A Cowboy Called Home – by Rodger Dale Mangold II

February 10th 1949 brought the birth of a new baby boy,
Bud and Dovie called him Rodger Dale, inspired by a cowboy named Roy.

Just six years old when Gunsmoke aired, little Rodger Dale at once was smitten,
He wanted to be like Marshall Dillon, then again, what little boy his age didn’t?

The likes of Paladin and James T. West, blazed the trail for this young buckaroo,
As Roy Rogers and Dale Evans strummed guitar and crooned, “Happy trails to you.”

“Hi-yo Silver away,” atop his fiery horse, the masked Lone Ranger shouts,
His trusty side-kick Tonto just ahead, as each trail for danger he scouts.

Rodger’s boyhood was filled with cowboys and Indians, ranchers, rustlers, and wranglers,
But a good cowboy welcomes anyone to the campfire; partners, drifters, even strangers.

The years were kind to Cowboy Rodger, as he traveled the trails of life,
God blessed him with 3 buckaroos of his own, when sweet Deanna became his wife.

He worked hard each day to earn a living; that was the “Cowboy Way.”
As hard as he worked, sunup to sundown, he always took time to pray.

Everyday would find him singing or whistling; he was sure to make you smile,
He had a great big heart, and list of fine qualities, that went on for country mile.

At times Life would try to get the drop on Rodger, but his draw was fast as lightening,
With a wink and smile, that’s all it would take and your day was sure to brighten.

He lovingly showed us the “ropes,” always “steering” us in the right direction,
At times he’d have to “corral” us, but we knew he had the best of intentions.

He had some rough rides and saddle sores, but loved the Lord first and foremost,
Jesus deputized Rodger one New Year’s Eve night, filling him with the Holy Ghost!

Liberty Vance, Hopalong Cassidy, the “Duke” – John Wayne himself,
The “Singing Cowboy” Gene Autry, now fond memories upon Life’s shelf.

In the distance I hear “Load ’em up, move ’em out, Rawhide!” and “Yippee-ki-yay!”
Just slogans of yesteryear’s cowboys that have all but faded away.

“Give me land, lots of land, under starry skies above…Don’t fence me in.”
God’s prepared a ranch the size of Texas, for our faithful father and friend.

With cowboy boots and Stetson hat, a six-gun strapped to his side,
The cowboy I called “Daddy” has taken his heavenly ride.

Cowboy Rodger has gone to his heavenly home, where the deer and the antelope play,
He’s up there with Papaw, ridin’ the range, where the skies are not cloudy all day.

“Some trails are happy trails and some trails are blue,”
It’s the way you ride the trail that counts,
There’s a happy one for you.

Happy trails to you…until we meet again. We love you Dad!

February 10, 1949 – August 7, 2008

(Written August 28, 2008)

Earvie Mangold, Sr. Circa 1930

Now here’s a handsome man. My great-grandfather Earvie, Sr. is pictured here in his “Sunday Best.” My grandfather, Earvie J. (probably for junior) was his name’s sake. Pardon the quality of this picture, it’s a picture of a picture, so it’s not the greatest, but (pardon the pun) “you get the picture.”

Sadly, Earvie was hit by a car and killed when my grandfather was just 3 years old. Ida (or Maw Mangold), my great-grandmother later married Clarence Edward (or Paw Mangold), Earvie’s brother, who never fathered any more children with Ida.

Memorial Picture of Cowboy Rodger – Happy Trails to You!

I’ve shared this with most of my family already, but wanted to keep it on the blog as well as a way of archiving and of course remembering my precious dad. I know this may not mean very much if you’re a visitor, but were it not for this man, I wouldn’t be the man I am today. He encouraged me every step of the way. My dad believed I could do anything if I put my mind to it. We need more dads that believe in their kids like that.

 

We’re gonna miss you Dad, thanks for always wishing us “Happy trails…until we meet again!” 

21-Day Fast (Days 18-21) Feasting on the Fast

Scripture: Philippians 3:12-14

12Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect: but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus. 13Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, 14I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.

Waiting on God

As I reflect over the past 21 days, I can’t help but criticize myself for my attitude during moments of the fast. I deliberately tried to absorb myself in the fast. Trying to glean as much as I could spiritually, while denying myself physically. I would catch myself though, wanting to hasten the fast. You know, “get it over with!” This was something of an endurance test to be sure, but I had a difficult time making the distinction of enduring the sacrifice, while enjoying it at the same time. If that’s too deep, let me say it like this. I have been known to “rush” things along in my life. Even as I type this, I’m in a hurry to get out how it is I’m feeling. Fasting forced me to wait. I had to wait out the hunger pangs (some people call them hunger pains…I see why). I had to wait on the presence of the Lord to sustain me. I couldn’t rush the clock, I wasn’t living meal to meal. When I would have loved to have been “waited on,” I was doing all the waiting on the Lord.

