"Thanks be to God Who gives us the Victory through our Lord, Jesus Christ. Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye steadfast, unmovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, for as much as you know, your labor is not in vain in the Lord." (I Cor. 15:57-58)
Please remember that Christ was a VICTOR.....NOT a victim.
Then decide that YOU will be a Victor and not a victim.
C.S. Lewis wrote:
"Christianity is a statement, which if false, is of no importance...
and if true...is of infinite importance.
The one thing that it can not be, is moderately important."
The question is, "Did Christ die on the Cross for 'some' things or for everything?"
While I was in cancer treatment (Dec. 1991- Jan.'92) I rec'd a letter from a lady in a Prayer Group in Clinton, Mississippi:
"I do not understand why a pastor especially, would have to go through these things, but then I know as you do that where there are no answers....there is Jesus."
J. S. Stewart wrote:
"Not by Roman nails, but by perfect love in His heart.
His refusal to save himself has become the saving of the world."
By His death on The Cross, Jesus showed us how to live!
A LIFE SUBMITTED AND COMMITTED TO THE WILL OF GOD:
1) No matter what happened to Him....
Jesus set His Face steadfastly toward Jerusalem to do the Will of God.
2) A LIFE OF UNSELFISH LOVE WHEREBY HE GAVE THE SUPREME SACRIFICE:
In the 1st Century (and now) many would say that He was foolish to love as He did.
"But greater love has no one than this, that they lay down their life for their friends."
"God demonstrated His love toward us in that while we were yet sinners...
Christ died for us."
Christ loved supremely and so should we!
3) A LIFE OF FORGIVENESS FROM CHRIST AND THROUGH US.....TO OTHERS:
If you don't experience forgiveness from above (and out from you)....
you will be a victim and not a victor!
Forgiveness helps you to be free and not in bondage. (Gal. 5:1)
4) A LIFE OF WITNESSING:
Even on the Cross in the worst of circumstances, pain and imminent death, Jesus witnessed to the thieves on each side of Him (as well as to those who stood nearby).
I believe that Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane taught us well on:
'how to become victors and not victims'. (Matt. 26:36-46)
1) If Jesus needed Prayer, then so do we.
2) If Jesus needed to know and do God's Will, then so do we.
3) If Jesus needed friends' support, then so do we.
4) If Jesus needed to go a little further in Prayer with His burdens, then so do we.
5) If Jesus needed to humble Himself, then so do we.
6) If Jesus needed total submission, then so do we.
7) If Jesus suffered, so will we. The Cross was vicious, but also victorious.
In Calvin Miller's book, 'Once Upon a Tree', he wrote:
"On the Cross, He went up a victim, but came down a Victor.
In the tomb, He went in a victim and came out a glorious Victor...
not just for Himself but for all who believe.
The Cross is more than a casual item in your well-being.
It is life and death - Eternal Life or eternal death.
Anyone may come home to God, but they must come His way. (John 14:1-9)
The Cross is God's centerpiece on the table of time."
"He Who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us,
how will He not also with Him, freely give us all things?"
However the problem comes when we want to be Christ's Disciples.....
but we want Him to do all of the dying.
If there are to be any blessings, there must be some bleeding.
Phillips Brooks wrote:
"Do not pray for easy lives....pray to be stronger.
Do not pray for tasks equal to your powers....pray for powers equal to your tasks.
Then the doing of your work shall be no miracle, but YOU shall be a miracle."
Little Bobby was thirteen and was in love for the 1st time.
On advice of his sister, he sent a dozen roses to his girlfriend, with a note:
"With all my love....and most of my allowance."
Bobby discovered that 'love costs'. It cost Jesus His all.....dare we give less?
Jim Elliott (missionary to the Auca Indians in Ecuador) said,
"He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep, to have what he cannot lose."
He lost his life, but gained Eternal Life and rewards.
He also said, "Wherever you are, be all there."
He knew what it took to be a Disciple for Christ.
In Galatians 2:20, the Apostle Paul said:
"I am crucified with Christ, nevertheless I live: yet not I, but Christ lives in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh, I live by the faith of the Son of God Who loved me and gave Himself for me."
One of my favorite poems is by G. A. Studdert Kennedy, entitled 'Indifference'.
'When Jesus came to Golgotha, they hanged him on a tree.
They drove great nails through hands and feet...and made a Calvary.
They crowned Him with a crown of thorns, red were His wounds and deep...
For those were crude and cruel days, and human flesh was cheap.
When Jesus came to Norman (put your town there), they simply passed Him by.
They never hurt a hair of Him...they only let Him die.
For men had grown more tender, and they would not give Him pain.
They only just passed down the street and left Him in the rain.
Still Jesus cried, "Forgive them, for they know not what they do."
And still it rained the winter rain that drenched Him through and through.
The crowds went home and left the streets without a soul to see,
And Jesus crouched against a wall and cried for Calvary.'
DON'T EVER FORGET:
The Cross of Jesus was:
The choice is your's.....be a victim....or a VICTOR?
Thank you once again Travis for a power packed article. God started with a tree and He ended with a tree, when He died upon the cross at the place called calvary. It was at the tree of the knowledge of good and evil where He started, and the cross of calvary where He ended. I love what you said when you said the cross is God's centerpiece on the table of time. It is God's reaching out to us in love. Thank you for making the importance of the cross so near to us. Love you both, your friend, Sharon