Matthew 16:24
Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.

The Cross truly is an ugly thing. We try to pretty it up by turning it into jewelry, decretive wall hangings, memes, and tattoos all in the effort to beautify our relationship to that Cross. Here is the unadulterated and hard truth, we cannot add any sparkle, shine or technicolor to the place of our Lord’s torture and death… nor should we. I am not saying that you should not wear or hang up a cross, what I am saying is we should make sure our hearts do not try to “tone down” or lessen in any way the impact of the sacrifice that was made for us to have access to the life we now do. If we keep the power and purpose of the Cross before us everyday then the passion and sacrifice of the love that was displayed there will be a daily reminder that our life is no longer our own, but it now belongs to Him. The ISV reads, “If anyone wants to follow me, he must deny himself, pick up his cross, and follow me continuously.” This is not a one time encounter or experience with the historical facts of a life once lived. This is a moment by moment, day by day, continuous and selfless walk that shows our true submission and commitment to Jesus and His love displayed by that ugly Cross. It is one thing to wear a cross… it is another completely different thing to actually LIVE the Cross. The Cross was dirty, the Cross was bloody, the Cross was torture, the Cross was humiliating, the Cross was death and the Cross was VICTORY! If you can hear my words with your heart, you should notice a desire to live for something greater then the drudgery of this world. Beloved, today, recognize the suffering and sacrifice that was endured for you so you can experience the empowering that was also freely given to you through that victory. Let your life go and pick up His Life!

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1 Corinthians 7:22-23
For he who was a slave when he was called by the Lord is the Lord’s freedman. Conversely, he who was a free man when he was called is Christ’s slave. You were bought at a price; do not become slaves of men.

In the Love and Grace of Jesus,
Pastor Steve Cassell

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