BEARING HIS CROSS


By Henry G. Bosch

They compelled a certain man, Simon a Cyrenian, the father of Alexander and Rufus, to bear His cross. —Mark 15:21

In the eyes of most people in the crowd, Jesus was a common criminal going to the place of execution. So to help Him bear His cross was both degrading and humiliating.

Simon of Cyrene was pressed into this service (Mark 15:21). Yet this was perhaps the most glorious day in his life. It is possible that he believed in the Savior, and that his wife and children did also. Some Bible teachers come to that conclusion because many years later, when the apostle Paul sent his greetings to the Christians in Rome, he referred to a man named Rufus and his mother (Romans 16:13). I believe that he was the son of Simon mentioned by Mark in his gospel (15:21), which probably was written in Rome. This is likely the reason Mark said that Simon was the father of Rufus and Alexander.

When we walk with Jesus and “take up the cross” (Luke 9:23), we too will experience the ridicule of the world for identifying ourselves with the Savior. Yet through it all, like Simon of Cyrene, our lives will be transformed, and our testimony will have an influence on the lives of family and friends around us.

Simon was “compelled” to bear the cross (Mark 15:21), but Jesus invites us to take up our cross. Have you?

“Take up thy cross and follow Me,”
I hear the blessed Savior call;
How can I make a lesser sacrifice
When Jesus gave His all? —Ackley

Following Jesus costs more than anything—except not following Him.

Devotional forwarded to you by:

UP CHRISTIAN YOUTH MOVEMENT

NCCP Ecumenical Ministry – Church of the Risen Lord

University of the Philippines, Diliman Campus, QC

CHEERING EACH OTHER ON

By David C. McCasland

Let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works. —Hebrews 10:24

A mile from the finish line of the London Marathon, thousands of onlookers holding signs lined the route. When spectators spotted a family member or friend coming into view, they shouted the person’s name, waved, and yelled encouragement: “Just a little farther! Keep going! You’re almost there.” After running 25 miles, many competitors were barely walking and ready to quit. It was amazing to watch exhausted runners brighten and pick up the pace when they saw someone they knew or heard their name called out.

Encouragement! We all need it, especially in our walk of faith. The book of Hebrews tells us to keep urging each other on. “Let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works, not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, . . . but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching” (10:24-25).

The New Testament is filled with the certainty that Christ will return soon. “The Lord is at hand” (Phil. 4:5). “The coming of the Lord is at hand” (James 5:8). “Behold, I am coming quickly” (Rev. 22:12).

As we “see the Day approaching,” let’s keep cheering each other on in the faith. “Keep going! You’re almost there! The finish line is in sight.”

Help me, Lord, to reassure and strengthen
Others by the words I speak today;
I would always try to be affirming,
As our pathways cross along life’s way. —Hess

Even if you have nothing else to give, you can give encouragement.

Devotional forwarded to you by:

UP CHRISTIAN YOUTH MOVEMENT

NCCP Ecumenical Ministry – Church of the Risen Lord

University of the Philippines, Diliman Campus, QC

THEY ARE THE PROBLEM

By Anne Cetas

He who glories, let him glory in the Lord. —2 Corinthians 10:17

Researchers from Virginia Tech University, along with police administrators, recently determined that distracted drivers put others in more danger than aggressive drivers. Drivers who eat, discipline children in the backseat, or talk on the phone are the most hazardous.

When residents in Grand Rapids, Michigan, were asked about the bad habits of drivers that made the highways unsafe, most felt that others caused more problems than they themselves. One woman said that she talked on her cell phone a little, but at least she didn’t dial the phone numbers while on the road. She concluded her comments by stating that others “aren’t following the rules of the road . . . . They put us all at risk.”

It’s our nature to point a finger at others. The apostle Paul talked about fellow teachers who avoided looking at their own behavior and instead attacked him (2 Cor. 10:12-18). He wrote, “They, measuring themselves by themselves, . . . are not wise” (v.12).

When we don’t look at our own actions but instead compare ourselves with others, we often come out looking good. But, as Paul said, it’s the Lord’s commendation that counts, not our own approval of ourselves (v.18).

The faults I see in others’ lives
Are often true of me;
So help me, Lord, to recognize
My own hypocrisy. —Sper

If you must compare yourself with someone, compare yourself with Christ.

Devotional forwarded to you by:

UP CHRISTIAN YOUTH MOVEMENT

NCCP Ecumenical Ministry – Church of the Risen Lord

University of the Philippines, Diliman Campus, QC

RETIREMENT TIME

By Anne Cetas

Whoever loses his life for My sake will find it. —Matthew 16:25

After working for 40 years as a teacher, Jane Hanson retired. She and her husband were looking forward to the arrival of their first grandchild.

Retirement is that time of life when many people simply relax, travel, or enjoy hobbies. But Jane heard about a ministry to at-risk youth in a city near her home, and she knew she had to get involved. “I realized there are kids just waiting, and I could make a difference,” she said. She began teaching English to a young Liberian man who had been forced to flee his home country because of civil war. Though he was in a safe environment, he didn’t understand the new language. Of this ministry opportunity, Jane said with a smile, “I could just go shopping to stay busy, but what fun would that be?”

