Whoa, There Pony!

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For we all stumble in many ways.

If anyone does not stumble in what he says, he is a perfect man,

able to bridle the whole body as well.

Now if we put the bits into the horses’ mouths so that they will obey us, we direct their entire body as well.

James 3: 2-3

When I was a kid, I wanted a horse more than anything. My uncle, who raised horses, offered to give me one, but I couldn’t have one because of my father’s allergies.  So, my mother gave up hours on a Saturday, every Saturday,  to drive me to Westheimer Stables so I could rent a horse for one hour. The drive took one hour each way and my mom would settle in and read a book for the hour I rode.

Ever ride a rented horse? Well, I’ll tell you how it was for me, regardless of the horse, they had two speeds. Leaving the stable, the horse walked at a snail’s pace. Nothing I did, no amount of kicking or coaxing would speed up that horse. So, for the first 50 minutes of my hour we walked slowly away from the stables. It wasn’t so exciting, but it was a horse and I loved it. What really made it worthwhile though, was the second speed which came the moment I turned that horse back to the stables. What took 50 minutes to walk, took less than 10 to run! Again, nothing I did would slow that horse down. No amount of pulling on the reins phased the horse at all. Those 10 minutes were a highlight of my week!

What I learned when I had my own horses is just this: simply putting a bit in a horse’s mouth doesn’t really control him. There is more to it than just that. A horse can harden his mouth against a bit so much so that it doesn’t hurt him at all when it is pulled on. He can also raise his head up high enough that the bit that was meant to control him loses all effectiveness because the angle of his head gets the pressure of the bit off his mouth. A horse learns, however,  with proper training to submit to the bit and drop his head down into a place where the bit can gently lead and guide him.

Likewise, we can harden ourselves against doing and saying what is right. We can develop a hardened heart towards someone that has hurt us and use that hurt as an excuse to hang on to unforgiveness and allow bitterness to take root. When we do that, we stumble. We can also raise our head high enough in haughtiness and pride that we are unwilling to yield our mouth and control our tongue. When we do that, we stumble. We all stumble and this verse tells us that a lot of our stumbling starts with our mouth and the things we say. The word tells us elsewhere, that the words that come from our mouth start in the heart. A heart that won’t yield itself to the gentle leading of the Spirit of God is just like that horse that refuses the leading of the bit. When we don’t yield, we are about as useful to God’s purposes as that horse is to the rider’s purposes. We can go our way or we can yield to His.

Almighty God, how ugly I can be when I don’t yield to Your ways and Your desires for me. How haughty I can become when I want to do things my way. I have felt the pressure of the bit You place in my mouth and oftentimes, I have just raised my head higher. Please forgive me. Help me to yield to Your gentle leading, Your gentle hand on the reins of my life as I submit to You and Your will. Help me to use my words to bringing life and healing and not judgment and condemnation, I ask in Jesus’ name. Amen.

picture credit: pinkequine.com

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Peter fairly exploded with his good news:

“It’s God’s own truth, nothing could be plainer: God plays no favorites!

It makes no difference who you are or where you’re from—if you want God and are ready to do as he says, the door is open.

The Message he sent to the children of Israel

that through Jesus Christ everything is being put together again

well, he’s doing it everywhere, among everyone.

Acts 10:34

Good news is really hard to contain.  Peter fairly exploded (but Peter fairly exploded often!) with his good news. It is really good news – God doesn’t play favorites.  What He has done for one, He will do for another, for you, for me. I think this is awesome news, because I have discovered, and perhaps you have too, that pain doesn’t play favorites either. Doesn’t matter what race or gender you are. Doesn’t matter what your economic position is or your political affiliations.  It doesn’t matter what church you go to or that you go to church. It doesn’t matter how good you are or how bad you are. If you are a member of the human race and still breathing, pain can interrupt your plans and your life. Life sometimes stinks  – for all us.

This message that caused Peter to fairly explode should have such an effect of us as well.  It is tremendous news. I am no less loved or no more loved than anyone else. So when I see in scriptures that Jesus went about healing people, or as this verse would say, putting everything together again, I know I am included in that group called everyone.

He’s the one who healed the leper. He heals me.

He’s the one who dined with sinners. He will dine with me.

He’s the one who embraced children. He embraces me.

He’s the one who extended grace to the woman caught in adultery. He extends grace to me.

He’s the one who raised Lazarus from the dead. He will raise me from the dead.

He’s the  one who fed the hungry. He will provide for me.

He’s the one who healed the woman with the issue of blood. He heals me.

He’s the one who delivered the man possessed by demons. He delivers me.

