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Created to be Free

Love (Divine) Freedom Submission

Source: “Created to be Free” by Todd Pierce, posted on Crossroads.net, retrieved May 9, 2022.

Link to Source: Click here to view source

Contributed By: Illustration Exchange | Date Posted: 2022-05-20

Scripture: John 8:36 ; John 15:5

Author: Todd Pierce
3

ILLUSTRATION

Todd Pierce is a professional cowboy, rodeo rider, and horse trainer. Over the years he has come to discover that his experience with taming wild horses is indeed a picture of God’s great love and care for us as He reaches down to tame our own wild hearts, making us fit for His service and setting us free to experience our true potential. 

The following is a partial transcript of one of his demonstration videos wherein he films himself gently wooing and taming a wild horse, explaining step by step how the process relates to our own relationship with God, and calling us to “leave behind our wildness and embrace the freedom that a loving God offers.”

The following are excerpts from the transcript of the video. For the fullest experience and understanding, please be sure to follow this link to view the entire video. The demonstration begins at marker 00:01:01.

The scene opens with Todd alone in a small training ring, making his first approach to a wild horse, a filly, who’d been brought in the previous evening, and he makes the observation that “because she hadn't had any handling, she thought that she was actually doing really well, because she just lived in a pasture, got deep grass, and that was her life.” 

He continues:

Unfortunately, that's where I believe a lot of people live, is they've settled for this ability to stay alive and survive, but they don't actually know what they're capable of and the potential that's hidden inside of them.  And you can't forgive yourself. You can't bring out the greatness inside of you. That's something that is reserved for Jesus alone.  So we'll let her move around because I want her to know that she's actually free.  I can't control her.

And now that she's looking at me, she's probably asking the question of why it is that she's here and what do I want from her? A wild horse, even the wild horses that we have in our country, they don't live near as long or near the quality of lives of horses that are actually cared for.

If you’re gonna go round up a wild horse, it will take a tame horse to do it, because one tame horse can overcome fifty wild horses simply because it’s partnered with man. 

It probably never even crossed her mind that I would want something from her. If she knew what my dream was for her, there wouldn’t be any hesitation in this at all. And what she’s gonna get to encounter today is not just a look from me, not just a knowledge of me, but such a connection that everything that’s inside of her, as far as all of her gifts, all of her potential is gonna get released. She’s super nervous about this, and she’s got a reason to be. All of her instincts say that, “I wanna stay in control of my own world.” 

She’s paying just enough attention to me so that she can be comfortable. But if we’re gonna get anywhere today, she’s gonna have to understand that we’re gonna have to become one. And that oneness is gonna take a lot of courage on her side, and a lot of kindness and patience on my side. ...

The rope isn’t here to control her. It’ like the Holy Spirit that draws us to Him. … If we use fear and intimidation so that we can dominate her and manipulate her to make her do what we want, then we’ve got a broken animal. We don’t want a broken animal. We want a healed animal. And her nature would actually work against that healing if all she listens to was her instincts.  ….

She’s got her boundaries. She comfortable with me around her, petting her … [but she's thinking], "This is unsafe. Someone’s gonna hurt me. Someone’s gonna take something from me. How do I stay in control?"

She wants to know me. She just doesn’t know what it will look like to give up all of herself so that she can have all of me.

I don’t wanna get too far away from her here for a second, because I don’t want her to think that every time she gets scared that the only way she can feel safe is to get away from me, because, eventually, when she gets scared she actually gonna start lookin’ for me.

If she felt like I was gonna put her in a corner or force her to do something, this would have had an entirely different outcome. Just because you’re in authority, doesn’t mean that you have to dominate [people].

It’s nothing short of a miracle. This is what love does. It creates safety. It creates power. It creates a whole new world of opportunity. ...

As he slips on the saddle for the first time, he makes this powerful observation:

She don’t know yet that this is a gift, but she’ll learn. … It’s not because she was forced; it’s because she was loved.

