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Haather in West Virginia, USA

Christian Concourse
Newsletter of the Month

May 2018

 

Dear Friends of Christian Concourse:

 

Hello! Let us say at the beginning of this little letter that we deeply appreciate the encouragement you afford us with your kindness, your prayers and your financial support. Whatever gracious motive you have that is represented by your friendship and your generosity we thank you and we thank the Lord for His supply at your hand. May His richest blessings be upon you for your thoughtfulness and the exercise of your love on behalf of the many to whom we minister the message of His Cross.

 

Of all that could be said about it, there is a special dimension to the Cross carried by our Savior that we may overlook. Consider this:

 

And being found in fashion as a man, He humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. Philippians 2:8 KJV

 

One idea that stands out in this passage is that Christ was "obedient!" Jesus loved His Father and the cross He carried is the symbol of His ultimate obedience to follow The Father's will to the very end. As He said in complete, loving surrender to Our Father in the Garden of Gethsemane, "Not My will, but Thine be done!" (Luke 22:42) Yes! Christ is our example to follow Him in our own obedience to the will of the Father in our life. Think of the prayer the Lord taught us: "Our Father…Thy will be done!"  

 

And He said to them all, If any man will come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me. Luke 9:23 KJV

 

We may associate our cross with some earth moving deed or some great awe inspiring sacrifice for the cause. These things are fine if that is our calling from the Lord. But most of us are never pressed or empowered to accomplish great exploits for the world to marvel at, are we? On the other hand, every one of us, every believer in Jesus has been given very simple orders to obey: Love God and love your neighbor as if he were you! (Luke 10:27) ...all the time ...in every circumstance ...in every relationship ...LOVE...BE KIND AND PATIENT (1Corinthians 13) toward others and toward God. This is His commandment, His will, for all of us. And since we are to "follow" Christ, it stands to reason that if obedience was the context of Christ carrying His cross, then obedience to the Father’s will in our own life is the essence of the cross He is asking us to bear. Now THIS obedience IS a supernatural exploit!

 

The bearing of the cross of love brings to mind many of the nursing home residents whom we have come to know and appreciate in the course of our long-term care ministry. They feel all of their losses deeply, but they maintain their high character and grace, even in the worst of circumstances. Invariably, we find that their strength lies in the many years they have labored faithfully for the Lord, learning to love Him and their neighbors. The poem on the back of this letter highlights the strong Christian character of saints whom we have had the privilege to meet in nursing home ministry.

 

One more thing, you may remember that a man named Simon was pressed into helping Jesus carry His cross (Mark 15:21). Just like Simon who helped Christ, maybe there are things we could do in response to the need of many nursing home residents who struggle to find strength to love under the weight of their burdens. Oh, what a blessing for someone to come alongside them and help them bear the heavy cross that unavoidable circumstances press upon them to carry. May God grant us fresh vision to encourage and strengthen the faith of these precious saints now living in care facilities, who so often feel abandoned and forgotten by the religious public. And what of that number of the elderly and infirm populating our local care facilities who have yet to respond to our Lord's saving grace for them? As the song writer asks, "Must Jesus bear the cross alone?"

 

Love in Christ,

Jerry and Dar

Jerry and Dar Johnson

 

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