Meek and Powerful

By Bill Rudge

“Do not be as the horse or as the mule which have no understanding …” Psalm 32:9

Photo by Bill Rudge

Throughout the Scriptures we frequently see the word “meek.” Many wrongly equate the meaning of meek with its rhyming word, weak. But that could not be further from the truth. When the Lord said in Matthew 5:5, “Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth,” He was talking about those who will rule and reign with Him.

While in Bible college, I learned that the word meek referred, in the Greek, to a strong war horse prepared for battle. With just the slightest touch on the reins, the horse would go in the intended direction of the rider. It became submissive and sensitive to the rider on its back. The horse had not lost any of its drive or dynamic power as a strong stallion, but was completely under the mastery of the rider. If its spirit was broken, its strength compromised or its dynamic qualities changed, then it would have been useless for its purpose; but brought under control and submissive, it was said that the horse was now praus (translated meek or prautes, translated meekness throughout the New Testament).

Vine’s Expository Dictionary states:

It is that temper of spirit in which we accept His [God’s] dealings with us as good, and therefore without disputing or resisting; and as such, we do not fight … struggle and contend with Him …. It must be clearly understood, therefore, that the meekness manifested by the Lord and commended to the believer is the fruit of power. The common assumption is that when a man is meek it is because he cannot help himself; but the Lord was “meek” because He had the infinite resources of God at His command.

Out Of Control

When horseback riding as a teen, the horse I was on was determined to knock me off. It tried to smash my legs by continually running about two inches from the trees. I had to keep pulling one of my feet out of the stirrups and lift my leg over to the other side of the saddle to avoid having it smashed against a tree. When that didn’t work, the horse tried to “clothesline” me a few times by going underneath low branches. I had to keep ducking down to avoid getting knocked off.

There I was on this out-of-control horse, pulling as hard as I could on the reins in an attempt to stop it or even slow it down – so hard that its mouth was bleeding. But it would not stop; it ran even faster trying all the harder to knock me off. Finally, so upset with my trying to slow it down, the horse impulsively ran off the trail and burst through a barbed-wire fence in racing back to the corral. Its chest had multiple gashes, blood mixed with sweat streaming down. My pants were ripped and my legs had several cuts.

That horse was rebellious! I could not control or lead it. God does not want you to be like that horse because you will bring destruction on yourself. He tells us to be meek, humble and yielded so He can work in us; so He can speak to our hearts and lead us where He wants, without having to hit us over the head to get our attention!

Do not be as the horse or as the mule which have no understanding, whose trappings include bit and bridle to hold them in check (Psalm 32:9).

Dynamic Strength

The praus horse also had a bit and bridle, but to get it to obey one did not have to yank the reins and bit or bloody its mouth. Instead, one lightly pulled on the reins to guide and direct the horse: It willingly followed the master’s direction. God is not telling us either to be weak or a doormat. He is saying, “Have your dynamic strength, but do not resist and fight Me. Be submitted to Me.”

Instead of being stiff-necked, obstinate, hardhearted and rebellious, let’s be praus. Let’s be sensitive, submissive, surrendered, yielded and available so God will work in and through us to accomplish His purpose for our lives!

Excerpted from Reaching Your Maximum Potential in Christ which is being updated and expanded for its third printed edition and E-book.

Cub Scouts Meet the Challenge of the Obstacle Course

By Darlinda McDonald

Last month, members of Cub Scout Pack 3 of Sharon were ready to face the challenge. They were very excited as they approached the “Ultimate Challenge Obstacle and Fitness Course” at Bill Rudge Ministries.

Before leading the scouts through the course, Bill Rudge began the evening with “Coronavirus Kickball, Soccer Style.” He invented the game to help maintain as much social distancing as possible for the scouts. Similar to baseball, the field used tires for bases. Each player who was up would kick the ball and run to the bases while the team in the field retrieved the large “soccer ball” with their feet and tried to kick the ball to touch any of the four tires before the person running was safe on one of the bases. The referees on both sides judged whether the scout was safe or out.

Next up was the obstacle course, which had been recently renovated. The scouts partnered with their parents as they navigated each obstacle after attentively listening to Rudge’s instructions. They climbed, they crawled, they jumped, and they strove to keep their balance as they met each challenge. Their determination, positive attitude and a willingness to try each obstacle, even if feeling a little hesitant, was inspiring. It was enjoyable to lead this group of young boys as they persevered through the course. As each scout completed the final obstacle, they raced to the course entrance with a big smile on their face to clang the large silver bell.

The obstacle course provides awesome opportunities to challenge children, teens, and adults. It is used to teach and train various youth and adult groups, scouts, Big Brothers and Big Sisters, sports teams, civic and church groups, and the military (Army, Navy, Marines) as well as those preparing for basic training, all at no charge.

Racial Reconciliation in Tumultuous Times

by BJ Rudge, Ph.D.

