"The Hub" and I just got back from a few days' vacation in southern Utah.
There is some beautiful scenery in this area.
Zion National Park, Bryce Canyon National Park, Cedar Breaks National Monument, and Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument are all within driving distance.
Beautiful red rock vistas, crystal-clear rivers, secret canyons and waterfalls, towering mountains, and wide-open spaces – a feast for the eyes! We've visited them all, and reveled in the beauty of God's creation.
But, this trip we were on a different sort of adventure.
We *journeyed* to the Old West instead!!
Once a year, "The Hub" and I make the trek to Kanab, Utah, to attend a Western Festival.
It's such a great time!
Four days of music, movies, shopping, food, and fun!
And, just to make our time more "authentic," we dress up! "The Hub" – who many think bears a striking resemblance to Sam Elliott – puts on his Virgil Earp garb. And I wear my city-girl lavender satin dress.
What a pair!! (Check out the photos of us at the end of this post!)
One of our favorite things to do at this event is visit with the *stars.*
Many of you will probably remember such movie and TV stars as Bruce Boxleitner, Don Collier, Barry Corbin, Cheryl Rogers Barnett (daughter of Roy Rogers and Dale Evans), Wyatt McCrea (grandson of Joel McCrea), and Clint Walker.
Well, we got to visit with them all!
And the one thing that always impresses us is how very kind, polite, and respectful these people are. They are genuinely interested in what you have to say, and they are very generous with their time.
These people portrayed characters from a different time who truly embodied something called, "The Code of the West."
A little background on the "Code":
It was first chronicled by the famous western writer, Zane Grey, in his 1934 novel "The Code of the West." Although no actual, written code ever existed, the tough and hardy pioneers who lived in the West abided by a set of "rules" – rules that centered on hospitality, fair play, loyalty, and respect for the land.
Ramon Adams, a Western historian, explained it best in his 1969 book, "The Cowman and His Code of Ethics," saying:
"Back in the days when the cowman with his herds made a new frontier, there was no law on the range. Lack of written law made it necessary for him to frame some of his own, thus developing a rule of behavior, which became known as the "Code of the West." These homespun laws, being merely a gentleman's agreement to certain rules of conduct for survival, were never written into statutes, but were respected everywhere on the range."
There are many versions of the "Code" – but they all have one thing in common.
They closely parallel Biblical principles.
So, without further ado, here's a short version of "The Code of the West" – and some spiritual *rules* I think we can all follow:
1. Live Each Day with Courage
We are called to be courageous, and exhorted often to "Fear not." I find it so difficult to be fear-less, but I think it's crucial as believers not to be fear-ruled. The enemy's kingdom is dominated by fear. But God's Kingdom is ruled by love.
As children of the King, we should live like it!
"…be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the LORD your God is with you wherever you go." (Joshua 1:9)
2. Take Pride in Your Work
My dad always said, "If it it's worth doing, it's worth doing well." A great work ethic, but an even better spiritual principle to live by. We speak volumes to others when we take our duties, our jobs, our responsibilities seriously. Displaying a thoughtful attitude about everything we do is crucial to our witness.
For in fact, we work for the Lord, and for His Kingdom.
"Work willingly at whatever you do, as though you were working for the Lord…" (Colossians 3:23)
3. Always Finish What you Start
Lazy, irresponsible people do not make good Christian witnesses. We are called to integrity and excellence in all we do. God does not want tepid, half-hearted workers for the great harvest He is preparing. He calls us to persevere and endure, to complete the tasks He assigns.
So, let's be strong to the finish of the race of faith.
"Now you should finish what you started. Let the eagerness you showed in the beginning be matched now…" (2 Corinthians 8:11)
4. Do What Has to Be Done
The walk of faith is not easy. It can be full of hardship and suffering. Following the Lord takes dedication and devotion. And sometimes we are called to do difficult things. In all of this, God calls us to do what has to be done – always giving of our time, our resources, ourselves.
Let's strive to be good and faithful servants.
"Fear God and obey his commands, for this is everyone's duty."
5. Be Tough, But Fair
Tough love. Every parent knows that it is sometimes required. And in the Body of Christ, we are also called to confront sin. We are not to be conformed to this world, and that means we are to stand firm on issues of Truth. Let us do everything in the name of love, but let's never slide down the slippery slope of compromise.
