L-O-V-E

In 1965, Nat King Cole recorded a great love song that has been rendered timeless in our hearts and minds, especially this time of year with Valentine’s Day just around the corner. Maybe you remember it.  It’s called L-O-V-E and here’s how it starts:

L is for the way you look at me

O is for the only one I see

V is very, very extraordinary

E is even more than anyone that you adore can be

When I think about these lyrics, I am reminded not necessarily of the deep loving feelings I have for my wonderful husband and my fond affection for those particularly close to me but also of my faith strength and the awesome love God and I share between us.   Unwavering, unconditional, perpetual.  It is a fuzzy all over feeling to know that He is my center; He is my inspiration; He is my potter and I am His clay.  I am in a position in which I pray daily for others to join me.  To feel His love, daily, is like feeling nothing else! To be reminded, daily, that I am His child … again, nothing like it!!   Why wouldn’t I want this for everyone?  Why wouldn’t we want this for everyone?

I wanted to share this excerpt from a book authored by Bishop Michael Curry called Love Is The Way:  Holding On To Hope In Troubling Times 

‘Stop and imagine for a minute.  Think and imagine.  Think and imagine a world where love is the way.

Imagine our homes and families when love is the way.  Imagine our neighborhoods and communities where love is the way.  Imagine governments and nations where love is the way.  Imagine business and commerce when love is the way.  When love is the way – unselfish, sacrificial, redemptive – when love is the way, then no child will go to bed hungry in this world ever again.  When love is the way, we will let justice roll down like a mighty stream, and righteousness like an ever-flowing brook. 

When love is the way, poverty would become history.  When love is the way, the earth will be a sanctuary.  When love is the way, we will lay our swords and shields down by the riverside to study war no more.  When love is the way, there’s plenty of room for all of God’s children.  When love is the way, we actually treat each other well, like we are actually family.’

LOVE was made for me and you.

AMEN!! 

 


Here’s some expressions of love from our CTW family!                    th

I am enclosing an offering for your Cross The World ministry given to me by a grateful recipient.  He was a military fellow I met in the lab at our clinic.  He suffers from PTSD, but had a service dog that was a big help to him.  After our conversation and having given him a cross, he unexpectedly gave me two bills to give to your ministry.  I downplayed the money, but he insisted.   Joy ~ MN

Crosses loving passed through these hands to others:

Mary ~ OK

Linda ~ PA                

David ~ CA                                                      

Pastor Jim ~ MN

Frank ~ MI

Pam ~ WA

Our Lady of Lebanon ~ North Jackson, OH

 


‘My heart was warmed at Wal-Mart during lunch.

This gentleman’s items were scanned and he was given the total. He looks apologetically back at me and starts taking handfuls of change out of his pockets. He miscounts and starts to get flustered. Gives me a muttered, “I’m so sorry.” His hands and voice are shaking. This beautiful cashier takes his hands and dumps all the change on the counter and says, “This is not a problem, honey. We will do this together.” He continues to apologize to both of us as we reassure him it’s ok. They get his transaction handled and he shuffles away.

I looked at this wonderful woman and said, “Thank-you for being so patient with him.”

She shakes her head and replies, “You shouldn’t have to thank me, baby. What’s wrong with our world is we’ve forgotten how to love one another.”

I want to be more like her.’

Credit: Spring Herbison Bowlin

 

 

For this is the message that you have heard from the beginning that we should LOVE one another.

1 John 3:11

WWGWMTD?

WDGWMTD?

This year, I just want it to stop.  Talk of Covid, protests, looting, brutality.  I don’t know about you but sometimes, I lose my way.  Could this ‘new normal’ be my real life?

Recently, I met an 87 year old man who talked about living through polio, diphtheria, Vietnam protests and, yet, seems to be enchanted with life.

