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Suns & Shields

By Rachelle Hamlin

Read more of Rachelle's editorials:  Suns & Shields Index page

Bull Riding

By: Rachelle Hamlin

Fort Fairfield Journal, October 29, 2014

George likes to watch rodeo events, be they televised or in person. So do I. They have an earthy, even primal fascination. When a man straps onto the back of a bull we witness an encounter between two creatures who possess the same certainty. Each believes himself dominant over the other. Bull riding tests that. The bull becomes Leviathan, the untouchable; the man becomes his invincible master. The appeal of this contest of wills is endless. Weíve domesticated bulls but not eradicated the bullís ego or manís.

Bulls played a prominent part of the early religious life of man. All Bible readers are familiar with the fact that bull offerings were commanded by the Mosaic Law. They also understand that slain bulls substituted for the sinful people offering them. Sacrificing a bull pacified menís sense of justice towards God. God allowed them to do it until Messiah came. Once God Himself was offered for remission of sins, lesser sacrifices became meaningless. Yet there is something in this final sacrifice that has to do with how a bull signifies manís ego, or flesh.

Cattlemen and farmers are two distinct breeds and they cautiously observe a pecking order as clear as that between the brothers Abel and Cain. Animal husbandry is harder than growing vegetables. Thereís a rivalry between those who are able and those who canít, and thereís a struggle for who controls the land. We wonder why God showed favor to Abelís offering of a lamb and was cold towards Cainís harvest offering. Ego struggles between brothers still exist but now we see why one brother was accepted and one rejected. Abel offered God the work of Godís hands; Cain offered God the work of his own hands. Able bowed brokenhearted before Godís glory having nothing comparable to give; Cain purposed to have his own glory recognized by all. This goes on in our churches today and it needs to stop.

After Messiah died He poured His spirit into his church. It began at Pentecost and continues to this day as billions have testified. We call it the Holy Spirit or the Christ spirit and it is given so we can walk holy, under Godís control. A man clinging to the back of a bucking bull is the very image of a man whose flesh or self-pride cannot be brought under control. It just cannot be done. Men break the spirit of horses, why not a bull? God created the bullís nature as a sign that man without God cannot conquer his ego or self-will. He can however chose to sublimate his spirit to the Christ spirit.

For many years I have heard a brother or sister in the Lord make the same remark. They tell that they came to a turning point when they realized that they had ďreceived Jesus as their Savior but had never made Him Lord of their life.Ē To make Jesus, our Lord, is full surrender to God and to His ways. Our bull nature dies and resurrects in Christ. Mature Christians enjoy full surrender to their Lord. Yet we find many who proudly proclaim, ďI am a sinner saved by grace and I will die in my sins.Ē They donít understand that this is a demonic doctrine that has chained them to Leviathan, the flesh man. This is a union between the flesh and its rider who imagines himself to have dominion over the flesh.

I have begun to distinguish between a Cain Church and an Abel Church. One of them is a sneaky killer of his brother so a Cain Church needs to be identified and be shown as distinct from an Abel Church. The Cain church is filled with the works of man and manís fleshy ego. The Abel church has its face turned towards a Holy God in true worship. The Cain church reaches out for wealth, prestige and recognition. The Abel church is solitary, bent on prayer and content with a life of servitude. One is counting how many seats are filled on Sunday. The other is counting on drawing closer to God as a people. One insists on building large impressive buildings, schools, hospitals and universities. The other is impressed only by the sight of the Temple of the Holy Spirit, which temple we are if we walk with Christ. One cannot be bothered with the lowly and humble among the brethren as they search for evidences of power. The other suffers injuries without losing faith that nothing can separate them from Godís love.

One fills its bank accounts but never has enough in them to be generous to the poor. The other gives as the Lord directs and watches as God meets every need through Christ Jesus. One stands center stage controlling congregations and receiving accolades as due tribute. The other sits quietly in a corner praying for God to bless and have mercy on that poor manís soul.

Jesus became the acceptable sacrifice for everyone. Some people get that, others donít. It is the ones that donít that have produced the immense monster that is the Cain Church. They have produced a theatrical production based on multiple forms of bull riding. All of it is illusion and ego. They donít need God at all. They have every detail under their own control. Yet, they do not understand that having no Lord but themselves, they truly have no savior either. They have not really accepted the atonement. They accepted a lie from hell that told them that no repentance was needed; that heaven is a come-as-you-are party. So they show up as bull riders. There is no bull riding in the Abel Church because there is no question of who is master in the bullís attitude. Christ just whispers a gentle word and the ox lays down with the lambs.




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