And these things write we unto you, that your joy may be full (1 John 1:4).

Friday, August 7, 2009

My Brokenness

This is just my opinion, but I believe that we have to experience God before He truly becomes real to us.

How do we experience Him?

One way is through our own testimony of what He has done in our lives or through someone else's testimony. We begin to experience God when we start recognizing His activity in our lives and in the lives around us.

Tuscarora, NV - Photo by Chrissy King

Have you ever had those days that just seem to be a struggle? Some days are just a constant fight for me to stay out of my flesh and fill my mind with God's goodness!

July 23 was my birthday! "A glorious and joyful day?" you might ask.

That depends upon how you look at it, in the flesh or through the Spirit.

It seems that I spent most of the day sacrificing my will for those of others I love, a good thing, but I did it with a beaten attitude. In a sense serving someone else because I knew it would honor God, but with no joy inside of me. Trying to press in, but being distracted in my spirit.

Couldn't God give me His joy?!
Isn't that a fruit of the Spirit?
Couldn't He see me in need and impart that to me?

Aaah! There beginneth the lesson, that day, for me.

After struggling all day I was on the verge of being spiritually exhausted, to the point of wondering if I was becoming depressed. (I know, not a Godly thought, but satan is predictable and he had to try.)

On the way home my wife, Ronda, asked me what was bothering me and without hesitating something deep within my spirit answered with, "I don't know. I just feel alone."

Haaa, there it was! Where did that come from!?
Well, in the process of making a short story long, I'll tell you.

We all know that life is unpredictable; it is full of ups and downs, good times and bad, and life and death. Those life experiences either draw us closer to our Father or we seek comfort in the wisdom of the world and its ways consume us.

My family has been in the business of raising horses and cattle for at least 5 generations, but over the last 3 years my partners in this have gone to be with our Lord and Savior. Leaving me to be, at times, overwhelmed with my responsibilities. When my father died, my brother and I took over those responsibilities. In December 2008 my brother left me alone here to deal with this without him. But in that process he left me with everything that now, I pray, defines who I am. Troy put me in the presence of my God in an overwhelming and glorious way through his death. (You might think that was rather sick to see it that way, but flesh and blood did not reveal that to me. I won't pretend to know God's thoughts behind His timing, but I do know that His timing is everything, it is perfect!)

Troy is my brokenness! God was preparing me, with my son's death in February 2006 and my father's death in April 2006, for what He was about to do to me through my brother's life and death in December 2008.

You see!!!! God became real to me in a powerful and glorious, super natural way in that hospital room! Not because of where I was, but because my brother was a righteous!!, redeemed!!, lover of our God!!!

I believe that some time in our life we will all, every one of us, experience a form of brokenness in our life that defines who we are in Christ. When that time comes which way are you going to turn? The world has many definitions for depression, but do they stand up to the power of the Cross!!?

I find myself revisiting my brokenness at times. Why?
"Before destruction the heart of a man is haughty; And before honor is humility" (Proverbs 18:12).
I cannot honor my God without humility first!
My brokenness then becomes a twofold blessing:

First it brings me to this humility! The realization that I totally depend on my God for everything, even my next breath! When I realize that I am nothing without Him then I am in a place where He can use me. I become available to Him.

Second, I then experience His fullness and power and my spirit screams with boldness, "But as for me, I trust in YOU, O LORD; I say, "YOU ARE MY GOD!!!!" (Psalms 31:14).

My prayer for you, beloved brothers and sisters, is that you would recognize your brokenness for what it can be. Use it to get into the presence of our God so that you can experience His powerful touch in your life and create in you a deep hunger for more of Him.

May your brokenness define God's work in your life through your declaration of it!!


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Tuesday, April 7, 2009

The Man in the Glass - Ray Hunt

Photo by Mary Williams Hyde

Some of Ty Van Normans's words to the family at Ray Hunt's service in Mountain Home, ID.
I am not going to stand up here and talk too much about Grandpa Ray. You knew your Raymond better than I did. Besides it's not about what is in the box or that jar. It's about what that container couldn't hold.

