"At the center of the Christian life is a cross." ~Randy Zimmerman
I listened to Randy's message entitled "A Grace To Keep Going" and have been thinking about Jesus...and His death. About us...and death. About our suffering and our losses. And the resurrection that happens when we endure them; go through them.
Where our mind dwells determines our perspective in life. Especially suffering, loss and death.
Those of us who have turned from sin and follow Jesus must keep our eyes fixed on the future. We must have a heavenly mindset. Randy also said, "Christians are a people of the future." It's what gives us the ability to endure the suffering, loss and death we face. We look forward, we hope in future joy.
Randy is husband to my friend Sheri. They lost their baby girl, Grace, after she lived only an hour. They knew for half of their pregnancy that they would lose her. By God's grace, they kept going. His Mother's Day message is one of a cross that Jesus asked them to carry. And how they have gotten through since.
Then he said to them all: “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. Luke 9:23
If you have lost a loved one, it is definitely daily. Every day.
Even when we don't die or lose a loved one, our suffering and losses are a form of death...
Yet for your sake we face death all day long;
we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered Psalm 44:22
Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies John 11:25
Why? Because we are not people of the earth. We live for the future. Our glory and our LIFE is with the King of Heaven.
Cain had an earth-bound mind and killed Abel because he couldn't see beyond the now, he wasn't willing to submit to living for Heaven. Jesus was slaughtered because he lived a heavenly reality and the earth-bound minds set out to destroy him because they didn't see the future, heavenly glory.
Esau sold his birthright for a bowl of stew. He was short-sighted and earthly- minded. He lost his inheritance (what could have been his if he had looked at the bigger picture) because of it.
What is so amazingly precious about the death (self-denial and crosses) of God's people is the resurrection; the life that springs up from our cross.
Precious in the sight of the LORD
is the death of his saints. Psalm 116:15
A CROSS from DEATH to LIFE.
Life springs up every time we choose to carry our cross. We may not see it, but often times we do. Like in the case of Jim Elliot and his missionary team in the 50's. They died taking the good news of Jesus and eternal life to the Waodani Indians. Eventually the entire barbaric tribe; the very people who killed them, became heavenly-minded and now live to love.
I tell you the truth, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds. John 12:24
In whatever cross we are called to carry, we can be sure that many seeds will be the result. *If it is dying to our right to retaliate, seeds will come from it. God will bless the person you have chosen to forgive as they will know of His love through your cross. *If it is dying to a dream, God will bring more abundance into your life from what He gives you instead. *If it is letting go of a loved one early, God will bring many loved ones to glory from your faithfulness to go through without becoming bitter, faithless or hopeless. *If it is dying to your desire to end your marriage because it is difficult, but you know God wants you to keep your covenant, God will bring fruit from your faithfulness into lives of those around you.
Ultimately, we will have an eternal reward... a "weight of glory" in heaven. That is the foundation for our endurance. Eternal life with the Author of Life. The One who paints the sky and forms the mountains. The One who gave us the autumn hues and the starry skies...will satisfy with good things forever...
We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body. For we who are alive are always being given over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that his life may be revealed in our mortal body. So then, death is at work in us, but life is at work in you. 2 Corinthians 4:10-12
Here is our ministry, our mission, and our mandate in suffering, loss and death: Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Hebrews 12:2
What is your cross? Where do you find you need to "die" or "let go" and then hold on in hope?
Endure your cross in the joy of future glory. Death comes before resurrection & eternal life in the Heavenly City with Jesus. :)