Don’t Dismiss the Fragments

There are many insights God has given me on this fast some of which will surface later. But when I took my first bite after the fast was over, it dawned on me how good each morsel of food tasted. Even the fragments, or crumbs that I would have ordinarily dismissed and shoveled into my mouth without thinking, tasted delicious. Part of the miracle of Jesus feeding the 5000 wasn’t JUST the fact that he fed 5000 men (plus women and children). Don’t forget, there were 12 baskets of fragments that were picked up AFTER everyone was fed. So, I’ve learned during the fast, that yes, the meals are wonderful, but don’t dismiss the fragment; smaller things that are still quite tasty and deserve to delight my spiritual taste buds. They too work to sustain me, and are deliberate blessings God intends for me. I shouldn’t dismiss them as inconsequential. I should scoop them up, and savor each blessing, no matter how small.

It’s Not Over

I will not be able to close the chapter on this fast for a long time. I thought once I had eaten, I would be able to say that I have arrived at the end of a journey. I can’t say that. In fact, not only is it NOT over, it’s just begun. Laying aside your flesh for several weeks like that can leave an indelible mark on you spiritually, if you allow it. I’m going to allow it.

Paul said he didn’t consider himself to have apprehended perfection, but he was still pressing. While at one time I thought the end of the fast meant the end of a journey. I now know today, as odd as this sounds, I’ll be feasting on the effects of this fast for a long time to come. This fast has set my journey off on the right trajectory for 2008. I’m going to forget all the failings, faults, and trials of 2007, and I’m going to do what Paul did…I’m going to press on toward perfection.

21-Day Fast (Day 16) Cloud of Witnesses

Scripture: Hebrews 12:1-2

1Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us,  2Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.

The 11th chapter of Hebrews chronicles for us some very key figures of faith in the Old Testament summing them up by saying, “And these all, having obtained a good report through faith, received not the promise: 40God having provided some better thing for us, that they without us should not be made perfect.” Hebrews 11:39-40.

As chapter 12 opens up, we find that the work of these dear saints is far from complete. While their earthly tabernacle has faded, their representation and observation is still taking place today.

Can I Get a Witness?

Overcoming monumental obstacles that included, trial of cruel mockings and scourgings, yea, moreover of bonds and imprisonment: 37They were stoned, they were sawn asunder, were tempted, were slain with the sword: they wandered about in sheepskins and goatskins; being destitute, afflicted, tormented; 38(Of whom the world was not worthy:) they wandered in deserts, and in mountains, and in dens and caves of the earth (Hebrews 11:36-38), The scripture tells us they received not the promise. But they have a vested interest in our success, because the scripture goes on to say, “God having provided some better thing for us, that they without us should not be made perfect (Hebrews 11:40).”

Many of the witnesses Hebrews refers to were bludgeoned to death, tortured, dismembered, disemboweled, burned at the stake, and sawn asunder. In my wild imagination I envision patriarchs of old peering through the portals of Heaven watching as you and I now battle the forces of spiritual wickedness in high places. All those precious souls watch with baited breath as you and I face the enemy on a new plain. The persecution we face is real, but the brutality is different. While theirs was a physical anguish, ours is mental, and at times physical, with the added intensity of an enemy that is not content to just destroy this earthly vessel of our body, but the devil wants to destroy our soul as well.

The Cheerleaders of Heaven

This may be taking it a bit too far, but I believe the likes of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, are watching God’s grand design unfold, and are anxiously observing each battle we fight. I don’t think it’s too far-fetched to think we have a cheering section in the prophets, and in our family members who have gone on before us shouting…”You can make it! Don’t stop fighting! The enemy isn’t as tough as you think he is! God will see you through this! Don’t give up child, the battle is yours!”

Praise the Lord! As much as it means to me to have a cloud of witnesses that want me to make it, and that I know I can make it with the grace of God, having Jesus as my hero is of far greater importance. Yes, I admire my grandparents and loved ones that have gone on to their reward because of their faithfulness in this life. But having Jesus, the Author and Finisher of my faith, standing guard over my life is of the greatest comfort. Apostle Paul must have felt the same way because he said in Philippians 4:13, “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.” With the patriarchs of old cheering me on and the power of Jesus to see me through…I can’t lose!

How Do I Feel?

With day 16 well underway, I’m able to see the proverbial light at the end of this tunnel. My muscles have stopped aching, but I get tired very easily. Reading some material on fasting, they said that natural hunger will return. I’m honestly, not looking forward to that day. You may wonder why. Well, I feel like I’ve finally captured and caged a part of myself that has been literally running rampant my entire life. More on that subject in my final thoughts on the 21st day.

21-Day Fast (Day 15) ALL or Almost?

Scripture: Acts 26:26-29

For the king knoweth of these things, before whom also I speak freely: for I am persuaded that none of these things are hidden from him; for this thing was not done in a corner. 27 King Agrippa, believest thou the prophets? I know that thou believest. 28 Then Agrippa said unto Paul, Almost thou persuadest me to be a Christian. 29 And Paul said, I would to God, that not only thou, but also all that hear me this day, were both almost, and altogether such as I am, except these bonds.

