Book a trail ride between February 11-16 and your guest rides for half price!
All! We are excited to announce a change in our Barn Chicks set-up!
Starting May 30th, Barn Chicks will run from 9 to 11 AM in order to truly give time to our participants and volunteers to fulfill the mission of Barn Chicks, which is three-fold:
· Growing in Jesus
· Building godly relationships
· Developing horsemanship
Our planned dates for Barn Chicks will be as follows for the next few months:
We realize that this new time-frame for Barn Chicks will cut into the current Saddle Club time, but we will be purposefully re-crafting our Saddle Club as well in the near-future. We will keep you all posted on those developments.
He told them, “The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field. Luke 10:2
Spring is here. The cool misty morning air is pierced with the crisp, clear songs of the birds. The horses are frisky from their improved diet of green grass after a winter of hay. The chickens are all laying and bunnies multiplying. Flowers are blooming in full color and trees budding everywhere. The new life all around is bursting God’s message of Hope. The farm is an enchanting place to be in the spring.
But there is also an undercurrent of spiritual warfare ever seeking to cut life short and snuff out joy and peace. As death slowly seeks to stake its claim on loved ones and the workload increases with only months of steady incline ahead, what should be anticipated excitement, can easily become infected with fear and turn into dread.
But, our sweet, sweet, Savior reminds me over and over that I am not asked to carry the burden alone. He only asks that I walk the journey with Him. Never letting what my eyes see and what others believe to dissuade me from the beautiful truth that He whispers in my heart. We will bring forth life together if I but stay the course with Him. I will see miracles and healing and wholeness come from impossible situations. Where the flower dies the seed will be planted. Nothing is wasted when it is done in love, with Him.
The life of the laborer with a plentiful harvest is blessed, but he can lose sight of that under the weight of carrying in the blessed harvest. At least I know I can lose sight of it at times. I even tend to put the extra burden on my fellow workers. It is here that I begin to overwhelm them in my own anxieties. But, then my kind Lord, invites me to rest. To spend a sweet hour with my back against the cool earth and the sun on my face watching the clouds and laughing in joy at the glory of it all. Then back again He takes my hand and pulls me up to carry on beside Him.
To Him, I can look when I am in need of rest, relief, and additional willing hands. He will provide, if I but ask. To my fellow laborers, allow yourself to rest In Him, for a time and remember the glory of the journey. Then let Him pull you and walk on with Him in Joy.
We humans like to fit sin into a box –a box that makes sense to us, a box that fits our agendas, our feelings, or our own sense of right and wrong. It’s hard for us to comprehend what exactly God’s holiness entails and how it should impact our view of ourselves…and of sin and salvation.
Recently, I began attending a women’s Bible study group with the sole purpose of diving more into the Word of God, challenging my “Bible knowledge,” and developing relationships with more mature women. Little did I know that my menial motivations would be surpassed by the Lord’s grand desire to transform me and provide for me exactly the truth I needed for this time in my life. While His way in this is nothi ng out of the ordinary for Him and is only a small sample of His plan and work, I stand amazed that it offers a picture of how He teaches and prepares us for just what we need in His most perfect, beautiful timing.
The focus of our Bible study this semester was the book of Galatians. Before we began, I knew it was one of Paul’s letters and I could reference a few notes I had previously made in the margins of my Bible there. But the depth of its truths and its meaningful applications to my life boggled my mind –and I know we have yet only scratched the surface.
I am sure we each discovered direct significance very specific to our lives.
What I found was freedom.
Overall a people-pleaser and rule-follower while growing up, I have many times made decisions on what people in my life would think of me. My view of myself and even of others was determined by what I or others determined acceptable. Of course, we are to embrace and consider wisdom and advice that is shared with us, though often too freely. But our utmost desire should be to seek the wisdom of the Lord, yearn for a closer walk with Him, and make Him known to others more and more, finding peace, confidence, and security in the knowledge that He has already made us approved and worthy before God in Jesus’ name. Nothing else should matter. Anything else is only temporary with no lasting significance. Anything else only belongs to this world. Anything else leads to slavery and a continual cycle of sin.
As a believer in Jesus Christ, I am not called to any form of bondage. Galatians makes this concept very clear and defined. “For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery” (Gal. 5:1). I think most of us would agree that sin places us into slavery and that once saved, we should run from the things that enslave us. Why would we mock Christ and His sacrifice on the cross by only returning to bonds? But what I had to realize is that there are many forms of possible slavery for the Christian. In my achievement-driven mind, the only form of slavery a Christian could be vulnerable to fall to is what I considered the “real sins,” like some of those mentioned in Galatians 5:19-21: sexual immorality, sorcery, jealousy, to name a few. These were obvious. These were at times pointed out by society and definitely always by churches.
