Thursday, January 1, 2015
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My wife grew up on a little farm in the Ozarks just down the road from her grandparents. It was almost like a page out of that television program, The Waltons. The family was close and they never had much materially, but neither did the families around them. In fact, my wife told me that if her family was poor, she didn't realize it, she didn't know it. She thought she was rich!
And then I hear the stories of her growing up, and I think she was. On one of our visits to her "old homeplace", she told me about those occasions when her grandfather would hitch up a mule to a plow and start turning up the garden with his 4 year old little granddaughter in tow - that's my honey. She said she loved to follow behind her granddad, and she'd walk barefoot in that newly plowed ground. And then she said, "You know, before granddad got to it, the ground is all hard, but after he plowed I loved to feel that warm, moist soil between my toes." Well it wasn't uncommon then to see this little dark-haired girl following a mule, a plow, and an old man through that newly plowed soil.
Well I'm Ron Hutchcraft, and I want to have A Word With You today about Walking on Plowed Ground.
Which brings us to our word for today from the Word of God; it actually is one of the promises of Jesus that is one of my anchors. John 10:4. And I have depended on this one more times than I could tell you, "When He has brought out all His own, He goes on ahead of them, and His sheep follow Him because they know His voice." Jesus kind of says here, okay Ron, you sheep, Me shepherd; wherever I ask you to go I'm getting there ahead of you.
He goes ahead of them, kind of like granddad ahead of my wife. He's getting it ready for you to walk on. You will never be led anywhere by your Savior where He has not first gone ahead and prepared the way for you. Which means you can dare to go someplace, to risk some things that you would otherwise never consider. You take risks for Jesus because you know He is plowing that ground ahead of you.
Look, maybe right now you're heading into this whole new season of your life, or you're moving into a new area or a new job or a new relationship, a challenge. It's possible the Lord is leading you to leave your comfort zone to do something for Him. He often asks us to do that. Or there could be ahead of you there, a conversation, or a confrontation, a responsibility that honestly you're not looking forward to. Listen to Jesus, He's saying, "I am going there ahead of you. I'm going to get there ahead of you." See, that makes all the difference. Jesus is going ahead of you there; He's preparing the resources that you're going to need. He's preparing the hearts of those that you are going to be talking to. He's going to be preparing the people you'll need, the support you'll need. And He'll be taking care of any wolves that just might be there to threaten His sheep.
And if He's leading you to share Christ with someone, - and He probably is - isn't it wonderful to know that He's going on ahead to get hearts ready to make a heart that otherwise might be hard - a soft heart. You could even pray for that, "Lord, please go on ahead of me before I go and talk to (you fill in that name)", and that's why you can go with confidence, that's why you can go with boldness to share the difference that Jesus Christ can make because the shepherd is getting there ahead of you.
Look, the ground ahead right now, well it might look pretty hard to you, but by the time you walk on it, it will be all opened up. Like that little girl in her grandfather's garden, there is someone out in front of you turning up the ground.