Essay…from my Journal of pain

It all started on a cold winter day;
as I sat together with my church family in a restaurant planning a spiritual retreat. All at the table were involved to some degree; or so it seem to me. I had started to believe that heaven was pleased, but maybe it was just me!
I started the plans laying out an agenda for a Spring Retreat to the beach; with way too much glee, or so it seems.


Then it happened, in my way of thinking, self-interest, in days to follow pursued. No, from the giver came ringing through. NO! NO! NO! To some of the family relief ensued. For now the varied plans of one’s heart were all able to be put right through.
Irritant as a rash, and shocked as a fall, blood, tears, sweat and pain, for yes, I had been a part of knocking Our Lord to the ground, once again.
O God, I surely needed a good Samaritan. I, like you, had been set upon by thieves. The church passed us by on their way to vacation, family and friends. Maybe they needed to get to their churches to expound on compassion and mercy from within the walls of their compound.
But, I looked up through my blood stained face and saw a good ‘Samaritan’ mopping my face. Yes, mopping our face, Lord, our pain.
How often we are robbed and left to die? It seems like so much pain freezes the brain.
But, when the hand of mercy is extended by another, all senses of our being begin to unlock, like a lock set free. You, O! Lord once again were left to die, without a helping hand to carry your cross. Then one gentle hand reaches out and carries your cross. What was their name? Simon of Cyrene, I believe are all their names.
“Crucify them, crucify them,” I heard them calling. “Nail them away so they will not take my haul.” They were only speaking of Jesus and me.
Yes, Lord, the cross is daily there for me to haul. Nothing of value can be seen in an old wooden cross. For eye cannot see and ear cannot hear the call. “Father, forgive them for they know not what they do.”
So, I alone, am left lonely on a road reaching out daily for ‘my cross’ and trying to carry it at all cost. Jesus, your exemplary character says, it’s all right to ask for help with the burden of my cross. I saw even you, Lord, stumble and fall under the burden of your cross.

Bblturn (1)-1

Passage Matthew 10:38:
“Anyone who does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me.”


23 thoughts on “Essay…from my Journal of pain”

  1. In a Bible study I am attending now, we are studying about the Cross, so I’d like to share a little about what we have studied on “taking up your cross.”

    We are doing a study on “Experiencing the Cross” by Henry Blackaby with Brian Smith.
    In Blackaby’s study guide he states that if “the Lord repeats something,He expects us to sit up and listen!” There are a few scriptures he gave us to back up the repetition of God’s teaching on, taking up our cross. I will leave the references for us to look up and ponder on: (Luke 9:23, Matthew 10:38, Luke 14:27, Matthew 16:24, Mark 8:34). After reviewing these scriptures, it is evident that “taking up our cross” is important. Here is a quote from Blackaby’s study guide: “The cross is not just His; the cross is mine, and the cross is ours. It’s an unconditional and incontestable requirement if we would follow Him as a disciple… There is nothing more central to the entire Christian life than this theme. It’s an absolute essential in the experience of every believer, the very heartbeat of our faith.” He asked us to read again the three passages quoted above (Luke 9:23; Matthew 10:38; Luke 14: 27). He asked us to, in our own words, tell what these statements say, is involved in taking up your cross?

    My answers were three things: 1)turn from your selfish ways 2)do it daily 3)follow Him

    I would like to invite the lillies to answer this question also, so I will gain even more understanding about “taking up my cross.”

  2. Needles I have read the three scriptures and my answer to the three things is 1)turn from self and turn to path Jesus took, 2)only in doing these are you worthy of Him, 3)and can be His disciple. Also a friend of mine who is a real Starbuck fan told me that on her cup this week there was a quote which also ties in to these answers and Sara’s retreat delimna and events like that. The quote was, “Being interested is when it is convenient to you. Being committed is following no matter what.” Thus we can say we need to be committed to Jesus, not self, then we are worthy and His disciple.
    It seems our commitment sometimes fades and interest takes over (self) and Jesus is short changed. Not only is Jesus short changed, but we are short changed as well. If the event or events had gone as God wanted them there would have been joy in the house over all that God did and joy to all who were apart and who fellowshiped in the name of Jesus. A bonding of God’s people would have drawn them closer together for the next step God wanted to take in their lives. Lord we thank you for your great mercy, and we pray our commitment to you will be a step at a time without taking our focus off of you, for surely nothing is any greener than the path you want us to pursue.

