We cannot encounter Jesus without encountering the cross.

Encountering the Cross

A Meditation for Lent

J. Heinrich Arnold

 For the word of the cross

We cannot encounter Jesus without encountering the cross. His person emanates the way of suffering. Through his sacrifice his great love for all men floods our hearts and becomes in us an urge to go out to save those who are in the grip of darkness. If we love Jesus, the desire to suffer for him will well up quite naturally. I cannot imagine how one can follow Jesus without a deep understanding for his way of suffering.

We constantly need the crucified Christ within us. To receive him we must become silent before God again and again. Christ wants to live in our hearts so that we are able to conquer all things. Through him everything receives its true meaning.

There is no other foundation for true peace of heart than unity with him. Only Christ can bring us to full trust in God. In him we find the sharpest judgment of wrath over all evil, but also the revelation of his loving grace.

The thought that God is all-loving can insulate us from the power of his touch. People know that God forgives sin, but they forget that he judges it too. There is something in modern thinking which rebels against the Atonement. Perhaps our idea of an all-loving God keeps us from wanting to face judgment. We think that love and forgiveness is all that is needed, yet that is not the whole Gospel – it makes God too human.

It is of crucial importance that the cross of Jesus Christ is in the center of our hearts – central to our calling, and central to our mission. The Lamb of God on the cross stands before the throne of God. (Rev. 5:6) The cross is the center of the universe. We must experience its meaning in its height, depth, and breadth as a mystical revelation through the Holy Spirit. It is not enough to believe it; we must ask God that we may be allowed to experience it in a living way.

We need to get past our personal struggles to experience the great thoughts of God. To experience personal salvation through the cross is important, but to remain at this stage is useless. The cross is so much greater than the personal; it embraces the whole earth and more than this earth.

There are secrets that only God knows. Christ’s death on the cross is one such mystery. The Bible says that through the cross not only this earth but also heaven and all the powers and principalities belonging to the angel world will be reconciled to God (Col. 1:20). Man, and perhaps even the angels, cannot know the mysteries that lie behind all this. But one thing we know: Christ overcame death, the last enemy. And through the cross something took place which had power far beyond the limits of our earth, far greater than our souls can comprehend.

 

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The LORD put a new song in my mouth,
a song of praise to our God.
Many will see and fear,
and put their trust in the LORD.

Blessed is the man who makes
the LORD his trust,
who does not turn to the proud,
to those who go astray after a lie!
You have multiplied, O LORD my God,
your wondrous deeds and your thoughts toward us;
none can compare with you!
I will proclaim and tell of them,
yet they are more than can be told.

(Psalm 40:3-5 ESV)

The Parting Gift – new short outreach film for Android and Apple smartphones/tablets

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A Simple Tool For Sharing Your Faith In A Powerful Way!

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Download the app for free. Search: “The Parting Gift” on the Apple App Store and Google Play store. Works on iPhone, iPad as well as Android phones and tablets.

Find out more at:www.wondergatefilms.com

My name is Chris Bailey and I work at Campus Crusade for Christ Australia’s new film making initiative Wonder Gate Films. Our goal is to make films that illustrate Christ in a way that connects with anyone, no matter what they believe.

I’m very excited to be launching The Parting Gift this year. The film was a huge undertaking and took one year to put together! We filmed entirely on a green screen soundstage, and then worked for five months to create the computer generated sets and props needed to complete the image. It was a highly involved process that has yielded a fantastic result!

The film is embedded inside of a mobile app for phones and tablets that helps you share the gospel with people one on one. Its becoming a great tool for our missionaries and student leaders here in Australia.

Please check it out and see what you think! Why not use it in your ministry? Contact me at www.wondergatefilms.com and let me know if I can help in any way to equip your team or congregation with this tool!

– Christopher Bailey, writer and director of “The Parting Gift”

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From Heaven High I Come to Earth

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From heaven high I come to earth;
I bring good tidings of great mirth;
this mirth is such a wondrous thing
that I must tell you all and sing.

A little child for you this morn
has from a chosen maid been born,
a little child so tender, sweet,
that you should skip upon your feet.

How glad we’ll be that this is so!
With all the shepherds let us go
to see what God for us has done
in sending us his own dear Son.

Look, look, my heart, and let me peek.
Whom in the manger do you seek?
Who is that lovely little one?
The baby Jesus, God’s own Son.

Be welcome, Lord; be now our guest.
By you poor sinners have been blessed.
In nakedness and cold you lie.
How can I thank you; how can I?

You wanted so to make me know
that you had let all great things go.
You had a palace in the sky;
you left it there for such as I.

And if the world were twice as wide,
with gold and precious jewels inside,
still such a cradle would not do
to hold a babe as great as you.

To God who sent his only Son
be glory, laud, and honor done.
Let all the choir of heav’n rejoice,
the new ring in with heart and voice.

 

This is Roland Bainton’s translation of Martin Luther’s Vom Himmel hoch, da komm’ ich her

Wondrous Are Your Ways, O God

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And they sing the song of Moses, the servant of God, and the song of the Lamb, saying,

“Great and amazing are your deeds,
O Lord God the Almighty!
Just and true are your ways,
O King of the nations!
Who will not fear, O Lord,
and glorify your name?
For you alone are holy.
All nations will come
and worship you,
for your righteous acts have been revealed.”
-Revelation 15:3-4

Concerning Christian Liberty by Martin Luther


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“Thus from faith flow forth love and joy in the Lord, and from love a cheerful, willing, free spirit, disposed to serve our neighbour voluntarily, without taking any account of gratitude or ingratitude, praise or blame, gain or loss. Its object is not to lay men under obligations, nor does it distinguish between friends and enemies, or look to gratitude or ingratitude, but most freely and willingly spends itself and its goods, whether it loses them through ingratitude, or gains goodwill. For thus did its Father, distributing all things to all men abundantly and freely, making His sun to rise upon the just and the unjust. Thus, too, the child does and endures nothing except from the free joy with which it delights through Christ in God, the Giver of such great gifts.”

-Martin Luther, Concerning Christian Liberty