Friday, November 6, 2015

Branded in Christ

I’ve always been fascinated by the Old West. I love all those old westerns with the shoot-outs and cattle drives. I was thinking about those cowboys on their cattle drives recently and about the concept of branding. Branding was originally any visible mark that showed identification for livestock. When we become Christians, we are in a sense branded for Christ. He sets His mark on us and sets us apart. When we accept Christ as our personal Savior, He has ownership of our bodies and us. Come saddle up with me as we explore this concept using some of the objects found in the Old West.

Horseshoe –
The main purse of a horseshoe is to furnish protection for the horses hooves against abrasion and breakage. The Lord doesn’t just set us in the world and expect us to have all the friction and roughness of the world bear into us as we bump along in life. The Lord is there for us to protect us. The world doesn’t have that strong arm to lean on but we do as children of the Lord. That’s one thing that sets us apart.  

Psalm 27:1-3
 The Lord is my light and my salvation -whom shall I fear?
The Lord is the stronghold of my life—
    of whom shall I be afraid?
When the wicked advance against me
    to devour[a] me,
it is my enemies and my foes
    who will stumble and fall.
Though an army besiege me,
    my heart will not fear;
though war break out against me,
    even then I will be confident.

He brought me up also out of an horrible pit, out of the
miry clay, and set my feet upon a rock, and established
my goings. Psalm 40:2

Chaps –
Chaps were leather coverings for the legs of the cowboy. They were usually made out of sturdy leather and made to protect the legs. It was something that was needed because of the shrubs and vegetation that tore at the cowboys legs. God gives us wonderful protection by providing His Word for us as His children. When the world starts tearing at us and reaching out to grab us with all it has to offer, we can be refreshed and cling to the Word of God and find peace and comfort there. This sets us apart as Christians. Those without Christ don’t have the comfort of God's Word to rely on.

Cowboy Hat –
The cowboy hat was used for protection from the sun, but it was also useful and functional to the cowboy. On their cattle drives, the cowboys could signal with their hat and also use it to dip water out of streams when they were thirsty. It’s such a wonderful thing that the Lord is always there to shade us if we just stay close to Him. We can be shaded and dip into His Word and into the power of prayer and be refreshed in Him.

He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most High
shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty. Psalm 91:1

Saddle –
Saddles were originally used for working cattle ranchers. As Christians, we are set apart to work. We have a job to do. We are not set apart to be idle but we are here to carry out the Great Commission. God sets us apart from the world by making us His ambassadors. We represent Him. We need to be in the saddle so to speak, evangelizing and spreading the gospel and the love of Christ in our daily lives.

And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world,
and preach the gospel to every creature. Mark 16:15

By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples,
if ye have love one to another. John 13:35

Tumbleweed –
Tumbleweeds are plants that were abundance in the Old West. Although now they are kept under control for the most part, if you live in the Western United States you may be familiar with them. They are plants that break away from their roots. The wind can pick them up and carry them with great force usually carrying lots of dust as they go. Tumbleweeds can be troublesome because they tend to push other vegetation out and take over.

The interesting thing about tumbleweeds is that they carry seeds everywhere when the wind blows them and more grow. They typically have around 250,000 seeds. They don’t all scatter in one spot, as tumbleweeds don’t release all their seeds at once. Isn’t that so like the fiery darts of the devil? They keep on growing and coming at us as Christians. The Lord knew that the tumbleweeds of the world would come rolling by in our lives as His children. Those tumbleweeds make us rely on Him more. The world doesn’t have that reliance on the Lord like Christians do when trials and tumbleweeds come. Having the knowledge that God is completely in control of every situation is something that sets us apart as Christians.

For I know the thoughts that I think toward you,
saith the LORD, thoughts of peace,
and not of evil, to give you an expected end. Jeremiah 29:11

And we know that all things work together
for good to them that love God, to them
who are the called according to his purpose. Romans 8:28

Spurs –
If you are not familiar with what a spur is; it is a sharp metal piece attached to a cowboy boot. A spur is used for the purpose of goading a horse. It’s an incentive to make the horse move forward. Christ left us with the Holy Spirit to be our spur. The Holy Spirit is there to prick and guide us as Christians. When we are sensitive to His leading, we move forward in the direction that the Lord would have us go. This sets us apart as Christians. The world doesn’t have the Holy Spirit to guide and direct them.

But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost,
whom the Father will send in my name,
he shall teach you all things, and bring all things
to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you. John 14:26

Now the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace
in believing, that ye may abound in hope,through
the power of the Holy Ghost. Romans 15:13

I love the fact that the Lord brands us with His touch. There’s so much He gives us as His children. The things mentioned above are just a small helping of what God gives us when we accept Him as Lord of our lives. Have you heard that saying before? “It’s not important who you are but Whose you are”. There’s so much we are given when we become Christians but we have to remember Whose we are. We have to live our lives according to how the Lord would have us because “we are not our own” as it states in 1 Corinthians 6:19.

I wonder if I stand out and people can see Whose brand is on me. As Christians, we are to shine in a dark world. I hope I’m doing that. I want to be identified for Christ.

So, Whose brand are you wearing?

1 comment:

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