Tag Archives: lead me to the cross

Dead Man Walking

 

Just checking in today to see how everyone who decided to take the “Journey to the Cross” is faring now that we are one week in. As I have been studying and praying and listening I have come to a realization. God has been at work on me peeling away my layers of “yes, buts” and showing me that in this season of sacrifice, while chocolate was a nice thing to give up, unless it draws me closer to Him it’s just stuff. The sacrifice that I have been more and more convicted to lay over is that of self.

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Deny thyself. It was at the heart of the very first post of our Lent journey.

If you cling to your life, you will lose it; but if you give up your life for me, you will find it. (Matthew 10:39 NLT)

I tell you the truth, unless a kernel of wheat is planted in the soil and dies, it remains alone. But its death will produce many new kernels—a plentiful harvest of new lives. Those who love their life in this world will lose it. Those who care nothing for their life in this world will keep it for eternity. Anyone who wants to be my disciple must follow me, because my servants must be where I am. And the Father will honor anyone who serves me. “Now my soul is deeply troubled. Should I pray, ‘Father, save me from this hour’? But this is the very reason I came! (John 12:24-27 NLT, emphasis mine)

And so, dear brothers and sisters, I plead with you to give your bodies to God because of all he has done for you. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice—the kind he will find acceptable. This is truly the way to worship him. Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect. (Romans 12:1, 2 NLT, emphasis mine)

Lead me to the cross
Bring me to my knees
Lord I lay me down
Rid me of myself
I belong to You
.

A.W. Tozer said, “among the plastic saints of our times, Jesus has to do all the dying, and all we want to hear is another sermon about his dying.”

Here are C.S. Lewis’ thoughts on this subject from Counting The Cost.

The terrible thing, the almost impossible thing, is to hand over your whole self–all your wishes and precautions–to Christ.

Christ says ‘Give me All. I don’t want so much of your time and so much of your money and so much of your work: I want You. I have not come to torment your natural self, but to kill it. No half measures are any good. I don’t want to cut off a branch here and a branch there, I want to have the whole tree down. I don’t want to drill the tooth, or crown it, or stop it, but to have it out. Hand over the whole natural self, all the desires which you think innocent as well as the ones you think wicked–the whole outfit. I will give you a new self instead. In fact, I will give you Myself: My own will shall become yours.’…

The goal toward which He is beginning to guide you is absolute perfection; and no power in the whole universe, except you yourself, can prevent Him from taking you to that goal. That is what you are in for. And it is very important to realize that. If we do not, then we are very likely to start pulling back and resisting Him after a certain point. I think that many of us, when Christ has enabled us to overcome one or two sins that were an obvious nuisance, are inclined to feel (though we do not put it into words) that we are now good enough. He has done all we wanted Him to do. And we should be obliged if He would now leave us alone.

But this is the fatal mistake… The question is not what we intended ourselves to be, but what He intended us to be when He made us….

Imagine yourself as a living house. God comes in to rebuild that house. At first, perhaps you can understand what He is doing. He is getting the drains right and stopping the leaks in the roof and so on: you know that those jobs needed doing and so you are not surprised. But presently he starts knocking the house about in a way that hurts abominably and does not seem to make sense. What on earth is He up to? The explanation is that He is building quite a different house from the one you thought of–throwing out a new wing here, putting on an extra floor there, running up towers, making courtyards. You thought you were going to be made into a decent little cottage: but He is building a palace. He intends to come and live in it Himself!

“Yes, but” cottages are cute and chocolate is so much easier…

How are you doing?

Giving something up

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It’s the million dollar question. What are you giving up for Lent? I feel like this is the “business end” of Lent. At our house Phil and Ty have given up Oreos (like father, like son) Madison gave up candy, well Sour Patch Kids to be more specific. (Let’s not over do it!) And I have settled upon chocolate (Gasp! Yes, I am that spiritual. Just kidding. Remember my confession in I will be a subway preacher, my desire to go big or go home.) Sadly, I already inadvertently failed at this only one day in. I had a chocolate chip granola bar as an afternoon snack yesterday. It wasn’t until hours after the fact that I even realized it. Oh boy!

If this was all the more there was to it we would have seriously missed the boat because a Chips Ahoy cookie can just as easily be dunked in milk and as my 11 year old pointed out already she can just eat Sweet-Tarts instead of Sour Patch Kids. (This is an admitted work in progress.). Chocolate is a little harder to substitute when a stress storm hits in all of its fury. But there are substitutes and besides as I have admitted, I already failed. I am throwing myself and my family under the bus on this one (sorry guys) to prove a point. It’s about more than what we give up. This goes deeper than the external appearance to the why.

I love what authors Kendal Haug and Will Walker say in their Lenten devotional.

You may be familiar with the outward aspects of Lent: ashes on foreheads, conversation about giving up sugar or caffeine or TV. But Lent, like spiritual life in general, is not merely external. There are internal realities that give depth and meaning to our actions, things like humility, sacrifice, repentance, and faith. In other words, there is more to Lent than deciding between coffee and TV.

You could, of course, just decide that you are not going to drink coffee for forty days and be done with it, but to do so would be to deprive yourself of far more than coffee. You would miss something that God wants to do in you this season.

Jesus fasted from food and water for forty days in the wilderness. It was not a religious ritual or merely a display of his restraint. Rather, it was a time of trial and temptation which he endured by entrusting himself to God and being nourished on the Word of God. The point of the wilderness, for Jesus, was to experience the real presence of God with him, and power of God at work in him.

Though they may look the same from the outside, participating in Lent and “playing” at Lent are entirely different realities. So give up coffee if you want to, but don’t pretend that the absence of a beverage will sufficiently help you draw near to God.

The Lenten practice of denying usual comforts is a means of deepening our sense of union with Jesus, and reorienting our life around the things of God. We give up that which distracts and entangles because we want to experience some real joy and freedom in Christ.

He then began to teach them that the Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders, the chief priests and the teachers of the law, and that he must be killed and after three days rise again. He spoke plainly about this, and Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him. But when Jesus turned and looked at his disciples, he rebuked Peter. “Get behind me, Satan!” he said. “You do not have in mind the concerns of God, but merely human concerns.” Then he called the crowd to him along with his disciples and said: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me and for the gospel will save it. What good is it for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul? Or what can anyone give in exchange for their soul? If anyone is ashamed of me and my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, the Son of Man will be ashamed of them when he comes in his Father’s glory with the holy angels.” (Mark 8:31-38 NIV)

After yesterday’s post I found myself humming this song and have decided that it is my prayer for the next 40 days…

Lead me to the cross
Where your love poured out
Bring me to my knees
Lord I lay me down
Rid me of myself
I belong to You
Lead me, lead me to the cross

Lead Me To The Cross by Seventh Day Slumber…no frills…no lyrics to read…just the music. Let it wash over you today. May it become your prayer too.