Sunday, October 23, 2011

Taking up and laying down

And he strictly charged and commanded them to tell this to no one, saying, "The Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and on the third day be raised." And he said to all, "If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will save it. For what does it profit a man if he gains the whole world and loses or forfeits himself? For whoever is ashamed of me and of my words, of him will the Son of Man be ashamed when he comes in his glory and the glory of the Father and of the holy angels. But I tell you truly, there are some standing here who will not taste death until they see the kingdom of God." (Luke 9:21-27)
I encourage you to read this stirring and sobering story from Dave Black, True Homeland Security. The work of the Kingdom goes on daily in the hard places of the world, places where the threat of death is a constant companion of those proclaiming the Gospel. Places where taking up your cross means more than the sermon running five minutes over and delaying your lunch plans. Places where for believers taking up your cross and laying down your life are often one and the same. Stories like this make me more than a little ashamed of our squabbling and nitpicking in America but they also encourage me because I see that God will equip and strengthen His tools for whatever trials they must face and that should He call me to lay down my life for the Gospel that He will give me the courage and strength to do His will. Read and be encouraged. Our God is mighty to save!

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