But I was in bondage to another slavery Paul also mentions in Galatians 5. In fact, it is the first that he mentions in this chapter: having a spirit of legalism. The entire book of Galatians revolves around this specific church’s struggle with the false teachers who were pushing for the following of certain rules in order to prove, justify, or gratify salvation. One’s identity was in standards, laws, and fitting in with a certain status quo determined by tradition. The Galatians’ specific struggle was with circumcision. Of course, in our culture, this topic is no longer an issue! However, there are many others today, and I am sure you have already begun to fill in the blank very quickly. These are the ones that divide us, that sever our churches, that tear apart families, that push away unbelievers, and most importantly that rob us from the true Gospel and a flourishing relationship with Christ.
What I have begun to learn is that it is just as sinful to adopt any form of legalism as it is to remain in those sins we typically think of. The spirit of legalism is not just choosing to adopt rules because one believes it will make them a better Christian, though we are so guilty of this; it also involves imposing personal standards on other people, judging them if they do not, afraid to analyze the issue Biblically and in prayer. The spirit of legalism enslaves because it imposes unimportant limitations in decision-making and in the leading of the Holy Spirit, and blinds us to recognizing some gray areas. “For in Jesus Christ neither circumcision nor uncircumcision counts for anything, but only faith working through love” (Gal. 5:6).
Am I telling you to rid your life of all convictions and standards? No! Of course not! “Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh” (Gal. 5:13). We are to run from sin! I have come to believe, however, that we should be careful on how we set our standards: rather than through fear of popular word or sets of tradition, we should carefully determine them by the leading of the Spirit and the reading of His unfailing Word: “But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh” (Gal. 5:16). Through His earthly ministry, Jesus respected tradition but did not live limited by it. The same went for those who followed Him. In fact, there are countless examples throughout the Gospels! When we set our standards, we should seek our hearts for our motives: are we simply following tradition or hoping to make ourselves feel or look better or accepted…or out of Spirit-filled love?
We have already been accepted by GOD if we have believed in Jesus Christ and begun a relationship with Him. When God looks at us, He sees Christ –no blame, shame, or any tint of sin: just holiness. Once we are saved, we should desire more and more to experience the transformation of the Holy Spirit; but there is absolutely nothing we can do to make God love or accept us more or less. It is done. It is finished. The struggle is gone. And so should our slavery, in whatever shape or form it can still entrap us while still in this world. “But now that you have come to know God, or rather to be known by God, how can you turn back again to the weak and worthless elementary principles of the world, whose slaves you want to be once more?” (Gal. 4:9)
So be free. Allow yourself to be free. Jesus has already made you so.
Precious Jana is one of many who have had the opportunity to do our horse therapy program. The way the Lord moved in her life during that week has inspired us and given us such re-affirmation of the truth that our mighty Father is working in and through our ministry. Jana was born with Cerebral Palsy. Her life has been quite a journey as she has learned to communicate through sign language, has had two surgeries on her legs to enable her to hopefully one day walk on her own, and has been in and out of the hospital fighting seizures and many other medical battles. Carolyn, Jana’s mother, has been one of Jana’s biggest cheerleaders as Jana has learned and grown every day. Jana is incredibly brave. Her mind is brilliant and defeat is never an option for her. When Carolyn heard about our horse therapy program, she knew it would be just right for her daughter. She said that this “outside the box” kind of therapy has worked best with Jana. Carolyn went on to explain to me what just a single day of riding did for Jana and how empowering it was for her. Here is her story of triumph!
After the first day of the horse therapy program, Jana went home with a confidence like never before. Carolyn described that she not only saw that Jana’s time at the barn was helping her physically, but even more so emotionally and spiritually. Jana’s heart, body, mind, and soul were captivated by the presence of God. His love penetrated every part of her being. Jana didn’t have to say a word, her family noticed a lift in their beloved’s Spirit. Her confidence was contagious! Joy swelled in her heart leaving a trace of change wherever she was. That night, Jana was with her helper, Cassidy, and they were practicing getting Jana on her feet. It’s something they do often as a part of her therapeutic process. While on the edge of the bed, Jana will bounce to get to her feet, and then practices taking steps with Cassidy’s help. But, on this night, the Lord’s victory and great work in this strong-willed Spirit was ever-so evident. Jana took her first step alone! (the video can be seen if you add Jana’s mother on Facebook 🙂 ).
You must understand the amount of time, effort, moments of discouragement, and moments of great success that have gone into this two year process since Jana’s first surgery. Everyday has not been easy, but beautiful Jana will not give up! Physically, the odds for Jana walking and moving the way some of us are so used to are against her. BUT, as God has revealed, there is no space that His love cannot reach. The way I have gotten to see it, the small time that Jana got to spend at the barn doing horse therapy really magnified her and her family’s faith in the process and journey that God has them in.
