February 3, 2015

The Bit of Obedience

When we put bits into the mouths of horses to make them obey us, we can turn the whole animal. 
:: James 3:3 ::

It was a crisp day in 1995 as we drove down a long lane that led up to the barn where my dad boarded our chestnut, thoroughbred horse. I remember the butterflies in my stomach  as we drove up the tree blossom lined lane. It was the day of my first horseback riding lesson. 

I had been around and ridden horses from a young age, but today was the first day I was committing to actually learning how to ride a horse. My dad grew up around horses and livestock at my grandparents ranch. He was even a real life cowboy when he was younger (a bull rider to be exact). Now he was hoping to pass that love and passion for horses down to me.

When we got to the barn and pulled the horse out of the stall I remember just standing back because now was the part the adults were responsible for - saddling and bridling the horse. As I stood back and watched, my riding teacher called me over and told me that if I was going to learn how to ride, I first had to learn how to saddle and bridle my horse. 

She modeled saddling the horse for me then she showed me the bridle. She pointed out all the straps and what they were used for and then she showed me the bit. The bit of the bridle is put in the horses mouth to allow you to control them and direct them. To put the bit in the horse's mouth you lay it flat in your hand and offer it to the horse to take it in its own mouth.

As I read James 3:3 I began thinking back to the this lesson. I was reminded of purpose of the bridle and how the bit is offered to the horse. The funny thing about the bit that allows a small 8 year old girl to control a massive horse is that it is the horses choice to open up its mouth and take the bit.

Much like the bit and the horse, God has given us the Bible, the Word of God, to obey and direct our lives yet it is up to us as to whether we take it. Having a bit hanging in the tack room does no good to help steer the horse, just as a Bible on the coffee table does no good to help lead your life. It is the accepting of the bridal and the bit, the acceptance and obedience of Gods Words that will guide us and correct us. 

Have you accepted the bit of obedience?
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January 23, 2015

Do You Know?

A few weeks ago I was at a three year old's birthday party. Princess themed of corse! The walls , the cake, the balloons, it was all Rapunzel.  The birthday girl, my little Sweet Pea {:my best friend's little girl:}, was dressed in a princess dress for her big party. 

I came over early and stayed late after the party to help out and spend extra time with the girls while I was home. 

As my bestie was putting a pair of leggings on the birthday girl she asked her "Baliee, do you know how beautiful you are?" Baliee nodded yes. "Baliee, do you know that you have a lot of people that love you?" She nodded again. 

I have relived this moment in my head several times since that day and each time the above verse came to my mind: 

For I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are you works, my soul knows it very well.

For Baliee, her soul truly does know that "very well." She does believe she is  fearfully and wonderfully made. She believes fully in her beauty.  Thoughts to the contrary do not even crowd into her sweet, innocent three year old mind.

So when is it that our soul no longer knows this truth "very well?" 

As I was searching Pinterest for Psalm 139:14 images, this is the only image from many that added the part "my soul knows it very well." Could this be because we are totally okay with the fearfully and wonderfully made part, but struggle with the part that makes us look within ourselves to answer the question "does my soul know this very well?" Am I simply okay with God saying this about me or can I say this about me as well?

Our world is unfortunately polluted with images and ideas that have made us all question just how fearfully and wonderfully we are made. 

The highlight reel of your thoughts might go something like this: Am I really that wonderful? If I was that wonderful wouldn't I be married by now? If I was really that wonderful, I wouldn't be searching high and low for a job and coming up empty handed. If I was really that wonderful, my credit card statements would shoe a big fat zero instead of the 5 digit number it continually shows. If I was really that wonderful, I would still be able to fit into my old jeans.

In Genesis Adam and Even are in the Garden of Eden after they have eaten the forbidden fruit. After eating the fruit, they suddenly realize they are naked and try to cover themselves. 

In Genesis 3:11 God says this:

"Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree that I commanded you not to eat from?"

I think God is asking us the very same question he asked Adam and Eve. 

Who told you that?

Who told you that you were not fearfully and wonderfully made? Who told you that you are not good enough? Who told you that you are not pretty enough? Who told you, you are not capable enough? Who told you, you aren't worthy enough?

Who told you?

I believe our souls don't fully know how fearfully and wonderfully we are made because we have chosen to fill ourselves with the things we were never meant to fill ourselves with. 

Adam and Eve filled themselves with the forbidden fruit, but we fill ourselves with the opinions and views of this world and others when He has asked us to come to him and and fill ourselves with HIM!

We don't fully understand our identity, because we have chosen to seek our identity in every corner of this world except for the one sole place it is found - In Him.

Open your heart before Him and ask him to search it. If your soul does not fully understand the beauty and breadth you were created with I urge you to ask him to reveal this truth to you. My prayer is that our souls would know our worth "very well" so that one day for our daughters it won't even be a question.
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