The Man in the Glass (Anonymous)

When you get what you want in your struggle for self
And the world makes you king for a day,
Just go to the mirror and look at yourself
And see what that man has to say.

For it isn't your father or mother or wife
Whose judgment upon you must pass.
The fellow whose verdict counts most in your life
Is the one staring back from the glass.

You may be like Jack Horner and chisel a plum
And think you're a wonderful guy.
But the man in the glass says you're only a bum
If you can't look him straight in the eye.

He's the fellow to please - never mind all the rest,
For he's with you clear to the end.
And you've passed your most dangerous, difficult test
If the man in the glass is your friend.

You may fool the whole world down the pathway of years
And get pats on the back as you pass.
But your final reward will be heartache and tears
If you've cheated the man in the glass.

(This was one of Grandpa's favorite poems, he recited it at nearly every clinic.)

Most of us have looked in a mirror some time today. What did you see? I'll bet you looked at your face or your hair, but how much time did you spend looking into your eyes? Why does that make a lot of us uneasy? Matthew 6:22 says that "The lamp of the body is the eye. If therefore your eye is good, your whole body will be full of light." Meaning our eyes reflect what is going on inside of us. They're the windows to the soul. The next time you encounter that person in the glass, look them in the eye and see if they're driven by the flesh. Are your eyes dull with pain, anger, bitterness, deceit, doubt, hate, contempt, jealousy, fear or a haughty pride? Or do the eyes looking back sparkle with life, led by the Spirit and filled with love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control? Are they filled with content confidence that you are right where God wants you and the type of person He wants you to be? This is where my Father has me today.

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Sunday, April 5, 2009

Ty's Eulogy for Ray Hunt

Ty Van Norman spoke these words at Ray Hunt's funeral in Texas.

I am the eldest grandson of Ray Hunt. I live on a ranch in Nevada where my family has been ranching for generations. The area I live in has birthed some of the greatest horseman of all time: The Dorrance brothers, Lee and Clyde Revorse, Grandpa Ray, Horns, Jones and Marvels just to name a few. They all had an influence on men in the industry today. I consider myself privileged to have grown up there. I am merely a man, but I wouldn't do my blood justice if I didn't get up and share what's on my heart today. What I have to say may make some of you mad and some glad, but I am pretty sure you won't leave here the same as you came.

We are all gathered here today, to pay our respects to a man who loved horses. He defended what he was passionate about; that was his life. You could hardly talk to him about anything else. He was a master at what he did. I cherished the times I got to spend with him growing up. I only got to see him about once a year when I was young. I remember him and Dad sitting and talking horse. There were a few times we went fishing. Once Dad and he went to Alaska on a hunting trip; I still remember the stories. In the spring of '93 I got to go to Australia with him and travel up the East coast doing clinics. That was an awesome experience that would not have been possible for me, if it hadn't been for Grandpa Ray and Caroline.

Anyone who really knew Grandpa knew there was no nonsense around him; you did it his way. If you didn't, he would tell you exactly what he thought and he didn't care how it made you feel. I'm not saying that was right or wrong; that was Ray. Some of you I am sure he offended at times and encouraged at others. I'm not here to apologize or defend him. I'm here to remind you that he was a great man in the horse world, but he was still just a man. He struggled with the same things in life we all do. The way he handled them was his choice.

I see a lot of familiar faces here that also stand out in the horse world. A lot of you, whether you are aware of it or not, have a lot in common. I'm not talking about horsemanship. I'm talking of being held on a pedestal and the deception that comes with that position of God-likeness. I'm definitely not accusing anyone; least of all Grandpa Ray. That is not my purpose. My purpose is to give you warning of the position you hold. This is where my Father has me today. To remind you that we are just men that struggle in life and are presented with choices. Grandpa was a man that found a way to make a living using the gifts and talents God gave him.

