Tag Archives: cross
The multiple facets of life which men choose to follow amazes the keen observer. Some are meek and humble; others are haughty and proud; some are weak and fearful; others are bold and aggressive; some are quick to inquire while others already know it all; some are consumed with power and authority while others are content to fulfill their tasks of life, leaving the authority worries to others, It goes on! Here is a graphic illustration. Think with me about it!
Once upon a time on a hill far away were raised three cruel crosses. Upon these were men, still alive, badly beaten and abused, whose fate was to die in intense agony for crimes allegedly committed. The cross on one end contained a convicted thief. The cross on the other end also contained a convicted thief and/or robber or insurrectionist.
The cross in the middle contained the unrecognizable figure who without sin admitted the sins of the entire world upon Himself: Our altogether lovely, Wonderful, Precious Savior: Jesus, God’s only begotten Son. He was unrecognizable because the heavily wielded, Roman cat of nine-tails has laid upon his flesh to expose His bones. His beard had been pulled off His face with its flesh. His vestige was marred more than any man (Psalm 22, Isa. 52), and interestingly enough, a brief dialogue of the three dying men occurred.
The thief on one end of the three-cross line spoke sarcastically to the man on the middle cross. “If thou be Christ, save thyself and us.” Luke 23:39. He neither knew nor cared that the greatest single event in all of human history was occurring, and he was also a part of that monumental scene. He thoughts were not of the world beyond in which he would soon find himself, or that he was beside the resurrection and the life who could pardon his wicked soul of the sins for which he was dying. How typical of the world of sinful men.
On the other side of the middle cross the second thief rebuked the first, saying, “Doest not thou fear God, seeing thou art in the same condemnation? And we indeed justly; for we receive the due reward of our deeds: but this man hath done nothing amiss.” Luke 23:40-41 It was then that he turned his head to the middle cross and said, “Jesus, Lord, remember me when thou comest into thy kingdom.” Jesus said, “Today shalt thou be with me in paradise.”
Let it then be shouted to the darkest regions of the universe: Jesus is Lord, and there is none other name under heaven given among men whereby we must be saved.
I want to be remembered by the Man of the Middle /Cross, and I am, and I shall be.
Men in every generation should follow the undeniably successful attitude of the second thief. It is just this simple, and there is no plan “B.” In repentance from sin, and singular trust in the Savior, let prayers ascend, “Lord, remember me!”
John 13:1; Romans 8:35; I John 3:16
Love is such a wonderful subject that too many people pass over the other tremendous attributes and characteristics of Jesus Christ. We do want to speak about His magnificent love in this devotion. We find an unfathomable passion in this great love of Jesus.
After Jesus created all that was to be created in the world, and man had been formed from the dust of the earth, and woman taken from his side, Jesus knew that his work was not done. He, knowing that man would sin, had because of the deep love for the Father, offered himself as the perfect sacrifice for the sin of man that would be committed. We see the forecast of such a sacrifice in Genesis 3:15 “And I will put enmity between thee and the woman and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.” He already knew. He already knew that Adam would sin, yet the love for the father compelled Him. He already knew that as a baby His parents would have to flee to Egypt because of the wicked obsession of a King. He already knew that His people and the Pharisees and Sadducees would reject Him, yet He would be a sacrifice for them. He already knew that a traitor would betray Him after three intimate years of sharing beds, teachings, tears, and breaking bread together. He already knew that Peter would weaken and deny Him during the most difficult time of distress and threat to the very life of Jesus. The depth of this love is revealed in the garden of Gethsemane when He prayed, “not my will but thy will be done” while facing the terrible agony of lashes and death on the cross. YET HE LOVED.
This is a love so deep and so intense that we cannot fathom this kind of love. There is nothing in this world that separate us from the love of Christ. Here is what Romans 8:35 says “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? Where human love fails, falters and flees, Christ’s love continues. There is not one person so vile that Jesus does not love them and desire that they trust Him unto salvation. It is a love that will not stop, quit, or leave a believer. One should read the prayer that Jesus prayed to God on behalf of those disciples that followed Him. His love for them is evident in the words of prayer that He offered on their behalf. As unfaithful as we are, as rebellious as we are, as stiff-necked as we are, YET HE LOVES US.
