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Posted by on in Horses in Ministry
The Little Gift

Today is my King's birthday.

He is older than time, but today marks the two thousand and fourteenth year since his birth. When He was born, a giant star lit the entire sky with the brightness of a second sun. Angels sang, shepherds worshipped, his virgin mother held him close, wise men brought gifts of value and the King of Kings slept in the hay.

Tonight, there is no star. I hear no angels. I see no shepherds. Mary is long gone. And I can offer Him nothing more than I already have: myself, a living sacrifice.

But tonight, the King does not sleep. My resurrected King reigns today in the glory of His majesty; He is the Alpha and Omega, the Creator of the world, Lord and Saviour, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace (Isaiah 9:6). He governs heaven and earth, He is mightier than mighty, stronger than the definition of strength. As I worked in the sunset, He filled my mind, Christmas carols rising around me as I ran the bodybrush briskly down my chestnut colt's sleek golden coat.

I always find Christmas a little sad. That innocent Babe in the manger was destined to live a cruelly short life, to die a horrible death, the hands that healed nations punctured by nails, the lips that spoke truth and love to cry in desperation, “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?” (Matthew 22:37) Of course, this Babe would rise again and reign forever. But I can't help but grieve a little knowing what my beloved Friend had to go through for my sins. I grieve, too, for Mary; Mary who sang her song to glorify the Lord that night, perhaps not knowing that in thirty-three years she would sob at the feet of the cross upon which her baby was slowly dying. As Simeon said to her, “A sword shall pierce through thy own soul also.” (Luke 2:35)

I am joyful, yes. Thankful, beyond so. But always a little sad. And my thoughts were with Him, rejoicing and thanking and praising and apologising all at once. I finished grooming the colt, untied him and turned him loose. The last rays of the setting sun had turned the world to honey as I set to work scrubbing out the feed bins and convincing the ageing donkey to move from his feeding pen back to his paddock. The donkey, like all donkeys, bears a cross on his back. Maybe it's just legend that donkeys have crosses ever since a little donkey colt that bore the King, or maybe He laid it there when He first made donkeys, marking His humble mount since creation.

My humble, beloved King. I ride a thoroughbred; bright as a sword's blade, aflame with his power, able to leap as high as I am tall and run like a winter gale. But my Lord rode a humble little donkey that had never been trained, a donkey colt no more than ten or eleven hands high, dusty with the desert sand. Lord, how You bless me more than You blessed Yourself.

“O come let us adore Him, O come let us adore him,” I sang badly, tunelessly. I never sing when people are around, but I think Jesus appreciates the effort, even if He does so with earplugs. “O come let us adore Hi-im, Christ the – Oh, look!”

As I turned, I saw it. The chestnut colt, inviting the thoroughbred to play.

The colt is only fifteen months old, but he's had a rough start. He spent most of his life in a little paddock, and – worse – some of it cooped up on stall rest for an injury, going stir-crazy with nothing to do and nowhere to move until eventually he just died a little inside. The flame inside every colt stilled, until his eyes were full of fear instead of fire. Two months ago, when I got him, the colt didn't know how to be a horse. He didn't know what he was. He couldn't function in a group; while the other horses grazed, he would stand in a corner of the pasture, nibbling hay instead.

Now, my socially impaired colt has made friends and ventured further, but something has still been missing. The colt had no idea of how to play. Where his peers were on their hindlegs sparring joyously in boisterous play-fights with their friends, he would just stand and eat hay. Even the older thoroughbred gelding would dance and strike at him, trying to get him to play, but the colt would just trot out of reach and stand watching. It was the one thing he needed that I couldn't give him; I fed him as best as I could, and gave him the space and company he needed, but without the free exercise of playtime in a group, the colt's legs would never grow up properly, would never recover from the injury he had suffered a few months ago. There was nothing more I could do. It was up to God and the thoroughbred to teach the colt to play.

