Thursday, December 5, 2013

The Precious Cross

"Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus:
Who...made himself of no reputation, 
and took upon him the form of a servant, 
and was made in the likeness of men:
And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, 
and became obedient unto death, 
even the death of the cross."

Philippians 2: 5-8

(KJV)
Emphasis added.

"Oh, the cross! the precious cross!
'Twas there I counted all but loss;
'Twas there I gave my heart to God,
'Twas there He washed me in His blood,
And spake the words, "Thy sins forgiv'n,"
And filled my soul with peace from Heav'n."

"Oh, the cross!  the precious cross!
The only way for sinners lost,
The only way that we can gain,
An entrance to this heav'nly plane;
"Twas there my night was turned to day,
'Twas there I found the heav'nly way."

"Oh, the cross!  the precious cross!
'Twas there I counted well the cost,
'Twas there my soul was sanctified,
'Tis there I ever will abide;
'Tis there we find the purest gold,
And joys that never can be told."

"Oh, the cross!  the precious cross!
To me this world is naught by dross,
Far richer treasures now I own,
While up the shining way I run,
When in that heav'nly land I'll see,
The One Who bore the cross for me!"

Beautiful, precious words penned by Lucy M. Lewis in 1911.
Over 100 years ago.
Still relevant.
Still true...springing from my soul....as if I had penned them myself.

Last night, I was feeling a bit downhearted.
I don't know....just a lot of burdens weighing me down...
sneaking in and trying to rob my joy.

I walked in to the kitchen where the sink full of dishes reminded me
of how I got sidetracked about an hour earlier and had never finished what I started.
How will I ever muster enough energy to get them done tonight, I wondered,
as I walked towards the sink.
I love standing there..in that spot (click here to read)...hands all warm in the sudsy water.
But, boy was I tired!
It had been a long day.

I noticed that the dish towel I keep beside the sink to drain dishes was pretty soaked,
so I reached over to pick it up,
 wring out the water, and walk it down the hall to place it across the washer to dry.

But, just as I reached for it and began wringing out the water over the kitchen sink,
I saw it.
What in the world?
At first, I thought it was a charm...
maybe off a necklace or bracelet someone had been wearing when they visited on Thanksgiving Day.
Maybe they had taken it off while helping to clean up the kitchen, and I hadn't noticed it earlier?
Or perhaps it was one of those little, wooden ones that Zach has around the house?

I stepped a little closer and looked down.


As soon as I did, I realized it wasn't either.
It wasn't raised up...like a charm or piece of wood would be.
It was on the countertop...as pretty as you please....
as if someone had taken a pen or marker or paintbrush and intentionally placed it there.

It was there.
A cross....
with what looked like a drop of blood beneath it.

I tell you the truth.
I know it sounds crazy, but, it happened just this way.

I called for Kevin and Zach, to come and look.

We looked around to see if we could figure out a logical explanation.
It was as if someone had drawn it right there on the counter,
when in reality no one had.

The counter was cleared off and clean earlier in the day,
and I know for certain it wasn't there.
There is no human reason the cross appeared.
Here's a real close-up, magnified version.


Why did it show up?
What caused it?

Seeing it stopped me in my tracks.

Actually, anytime I see a cross....
whether it be on the side of a mountain,


by the side of the road,


on a covered spot that reminds me of an old-time brush arbor,


on a church or steeple,



near a healing spring,


at Easter,


on a Christian flag, softly...gracefully blowing in the breeze,


mixed in with all of the American flags...
(can I just tell you how much it warms my heart to see that they still fly them on public streets?)


through the window-pane formation as I look outside,


okay, even on the cross tattoo of the guy standing in front of me in line at Walmart...
or on the rough-looking guy's gold chain standing beside me in a convenience store....
yeah, that one, too.
I even told him so.
I was a bit...well, maybe more than a bit....intimidated.
But, I looked at him and told him anyway.
It touched me...that he would wear the symbol that is so precious...so near and dear to my heart.
Whatever his reason or the meaning behind it...to him....
I know what it truly means....in reality.

Anytime I see a cross...
it moves me.
Whenever....wherever...every time I spot one....
I always pause.

My mind instantly goes to what this symbol represents.
What it means....to me...on a personal level.
It never fails.

I always feel something stir deep within me.
I long to stop...and just bow...my heart, if it isn't possible at the moment to bow my knees...
and just worship...
the One Who died for me.

I will never look at a cross...ever....
no matter where I spot it or what form it's in....
without feeling that.

Can we really ever comprehend or fathom the depths of its meaning?
Will what happened there....that day on Mt. Calvary...ever truly sink in?

I stood there last night...and stared at my special countertop cross.

I looked at the color.
Up close, it looked red...which made me think of how blood-soaked it was that day....
the day Jesus hung upon it, shed His life's blood, and died.


The drop beneath it reminded me of how His blood spilled and flowed...
down on to the ground beneath His feet.

Every time I see a cross, 
I feel Jesus especially near...
to my weary, heavy-laden heart.

