Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Philippians 4:4-7

11 May 2012

Jesus, keep me near the cross

I didn't have a chance to get near Jesus, Keep Me Near The Cross in the lead up to Easter so I read it after Easter instead.  This book is wonderful in and out of season.  Here's a passage from near the end that taught me something and encouraged me to press on in keeping near the cross of Jesus.

Four of the last seven words [of Jesus on the cross] were from the Old Testament.  Only Jesus' direct  addresses to God on behalf of the soldiers, to the dying thief, and to his mother and beloved disciple were not.  This means that Jesus was filling his mind and strengthening his spirit not by trying to keep a stiff upper lip or look for a silver lining, as we might say, but by an act of deliberately remembering and consciously clinging to the great prophecies and promises of God.  If Jesus did that, don't you think you should do it too?  And not only when you come to die.

You need to fill your head with Scripture and think of your life in terms of the promises of Scripture now.  If you do not do it now, how will you ever find strength to do it when you come to die?  You must live Scripture, committing your spirit into the hands of God day by day if you are to yield your spirit into God's loving hands trustingly at the last.

From "The Heart of the Cross" by James Montgomery Boice and Philip Graham Ryken (page 100) in Jesus, Keep Me Near The Cross edited by Nancy Guthrie.

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