He seemed surprised when I said that 2020 must have been especially challenging for him.  ‘No,’ he responded slowly, looking me straight in the eyes.  ‘I learned a long time ago to not see the world through the printed headlines.  I see the world through the people that surround me.  I see the world with the realization that we love big.  Therefore, I just choose to write my own headlines … “HUSBAND LOVES WIFE TODAY” … “FAMILY DROPS EVERYTHING TO COME TO GRANDMA’S BEDSIDE”.  He patted my hand.  “OLD MAN MAKES NEW FRIEND.”  And, I smiled.

 


 

I saw you stand bravely through the years

And saw no sign of senseless fears

I saw you stand quietly through the stress

And saw no glimpse of bitterness

I saw you prayerfully in grief

And saw no sign of unbelief

though you spoke well of Jesus Christ

I caught your faith by watching your life.

Anonymous

 
Though difficult to see, God’s goodness is present in our most challenging life experiences.

 


 

We received some heartfelt comments this Christmas season:

These crosses are so special.  Concordia’s ladies’ group has been assembling Blessing Bags for Christmas (containing various items such as hats, gloves, and personal items) to be given to those in need who come to the food ministry. The Food Ministry will be adding your beautiful crosses to each bag.

Karen, Concordia Food Ministry ~ Stafford, VA

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Thanks for the thoughts in your well written Christmas newsletter message.  I commend you for your work, having some of your crosses still being seen in South Sudan where several years ago we distributed them to Sunday school students. The church in South Sudan, which we helped form is called the Evangelical Lutheran Church of South Sudan/Sudan. It is a growing church with 150 congregations and 140,000 members. They have had a very difficult year with the virus, flooding and the plague of locusts. Our prayers for them and the persecuted church around the world are needed and the message of the cross is the foundation of their hope and ours.  A blessed Christmas.

Rev. Robert Rahn, Lutheran Heritage Foundation ~ Macomb, MI

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Sending God’s Blessings and all my Hugs to All for a Healthy 2021!  I have enjoyed giving out the Crosses, and seeing a sad face become a happy face!

Dar ~ MN

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We praise God for you all!  Thank you so much! 

Mary ~ OK

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I am so grateful for your crosses which have given me a ready way to witness and of helping to turn people’s hearts up to the Lord.  Everytime I go to the store, I usually hand out 2-3 and sometimes wish I had more. 

Joy ~ MN

And, this interesting note also from Joy:

In our neighborhood, neighbors bring cookies, etc. to each other.  One neighbor brought a tin to us with a cross on it.  She said, “You gave this to me and I’ve passed it around.  It’s come back to me and I’m giving it back to you.  This is what it says “Pass It On”.  I was bringing a plate of cookies at that time so I taped it on her plate and kept it going.

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And, these folks blessed others with the cross during the month of December:

Carol ~ NV

Hearts of Heaven Ministries ~ Waterloo, NY

Heartwood Senior Living ~ Crosby, MN

Pablo ~ TX

Jeanne ~ MI

Christelle ~ WI

Diane ~ AZ

Tom ~ CA

Omaha Baptist Church ~ Unionville, MO

St. Francis Hospital Pastoral Care ~ Tulsa, OK

Joy ~ MN

Stephen ~ MO

 


 

We are inspired by brave warriors who stand up for justice, such as firefighters who run into buildings when everyone else is running out. Heroes don’t do what they do for recognition, credit or fame. They do it because they can take something wrong in the world and set it right again.

Isn’t it interesting that when we read these stories, we don’t consider ourselves in the same category? Maybe we’re asking some of the right questions, though:

God, how do You want to use me? 
What are my gifts, and who are they for?

Then God presents opportunities for us to take the answers to those questions and put them into action.

Erin Weidemann

 


 

Abba Father:

            As we start this new year, I come to You.  Now more than ever before, I am pleading for Your continued guidance.  I want so desperately for my thoughts, words and actions to be representative of You before they reach others. I want to act as Your servant at every possible opportunity given me so others will see Your love and goodness reflected through me.   But, with all the anger, aggression and confusion surrounding us all right now, I fear I’m falling short. Today, I am on my knees, asking You to please show me, again, how to live genuinely; show me, again, how to love genuinely.  Help me to put prioritizing the building of Your Kingdom above everything else so I can live faithfully and fully in the light of eternity.  I ask this in Jesus name.

