard of Mr. Matthew West (he’s a modern day worship singer), but he has a song entitled “Do Something” that I love. If you’ve never heard it, I bet you can Google(tm) it and find it on that YouTube thingie. Part of the chorus goes, “I shook my hand at heaven and said, ‘God why don’t you do something. He said, I did, I created you!'” Now if that don’t climb up on your chest and smack you right between the eyes, you might better check your pulse. 😀

      I think it less important what we do for God’s kingdom my friend, but the way in which we do it. So many times, I look around church functions and I see folks who are there, but you can tell they’d prefer to be someplace else doing anything else. They don’t smile, their eyes are dull, and almost lifeless. If there’s no joy in serving, then why serve? I think they miss the blessing that comes from serving God humbly and with a grace-filled, joyous heart. We aren’t picking up litter or raking leaves around the church, we’re serving God! Isn’t that cause for praise and celebration. See there, you done went and got me on another rant. LOL I wonder if they’ll have a heavenly edition of Waldorf and Statler (of Muppets fame) up there? Maybe we can apply for those positions my friend?

      I love your description of them “whirlygig fireworks.” When I read that, I knew EXACTLY the ones you were talking about and exactly which Christians you were speaking of. They’re something coming out of the gate, but they’re sprinters. Sanctification is a marathon, brother, and we old fellas have been running for a long time. The difference is, we recognize that we’re not doing it in our power, but His. I think that’s where the difference is found. We’ve learned Who we’re doing it for and why we’re doing it. Sure makes our going that next mile a bit easier, doesn’t it my friend?

      God’s blessings, stay healthy (at least healthier than you’ve been lately), and remind your Ms. Diane of how much you love her each day sir.

  9. What a great to deal with our temptations JD. That question is a keeper for sure. And what a blessing to have your cows to talk with about life, they don’t share your secrets. lol Blessings to you my friend

    1. Thank you Ms. Yvonne. Always appreciate your insights ma’am. As for my cows? Yes ma’am, they are indeed great listeners when I need to vent, unload, and just ruminate (think about) on things a bit. And no ma’am, they won’t never tell my secrets, but they sure do give me some strange looks sometimes. I swear I can hear them thinking, “Papa, have you lost your mind!?” God’s blessings my friend.

    1. Thank you Ms. Nancy. Each day, my Prayer List includes an “Our Nation” entry, where I make sure to pray for all of the elected and appointed leaders in the government, military, and judiciary. I also pray that God bring revival to His church in America and we then bring restoration to America.

    1. I’m with you there Ms. Melissa. My prayer is that God put at least one person in my path today that He can use me to show them Him. To do that, I have to be filled with Him to the overflow, so it can come out everywhere I go. I think, “If He can love me, then it’ll be so much easier to love them.” God’s blessings precious friend.

  10. JD, Great insight as always! Here’s something also to consider. As we use that filter of what would Jesus see me doing when he returns, we need to also consider what our neighbors see us doing in the meantime. We should be the filter that non-believers use as we live out our lives. Sure, I’m more concerned about how Jesus sees me than my neighbor, but we are called to be His hands and feet, and maybe even His filter.

    1. Well said Mr. Ben. If we apply that filter in our lives (as we should), then I believe we will be more effective in carrying out the Great Commission we are charged with. Thank you sir.

  11. Thanks, J.D., for stimulating us to consider what we are doing and thinking. I believe we are in these last days. The verse that helps encourage me during these drastic times is Luke 21:28, “And when these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh.”

    1. Absolutely dear Ms. Barbara. And I agree ma’am. How long these “last days” might last, we cannot know. We can seek His strength to endure to the end. I await “The Victor’s Crown” so that I might humbly offer it to the One who gave me victory. God’s blessings my friend.

    1. Yes ma’am. They sure do. Most evenings, you’ll find me (after I’ve cleaned up from supper) sitting on the reclining sofa in the family room, with Bubba laying his head on my chest and lap and Archie laying between my knees on the leg rest. I gently stroke them and talk through my day. Sometimes Bubba lifts his large head and kisses me under my chin.

