Take Up My Cross


In the Christian churches I have attended in my lifetime we have never celebrated Lent, but two years ago I decided to recognize the season as a way to grow closer to my Lord Jesus. After giving some thought to what I should give up for Lent, I decided that for me, in my case, I needed to add something, not take away something, during the Lent season, which is the 40 days prior to Easter when the Christians are to prepare their heart through repentance, prayer, penance, and self-denial.

This year I will wear a cross in one form or another, with 3 special cross necklaces that are meaningful to me.

As I put the cross on each morning, I will reflect on the scripture where Jesus said in Luke 9:23, “If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me.”

Daily, just like Jesus said, as I take up my cross necklace, for instance, and put it on, I will be reminded to deny myself and follow Jesus that day, wherever He leads me. As I go about my daily duties and become aware of the cross necklace, I will remind myself of the sacrifice Jesus made on the cross for me.

“Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.” John 15:13

Daily as I recognize the cross necklace I have taken up and placed around my neck, I will be reminded of how Jesus laid down His life for me, so I will find some way to lay down my life for my friends.

At the end of the day when I take the cross off, I will remember how Jesus was taken down off the cross and buried in a borrowed tomb for three days, but then Praise God! on Resurrection Sunday, He rose again!

And I will for 40 days remember and prepare myself for that day when I will be raised to new life with Jesus.

Won’t that be a Great Getting-Up Morning?

Putting Love Into Action


Now that Valentine’s Day is over, husbands all over the U.S. can breathe a sigh of relief. They have lived through another year of diamond advertisements. Yes, Valentine’s Day is too commercialized, as all holidays are now. Yes, it is a gimmick, a way to sell flowers, chocolates, and jewelry, but if there is one thing that deserves a holiday of its very own, it is Love.

We celebrate a mother’s love on Mother’s Day, a daddy’s love on Father’s Day, a grandparent’s love on Grandparent’s Day, but we should celebrate Jesus’ Love, pure love, true love, sweet love, on Valentine’s Day.

This year Valentine’s Day put me in a lovey-dovey mood, not that I needed anything more to make me feel loving. I am already well-known in the church circles as the huggy lady.

I’ve been feeling the emotional love bubble up in me a lot lately. For instance, when I look in your eyes, the Love of God wells up in my heart. I used to think this was because of the loving personality I was born with, and I accepted it as just the way I was.

Then one day while I was praying, I remembered that I had asked the Lord to give me love for people, even the unlovable ones. I asked Him to make me a vessel, a conduit of His great love to others, so that they would feel the love of God flowing through me.

And I realized that was exactly what had happened. God has planted His love for people in my heart. It doesn’t mean though that I act loving all the time. I have had to repent many times for unloving actions that hurt others.

Obviously you can have love in your heart but act in an unloving manner. We must make an effort to translate our love into action, based on how the Bible teaches us to treat others.

Romans 5:5 NKJV says, “The love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us.”

Every Christian has the love of God in their hearts, but some just don’t know how to show it.

All Who Sail With You

In Acts chapter 27, a great storm came up on the Mediterranean Sea when Paul was a prisoner, being taken to Rome. He had tried to tell the captain of the ship that there was a storm coming, but they decided to chance it and sailed anyway.

According to some recent studies, this was the worst storm that ever came on that sea and was recorded by the local historians. This was a killer storm.

As the ship tossed and rolled on the waves, Paul was fasting and praying. He came to the deck and told them, “Men, you should have taken my advice not to sail from Crete; then you would have spared yourselves this damage and loss. But now I urge you to keep up your courage, because not one of you will be lost.

 Last night an angel of the God whose I am and whom I serve stood beside me and said “Do not be afraid, Paul. You must stand trial before Caesar; and God has graciously given you the lives of all who sail with you.

.And I have faith in God that it will happen just as he told me.” Acts 27:21–25 NIV

Some of the men tried to leave on lifeboats but Paul told them “Unless these men remain in the ship, you cannot be saved,” so they cut away the lifeboat and let it fall. Then he urged them to eat, because they hadn’t eaten in 14 days and again he said, “Not one of you will lose a single hair from his head.”

Paul had a destiny and the destiny of all those on that ship with him was tied up with his. Because Paul must live, they would live too. Paul had enough faith for them all.

Who is sailing through the sea of life with you? Your family, your friends, your neighbors. Their destinies are all tied in with your destiny. Remember this promise when you are praying for them.

God has graciously given you the lives of all who sail with you.