  3. Sara, those words……”is not worthy of me”…echo with pain down to the very core of me…it is true if we do not pick up our cross and follow daily our Lord indeed we are not worthy….one cant separate oneself from the cross and exspect to live….truly live….as the Lord said it is for this purpose that He came….He suffered and died because he took up that cross….He doesnt expect any less from us..and he said follow me……..He also said what you have done to others you have done to me Matt 25:40…I thought on this scripture and on this essay…. and found what we do/say to ourselves once we have accepted Christ in our hearts….we are doing/saying to Him…. doing/saying to others or to ourselves…it is as unto Him.. and when we dont pick up our cross and carry it daily we dont share in anything with Him…..Sara this is what I learned from your essay…and what can I say but o Lord forgive me…it is Daily …daily…dj

  4. Needles, thanks for taking time to share this study and for the invitation to respond. You asked us to, in our own words, tell what these statements say, is involved in taking up your cross.
    1)Luke 9:23 says to me that focusing on your self and self-interests may help sustain or preserve a feeling of life as we know it on earth for oneself but at the end of this earthly life we will find out that we have no life eternal…nothing…zero in our heavenly bank account. And we may also discover somewhere in this self-pursuit that what we thought was life was really an empty illusion because we had no real life of the Spirit of God in us. If we had we would have put the Lord first by obeying Him whether self felt like it or not. And we would have served Him by serving others with consideration of their interests before our own. And one example of being considerate and loving is not being ashamed to speak to others of Him and His ways in various situations.

    2) Matt 10:38 If we don’t follow Him and His commandments than we are back to Sara’s blog…”Toss Me Aside and I will Toss You Aside”. We are just not worthy of His consideration towards us. And if we love our family more than Him..that is put them first, than we are making an idol of them and He says we shall have no idols before Him.

    3) Luke 14:27 And to bear a cross is to be willing to experience suffering, shame,and inconvenience. Or even doing the little things when you don’t feel like it, if it will advance God’s kingdom or benefit the rest of the Body of Christ and/or please the Lord .

    No wonder He told us that narrow is the gate and few there are that find it…not easy to put ‘me’ last.

  5. Needles, what an outstanding commentary on the cross. Just wonderful and helps with healing. Of course you have the beautiful gift of healing.

    I agree with yours and Rena’s comment…’commitment’ is the word in all we do. I Corinthians 12:26 “And if one member suffers, all the members suffer with it; or if one member is honored, all the members rejoice with it.” Blackaby’s comment “The cross is not just His; the cross is mine, and the cross is ours.” This makes me think even further, Jesus is the head of the church, we are the members and when one hurts we all hurt. Paul is speaking about our using our gifts in this chapter of Corinthians and when we do not use our gift for the Body we hurt the body a lot.

    Again, as Needles and Rena have said “commitment”….Using my gifts and resources when and how, or when I finally feel like it, will not keep the body healthy and surely will not heal it.

    Again, Needles, thanks and I will read the scriptures again and ponder on them.

  6. Sara, what hit me the hardest in your blog was the real life picture you painted about what it means to hurt or wound the Lord. I am understanding from this essay that the Lord is wanting to grow, build and nurture His Body, His church. And that is the real reason we have been chosen as a royal priesthood…to help and cooperate with Him in this endeavor before anything else or any other interests. When we put self interst first and do not do this we wound Him because we are wounding, breaking down, causing to fall, dividing, etc. His body, His church and His plan and purpose for coming to earth to redeem His church and sanctify it (grow it up in His image). This is our cross and we should put down our agendas and pick up His plans and purpose each day if we really have His interests at heart.

  7. Needles,…thank you for sharing your Bible study questions about the Cross…Here are my 3 answers rolled into one…To me these scriptures are saying; How can we say we are one with Him, one of His if we do not identify ourself with Him in all things…He bore the cross(into eternity) to die for us that we may live for Him(have life abundantly) we bare the cross(Daily) that self may die so that He can live through us, and as we humble and yield our self to Him, then (as you Needle shared at the Farming Spiritual retreat last year)we can learn of him Matthew 11:29-30…be His disciples because we will then be made worthy….(Needles, you and Sara really get people to think with the scripture questions)…:)dj

  8. I thought on what was written about the cross being not just His but mine /ours by (Mr.Blackaby and Mr. Smith)….Jesus took up that cross for all. not for Him self….it is not for us/me that I take up my cross daily and follow Him…I am to do as He did…it is for others that I take up my cross daily…to follow Him…how can I do any less…He didn’t die for himself..he died for…when we die to self sure we reap benefits but it is for others that they may see the light and have hope and come that they may have life…and its not just a one time thing…it is daily..and..and its not a hoarding thing it is to be a giving out..and as Rena has said commitment…it also is diligence in there too…and all the other words that keep one moving forward ..Christ said follow and thats a moving forward…

  9. And “Sara in your essay you wrote that it was alright to have help in carrying ones cross… is that the fellowship of believers and why the Lord said forsake not the gathering together…bringing songs psalms, hymns to encourage those in the body with correction and needed strenghth… thats the help isnt it?