It is clear as we watch national news coverage of current events that we still have a far way to go as a nation in racial reconciliation. Even though we have made great strides in this area, the language and actions displayed by many Americans show that we have room to improve. Of course, it’s easy to identify a problem; the challenge is trying to determine how to solve it.

While there are many proposed answers (changing laws, addressing poverty, better education, etc.), it is my opinion that none of these solutions will ultimately succeed unless Jesus Christ is at the center. These only deal with the symptoms of racial discrimination, attempting to modify people’s behavior. By contrast, Jesus deals with the core issue that lies in the heart of sinful individuals, so only He can truly bring reconciliation and peace in this world. In fact, through His death and resurrection, the entire world will experience reconciliation (Romans 8:20, 21).

While complete reconciliation awaits His future return, this does not mean that we cannot experience Christ-centered reconciliation now. This is the charge that is given to the body of Christ:

There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus (Galatians 3:28; see also Colossians 3:11).

The application of this verse is seen throughout the book of Acts because the early church had to address the issue of racial reconciliation. Here we find the church growing from those who were predominately of Jewish descent to people from a variety of ethnic backgrounds. The climax of this growth occurred as Peter received a vision, then is called to share the Gospel with Cornelius and his Gentile household (Acts 10). The outpouring of the Spirit upon Cornelius’ household confirmed for Peter that God shows no partiality but accepts people from EVERY nation who fear Him and do what is right (Acts 10:34, 35).

Just as in the early church, the body of Christ today needs to continually strive toward Christ-centered reconciliation. In fact, we can never expect a change in the culture around us unless it first starts with us! I have witnessed positive and negative examples of how the body of Christ has modeled Christ-centered reconciliation. On the negative, I heard about a church that had dwindled to fewer than 10 people and faced the prospect of having to close its doors. Upon hearing of their situation, another church reached out to help them. While initially the tiny congregation was excited to work with the other church, they broke off all fellowship after they found out it was comprised of various ethnic groups. They said they would rather see their church close its doors than have to worship with people from contrasting ethnic backgrounds.

In contrast to the above situation, I spoke at a church in Los Angeles. This church truly exemplified Paul’s admonition in Galatians 3:28. Not only did the congregation include members of numerous ethnic backgrounds, but so did the leadership. In this church, these believers were truly united – regardless of outward differences – as brothers and sisters in Christ. They were evidence of Jesus’ prayer being fulfilled:

I do not pray for these [disciples] alone, but also for those who will believe in Me through their word; that they all may be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You; that they also may be one in Us, that the world may believe that You sent Me (John 17:20, 21).

So how do we function as a body of Christ where we live out Christ-centered reconciliation? I think there are three things to consider:

First, we need to remember that the truth of who Jesus Christ is, as revealed in the Word of God, is what unites us. In other words, our unity as believers is directly connected to our faith in Jesus Christ. This is so, because it is Christ through the Spirit who baptizes us into one body (1 Corinthians 12: 12, 13).

Second, we need to make sure that our unity is maintained by walking in accordance to what Jesus taught. In other words, if we allow sin to permeate our lives, it will begin to erode our fellowship as a body of Christ. As the apostle John taught:

If we say that we have fellowship with Him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not practice the truth: But if we walk in the light, as He is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin (1 John 1:6, 7).

Lastly, our relationship as believers needs to originate in and be motivated by love. As Jesus said:

This is My commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you (John 15:12).

How do we love each other? Jesus goes on to answer this in the next verse as He says that we are to lay down our lives for our friends. Jesus Himself gave us the clearest demonstration of this type of love: He went to the cross to take on the punishment that we deserved. What revolution would happen in our world if the body of Christ demonstrated this same type of love, a love that seeks to put others before ourselves and strives to seek God’s glory in all things.

If we want Christ-centered reconciliation, let us never forget the words of the apostle John, for they remind us what is foundational to all of our relationships:

By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another (John 13:35).

Showing Christ to the World

By Jim Weikal

A rich, young ruler (Matthew 19:20; Mark 10:17; Luke 18:18) runs up to Jesus who was setting out on a journey, and he asks Jesus what he can do to inherit eternal life. Jesus then lists six of the ten commandments. The young man states that he has kept these commandments since his youth (probably age 13).

Jesus lovingly says to the man, “One thing you lack: go and sell all you possess and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me” (Mark 10:21).

The young man became sad and gloomy at our Lord’s words, and he left grieving “for he was one who owned much property” (Mark 10:22).

You see, our Christian walk is more than words. It is easy to believe the best about ourselves. But it’s our actions that prove our faith is genuine. Abraham proved his faith by his willingness to sacrifice Isaac (Genesis 22:12).

While we are not saved by works, our works should demonstrate that our faith is real. After all, true believers are created in Christ “for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them” (Ephesians 2:10).

So seek God’s face and ask Him what you can do to honor Him. This way an unbelieving world will see Him through you.