The Hardest Thing You’ll Ever Do

Hello, Beloved Reader! I’m Faith. Thanks for visiting me today.

“And ye shall be hated of all men for my name’s sake: but he that endureth to the end shall be saved.” — Matthew 10:22

“But he that shall endure to the end, the same shall be saved.” — Matthew 24:13

“Thou therefore endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ.” — 2 Timothy 2:3

“And so, after he had patiently endured, he obtained the promise.” — Hebrews 6:5

“Behold, we count them happy which endure. Ye have heard of the patience of Job, and have seen the end of the Lord; that the Lord is very pitiful, and of tender mercy.” — James 5:1

The trophy at the end of the game sparkles, glinting in the lights, reflecting in the eyes of the proud team that possesses it. Their faces beam underneath all the sweat and dirt covering their foreheads and cheeks. They all flop down on the benches, worn out from the day’s activities. But, the proud look in their eyes never fades, no matter how tired they are. They finished the game. Yeah, there were a few scratches, gashes, broken bones, and bruises, but they won. They lasted, endured to the end, and won.

They suffered the beatings. They put in the practice. They took focus away from their loved ones and pushed it onto their progress in getting better at the sport. They rammed head-first into the barrier and after a few knockdowns got up and kept going. Some of their friends fell back and refused to go further, but that didn’t stop them from keeping on.

Enduring is a hard thing. I’m not going to tell you it’s easy. It’s not.

It’s one of the hardest things you will ever do in your life.

People in your life won’t understand and may discourage you from continuing. “You don’t need to do all that to be a Christian,” they might say. People will beat you down and sneer at you. They will hurt you and cast you aside. But you can’t stop. I’m not putting away your feelings. Give yourself some time to be upset, but don’t stay there. You can’t.

Imagine the streets of pure gold sparkling under your feet. The cool water of the River and the sweet fruit from the Tree becoming familiar friends. Your home is a mansion. And the best part is, you get to see the face of the One who loves you the most.

So, endure.

Endure the hardships, for it gets easier afterward. Endure the pain, it won’t hurt after a little while. Endure the chaos, for peace is coming. Endure the sorrow, for joy comes in the morning. Endure any looks of disgust, they’ll see what you’re all about soon. Endure the loneliness, for it drives you closer to God and helps you find those select few people who will really encourage you.

Endure this world for your short life, and live forever in the eternal Heaven with Jesus.

I want you to realize something. Think about how long forever is. Life may seem long, but it’s really not. What is 80, 95, or even 100 years? Nothing but dust in the wind or a passing wave. Gone just as quickly as it came. Forever is forever. It never ends.

So, let me ask you this:

Do you want to live like the world 80 years, talk like the world, walk like them, sing like them, and finally, at the end of your short life, die like them?

Only you can commit to a life that honors Christ. But, ask yourself this question:

What happens if you don’t?

Faith Cross

You’re Good to Grow

Hello, Beloved Reader! I’m Faith. Thanks for visiting me today. 

“I don’t need people. I can get along with God just fine without them.”

The old man sits across from the younger one and listens to him rant. The young man goes on about how he doesn’t have to have all the people around him. Obviously, this young man had gotten hurt. People get hurt and used by others, even in church families. This young man was not exempt. 

The older gentleman eats away at his plate of food, never looking up. The young man defends his stance on the subject and finishes his speech. The old man finally looks up after he completes his chewing and leaves the young man with one simple statement.

“Iron sharpens iron.”

“Iron sharpeneth iron; so a man the countenance of his friend.” — Proverbs 27:17

Whether we want to admit it or not, we’ve all been hurt by someone somehow. Each and every one of us have been angry at another person for doing us wrong. To be honest, I think it’s inevitable in this life to have pain from the actions of others. It will happen regardless of what you do to try to stop it.

Sometimes the Bible references us as trees, so think of yourself as the trunk of a tree. Some people in your life are leaves. They are there to provide shade and sometimes give you a little nourishment here and there. But, don’t be fooled. They are only around for a season. After that season, they fall away.

Some people in your life are like the branches. Some are stronger than others, and some stay longer than others, but be careful because when storms come or pressure comes, they aren’t strong enough to support you.