Jane is making a difference. Perhaps she has learned a little of what Jesus meant when He said, “Whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it” (Matt. 16:25). Giving ourselves to the Lord through helping others takes self-denial, yet one day Jesus will reward that effort (v.27).

Let’s follow Jane’s example of love for God and others—no matter what our stage of life may be.

Oh, let us be faithful to Jesus,

The faith we confessed let’s renew,

And ask Him this question each morning:

“Lord, what will You have me to do?” —Pangborn
Work for the Lord—His retirement plan is out of this world.

Devotional forwarded to you by:

UP CHRISTIAN YOUTH MOVEMENT

NCCP Ecumenical Ministry – Church of the Risen Lord

University of the Philippines, Diliman Campus, QC

WHEN YOU SAY, “I’M SORRY”

By Herbert Vander Lugt

Godly sorrow produces repentance leading to salvation, not to be regretted. —2 Corinthians 7:10

With tears in his eyes a man said to me, “I told my wife I was sorry, but she says she won’t continue to live with me. First John 1:9 says that God forgives us when we confess our sins. Please talk to her and tell her that if God forgives, she should too.”

I knew this man had “repented” several times before, only to revert to his abusive behavior. So I said, “No, I’m not going to tell her that. In your case, saying ‘I’m sorry’ isn’t enough.” His wife insisted that he receive counseling and give evidence of a genuine change before returning home. She was right.

Just saying “I’m sorry” is not enough for God either. The leaders of Israel, in the face of trouble brought on by their sin, thought that merely returning to prescribed sacrificial offerings would solve their problems. But God rejected that kind of “repentance.” It was as fleeting as “a morning cloud” and “the early dew” that fades away with the first rays of sunlight (Hosea 6:4).

Merely saying “I’m sorry” is no different than the empty rituals of the Israelites. God said, “I desire mercy and not sacrifice, and the knowledge of God more than burnt offerings” (v.6). He meant that repentance must result in a change of heart and a change in behavior. That’s “godly sorrow” (2 Corinthians 7:10).

Repentance is to leave the sin
That we had loved before,
And showing we are grieved by it
By doing it no more. —Anon.

Repentance means hating sin enough to turn from it.

Devotional forwarded to you by:

UP CHRISTIAN YOUTH MOVEMENT

NCCP Ecumenical Ministry – Church of the Risen Lord

University of the Philippines, Diliman Campus, QC

DOING JUSTICE

By David C. McCasland

You shall not follow a crowd to do evil; nor shall you testify in a dispute so as to turn aside after many to pervert justice. —Exodus 23:2

In the decades since the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr., the US national holiday established to commemorate his birth has also become a day to remember the cause in which he gave his life.

During the ’50s and ’60s, Dr. King led a nonviolent struggle against racial discrimination and issued a plea for the civil rights of African-Americans. His goal was justice and equality based on human dignity, not skin color.

From Old Testament days until now, God has commanded His people to exercise justice in their dealings with others. “You shall not follow a crowd to do evil; nor shall you testify in a dispute so as to turn aside after many to pervert justice” (Exodus 23:2).

“He has shown you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God?” (Micah 6:8).

Jesus rebuked the Pharisees for doing their religious duties while neglecting “justice and the love of God” (Luke 11:42).

To treat people with fairness and integrity is part of our responsibility as Christians. Standing publicly for what is right is required of us as well.

May we honor God by living out truth in action in our world today.

Justice is the clarion call for Christians-
We cannot step aside from what God said;
He has told us how to treat our neighbor,
And we must follow in the path He’s led.  -Hess

God’s standard of justice leaves no room for prejudice.

Devotional forwarded to you by:

UP CHRISTIAN YOUTH MOVEMENT

NCCP Ecumenical Ministry – Church of the Risen Lord

University of the Philippines, Diliman Campus, QC

LEARNING TO GIVE

By David C. McCasland

Zacchaeus stood and said to the Lord, “Look, Lord, I give half of my goods to the poor.” —Luke 19:8

Many people in affluent countries have become burdened by the accumulation of material goods they no longer need or use. But they have a hard time getting rid of things that clog their homes and businesses. After five moves in four years, one woman said, “You know how much stuff I brought with me to each place? I’ve asked myself, ‘Where was your brain when you moved all this stuff?’” She then hired a professional organizer to help her learn to let go of things.

People cling to their possessions for many different reasons. It seems that Zacchaeus struggled with this problem because he was greedy (Luke 19:1-10). But the story of this wealthy tax collector who climbed a tree to see Jesus culminated in a complete change of heart when Zacchaeus said, “Look, Lord, I give half of my goods to the poor” (v.8). He then promised, “If I have taken anything from anyone by false accusation, I restore fourfold.” Jesus responded by saying, “Today salvation has come to this house” (v.9).

The new spiritual freedom that Zacchaeus found could be observed as he turned from getting to giving. His relaxed grip revealed a renewed heart.

Is it true of us as well?

Speak to us, Lord, till shamed by Thy great giving,
Our hands unclasp to set our treasures free;
Our wills, our love, our dear ones, our possessions
All gladly yielded, gracious Lord, to Thee. —Anon.

We haven’t learned to live until we’ve learned to give.

Devotional forwarded to you by:

UP CHRISTIAN YOUTH MOVEMENT

NCCP Ecumenical Ministry – Church of the Risen Lord

University of the Philippines, Diliman Campus, QC