Amen

 

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AND THE GREATEST OF THESE IS LOVE …

Well, the signs of the impending season are upon us.  The TV, radio and newspaper are full of them.  Colorful ads compelling you to look, then buy. Massive gas grills to powerful hand tools.  Sweaters to camping gear. Pet toys to appliances.  Handsome pickups to ice fishing houses.  Toys to trinkets.  Anything you could even imagine you think you might want … it’s there and it’s available NOW.  The perpetual advertising tells you that you don’t just want this, you NEED it.  And, you NEED it in the next couple of days before the supply runs short.

The advertising/marketing industry is a brisk paced, ultra creative think-tank industry.  Research shows that, as an industry, you have 3 seconds or less to capture people’s attention and make them interested enough in the product you’re hyping to want to take the time to learn more.  Typically, the consumer needs to hear, see or read about a product at least 21 times before they will actually acknowledge it or purchase it.   And, there are definite ‘rules of the game’ the advertising agency follows to guide you through.

Before I proceed, let me say that I’m addressing the women right now because, for the most part, we are the shoppers/buyers for the household … although you men are invited to read on too ):  There is a TV ad that plays quite often right now;  the product advertised is Hanes underwear for men.  The ad shows men, wearing only very colorfully patterned underwear.  It shows them sitting on the couch, smiling … playing pool, smiling … working construction, smiling … all supposedly having not a worry, all supposedly totally carefree. At the end of this 15 second ad, you see at least 21 men parading down the street, enmass, wearing this awesome product, waving their hands in the air and again, smiling.  Wow!  It appears this underwear makes men feel like a million bucks … like they’re on the top of the world!  

Ladies, at the moment of viewing, you might be disgusted by this ad, or you might think it’s humorous, or maybe you don’t have an opinion either way about it.  But I guarantee you, the next time you go to the store to purchase underwear, T-shirts, or socks for the male in your life, at least 85% of you will watch your hand skip over Fruit of the Loom, George, Mainstays or various other offerings and reach for Hanes and then further watch it drop the product in your shopping cart as though it is robotic.  Why? Because, my friend, the seed was planted during that TV ad.  Hanes has made you think if your man wears this colorful underwear, he’ll be just like the men you saw in the ad … attractive, youthful, fun loving, looking good, maybe even having a great bod … men sittin’ on top of the world!   And, you want that for them too.  By purchasing a Hanes product, you will make that all happen.   Aaah … and there’s the magic of marketing!!

As Christians, we are already excellent advertising/marketing executives.  We know we have an awesome product.  Everyone can afford it because it’s free. There is a never ending supply so no worries about shortages ever occurring.  And, there is no expiration date on it so it will last for an eternity.  Our product? GOD’S LOVE!!

We’ve done our research. We know what He’s capable of doing. Some of us have felt the miracles He’s performed for us already.  We’ve felt His love at times when nothing else could console us.   We’ve heard His response to our prayers.  We know what the long-lasting effect of His presence in our lives will be.  We know enough about Him to be proficient in our advertising.  And, the beauty is that, in most cases, all we need to do is mention His name and people already recognize our ‘product’.  

Sadly, this is the season that people should be putting Him foremost in their minds.  It is, after all, the time of year we should be celebrating the birth of His Son, Jesus.  But the advertising glitz and glamour of the merchant offerings clearly overshadow what we know is the perfect gift for everyone.  

We don’t need to see God to know that He exists; our faith gives us that.  We need to live as God’s example and help people grow more spiritually strong.  We need to listen to our heart and do what it tells us so that our marketing strategy will touch someone to move their hand over all the competing reasons to NOT believe in Him, or arguments to NOT want to hear more of His word, or ways to NOT spend time with Him through worship.  Our strategic goal is for them to REACH FOR HIM, to be received in His love!  

