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Posts Tagged ‘cross’

Shameless

Shameless

 

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You expect me to be ashamed,

To deny what I have become

And to only accept what the world has to offer.

I forsake the world’s treasures.

I reject the evildoers.

I shall not be ashamed.

 

Shame?

No, I feel none.

I refuse to accept the notion

That my beliefs should conform and not conflict

And that I must be ashamed of myself,

Ashamed of the cross,

Ashamed of My Savior.

 

Shame?

The shame is on you.

Shame on you for your cruel opinions.

Shame on you for your doubt and unfaithfulness.

Shame on you for your unbelief.

 

Shame?

As for me,

I shall remain shameless.

I reject any notion of shame.

 

Lamentations in the Storm

Lamentations in the Storm

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Then Jesus, looking at him, loved him, and said to him, “One thing you lack: Go your way, sell whatever you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, take up the cross, and follow Me.”- Mark 10:21

Jesus offers some straightforward advice to a rich young man who thought he had it together.  We see that Jesus looked on him and loved him before He laid it on him.  Jesus put it out there in simple terms.

Go and give what you own away, then come back and take up your cross to follow Me.(paraphrase)

We cannot let what we have hold us ao firmly that we fear letting go of it.  It cannot grip us so tightly that we have no freedom to do what we should do for the Lord.  If we lose sight or perspective, we run the risk of making ourselves into materialistic people with little spiritual substance.

How do I figure that?

The young walked away.  He was disturbed and distraught.  He was disheartened and discouraged.  He felt defeated.

Jesus went on to say that such a sad situation was like trying ro get a camel through the eye of a needle.  His disciples asked how anyone could be saved if such a man couldn’t get into heaven.  The Lord’s reply is sufficient: the impossible is made possible by God who created all things.

Free yourself of the junk and the clutter.  Rid yourself of the extra baggage you keep dragging along.  Get yourself freed up.

Once you are free, take up your cross.  Take up that cross and serve faithfully.  Then you are going to sow seeds that have no earthly reward.  Heaven will hold all the treasure that you will need.

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Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be courageous; be strong

– 1 Corinthians 16:13(NIV)

 

We should be able to stand firm with God’s help.

Does that seem hard to you?

I know it was hard for me.

I am as independent as the next man.  I know that I am a child of God, but I have always thought that I could stand on my own.  After all, I am a strong-willed man.  I am willing to do what I have to do and make things work.  I am not afraid to work.  I am not afraid to speak up.  I am a man.

But do I really need God’s help?

You better believe it.  

I am not weak.  I can admit that I do not have all of the answers.  I am susceptible to all of the same temptations as any other man.  I can be drawn into the temptations that can conquer me just like anyone else.

But wasn’t Jesus tempted

Look to the Lord.

Look at Him and all that He has suffered for our sake.  He endured merciless torture to offer us salvation.  He suffered ridicule and pain.  He went through bodily pain and eventual death to save us.  He made the ultimate sacrifice for us.

Learn from the Lord.

He teaches us how to undergo pain and hardship.  He teaches us how to live life more abundantly.  He shows us how to love others more than ourselves.  He demonstrates how we can love our neighbor.  He provides us proof that He can support and strengthen us through any endeavor.  He offers us the Holy Spirit, the Helper, the Comforter, to dwell within us as true believers.

Lean on the Lord.

Count Him daily.

Go to Him daily.

Share your doubts, troubles and needs with Him.

He will hear you.

He will help you.

Though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered;  Hebrews 5:8 (KJV)

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Image 

I am a rose of Sharon, a lily of the valleys. – Song of Solomon 2:1 (NIV)

Rare beauty can emerge under unlikely conditions.  Picture the beauty of a flower growing to full bloom in the midst of the lifelessness of the desert.  Let the image of a blossom come forth out of the den of death like a desert.

