The Cross

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“You forgot your cross.”

Mom’s voice through the cell phone was apologetic. My face scrunched up with disappointment.

My parents live almost two hours south, and my hubby and I had just arrived home after a 24-hour visit with them and out-of-state family for a birthday get-together. The final moments leaving my parents’ house are always chaotic: lugging clothes, stuffed animal comforts, books, reluctant kids, favorite pillows, and toiletry bags to our truck.

My beloved crystal cross lay where I left it the night before, on my parents’ guest bedroom dresser, clear and unobtrusive.

“I’ll bring it when we come up next,” she promised.

The cross is my one-and-only from Tiffany & Co. Around the time my hubby and I were seriously talking babies twelve years ago, he surprised me for our third anniversary with the simple, supple cross.

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The jewelry piece caught my eye during a daydreaming jaunt through a local mall’s Tiffany & Co, and was a last-hurrah splurge gift before we narrowed down to one income from two and our family expanded from two to three.

Do you have jewelry you wear every day?

I’m not a big jewelry person, but it’s a rare occasion you’ll find me without my engagement ring and ten-year anniversary band on my left and right ring fingers, along with the crystal cross around my neck.

At work, customers have commented on the cross’s unique beauty. My fingers often grasp its rounded edges, sometimes when I’m daydreaming and other times when I’m praying.

This Sunday our assistant pastor taught from 1 Corinthians 1, in an Easter series about the Cross.

Not my pretty crystal neck adornment.

The real thing.

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(This might get ugly.)

The wooden cross Romans used to crucify murderers and thieves.

Criminals. Bad people we would never choose to be around, people looked down upon as the scourge of society. People tortured then nailed upon two trees hewn together in the shape of a ‘T’.

In ancient times, death by crucifixion was the worst possible way to die. Typically slow and painful, it was also humiliating, as they often stripped the criminal of his clothing. The guards had free reign with criminals, doing whatever they wanted to inflict pain on them in order to deter others from committing the same crimes.

It’s pretty ugly to think about, to dwell on.

Pastor Mark made the valid point that you’d never, ever see anyone wearing a tiny guillotine or a little gold electric chair on a chain around their neck.

It just wouldn’t happen.

So why the Cross? Why is a symbol of torture worn by believers the world over?

“And He, bearing His cross, went out to a place called the Place of a Skull, which is called in Hebrew, Golgotha, where they crucified Him, and two others with Him, one on either side, and Jesus in the center” (John 19:17 & 18).

When I prayed about this post the word engraved on my heart was peace.

“Surely He has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; Yet we esteemed Him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted. But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement for our peace was upon Him” (Isaiah 53:4 & 5).

I wear my cross because it reminds me God’s sustaining peace is ONLY because of and through Jesus’s sacrifice on that awful, horrible, humiliating Cross. I don’t want to forget what Jesus paid for my sin, for your sin.

There was a price to pay for believers’ peace—for the gift of having a made-right relationship with our Creator and the promise of eternal life with God—and Jesus paid it on the Cross with His wounds, afflictions, and overwhelming chastisement.

With His humble acquiescence for God’s saving plan.

Lord, please don’t let me forget this, ever. It’s all about Jesus and the Cross.

I love my crystal cross. It’s pretty and unique, and I’ve missed wearing it while it’s at my parents’.

But it’s an ephemeral symbol.

Your soul is not.

Have you put your faith in Jesus’ finished work on the Cross?

“If you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved” (Romans 10:9).

Faithful

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Do you have a word you want others to use to describe you? An adjective describing the essence of who you are?

When I was an emotion-tossed teen, I would’ve considered ‘intelligent’, ‘friendly’, ‘talented’, ‘witty’, or even ‘strong-willed’ to be acceptable descriptors of who I was.

But as I’ve gotten older and walked the bumpy, beautiful covenant of marriage, as well as skipped through the fun, twisting halls of life-long friendship, I’ve realized being talented, friendly, and intelligent are not really who I want to be.

Because Who I belong to sets the course for my life.

I’m a saved and sanctified child of God (I hope you are, too!), and my heart longs for God to find me faithful above all else.

Faithful?  I don’t mean the spray-shooting geyser found in Yellowstone National Park.

I meanfull of faith; steadfast in affection or allegiance; constant, devoted, steady, and true.”

Christ-followers serve a faithful God, and I’m blessed to see swipes of bright, faith-filled color across the landscape of this earthly life, reminding me to look up instead of inward for who (Whose) I am.

“Your mercy, O Lord, is in the heavens; Your faithfulness reaches to the clouds.” (Ps. 36:5)

Every Saturday a faithful sister in Christ can be found at a busy intersection in my city. She parks her car nearby and sets out a chair in which she sits, holding up a simple sign. “Jesus Cares,” it promises in large, plain black print. Her warm smile and friendly wave elicit a cacophony of hello honks from passing cars.

Every. Single. Saturday. A few times people have stopped to talk with her or pray with her. I always honk and wave, grateful for her quiet faithfulness to share Christ’s love.

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One of the qualities that attracted me to my husband was his faithfulness. He’s not perfect, but his steady, faithful nature roots our family deep and shows God’s faithfulness to our boys.

Last week my hubby lived out his faithfulness by driving an hour and 45 minutes at night to pick up our very sick 8-year old. My two boys and I were going on a big school field trip Friday, so Thursday night I was staying at a dear friend’s house in order to be closer to the field trip destination (Kennedy Space Center).

My younger son had been feeling well enough during the day, but that night about 9pm his coughing took a turn for the worse, until it sounded and seemed like Chase couldn’t breathe. Croup was taking his breath and stealing my peace. How could I attend the field trip with Cole when Chase was so sick?

Experiencing this frightening, rare croup episode away from home magnified the situation even more.

My concerned hubby offered to drive across the state of Florida to pick him up.

On I-4, through Orlando and Disney territory, in the dead of night. No complaining, no griping, just steadfast action that alleviated a difficult situation (I didn’t want Cole to have to miss his field trip).

I rushed Chase to a local urgent care clinic, where he was given a dose of steroids to help him breathe. Trevor arrived as we were checking out. Fifteen minutes from midnight, after playing racquetball for an hour and a half after work and working out, he was still sticky with sweat, dressed in workout clothes.

Faithful.

I was beyond grateful for my hubby’s faithfulness to come so far to get Chase and bring him back to the comfort of our house to rest, allowing Cole and I to enjoy the field trip the next day.

Do you have faithful friends, family members, or co-workers?

In a world tossed by the waves of pleasing others, popularity, majority rule, and do-what-feels-best, steady faithfulness is a trait – a heavenly characteristic – that I pray believers long for.

“God is faithful, by whom you were called into the fellowship of His Son, Jesus Christ, our Lord.” (1 Cor. 1:9)  

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