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Shepherds Hill Homestead » Messages » Running with Horses

Running with Horses

          Welcome to this week’s message from Shepherd’s Hill Homechurch. We are glad that you stopped by again. There is an interesting verse in Jeremiah that I am looking at this week. Look at Jeremiah chapter twelve and verse five. It says “If thou hast run with the footmen, and they have wearied thee, then how canst thou contend with horses? and if in the land of peace, wherein thou trustedst, they wearied thee, then how wilt thou do in the swelling of Jordan?”

A few mornings back I was thinking about a man who fell into alcoholism when everything around him was going his way. He had a good job, beautiful family and good home. Soon afterward things began to fall apart in his life and he began to drink more. This only caused the destruction to take place faster. At this point the man probably blames his drinking on the sadness in his life. But I know the truth-the drinking began first. The Spirit pointed me to this verse as I was praying about him. I like the way God writes intriguing things and brings them to life in our situations. It always makes me appreciate the living Word of God. There are many passages like this one that may not make sense at first. Let me say that this is all part of God’s plan. He isn’t going to spoon feed us but wants us to spend time with Him and meditate on His Word.

This verse speaks to me of spiritual stamina. This is something that is lacking in the church today. It seems that no one wants to stay the course anymore. Jeremiah wrote that if you get tired when you run with men, how will you ever run with horses. Think about what he is saying here. Sometimes we feel that we have done our best in something. We stretch ourselves a little and feel like we have sacrificed everything. In our minds we are extremely spiritual and doing better than most of the world and so we ease off of the throttle to coast a little.

If we have learned the books of the Bible in order and memorized one hundred verses we think we are set for life. After all, aren’t we in the ninety-ninth percentile when it comes to the rest of the world and most of the church, too? While it is good to have memorized verses we often set our standards too low. No one seems to want to go very far anymore. If we played on a sports team and won and lost equal amounts for a season we’d be a pretty poor team. However, if we won all but two games we’d feel like we were champions. But, if we had it in us to do a little more and win every game, we are losers for not giving it our all.

It sounds noble and good to run with footmen. After all, footmen were the foot soldiers of their day. Soldiers of our time have to go through rigorous boot-camp training and pass a physical test. To stay in the military they must yearly pass a physical test. It shows that they are ready for battle, even if there is no war. What a great concept! We are supposed to be ready for battle even though we are not going through one right now.

Thinking along those lines, we need to get ourselves spiritually in shape as foot soldiers. Jeremiah was pointing out that we got tired when we ran with them. How is your spiritual health today? Are you ready for battle? If tonight you got that call on the phone would you be ready? You know the call I am speaking of. It could be a sudden tragedy that strikes and you could be unprepared. Would it shake your faith? We should be so grounded in Jesus and God’s Word that nothing will ever move us.

I must admit that I have been blindsided several times in my life by those calls. Just over a year ago we got one of them. Our little grandson, Elijah, was taken home suddenly by the Lord. There was no physical reason for him to go. His health was perfect. Doctors called it SIDS. We struggled for answers but found none. Our faith in God has kept us, though.  On another occasion I was blindsided after a meeting for my company inBirmingham. I cried all the way home because I was not ready for what had taken place and I was ashamed. I asked God to forgive me and prayed for hours to prepare for the next days meeting where I knew I had to make a stand for Christ. We get in such a lax state because we feel like we are prosperous and all our needs are met. We keep reminding ourselves that because we are His children He will do everything for us and we have to do nothing. Wrong!

This spring we filled some new raised beds in the garden. There was good rich dirt below the barn that I brought up to get ready to grow vegetables in. As I hauled the dirt with the tractor I thought about the “que sara sara” attitude that some people have. I remembered how people told Angie and me that we could not do anything to change our children into something that they were not already destined to be. It reminded me of a story where a farmer bought a new piece of land that was badly grown up. He worked it for a few years and it began to produce. A man came by and commented on how much better the garden was doing from a few years back when it was overgrown. Then he said, “God sure produced a nice garden, didn’t He?” The farmer said, “Yeah, you should have seen it when He had it all by Himself!”