God has promised that He will never leave nor forsake us. Oftentimes it is hard to remember this, especially when it may feel like the situations in our lives say otherwise. Comparison is often the thief of our joy. Sometimes, time and waiting get the best of our minds when we don’t feel as if we are making progress the way that we should be. And more times than not, we need our perfect King to remind us of His closeness. The door for Jana to experience God the way she did at the barn was opened when Kaitlyn made her best efforts to fit our therapy program in this summer. With floods of kids coming in each week, Kaitlyn feared that the slot of time and resources to provide this week of therapy for these amazing kids and families would not be available to us. But, she knew she had to make a way. The amount of people that look forward to our horse therapy camp pushed Kaitlyn to fight through limitations and trust in God’s provision. He came through, and with that He showed up.
There are no words to describe the impact that a single moment in God’s presence can have on us. Jana is a testimony to this. After a single day in an atmosphere purely saturated in His presence, the Lord used what many may see as just another form of therapy to divinely intervene on Jana’s behalf. He bestowed on her a confidence and resilience that would defy every odd that seemed to be against her and give her the strength and courage to move in a way that she never has before. That is what is so crazy about life with God! He doesn’t fit in the tiny box we try to put Him in. He is stronger than anything that has ever bound us. His power is all-consuming and NEVER at rest. God is always moving, whether we see it or not. Jana is His beloved. Jana is sought after. Jana has the power of Christ in her. Jana is victorious. Jana is worthy. Jana is stronger than the limitations of cerebral palsy. Jana is a conqueror. Jana is all these things and more because her Father says so.
You can add Carolyn Cleaver Knuckles on Facebook in order to stay updated on Jana’s journey. Please join with us as we fight for Jana in prayer and in love! The power and authority of Christ is in us, and in Him, we are more than conquerors! Blessings!
The Lord has been teaching me about what it means to wait and who it is we should be waiting on. I’ve noticed in my own life, and others, that more often than not I find myself in a season of waiting; waiting on people, on God to open a door for a new opportunity, for change to happen, etc. Waiting does not always have to be a negative thing, but I find myself becoming impatient, anxious, even sometimes resentful in certain times of waiting. Why? I now see why. The word “wait” when translated means “to wait in faith”. This is where I see that my faith is misplaced. I see why the state of our hearts and minds are put on hold, rushed with that overwhelming anxiety and fear because of a faith placed in something or someone who has no relation to the One true Being we are called to place our faith in.
I put my faith in the people I love, wanting them to change into who I need them to be. I wait for them to be better than who they once were, but where is the promise in that? Do they not also fall short just as I do? I put faith in myself as I wait on my own strength to overcome my bad habits and character flaws. I put faith in the belief that somehow I can earn my way to that new position I’ve been hoping for. My faith so misplaced! It is good to have faith that these things will happen, but who is our faith truly in? Our faith is to be placed in The Lord during our times of waiting. We must have faith that He remains constant and unchanging. We must have faith in the promises He has made for our lives and in His truth; that nothing can separate us from His love.
Our faith can not be in the people that we long to see their hearts changed, but rather in the God who is crazy about that individual’s heart and soul and would go to the ends of the earth to pursue them and bring them into His likeness. Our faith can not be in ourselves but in the strength The Lord bestows on us in our times of weakness. When we wait in faith on The Lord, peace and a deep sense of knowing will overwhelm our hearts and give us joy in our times of waiting. We no longer have to be anxious because we have faith that our God has a perfect plan and a noble will over our lives. When we wait in faith on our faithful Father, there is an abundance of grace available for us to receive when things don’t go according to our own plans. I personally know this to be true and freeing. When we return to our Father and wait patiently on Him, there our hearts will be made new and our minds will be transformed with fresh perspective and praise.
This world is filled with things that look and seem impossible. But our God is unstoppable and will manifest His glory as we live a life of surrender and trust in Him. Who knows, sometimes what we are waiting for doesn’t even come close to what God wants to do or has in place instead of our own feeble plans. Our God is timely and efficient. He wants to do abundantly more in your seasons of waiting. Find your faith in Him and hang on!
“But you must return to your God, maintain love and justice and wait for your God always.” Hosea 12:6
We have a loyal, fiercely devoted, loving, faithful, honest, just, comforting, relentless, warrior of a Father, lover, and King just beckoning us to return to Him and wait on Him. HE will never fail you.
Caroline is one of our authentic, radiant, and hard-working leaders at OBIC! She runs our barn chicks and saddle club ministries with the help of other volunteers, who are available to help out two Saturdays each month. I had the opportunity to hear Caroline’s heart for the young girls she ministers to through; horseback riding, Bible lessons, and arts and crafts. She works with girls ranging from the ages of 7 to 18. Her heart for children/young adults is truly admirable.
