Which do you reach for when you face danger? What do you think about Christians raising the sword? As a nation? For protecting your family?
What does it mean to love your enemies as you follow the Prince of Peace?
In a couple weeks I’m heading back to Kenya. I’m also going to Uganda on this trip with Sunrise at Midnight. In July I head to Trinidad with Sanctuary for Children. Try fitting all that in a title – with alliteration.
Anyway, I like to make crosses. I’ve sold a few here and there, but have given away more as gifts. It’s something I can do in my spare time (meaning when I’m not wasting time on video games), and they’re meaningful to me. They remind me that someone loves me.
Maybe I have a talent for something other than getting into trouble.
I love giving crosses away as a reminder that others are loved. Now I wanna give them away to you. I want to go back to Africa. Not only do I wanna, but God told me I can go. Someone even bought the plane ticket. But there are still lots of expenses – I need help.
I’m going to make crosses and post pictures. If you want one, make a donation of any amount to HisStorytellers, put my name on the memo line or add it as a “note to seller” through PayPal if you prefer the tech option. Just give whatever you and God decide on. Don’t wait on the donation, e-mail me with your name and address and I’ll get a cross in the mail.
Now, some transparency: I use almost all free/recycled material. I buy the stains and some of the accessories I add to them, but the crosses are all hand made out of scrap. Most of them are simple to make and take no time, you’ll see more of these since I still enjoy gardening and hanging out with my family. Others take weeks of carving and sanding. Fortunately I still hate mowing the lawn, so I make progress on these as well.
Shipping is a flat $2. For most of you that’s a rip-off; it’ll only cost a buck, but your other dollar will cover the one I have to ship to Poland or Kenya. How socialist of me.
Here’s the first one up for grabs:
Each one is hand made of bamboo and wire, so the one you get won’t look exactly like the one in the picture. It stands approximately 12″ x 8″ and has a lightweight loop hanger on the back.
The cross is intended to be more than a gimmick to get your money. It’s the message you send me to share: Christ, crucified for our sin, resurrected to defeat death, now interceding from on high, and returning to complete our hope.
I’m not a physicist, but to my knowledge no force pulls on us stronger than gravity; in the end – it wins.
In death, gravity pulls your lifeless body to the ground to become one with it once again. We do not rest physically until gravity has been dealt with, either in bed or grave.
But we rest in the heart of God. Love is the heart of God. In Him we rest, knowing that our love for Him is complete, it is rooted in faith and made concrete through daily choices to put others ahead of self.
We know peace because we rest in the heart of God.
As we love others, we find His heart, and there is no greater gravitational pull than His love. It is the very essence of God. To be filled with love for Him and others is to be finally able to love self without ego.
To be able to love one’s self and still prefer the joy of others to that of self is to rest in the heart of God. That is where peace attends my soul. That is life more abundant. That is where joy transcends sorrow.
That’s where I walk with my God.
I’m trying to figure something out. I’m struggling. I’ve received plenty of advice on what NOT to do, but no real thoughts on what I should do.
I’m trying to spend a good bit of today in prayer asking God what He’d have me do. While praying I looked down and saw the cross I wear. It’s simple, wooden, subtle.
It reminded me not to fear. It reminded me that Jesus didn’t do what was easiest or “right” in the eyes of many.
Jesus got a bum rap from the religious. Among other things they didn’t like the company He kept. They slandered Him because of it.
What will I do? Will I do what’s right? I don’t know. I don’t even know what’s right – yet.
But I won’t be afraid.
Jesus died today. OK, sure – it happened a couple thousand years ago, but let’s think about it as if it were today.
He did nothing wrong – and I can’t emphasize that enough – NOTHING. No speeding tickets, no hatred in His heart, never a lie on His lips, never pulled the wings off a fly or kicked His dog. Mary and Joseph had it easy with their first kid. (Imagine how hard James and the others must have seemed after Jesus!)
But despite his sinlessness in the sight of God He was dragged into court in the middle of the night. Most all of us know the story from there….the trials, the beatings, the ridicule and the pain. Read Mt 21 – 28 for yourself if you want (or need). We’ve heard the story and the details of His physical trauma. If you have not, check it out here:
But that’s not the worst of it, not nearly. Not by a long shot.
I had a conversation with a fellow believer once when he made the comment to the effect that ‘Sure, Jesus suffered, but He was God, He knew He would be healed, and from the perspective of eternity, how bad was that really?’
What he overlooked was twofold.
First, Jesus IS fully God, but also FULLY man. We cannot understand this. It is too far above us to ever begin to grasp how that is possible, how that could “work”. But I believe it, so the man Jesus suffered an unimaginable pain, unimaginable suffering, unimaginable horror. We cannot begin to fathom His physical suffering – but I challenge you to try. Think about what His body endured for your sake.
But secondly, remember that He is fully God. Everyone can quote John 3:16. Blahblahblah ONLY BEGOTTEN SON blahblahblah. This is the only Son of God. We lose the significance so easily, the meaning slips past us almost unnoticed. And if we could somehow come to terms with the full weight of this it becomes possible for the true meaning of the cross to be glimpsed, the power of Jesus sacrifice can swim into focus, if only for a moment.
The perfect Son accepted complete and total separation from His Father for us. He paid the ultimate price for us and the price is NOT THE CROSS!! The cross was the tool, the currency in which our debt was paid, but the cross itself was NOT THAT DEBT!! The cross – as wretched as it was – was only the means of His death, and His physical death – as horrifying as it was – was only the beginning of the payment.
Do you see it yet? God ripped Himself apart that day. And Jesus, the perfect Holy Son, carried our sin – a sin so terrible that His perfect and Holy Father couldn’t even look at Him. Yes they were restored to each other. Yes, the separation was only temporary. But I can’t imagine being so offended by my children that I could ever turn my back on them. I can’t consider an offense so great that I would ever turn my heart away from there’s for even a moment – and I’m human. How much greater was that separation for the Holy Trinity?
Today God the Father disowned His only, perfect Son so He would NEVER have to turn away from you and me.
THAT is the power of the cross.