Oaks of Righteousness was the name I originally felt God place on my heart for this program several years ago. I always wondered if people would get it... Oaks are easy enough to understand, but “Righteousness”? What does that even mean?!
Tsedeq is the word used in the passage of our founding verse. Isaiah 61. And it means Rightness, Righteousness or Justice. “People enjoying of Salvation” (credit: the concordance my grandpa gave me)
Woah, epiphany. Justice isn’t supposed to end when someone is avenged. Justice isn’t just putting a bandaid on a wound, it’s fixing the sidewalk that tripped you so it doesn't hurt anyone else, and then successfully skateboarding right over it! Righteousness, in its purest form, is when we can actually enjoy the gift of salvation. What a thought. Enjoy it. Enjoy it? Who ever has time to enjoy things anymore? (Which, don’t kid yourselves, I know at least half of you were thinking that. Probably your left half. Maybe your right... anyway, whichever half of you was thinking that knows what it’s like to be tired. Exhausted even. Worn. Used. Like you didn’t sign up for this. (I see you))
When was the last time you really enjoyed something fully? When I think of the word "enjoy" I think of complete peace, complete rest, and permeating all of that is joy. In-Joy. I think about being silly and feeling safe enough to not take myself seriously. That’s like the legit kind of happy that God has to offer us!
So, how about them Oats?
How do we learn to rest in God’s peace and joy? When can we trust that we are safe enough to be silly and not worry about him rejecting us or leaving us for it? He said He is the same yesterday today and forever (Hebrews 13:8) and He will never leave us or forsake us (Hebrews 13:5 and Deuteronomy 31:6) He will never change how much He loves us. His grace will never reverse. Your sins, your mistakes, are paid for. Take the receipt already and go enjoy your picnic! He bought enough for everyone!
Otis (Pictured behind the donkeys, Chestnut with a White star, peeking his head out) Otis knows about feeling worthless. Otis was taken to an auction in Texas. It was loud, it was smelly, it was hot, and he was confused. Why was he here? Where was his home, his friends, his mother? What was that funny stuff they fed him? It made him tired. Something was on his back and he didn’t have the concentration to care much at all. He was tired and overwhelmed. A strange person took him and the weight up to the auction floor. Here someone would purchase his life. One buyer would sentence him to death, a kill buyer shipping to slaughter him. One buyer might give him another chance. The speaker rolled like a machine gun claiming Otis’ worth to all in attendance. People cast lots to claim his destiny. But one bidder stood out, above the rest. This bidder said, “Oatis, you are not just a number. You are loved and worthy of life. We will pay the price for your freedom.”
And they did.
Oatis was rescued from the reach of kill buyers, out of auction, by All Seated in a Barn rescue which is located in Bakersfield. In their little chunk of heaven. They made the trip all the way out to Texas to save as many lives as they could. In the end, saving the lives of over 50 Equines like Oatis.
Oatis was now ready to head home. It was still smelly, still loud, still scary. Oatis was still groggy and confused, but too tired to fuss. Into a large steel cave with many others like him. Bounced to and fro for miles, but taking comfort in the others so close to him. They were confused too.
Morning, and light shines through the trailer windows. Freedom was in sight. Some of the rescues embraced their new freedom by leaping from the trailer into it! Others were unsure at first but followed the example of others. Still others refused to step in their freedom, surely the past is safer than the unknown. Then came Oatis’ turn. I was not there to see his steps into freedom, but I was told his feet shot up into the sky. He was home. He was free. He was saved from death.
Oatis is like you and me. His story, and the stories of every save from ASIAB are perfect examples of salvation in Christ. Jesus paid the price for our freedom. It can be scary, and sometimes it’s easier to cling to the past, but just you wait. The morning brings fresh light and the crisp morning air is waiting to welcome you. So what will you do?
I dare you to leap into the freedom that you have been given. And fly free as a horse in the wind.
In honor of our little Oatis we are nicknaming our kids' program Wild Oats To signify growth and freedom! Let Oatis’ story be an encouragement wherever you need it today. And as always, if anyone needs or wants prayer, we would be happy to pray for you!
Check out All Seated in a Barn on Instagram and Facebook to see all of the amazing work they are doing! And when you see it, and are amazed, or completely dumbfounded, turn to our little save and say, “How about them, Oats?!”
Oatis' story is real. He is a 2 year old pony who was adopted a few months later! He is enjoying life in his forever home and I heard he is being loved on by some kids there too! Also all of the words that are a different color link to ASIAB's Social medias!
IMPORTANT: If you are experiencing a mental health emergency Call #988. If you are in danger Call the 211 Hotline.
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