Saving Shiloh Part 2 (Going through the motions)

Stage 2 Going through the motions

Stage 2 Going through the motions

In Part 1 of Saving Shiloh I shared how this eight year old brood mare went through three stages as we helped her become a valuable saddle horse. Stage one was Resistance. As I begin Part 2 of Saving Shiloh I am reminded  in James and Peter there is a time and place for resistance.

James 4:7  Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.

1 Peter 5:5-10 “God opposes the proud but shows favor to the humble.” Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.

Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that the family of believers throughout the world is undergoing the same kind of sufferings.

10 And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast. 11 To him be the power for ever and ever. Amen.

Resisting the devil seems to be a real smart idea since as we learned from the scriptures he is out to destroy and is the father of lies.  The way we resist him is to be humble, submit ourselves to God, be alert of sober mind, and stand firm in the faith. For  stage 2 and 3 I will focus our thoughts on this idea of submitting or fully releasing our lives to a God who cares for us and has our best interest in mind.  However before I get to stage 2 I want to share a little about exposing Shiloh to frightening and uncomfortable situations.

During the first few days of Shiloh’s preparation for riding we had to expose her to new things to help her learn to cope and work things out. These things can trouble a horse. But because we loved her and knew these experiences would make her a more reliable riding partner we had to continue until she could handle these things without being troubled. Things like: bridling, saddling, being mounted and for her especially dismounting and yes, even unsaddling. There were lots of other things like: giving to the bit, accepting a rider,  yielding various body parts, obstacles, the appearance and disappearance of other horses, being left alone, neighbors shooting off fireworks, storms etc.

This is similar to the trials and troubles we face in this life. There are times when we bring these troubles on ourselves through poor decisions and choices. However there are also hard things we have to face in this life which we have no control over. God does not cause catastrophe to come upon us but He can and does use these experiences to prepare us for the future, exactly as we were doing for Shiloh.

Some of the things we may need to learn to handle without being overly troubled include: bridling our tongue, not always getting our own way, giving with unselfish motives, forgiving, loving unconditionally, accepting others for who they are (which means NOT trying to change them into what we want them to be), yielding our time and resources to serve others, over-coming obstacles with a positive attitude, loosing loved ones, dealing with difficult people in a gracious and merciful manner, praying for enemies, fears of being hurt or rejected, abuse, storms, health issues, accidents and injuries, the list could go on and on and on.

James 1:2-4 Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.

1 Peter 1: 6-7 In all this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed. 

1 Peter 4:12-13 12 Dear friends, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal that has come on you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. 13 But rejoice inasmuch as you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed.

John 16:33 33 “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.

Jesus warned that “in [this] world, you will have tribulation.” We will face many rejections, roadblocks, and even landmines in our lives. Sometimes God allows us to face these challenges to teach, test, or even redirect us. Learn to view these hardships as opportunities to make yourself stronger. Even though every one of us will face trails and troubles in this life we can stand on the promises of God which tell us He will provide, He will work things out for our good,  He will restore us, and make us strong, firm, and steadfast. 

1 Corinthians 10:13 No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.

Romans 8:28 And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.

As we continued to work with Shiloh she began to let her guard down, letting go of some of the resistance. More and more she was able to handle things without getting so troubled. This is when she started saying, “I’ll do what you want in my body but my heart and mind are not in it all the way yet. 

Stage 2 is Going Through the Motions

During this stage Shiloh was a lot more compliant on the outside, but on the inside she was still holding back. We could tell she was still not quite ready to let go with “full release”. Her body was in the game much of the time, and sometimes we even got her mind. But it was apparent we still did not have her heart. It seemed we would have these great breakthroughs with her and then in a couple of days it seemed to fall apart a little. It wasn’t a full-blown , “I can’t possibly do this”,  like when she was in stage 1 of resistance, but it was as if she was still unsure. So we went really slow with her, I mean really slow, snail pace slow.  We backed up doing things we had already done with success to give her confidence.

We also thought outside the box as much as possible creating situations we thought could help her take the next step. We spent a lot of time loving on her during this stage with massages to help her relax.  There was so much brace in her neck, so we stopped to rub the knots out whenever we saw them developing.  I knew until we got that brace out we would not have her mind and heart. We gave her lots of time to just think. For someone watching it would have been quite boring, because we spent a lot of time just waiting on her to figure it out.

We wanted a “full release” from her so we took the time it takes, putting pressure on when needed but more importantly taking it off when she gave the slightest indication that she was ready to respond in the appropriate manner. It seemed like this stage was going to go on forever.