My brother got to spend some time with Grandpa last winter and I remember him telling me that every thing Grandpa said was so true for the situation at hand. Grandpa's Cowboy Logic book is full of one liners that speak truth:

-Don't try to go through something bad and come out good....stop and start over. Facing death is unsettling to most of us. I'm not an expert on it, but I've seen some of it lately. (Just over the last three years Ty lost a son, dad, brother and grandfather.)

-You have to prepare to position for the transition. The transition for all of us at one point or another is leaving this life behind. Are you prepared?

-Adjust to fit the situation. You might have to adjust your thinking to fit this situation.

-Confidence is knowing that you are prepared.

-In John 14:6 Jesus states, "I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me."

-I'll tell you what happens before what happened, happened. God's Spirit moves, the truth is revealed, your spirit is quickened, you are called and you are given a choice; the choice is yours. Sin and death will lose its power and you will stand in the Supernatural Power of God.

To some of you this means nothing. And to some of you this means everything. Worship the God who made the man and use the gifts He has given you to glorify God, and He will give you life and life more abundantly. Romans 5:1-4 talks about the Glory of God and how we can change our history. As I said before, I am the oldest grandchild of Ray Hunt. That is why I am here on this platform in the boldness of the Holy Spirit to change my history.

We all have history wrong or right, good or bad; it is called character. Grandpa's character was his own and that's why we are here; to remember the man, Ray Hunt. Love him or hate him, you wouldn't be here today if he hadn't had some kind of impact in your life.

On behalf of my family - I thank you for coming and may God bless you.

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Sunday, February 22, 2009

Glory to God

Our God is so incredibly amazing, and worthy of praise and worship, to Him be ALL the glory. James 4:6 says, "God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble." Please help keep Training for the Cross (TFTC) in God's grace and help us give the praise and glory where the praise and glory are due.

Zechariah 6:12 says, "Behold the man whose name is The Branch (Jesus); and he shall grow up out of His place, and He shall build the temple of the Lord. Even He shall build the temple of the Lord; and He shall bear the glory, and shall sit and rule upon his throne."

Join with us in giving Glory to Jesus. The goal of TFTC is that Jesus will rise out of this ministry and He will bear ALL the glory! Help us in making sure that He receives all the praise and glory from the ministry. If God is able to use us to help you in anyway, it came from Him not us. Let's give praise to the Potter and not the clay.

Pride is something that I struggle with. Before the Lord got hold of me I always wanted to do something great with my life. After God got hold of me I wanted to do something great with my life for the Lord. However, through all that the focus was always on "me" and what "I" could do. This is just my self-preservation rising up and it has to go. Please help me in this area. Help me to stay out of my self-preservation. Please give ALL the glory to God. If I start stealing His praise and glory, it starts distancing us from Him, it builds pride in me and puts me in my self-preservation (thoughts involving; I, me, we, us).

I've worked with enough horses in their self-preservation to know that it is not fun. When I fall into my self-preservation, God has to hobble me, put me on three legs and I have to work twice as hard decreasing the energy fueling my self-preservation. Finally, when I have nothing left, He tells me, "Wade quit seeking the praise and approval from man, I have ordained you." Ordained: to place, in a passive and horizontal posture, different from an active and vertical posture, utterly prostrate (Greek definition). Meaning, I am nothing and He is everything.

God tells me, "Quit rising up in the temple and stealing my praise and worship" (2 Thessalonians 2:4). Paul tells us he had to die daily (1 Corinthians 15:31) and as he got rid of his self-preservation Christ was able to live in and through him (Galatians 2:20). I am sorry I am so weak and childish, but praise puffs me up (Colossians 2:18) and puts me in my self-preservation. Pride is one of the main things I have to try to kill off daily. Please help me in this area and give ALL the praise to God; in doing so we will both draw closer to Him. If you are appreciative of anything you receive from TFTC, let's praise God together, that we may both enter into His presence.

Thank you and God Bless,
Wade Black

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