Advertising is indeed fast paced; demand products come and go faster than the blink of an eye.  Marketing is forever … just like God’s love for us and our life with Him.  We may never see the results of our marketing but I guarantee you, if we do it right, we will have given someone the greatest gift they could ever receive … eternal life.

 

 


 

We share these words of love from our CTW family: 

Thank you so much for these beautiful crosses.  I just marvel at the different patterns in the wood.  They are exquisite in design and bear such an important message for us all.  Please know how much they mean to those who receive them.     Karen ~ VA

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Such a great thing y’all are doing.  I received mine after my husband’s passing and it was such an added blessing.  Thank you.    Cheryl

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Thank you for giving to us all this unique way of witnessing for Jesus.  Joy ~ MN

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and are thankful for these family members for sharing their love of God through the cross with others:

Joyce ~ MN

Open Door Community Church ~ Breezy Point, MN

Marian ~ MN

Amy ~ WI

Cedar Bluff Baptist Church ~ Princeton, KY

Rose ~ NC

Omaha Baptist Church ~ Unionville, MO for Operation Christmas Child

Sue ~ MN

Mary ~ OK

St. Francis Hospital Pastoral Care ~ Tulsa, OK

Marianne ~ FL

Geralyn ~ PA

Joy ~ MN

Concordia Food Ministry ~ Stafford, VA

Trinity United Methodist Church ~ Lomira, WI

Greg ~ CA

 


 
‘Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son
and they shall call his name Emmanuel.’
Matthew 1:23

 

 

This Christmas, may His hands touch your heart with healing and your life with blessings, as they cradle you in love all the days of the new year.  This Christmas, may we offer Jesus the only gifts that truly matter to Him … our worship, our praise, and our love.  

Wishing all of you a very blessed Christmas season.

Courage

Courage is almost a contradiction in terms.

It means a strong desire to live taking the form of readiness to die.

G.K. Chesterton

 

This year, so far, has been a struggle. Confusion, anxiety, fear & anger have become the flavor of the day and, so far, the few short days of this month have not disappointed in keeping our cup full.  In a couple of days, though, it is our prayer that we will all be inspired by an opportunity to think of others.

On November 11th, Veterans Day, we will have a chance to recognize and sincerely thank those soldiers or people with valor who protected, and continue to protect our country, and recognize that they did, and will, continue to unselfishly put down their lives for us without giving it another thought.  This is a golden opportunity for us to recognize our veterans, active and retired.  We’ll have the privilege to revisit a commitment they chose to make for their country and we’ll have the occasion to think about the sacrifices they have made … and what this all means to us. 

This note, written by Chaplain (Captain) Robert Schobert, 8th Fighter Wing Chapel assigned to the Kunsan Air Base in Korea, touched my heart :

‘Veterans Day is coming. I remember marching in the Veterans Day parade in San Angelo, Texas, last year. And I remember my feelings as if that parade was yesterday.

As my formation wound its way along the route, I was amazed to see the size of the crowds. It seemed the entire town came out to honor us and all veterans. I was proud and humbled that so many were so appreciative of the service of so few, me included.

What humbled me most was the sight of older veterans on the sidewalks standing at attention as stiff as boards, sharply saluting the young Airmen riding on a parade float in front of me. These battle-hardened warriors of World War II, Korea and Vietnam honored us as if we had fought and won wars many times tougher than their own. They honored us as if their service and sacrifice pales in comparison to ours.

I can’t imagine the hardships and atrocities these heroes endured in Europe and in the Pacific. One gentleman I spoke with flew 77 combat missions and was wounded numerous times. He bailed out of his aircraft as it plummeted toward the earth and lost many of his friends along the way. Now that’s a hero.

There he was on the sidewalks of downtown San Angelo, saluting technical training students as they passed by on a parade float, Airmen who graduated from Basic Military Training only weeks or days before.