Aren’t we often like this? We can go through the motions, but what is in our mind and heart is also important.We work pretty hard to get the outside looking good, don’t we? But 1 Samuel 16 says, “God looks on the heart.”

Luke 16:15 He said to them, “You are the ones who justify yourselves in the eyes of others, but God knows your hearts. What people value highly is detestable in God’s sight.

1 Chronicles 28:9 “And you, my son Solomon, acknowledge the God of your father, and serve him with wholehearted devotion and with a willing mind, for the Lord searches every heart and understands every desire and every thought. If you seek him, he will be found by you; but if you forsake him, he will reject you forever.

What you think about all day; that’s the real you. Jesus knows the bitterness behind those nice words; He knows the jealousy behind the smiles, the lust behind your lectures on sin. He knows the pride behind all that Christian service. He knows the thoughts of unfaithfulness that maybe you’re covering up with words of love.

Jesus wants to be the Lord of what you think about, not just what you do. In fact, the wonderful possibility is given to us in  2 Corinthians 10:5 We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.

Romans 12:2 Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.

So, let Christ invade the real you, not just the one everybody can see. You need Him in your mind all day. He already knows what’s going on there. So talk to Him about it, be honest about it, release His power to change your mind. The Bible says that we can “be transformed by the renewing of our mind.” That’s the power of a living Christ inside of you if you will open up all the closets in your mind with all the darkness and monsters in it for Him to change.

The greatest strongholds for the kingship of Jesus Christ are in our mind, and they can be, and they must be, surrendered to His will.

We would be wrong to think this change in the mind happens overnight. But we would be equally wrong to assume change never happens at all. It may come in fits and spurts—an “aha” here, a breakthrough there. But it comes, little by little. Yes, you may have days of set backs, but God is patient with us going as slow as we need, like we were with Shiloh.

2 Peter 3:9 The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.

But we also challenged Shiloh to ensure she kept moving forward. God loves us too much to leave us where we are. Therefore just as we began training  with Shiloh after her adoption, the Lord begins to train us after our adoption, so that eventually we are NOT  just going through the motions any more, but our heart, mind and body are all working together for His glory.

Hebrews 6:1 Therefore let us move beyond the elementary teachings about Christ and be taken forward to maturity,

1 Corinthians 9:24-2624 Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. 25 Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last, but we do it to get a crown that will last forever. 26 Therefore I do not run like someone running aimlessly; I do not fight like a boxer beating the air.

1 Timothy 4:8 For physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come.

2 Timothy 3:16 All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness,

Hebrews 12:11 No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.

Once we decide that we will stop resisting the plan of God and choose to accept and receive his love, forgiveness and adoption we are converts. A convert includes internalization of a new belief system. It implies a new reference point for the convert’s self-identity, and is a matter of belief.

Could it be possible for someone to say with their mouth “I believe” but in their heart they may simply be going through the motions? They might even go to church, and by all outward appearances the physical body is doing the right things at least some of the time. But what exactly is happening on the inside?  Could it be that like Shiloh they haven’t fully given their heart and mind to the Master quite yet?

Mark 7:6 He replied, “Isaiah was right when he prophesied about you hypocrites; as it is written: “‘These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me.

I can’t answer the above questions for you, only you and the Lord know the truth which is in your heart. I am still in the process of yielding all of my heart and mind to the Lord, Jesus Christ. I can say that I am a lot further along than I have ever been. Each day it gets easier to release another piece of me because He is so loving,  faithful, and trust worthy. Remember we spent  a lot of time loving on Shiloh giving her massages, letting her lick and chew on things during this stage. God is gracious and merciful he will give you time to figure it all out.

Well Part 2 is already too long, so I hope you will continue reading  Part 3 of  “Saving Shiloh” and really it is the best part.  Maybe I should make this into a book because  I have so much more to share. At the beginning of this entry I quoted from 1 Peter, I would like to end this Part 2 of “Saving Shiloh” by going back to that promise.

Cast all your anxiety on Him because He cares for you.

1 Peter 5:7

REST in the deep assurance of the unfailing Love of Jesus. Let your body, mind, and spirit relax in His Presence. Release into His care anything that is troubling you, so that you can focus your full attention on Him. Be awed by the vast dimensions of His Love for you: wider, longer, higher, and deeper than anything you know. Rejoice that this marvelous Love is yours forever!

Romans 8:37-39

37 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 38 For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, 39 neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.