  10. I had to go back and read”Toss Me aside and I will toss You aside” again and it gives more insight into taking up your cross daily in that blog…whew!…dj…(to get to that blog quick just type in toss in the search box and you qet there quick)..

  11. Dorothy, great insight! I believe that is the help. Using all the different gifts in the body and helping one another. Reaching out and touching others with the healing touch of Jesus. What He has given us we are to freely give.

    We ask God for help and He does help. Maybe, He finds someone with the gift that you need and sends them right over to help. Selah! But pause and think, suppose the gift giver dosen’t have time, dosen’t feel like it, dosen’t want to commit, maybe tomorrow I will feel like it. I have this to do and that to do. I will go to church next Sunday, I will sleep in today, no hymns, no songs. I sometimes wonder how many doors the Holy Spirit has to knock on before someone with the appropriate gift comes forth.

    Wendy told me about a sermon from a guest speaker in her church speaking about things like this and the bottom line, strengthen that which remains. We have two voices instead of three, well strenthen the two we have,etc. I think this is the way Wendy told me. She can explain more.

    But, don’t forget the parable of the Good Samaritan, he had compassion while the religious leaders had none. They walked right past the poor man laying on the ground, even crossed the road as not to notice. It took a lowly Samaritan, a half-breed to show compassion, Where was and is the church today? Luke 10:29-37

    As Jesus said in this parable, the Samaritan showed mercy now you go and do likewise. Most of the time we know what is right. This real issue is, will we do what we know?

  12. Sara, you said you wonder how many doors the Holy Spirit has to knock on before someone with the appropriate gift comes forth….you answered that “wondering” at the end when you said most of the time we know what is right….will we do what we know…..? I believe the Holy Spirit knocks on the right door the first time…its that the one with the appropriate gift behind the door Hes knocking on just doesn’t answer….so he keeps knocking at other doors until some one with the same gift answers.  You’ve taught us that when the Wheel comes down(The anointing the opportunity ) and its not taken(carry your cross) God moves on to the next and they get serving and doing….(man this is some deep stuff!)….most of the time we don’t do what we know to do …and thats…ugh!..self..and even if you spell still end up with fles (flesh)…nothing good in that….dj

  13. Dorothy, I would like to let all the lilies know here about the raving work review your school principal gave you for this year. All E’s, ie Excellent in all aspects of your work. Also, 3 paragraphs praising your work and character. Congratulations on a job well done. You have been working to bring one area up to an E for about 10 years within the school system. You’ve always had an S-satisfactory and now you have a great big fat E!

    It looks like from this blog you are about to make your spiritual evaluation all E’s as well. Keep writing, speaking and moving Dorothy. You are on your way up the ladder! When you climb this ladder you build God’s Kingdom and His Kingdom is forever. Continue to step up to the plate.

    Dorothy, your culinary skills were outstanding as well this past Sunday. Thanks for providing your church family with a lunch of Excellence. I’m sure when Jesus went to this fig tree for his breakfast he found figs and not just leaves.

    I must admit I have had a little jealousy of Needles and her good fortunate recently. Her husband brings her home cooking meals from his Mom’s on a regular basis. I have always heard that she is the cook of the county. And, my favorite food in all the world is home cooked food. Well, I must now repent a little.

  14. Rena and Debi and Dorothy, I see in your answers to the cross ? that works without faith has no value and faith without works have no value. James 2 fully explains this.

    How do I see this, one might ask? As Rena and Needles point out the great big HUGE WORD commitment!

    … a commitment vow, promise, pledge, oath; contract, pact, deal; decision, resolution.

    James 2:22 “Do you see that faith was working together with his works, and by works faith was made perfect?”
    There is a practical harmony or synergism between vertical faith in God and horizontal works to a needy world. Faith is both spiritual and practical. Perfect brings the idea of being whole. This bring us back to our 4H’s Bible Study and Needles word….” we are all “biopsychosocialculturalspiritual” beings. Therefore, we are not complete without ALL parts.”

    Hopefully, this passion week as we approach Easter Sunday we will be living “He is Risen, yes, Risen indeed!”