My regret? I wanted to run up to them. All of them. I wanted to shake their hands and let them know we also appreciate THEIR service. I wanted to tell them they have earned the right many times over to receive OUR salutes honoring THEM. I wanted to express what a great privilege it is to serve in the tradition of heroes. But I didn’t. I couldn’t. I was in formation. And I have a feeling that if I had sought to honor them in such a way, they would have been embarrassed by the attention. They would have reminded me of the unwavering commitment and dedication of those marching in the parade on that day. Such is the way with heroes.

It is my prayer that next year at this time, you have returned home from this assignment and your family can march proudly together as one by one, thousands of fellow Americans honor you for what you and your family do to keep America strong and free.

You might not have marched in that parade last year. You might not have been saluted.

You might not have been recognized or thanked for your service at all. But never doubt what you do matters. Never wonder if your commitment is appreciated. Never question if your sacrifices are honored. Never waiver in your dedication to service. You are faithful to a proud heritage, a tradition of honor, and a legacy of valor.

You serve in the tradition of heroes.’

 

 

While Veterans Day specifically belongs to our heroes, their choices and actions are something we should be thankful for each and every day.  It doesn’t matter to the veterans if we wear red or blue; it shouldn’t matter so much to us.   What should matter is that, because of their heroics protecting our flag, our veterans have insured to us that we live in the home of the free and the home of the brave, and that is our privilege.  We are one nation under God.   

There are three colors to the flag of the United States and, in speaking about it, there’s a reason we always say ‘Red, White & Blue’. Red stands for valor and strength. Blue stands for preservance and justice.  White, I think the most significant color, stands for purity, wholeness, safety & faith and is the unifier and connector to the other two colors.  

Because of our veteran’s protecting our flag and what it represents, let me say it again:  We are ONE nation under God.  Please, let’s remember that.

 


 

We are thankful to these folks for sharing the cross during the month of October:

United Methodist Church – Munising, MI

Crooked Creek Church  – Ford City, PA

Compassion Ministries International – Milan, NM

Jerry – KY

Ginne – CA

Tom – CA

Grace United Methodist Church – Fergus Falls, MN

Greg – CA

Gale – MN

Open Door Community Church – Breezy Point, MN

Candi – CA for Operation Christmas Child

Bob – WA

Riverview Church – Pine River, MN for Operation Christmas Child

Hilltop Chapel – Palisade, MN for Operation Christmas Child

 


 

All of us at Cross The World ask you to join us as we take this time to celebrate, honor and thank our America’s veterans for their patriotism, love of their country and their willingness to serve and sacrifice, if need be.  Please remember what our veterans have done for us … it is because of them we remain one nation under God.

Courage is contagious.

When a brave man takes a stand, the spines of others are often stiffened.

Billy Graham

 

Who Smells Like Christ To You?

Hot and dusty, Bob dismounted from the bus he’d ridden to a city far from home.  He was tired from a long day of travel and grateful that he would be able to have dinner with friends of friends who lived in the area.  They welcomed him in, and he immediately felt a sense of peace.  He felt at home, comfortable, safe and valued.

Later, wondering why he’d felt such peace in an unfamiliar place, Bob found an answer in 2 Corinthians.  The apostle Paul describes people who follow God as having the ‘pleasing aroma of Christ’.  ‘That’s exactly it!’ Bob said to himself.  His hosts had ‘smelled like’ Christ.

When Paul says that God leads His people in Christ’s ‘triumphal procession’ spreading the fragrance of His truth, he’s referring to a practice in the ancient world.  Victorious armies would burn incense as they marched through the streets.  For their supporters, the smell brought joy.  In the same way, Paul says the people of God carry a pleasing fragrance to those who believe.  It isn’t something we create on our own but something God gives as He leads us in spreading the knowledge of Him.

Bob is my dad, and that trip to a faraway town took place more than forty years ago, but he’s never forgotten it.  He’s still telling the story of the people who smelled like Christ.

