Tuesday, February 17, 2015

For the Preaching of the Cross

I was 13 years old when my dad gave me a thin gold chain
 with a delicate cross on it.  I had been a Christian for many years and loved the sacrifice that Jesus made for me, redeeming me from my sin 
and giving me eternal life.  I loved my gold cross symbolizing this
and I wore it everywhere and never took it off. 
Living in Southeast Idaho and being in the Christian minority, 
not everyone liked me wearing my cross.  I can remember being 14 years old and I remember the exact spot I was standing in when one of my very best friends asked why in the world I would wear the thing that killed Jesus.  She then asked if I would wear the knife that my mother was stabbed with, if something horrible like that happened.  Being a young teenager, I stood there in shock, not knowing what to say but I remember being devastated by my friends words as that was not how I viewed the cross.
Over the next few years I continued to wear my cross everyday. 
The more I studied my Bible, the more I memorized Bible verses and the more
 I went to church, the more I fell in love with my Savior and my God.  
One day when I was 16, I was studying my Bible and found
a verse that would become my life verse.
1 Corinthians 1:18 - For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness, but unto us that are saved it is the power of God. 
I clung to that verse through the rest of my high school days. 
As I went to school each day and faced people who did not believe the way I did, I held my cross close knowing that no matter what anyone else said,
I knew Jesus loved me and I was secure in Him.
After Chep joined the military we found a wonderful church where there was a strong stand of the gospel and we loved worshipping there every week. 
We grew in our faith and dedication to the Lord and that was where Chep surrendered to the ministry.  At that church the pastor taught that you should not wear a cross as it was a form of idolatry.  I struggled with this and was deeply saddened by the thought of not wearing my cross but eventually took it off and put it in my jewelry box.  Looking back I can see that this was not my conviction but that pastor's and in our ministry now,
I am very careful not to push my convictions on others.
 Recently, as I was moving things around in my jewelry box,
 I realized that in one of our many moves I had lost my cross.  Over the years I have thought back on when I wore my cross and what it symbolized to me and I was heartbroken to find I had lost it.  I talked it over with my husband and he said he never fully understood why I stopped wearing my cross and said he was fine with me wearing a cross again.  I am very picky with jewelry and although I looked and looked in the last few months, have not been able to find a necklace that I liked.  When we were in Colorado last month,
I found this silver cross with inlaid blue pearl.  I fell in love with it
and my sweet husband bought it for me. 
Once again I wear my cross necklace everywhere and do not take it off.  To me it is a symbol of my faith, a symbol of my relationship with my Savior and my redeemer, a symbol of the hope I have in Him and a symbol of the strength, love, mercy and grace he daily gives me. 
On a hill far away stood an old rugged cross,
The emblem of suffering and shame;
And I love that old cross where the dearest and best
For a world of lost sinners was slain.
So I’ll cherish the old rugged cross,
Till my trophies at last I lay down;
I will cling to the old rugged cross,
And exchange it some day for a crown.
O that old rugged cross, so despised by the world,
Has a wondrous attraction for me;
For the dear Lamb of God left His glory above
To bear it to dark Calvary.
In that old rugged cross, stained with blood so divine,
A wondrous beauty I see,
For ’twas on that old cross Jesus suffered and died,
To pardon and sanctify me.
To the old rugged cross I will ever be true;
Its shame and reproach gladly bear;
Then He’ll call me some day to my home far away,
Where His glory forever I’ll share.

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