KEEP YOUR EYES ON THE CROSS
I wasn’t very religious growing up. When I moved to Washington DC in 1990, I was met by a disciple of Jesus who studied the Bible with me. Once I opened the Bible and studied the Scriptures for the first time, I quickly realized there was hope for this lost world. My previous conviction was that if there was a nuclear war and all humanity destroyed itself, it would be no great loss. The world was sinful and so was I. Two weeks took me from being a man who questioned if God was even real, to complete faith in God. On October 19, 1990, I was baptized and became a disciple of Jesus Christ! Thus began the journey and my wrestling with both God and man.
Genesis 32:28 “Then the man said, ‘Your name will no longer be Jacob, but Israel, because you have wrestled with God and man and have overcome.’”
I had to persevere through many hard relationships both inside and outside the church to learn a valuable lesson. God taught me to have a conviction to fight for my relationship with Him! Would I let somebody take my wallet or break in to my home and steal my belongings or steal my car? No! I would fight to prevent people from stealing what is valuable to me. Therefore, I will fight even more to prevent people from stealing what is most valuable to me, my relationship with God!
Matthew 13:43 44 “The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field. When a man found it, he hid it again, and then in his joy went and sold all he had and bought that field.”
Why do I deny myself and have my quiet times every day? Keep your eyes on the cross. Why do I give my tithe even when my finances are bad? Keep your eyes on the cross. Why have I never missed a Sunday service in 26 years unless I was traveling? Keep your eyes on the cross. Why did I persevere through times when things looked hopeless? Keep your eyes on the cross.
James 1:12 “Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him.”
In 2003 when our church went through a challenging time because of a letter that was written criticizing a lot of the behavior of our fellowship and as a result, many began giving up on their faith and their relationship with God. Men who were faithful leaders in the church and had appeared to be rock solid in their faith, crumbled like ginger bread men. Why did I during this time go out and pray to God and claim “Jesus is still Lord and the Bible is still true? Keep your eyes on the cross.
Ephesians 2:20 “Built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone.”
Why did my wife and I, in 2004, leave our home, quit our jobs and leave our family in Florida because of the sad state of the church we belonged to and move all the way across the country to a place called Portland, Oregon to be part of a dynamic and faith filled church lead by Kip and Elena McKean? Keep your eyes on the cross.
2 Chronicles 11:14 “The Levites even abandoned their pasturelands and property and came to Judah and Jerusalem, because Jeroboam and his sons had rejected them as priests of the Lord.”
Why did I then move to Phoenix, Arizona and Santiago, Chile to help build churches with deep convictions from the Bible? Keep your eyes on the cross. Why is it when my wife and I were going through challenges in our marriage or I was in a terrible work situation with an abusive boss did I not give up hope? Keep your eyes on the cross.
Hebrews 12:1-2 “Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith.”
In relationships with people the Bible says be merciful and you will receive mercy. If you find yourself going through many challenges with people maybe you need to be more merciful so that you too will receive mercy. The times when I have the best relationship with my wife and others is when I am being merciful. God had to literally crush my unmerciful character out of me so that I could become a more merciful man of God. Keep your eyes on the cross.
When you’re being unfairly treated or falsely accused, remember to keep your eyes on the cross!
1 Peter 2:23 “When they hurled their insults at him, he did not retaliate; when he suffered, he made no threats. Instead, he entrusted himself to him who judges justly.”
Remember my brothers and sisters, keep your eyes on the cross, the cross of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!
We are family to the end!
Your brother in Christ,