~ Amy Peterson

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These folks were the ‘aroma of Jesus’ to someone recently:

St. Francis Hospital Pastoral Care ~ Tulsa, OK

Denise ~ MD

Christ United Methodist Church ~ Fairless Hills, PA

Dodie ~ MN

First Lutheran Church ~ Fargo, ND

Birch Ridge Resort ~ Cass Lake, MN

Gary ~ MN

Geralyn ~ PA

Amy ~ WI for Operation Christmas Child

St. Peter Lutheran Church ~ Tulsa, OK

Gold Canyon United Methodist Church ~ Gold Canyon, AZ

Claudene ~ OK for Christian Motorcycle Association ‘Life Savers’

Lorraine ~ AZ

Brad ~ MN

 

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Heavenly Father, thank you for leading your people in triumphs and spreading the fragrance of your truth through us.

 

 

For we are to God the pleasing aroma of Christ among those who are being saved. 

2 Corinthians 2:15

Patience

Sharing our family with you:

Joy from MN:  Please send me 100 crosses.  I am freely giving them out again.  What a blessing to have them to give to people as a witness for Christ in these sad and confusing times.  I ‘bundle’ them up for others to give away as well … and they do!  Young people are appreciative!!   

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Emmi: We need to receive Jesus Christ for us to have life, because we can’t stand without Jesus. 

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Lee:  I received this cross and the info that came with it while I was in the hospital because of a fall that I had at home which has temporarily taken away from me the use of my legs to stand and walk. I am praying for the use of my legs to once again stand and walk. This small gift reignited the fire in my soul and spirit to renew my dedication to Jesus and our Father to tell others of His Glorious gift of eternal life for every one who will believe.  

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Sharon:  Yes, we need Jesus!  I read the other day: To try to fix America without Jesus is like rearranging the furniture in a burning house. 

More from Sharon:  Thank you.  There’s love and power in the name of JESUS!

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Mary from OK: Thanks so much for all your work.  Love your cross; love our Jesus.  

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David from CA:  Greetings in Jesus name!  Thank you for your ministry.   

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Edna from AZ: I will be using these crosses in Operation Christmas Child Shoe Boxes which are collected in the fall.  The children love these small personal crosses.  

And, a follow-up from Edna:
Thank you for getting my order of crosses out so promptly.   They are stored away reading for when I start packing my Operation Christmas Child Shoe Boxes.   It is so nice to have things ready when I get the boxes together ready to fill them.   I wish I could share with everyone the joy a child gets from just a simple small wooden cross.  When I was in Uganda a couple of years ago giving out the shoe boxes one little boy had a wooden cross in his box and he only wanted me to take a photo of him holding up his cross.  The rest of the items in the box were not as precious to him and he wanted me to know how he loved his little cross. (Unfortuntately it was not a cross that you make but of similar size and design.)   It is a great item to send along in this gift box and I appreciate all the work that goes into making and packing these crosses.   God is blessing others through what you do.

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Barbara from OK: Thank you!  We’ve shared some crosses with a women’s group from Teen Challenge, our Assembly of God Church and Serving Christ Outreach where I volunteer.  Thanks and God bless you!  

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Monica from MN: Prayers for you and yours from Camp St. Michael in Motley.  Life is full and anxious for us all.  Know that your work is still vital during this time.  That cross changes lives…. 

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And, crosses were shared recently with these great family members

Mary ~ OK

Pebble Creek Community Church ~ Goodyear, AZ for Operation Christmas Child

David ~ CA

Billie ~ MN

Greg ~ CA

Geralyn ~ PA

Mary ~ MO

Hilda ~ MN

Barbara ~ OK

Tom ~ CA

Providence Physical Therapy ~ Hampstead, NC

Hope Lutheran Church ~ Palm Desert, CA

Lorraine ~ AZ

Libby ~ SC

Joy ~ MN

Amy ~ MO

David ~ SC

Open Door Community Church ~ Breezy Point, MN

 


 

Patience paints the picture of a person holding on, persevering and refusing to give up.  Patience is what keeps us holding on when it seems like God is holding out.  Patience is what keeps God’s mysterious timing from becoming our faith’s undermining.  Waiting on God isn’t easy, but with patience, it is possible.

