“Take Up Your Cross Daily” by Dave Good

Good morning and welcome back to another edition of GSM’s “Refill with Randy” Blog!

Today, I would like to spend a few moments talking about the decisions we make on a daily basis. Throughout your day you will be faced with hundreds, if not thousands, of decisions to make. Some may be easy, like what time I have to get up and get ready for work. If you are like me you probably have that down to the minute. Other decisions will be harder. For instance, what am I going to wear or what do you want for dinner? ( By the way, I hate that question. Lol) Some questions are more important than others. What do you want to be when you grow up or what college will you attend? There is always the most important question of all. Do you believe in Jesus Christ? As you can see, just a few examples of the decisions we face can have a drastic impact on our life.

Jesus, himself had to face many decisions while on Earth . He had to decide what to wear, what to eat, and where to go. He walked this earth and faced challenges every day just like us. The only difference was that Jesus navigated this world without making a poor decision and without sinning. Unfortunately, we will never be able to achieve the same perfection on our own. We live in a fallen world and perfection is impossible without Christ. The Bible tells us, “There is no one righteous, not even one.” (Romans 3:10) We may never obtain righteousness here on earth but it shouldn’t stop us from trying. So the question remains, how do we strive towards righteousness and make good decisions?

For that answer we must turn to The Word. “Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me.” (Matthew‬ ‭16:24‬) ‬‬Take a minute and let that sink in. Jesus, himself said, if you want to be my disciple you must deny yourself and take up your cross and follow me. What you just read is a truth that will transform your life. ‬‬‬‬

When I read a rather complex and powerful statement. I like to break it down into smaller more understandable concepts.

The first command is to deny yourself. In other words, it’s not about you. The world doesn’t revolve around you and you cannot have or do whatever you want. Living as Jesus did requires you to live selflessly and put the needs of others before you.

Next, Jesus tells us to take up our cross. The cross is not the same cross he died on. The cross is a symbol of the responsibility and life that is entrusted to us. I don’t think I have to remind you that this life is not easy. Life is full of ups and downs and adversity. We must live responsibility each and every day. It’s not easy but the cross of life is something God gives us the strength to endure.

The final piece of this verse is To follow me. This command is the easiest to understand. Jesus wants us to follow his lead. He wants us to live a life that He first modeled for us. Jesus spent his life loving, helping, and taking care of others. If we are going to follow Him, it is essential that we live that same way.

Friends, our Christian walk is not easy. We must decide each and every day who we are going to follow. Are we going to follow ourselves and live our way or will we follow Jesus? We need to make that decision daily. The good news is that Jesus has already set the example as to how to live life. Jesus would never expect you to do anything that He hasn’t done first. I hope my words are encouraging and bring you closer to God. I look forward to seeing you next week.

“Jesus followed God’s GPS” by Pastor Randy

Yesterday was Palm Sunday, the beginning of Holy Week, and so I want to take a look at not only Jesus’ Triumphal Entry into Jerusalem but also what led him there in the first place. Let’s start by reading…

Matthew 20:1-11 “As Jesus and the disciples approached Jerusalem, they came to the town of Bethphage on the Mount of Olives. Jesus sent two of them on ahead. “Go into the village over there,” he said. “As soon as you enter it, you will see a donkey tied there, with its colt beside it. Untie them and bring them to me. If anyone asks what you are doing, just say, ‘The Lord needs them,’ and he will immediately let you take them.” This took place to fulfill the prophecy that said, “Tell the people of Jerusalem, ‘Look, your King is coming to you. He is humble, riding on a donkey— riding on a donkey’s colt.’” The two disciples did as Jesus commanded. They brought the donkey and the colt to him and threw their garments over the colt, and he sat on it. Most of the crowd spread their garments on the road ahead of him, and others cut branches from the trees and spread them on the road. Jesus was in the center of the procession, and the people all around him were shouting, “Praise God for the Son of David! Blessings on the one who comes in the name of the Lord! Praise God in highest heaven!” The entire city of Jerusalem was in an uproar as he entered. “Who is this?” they asked. And the crowds replied, “It’s Jesus, the prophet from Nazareth in Galilee.”” (NLT‬‬)

This seems like a pretty good first day in the city but, as we know all too well, it kind of went down hill from there at least from an earthly point of view. The fact though was that Jesus knew what was coming all along. He knew that even though there were those now crying “Hosanna! Hosanna!” And throwing Palm branches at his feet that a mere five days later others would be crying, “Crucify him! Crucify him!” and pressing a crown of thorns into his head. We know that he knew this because he had already told his disciples as much. If you go back four chapters Jesus says in…

Matthew‬ ‭16:21-24‬ “From then on Jesus began to tell his disciples plainly that it was necessary for him to go to Jerusalem, and that he would suffer many terrible things at the hands of the elders, the leading priests, and the teachers of religious law. He would be killed, but on the third day he would be raised from the dead. But Peter took him aside and began to reprimand him for saying such things. “Heaven forbid, Lord,” he said. “This will never happen to you!” Jesus turned to Peter and said, “Get away from me, Satan! You are a dangerous trap to me. You are seeing things merely from a human point of view, not from God’s.” Then Jesus said to his disciples, “If any of you wants to be my follower, you must give up your own way, take up your cross, and follow me.” (‭NLT‬‬)

Jesus knew what would happen by going to Jerusalem and yet he kept going in that direction. Why? My friend Pastor Mike Rivera shared in his message yesterday morning that it was because Jesus was heading home and the way was through Jerusalem… through the pain… through the cross. I would argue that you can look back to the beginning of Jesus’ earthly ministry and see that he had been going in this direction the entire time as he followed GPS (God’s Positioning System).

Jesus chose to go to and through the cross for us. On this first day of Holy Week I would encourage you to take some time and consider where you would be willing to go and what you would be willing to do for him, remembering that he said…

“If any of you wants to be my follower, you must give up your own way, take up your cross, and follow me.”