As I stood there trying to figure out how the cross got there,
 I realized that just looking at that symbol...wherever I see it...brings the deepest sense of peace to me.
It lets me know that everything is going to be all right...
no matter what is going on in life.
Just knowing Jesus cared for me that much, that He willingly laid down His life,
bled and died for my salvation, reminds me once more that He is going to take care of me...now.

He is holding me close.
He will never let go.
If He had wanted to let go, 
He would have removed the nails and come down from that cross.
That would have been the moment 
He would have made another choice...
had He wanted to.

He didn't run away when the going was the toughest.
He didn't feel the weight of my sin at its heaviest, then decide He wasn't willing to carry it.
He didn't look ahead and see how much I would mess up,
then come to the conclusion that I wasn't worth the pain.

Truly, I'm not....worth what He did for me.
Not even anywhere close to being worth it.

Seeing the symbol of a cross does something to me.
I don't want to ever forget what He did or become desensitized to what it means.
God help me to never see a cross and label it as common or ordinary.
There is nothing ordinary about it.
It changed virtually and absolutely everything.

Seeing a cross reminds me that since He bore that agony,
since He didn't call for thousands of angels to bring relief to the darkest moment in history,
since He ran the distance...right up until the moment He could say, "It is finished",
I can rest assured that He will never, ever leave my side.
Never will He walk away.
Since He stuck with me through that....that horrifying, anguished six hours....
He will stick closer than a brother to me.
Forever.

Since Jesus finished that awful scene,
He will finish out the rest of my life.
I have no doubt.

No matter how hard it may become for Him to keep His promises to me....
it will never take more devotion than it did the day He bore the entire punishment for my sin.

Now matter how hard I am to love....
it will never be harder for Him to love me than it was that day.

No matter what I put Him through, how many times I fail or how severe the failure,
it will never be harder for Him to forgive than it was the day He hung there....
suffering the most inhumane, vile abuse known to man.

If He could say "Father, forgive her" then, don't you think He is saying it now...
while seated at the right hand of His Father in Heaven?

His arms are wide open to me....and to you, my friend.
He already knows everything we've done, everywhere we've been,
everywhere we will go, and everything we will do.
From the cross, He knew it all.
He stayed there anyway.

What makes us think He would ever leave now?

This morning, I had been working on this devotional when
I took a break to go wave good-bye to Kevin and Zach as they left to run errands.
On my way back towards the house, I spotted this right by the Christmas mat on our front porch...
there in plain sight....right before I opened the door to come back inside.

A cross.


Made from what is left of a leaf....
blown on to our porch...
by last night's wind.


There it was.
Pretty as you please.
Definitely not a coincidence.
Definitely not by chance.
Coincidence and chance are not in God's vocabulary.

Another sweet, gentle reminder from Him.
Eye-catching and reaffirming once again.
That He loves me.
Unconditionally.
Right here.
Right now.
Always and forever.

Jesus, keep me ever near You...and your precious cross.
Always remind me.
May I never forget...what You did.
May the weight ever be upon me....to know that You did it for me.



Click here if video doesn't load.

I never did figure out for certain how that cross appeared on our counter top.
The only thing I've been able to figure out is that Kevin's pliers were lying nearby,
waiting to be taken out to the garage the next time one of us went out there.
They're a bit rusty, so I am thinking that water must have seeped down through the opening,
leaving a stain behind.
How special that it was in the form of a cross!
However it got there...
whatever the logical explanation (if there is one:~)...
God knew what I needed, and He knew how to make it happen.
Doesn't He always?

So, I challenge you, my friend.
Keep your eyes open.
Look around you.
Every time you see one, pause and remember....
turn your heart Heavenward...
and thank Him for the cross.

10 comments:

  1. This was such a beautiful tribute to the cross. I loved it all - every word & picture. God bless you very much.

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    Replies
    1. Thank you so much, Angela! You are such a blessing to me! Love, Cheryl

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  2. Wonderful how God reaches out to us in the ordinary. "Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God."

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    Replies
    1. How very true! May we always keep our hearts pure! He is everywhere we look...if our eyes and heart are open. Thanks for stopping by!

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  3. What a beautiful tribute to the precious Cross. Thanks for sharing at Tales of a Pee Dee Mama.

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    Replies
    1. Thank you so much, TaMara. May the Lord richly bless you this Christmas season!

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  4. Such a beautiful post!!!

    Thanks for linking with Woman to Woman's Word Filled Wednesday. God bless!

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    Replies
    1. Thank the dear Lord for your encouragement, Jenifer! Thanks so much for the link-up. You are a blessing!

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  5. Hi Cheryl,

    Thanks for telling me about this most amazing post of yours! You are blessed to have seen the precious cross in your home, especially when you were having a hard day and were very tired and needed strength to continue your tasks. Such joy!!

    xo
    Poppy

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    Replies
    1. Hi, Poppy! So happy you stopped by....so thankful for you. Have a blessed day! Hugs and blessings to you, Cheryl

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