Whatever you’re waiting on today, know that God’s Word can be trusted. So, hang in there, keep believing! On the other side of your wait is a promise fulfilled. And when your eyes see what your faith has believed, there will be reason to celebrate.

Dear Jesus, I’m growing weary in the wait. Please increase my patience and grow my faith. Give me courage to keep trusting You and tenacity to cling to Your promises. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

 

 

Let nothing disturb you, 
Let nothing frighten you, 
All things are passing away: 
God never changes. 
Patience obtains all things
Whoever has God lacks nothing; 
God alone suffices.

— St. Teresa of Avila

Jesus Hold My Hand

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As I travel thru this pilgrim land, there is a friend who walks with me.
Leads me safely thru the sinking sand, it is the Christ of Calvary.
This would be my prayer, dear Lord, each day to help me do the best I can.
For I need Thy light to guide me day and night … Blessed Jesus, hold my hand.

 

Let me travel in the light divine that I may see the blessed way;
Keep me that I may be wholly Thine and sing redemption’s song some day;
I will be a soldier brave and true and ever firmly take a stand.
As I onward go and daily meet the foe … Blessed Jesus, hold my hand.

 

When I wander thru the valley dim toward the setting of the sun,
Lead me safely to a land of rest if I a crown of life have won;
I have put my faith in Thee, dear Lord, that I may reach the golden strand,
There’s no other friend on whom I can depend … Blessed Jesus, hold my hand.

 

Blessed Jesus, hold my hand, I need Thee every hour.
Thru this pilgrim land, protect me by Thy power.
Hear my feeble plea, O Lord, look down on me;
When I kneel in prayer, I hope to meet you there …
Blessed Jesus hold my hand.

Albert Brumley

 

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Walk By Faith

TWO HORSES  ~Author Unknown.   Just up the road from my home is a field, with two horses in it. From a distance, each horse looks like any other horse. But if you stop your car, or are walking by, you will notice something quite amazing. Looking into the eyes of one horse will disclose that he is blind. His owner has chosen not to have him put down, but has made a good home for him. This alone is amazing. If you stand nearby and listen, you will hear the sound of a bell. Looking around for the s

 

Just up the road is a pasture, which two horses call home.  From a distance, the horses look just like any other horses.   But when you get closer to them, there is something quite different about each.

The eyes of the first horse disclose that her sight is gone, yet she seems totally content to be grazing in this lush pasture.  She appears to be well manicured, her coat glistens in the warm sun; you can tell she is definitely well cared for.  In fact, she has been such a good, well-mannered horse her owner says that he couldn’t possibly think of giving up on her just because she lost her sight.  She has been romping in this same pasture for years and he wanted her to enjoy the remainder of her life there as best she could.   Without her eyesight, he knew this would be difficult for her so he came up with a very ingenious and loving solution.

If you stand quietly and listen, you’ll hear the sound of a bell coming from the direction of the second smaller horse, just a short distance away.  The owner wisely attached a small cowbell to the second horses’ halter.  Its primary purpose is to let the first horse, his blind friend, know where he is, allowing her to follow and not get lost.

As you stand and watch, you see that the smaller horse often checks on his friend; the sound of his bell reassuring the blind horse that her friend is close by.  And so, this mutual companionship goes on throughout the day as the two horses enjoy their freedom and the tasty grass in the pasture.  In the evening, when it’s time for them to return to the shelter of the barn, the smaller horse takes the lead, occasionally looking back to make sure his blind friend isn’t too far behind to hear the bell.

Like the owner of these two horses, God doesn’t throw us away just because we are not perfect or because we have problems or challenges.  He is constantly watching over us, occasionally bringing others into our lives to help us when we are in need.  Sometimes, we are the blind horse being guided by the little ringing bell; other times, we are the guide horse, helping others to find their way.