In this world today, love is measured by what we are willing to do for someone else. Let me tell you about the love of God. I John 4:8 “He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is Love. I John 4:16 “And we have known and believed the love that God hath to us, God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him.” Love comes from God. We could not love if God was not love. I John 3:16 ‘Hereby perceive we the love of God, because he laid down his life for us: and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren.” If we do not love, God’s Word condemns us. How do we demonstrate the love of God and His Son Jesus Christ, by the love we have for the brethren, and the love we have for the lost. Does our love for God compel us to reach out to the lost and tell them about the dangers of hell and the love of Jesus? No? YET HE STILL LOVES US
PARSON TO PERSON
A MENTAL CHALLENGE FROM GOD
All who take the name of Christ Jesus in salvation and discipleship are issued a distinct mental challenge from God. To ignore it is folly, incurring great loss. To take it up is to benefit in both in time and in eternal reward. What is this mental challenge? It is to have the same mindset as Jesus did in His earthly ministry. Now wait! Don’t you dare to shut your mind down to this challenge under the puny excuse that you can’t do that because you still live in the sinful flesh. Don’t you think God knows that? Do you think He is playing mind games with His people? No? Then think with me!
There is always an excuse for failure. He addressed that in Phil. 2: 3-4, but the biblical admonition is to overcome the excuses by dedication to the practices set forth in the grace and word of God. The apostle Paul appealed to the church at Philippi, and by application to the Lord’s true churches throughout the age, to press forward in Christian maturity to fulfill both his joy, as well as the joy of the Master. He was specific in the challenge.
Said he, if there be any consolation, comfort of love, fellowship of the Spirit, any compassion and mercies, they would fulfill his joy by being of one mind in these Christian qualities. The bottom line is concisely stated in Phil. 2:5, “Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus.”
Consider then the exaltation/abasement of the God-man Jesus. He was in the form of God. He did not consider it robbery to be counted equal with God, but did not seek a reputation for Himself. He took upon Himself the form of a slave and humbled Himself in obedience even to the death of the cross.
Folks can twist the scriptures of Philippians 2:1-5, as many do, and surely will, but they remain in their purity the inspired Word of God, a challenge to every Christian to, as Peter puts it, “that ye should follow in his steps.” Still, many prefer to whine: “I can’t do that! It cramps my style, and I simply am not able.” What can one say? Poor ole God! In His infinite wisdom He asks us to do what we cannot do even with His divine help. Doubtless, all of His people would do well to remember more of the inspired Word, such as “Ye are bought with a price; therefore, Glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.”
Here then is the meaning and challenge of true Christianity. It is sad that in too many churches the main motivation is social instead of spiritual, and the whine may be oft heard: “There is nothing to do at our church!” If that indeed be so, may I introduce you to biblical Christianity? God has a mental, and spiritual, challenge especially for you!
PSALMS OF COMFORT
Day 1 – Psalm 73:28 – Draw near, Trust Him and Declare His Works.
Here is the bold implication that we as a people wander away from God. This may not be our intention but yet the attractions of the world, the insistence of problems, distractions, work and family turn us to the beggarly things of this world and draw our attention away from God. A result of this separation are a growing dis-satisfaction with life. We encounter more afflictions and trials. We become engrossed in the art of fire fighting instead of seeking the nearness of the Lord. Stress, worry and indecision brings defeat, discouragement and dread. Our lives become a battle ground of drama, hurt feelings, loss of friendships, and broken heartedness. We are looking for acceptance of those that are infused with worldly wisdom. Anger and angst overtake our once happy peaceful lives. We have lost our joy of salvation, our joy of living and our thought process has turned from Godliness to self. When we draw near to the Lord rely and depend upon Him for the answers of life.
Our greatest need after salvation is to put our trust completely in Jesus. How often do we trust Him with our soul and not with our life? As we turn our sight more upon the Lord for our daily living, we find the help in the pitfalls of living. We rise up from our pity pot of sorriness and confer with the Lord about our attitudes. We rise above the pettiness of the world and strengthen our daily living with daily conversations with our Lord and Savior. When our bonds are strengthened spiritually, the critics of the world become irrelevant. Our desire is to please our Lord by trusting implicitly in Him.
Many are the people that have drawn closer to the Lord and thereby in obedience declared to a lost and dying world the great works of God. Those that are lost see the work of salvation that Christ accomplished on the cross. They see the myriad lives that have changed because of the inner work of the Savior. Our testimony is not just a verbal one but is one that is displayed by the life we live. We declare the mighty works of God. We affirm His spoken creation, His spoken decoration, and marvelous preservation of this world. Our greatest declaration and demonstration is of a greater work than creation of the world. Our greatest declaration and demonstration of the work of God and the Holy Spirit and the Son of God is the work they do in the cleansing of a wretched sin encrusted heart that is made pure by the work of Christ on the Cross.
Let us draw near and declare the work of Christ in man.
