Cowboys make a big mistake by thinking meekness is weakness

Cowboys make a big mistake by thinking meekness is weakness

By Scott Hilgendorff / Cowboys of the Cross

Be Strong.

Weakness is not having the strength to do something. Meekness is having the strength and power but holding it back. Do not confuse meekness for weakness.

We all have power over someone. A parent has power over a child, a trainer in the arena with a whip has power over a horse, a rodeo judge has power over the contestant.

Matthew 5:5 Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth

Sounds like Jesus is telling us there’s a lot to be gained by holding back, even when it feels justified.

If we have strength over others, we can abuse that strength by taking more, living excessively, intimidating others or being abusive while putting our needs above others. Strength can lead to selfishness when it isn’t controlled.

The ideas Jesus was sharing in his Sermon on the Mount are challenging to the cowboy community. We’ve looked at how Jesus tells us to turn the other cheek to stop us from pursuing vengeance and giving us an opportunity instead to show others the power of forgiveness. That can become an illustration that can lead others to wanting to know about why we walked away from a situation and lead to a discussion about our saving faith in Jesus.

That’s why it is important to understand that choosing to turn the other cheek can be a sign of meekness that has absolutely nothing to do with being weak.

A person of great strength has the power to intimidate or abuse others but think about how much better a leader is if, instead of abusing that power, they treat someone with kindness and gentleness. By keeping strength under control, well, that takes even more strength than lashing out.

John 18:10-11 Then Simon Peter, who had a sword, drew it and struck the high priest’s servant, cutting off his right ear. (The servant’s name was Malchus.)

11 Jesus commanded Peter, “Put your sword away! Shall I not drink the cup the Father has given me?”

Peter lashed out when guards came to take Jesus away and Jesus commands Peter to put the sword away. While we know God’s plan for salvation was meant to unfold and Jesus would soon die for us on the Cross, Peter didn’t and his rash response, strength over that priest, would potentially have interfered with the need for Jesus to be arrested, tried and sacrificed for us on the cross.

Our self-control, or meekness, can set an example people are not expecting the way our culture normally handles situations and can lead to important discussions about salvation by showing a Christ-like response to others. That offers a great inheritance of eternal life in Heaven to others.

Does it bring God glory to use your power to lash out or does it bring Him glory for others to know you could have made hamburger out of a guy’s face, that he had it coming, but you held back your anger and spared him. That shows Jesus to the guy and opens the door to talk about salvation. THAT is something we’re all commanded to do but few of us ever do.

It can be hard for a cowboy, bull rider or outlaw to accept this but again, meekness is having real power but keeping it under control. Holding back takes more strength than letting loose. Be strong.

Peace is more than we think it is when Jesus talks about it

Peace is more than we think it is when Jesus talks about it

By Scott Hilgendorff / Cowboys of the Cross

Most would say the opposite of war is peace. Peace in many Biblical contexts is something much different.

As we learn more about our faith in Jesus Christ, it can lead us to pursue ways to avoid causing conflict, to find ways to reconcile with others and it can lead some to a firm belief in pacifism when it comes to war.

War is something that has been on our minds a lot lately as we watch the news unfold in Ukraine and our allied countries, at the writing of this, work to avoid being drawn into a full-blown war with Russia.

It’s a good time to talk about peace, but this is the kind of peace that helps us to not feel worry about escalating conflicts. It is a kind of peace that helps us to be okay when the truck breaks down, cattle prices bottom out and a member of our family has chosen this week to pick a fight over who gets dad’s piece of hunting property in the will.

John 14:27 Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.

John 16:33 I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.

Both verses were part of Jesus’s words to his disciples as he was preparing them for his death on the cross. The disciples still didn’t understand and thought Jesus was meant to take over rule from the Romans.

While the Bible stresses in both the Old and New Testament not to feel worry, in these verses, Jesus is offering us a peace that is more profound than how we understand the word in English. In this context, Jesus is offering us more than just an absence of conflict and strife, but in a way, a kind of blessing for us through a stronger peace that comes from our saving faith in him and our assurance of an eternity in Heaven.

It would be much better as individuals to not to be in conflict with one another over personal disputes or to be feeling stress and worry over personal struggles at a job. It would be better as nations for us not to be at war with one another over our borders. But Jesus is offering us a peace that lets us exist in the middle of these conflicts with a sense of hope for what comes after.

When we understand that through our belief in his life here as the Son of God and his death on the cross and resurrection and that through repentance and asking to be forgiven for our sins, we can be sparred God’s punishment of our sin, then we can feel the peace that Jesus is offering. That peace is knowing a perfect eternity is waiting for us where there isn’t conflict and sin.

Our strength to ride a bull, get through a work day or overcome adversity comes from God

Our strength to ride a bull, get through a work day or overcome adversity comes from God

By Scott Hilgendorff / Cowboys of the Cross

Where do you draw your strength from? Strength to achieve success against the odds. Strength to overcome adversity. Strength to just get out of bed when it feels like the world has crushed you to the point of defeat. Strength to break a habit or…. Strength to beat a sin.

As much as God allows it, we can find some success on our own strength, but personal strength isn’t limitless. Physical strength eventually runs out. So does emotional strength.

God’s love is limitless. He can forgive anything so long as we come to Him with genuine repentance, a desire to be forgiven and a belief that Jesus died for us to take the punishment meant for our sin.

