I spent some time in Proverbs this morning and I've been thinking about how important it is to be in a co-laboring relation with the living God. I'm reminded of Jesus saying in Matthew 6:24 that "No one can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and Money". All of us need money to pay our bills. Even Christian ministries need money to operate. Take it away and salaries don't get paid, the lights go out, and obligations don't get met. That's just the way it is. As we struggle, it is a temptation to become envious of the success of others, usually measurable by how much money, fruit, or effect they are generating. To be productive financially and to be successful in the world arena, or in Christian ministry, is important, but it can't be what leads or drives us on. In the reference below it says that "The fear (reverential, godly fear) of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge". If our ride, each day, doesn't begin with Jesus Christ as our Lord, in a co-laboring effort with Him, all the success, wealth, even much of the success we believe we have in ministry, will ultimately be burned up. What the worldly mindset considers a successful life is really a wasted life, without the finger of God on all that is done. Proverbs 1:1-4 "The proverbs of Solomon son of David, king of Israel: for attaining wisdom and discipline; for understanding words of insight; for acquiring a disciplined and prudent life, doing what is right and just and fair; for giving prudence to the simple, knowledge and discretion to the young ---let the wise listen and add to their learning, and let the discerning get guidance--for understanding proverbs and parables, the sayings and riddles of the wise. The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and discipline." Riding with purpose is only possible when God's purpose is why we are riding.
Real life is as much the downside of the hill, the valley, and the upside of the hill as it is, the hill top. As we go through life experiences that are discouraging, even depressing, it is naturally easier to speed up our downward slide spiritually and emotionally. That is not only foolish, it is dangerous. It is very important at that time to yield to the "rein checking" of the Lord and to not rush into an emotional hole or a spiritual valley. As we enter the valley we can enter it with expectation, even though it is our lowest point. It is here that we experience a transition towards the upswing. As we find ourselves ridng with the Lord Jesus, it is on the upswing that we not only can increase our pace, but we should increase it, using wisdom as we go. Not increasing our energy and pace for the trip upward could find us with not enough momentun to keep us from sliding back into the valley. On the hill top it is normal for us to celebrate. However, the key to true joy is learning to enjoy the entire ride. I invite you watch the corresponding video - Raven Rider Hills. Enjoy the ride and God bless till next time.
"Satan dines on what we withhold from God."
The 4th of July Rodeo preps for the action as the announcer and clown exchange banter.
The ropers and barrel racers circle the arena warming up their horses in a slow canter.
The stands begin to be filled with excited fans as the country music gets cranked up loud.
Talk's about the weather being an issue: in the distance, hovering, is a dark rain cloud.
The music fades a little as various names are announced beginning the live performance.
Then a lone rider and flag regally enter proceeding to circle the rodeo arena, just once.
Hats are shed quickly; attention and honor granted by every person lining the fence.
Here we are again - It's the time of the year that we celebrate our nation's independence.
Much blood has been shed; a huge price of life was paid for every American's freedom.
Taking for granite any sacrifice that birthed and sustains our liberty, would be just plain dumb.
I'll never take lightly the sorrow and pain they suffered - the massive cost it did demand.
To honor those that fought for the flag and freedom, I remove my hat and proudly stand.
There have been times of unrest when some burned our flag in a dishonorable rage
Many of us thought flag burners ought to leave our country on the next, out of town stage
I'm still standing in honor as a fast rider circles a second time, posting our nation's flag,
My thoughts move to another Patriot who was treated by many, like a throw-away rag
He was loyal to His Father's wish to make way for restoration and freedom from sin
It was a battle for man's soul; it was for that hope that He died and rose again.
I've heard His name carelessly defamed as a vile curse out of many a loose tongue
Yet those same people will treat one dishonoring the
His Name is referenced in The Book as the greatest Name above every Name.
A hero beyond compare - an eternal Patriot whose sacrifice puts all others to shame.
Jesus Christ, the bravest of all the brave; took on the burden and sin of every living being
The freedom He provides isn't just for this life but tolls forever, as angels joyfully sing
I'm grateful to all that have served and made freedom possible for my family and heirs
When it comes to abundant life into eternity, theirs only one that proved He really cares
How about let's weigh both in the balance and see what the true measure turns out to be?
237 years of blood for freedom in this life, versus the perfect sacrifice for all eternity
Yes, I will continue to remove my hat and stand to honor our flag and great country,
But first, I bow my knee and yield my heart to the One that paid to set men truly free.