The ground is level at the cross
Sept 28, 1930 – Charles Evans Hughes, chief justice of the United States Supreme Court presented himself for membership in a Baptist church in Washington, D.C. It was the custom of the church to invite the new members to come forward and introduce them to the congregation. On this same morning a Chinese laundryman had come for membership, having moved to the Capitol from San Francisco. A dozen others came forward and stood on the opposite side of the pulpit from the Chinese man named Ah Sing who stood alone. Chief Justice Hughes was called who took his place beside Ah Sing. After welcoming the new members into the church the pastor said, “I do not want this congregation to miss the remarkable illustration of the fact that at the cross of Jesus Christ the ground is level!” Charles Evans Hughes had been born into the family of a Baptist pastor. Early in life he responded to the gospel and was saved. During his entire political career he was a faithful witness to the gospel of Christ. He served two terms as Gov. of New York. He was defeated for President in 1921 by Woodrow Wilson. He served twice on the Supreme Court, the last time he was appointed by Pres. Herbert Hoover. He had a reputation of “fearless integrity”. [“Hughes, Charles Evans,” Microsoft Encarta 97 Encyclopedia. 1993-96 Microsoft Corp. Dr. Greg J. Dixon: From: This Day in Baptist History II: Cummins and Thompson, pp. 531 – 32.
As you read this discern whether or not, we as a nation are close to this condition.
France’s King Louis XVI sent his navy and troops to help America win independence.
Afterward, France had a few years of crop failure, then a Revolution.
In Paris, King Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette were beheaded.
Robespierre led the “Committee of Public Safety,” giving a speech to the National Assembly, February 5, 1794, titled “The Terror Justified”:
“Lead…the enemies of the people by terror…Terror is nothing else than swift, severe, indomitable justice.”
Robespierre began his Reign of Terror, accusing, arresting, then beheading all the royalty;
then the wealthy;
then the farmers and businessmen;
then those hoarding food;
then the clergy,
then the former revolutionaries.
Over 40,000 were beheaded in Paris.
An intentional campaign began to de-christianize French society and replace it with a civic religion of state worship.
Not wanting a constitution ‘Done in the year of the Lord,’ they made 1791 the new “Year One.”
They did not want a seven day week with a sabbath day rest, so they came up with a ten day week and ten month year – ten being their number of man with ten fingers and ten toes.
They created the metric system with all measurements divisible by ten.
Crosses were forbidden;
Religious monuments were destroyed;
Public and private worship and education outlawed;
Priests and ministers, along with those who harbored them, were executed on sight;
Graves were desecrated, including Sainte Genevieve’s, the patron saint of Paris who called the city to pray when Attila the Hun was attacking in 451 AD;
Churches were closed or used for “immoral,” “lurid,” “licentious,” “scandalous” “depravities.”
Robespierre put a prostitute in Notre Dame Cathedral and called her the goddess of reason to be worshiped.
The Cathedral of Our Lady of Strasbourg was turned into a Temple of Reason.
Hundreds of thousands were killed throughout France, especially in a religious area called the Vendee’ in western France. French officer
Napoleon pleaded poor health so as to not participate.
During this time, French privateers ignored treaties and by 1798, had seized nearly 300 American ships bound for British ports.
Talleyrand, the French Minister of Foreign Affairs, demanded millions of dollars in bribes to leave America’s ships alone.
Known as the XYZ Affair, the American commission of Charles Pinckney, John Marshall and Elbridge Gerry refused.
The cry went across America, “Millions for defense, not a cent for tribute.”
As America and France came close to war, second President John Adams asked George Washington, now retired at Mount Vernon, to again be Commander-in-Chief of the Army.
Washington agreed, writing the year before he died, July 13, 1798:
“Satisfied…you have…exhausted, to the last drop, the cup of reconciliation, we can, with pure hearts, appeal to Heaven for the justice of our cause;
and may confidently trust the final result to that kind Providence who has, heretofore, and so often, signally favored the people of these United States…
Feeling how incumbent it is upon every person…to contribute at all times to his country’s welfare, and especially in a moment like the present, when everything we hold dear and sacred is so seriously threatened, I have finally determined to accept the commission of Commander-in-Chief.”
President Adams declared a Day of Fasting, March 23, 1798, and again, March 6, 1799:
“The people of the United States are still held in jeopardy by…insidious acts of a foreign nation,
as well as by the dissemination among them of those principles subversive to the foundations of all religious, moral, and social obligations…
I hereby recommend…a Day of Solemn Humiliation, Fasting and Prayer; That the citizens…call to mind our numerous offenses against the Most High God, confess them before Him with the sincerest penitence, implore His pardoning mercy, through the Great Mediator and Redeemer, for our past transgressions,
and that through the grace of His Holy Spirit, we may be disposed and enabled to yield a more suitable obedience to His righteous requisitions…
That He would interpose to arrest the progress of that impiety and licentiousness in principle and practice so offensive to Himself and so ruinous to mankind…
‘Righteousness exalteth a nation but sin is a reproach to any people.’”
