Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Thoughts on the Cross

As of late, I have come to understand in a much deeper way, the true power and work of the cross of Jesus Christ. To simply say that Jesus died to take away our guilt of sin is to rob Him and the cross of it’s ultimate and final triumph against the devil. The Bible says that Jesus came to “destroy the works of the evil one” and He did that at the cross. He didn’t only become a sacrifice for our sins, but He also enabled us to overcome the very power of sin in our lives. That power is what keeps us bound in fear when finances, security, family and other things begin to spiral downward and out of control. The cross enabled us as Christians to stare death itself in the eye and say with Paul, “O Death, where is your victory, where is your sting?” We should have an ultimate assurance that the purposes of God CANNOT be thwarted in our lives whether or not we have all the money we need or all of the steps ready to move forward. Jesus taught us well in the garden before His injust, undeserved death as He resolutely declared, “Father, not my will, but Yours be done.” Things are difficult right now for me and my family, but one thing I know; the devil cannot stop me from accomplishing the purposes of God in my life. I know this because of the cross. Because though He died, my Saviour lives. Below is an excerpt of a book I am reading by Art Katz called Apostolic Foundations on the power of the cross:
The worst that could be brought against Jesus revealed the best that was in Him. Utter malignancy met utter magnanimity. Satan was made an open and public display. He was ridiculed and despoiled by the very submitting of Jesus to the worst fury and vengeance, animosity and violence that the powers know. Yet the Lord did not react in kind, He did not shriek out, He did not plead for his life—but prayed for them. Hell in all of its fury met Heaven in all of its humility, meekness and long-suffering—and Heaven triumphed. That triumph is complete, but the world does not know it because the church has not demonstrated it. Jesus bruised the head of the Serpent, but it is left to the church to ‘finish him off’ by making an eternal demonstration of the manifold wisdom of God, not just in this age, but in the ages to come.

It says here that the Church has not demonstrated it. What he is speaking of is the resilience to say “though God may slay me, yet will I follow.” Is that your statement? Lately I’ve realized that the things which keep me so upset are those idols which I have yet to lay before my King. Do I really need a laptop? Do I NEED a large sum in my savings for emergencies? Do I NEED the comforts I grew up with? I’m not saying that you shouldn’t try to do/have these things. I’m saying if you’ve done everything in your ability to be wise and a good steward, yet you only have the means to survive…do you worry? Or do you stare the devil in the eye and joyfully proclaim “I am free!” God will have His way in the end! The resurrection of Christ forever secured that we win. I’m not saying we won’t die in the process or that we won’t suffer. I am saying that we win. God’s purpose will go forward in full glory and triumph. The triumph of the cross is our greatest glory, but to embrace that triumph, to live that victory, to feel that freedom, costs us EVERYTHING.

God’s purpose in every life is that we bring Jesus glory and honor by representing Him as He is on this earth. Not to ensure that we all get a nice house and car. Not to ensure the safety of our families. Not to ensure us that we have an easy life after 65. It’s not that God wants you and your family to suffer, but He is willing to let you for His name sake. Have you dealt with that reality. God might not have an easy life for you. But is He worthy of you suffering to make His name great? Besides, THIS LIFE IS NOT OUR POSSESSION OR OUR END. I will gladly give my life as an offering because I know He Who promised is faithful and true. I have an eternal and abiding life awaiting me after this one where there will be no more tears and no more darkness. Until then, I will labor with all of the heart and passion I can muster for my King.

I tell you that I am willing to lose everything, if only I may have that same freedom that Paul had when he was able to dance with joy after being undeservedly beaten for His faith in Jesus Christ. I am so short of being that man. But as Paul also said, “forgetting what lies behind, I strain forward to what lies ahead.” I don’t want this year to be the same as every other one. God, I want to know the power of the cross. To share in your suffering that I may also attain the resurrection from the dead.

Have you wrestled to know the depths of the cross? Are situations in your life imprisoning you to think only of the difficulties and circumstances presently surrounding you? Fall before the cross. Allow the victory of the cross over the power of sin to permeate your life, and JOYFULLY stare at the devil, the world and your flesh and declare that God’s purposes will be fulfilled in your life.

“For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery.”

I love you all with the love of Christ!



CC said...

Hey Jake!
This is CC. I had a question for you and I didn't know if I should try and email you or leave you a message on here. Anywho, I am coming to Zambia June 3-13 and bringing the Bonner's lil girl Ashley and another girl her age and both are interested in mission work. I know you are going to be switching ministries soon, but I didn't know how possible it would be for us to spend the day/night with you while we are there. I just want to give the girls the chance to experience all aspects of how God is working in Zambia. Don't feel pressured...I was just wondering. Thanks either way. My email address is It would be great to see you and Jessi (and your lil one) as well. Have a great day today (since I know it's like Thursday already). Sorry for the long email.

CC ;0)

CC said...

Hey again,
So I read your other posts and realized..."Jake won't be there when you're there" So, I guess it may just be a nice thought. Anyway, I'll just pray you have a safe trip.


david santos said...

Great work.
i loved this post and this blog.
Have a nice day.

Charlotte McMillen said...

Hi Jake and Jessi,
I am your relative, (cousin of Jeannie's) on Courtwright side. My name is Charlotte McMillen. I'm interested in your missions work and have read all your blogposts. Put me on your email list. Love to you all and hope to see you at the Courtwright Family Reunion June 28th or just anytime you're around. We love the same Lord Jesus Christ and appreciate your service to Him and the body (there in Zambia and around the world ... by internet!)