Saving Shiloh Part 1(Resistance)

Shiloh and Sandy beginning a new life together.

Shiloh and Sandy beginning a new life together. Stage 1 Resistance

I first want to apologize to the readers of my blog, I have been so busy with training horses, interns, clinics, preaching and teaching,  that I have not taken the time to post anything new for months. I even need to finish one last entry about the Mule Ride Joan and I took to the Grand Canyon last Sept. So I will try to get that done this month (July) because I don’t have any training horses here and only a few clients coming for lessons and trail rides. Now on to the topic, “Saving Shiloh”.

Shiloh is an 8-year-old brood mare which Sandy Reuther saved from going to the killers. She wanted a project after her good and faithful partner Doc had to be put down after many happy trails together. I will also post Sandy’s story about the month she and Shiloh spent with me here in Burwell. Sandy will share the lessons that she learned during her internship here with Shiloh, but for this post I am going to relate how “Saving Shiloh” is similar to the way many of us are saved. I want to share with you how God loves us into releasing full control of our life to Him.

Since Shiloh had been a brood mare for 8 years for the most part she was pretty much in control of her life. She could boss around her colts and I imagine she was one of the top mares in the herd and very possibly the lead mare. She lived in green pastures with not too many cares in this world. Everything seemed to be going her way, or so she thought. I can imagine she even thought life was pretty darn good because she had the freedom to do and be whatever she wanted, whenever she wanted. She didn’t have to answer to anyone, at least not on a regular basis or in an inconvenient way. BUT what she didn’t realize about her world is that she was in the hands of a bankrupt master. If she stayed in this nice green pasture doing her own thing all the time, it would lead to her total destruction.

Aren’t we often like this? Going about our own way, thinking everything is fine, not even realizing if we have not been adopted into the family of God, we are still in the world, where another master roams seeking whom he may devour. The master whom Shiloh belonged to had nothing left to offer her, only death, unless someone with compassion and love chose to adopt her. Remember, Satan the father of lies is bankrupt. He is seeking whom he may devour  and he has nothing to offer us but destruction. Therefore, we are in desperate need of someone who is compassionate and loving who will choose to adopt us into a new family where we can have a definite purpose and become all that we were created to be.

1 Peter 5:8  “Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.”

Mark 4:15 “Some people are like seed along the path, where the word is sown. As soon as they hear it, Satan comes and takes away the word that was sown in them.”

 Rev 2:9   “I know your afflictions and your poverty—yet you are rich! I know about the slander of those who say they are Jews and are not, but are a synagogue of Satan.”

John 8:44 “You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies.”

Luke 8:12 “Those along the path are the ones who hear, and then the devil comes and takes away the word from their hearts, so that they may not believe and be saved.

2 Timothy 2:26    “25 Opponents must be gently instructed, in the hope that God will grant them repentance leading them to knowledge of the truth, 26 and that they will come to their senses and escape from the trap of the devil, who has taken them captive to do his will.”

Billy Graham said, “Don’t think of Satan as a harmless cartoon character with a red suit and pitchfork. He is very clever and powerful and his unchanging purpose is to defeat God’s plans at every turn including His plans for your life.”

Now remember this; Sandy chose Shiloh. Shiloh did not choose Sandy and  she had no intention of leaving her green pastures for a life of training to become a usable riding horse. Shiloh did not even realize that Sandy was taking her out of a very lethal situation. If Shiloh didn’t accept the adoption Sandy was freely offering by getting on Sandy’s trailer, her fate was a  death ride on another trailer.

Aren’t we often like this? God chooses us out of the herd and has a good plan for us whether we realize it or not. He  may take us out of our comfort zone (the nice little green pasture where we think we are in control) because He knows our potential. However, it will take a lot of training so we can reach our potential, where we are usable in His Kingdom. If we don’t accept His offer of adoption we may never know what we are missing and worse yet we may not even realize the trailer we are on is not the one we really want to be on. There is a calling, a destiny for each one of our lives. Shiloh had two destinies, either stay as a brood mare in the hands of a bankrupt owner or adoption which included a training program to become a valuable riding partner. God calls each one of us to become valuable partners in His purposes to love and save the world.

Jeremiah 29: 11-13  11 “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. 12 Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. 13 You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.”

 Proverbs 14:12“There is a way that appears to be right,but in the end it leads to death.

John 3: 16-17 16″For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.” 