And just like His love is limitless, so is His strength.

Job 36:22-24 “God’s power is unlimited. He needs no teachers to guide or correct him. Others have praised God for what he has done, so join with them.”

Many of us can make it on our own strength through much of what God will allow us to go through but I would much rather face this world with the hope that comes through a saving faith in Jesus and the strength that comes from God to overcome whatever trial or temptation He lets me face. Some bull riders, for example, who suffer a serious injury never come back and that can be the right decision for them. Others come back from physically and mentally stronger than before and with more determination than ever. But they’re still going it alone, ignoring God’s will for their lives.

If I rely on God, I’m going to learn and gain far more through Him, God’s going to be glorified and He’s going to make me more like Jesus in the process.

Psalm 73:26 “My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.”

That means, even those times we might think we’ve failed, that we weren’t strong enough, God’s strength is there to get us back up to serve and honor Him. Serve self and rely on your own strength and what genuine good comes of that for a Christian? Usually without realizing it, what we’re doing is robbing the glory from God. If we truly believe God is real, I don’t think that’s a good idea to take glory from Him.

Acts 12:21-23 On the appointed day Herod, wearing his royal robes, sat on his throne and delivered a public address to the people. 22 They shouted, “This is the voice of a god, not of a man.” 23 Immediately, because Herod did not give praise to God, an angel of the Lord struck him down, and he was eaten by worms and died.

When we realize our strength comes from God, whether we succeed or fail, He can still be glorified by how we handle our circumstances and showing others we are trusting and relying on Him through good and bad.

Will Jesus say he never knew you? We want our rodeo and cowboy families to really know him

Will Jesus say he never knew you? We want our rodeo and cowboy families to really know him

By Scott Hilgendorff / Cowboys of the Cross

Only few will find it.

Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. 14 But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.” Matthew 7:13-14

When most everyone we know in rodeo and bull riding identifies as a Christian, how is it possible then that only a few will find their way to Heaven?

What Jesus is saying is that a lot of us really don’t know him in the sense that we’ve experienced a real relationship with him where we’ve truly believed in him, his death for us and his resurrection and truly repented of our sin and asked for forgiveness. And if we don’t have a genuine relationship with Jesus, he’ll also say he doesn’t know us.

Matthew 7:22-23 On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ 23 And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’

Whether we do what look like great things or commit terrible sins, those actions don’t give us or destroy a relationship with Jesus, only belief in him, true repentance, confession of our sin and asking to be forgiven can save us. The good we do becomes evidence of our saving faith in Jesus.

Most of us believe a mixture of ideas of what a Christian is, but those ideas aren’t the gospel that God uses to save them. That also means that many of us care so little about our faith that we’re not seeing this potentially soul-saving post. That’s because nothing in us has been changed by Jesus to drive us toward learning more about him and God’s word to us in the Bible.

While we don’t profess to be the best teachers, too many people are not reading their own Bibles and not seeking knowledge from other teachers, whether it be this ministry or anywhere else. That breaks our hearts because we want everyone to experience a real, saving, life-changing relationship with Jesus. In rodeo and bull riding, we’re a family, and because you’re family, we love you and want you to understand the gospel of Jesus Christ. But we know the truth of Jesus’s words and for those verses above to be true, most of the people needing to hear this have scrolled on past and the ones reading it are the ones we’re already blessed to get to know and serve through this ministry

I choose love–but what does that mean? Not what most cowboys think

I choose love–but what does that mean? Not what most cowboys think

By Scott Hilgendorff / Cowboys of the Cross

I choose love.

Not words you look to hear from a cowboy with a reputation of toughness to uphold. But that’s not the love I’m talking about. I choose this love.

John 13:34 A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.

Jesus loved me enough to die for me and take the punishment meant for my sins. All I have to do is believe, repent and ask to be forgiven and thanks to his love, I can have an eternal and perfect life in Heaven. His love was an action, not a feeling.

I choose love.

It’s a command from Jesus but in a world where we’re divided, fighting with and hating on each other, does he really need to command me?

I choose love. I choose to say, “Hey buddy, I know you barely scraped your fees together tonight to get jerked down like that. I’ve got some extra, let me buy your Taco Bell.”

I choose love. I choose to hold my tongue when the waitress just gave me attitude and instead, ask how I can pray for her when the check comes.

I choose love. I choose to spend some time coaching a gunsel instead of giving up on him or just laughing when he walks by with his spurs upside down and his chaps on an hour and a half before showtime.

I choose love. I choose to cheer for my rival who is about to win the team roping championship after my horse walked through barbwire this morning.

I choose love. I choose to stop by the hospital and check on the guy who got stomped even though he sucker-punched my traveling partner last week for talking to his girl a little too much after the rodeo.

I choose love. I choose to pray for you even though you may never know I’m doing it. I choose to tell others what is good about you or keep my mouth shut. I choose to help you without you knowing it isn’t convenient.

Do I blow it sometimes? Absolutely. Do I repent and apologize or make amends? I try to. Can I do better? Yep. Grace lets me mess it up but Jesus’s love motivates me to do better. I choose that love. I don’t have to like you to love you. You don’t have to like me for me to love you. This love is action and it’s a lot harder than hate or anger. It takes sacrifice, it takes time. It takes putting someone else first. I choose to do what’s hard. I choose to walk into the stampede of anger.

I choose love.

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