Pray for wisdom and discernment, and when called to do so, stand tall!
"This is what the LORD says: Be fair-minded and just. Do what is right!" (Jeremiah 22:3)
6. When You Make a Promise, Keep It
I don't know about you, but it seems to me that fewer and fewer people value the virtues of honesty, honor, and sincerity. Never is this more apparent than when this country approaches election year. Do you believe anything anyone says anymore?! God calls us to something greater. He calls us to Truth.
Therefore, we should be people of our word, because we are People of His Word!
"The godly are directed by honesty…" (Proverbs 11:5)
7. Ride for the Brand
When I look around me, when I look within me, I sometimes question God's plan to make us His representatives. What was He thinking?! We are all too often very poor reflections of his Son. We must realize that being a Christian is much more than just a title. It is a responsibility to the Lord to let Him do His work through us.
Pray for the will and the power to represent Him well.
"So we are Christ's ambassadors; God is making his appeal through us. We speak for Christ…" (2 Corinthians 5:20)
8. Talk Less and Say More
Can anyone tame the tongue?! (Correct answer = NO!) In fact, we must constantly be aware of our tendency to speak too much. We must be aware of our power to hurt and wound with careless words. Rather, we must allow the Holy Spirit to direct this mighty weapon.
May we allow the Lord to speak through us, and to silence us when we should not speak.
"…I will watch what I do and not sin in what I say. I will hold my tongue…" (Psalm 39:1)
9. Remember That Some Things Are Not For Sale
We must never forget that we are a redeemed people, purchased and bought with the blood of Christ. Therefore, we must be oh-so-careful to remember that we are living temples of the Holy Spirit – and we are admonished to behave accordingly.
Guard your heart, protect your reputation, shield your mind, respect your body.
"You do not belong to yourself, for God bought you with a high price. So you must honor God with your body." (1 Corinthians 6:19-20)
10. Know Where to Draw the Line
The very best *roadmap* in life is The Word of God. Full of wise counsel, its words will guide us. No, we are no longer living under the tyranny of the Law – the Lord has set us free from slavery to sin. However, He has not given us a license to exercise bad behavior!
Know His rules, obey His regulations, and freedom will reign.
"Keep watch and pray, so that you will not give in to temptation."
Yup, we would do well to follow the "Code of the West" – but it's much better to follow the "Code of the Word."
Which just might be summed up by Paul's words in Philippians:
"And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise. Keep putting into practice all you learned and received from me – everything you heard from me and saw me doing. Then the God of peace will be with you."
(Philippians 4:8-9, AMP)
Happy Trails, pardners…
See you on down the road!
If it's not yours,
don't take it.
If it's not true,
don't say it.
If it's not right,
don't do it.
"This is why we work hard and continue to struggle, for our hope is in the living God, who is the Savior..." (1 Timothy 4:10, NLT)
"However, I consider my life worth nothing to me; my only aim is to finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me – the task of testifying to the good news of God's grace." (Acts 20:24, NIV)
"His master said to him, 'Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.'" (Matthew 25:23, ESV)
"...we will speak the truth in love, growing in every way more and more like Christ, who is the head of his body, the church...So stop telling lies. Let us tell our neighbors the truth, for we are all parts of the same body."
(Ephesians 4:15, 24, NASB)
"A man who makes a vow to the LORD or makes a pledge under oath must never break it. He must do exactly what he said he would do."
(Numbers 30:2, NLT)
"Not that we are sufficient in ourselves to claim anything as coming from us, but our sufficiency is from God, who has made us sufficient to be ministers of a new covenant, not of the letter but of the Spirit." (2 Corinthians 3:5-6, ESV)
"In the same way, the tongue is a small thing...the tongue is a flame of fire. It is a whole world of wickedness, corrupting your entire body. It can set your whole life on fire, for it is set on fire by hell itself...If you are wise and understand God's ways, prove it by living an honorable life, doing good works with the humility that comes from wisdom." (James 3:5-6, 13, NLT)
"Just as our bodies have many parts and each part has a special function, so it is with Christ's body. We are many parts of one body, and we all belong to each other." (Romans 12:4-5, NLT)
"No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it." (1 Corinthians 10:13, NIV)
Are you living by "The Code of the Word"?
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