The Old Rugged Cross

“So l’ll cherish the old rugged cross. Till my trophies at last I lay down. I will cling to the old rugged cross. And exchange it someday for a crown” (Bennard).

“The emblem of suffering and shame… ” At the time of Jesus’ crucifixion, the cross was a shameful symbol. I tried to think of a present day equivalent, but there simply isn’t one. I once read a book where the author joked about Christians wearing crosses. He said that they might as well have a modern-day electric chair hanging around their necks. The thought sounds a little irreverent to me, but he kind of had a point.

‘‘I will cherish the old rugged cross… ” Why do we cherish an emblem of suffering and shame? What is it about the cross that draws us to it? How can something so notoriously ugly, be so beautiful?
While I write this, I am thinking about all the suffering and shame that I once carried. I could tell you some stories  I’m sure you could tell me some, too. Today when I think of the cross, I see Jesus. I see Him taking my suffering and shame and making them His own. I see Him declaring hope and healing over my failures and misery. Through a shameful cross, His blood has bought me a new life.
Why do we cling to and cherish this old, rugged cross? Because our Savior’s blood covered it, along with our sins. It has become an emblem not of shame, but of forgiveness and victory. I encourage you to spend some time recognizing the beauty of the cross, for it is the chosen instrument that God used to rescue us.
~PASTOR SUSAN B.

Need a Fresh Coat of Paint?

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It is amazing what a fresh coat of paint can do for an old fence, house or piece of furniture. The past week, Susan and I have been painting around the house. The walls of the garage, our fence around the yard, and even the house itself. I am always amazed at how good, how new, a fresh coat of paint can make whatever needs attention. It had been several years since we have applied the brush to our property, and I didn’t realize how badly it was needed until I saw the finished paint job. We sat back, looked, and said: WOW! What a difference. Over the years the paint faded, got dinged up, peeled off, it began to look bad . . . we just didn’t notice it so much! After the new coat of paint however . . . man, it really needed painting. Well, the painting at the PhiIIip’s house is almost done, some trim here and there, some odd and ends, and hooray, we are done.

The label on our paint can read “guaranteed for 15 years”. In other words, we will have to eventually paint again. When I saw that label I was reminded of the Old Testament sacrifice. Daily, monthly, and yearly sacrifices were made to cover the sins committed. In other words, the people got dirty with sin, and they needed to be cleansed.

imageOnly the blood of a lamb, bull or goat could cover the sin, so . . . over and over the blood had to be applied. That is until Jesus came. When God sent His only Son and Jesus lived the perfect life and willingly shed His blood on the cross . . . His blood did more than cover my sins, it took them away, forever. I have a lifetime guarantee, my sins are buried in the deepest sea, remembered by God no more, as far as the east is from the west, my sins are gone. I may sin again and its stain will attempt to mar my life. All I have to do is ask Jesus to forgive me and His grace and love for me kicks in, and I am clean once again. No more painting, no more sacrificing. Jesus has taken care of the stain of sin. Thank you, Jesus!

P.S. Maybe after a good look at your life you may need to ask Jesus to take care of some “painting”. If you do, you will feel amazing!

~PASTOR ROD