  12. That’s a wonderful filter, J. D. Though He sees us all the time and knows our thoughts, getting ready for that day when we see Him face to face helps make it more real to us.

    I was the oldest of six kids and the chief babysitter. When my parents were away, we’d play and then clean things up about ten minutes before they were due home. God is so wise not to let us know the day or the hour He’s returning, so we can strive to be always ready.

    1. Well made point Ms. Barbara. We must always be ready, for we have no idea when our Brother is returning to pick us up and take us home.

  13. We certainly do need to lead our daily lives especially conscious that we live them in the presence of God. thank you, J.D., for that reminder and the verses reminding us that what is unseen is what is eternal!

    1. Yes ma’am. Coram Deo, living our lives before the eyes of God, is a powerful goal that I hope and pray I will attain before God brings me home. I have so far to go;

  14. Thank you for sharing. I just want to be found faithful, but there sure are a lot of distractions to faithfulness. This is a great reminder and I am grateful.

    1. Yes ma’am, Ms. Kristy. There surely are an endless train of temptations and distractions to draw our attention from God and disrupt our journey in faith. As Satan and his minions tempt us, he weakens our testimony of faith. Thank you for joining our conversation ma’am. Most appreciated.

  15. Oh, to have the sweet moment of solitude with God in nature. To share random thoughts that express praise in the smallest of things: the veins of a leaf, the perfect and synchronous shape of my dog’s ears, the trail of a ladybug. I don’t know how you have time to lean upon a fence in your hectic daily requirements, but this I know from reading about your life, your character, and your love of the Lord. You find Him in everything you do, in every place you go, and in every adverse situation you encounter. You inspire us, J.D. You inspire your readers to do the same. No, you’re not perfect and we love that about you. But you always learn a lesson and use it to somehow glorify God. I just want to say thank you. God is using you, my brother in Christ.

  16. I understand about talking to cows. There’s nothing like the comfort of an animal. Twenty years ago when I was enduring a very hard time of sorrow, I would sit with my poodle Babette and read my Bible. I would pray and cry, and she would rest her head on my Bible, lick it occasionally, and watch me with eyes full of concern and compassion. It’s as if she understood completely what was wrong and shared my sorrow.
    The same thing happened in 2008. I felt as though I was attending the funeral of my country, and I knew this was the beginning of the end of our republic. I grieved for several years and finally got over the sorrow of seeing our country destroyed from within. That’s when I retired and started writing for the Lord, like you, brother JD. That gave me the heart to continue with His hope of encouragement.
    I have always pursued writing from a pure heart to glorify the Lord, and I only write as He directs. I’ve been involved with several past groups of writers for a season, but when I discovered that their goal was primarily for self-glorification, it was time to cut bait. I want my writing to draw people to the cross of Christ and into His ark of salvation. The skies are dark in these End Days, but the stars twinkle brightly and give us hope on our earthly sojourn.
    Blessings on your writing journey! You are bringing hope and encouragement to us all.

    1. Amen Ms. Karen. It’s so vitally important that we honor God’s call to write by remember that He is our audience. He is the one that nurtured this gift within us, and He is the one that has a purpose for it. When we honor Him by writing what we feel He has placed upon our hearts, I believe strongly that He will reward us for our obedience. Like you, I too lament the inward destruction of this nation, and this world, but I vow to go down fighting for every last soul I can to know Christ’s sacrifice and God’s great gift of salvation that awaits them. God’s blessings precious sister.

  17. We don’t talk about the return of Christ enough. With the current events happening in our world, we definitely should contemplate what the Lord would find us doing upon His second coming.

    “He who testifies to these things says, ‘Surely I am coming soon.’ Amen. Come, Lord Jesus!” Revelation 22:20 (ESV)

    1. Amen sweet friend. We can’t know when He is returning for us, but because of His long history of keeping His promise, we KNOW He is. “Faith is believing what is unseen”. A question we must ask ourselves before we do or say anything is, “What If He’s One His Way?” That quick, and it will be too late to ask forgiveness. Can you live with that? Always inspiring and encouraging ma’am. Thank you!

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