 

APPLICATION

As he is finally able to mount her, ride her, control her movements, her speed, her direction, he makes the following observations:

Because God was so kind, ... He showed up in human form and Jesus walked around and He interacted with people, He just gave invitations. He never told them what to do or what not to do. He just said, "Would you come and follow me?" And that following looked like something. It required them to walk away from one thing so that they could pursue something else. And that pursuit was Jesus.

And so today, while you watch this and you watch her deal with her own concerns and misunderstandings, that you can look at your life again and say, "In what areas is [it] that I've just actually limited God, and I've wanted to keep Him at some distance because that's where I feel safe?"

But she wants to know me. She just doesn't know what it's going to look like for her to actually give up all of herself so that she can have all of me.

God is perfect love. He's the perfect Father. And I see a world that's filled with people that just don't -- they've never encountered that. They don't understand that the creator of heaven and Earth is actually desiring such an intimate connection with you.

The other approach to doing this was that I would actually have to establish dominance with her. I'd have to make her feel like I'm more powerful than her in a really intimidating way. That's just not the way that Jesus operated. He had all the power of heaven to do whatever it is He wanted to do to the people around Him. Yet He chose this way and He said, "Come and follow Me. …

So Jesus had a lot of people following Him. And they would follow Him the way they would follow another man.It's okay that we know how to follow, but I don't want her to just learn how to follow me around like a puppy on a string. She's got too much power. She can do stuff with me now that she's never even dreamt that she could do. This horse is not my slave. She's actually made a decision for herself that even with all of the back story and all the things that she's been through, her saying yes to me became a turning point for everything that's going to happen from here on out.

Won't YOU say "yes" to Jeusus? Won't you let him tame your wild heart and release all the potential within you? Potential that can only be realized when you submit your life to His loving, gentle control. Won't you let Jesus set you FREE to be all you can be?

"So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed" (John 8:36, NIV).

“I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing" (John 15:5, NIV).

"Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls" (Matthew 11:29, NIV).

Life Lessons From Cockroaches

Emotions Knowledge Love (Divine)

Source: Fact or Fiction?: A Cockroach Can Live without Its Head, SCIENTIFIC AMERICAN, retrieved 2/23/22

Link to Source: Click here to view source

Contributed By: Illustration Exchange | Date Posted: 2022-05-05

Scripture: 1 Corinthians 8:1 ; Proverbs 3:5

Author: Illustration Exchange
4

ILLUSTRATION

Cockroaches are fascinating creatures. Did you know that they can continue living days, even weeks, after being decapitated. That’s because their blood pressure, circulation, and respiration is not controlled by their brains. They can feel and sense and amble about, appearing whole, though headless. And what’s even creepier is that their heads will survive also. Yet neither will survive effectively. 

The body will roam around aimlessly, with no memory or mission, until it finally starves to death (seems they do at least need the head to eat). The head will also survive, with antennae strobing, responding to stimuli, consciously aware of its surroundings, but unable to move or make any impact on its environment. Two separated parts of one body – alive, yet utterly ineffectual. Check out this video.

APPLICATION

So often, we Christians are like decapitated cockroaches. Some of us walk around all all caught up in our feelings. We care deeply about people or issues. We even interpret Scripture or make assessments of God’s will based on our “feelings” about a given issue, circumstance, or situation.

Others of us walk around like a head without a heart. We have tons of knowledge, but lack grace, compassion, or empathy. In short, we lack God’s agape love. We spout knowledge as if knowledge alone can have effectual impact.

The Christian must think, respond, react with their entire being. Feelings without thoughtfulness, knowledge, wisdom, can leave us reactionary, grounded in our own senses, rather than in the truth and mind of God. Knowledge without feelings – or better said, heart, compassion, empathy, agape love – simply puffs up. 

Like the cockroach, our hearts and minds must be in touch with each other, working in a symbiotic relationship if we are to minister the “whole” counsel of God.

