Cowboys and bull riders often use the word Blessed without realizing what it means

BLESSED Part 1 Have hope, the blessing can be in the struggle

By Scott Hilgendorff / Cowboys of the Cross


It’s arguably the most common hashtag used among Christian cowboys and bull riders but it’s also arguably the most misunderstood.

We place first, we get good results from the doctor, we celebrate an anniversary with our wife or girlfriend or we receive a gift worth sharing with everyone on social media and we immediately tell everyone with the accompanying hashtag or a comment about how blessed we are.

Let’s be clear, it’s not wrong to do that. Our friends care about us and, when we’re walking in Christ, they can celebrate with us. There aren’t too many bull riders or rodeo cowboys who don’t celebrate another guy’s win and they’re going to watch the video you post with the status: “God blessed me with a win tonight. My slump is over.”

There’s a hidden danger here that has greater impact than we realize because of how often we associate material successes and rewards with blessings.

Being persecuted can show us we’re blessed

How on Earth can being poor in spirit, acting meek, being persecuted or suffering personal loss mean we’re blessed?

It can be signs in our life that we belong to Jesus, have been reconciled with God and are looking toward a time, not long from now, that we will be living a perfect life in Heaven where neither the successes we achieved here or the struggles we went through, will matter anymore.

Our culture tells us the opposite. We daily throw out the hashtag “#blessed” on social media when we win, have something great happen to us or just want to say how happy we are the way a circumstance unfolded or with a gift or way we were treated kindly be a friend or family member.

Those are great things to be thankful for but Matthew gives us a list of blessings from what is known as Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount and in those, we see a long list of blessings that are anything but what we normally associate a blessing with.

Matthew 5:3-12

Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

4 “Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.

When we use the hashtag #Blessed, most of us really mean #Thankful

What we really mean is #THANKFUL and that’s a great way to be

By Scott Hilgendorff / Cowboys of the Cross

What do we really mean when we say we’re “blessed” or use the #Blessed hashtag?

For most of us, we actually mean we’re thankful for what we have.

When we use the word, “blessed” the wrong way, our intentions are absolutely good, but we run the risk of confusing people about the love God has for them.

If you just won the bull riding, barrel race or team roping, the first instinct of most cowboy and cowgirls is to acknowledge how blessed they are to say what a blessing it was. We say that about most anything that impacts us positively, not realizing that someone who is struggling and going through one of the trials God can let us experience can be left wondering what they’ve done wrong, why God doesn’t seem them as worthy of a break or wonder if they have any faith.

For someone who doesn’t already believe in God or is struggling to understand the Christian faith, it can leave them very confused about whether or not God loves or even cares about that.

We want them to come to a saving faith in Jesus, so we do have to take the confusion this can cause very seriously.

Some of us overlook the verses about finding joy in trials or the sermon on the mount that tells us we’re blessed when we struggle and most of us don’t understand that the struggles we face are opportunities to experience God’s blessing because at their root is an opportunity to seek God’s strength and wisdom and ultimately grow closer to Him. That is a true blessing.

A cross on the bell of a bull rope is a common symbol to see at a rodeo or bull riding. It can also be a symbol of God's grace which is the emphasis in this part of our Cowboy Church series #Blessed

#Blessed Part 4 – The ‘blessing’ that comes through grace

By Josh McCarthy / Cowboys of the Cross
    You see things in our world today – especially on social media – like, “Won the round tonight! #blessed” or, “Thank God I’m blessed to live in America;” or someone will say, “Have a blessed day!” or (for the Southerners here), “Bless her heart!” We use this term blessed much the same as we use the word love: it has different meanings at different times. While I don’t think it’s bad or wrong to use this word, I think we need to make sure in using it that we don’t cheapen the word itself.

    When you see this word blessed today, it always seems to go with some earthly prosperity. We rarely see someone including a blessed hashtag on a post that reads, “Got called out for my sin, which led to repentance,” or, “Got bucked off at the two-second mark,” or, “Had a bunch of cows going great until we hit a hole in the fence and now I have to spend the rest of my day getting them out of the neighbor’s pasture and fixing fence!” Even though I know that all things work together for the good of those who love the Lord (Rom. 8:28), I must confess that “I’m so blessed” isn’t the first thing to come to my mind when I’m trying to get stubborn cows up a wooded draw.

