Cody was up early, curried his horse and prepared his things for the day’s ride. He read in his Bible and was ready when Sam called him for breakfast.
Amy was waiting for him, her golden red hair shining in the sunlight, her gingham blouse freshly washed and neat, her stance and smile that of a true lady.
“Here, Cody,” said Amanda, “Sit next to Amy.” He ducked his head, but silently complied.
Sam was eager to talk. “Mr. Cody, you told us about the first kind of good fruit last night. What’s the second kind?” he asked.
“You are a dedicated learner,” laughed Cody as he reached over and ruffled Sam’s hair. Sam laughed in pleasure.
“Well the second kind of fruit is mentioned in the book of Hebrews, chapter 13, verse 15. It says, ‘Through Jesus, therefore, let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise—the fruit of lips that openly profess his name.’
“The ‘sacrifice of praise’ means that we praise and thank God when we’d rather complain and feel sorry for ourselves. When we deny ourselves and give thanks, we honor God and open the way for Him to act in our lives.
As it says in Psalm 50:23, ‘He who offers the sacrifice of thanksgiving honors me, and opens the way that I may show him the salvation of the Lord.’
“We can thank Him for the uncomfortable, the tragic, the difficult things of life because we know He has a plan for us and He will use whatever we don’t like for good in our lives, and in that of others.
“Let me give you an example of this. One time in Texas I was out rounding up strays when my horse was spooked by a big rattler. He leaped aside so quickly that I fell from the saddle. The horse took off running and I could tell he was going to head for home.
“There I was with only my six shooters, no canteen, no food, no help. I knew I was ten miles from the ranch and there was nothing to do but walk.
However, before starting off I thanked God for this happening. ‘Lord,’ I said, ‘You allowed this; you have a plan, so I thank you for it and for what you will do through it. Guide me now, take me safely back to the ranch.’
“So, I began to walk. It was really hot, the sun reflecting heat off the desert sand. After several miles, I came up a ridge and there below me I saw a man lying on the ground. Further out I saw the bodies of three Indians. I circled around, being very careful, for there might be other Indians still around.
“When I got closer, I could see that he had two arrows in him, and he was bleeding badly. Beside him was his rifle, and there were about twenty cartridges scattered around. He had given those Indians a hard time, that was obvious.
“I carefully circled around and when I got to him squatted down and checked his pulse. He was still alive. One arrow was through his shoulder, the other in his side. I carefully lifted him up. He opened his eyes.
“I really got it,” he said.
“Don’t worry, the Indians got it worse!” I told him.
Gasping with pain he said, “My horse is tethered on the other side of this hill, if the Indians didn’t get him,” he said.
“Ok, I’ll check.” I left him and carefully and slowly skirted the edge of the hill, finding a small stand of trees–and his horse! More importantly there was a small seep among the trees with a little pool of water.
“I leaned down and took a drink. It had been a long, dry walk. I got the man’s canteen from the horse and filled it before untying the horse and leading him back to the wounded man.
“Friend, I need to pull out these arrows and then plug your wounds, so you won’t lose too much blood.
‘Whatever you have to do,’ he said.
“Both arrows had gone clean through so the heads were out. I got out my Bowie knife, cut the shafts by the heads and carefully pulled out the remaining part.
“The man groaned as I pulled each out but didn’t flinch.
“I found some herbs the Indians used and after crushing them pushed them into the holes to staunch the bleeding.
“Now we need to get you to some help,” I said. “Let’s see if we can get you up on your horse.” He was weak from loss of blood but was game. I got him up into the saddle and tied his hands to the pommel to keep him from falling off.
‘You get up, too,’ he said. ‘You can hold me in the saddle. If you walk it will take too long.’
“He was, of course, right. We weren’t too far from the ranch, maybe five miles now, and the horse would be able to take two riders that far if we took it easy.”
“We got to the ranch an hour later and the hands helped the wounded man down and took him to the ranch house where the boss’s wife took charge of him. He lived.”
“Now think about this, if my horse hadn’t thrown me, I never would have found the wounded man. Or I may have ridden into that band of Indians. But God had a plan that included saving that man’s life and mine.
“My offering the sacrifice of thanksgiving was the way I could join Him in that plan.
“Let me repeat what Psalm 50:23 says, ‘He who offers the sacrifice of thanksgiving honors me and opens the way that I may show him the salvation of the Lord.’ And that’s exactly what He did!”
Picture: Indians on alert (from internet)