“… Knowledge puffs up, but love edifies.” 1 Cor 8:1 (NKJV)

“If I speak in the tongues[a] of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal.  If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing.  If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.” 1 Cor 13:1-3 (NIV)

“Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding [e.g., feelings or emotions]. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.” Prov 3:5-6

"I'll Love You Forever"

Salvation Love (Divine) Parenting

Source: RobertMunsch.com

Link to Source: Click here to view source

Contributed By: Neal Pollard | Date Posted: 2019-02-16

Scripture: Jeremiah 31:3 ; John 3:16

Author: Neal Pollard
6

ILLUSTRATION

We read I'll Love You Forever to our sons when they were growing up. We made up our own tune to the song, "I'll love you forever, I'll like you for always, as long as I'm living, my baby you'll be."

It's hard to remember those days in the rocking chair, reading it over and over to them, without getting tearful.

It turns out that many people can relate. The book's author, Robert Munsch, reports that it has sold 15,000,000 copies. His publisher didn't want to publish it because it didn't seem like a traditional children's book. 

If just reading the title gets you choked up with personal memories, you may not want to read the true story behind the book. Munsch says that the song came first:

I made that up after my wife and I had two babies born dead. The song 
was my song to my dead babies. For a long time I had it in my head and 
I couldn’t even sing it because every time I tried to sing it I cried. It was 
very strange having a song in my head that I couldn’t sing (ibid.).

He later built a story around the song, and the rest is history for millions of parents and their children. I imagine Gary, Dale, and Carl would tell you this is their favorite book from childhood. It's certainly ours.

APPLICATION

Isn't it interesting that such a beautiful, intense love story surrounds something so heartbreaking and tragic? Out of the author's pain and sorrow, this incredible, enduring legacy was created. Knowing the backstory only intensifies the power of the words in the book.

Have you ever looked at the story of the cross in that light? From the first page to the last, Scripture teaches us that God loves us, His children. He cares for us, protects us, and wants us to live with Him forever. 

But there is a backstory. In fact, it goes back to eternity. There, the Godhead made a plan to make sure we could live with Him forever. But it would require His Son dying for us in order to make it happen. Discovering that should melt our hearts. What love! It's a forever love, one that can make us the best we could ever be. 

Here is God's message throughout Scripture: "I have loved you with an everlasting love; Therefore I have drawn you with lovingkindness" (Jeremiah 31:3). In other words, "I'll love you forever." 

Real Men ... Love

Love (Divine) Men's Concerns Husbands

Contributed By: Corey Sawyers | Date Posted: 2018-10-02

Scripture: 2 Timothy 2:1 ; 1 Corinthians 16:14

Author: Corey Sawyers
2

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Go In Peace?

Poverty Faith Love (Divine)

Contributed By: Illustration Exchange | Date Posted: 2018-04-21

Scripture: James 2:16

Author: Illustration Exchange
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Choosing Love Over A Throne

Romance Love (Divine) Selfless

Contributed By: Illustration Exchange | Date Posted: 2018-02-12

Scripture: Philippians 2:3

Author: Illustration Exchange
12

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Are You Hardcore?

Love (Divine) Discipline (Self) Die To Self

Contributed By: Illustration Exchange | Date Posted: 2018-01-04

Scripture: Matthew 5:43 ; Romans 5:8

Author: Illustration Exchange
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Revenge Always Fails

Love (Divine) Revenge Sacrifice

Contributed By: Illustration Exchange | Date Posted: 2017-06-07

Scripture: 1 Corinthians 13:8 ; Romans 12:19

Author: Illustration Exchange
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Beautiful People

Human Worth Love (Divine) Sacred

Contributed By: Charles Krieg | Date Posted: 2017-06-03

Scripture: Matthew 25:40

Author: Charles Krieg
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Peter Pan Christians

Maturity Love (Divine) Spiritual Growth

Contributed By: Pat Sage | Date Posted: 2017-03-30

Scripture: 1 Corinthians 3:2 ; 1 Corinthians 13:

Author: Pat Sage
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