He forgave those who persecuted Him, rejected Him, despised Him, neglected Him. He forgives me.

He’s the one who entered our world, so that we could learn how to enter His. He is with me.

And He will do the same for you.

Jesus, I am entering the Christmas season and my life  just got so busy. I don’t want to lose sight of You through this time. Turn my heart towards You; help me not to forget the message of the Christmas season. I feel You are beckoning me to remember that all that You did, to know that You did for it me, for each one of us, everyone of us. How precious we are in Your sight and dear we are to Your heart. Thank You for not playing favorites and thank You for coming to put everything together again. Amen.

picture credit: hesmyallinall.com

Discern His Body

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For anyone who eats and drinks (the Lord’s supper) without recognizing the body of the Lord eats and drinks judgment on himself.  That is why many among you are weak and sick, and a number of you have fallen asleep.  I Corinthians 11:29-30

Most of the time when I have taken communion, the message preceding it has been about the forgiveness of my sins.  I only recently came to see this in a different light.  Jesus said we are to take the bread and the wine in remembrance of Him.  We are to remember what His sacrifice was all about – the forgiveness of our sins, for sure, but also the healing of our bodies.  He took all of our diseases as well as all of our sins.  Too often, I think that aspect of His death is overlooked.  And this verse tells us that that is why so many are sick.

Discerning the body means recognizing everything that Jesus’ sacrifice brought us and receiving it into our lives.  Really all that’s left to do is recognize the body of the Lord, receive His gift of healing and say thank you.  The words of this song by Matt Redman are a beautiful prayer of thanksgiving:

Jesus Christ,

I think upon your sacrifice You became nothing,

poured out to death.

Many times, I wonder at your gift of life.

And I’m in that place once again.

I’m in that place once again.

And once again I look upon the cross where you died.

I’m humbled by your mercy and I’m broken inside.

Once again I thank you.

Once again I pour out my life.

Thank you for the cross.

Thank you for the cross, my friend.

Thank you for the cross.

Thank you for the cross.

Thank you for the cross, my friend.

Jesus, my friend, my Savior, my Redeemer.  Thank You for the cross.  Thank You for Your sacrifice and Your gift of life to me, to my family, to our world.  I am humbled by Your mercy and so very grateful that You love me enough to not only take my sins but my pain and diseases also.  What an amazing Savior  You are.  What an awesome love You displayed.  Help me to recognize all of what You did for me on that cross as I remember You during communion.  In Your name, Amen

God Knows

I woke up Sunday morning with these words running through my mind – God knows. It hit me like fresh revelation and I just kept meditating on those words over and over again. God knows.  God knows what?  He knows I am having a hard time getting out of bed today. He knows the pain I am in and the uncertainty I have about the future.  He knows my deepest need, my unspoken dreams, my most crippling fears. He knows what tickles me and what gets my blood boiling.  He knows what path to lead me on, what doors to open and what doors to close.  He knows just the right words to whisper to my heart.  He knows the part of me that I won’t show you, the part of me I’d rather not see.  He knows that I need Him much more than I realize.  He knows the condition of my heart – the good, the bad, the ugly.

He tells me this in Psalm 139:  O Lord, Thou hast searched me and known me.  Thou dost know when I sit down and when I rise up;  Thou dost understand my thought from afar.  Thou dost scrutinize my path and my lying down, And art intimately acquainted with all ways. 

Yes, God knows.  He knows my pain and He knows the day of my deliverance from this pain.  He knows what is causing in and what it takes to heal it.  For reasons only He knows, He hasn’t chosen to tell me and believe me, I have asked.  Repeatedly.

Can I rest in His promises even I don’t have answers?  Can I trust Him when the pain tells me – not today? Can it just be enough that He knows?  Can I find peace in the midst of the pain?  Can I just stop asking the questions and focus on my Healer and His promises?

God who knows the end from the beginning hasn’t lost track of me and my suffering and in His infinite, He has chosen the perfect day for my pain to come to an end.  I don’t know but God does.  And that’s good enough for me.

Infinite, All Powerful, All Knowing God thank You for noticing me.  For knowing me as intimately as You do, for even desiring that kind of intimacy with me.  Thank You for showing me what You are like through the person of Jesus Christ who healed people by Your power and in Your name.  Thank You that my day of deliverance is written on Your calendar and You alone know that date.  Help me to trust and be patient until that day that You deliver me in Jesus’s name.  Amen.

Are you in need of healing?  Can I pray for you/ with you?  Please let me know.

If you have a healing testimony, I would love to share it.

reprinted from my blog godhappenings.wordpress.com