Friday, October 11, 2013

Day 11: Lift High the Cross

 photo 31-Days-of-Hymns-banner1.png

Lift high the cross, the love of Christ proclaim,
Till all the world adore His sacred name.

I have another story to share; this one going back more than 12 years ago. It should give you a little giggle, but there's also an important truth to share.

It was a Tuesday morning and I was hurrying to leave the house for my Bible Study Fellowship leaders meeting. It was the last meeting of the year, which meant we were having our annual end-of-the-year fellowship brunch. Everyone had signed up to bring something for the brunch, and I had just prepared a batch of heavenly smelling cinnamon muffins.

In my hurry to get myself and two toddlers out the door on time, I accidentally left the muffins sitting on the kitchen table. I didn't realize it until I was almost at the church, and since it was a 25 minute drive back home there was no way I'd have time to go back for the muffins. I was mad at myself and upset, but I knew there would be more than enough food, so I did my best to get over it.

We were studying Matthew that year (just like we are this year), and as part of our fellowship we were all to share what had been most meaningful to us in the study that year. Since Matthew ends with the Great Commission, many ladies, myself included, felt encouraged to share our faith with others more often. The discussion was inspiring, and I suddenly had this amazing idea!

I decided that there must have been a reason I left the muffins sitting on the kitchen table. When I got home I could take muffins to my neighbors, explaining how I had made the muffins for Bible study, but I accidentally left them at home, and I didn't want them to go to waste so I decided to share with them, which would then lead my neighbors to ask me about Bible study, which would then open the door to me sharing the gospel with them, which would then lead to their eternal salvation. Perfect! What a plan! I couldn't wait to get home!

Sadly, when I got home my perfect plan had turned into a pile of crumbs scattered across the kitchen floor. Apparently, my Siberian Husky thought I had left the muffins for her enjoyment, so she ate every last one of them! So much for my perfect plan. With no muffins to offer my neighbors, I shelved my idea of sharing the gospel with them too. I had gone from saving the world (or at least my end of the neighborhood block) to total defeat in a matter of minutes.

I can look back on this incident and laugh at how foolish I was, and, yes, it's slightly exaggerated. I knew it wasn't me who was going to save them, or I should say, intellectually I knew that salvation is a gift from God. But I did get pretty caught up in the excitement of the wonderful lessons we had learned in God's Word that year, and in how all the details of my plan were falling into place. The plan was very much my idea, not the Lord's. He very well could have used my muffins in the way I had planned out, but that's not the point.

While I don't remember for sure, it is very likely we would have sung Lift High the Cross at Bible study that week since it tied in so well with the themes we were studying and it seemed to be a favorite among the leaders. It is such a beautiful and inspiring hymn, but it would have been good for me to pay special attention to the third verse:

O Lord, once lifted on this glorious tree,
As Thou hast promised, draw men unto Thee.

This is in reference to John 12:32, where Jesus speaks about His approaching death: "But I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all men to myself." The work of salvation is the Lord's, not mine. He may decide, however, to use me as an instrument to fulfill His will, so I need to be obedient and ready.
Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have (1 Peter 3:15).
I am an introvert through and through, so it is not my natural tendency to go beating people over the head with my Bible, but I still need to be careful I'm following God's will and not my own. I've found that the times when God does want me to share Christ's love come when I least expect it, not when I have the perfect plan in place.

In fact, shortly after the muffin incident, God did just that. We were getting ready to sell our house so we could move to the Blue House, and we had chosen a wonderful realtor that came highly recommended from several people in our church. She and I had many lovely conversations and one night she called just to chat. The conversation eventually led to a point where she explained she felt like my family and the others from our church that she worked with had a special quality that she couldn't explain, but wanted to understand what it was because it was lacking in her life. How's that for a plop-right-in-your-lap gospel opportunity, no muffins necessary!

We are to lift high our cross, and proclaim the love of Christ. We are to be prepared to explain our hope is in Christ. We can be involved in planning, praying for, and supporting ministries that seek to share the gospel with unbelievers -- please don't think I'm saying otherwise. But most of all, we are to remember God is in control, His plans are perfect, and He will use us as He sees fit.

Lift High the Cross
George W. Kitchin, 1887

Lift high the cross, the love of Christ proclaim,
Till all the world adore His sacred name.

Come Christians, follow where our Savior trod,
Our King victorious, Christ, the Son of God.

Led on their way, by this triumphant sign,
The hosts of God in conqu'ring ranks combine.

O Lord, once lifted on this glorious tree,
As Thou hast promised, draw men unto Thee.

Set up Thy throne, that earth's despair may cease
Beneath the shadow of its healing peace.

For Thy blest cross which doth for us atone,
Creation's praises rise before Thy throne.


  1. Lol! That was a great story, Kellie. Your muffin plan sounds so much like something I would "cook up." ;)

    I'm realizing that I didn't comment when you wrote about the incident at cross country practice. So sorry those sweet young people had to experience that but what a great testimony that they were able to keep their cool and just keep praying. That's what we all need to do.

  2. Hi, I was simply checking out this blog and I really admire the premise of the article and this is really informative. I will for sure refer my friends the same. Thanks..Home Lifts