Wednesday, April 7, 2021

Devotionals for the Heart: The Cross

Celebrate the Cross!
A devotional by Patricia Russell

Spring has sprung and it’s time to celebrate!

Celebrate is a word that you will often hear in my vocabulary because I believe we all have a reason to do this. Celebrate that you are able to read this, you woke up, and you have the ability to do something to impact someone else’s life today. There is one person who not only made an impact but changed the world. His name is Jesus Christ.

While He was celebrated with people waving palm branches and shouts of “Hallelujah”, He was later rejected and sentenced to die on a cross. The cross is more than a classy piece of jewelry or souvenir. The meaning of the cross can be one of the most beautiful yet controversial symbols. Let me explain.

God’s plan for Jesus coming to Earth was to fulfill the prophetic word that had been spoken from way back in Scripture. It was part of His purpose for coming. Jesus made it clear to those who wanted to follow Him there was a price:

“If any of you wants to be my follower,
you must give up your own way,
take up your cross, and follow me.”
(Matthew 16:24 NLT)

Everyone has a cross. You have to take it up. You have to carry it. The cross may involve criticism of your faith. It may be a challenging situation that seems to be dragging on. Whatever it is, it will require you to “give up your own way.” The encouragement is, if you follow Christ you win.

Prior to this verse, Jesus told His disciples it would be necessary for Him to go to Jerusalem. He would be killed, but on the third day, He would rise from the dead. He would be lied about, but He would persevere. Jesus would be hung on a cross and submit to suffering because He knew this was the purpose for which He came.

The result is our faith in Him would be solidified because we would have full assurance in Him. He would suffer but He would survive. He would conquer the grave by doing what He said: He would rise again. Our faith would rise and be strengthened. You and I would become bold and courageous because we worship the true and living Christ!

That’s why we celebrate our risen Lord. That’s why we celebrate life because Jesus conquered death. Death was the one thing that Satan thought would silence His voice. We celebrate because He bore a crown of thorns on His head while on the very cross that He would conquer. We crown Him with our worship. We crown Him with our praise and we worship Him with our life. How do we do that? We do everything as unto the Lord (Colossians 3:23-24). He will give us an inheritance as our reward.

I love watching sports, especially the Olympics. In the Greek games, they were literally “crowned” for achieving success. They trained hard and did not give up despite the pressure. Then they entered the competition and upon completing, they were crowned. We are told in Scripture many times about crowns that you receive as a result of completing your course. The Bible tells us in James 1:12 (ESV) that we will receive the crown of life. We have to do something though. We have to remain steadfast under trial and this is why: “for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him.”

God loves us so much that He sent His only son to love us, teach us, heal us, invites us to have relationship with him. If you have received His invitation but sometimes you want to give up, I invite you to pray with me.

Let’s Pray: Heavenly Father, thank you for sending your Son (Jesus Christ). Thank you for teaching me to stay focused on your promises and that I can overcome anything. Thank you for enduring the pain, dying and rising again for me. We celebrate and thank you for the gift of eternal life. 

Note from Alexis: Patricia's devotional message today reminds me of this song by Dallas Holm called "Rise Again." Listen to it here.

Author Bio:

Patricia Russell is a speaker, worship leader, author, certified life coach and songwriter.  

Her gifts have been shared internationally with audiences to encourage, empower and share life lessons through words and songs. She has sung on national television broadcasts and shared the stage with several respected speakers. Over her 30 years in ministry, she has been a featured artist in musical cantatas locally and the United States of America.

Patricia had the honour of leading worship at the kick-off event for the 2006 the “Just Give Me Jesus” Toronto Revival with Anne Graham Lotz who is the eldest daughter of Billy Graham, a well-known American evangelist.

Patricia serves in ministry along with her husband Rev. Wayne Russell. Together, they have served as guest hosts on a local early morning call in program called “Nite Lite Live” that formerly aired on the CTS Television Network. They have two adult children: Raquel and Benjamin.

Patricia has recorded two CD’s: “Lord I Trust You” and a live recording “Draw Me Nearer.” She is also an author. Her first book is titled Lord I Trust You: Words of Encouragement. It is meant to further encourage and share life lessons as a result of her cancer journey. She is a co-author of a #1 bestseller book titled Crushed Diamonds Still Sparkle, and she has compiled the recent #1 bestseller book titled Stronger Resilience.

Connect with Patricia:

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