Short & Sweet: Cross Guard, by Mary Kane

Nourishment and Refreshment for your soul.
Nourishment and Refreshment for your soul.

34 And at the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying, “Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani?” which is translated, “My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?”

37 And Jesus cried out with a loud voice, and breathed His last.
38 Then the veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. 39 So when the centurion, who stood opposite Him, saw that He cried out like this and breathed His last, he said, “Truly this Man was the Son of God!” Mark 15:34, 37-39
When I was in elementary school, I attended a neighborhood parochial school a couple of blocks from my house. Back in the halcyon days of my childhood, we played for hours outside with the kids on our block, we set up lemonade stands, we came home for dinner when the church bells rang, and we walked to school by ourselves. At the corner of Brookfield and State Street, was a Cross Guard. The Cross Guard, who wore a bright orange belt across his chest, manned his post in the morning, at lunch time, (yes, we did walk home for lunch) and in the afternoon. His job was to safely conduct us across the street. He took his job very seriously and could REPORT us if we didn’t obey his every command.
When I reached 5th grade, I too became a Cross Guard. One time, while on duty, I was caught goofing around. My indiscretion earned a lecture from my father. Thankfully, he gave me a second chance.
In the Bible, another kind of Cross Guard is mentioned, the centurion. He stood watch at the foot of the cross. The Cross Guard had one job – to watch the cross. As the Cross Guard watched the cross and the Son of God as He poured out His life’s blood, he could only say one thing: “Truly this man was the Son of God.
We are now the Cross Guards of the 21st Century. Like the Cross Guard of my childhood, we must take our job very seriously (we don’t want a lecture from our Father); it is a matter of life and death. We stand at the foot of the cross and call out to all who will listen, “Truly this Man is the Son of God.” By our witness, may we safely conduct many to a saving faith in Christ.
Action Points:
  1. How are you witnessing for Jesus Christ?
  2. How do you guard the message of the cross in your life?
  3. Who needs you to be a Cross Guard so they can safely find Jesus?

Life is sweet.

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Short & Sweet: Take up His Cross by Mary Kane

Nourishment and Refreshment for your soul.
Nourishment and Refreshment for your soul.

When He had called the people to Himself, with His disciples also, He said to them, “Whoever desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me. Mark 8:34

Everyday, God commands us to take up our cross and follow Him. On my jewelry rack I have a variety of crosses to take up and put on – one to suit my every mood. On casual days, I take up my plain silver cross and clasp it around my neck.  If I am feeling a little trendy, I have several edgy-looking crosses to take up and sling on. When I need to look elegant, I take up and put on my crystal cross. I love how it feels as I slip its costly sterling silver chain over my head. It is beautiful; covered in crystals, in a setting of silver …

How different my collection of crosses is from the cross of Christ. Perhaps taking taking up my cross is more than just putting on an ornament. Maybe taking up my cross is really taking up His cross … walking in His steps. Sacrifice, love, obedience.

The cross of Christ. It is for every day, every situation, every challenge. The cross of Christ is a beautiful cross – plain, wooden, edgy, costly – covered in blood, in a setting of love. I must deny myself, take up His cross, and follow Him.

Action Points

  1. What does it mean to deny yourself?
  2. What do you need to lay down so you can have the strength and ability to take up His cross?
  3. Where does Jesus want you to follow Him?

Life is sweet.

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Short & Sweet: Crossroad, by Mary Kane

Nourishment and refreshment for your soul.
Nourishment and Refreshment for your soul.

“7 A highway shall be there, and a road, and it shall be called the Highway of Holiness. The unclean shall not pass over it, but it shall be for others. Whoever walks the road, although a fool, shall not go astray.” Isaiah 35:8