The branches will break away.

But, there are some people in your life that are like the roots of a tree. Those people are grounded. Roots hold the tree in place and gather nutrients from what the tree is planted in – the soil. If you can find a few good roots in your life who are grounded in Jesus Christ and His Word, then you will be good to grow.

Those roots are the iron that sharpens iron. Those roots will be those who help strengthen you and help hold you up. Those people will be the ones with you through thick and thin. They will encourage you in God and care enough about you to let you know when you’re about to make a mistake.

We’ve all been hurt. I’m not disregarding your pain. I know it aches. But, think about the people in your life who are seasonal, those who are around for a little longer, and those who have always been there. Let the seasonal ones go, the branches too, because you can’t cry over them forever. You’ll make yourself miserable. 

Be thankful for your roots and cling to Jesus. For He will never leave you. He’ll always be there.

Faith Cross

Thine ONLY Son Isaac

Hello, Beloved Reader! I’m Faith. Thanks for visiting me today.

“And he said, Take now thy son, thine only son Isaac, whom thou lovest and get thee into the land of Moriah; and offer him there for a burnt offering up on one of the mountains which I will tell thee of.” — Genesis 22:2

Now, let me relay some of Abram’s story to you. Abram lived for a bit with his family and took himself a wife by the name of Sarai. God tells Abram to leave his country and his kindred and go to a land He would show him. So, Abram did. He travels. Many things happened, but one thing in particular that didn’t happen was the lack of child bearing by his wife.

Now, God had made a covenant with Abram, telling him his seed would be like the stars in the sky. But, Abram had no son, and his wife told him the Lord had restrained her from bearing. To give Abram an heir, Sarai gave her Egyptian maid, Hagar, to Abram to be his wife. Hagar bore Abram a son. And a little bit after, Abram died.

“Faith,” you might say, “You know the story doesn’t end there. He doesn’t die. He has Issac and lives to be really old and stuff.”

No, Abram died, and so did Sarai.

God comes to that man and says, “Your name is now Abraham. Your wife’s name is now Sarah.”

A little later down the road, Abraham has Issac and God comes to him, telling him to take his only son Issac and offer him. Brother Anthony touched on this in one of his messages.

“But God,” Abraham could have said, “He’s not my only son.”

“Abraham! Take thine only son, Isaac,” God replies.

“But God, I have two sons, Issac and Ishmael.”

“No, Abraham!” God says, “Ismael’s not your boy. He’s Abram’s boy. Isaac is Abraham’s boy. I changed your name. I made you a new person.”

When God changes a person, He starts over. It’s a clean slate. It’s new. You’re not the same as you were before, and you aren’t tied to your past. Your past is gone and your life is beginning again. Hence being born again. Isn’t that absolutely wonderful?

Our past is no more. Why do we constantly beat ourselves up over it? Live and thrive, no matter your past. God picked you up and turned you around. You are a new creature in Christ Jesus, and don’t you forget it!

Faith Cross

The Living Will

Hello, Beloved Reader! I’m Faith. Thanks for visiting me today.

“And he went a little farther, and fell on his face, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt.” — Matthew 26:39

Before most people die, they write a last will and testament. A few last words and instructions perhaps. God is amazing. His will was written, lived, and taught by Himself. Now, how can I say that?

The Bible shows us His written will. God gave instructions and showed us what happened when people didn’t follow them. He spoke to certain people and they wrote down the words He said. God didn’t really take up a pen and write it Himself, but He used others to write His words. 

Our present shows the Master teaching us His will through the written will, through talking to our hearts, and through Jesus.

Jesus is the Living Will. Jesus, while on Earth, was the perfect example for us. He lived and breathed God’s will. He did nothing outside it.

That’s where we get the question: What would Jesus do?

Jesus would do nothing outside of God’s will. And if we strive to be on the same terms, then we won’t either. Granted, we aren’t perfect like Jesus, so we will mess up from time to time. But, we have to stay in the will of God. We have to listen and trust. We won’t always know God’s will. But in due time He will show us.

In due time, God will bring about His perfect will in our lives, and our lives will be better than we could ever have imagined.