While God will get all the glory, we do have to input something in life. That soil that we smoothed into our raised beds was rich and soft. It began as weed free. We planted it with vegetables and watered them all. As always, we prayed and asked the Lord to bless our efforts. Only through Him did the seed germinate and grow. In a few weeks, our vegetables came up. But also, weeds started to grow. It was a continual process of water and weeding. It was a team effort with God, with the glory going to Him. But we never forgot that God expected us to do our part.

Concerning our children, we must mold them into Godly people. You could try and make an army by just asking men to commit themselves to be soldiers and do their best. But there is no way that you would ever defeat an army that had trained. Maybe that is where we fail. Our enemy has had thousands of years to train up on human nature. He can read you like a book. Never underestimate his power. While it is limited, he is a powerful adversary. So we must train.

The second part of that verse gives another example of the same message. If you are wearing down in a land where there are no problems, what will you do when a flood comes? Recently, we’ve experienced floods in this country. We’ve seen pictures of cities where the rivers left their banks and came through them. The people all scrambled. They probably started looking to see if they had flood insurance when it happened. That is not the time to get ready, is it? God’s message is clear. We should be ready for problems even though there are none at the present.

          I have experienced many times when my faith was shaken. The enemy came in a surprise attack. God was merciful but always warned me that I was not ready. I have used the experiences to help get ready for the unexpected. You may be asking how to get ready for such events. First, you must constantly and consistently walk close to God. Make sure that your hand is always in His. The First step is to get near the Master in discipleship. Just as the twelve lived with Jesus and stayed under His teaching, you need to be with Him. Read His Word, the Holy Bible.

          The second thing that you should do is to pray. Prayer is the communication that you have with Him. You talk to Him and He will talk with you. Pray without ceasing. You might think it is not possible, but it is. That is why Angie and the girls wear their head-coverings all the time and not just at church. First Corinthians chapter eleven says that women should cover when praying or prophesying. My family prays constantly! I am not trying to brag. We actually did consider having them wear them during church services. But we realized that if we went through the store and talked with someone who was sick it would be ridiculous to ask them to wait until a covering could be found. Which brings me to the next step.

          You need to make sure that you are practicing the principles God gives us. Many people ask us how we have kept our family walking with God. I always tell them about our standards and they always argue that God doesn’t require us to dress differently, separate from worldly things, stay away from worldly entertainment, etc. I am still puzzled at why people ask me about the difference and then want to tell me that none of it is required. If you are to be strong in the spiritual man you must discipline yourself. The first thing a soldier goes through in basic training is a separation from those things that will hinder him in battle. He must put his platoon or squad ahead of everything. The orders that he receives are not questioned as to their validity or shirked if it makes him uncomfortable. If he has a wife and children, they must come second if the captain calls. Even good things have to take a lower priority than the Master. I think you get the picture. Soldiers are different. You should be different, too.

I want to finish with one more thought. The word “contend” is there and it makes me think about something else. God is saying that we should expect to contend with horses, or perhaps even chariots. I think He is showing us that the heavy artillery is around the corner and we need to be ready.

Are you ready for the basic training today? Has there ever been a real discipleship in your life? Have you separated yourself from things or people that hinder the walk of God? Friends, we need to step up the training in our lives. The enemy is still lurking and waiting on you to get to a vulnerable position. Perhaps you had some good spiritual training many years ago. It may be that you have done exploits for God in days gone by. We cannot rest on our laurels and feel as if we have done our job. We are not home yet! Are you ready for the call today? He is looking for a people who will be His and His alone.

Prayer-Father-we look to You today as Supreme Commander in the war against spiritual darkness. If we have been lazy in our training, I pray that You will help us prepare. Help us to study to show ourselves approved, workmen that need not be ashamed. Help us to rightly divide the Word of Truth. Help us to see that we must take an active part in our own growth. Show us how to do it and then give us a hunger for it.

In Jesus’ Name-Amen

paul

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Philippians 3:13-14 Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before,I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.

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