In my family, when we take a road trip, my husband and my sons NEVER let me navigate.  I was not born with that innate sense of direction, which was instilled in the male members of my family. Even when my children were little (three and five), my oldest son, Erik, would navigate while I drove. (It was quite a sight to see the five-year-old strapped in the car seat, holding the Rand McNally map in one hand and a stuffed puppy in the other, calling out Ohio Turnpike exit numbers).
Now my sons are grown and I often have to drive myself.  I have taken many interesting detours. Invariably (even if I have a map), when I come to a crossroad, and I have to make a decision, I choose the wrong road. Eventually, however, by hook or crook, I end up at my destination.
Life is also full of crossroads. We can be cruising down the highway of life when all of a sudden … we come to a crossroad. We must make a decision. This decision will affect the course of the rest of our life. No pressure. A crossroad. One way is crowded, smooth, glitzy, and wide. The other way is narrow, rustic, hard, but good … the Cross Road.
Jesus is there to help us navigate the crossroads of life. After all, He walked the Cross Road all by Himself. Carrying a heavy load. He knows the way … He is the way. You are never lost when you have been found by Jesus.
The Cross Road.
Action Point:
  1. Where are you walking –  the wide road or the Cross Road?
  2. If you are on the Cross Road, have taken any short-cuts or detours? How’d they work for you? (Same here.)
  3. If you are headed in the wrong direction, what do you need to do to turn around? God does allow u-turns.

Life is sweet.

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Short & Sweet: Cross Out by Mary Kane

Nourishment and refreshment for your soul.
Nourishment and refreshment for your soul.

There is salvation in no one else! God has given no other name under heaven by which we must be saved [Jesus].” Acts 4:12

We all remember taking tests in school. Fill in the dot, multiple choice (otherwise known as multiple guess), true and false, short answer, and the dreaded essay question.

If I had prepared for THE TEST, I actually liked working through the process of multiple choice questions using the “Cross Out Strategy.”

The Cross Out Strategy:

  1. Know the truth.
  2. Examine all the questions and search for truth.
  3. Cross out the obvious wrong answers.
  4. Analyze remaining answers.
  5. Cross out answers that contain a bit of truth.
  6. Circle remaining answer.

The key to the Cross Out Strategy is knowing the truth. Without having access to the true answers, the Cross Out Strategy is futile.

The same strategy works when looking for the answer to life’s biggest question: How may we be saved?

  1. Know the truth.
  2. Search for the truth.
  3. Cross out wrong answers that contain a bit of truth.
  4. Accept the correct answer.

The answer to our biggest question is contained in our verse above: There is no other name by which we must be saved. Jesus. It is only by accepting His sacrificial death on the cross that we are saved.

It all comes down to the cross: cross out all other answers.

Action Points:

  1. Is Jesus your Savior? Have you crossed out all other options?
  2. Do you depend only on Him for salvation, restoration and forgiveness?
  3. Do you allow others to rest only on Jesus, or do you require others to continually pay for their sins?
  4. Are you hanging on to something Jesus has already nailed to the cross?

Life is sweet.

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Short and Sweet: Forged by Fire by Mary Kane

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Nourishment and refreshment for the soul.

29 “Is not My word like a fire?” says the LORD

“And like a hammer that breaks the rock in pieces?
Jeremiah 23:29
In Jeremiah 23:29, God compares His word to two things: fire and a hammer.
Usually when I hear the word fire, I think of destruction. In the Bible, fire is used for refining precious metals, and for consuming useless things such as hay, straw and stubble. Fire is also indicative of the Presence of God. From fiery Mount Sinai, to  the burning bush,  to the pillar of fire, to the tongues of fire at Pentecost, where there is fire, there is God.
Hammers on the other hand, mean construction. Interestingly, pattiysh, the Hebrew word for hammer, refers to a forge hammer; the type of hammer a blacksmith uses to pound, strengthen and shape metal after it has been heated in … fire.
God uses both of these tools to mature our faith. Destruction and construction, forge and fire, work hand in hand. With the fire of His Word, God clears our lives of hay, straw, and stubble so He  can build a sure foundation. Precept and doctrines are then hammered down, board by board, as we study and apply the truth of God’s word.  God continues to refine and build until we become His  church, living temples filled with the glory of God.
Action Points:
  1. Identify the hay, straw, and stubble in your life.
  2. What can you do to cooperate with the firing process?
  3. What is God building in your life?
  4. How can you aid God in the building process?

Sometimes God must tear down before He can build up.

Life is sweet!

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For more information on God’s refining fire, please click on the link below.

Refining Fire Bible Verses