Back in the Saddle – A Devotion

Back in the Saddle

Psalm 32:8-11 (NLT)

The Lord says, “I will guide you along the best pathway for your life. I will advise you and watch over you. Do not be like a senseless horse or mule that needs a bit and bridle to keep it under control.” Many sorrows come to the wicked, but unfailing love surrounds those who trust the Lord. So rejoice in the Lord and be glad, all you who obey him! Shout for joy, all you whose hearts are pure!

 

Having always loved horses, I jumped at the chance to go riding with a friend. I was in middle school or junior high as it was called way back then. Her family owned a stable that boarded horses and on the weekend they would care for and exercise the animals for their owners. My friend was an excellent rider having experience since she was a very young child. She was completely comfortable despite the great size and power compared to her small frame. There was a well-worn trail that she would ride along with each horse. Leaving the stable it was narrow and tight, but then the pathway opened into a large white sandy area circling back around to head for home. Even the horses knew the way, so it was usually an uneventful course. As we rode along talking and laughing one day, the horse that I was riding got spooked and began to buck. Now if you have never experienced such an event it is very scary. Hanging on for dear life, there was no calming or controlling the animal in that moment. Whatever scared him did a fine job, I was going down. The key was to fall and not get trampled to death. When I hit the ground thankfully is was in the area with all the sand and the horse ran off. I fell hard but was unharmed without a hoof touching me despite his flailing and jumping around. My hands were shaking uncontrollably. As my friend retrieved the frightened animal and tried to determine what had happened, she came back to check on me. I was fine in my body without broken bones or any dislocated joints, but my spirit was broken. There was no way that I was getting back on that horse because I never wanted to experience being bucked off again. Although in our early teens, this young lady would impart wisdom to me that has stuck with me through life. She said, “You don’t have to get back in this saddle or on the horse again right now. But if you don’t, you will never ride a horse again.”

Fear is a powerful force to be reckoned with in our life. I got back up on the horse that day and uneventfully walked him home. I was absolutely terrified in that moment. But the freedom that I felt when we got back to the barn and got off the horse was worth it all. I had conquered my fear that day. I have overcome anxiety that told me I was not in control. The Lord has promised to guide me down the best pathway for my life. I have chosen to take Him up on that offer. But the deeper I go into the things of God the more that I have come to know and understand that I have no control in this situation. I must trust the Lord to have all that He has promised. Even when that trust requires overcoming fear and anxiety about what is coming next, I must choose to get back in the saddle of life again. This passage in Psalm 32 brought back memories of that day. My friend and I were not really churched at the time so she was not necessarily speaking Biblical truth to me in that moment but I believe it was God’s Spirit setting me up for life.

2 Corinthians 4:14-18 (NLT)

We know that God, who raised the Lord Jesus will also raise us with Jesus and present us to himself together with you. All of this is for your benefit. And as God’s grace reaches more and more people, there will be great thanksgiving, and God will receive more and more glory. That is why we never give up. Though our bodies are dying, our spirits are being renewed every day. For our present troubles are small and won’t last very long. Yet they produce for us a glory that vastly outweighs them and will last forever! So we don’t look at the troubles we can see now; rather, we fix our gaze on things that cannot be seen. For the things we see now will soon be gone, but the things we cannot see will last forever.

I don’t know what today will hold. I don’t know what news that the “rider” will bring. I don’t know a lot of things, but I do know God. I know the Lord and more importantly want Him to know me. God’s Power raised Jesus Christ from the dead so that the benefits and blessings of being a Child of God are available to me. I must only believe. To believe – it sounds so small and sweet but it is the most powerful driving force in our life. What we believe is the very thing that molds and shapes our thoughts, attitudes and actions. If we allow the falls in life to keep us from trying again, then we will never get away from fear, doubt and anxiety. It will become a prison. It will be our dream killer. It will be a faith stealer in our life. So we have to get back up when we get knocked down. We have to keep going when we want to give up. We must not allow our feelings in that moment of disappointment dissuade us from following Jesus Christ, but so often we do. The hardships in life hurt. The struggle is real. I could give you a list of things that I do not understand despite years of experience and hopefully a bit of maturity in the mix. “Our present troubles are small and won’t last long” but they feel like they are going to last forever and are very, very big. God is working to produce His Glory in our life. I believe this even though to the naked eye this is not how it seems or what the enemy wants me to think. Grace is all about keeping us until His Glory reaches us. So when I fall down, I have been given the profound privilege and overwhelming opportunity to get back up, dust myself off and try again because Jesus died so I could possess such an opportunity over and over again. If I can only get past the temporary and stop calling it terminal to feel the freedom of overcoming my doubt, fear and anxiety to keep moving even when I don’t think that I can. I know that God is my God and He brings dead things back to life.