  15. Sara your explanation of faith and works from James 2:22 painted this structure/picture for me. The vertical faith in God is like a vertical wooden beam. The horizontal works to a needy world is like a horizontal wooden beam. When the two intersect they form The Cross. At the point of intersection there is the synergistic effect you spoke of(i.e. total effect is greater than the sum of the individual effects). That is complete.

    Great thinking Debi! I l love this picture in my mind’s eye!  I love artist because they speak quite loud to me! Sara 

  16. Needles, read the scriptures you gave, my homework.
    Luke 9:23 Never, ever, lay Obedience to Christ (my cross) down
    Luke 14:27 residue of old life has to go and sooner rather than later
    Matthew 10:38 gives a picture of hope. I was not worthy that Jesus should die for my sins, but if I love and follow Him, His example and die to self-will I will be worthy of His blessings. Now that amazes me.
    Matthew 16:24, just get busy and do it!
    Mark 8:34, the commitments I make are to Jesus Christ, meaning His teachings and His ways and the results of His teachings will follow. I have a choice. DJ is right, it is “Toss Me aside and I will Toss You aside.”

    My nutshell: forget Revlon and find a heart mirror and that is usually another believer!

  17. Thanks for all your input:
    Rena – “commitment”
    Dorothy – “use your gifts”
    Debi – “narrow is the gate”
    Sara – “heart mirror”
    After reading all this, the “deny yourself” sure is true. I can’t be committed, use my gift, have life eternal, or be a heart mirror, if SELF (FLESH) is tops, but I sure need to be reminded of all this. I’m with you Dorothy……”whew, toss me aside and I’ll toss you aside.”

  18. Needles, your Dad has been right all along and “I didn’t even know it!” You are quite a thinker, intellectual whiz but most of all a deep spiritual being.

    I love the way you nut shelled the nutshell. Takes a whiz to do this.

    I am starting to understand from the gathering of knowledge of God’s Word from each part (one) of the body here at “The Daily Lily” how synergism really works in God’s family.  It is not just working to have all parts of my individual being in order but there really is no order with my individual body unless it takes its proper place as part in the body of Christ and is a healthy part of the body. I am seeing the Apostle Paul really knew what he was talking about when he expounded so on the body parts referring to our gifts, etc. I Corinthians 12.
     Example from Webster…synergy, synergism there’s no synergy between the two, so no costs are saved cooperative interaction, cooperation, combined effort, give and take. 

  19. I really appreciate reading Needles ‘nut shelled nutshell’ and Sara’s ‘nutshell’. These two lilies really did the work of climbing the tree, harvesting the nuts, cracking the shell, extracting the seed (meat of the matter) and planting it into our lives and spirit where it can grow. Afterall, Jesus parable of the sower is about planting seeds in the heart, not trying to plant the whole tree! Thanks to both!

  20. This makes me think of a truth God gave me at another time in my life when my pain came through a song I wrote, entitled., “There’s a Waiting in My Room.” The part that touched me so much then and still does is “…as I look I see His Face shining as a Glory of Grace.”
    We have seen God’s face many times this week and will in our services on Easter Sunday as we read, sing, fellowship and share in our services and time with one another. But, let us not forget that each time we see a good deed, a hand of service, a smile on a lite face we see His Face shining as a Glory of Grace.
    I pray that each one that has participated in this study and my pain and His pain timely, orderly, and willingly, and joyfully and have given so much of their time for the service of others here at The Daily Lily will see and be a shining Face of Glory. May the Litany of Praise ring on you, over you, out of you and be your portion on a daily basis both to you and your loved ones. May a litany of praise be a personal letter to you on a daily basis as I make my voice ring in heaven for you. Love and Happy Easter, Sara

  21. What a beautiful ‘Litany of Praise’and a giving a clear understanding of your song verse ‘His Face Shining as a Glory of Grace’. For me it helps again to understand the vertical /horizontal relations of faith and works and that practical harmony you explained above. And it reminded me of the account in Matt 25:38-40 where Jesus instructed His disciples that when they were feeding, clothing or giving a drink of water to others of His children they were doing it to Him.
    And I also kept thinking of your blog quote (Nov 2005) “All we do for others today may show in their faces tomorrow.”

  22. Thank You Sara for making your voice ring in heaven for us…This Easter and the days gone by and the days to come…..I looked up ring as a verb because when you say sentences like “I make my voice ring in heaven for you”…I pull out my books and start to study because I know there is a deeper meaning there….and this is what I found..ring=to be filled with talk or report, to sound repetitiously, to make a telephone call, to repeat often, loudly or earnestly, to arouse a response, a loud sound……Thank you for those earnest prayers…and I pray O Father Bless Sara Too! with the blessings shes blessed us with…dj

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