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All Photos © Evelyn Marinoski
used by permission
 
WHICH TRAIL ARE YOU RIDING?
We all long to ride through green pastures with cool water and majestic mountain scenery but often find ourselves settling for dusty ditches or arena walls. You’ve heard of a trail that leads to green pastures with room for all and maybe you think you’re riding toward it now. The valley you’re riding down is wide and gentle, and in the distance you can imagine the ground is rising towards the peaks you long to see. You’ve never actually seen the mountains, but you’ve heard about them from others, and you know inside that they’re real and you just want to be sure that you’re riding the right trail.

If we step out of our imagination and into our lives we often find the same scenario. Where we are is not where we’re sure we want to be, and we’re not even sure of where we’re going. It’s like we’re missing something.

We’re like a lot of folks trying to fill the hole; we buy every new bit that comes through the tack store and try to get to all clinics in hopes that someone somewhere can help fill the void.

Good news there is.

We were made to ride the mountain peaks and there is someone that rides along side with us.

His name is God, most folks have heard of him, and a lot of them at some point have probably even asked for His help. He has made promises like “I will never leave you nor forsake you” (Hebrews 13:5) and “For I know the plans I have for you says the Lord, plans of good and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.” (Jeremiah 29:11)

So if all that’s true why are we still riding down the ditch?

The truth of it is that all of us have at some point ridden the wrong pasture. It’s called sin, missing the mark (Romans 3: 23). It means we’re not riding on the trail that leads to God. As a result we’re riding down a trail with no way out and no chance to turn around. There’s nothing we can do on our own. We can’t be good enough or do enough to ever find our way out of where we are. But we’re not whipped. Remember that God promised He’d never leave us; He’s waiting at the gate with a new trail for us to ride. He did this because He loved us so much that He sent his only boy (that’s Jesus) that whoever chooses to ride with Him shall not be stuck in the ditch, but will ride forever in the mountains. (John 3:16 paraphrased)

How God did this was by sending Jesus to die on the cross. Jesus paid our penalty so we are free to ride with Him. We can try on our own to get out of the ditch, but it won’t work. Jesus said, “I am the way the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” (John 14: 6)

So what do we do?

 

  1. Admit you’ve been riding in the wrong pasture and can’t get out on your own.
  2. Accept that Jesus through his death on the cross (Luke chapter 23) and his resurrection (Luke chapter 24) has paid for you the cost of your sins and taken you out of the ditch and placed you riding with Him.
  3. Ask Jesus to enter into your life and create in you a new life, His life. (Just like your horse you have to choose to submit to allow another to be in control and Jesus does this by entering into us and working on our hearts, which will then lead our minds and our hands. “Behold I stand at the door and knock; if anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come to him”. Rev.3:20 )

If this is what you want to do, all you need to do is pray (talk to God). He’s listening. You can pray something like this:

 

“God, I’ve spent too long in the wrong pastures and I can’t get out on my own. I want to ride with you. I can’t pay the price, but I believe that Jesus has and I accept Your gift. Forgive me my sins and begin in me my new ride. Father I want you to be in control and I want to ride with you. Thank you for what you have done and I pray this in Jesus’ name, Amen.”

If you have just prayed this prayer with a sincere heart, then God has begun His work in you. You may be feeling a great relief, like your saddle’s been lifted and you’re finally free. If you’re not feeling like that don’t worry, feelings aren’t what matters. What matters is what God says, and that you accept it by faith - like Jesus said, “I am telling you the truth, he who believes in me has eternal life” (John 6:47)

We at Cowboy Trail Church would invite you to contact one of our Leadership Team Members so that we can welcome you into God’s family and help you to grow in your new life with God. You would be welcome to call Bryn, our Preacher at (403) 638-4254 .Or, just send us an e-mail to say, “I just accepted Jesus”. One of us will be in touch with you; to talk with you, and to give you some materials and information to help you grow in this new life and ride this new trail that God has now given you.

It might help to know that when you accept Jesus as your Savior, you are “born again”. The Bible calls this a new birth. Just like a new baby has to grow, you will need to grow in your new spiritual life too. How do you do that?

Here are some things you can do:

  • Find a Bible and start to read something from it every day. God’s word is like food for your spiritual life. Just like we need to feed our livestock to keep them growing and healthy, we need to grow spiritually, we need spiritual food on a regular basis too. If you don’t have a Bible, we would be happy to send you one – just ask for one when you call or e-mail us. And if you are new to the Bible, we would suggest you start by reading a book called, “John” in the New Testament section of the Bible.
  • Pray every day. Prayer is having a conversation with God. Talk to him about the things that are going on in your life, ask for his help, ask for forgiveness when you sin. Pray for others.
  • Tell others about Jesus.
  • Find other Christians to get together with. Find a church that preaches God’s word, that worships God, and where you can fellowship with other Christians. (If you’re in our area, we’d love to have you come and join us at Cowboy Trail Church.)
  • Get Branded. A brand identifies livestock as belonging to their owner. Baptism brands (identifies) believers as belonging to God. Baptism is a new believer’s first act of obedience. Talk to a pastor about following the Lord in believer’s baptism. (Acts 2:37-41)
  • Ride your new trail! (PS. There’s a secret to this. See, you can’t stay on this trail by your own strength. You can’t change yourself. But Jesus rose from the dead so that He could give us His life. That’s how we ride this new trail – by asking Him to ride with us. He becomes a part of us and guides us where He would have us be.

Welcome to God’s Family!


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