Faith Cross

A Christian’s 911

Hello, Beloved Reader! I’m Faith. Thanks for visiting me today.

“And in his name shall the Gentiles trust.” – Matthew 12:21

“And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved.” – Acts 2:21

“For whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved.” – Romans 10:13

The baby’s face is purple. His little lungs are hindered by a small piece of bacon caught in his throat. The momma holds him in her arms. If they can’t get the blockage out, he will die. She’s desperate.

A phone is handed to her, “Call 911!”

She lifts the phone and screams a specific name. A second later, the baby boy gasps. Air fills his lungs and the blockage is gone. Color washes over his face once again. Relief floods the momma’s heart. He would be okay.

There are many names that you know. Your loved one’s names may come to mind, or even your own. Your friends have names, our pets have names that we call them by. Just about everything has a name. A giant trunk with branches and leaves has been named a tree. A little flying creature with wings and a beak has been named a bird. A name is “a word or set of words by which a person, animal, place, or thing is known, addressed, or referred to.”

There is a name the Bible says that we can be saved by calling on. To save means “to keep safe or rescue (someone or something) from harm or danger.”

The thing is, only one name can save us. Only one name can bring us out of harm’s way. Only one name can turn things around immediately in the blink of an eye. It is the same name that that desperate mother screamed into the telephone.

Jesus!

I’ve heard stories about that name. Stories that should have ended one way, but when that name was called, the ending was changed. Jesus is omnipresent. He’s with you all the time, ready even before the moment you call on Him. He longs for you to call upon Him. He loves us so much that He died for us so we would have the opportunity to spend eternity with Him. He wants to help us. He wants us to call on His name.

Give it a try.

Pressures weighing you down? Life throwing everything it’s got at you? Finances in trouble? Relationship in a tangle? Sickness hindering you? Call your lifeline. Call the Christian’s 911. 

Call out the name of Jesus. You won’t be sorry.

–Faith Cross

Wait a Minute

Hello, Beloved Reader! I’m Faith. Thanks for visiting me today.

“And the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.” –Galatians 5: 22-23

“Rejoicing in hope; patient in tribulation; continuing instant in prayer;” –Romans 12:12

“Now, we exhort you, brethren, warn them that are unruly, comfort the feebleminded, support the weak, be patient toward all men.” –1Thessalonians 5:14

“Be ye also patient; stablish your hearts: for the coming of the Lord draweth nigh.” –James 5:8

Everyone finds themselves impatient at some point. Sometimes it’s a lot of points. Patience is easy to lose, especially in today’s world. Every little thing can get to you. Do you ever look at someone and think, “How in the world can they take that? I would have lost it by now.”

Think about this though: Jesus could have lost it.

He was stripped and mocked. He was beat and spit on. People – His own creations – rejected His love and cried out for His crucifixion. They crowned Him with thorns and ripped out His beard. They drove nails in His hands and feet. How patient was Jesus while dying on that cross?

I know for a fact that none of us could ever die like Jesus did.

Think of how patient Jesus is with our faults! Think how patient is He with our fears, our worries, and our doubts! Again, and again we let Him down and still He picks us up and shows us the way. Do you realize how much patience He has toward us?

Why not give out a little of that patience?

Yes, things annoy me too sometimes. Yes, the ones closest to us know just how to get on our last nerve. Yes, the world can get overwhelming. And yes, sometimes we want what we want when we want it.

“And so, after he had patiently endured, he obtained the promise.” –Hebrews 6:15

Your promise awaits you. Enduring is part of the long game. Patience is key to obtaining your promise. Wait a bit. Sit back, relax. Take in the peace of the moment. You don’t have to worry about getting the promise. It’s already guaranteed; it’s coming. All you have to do is be patient and endure.

— Faith Cross

Joy in the Trials

Hello, Beloved Reader! I’m Faith. Thanks for visiting me today. 