It was unusual to see the colt even walking briskly, which was why I was so excited to see him trot right up to the thoroughbred. But I was still more astonished by what I saw next. Tossing his gentle head, the colt stuck out his nose and nipped the thoroughbred right alongside the cheek. Snorting, the thoroughbred returned the nip, slightly harder. I held my breath, sure the colt would flee. But he didn't. He squealed, struck out with a foreleg and nipped the thoroughbred's neck. The thoroughbred, delighted, nipped back and the colt reared briefly, clumsily striking out with his forelegs in an attempt at the usual play-fighting gesture.

“Oh, Jesus, Sir!” I nearly sobbed. “He wants to play. Exavior wants to play.”

The play session only lasted for a few more seconds before the thoroughbred wandered off and the colt began to contentedly graze beside him. But it was a start. My broken colt had finally learned to play, and I knew exactly Who was behind this discovery.

It was the most perfect Christmas gift. A little gift, perhaps. But it lit up my world.

I turned into the sunset, smiled and said, “Thank You, Sir.”

Peace on earth, and goodwill to all men.

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What to Do When You Are Rejected - Part Four

Being a Christian, we just come to expect an occasional cold shoulder or the "not-in-favor" comments from others that really don't seek the Lord as the center of their life. 

But...what's not often discussed are the times we encounter Christians who choose to reject us in various ways.  

The worst and most painful scenarios seem to be family or dating/courting divisions. What can be more agonizing than when actual professing Christian family members want nothing to do with you or even take legal action to reject you?  What about a Christian spouse that quits and wants out when you're so dedicated and faithful? Or consider a very godly fiance that had a change of mind (and heart) and called it all off. Perhaps it was the unique "Christian someone" that for months led you, family, friends and others to believe was "in earnest", winning your trust, but then suddenly tried claiming nothing was intended by months of very personal, daily attention.
A holiday season certainly can be dampened by painful thoughts or memories of "what should or could have been," or by just the challenge of overcoming all the emotional backlash from being rejected and someone else's missing the mark.  We don't gloat in other Christians' failings.  Yet, experiencing rejection is often a two-sided sorrow we have to rise above: 1) the sting of their response to us and 2) the failure on their part to impart Christ in their actions.
How do we "handle" this?  What is the Christian response? How do we overcome?

 

Continued from "Twelve Things to Do When You Are Rejected" by Rebekah L. Holt. Please Note: This article series is not written as a "fix all" nor can the authoress claim to have experienced every scenario and be an "authority" on the topic.  However, the article series is written to point out scriptures and Biblical principles that God has given us that can help in time of need. In this fallen world, God doesn't always keep us from painful experiences, BUT, He gives us hope, grace, comfort and a tried and true way of handling the situation. Anytime we follow and obey God, it works.

 

  1. Give it to the Lord. Read Part One
  2. Go to the Bible. Read Part One
  3. Remember Christ was Rejected. Read Part Two 
  4. Know that God is at Work on Your Behalf! Read Part Two
  5. Recall that God is Sovereign. Read Part Two
  6. Realize Your Identity Before God. Read Part Three
  7. Beware of Counterfeits for Coping! Read Part Three

 

8. Resist the Attitudes!  The typical human response to rejection is not Christ-like! Some turn inward and refuse to “give” again. Others grow hostile, sour and resistant.  Some are just indifferent, apathetic and don’t care. Either way is sinful!  Christians are capable of responding sinfully to others’ wrong doings (Mt. 26:41; Gal. 6). God has told us look to Christ the Author and Finisher of our faith Who endured the cross because He knew the joy that would come (He. 12:2).  Only with the Lord’s help and by sincerely surrendering to Him can we overcome the impulses of the flesh (1 Cor. 10:13). Search the scriptures for Christ’s attitude when He was rejected and model Him. The things which you learned and received and heard and saw in me, these do, and the God of peace will be with you (Phil. 4:9).

 

9. Be Humble. Even when we are “done dirty”, as Christians, we have a responsibility to reflect Christ in our response to the circumstance.  Use this time of sorrow (or anger) over being rejected to examine yourself before the Lord. Confess to the Lord if you have sinned in this situation (1 Jn. 1:9).  Ask Him to help you to overcome your weaknesses—He will stand with you and strengthen you (2 Tim. 4:17; Is. 40:29).  Allow the Lord to renew your mind with His thoughts (Ro. 12:2; Ep. 4:23). It takes humility to accept that God will vindicate even when it looks like that person is “getting away with it.”  It takes humility to sort out your wrong doing from the other party’s, especially when you think yours was a smaller act.  Ask God to give the grace and to enable you to be humble (Phil. 4:13).  God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble (James 4:6).