As Christians, we have more than likely heard some of the same rhetoric. We spend hours with individuals sharing the love and Gospel of Jesus Christ with our friends and families only to hear the dreaded words spoken…Almost thou persuadest me to be a Christian. At least Agrippa didn’t lead Paul on by professing to believe, and refusing to change his life and completely turn it over to God.

Almost

Almost can be defined as, “slightly short of; not quite; nearly: almost time to go; was almost asleep; had almost finished.” How many of us, reserve a section of our heart for the “almost-factor.” As if to say, “just in case this doesn’t work, I have an out!” God’s not looking for people who almost love Him, and almost serve Him, and are almost faithful to Him. Because almost making it to church – isn’t making it at all. Almost telling someone about the Love of Christ – isn’t telling them at all. Almost living for God – isn’t living for God at all. And, almost making it to Heaven isn’t going to get you there. The key is, following through!

Golf Swing 101

I do not profess to be an avid golfer. I’ve made several attempts at it only to get a few good shots that make me keep repeating the frustrating game all over again, thinking that perhaps I’ll actually get good at it one day. A vital ingredient to a healthy golf swing in addition to keeping your head down, is to ensure you follow through with your swing. Not following through, will get your ball “almost” to the green. Which by now you’ve learned is not getting to the green at all. You need a solid follow-through on your swing to ensure you gain the optimal distance and height on your ball. Failing to do so will result in golfing like “Yours Truly!”

Commitment

On a more serious note, we must follow through if we expect to make to the Kingdom! Empty promises, vows, and unfulfilled commitments are not only an embarrassment (or should be), but they’re outright lies. I know situations arise that may interfere with our commitment, but they should never prevent you from completing it. God didn’t give you a limit on how many times to keep trying, but almost fulfilling our duty as a Christian – isn’t fulfilling it at all. No matter how many times you fail remember the scripture, Rejoice not against me, O mine enemy: when I fall, I shall arise; when I sit in darkness, the LORD shall be a light unto me (Micah 7:8). The difference in people that get back up and try again, and people who wallow in self-pity and defeat? Provebs 24:16 – For a just man falleth seven times, and riseth up again: but the wicked shall fall into mischief. So keep getting up. Keep trying.

In Closing

Don’t almost follow through with the commitment you’ve made to Christ. Matthew 10:22 tells us,”And ye shall be hated of all men for my name’s sake: but he that endureth to the end shall be saved.”

How Do I Feel?

I feel blessed! Because I know, Christ didn’t almost die on the cross for me. He didn’t almost rise from the dead. And, He didn’t almost fill me with His Spirit…Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ: (Philippians 1:6)

21-Day Fast (Day 14) Measuring Ourselves Part II

Scripture: Luke 18:10-14

10Two men went up into the temple to pray; the one a Pharisee, and the other a publican. 11The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, God, I thank thee, that I am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican. 12I fast twice in the week, I give tithes of all that I possess.13And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner. 14I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other: for every one that exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.

Scripture: Ephesians 4:13

13Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ:

The Publican

Humbled at the mere thought of coming into the presence of God, the publican stood afar off. You can’t miss the anguish in this man. He pounds his chest, and wasn’t the least bit concerned with who was watching. A valuable lesson can learned here. Without God’s mercy, we are all lost and undone. Unlike the prideful Pharisee, the publican sought not to exalt himself, justify himself, or compare himself to anyone. People in the Pharisee’s position, thought that by their public displays of piety, they were demonstrating for people just how righteous they were, rather than pointing followers to the righteousness of God.

Measure Twice – Cut Once

The adage is true. We want to make certain our measurements are correct before we make unnecessary cuts. I’ve witnessed people who are “pros” who have found they incorrectly measured only to find they cut something unnecessarily too short. The Pharisees were that way. Foolishly measuring themselves by the status of others, they felt as long as they were doing more than anyone else, or behaved more righteously than anyone, this equated to being godly. They never measured correctly to begin with. The publican on the other hand, measure himself against the Holiness and Righteousness of God and realized, God’s mercy is always required for any of us to “make the cut!”

Paul told the Ephesians, “Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ (Ephesians 4:13).

If you want to measure yourself against anyone, do so against the Rule of God. He is always straight. He is always just. He is always true. He changes not…He’s the same yesterday, today, and forever.

In Closing

We see a stark contrast here between the prayers that are received and the ones that go ignored. Regardless of how long we’ve been serving God, it’s good to acquaint ourselves once in awhile with the message of the Pharisee and the publican. Both worshipped the same God, in the same church, and both were keenly aware of their responsibility to stay in touch with God. One got results, and the other did not. If you feel you’re prayer life has gone stagnant, maybe visit your prayer posture. Do your prayers measure up? Or, are you quick to point to your righteousness rather than God’s?

How Do I Feel?

Tired, but not overly hungry. Hunger pangs try to remind me that something is missing, but I use them as prompts to remind me to pray, rather than to eat. I have been drinking scads of water, but regardless I’m physically weak. Just one week left – so I have more behind me than I have in front of me…that’s almost true too even if you consider my belt line!