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Thursday, July 7, 2011
The Cross At The Crossroads
We pass this large cross at the junction of I-70 and I-57 near Effingham, Illinois. It is is intended to serve as a beacon of hope to the 50,000 travelers estimated to pass by each day. It is reported to be the world's largest cross.
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"Enemies Of The Cross"
"For, as I have often told you before and now say again even with tears, many live as enemies of the cross of Christ" (Philippians 3:18).
"All heaven is interested in the cross of Christ, all hell is terribly afraid of it, while men are the only beings who more or less ignore its meaning." - Oswald Chambers
Many times churches have steeples with a cross on top. As we traveled last week we saw a sad sight. We passed a stately old stone church with a steeple and cross but the cross had apparently been blown over by the wind and was laying horizontal to the steeple. It seemed indicative of the attitude many have about the cross.
Several years ago I saw a young man wearing a t-shirt with the cross in a circle and a slash through it, along with the words "Bad Religion". It makes me wonder what this man's heart must be like to wear such a blasphemous shirt, indicating such a blatant despising of the Cross.
Remembering this scene brings to mind the words from one of my favorite hymns, "O the old rugged cross, So despised by the world."
Paul wrote "Many live as enemies of the cross." He apparently repeated this frequently to the Philippians "as I have often told you before" and now he reminds them again, with tears in his eyes, "and now say again even with tears."
Paul had a difficult time in his initial ministry in Philippi where he, along with Silas, had been severely flogged, imprisoned and later run out of town (Acts 16). But I believe the tears were based on far more than this experience. Then, as now, so many lived in opposition to God's divinely appointed means of redemption. The cross was and is despised.
Many have lived as enemies of the cross of Christ throughout the two thousand years since the Lord's great sacrifice. This opposition is expressed in various ways from contrary religious systems to decadent worldliness, from astute secularists to apostate "church" leaders. The hatred of Christ and His cross continues and will surely intensify as humankind moves farther and farther away from Godly teaching and a Biblical foundation.
Albert Mohler states, "The cross and the empty tomb stand at the center of the Christian faith. Without these, there is no good news — no salvation."
"But I love that old cross, where the dearest and best for a world of lost sinners was slain!"
Today join us in holding firm to the Biblical and historic Christian view of Christ and the cross. Let us, like the apostle Paul, declare "May I never boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world" (Galatians 6:14).
Be encouraged today,
Stephen & Brooksyne Weber
Daily prayer: Jesus, Your physical death on the cross was an act of barbaric cruelty that we would not, in any way, be attracted to. But we realize it was God's redemption plan for all humankind and because of that we can say with the hymnist that it indeed "has a wondrous attraction for me." Because You took the weight of our sin upon Yourself You provided a precious cleansing fountain, a healing stream from Your saving blood that provides forgiveness for our sins. Thank You for giving Your all that we might have eternal life. Amen.
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Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources
"It's Still The Cross" Video
"The Old Rugged Cross" Video
"Still The Cross" Video FFH
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Scripture references are from The Holy Bible: New International Version. © 1984 by International Bible Society; NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1995 by The Lockman Foundation, New King James Version (NKJV) Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. and the King James Version.
Personal Mission Statement: "I am created by God to bring Him glory. Through God's Son Jesus Christ I have been redeemed and I make it my life's goal to please the Lord. My mission in life is to honor God through my faith and obedience and to prepare myself and all whom I may influence for eternity."
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