 

10. ForgiveBut if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses (Mt. 6:15).This one can be difficult!  When we are innocent and the rejection comes from someone else’s sinful behavior, it’s a temptation to feel justified in nurturing wrongs. Without forgiveness, we are not following Christ’s example or commandment (Luke 23:34; Mt. 18:21-22). Forgiveness does not mean resignation or indifference.  Forgiveness is a sacrifice, a denying our “right” to holding a grudge or mulling over the wrongs in our minds.  We realize that in God’s sovereignty, He is All powerful to work out His will in this situation. But Jesus looked at them and said to them, “With men this is impossible, but with God all things are possible (Mt. 19:26). When bad thoughts come up about that person—pray for them. Simply just ask that God’s will for that person to come to pass.  Shake the dust from your feet (and your mind) and move on (Luke 9:5)!  But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you (Mt. 5:44). And whenever you stand praying, if you have anything against anyone, forgive him, that your Father in heaven may also forgive you your trespasses (Mark 11:25).

 

 

 

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Posted by on in Quest For Christ
7 Reasons We Can Be Thankful

7 Reasons We Can Be Thankful!

Thankfulness is a true mark of Christianity.  It is an outpouring from the heart of rejoicing in God’s provision.

The born-again Christian has every reason to be thankful.  Here’s just a few explanations why:

  1. Our lives are enriched with purpose. Christ’s own life was given as a ransom to redeem us from sin. And God’s provision didn’t stop there! He gave us Salvation for free. We could never earn or pay the price of such a gift (Eph. 2:8-9). Every day, He is working in our behalf to unfurl His specific, individual plan for each of our lives (Eph. 2:10). God made us to bring Him glory (Is. 43:7)! In Jesus Christ, we each have a reason for living, a hope for tomorrow and a joy for today.
  2. Our lives are enriched with gifts and benefits. God bountifully provides for all our needs (Philippians 4:19).  Jesus is our Great Shepherd, carefully preparing a place for us, tending to our needs (Jn. 10:14).  Every day He is leading us in His pathways whether through valleys or green pastures (Ps. 23). He takes delight in blessing us (Ps. 149:4)! 
  3. We have freedom! Through trusting and obeying the Lord and His Word, as Christians we find God’s righteous lifestyle to be one of true liberation. His ways guard us from evil—freeing us!  Through our willingness to live according to His Word, It positions us to receive blessings of genuine worth.  When living like God wants, we have freedom (Ro. 8:1-11)!
  4. Our lives and souls are made like new! Regardless of present sorrows or past sins and/or tragedies, Christ has overcome them all. He took the burden of our sins and the agony of our sorrows; they were nailed to the cross (1 Cor. 15:3-5; 57). Christ is the Great Physician that heals the broken hearted (Ps. 147:3).  He renews our strength that we might soar as eagles (Is. 40:31)!  He puts a new song in our mouths that we might be like a chosen generation showing forth the praises of Him (Ps. 40; 1 Peter 2:9).  Christ’s blood cleanses us from all our guilty stains (Re. 1:5)!
  5. We may know His truth and live like Christ today. The Lord has provided us the Holy Spirit to instruct our hearts (Jn. 14:26).  When we accept Christ, the Spirit of the Lord renews our thinking in the mindset of Christ so we can value what God values (Eph.4:22-24).  By having God’s view, we have an eternal, heavenly perspective.  Prayer is our privilege to communicate with God Almighty. We can humbly come before the Throne of grace and make our requests known to Him (Ph. 4:6; He. 4:16).
  6. We are not alone. As one of God’s children, we are never alone! We belong to God’s family (Ps. 89:26).  We are a chosen generation, joint heirs together with Christ (Ro. 8:17; 1 Pe. 2:9). 
  7. We have a future and a hope! As Christians, today we have reason to be joyful despite the reality of living in a fallen world.  Still, with our eyes fixed on Jesus, even the sufferings (or just the crumbling!) of this present time are not to be compared with the Glory of what is to come (Ro. 8:18; 2 Cor. 4:17).  Jesus Christ has gone to prepare a place in Our Father’s House—just for us (Jn. 14:2).  We will one day be with Him forever, feasting at His table. What a day that will be.