 God has plans for each one of us and He chose us before we even knew it. He sooooooooooooooooo loved the whole world, that means everyone. Little by little He will draw us into his presence and start developing us just like Sandy and I did as we worked with Shiloh. It didn’t happen over night, and I tell you she didn’t give up without a fight. But it is only because she didn’t know how sweet “Full Release” can be.

When we first started with Shiloh we didn’t expect her to be more than she was (an untrained brood mare who didn’t want to be a part of our program), and she made that quite clear. It would take some time for her to step into a “full release” about the idea of becoming a valuable riding partner.  God does not expect us to be perfect or do more than we are capable of, because just like a master horse trainer He is patient and caring.  He knows under his expert guidance one day we will be capable of all He asks. Sandy and I know one day Shiloh will be capable of all we ask of her. She isn’t there yet, but after thirty very intense days, she is a lot closer than she was when Sandy adopted her.

As we worked through the first month with Shiloh we discovered three very distinct stages in her development. In these stages I can see so clear the analogy of a person learning to yield their all to Jesus as their Lord and King.

Stage 1 Resistance

In the beginning Shiloh spelled it out without a doubt, she did NOT want to be a part of our plans to develop her into a usable riding partner. I am sure she was wishing she was back in her pretty little green brood mare pasture having babies, bossing the other mares around, eating and doing as she pleased uninterrupted by anyone giving her direction or correction. She did everything she could think of to resist our attempts to bond with her, show her we cared, and especially was opposed to being asked to do anything she did NOT want to. She attempted fight or flight by trying to run over us, blow through the shoulder, push through a fence, you name it she threw it at us. Neither her heart, mind or body were willing to adapt to this alternative lifestyle.In the beginning we had to use compassion yet assertive leadership in order to help her develop both a respect and trust in us. The bond and relationship that we were trying to develop with her was fragile. One minute she just as soon harm us as comply with anything and the next she thought we were threatening to harm her. It was delicate balancing act to get her trust without loosing respect and then to get her respect without loosing her trust.Aren’t we often like this? Even though God has already chosen us out of the herd  because he loves us and He has good plans for us we do NOT want to be a part of his plan because we don’t see his plan. Shiloh had no idea why we were asking her to do the things we were asking her to do. I am sure at first none of it made any sense at all to her. I am sure she did not understand that we were on her side. We were not only giving her a new purpose in life and developing her value,  but we were saving her life and we were not going to give up until she understood.

Philippians 2:13 for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose.

2 Peter 1:3 His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness

Romans 2:4 Or do you show contempt for the riches of his kindness, forbearance and patience, not realizing that God’s kindness is intended to lead you to repentance?

A good horse trainer wants the horse to know he is on the horse’s side and will help him survive and even thrive in becoming a valuable riding partner. God wants us to know that too. Sometimes Shiloh was too set in her ways and full of reasons why she was certain she couldn’t do this which caused her to be blinded to the fact she could and that this plan was actually good for her life. At this point there was no way she could help herself, she had to rely on us for her new life. We too must learn we can’t make it in this world without God’s help. If we are willing, God will teach us His ways which are better for us than we ever dreamed possible.

One of the most important lessons I have learned is we don’t have to fix ourselves. All we have to do is release full control to the Master, receive his love, forgiveness, direction and gentle correction. Shiloh could not fix herself. She would not wake up one day as a perfect riding partner. The only thing she had to be willing to do was quit resisting and start receiving.

Mark 10:15 Truly I tell you, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.”

Luke 11:10 For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.

John 1:12 Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God

 1 Corinthians 6:19 Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own;

 Galatians 4:4-5 But when the set time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those under the law, that we might receive adoption to sonship.

Well I did not intend for this post to be this long and I haven’t even gotten to Stage 2 and 3 yet. So I am going to add a Saving Shiloh Part 2 and Part 3″ where I will finish the rest. I hope that you will read them because the best part is still to come.

In the mean time, I hope that you will consider the things I have shared which I learned from Shiloh. I know that I can see myself in her story. Maybe you can see yourself too? If you are still resisting God and His offer to adopt you into His family I hope as you read the rest of Shiloh’s story you will soften your heart to the prompting of the Holy Spirit, because God really is on your side and only wants what is best for you. He has a very good plan for you. He loves you and wants to save you like Sandy saved Shiloh even when Shiloh didn’t realize she needed to be saved.

God’s blessing to all who read this.
Until next time,

Ephesians 2:1-15

Made Alive in Christ

As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our flesh and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature deserving of wrath. But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved. And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus. For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God not by works, so that no one can boast. 10 For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.