Tag Archives: disciples

“Pickup” Your Cross

Pickup Cross Poster

When the cross was taken down at my church after the Easter service and hauled to storage, I just couldn’t pass up this photo opportunity. I didn’t have my camera with me, so I asked a friend to take some pictures. She sent me three photos and voila! A poster.

The idea of a cross being hauled around in a pickup truck added clarity to what Jesus meant when He said to His disciples, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me,” (Matthew 16:24 NIV).

Notice He said, “…take up their cross,” not His cross. You see, we cannot carry the burden Jesus had to carry. We cannot carry the cross that was His to bear. He alone was assigned the task of dying for the sins we committed. The burden we carry is living with the consequences of our sins and knowing we have grieved the Holy Spirit of God.

Jesus went on to say, “For whoever wishes to save his life shall lose it; but whoever loses his life for My sake shall find it,” (v. 25).

In other words, if you want to continue living this life on your own terms, you won’t enjoy your afterlife. But if you choose to live your life on Christ’s terms, you will not only enjoy this life more, you’ll have everlasting love, joy, and peace on the other side of eternity.

Therefore, to be true disciples, or followers of Christ, we must set aside our own personal wants and wishes in favor of His wants, wishes, and will for us. That’s what it means to deny ourselves. Hopefully, the longer we walk with Him, the closer our will conforms to His.

So “pickup” your cross and continue your earth journey with Jesus. When you trust Him to lead you, you’ll be comforted by His peace and presence here and now.

Unity: That They May Be One


Did you know that people learn a lot about us when we they hear us pray? Through prayer, we reveal what is foremost in our hearts and on our minds.

As Jesus faced His crucifixion, He prayed for unity, and He allowed His disciples to listen as He prayed for Himself, for them, and for us as future believers. We are privileged to read His Words.

In the first three verses of John 17, we witness the intimate interaction of the Holy Trinity–the divine mystery of perfect unity. Listen as the Holy Spirit prays from the realm of eternity to God the Father for Jesus, the Son. Listen as He intercedes for Jesus.

“Father, the time has come. Glorify Your Son, that Your Son may glorify You. For You granted Him authority over all people that He might give eternal life to all those You have given Him. Now this is eternal life: that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, Whom You have sent.”

To know that the Holy Spirit intercedes for us today, in the same way, is beyond my understanding. But Jesus continued this High Priestly prayer by giving an account of how He lived His life here on earth.

We, too, will be called to account for how we have lived our lives. Will we be able to say to our Father as Jesus said, “I have brought You glory on earth by completing the work You gave me to do?”

Jesus recalled for God that He had revealed Himself to His disciples. He gave His disciples the Words God had given to Him. He prayed for their protection from the evil one, and He prayed for their sanctification–that they would be set apart as believers.

Then Jesus explained that He set Himself apart to die for us so we could be set apart to live for Him. He told His Father He had lived His whole life, “So that they may be one as We are one.” In other words, He prayed for the unity of His disciples.

Unity. That special oneness with the Holy Spirit. That Holy Spiritual bond that crosses the boundaries of denominations and knits His church family together.

Hebrews 7:25 tells us that, “Jesus is still praying for us today.”

Isn’t it comforting to know that we are on His prayer list?

He prayed, “That all of them may be one, Father, just as You are in Me, and I am in You.” He even gave us the glory that God gave Him, so we may be brought to complete unity. He said it was, “to let the world know that You sent Me and have loved them even as You have loved me.”

Can you imagine? Jesus, Son of the Most High God, not only loves us and wants perfect unity with us, He wants us to be with Him where He is. He wants us to see His glory.

Jesus taught His disciples, so they could teach us. Now, we are to continue the work that God has called us into perfect unity to do. When we focus on Jesus instead of ourselves and jointly seek a closer walk with Him, we are assured a closer relationship with each other. We are assured the unity He seeks.

We can do this. For Jesus’ sake.

Heavenly Father, Thank You for hearing our prayers, too. Help us to set ourselves aside and follow Your will to protect the precious unity of Your church.