“But let all those that put their trust in thee rejoice: let them ever shout for joy, because thou defendest them: let them also that love thy name be joyful in thee.” –Psalm 5:11

“”Thou wilt shew me the path of life: in thy presence is fulness of joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore.” –Psalm 16:11

“My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations; Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience.” –James 1:2-3

Joy is a concept that some may confuse with happiness. So, for the sake of understanding let’s define each. Happiness is a state of the mind, yet the mind can change rather swiftly. Joy is a state of the heart. Joy comes deep within. Even though they might seem like the same thing, they aren’t.

Joy is a state of happiness, but it lasts longer than just within a moment of contentment.

“Not that I speak in respect of want; for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content.” –Philippians 4:11

You can be in a state of disease and still be content? You can be dying and still be content? You can have the world falling in on you and still be content? How??

It’s not saying be happy that you’re sick or dying. It’s saying be joyous even through the trials. It’s difficult, believe me, I know. It seems impossible to be joyous when you’ve just lost a loved one, or your finances are in shambles, or your heart is heavy. I know. I’m not saying you can’t be sad for a little bit. I’m saying get back up. Don’t wallow in the sorrow. Don’t stay there.

After all, why not be joyous?

You’re a child of God, aren’t you? Don’t you have the promise of eternal life? Don’t you have a Friend that walks by you everyday, who talks to you and gives you peace and comfort when times are rough? Don’t you have a Father who loves you so much to give his Son as a sacrifice for you to have an opportunity for salvation? Why not be joyous? Why not be content? After all, this world and its troubles fade away, right? It’s hard work, but we can do it.

–Faith Cross

Peace in the Chaos

Hello, Beloved Reader! I’m Faith. Thanks for visiting me today.

“And above all these things put on charity, which is the bond of perfectness. And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to which also ye are called in one body; and be ye thankful.” –Colossians 3:14-15

“I will both lay me down in peace, and sleep: for thou, Lord, only makest me dwell in safety.” –Psalm 4:8

“The Lord will give strength unto his people: the Lord will bless his people with peace.” –Psalm 29:11

“Mark the perfect man, and behold the upright: for the end of that man is peace.” –Psalm 37:37

“Great peace have they which love thy law: and nothing shall offend them.” –Psalm 119:165

“Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee.” –Isaiah 26:3

I think you may be able to tell where I’m going with this. Peace is defined as “freedom from disturbance; quiet and tranquility.”

The world is breaking. Cities burn. Buildings collapse. Cars crash. People scream and cry out in agony. Then, the camera moves to one person who isn’t screaming, but is calm and has a set determination on their face. The whole world fades about them and the noises die down, until the only thing heard is the beating of their heart. The chaos doesn’t affect them because they have one set goal, one absolute mission, and that is their sole focus. Sounds like a scene out of a movie, doesn’t it?

The Bible tells us that if we have our mind stayed on God, He will keep us in perfect peace.

Right now, the world is breaking. Cities are burning and people are screaming. We are plagued by fear. We are surrounded by evil and darkness. And in the middle of all this is the Christian who is trying their hardest to be a righteous child of God.

There’s something funny about peace in a Christian’s life.

Someway, somehow, you can have peace with the earth crumbling. People can be telling you that everything you’re doing is wrong. But somehow, if you know you’re following all God’s commands, through all the confusion, there’s peace. Peace that passes all understanding. Peace that comes from God, and God alone. Peace that the world can’t give nor take away. From God comes a peace, strange and beautiful, even when the world is falling apart.

In God’s peace, we know that everything will be alright soon, no matter how bad it is now.

Don’t watch the world. Keep your focus on God. I know it’s hard with everything going on. Death and destruction slash at us from every side. But, we have a loving Father who has blessed us abundantly with peace we can’t even understand. When the world hates us and does everything in its power to destroy us, we can rest. We don’t have to worry about it. If we do our part, God does His. He’s fighting for us. Everything is going to be okay. In fact, it’s going to be wonderful. Keep pressing to God. Keep on fighting to maintain focus on Him. Keep seeking His Kingdom first. Keep on keeping on. His peace will flow over you like a river. You won’t understand it, but it will be there, and you’ll know it can only be from God.

–Faith Cross

You Have to Die Every Day

Hello, Beloved Reader! I’m Faith. Thanks for visiting me today.