    And in some cases, the person saying he is blessed when earthly prosperity does appear, doesn’t even know from whom the “blessing” is coming. He could be attributing it to the Christian God of the Bible or falsely to an unknown “higher power,” a god of another religion, or just the universe itself. Now you might wonder why God would give good gifts to people who don’t give him credit. If I trust God, shouldn’t I get blessings in the form of health, wealth, and prosperity? Well, to answer that question in short: no.

#Blessed part 5 — #Cursed. Why we have to understand the curse of sin

By Scott Hilgendorff / Cowboys of the Cross

Without Jesus, we’re cursed.

And that curse that we are now under goes back to Adam and Eve and a story many of us our familiar with. The couple had a perfect life, created to enjoy fellowship with God. They were given literally everything except for a single tree whose fruit they were instructed not to eat from. The serpent (Satan) used some tricky thinking to convince Eve that it would be good to eat from the tree and that God surely didn’t mean what He said. She was convinced to doubt God and she and Adam ate from the tree gaining the knowledge of sin from which they had been protected. God will not tolerate being in the presence of sin and Adam and Eve were cast out of the garden as He said, “cursed is the ground because of you.”

Genesis 3: 17 -19 17 And to Adam he said, “Because you have listened to the voice of your wife and have eaten of the tree of which I commanded you, ‘You shall not eat of it,’ cursed is the ground because of you; in pain you shall eat of it all the days of your life; 18 thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you; and you shall eat the plants of the field. 19 By the sweat of your face you shall eat bread, till you return to the ground, for out of it you were taken; for you are dust, and to dust you shall return.”

Adam and Eve now knew what good and evil were and brought sin into the world which would see us all separated from God who, in His perfect goodness, must judge and condemn sin.

Instead of believing in God’s perfect word and trusting His instruction to them, they were deceived and believed a lie instead of God, much like the majority of our culture today. Believing that anything other than a saving faith in Jesus can restore us to God is also believing a lie and sees us trapped under this curse and ultimately condemned to Hell because we’re left with unforgiven sin.

God's biggest blessing comes in a promise or covenant He made with Abraham in the Old Testament and ends with us having the opportunity to be saved from our sins by Jesus Christ

#BLESSED Part 6 — God’s biggest promise is His biggest blessing

By Scott Hilgendorff / Cowboys of the Cross

Just like Christianity insists there is only one true God and one path to Heaven, there is only one blessing that we should be seeking and that’s the one found through a saving faith in Jesus Christ.

Just as Adam and Eve brought a curse on us that saw us separated from God, facing His judgment and wrath against our sin, God also brought a blessing to us in the form of a covenant centered around Jesus Christ.

A covenant is a promise in the biggest possible way and one that doesn’t require anything from us in return. When we compete for a season to qualify for a rodeo finals, there is an assumed promise that the payout is going to be there when we reach the finals. Yet most of us know stories or have experienced either a finals that didn’t occur or prize money that wasn’t there after we did the work to get there. This covenant from God is a promise that you never have to worry won’t be kept and that you never have to earn.

God made one in the Old Testament with Abraham, promising him that he would make a great nation from Abraham’s descendants and that those people who followed the God of Abraham, would be blessed.

 Genesis 12: 1-3 Now the Lord said to Abram, “Go from your country and your kindred and your father’s house to the land that I will show you. 2 And I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing.3 I will bless those who bless you, and him who dishonors you I will curse, and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.”

The Israelites, Abraham’s descendants, were lead to a promised land to fulfill that covenant (promise) but failed repeatedly to honor and follow God. As a result, the Israelites were exiled from that promised land and only a remnant of those people were given back Jerusalem, the land from which they had been exiled. Those descendants, now us, would go on to see God make a new covenant fulfilled through the New Testament and the coming of Jesus so that everyone (Gentiles), not just the Jews of Israel could be made right with God.

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