In sharing with me a little about how this ministry has impacted her own life, Caroline began by saying that she can see herself in every sweet soul that shows up to work with her. She believes God gave her a passion for children at a young age and throughout her life experiences has continued to cultivate this passion. Caroline sees the pressing importance in using what she has learned from The Lord and bestowing wisdom on these young girls to prepare them for the things in life headed their way. She sees a generation of youth that often times blindly accepts their faith, most often times because they have been taught it is simply what they are supposed to do and who they are supposed to be. But faith and a true relationship with the Lord are so much more than that and Caroline longs for them to have a deeply rooted, genuine, vast love for Jesus Christ and our Heavenly Father.
During her time with these young ladies, Caroline prays for opportunity to teach and inspire them to firmly understand why they believe what they believe. Time after time again, she is wonder struck by the power of our precious King. More often times than not, these girls show more spiritual maturity than Caroline has ever dreamed. During their Bible study, she has had them paint a picture or write down in words what a specific scripture means to them. The results have been remarkable! Each time they come together she finds herself listening and receiving truth from each and every beauty as the Holy Spirit manifests himself through them. Their pictures and words have had a greater impact than Caroline could have ever even imagined, and have come to be a great source of inspiration for her Bible lessons. Age is no factor when it comes to God showing up and using people, and He continues to reveal this promise to Caroline. God has brought healing and restoration into Caroline’s life just as she sees Him doing in these girls lives.
We want people to know that as leaders of such a large ministry, we cannot sit here and say that the works are all through us. We are ministered to every single day by the people who come here. We all need Jesus more and more. We too are broken and prone to wander. Our lives are not to be put on a pedestal. Jesus is. And by His grace He uses us and the people we have an honor to love, to have the opportunity to grow together and be enriched in our faith.
At OBIC it is our great desire for people, young and old, to know and believe that they have an irreplaceable part in the body of Christ. We hope to be a resource for individuals to become equipped and encouraged to use their God-given gifts as we all pursue after The Lord. Every soul matters and each person is unique in a way that no one else can be. We want everyone to know that we are touched by who you are and what God does through you, whether you know it or not. We thank you, parents, for entrusting us with your beloved children! They are beaming lights in the darkness and continue to bring us to the Cross in gratitude. We thank our volunteers, for their work has been indispensable! We thank all who donate and contribute to this ministry, to help us continue to grow in the vision The Lord has given the Dudley’s. This place is a sweet refuge and it would not be the same without everyone who comes around. We praise Him for His abundance of blessings!
As we pass through the seasons of life, we expect certain revelations from God –truths promised at last explained, answers begged for provided, and prayers met as we sought fit. Even though we repeat to ourselves that His ways are higher and better (Isaiah 55:8-9), we still act surprised when He answers in another way, when He brings us the unexpected, or when He sheds light on an issue not searched.
Love is what brings us the outcomes of our prayers, the results of our endurance, and the insight on His nature, even if none are what we had asked or wished for. In His love, He allows every detail. Even the tears. Even the heartache. Even the unexplained. Even the answered questions. Even the waiting. And even the unexpected insight. After all, some say that true love comes when you least expect it. In our blinded mindsets, it’s easy to place love in a box. To quote one of my favorite songs,
Have you ever seen true love
And do you know what it’s made of,
And where it came from?
Or could it be the world has left you blind
And every day you pass it by,
You don’t even recognize it.
Recently, God has stretched some of my understandings of love, opening my eyes to some of the everlasting greatness of His love. True love would give anything, expecting nothing in return, expecting neither future nor promise of it. True love fights and endures when nothing makes sense. True love means praying in faith, trusting God’s sovereignty in the unseen. True love is not blind but accepts the mistakes –past, present, and future. True love sees the potential but victoriously endures through the reality. True love knows how to give space, to let go, and to establish boundaries. True love proclaims and lives out the promises of God. We are lost in a world of chaos, misery, despair, lies, and destruction.
True love came down to save us and awaits for us to claim it personally into our lives. This love is the love of God as displayed through the sacrifice of His only Son, Jesus Christ. Jesus gave everything for us, yet expected nothing in return; in fact, He knew even our greatest songs of worship and acts of service would be but rags (Isaiah 64:6). He fought the temptations of Satan in the wilderness (Matthew 4:1-11) and endured the torture of the cross. Before His crucifixion, Jesus could be found on His knees, yielding His future to His Sovereign Father (Luke 22:42). When we approach Jesus, He, as God, is far from blind to all the sins we have committed…and will still fall to. Yet, He still comes when we call and promises grace to those who humble themselves before Him (James 4:6). Countless times we fail Him yet He still chooses to use us for the growth of His Kingdom (Mark 16:15). Yes, Jesus even gives us space –He knows only in our free will can we come to truly follow Him. In His holiness, He must establish boundaries –and in His perfection, every word and action of Christ is in accordance to His Word.
Yes. But. Love.
Will you choose it? Will you embrace it?
Will you love like He loves?