As the nation prayed, war with France was averted and a revival, called the Second Great Awakening, spread across America with church membership soaring in all denominations.
The Moral Liberal contributing editor, William J. Federer, is the bestselling author of “Backfired: A Nation Born for Religious Tolerance no Longer Tolerates Religion,” and numerous other books. A frequent radio and television guest, his daily American Minute is broadcast nationally via radio, television, and Internet. Check out all of Bill’s bookshere.
Revelation 22:12, 13
“And, behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to give every man according as his work shall be,” Revelation 22:12.
“For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad” (2 Cor.5:10).
“And he said to them all, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me. . . . For whosoever shall be ashamed of me and of my words, of him shall the Son of man be ashamed, when he shall come in his own glory, and in his Father’s, and of the holy angels” (Luke 9:23-26).
He will not tarry. When the Father tells the Son to go get His bride to the wedding feast, it will be the crowning event of the history of mankind, the most magnificent celebration the world has ever seen. He will not need seven years to judge His people. He is bringing His reward with Him. “For as the lightning cometh out of the east, and shineth even unto the west; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. . . . Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken: and then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory” (Matt. 24:27-30).
There are one hundred sixty-eight hours in a week. How many hours are spent storing up rewards where we live?
LOVE THY NEIGHBOR
Author: William Andrew Dillard
From the living pages of ages past, comes the encapsulated foundation of acceptable life among men on earth. It is called the Ten Commandments. Some would say the commandments were a part of the Mosaic Law, which has been fulfilled, and no longer in force. Right, and wrong! Jesus did fulfill the Law and took it out of the way, nailing it to His cross, Col. 2:14-17, but what is removed from us today is the present penalty of the Law, not the principle. Think with me!
In the initial writing of the Law, the one governing neighborly relationship is stated: Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor; Thou shalt not covet they neighbor’s house, wife, servant, ox, ass, nor anything that thy neighbors. Exo. 20:16-17. Later, this was appropriately summarized as “Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.” First, to love God supremely, then to love one’s neighbor as one’s self is said to be the summation of all the law.
The question then arises from some who quibble over such things for self justification is: “who then is my neighbor?” This very question was posed to Jesus by a lawyer, and is recorded in Luke 10. It is here that the story of the good Samaritan is related. A man going down from Jerusalem to Jericho was robbed, beaten and left half dead in the road. It is ironic that a priest passed by and refused to help. Also a Levite, those who produced the priests, also observed and passed by without helping. It was the lowly Samaritan who took care of the unfortunate traveler, and paid for his medical care. When Jesus posed the question, which of these three was a neighbor to him who fell among thieves, the answer was obvious and so stated: he who showed mercy on him. Jesus’ pointed reply was that they, and us, should go and do likewise.
The position God’s people occupy on this planet is that of an ambassador. In the words of the Apostle Paul, “Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ’s stead, be ye reconciled to God.” 2 Cor. 5:20. Representatives of heaven on earth who are reconciled to God see others in need as their neighbor, and they respond accordingly. It is the right thing to do. It is the godly thing to do. It may not be one’s opportunity to help another who has fallen among thieves, but there are so many other areas of life that manifest a need for help. Chief among those is the obvious need to share the gospel, the great love of the Creator/Redeemer with those who have been wounded by sin. There is no shortage of them. Do you love your neighbor?
He preached politics from the pulpit
1807 – Samuel Stillman, Pastor of the First Baptist Church of Boston during the Revolutionary War died on this day at seventy years of age. He was converted to Christ and baptized under the ministry of Oliver Hart when his parents moved to S.C. He later founded a Baptist Education Society in Charleston. Always weak in health he moved back to N.J. to improve his physical condition. He was called as the assistant pastor of the Second Baptist Church of Boston. After one year, he became the pastor of the historic First Baptist Church of that city on Jan. 9, 1765 where he stayed until his death. The Baptists, with only two or three exceptions stood solidly behind the Revolution. Stillman was one of the strongest proponents. His heart blazed for liberty. He despised the Stamp Act and preached against it from his pulpit. He was outraged over the inflicted Baptists of Ashfield, Mass., and authored a petition to the general court against it. The issue had to do with a general assessment for the support of the state church (Congregational). He was a powerful preacher who drew crowds from great distances including dignitaries such as, Washington, Adams, John Hancock, and Gen. Knox. He lifted high the cross, preached sin black, and hell hot and saw great revivals. His flock was scattered during the war but he returned, gathered them together again, and First Baptist was the only church in Boston that stayed open for the duration. The forty-two years he spent in Boston covered the great debates of the Revolution, the war itself, the birth of the nation, the Federal Constitution, and the presidencies of Washington, Adams, and Jefferson. Samuel Stillman was a remarkable man for remarkable times. But history shows that God always has His man for the times.
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