Isaiah 57:10 (NLT)

You grew weary in your search, but you never gave up. Desire gave you renewed strength and you did not grow weary.

You know the “chick flick” movies where the man and woman break up and one of them decide to move away. They pack up their house and head to the airport while suddenly the other one has an epiphany that they cannot live without the other so the pursuit begins. Watching the movie our heart races. We want them to find each other again. Fall in love and live happily ever after. The writer has included many twists, turns and near misses between the two adding great intensity to the pursuit. This verse makes me think of this for some reason. God’s Unfailing Love is always pursing us. He is ready to pour His Grace, Glory and Goodness in our life just because of that Great Love. There is nothing that we can do to earn it so losing it is really not an option. We grow weary in our search sometimes but that doesn’t mean that we have to give up. Desire gives us renewed strength so that we push weariness aside to have that which we are after. I want certain things in this life. I have found out by living my life that there are times when things do not turn out like I planned. Other times when I am thrown for a loop and find I have fallen down. I am down but not out. It is that moment of brokenness that we decide what the true desire of our heart really is. If it is Jesus, we have to get back up and keep pushing and pursuing because our desire will not let us remain. The past few weeks have made me weary in my search…I cannot and will not give up. My desire for Jesus Christ and the things that He has promised me is renewing my strength. I have decided to get back in the saddle of expectation again hoping to make it to the Promise that I seek. I had to fight fear to get here. I had to wrestle with anxiety. I had to overcome doubt. But the moment that I decided not to give up on His Goodness for my life, I am free again. Free from those things holding me down to soar above the current circumstances and wait on the Lord.

Ephesians 4:21-24 (NLT)

Since you have heard about Jesus and have learned the truth that comes from him, throw off your old sinful nature and your former way of life, which is corrupted by lust and deception. Instead, let the Spirit renew your thoughts and attitudes. Put on your new nature, created to be like God—truly righteous and holy.

Please don’t think that I am crazy but from time to time I have conversations with two voices in my head. The first is my flesh that is always crying and complaining when trouble comes. It doesn’t like change or to be uncomfortable. It is usually the one who is yelling the loudest and longs to quit. Then there is the Spirit who reminds me of how much God loves me and that He really is doing something with my life. This voice is quiet, calm and confident. It speaks softly. I decide the voice that I listen to and the opinion that I will make a fact in my life. Some of you just thought, “She’s crazy” and will probably quickly unfollow this blog. But then there are those of you who know God and know that what I am saying is true because you struggle too. Since you have heard about Jesus and learned the truth…this message in Ephesians applies to the believer. It is not for everyone. Only those people who have decided that they want to silence the flesh and live by the Spirit will have such struggles. But those who decide to live by the Spirit will allow the Voice of God to renew their thoughts and attitudes which form the actions in our life. These will be the people who successfully put off their old nature and assume the new nature gifted to us by God. We will be like God in our confidence that His Word, Will and Way are the best things for our life.

Psalm 119:37-40 (NLT)

Turn my eyes from worthless things and give me life through your word. Reassure me of your promise made to those who fear you. Help me abandon my shameful ways; for your regulations are good. I long to obey your commandments! Renew my life with your goodness.

Turn my eyes from worthless things. I could repeat this a thousand times a day and still need to repeat it tomorrow. This world appeals to us because we can see it, feel it, and touch it. God gives us life in His Word. Faith comings by hearing. God’s Word gives us promises. We must have faith that God is trustworthy. Tough call when this world instantly gratifies our senses, but worthwhile if we want more than this world has to offer. God’s Word assures us that what He promised is true. It is Jesus. Remember, Jesus was the Word of God wrapped in flesh so we would get the message that God loves us. God’s Goodness is in His Word. His Word fortifies the Spirit inside of us and gives us a two-against-one majority over our flesh. The Spirit and God’s Word always agree and work together for our empowerment and good in all things. Do you need a boost today? Trying to get back up? Deciding whether or not you want to get back up or not? Read the Word of God. Find your promise. Pray. Pray in the Spirit connecting one-on-one with the Father and His Son. Such an effort will cut the fear that is holding you back, overcome the doubt that is weighing you down, and release you from the bondage keeping you from God’s Best!

Psalm 23:1-3 (NLT)
The
 Lord is my shepherd; I have all that I need. He lets me rest in green meadows; he leads me beside peaceful streams. He renews my strength. He guides me along right paths, bringing honor to his name.

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