The death of Jesus stands out as a similar image.  He stood out as a jewel of what God had to offer the entire world as the worldliness of many people led Him to court, then the cross at Calvary.  He is the rose which gave His own life so that others might have eternal life.

This man was handed over to you by God’s set purpose and foreknowledge;

and you, with the help of wicked men, put him to death by nailing him to the cross

– Acts 2:23

 

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The Christian has truly been blessed.  Each of us has been blessed to bear certain things as Christians.  Oddly enough, we may not view them as blessings, but they are exactly that.  There’s no other way that you can explain God choosing to use us to strengthen and support our brothers and sisters, even so-called ‘outsiders,” the way that He does with His power.

Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ. – Galatians 6:2 (ESV)

God calls on us to bear the burdens of our fellow believers.  By doing so, the Word says that we fulfill the law of Christ.  We manifest love when we bear the burdens of others.

Whoever does not bear his own cross and come after me cannot be my disciple. – Luke 14:27 (ESV)

The Lord wants us to bear our cross.  He calls us to discipleship.  He says that we cannot be His disciples if we do not bear our cross.  Taking up your cross daily is part of being on the Lord’s team.

By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples. – John 15:8 (ESV)

The Lord wants us as his disciples, but he also wants us pleasing the Father.  He desires that we do a good work in His name and to the glory of the Father in heaven.  The works that we do should bear fruit.  Our fruit will stand as proof of our connection to the Lord. 

People will not question much about what we do when it is done in a manner that bears burdens, bears fruit and causes us to bear our own cross.  When there is something that seems misleading to our actions, even our good deeds, people begin to question such acts as well as our connection with the Master as His followers.

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And anyone who does not carry his cross and follow me cannot be my disciple.-Luke 14:27 (NIV)

Salvation is free.  It’s an open opportunity.  All you have to do is believe in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior.  It costs you nothing.  He already paid the penalty.

There’s a cost for the prize, though.  The prize comes at a price.

In Luke 14, Jesus shares about what discipleship will cost a believer.  It contains statements such as:

  •  If anyone comes to me and does not hate his father and mother, his wife and children, his brothers and sisters—yes, even his own life—he cannot be my disciple. (v. 26)
  • Suppose one of you wants to build a tower. Will he not first sit down and estimate the cost to see if he has enough money to complete it? (v. 28)
  • Or suppose a king is about to go to war against another king. Will he not first sit down and consider whether he is able with ten thousand men to oppose the one coming against him with twenty thousand? (v. 31)
  • In the same way, any of you who does not give up everything he has cannot be my disciple. (v. 33)

The Lord was serious about sharing about discipleship.  He was honest and real about it.  He shared that becoming a disciple has to be a calculated and conscious decision because of the cost involved.  He never hid anything about it.

The prize is to be called and considered the Lord’s disciple.  Yet, the prize must come at a cost.  And anyone who does not carry his cross and follow me cannot be my disciple (v. 27, NIV).  You have to be willing to pay the price in order to gain the prize.  You can’t simply pursue the prize.  There’s a price involved in pursuing the prize.  You have to pay the price as you pursue the prize. You have to carry your cross and follow the Master.

The price always comes prior to the prize.  Pay the price and gain the prize.  Of course, that is only applicable if you are willing.

 

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“For the word of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us who are saved it is the power of God.” – 1 Cor. 1:18 ASV

God uses whatever He chooses.  That’s a simple truth.  You may not agree with how He does it, but you must accept that whatever He does is up to His choosing.  As Paul states in verse 27 of this same chapter, God uses the “foolish things of the world” and the “weak things which are strong.” He notes that the word of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing since they are spirituallu blind.  He also notes that the power of the word of the cross is shown to those who are saved because they have spiritual insight to recognize it.

Keep the cross in mind.  Be mindful of what it symbolizes and says about the Savior.  Christ suffered on the cross for our sins, becoming sin for us and paying the penalty for the debt that we owed.  Give God glory for the sacrifice made for you at Calvary.  Remember that He paid it all for us all.

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