It takes being with Christ—in our hearts, souls and minds— to get the most out of living life.  We don’t have to wait to be thankful. It doesn't take a special "setting". We can be thankful everyday. Every Christian is guaranteed all the best things in life that have eternal value. When we have God’s perspective, we can say with genuine thanksgiving

“Blessed be the Lord God…
Who only does wondrous things!
And blessed be His glorious name forever!
And let the whole earth be filled with His glory.
Amen and Amen.” Ps. 72:18-19

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What to Do When You Are Rejected - Part Three

It's Holiday Season--a holly, jolly time of year!  But likely someone's out there having to heal up due to experiencing rejection.  

We're Christians. We love God's people.  We expect that those professing Christ will accept us. But sometimes even professed Christians are capable of rejecting and disregarding others by their not allowing God to fully work in their lives.  Leaders in the Church or in Bible based Christian organizations are very capable of brushing off the people God brings to them as did the pharisees to Christ.

Christ came to the very ones that said they were waiting for the Messiah. Because Christ came not in the "package" they wanted, most of these religious leaders rejected Him.

What do we do when we find ourselves rejected even by fellow Christians or strong Biblical leaders?  How do we handle being scoffed at by a Sunday School teacher? How do we keep from sinning ourselves in being the receipients of what Christ experienced?  

What is the Christian response to rejection?

Continued from "Twelve Things to Do When You are Rejected"

Rebekah L. Holt

 

1. Give it to the Lord. Read Part One

2. Go to the Bible. Read Part One

3. Remember Christ was Rejected. Read Part Two

4. Recall that God is Sovereign. Read Part Two

5. Know that God is at Work on Your Behalf! Read Part Two

6. Realize Your Identity Before God. What does God think of you?  A human’s rejection can make us feel very worthless and meaningless.  Even when we know we belong to Christ, humans tend to make us feel horrible about who we are. Know what God says about His people.  When we confess ourselves as Christ’s followers, we are:

 (Read more from the beautiful scriptural outline: “Who I Am in Christ.”)

7. Beware of Counterfeits for Coping! In today’s world even some Christians and Christian leaders have cashed into many hollow “self-oriented” counterfeits to putting “shoe leather” to whole heartedly trusting, obeying and waiting on the Lord.  After bad things happen, many people (professed “Christians” included) look for quick, temporary solutions of comfort.  It is shocking how many seek comfort through eating, drinking (getting drunk), doing drugs, having a self-induced “problem” that can be labeled, drugged and pampered with therapy or medication, getting a new physical “image,” going on a spending spree, committing fornication, choosing to be a homosexual, abandoning a family, getting a divorce, aborting a child, casting off responsibility, etc.  Very popular today, there are “over wrought and stressed” Christians that are turning to the Hindu entrenched Yoga or the practices of Buddhism or some type of Eastern religious method of “redirecting”.  We see many seeking counsel or comfort with self-interest (how can I please myself?) at the core. To sum-it-all-up, they go on a binge of self-gratification or just trying to get out from under the pressure of a tough situation.  Such “man-made-efforts” ultimately lead to sin or actions that are blatantly an abomination to God!  It has been falsely said, If you can’t love yourself, you can’t love others. Christ said that if we want to follow Him, we will deny ourselves and take up our cross to follow Him (Mt. 16:24). He told us that if we love Him, we will do what He says (John 14:15). When we are focused on self, we hurt or neglect others too in the process of pleasing ourselves. Thus, we become as the very people who rejected and hurt us.