I’ve experienced death in my life. I’ve been to some visitations and funerals. I know death comes to all, and sometimes it’s swift, sometimes it draws out, sometimes you know when it’s coming, and sometimes you don’t. But, today, I’m not talking about the last breath we breathe at the end of our lives. 

Today, I’m talking about the death we all must accept every day.

As Christians, we are children of God, bought with a price of blood, and given the promise of eternal life. But, as humans, we mess up. We say the wrong things. We give in to temptation from time to time. Sometimes we don’t try as hard to get it right because trying to get it right is hard.

“I protest by your rejoicing which I have in Christ Jesus our Lord, I die daily.” — 1 Corinthians 15:33

We, as humans, must die every day. Not literally die, but figuratively. We have to deny ourselves, take up our cross, and follow God. We must decrease so He can increase. To be a Christian is to be Christ-like and, therefore, we must be less like ourselves and more like Jesus.  Do you see what I’m getting at here?

 We must die, so He can live within us.

If you are a born-again Christian, I’m not telling you anything you don’t already know. Sometimes we have to stop and think. Sometimes we have to be reminded of what the Lord’s will is. Sometimes the world and all its problems weighs down on us like a ton of bricks. Evaluate your options when you’re faced with a choice. Find the one that best suits what you believe Jesus would do in your situation. Not what you would do. You have to deny yourself, no matter how uncomfortable it makes you. God is the Father and we are the child.

God is the Chief, and we follow Him.

He is our prime example. Just think of how the world would change if more people denied themselves. Think of how lives would be changed and hearts touched. Think about how many problems could be solved, and how many mistakes could be avoided, if we all died a little more each day, and let Christ live through us.

I think the world would be a much better place.

–Faith Cross

What Are You Looking At?

Hello, Beloved Reader! I’m Faith. Thanks for visiting me today.

Before we get started, I’ve got some reading for you to do. Check out Matthew 14:22-33.

Now, this is an event that a lot of people have heard about. Even some who aren’t Christians have heard the tale of Peter walking on the water with Jesus. It’s a story that most of us are well familiar with. So, why am I bringing this up? Let me ask you this first:

What are you looking at?

What is catching your attention right now? What consumes your thoughts at the moment? What is your brain engrossed in every second of the day? What do you have your eyes set on?

“But when he saw the wind boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink, he cried, saying, Lord, save me.” — Matthew 14:30

There are three things Peter did here. 

He saw the boisterous wind.

“But, Faith, you can’t see wind,” you might say. No, but you can see its effects. You can see what it moves. The wind made the sea toss the boat. It created crashing waves and splashed water upon them. Peter looked at the storm, at the trial, around him. He looked at that instead of looking straight ahead.

Keep your eyes and ears on Jesus. Don’t look to the left or right. The world is full of storms and trials. Stop looking at them. Stop listening to the enemy. Don’t give him any room in your heart. For if you do, the second thing happens.

Peter grew afraid.

He got scared. He had doubts his faith would take him through. He doubted he could conquer. He doubted he could make it to Jesus, “He’s too far! I’ll never make it! This storm will surely pull me under. I will have the sea as my grave.”

And that is what brought him down. The funny thing is, he brought himself down. He let the fear get a hold on him. He dwelled on the doubts. He watched the contrary sea and listened to the lies the splashing waves sprayed in his face. He believed it, and so, he began to sink.

Then the third thing happened; He cried.

He cried out, calling for salvation with one desperate plea, “Lord, save me!” And God reached down, pulling him up. But what would have happened if he had never taken his eyes off the Lord? How would the story have changed?

How would your story change? Are your eyes on Jesus? Are you listening to the waves or the call of the Lord? Is the sickness consuming your thoughts? Are the worries of the world catching your attention? Are you setting your eyes to the Lord for help?

Peter called out to the Lord. He couldn’t save himself, and he knew it. The only One he could look to was Jesus. He looked at Jesus and made his way toward him, but when he gazed at the problem, he faltered. Don’t listen to the enemy. Don’t even listen to yourself. A person’s mind can fly out of control sometimes. Instead, look at Jesus. Listen to Jesus. Then, and only then, can we truly endure to the end.

So, take a moment and figure out where your eyes are, and where they need to be.

–Faith Cross