The Bible has told us to love God with all our heart, soul and mind (Mark 12:30).  We are warned not to seek after the world’s methods for deliverance (Is. 30:1-2). Jesus has told us that our situations are real and that He will help us!  God is our refuge and strength, A very present help in trouble (Ps. 46:1).By seeking the world’s method of overcoming, we will find ourselves deluded and still in bondage. Seek Christ; He is the Way, the Truth and the Life (Jn. 14:6)! One of His ways of “redirecting” our sorrows or hurts is to give to and serve others. Our needs are going to be met even when we are giving out to someone else’s needs. It may seem or feel like we’re being overlooked, but God is faithful and truly concerned about us. God has our lives in His Hands.  We are not capable of changing most circumstances surrounding someone’s choice to reject us.  However, we are capable of not rejecting God’s methods or His truth that is free to us. And we are capable of not rejecting the people He wants us to serve. If you extend your soul to the hungry and satisfy the afflicted soul, Then your light shall dawn in the darkness, and your darkness shall be as the noonday. The Lord will guide you continually, and satisfy your soul in drought, and strengthen your bones; You shall be like a watered garden, and like a spring of water, whose waters do not fail (Is. 58:10-11).

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What to Do When You Are Rejected - Part Two

This is a continuation of a series of posts from "Twelve Things to Do When You Are Rejected" by Rebekah L. Holt

It's just part of a fallen world to experience rejection from other humans sometime in our lives.

Whether in a work place, in church, in marriage, in family, or friendships--rejection is a painful experience.

What are we to do when we experience rejection?

  1. Give it to the Lord. Read Part One
  2. Go to the Bible. Read Part One

3. Remember Christ was Rejected. When we experience rejection, we have taste of what Christ endured.  We are identifying with Him through our sufferings. His own “earthly” family challenged His leadership (Jn. 7:3-5).  People from His “home town” discounted His Identity and ministry (Mark 3:1-6). Many followers turned away from Him (Jn. 6:60-71). He was mocked by spiritual leaders and others (Mt. 27). Christ was betrayed by a close friend (Mt. 26:14). Christ was forsaken and denied when unjustly condemned (Mark 14:50; Mt. 26:69-74). Several of the people who had witnessed His righteous acts hated Him!  They falsely accused Jesus of lying, being sinful and ultimately condemned Him to death. Today Christ is still mocked, rejected and misrepresented by His own creatures. We must accept that identifying with Christ includes taking up our cross and following Him. It is not “strange” for a Christian to partake in a portion of Christ’s sufferings in a fallen world.  With God’s help, we can “extract” good out of bad (Ro. 8:28) and rejoice in knowing that we are going to see His glory and have His joy! And Jesus called [to Him] the throng with His disciples and said to them, If anyone intends to come after Me, let him deny himself [forget, ignore, disown, and lose sight of himself and his own interests] and take up his cross, and [joining Me as a disciple and siding with My party] follow with Me [continually, cleaving steadfastly to Me] (Mark 8:34). But rejoice to the extent that you partake of Christ’s sufferings, that when His glory is revealed, you may also be glad with exceeding joy (1 Pe. 4:13).

4. Recall that God is Sovereign. God is in control and fully aware of our circumstances (He. 4:13). The circumstances do not take Him by surprise (Mt. 6:8; Acts 15:18; Is. 46:9-10).  What “so and so” did to us, God sees it.  He is concerned about us. He is the God of all comfort (2 Cor. 1:3)! God’s timing is not our timing (Ec. 3:17). Yet, God is just.  No one “gets away” with anything before the Lord (He. 10:30). Remember that though we are finite and can only see the “now”—God is infinite, seeing all, past, present, and future. He is on the job, all the time (Ps. 121; Is. 50:8)

5. Know that God is at Work on Your Behalf! Being rejected, in whatever form, does not have to mar or dismember our life.  It’s truly not our end! God is at work.  I know that whatever God does, it shall be forever. Nothing can be added to it, and nothing taken from it. God does it, that men should fear before Him (Ec. 3:14). Where there is life, there is hope that whatever has happened can be redeemed by the Redeemer (Is. 48:17).  Sometimes God’s redemption is to do a new work, a new thing (Is. 43:19). Nothing is too hard for the Lord (Jer. 32:17). Nothing! And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose(Ro. 8:28).

 

To be continued!

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