Good friends are like that. You may not always see them, but you know they are always there.  Please listen for my bell and I’ll listen for yours.  Always remember…be kinder than necessary.  Everyone you meet is fighting some kind of battle.

 

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Some kind words:

‘The beautiful crosses arrived today, along with your most generous gift of the lovely poetry books.  Will show all to my pastor first thing in the morning!  Cannot thank you enough for your wonderful ministry.  Thank you for shipping these exquisite crosses so quickly and safely.  I know many hearts will be touched by your kindness and these powerful reminders of God’s love for His children. You are truly a blessing to our ministry!  Many, many thanks!’

Karen ~ VA

 

‘Your ministry and sharing the crosses is wonderful.  Our staff really appreciate the crosses to give to people needing some support and compassion.  Thank you for sharing Amanda’s Poems. Our Chaplain and others felt the amazing strength Amanda shared.  Your gifts were all a blessing.’

Jackie ~ The Deerfield, Urbandale, IA

 

‘We were first introduced to your crosses at a MN Teen Challenge event.  We loved them and would like to include a cross in every shoebox we pack for Operation Christmas Child.  My family is passionate about this ministry and we pack numerous boxes every year for boys and girls.  Your crosses would be a wonderful addition to each box.  God bless you friends.’ 

Carrie ~ MN

 

‘I would like to order the small crosses for my church family.’ 

David ~ SC

 

‘It is time … starting to hand out crosses again.  I tell people it’s a “gift of hope” but will change that to “gift of hope and love”.  The crosses are received with appreciation.  You are appreciated for all you do to enable all of us to be a witness through handing out these crosses with the inspiring card.  It’s a dear gift.’

Joy ~ MN

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A couple of months ago, we featured Bob from Bound by Faith Cross Ministries in Barnum, MN.  He visited our home the other day (sadly, our paths didn’t mesh and we weren’t able to personally meet) and left us two awesome gifts he created in his workshop … a plaque and a cross.

 

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There is a tag on the back of the plaque which reads:  ‘Reclaimed board from the late 1800s’. This plaque has found its forever home … on the table by our front door for all our guests to see … just where Bob placed it.

 

 

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There is also a tag on the back of this wooden cross which tells us its origin: ‘Made from a 150 year-old Norway Red Pine damaged by wind storm.  Sawed 2017, Blackhoof Township Sawmill, Barnum, MN.’  This cross has found its forever home on the front of our woodshop, right above the eagle statue, another gift from a friend.  Both greet visitors with the gentle reminder of our freedoms.

Thank you, Bob, for thinking of us and for your service to our Lord!!

 

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Crosses were shared last month by these kind folks:  

David – CA

Janet – MO

David – SC

Open Door Community Church – Breezy Point, MN

Carrie – MN for Operation Christmas Child

St. Francis Hospital Pastoral Care – Tulsa, OK

Lewiston Christian Church – Dawson Springs, KY

Joy – MN

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Live simply.  Love generously.  Care deeply.  Speak kindly.

FOR WE WALK BY FAITH AND NOT BY SIGHT

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Five Finger Prayer

Our cup has overflowed with blessings this month.   Last month, we featured Bob Cummins, Bound By Faith Ministries and this is the heartfelt blessing we received back from him:

‘Thank you so much, I am greatly honored that you featured my Cross Ministries! … I have given out quite a few of the Cross the World ones that I ordered from you! A 79 year old friend of mine cried when I gave him one! I am so excited with what The Lord is doing and how the Cross touches people! … God is GOOD!’

Here are more blessings from our CTW family:

‘Thank you!  I am saved!  I can’t wait to pass these out!  My grandkids will love putting the crosses places for people to find.  Thank you again!  Have a great day!!’   Margie ~ PA

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‘I just wanted to thank you for what you do.  The first crosses I received was really great.  It is amazing the dialogue that can be opened by just presenting someone with a cross.  A great way to introduce people to Jesus!  Keep up the good work and God bless you all.’   Stephen ~ MO

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‘I received my cross in the mail from my sister. She received it at a physical therapy practice in North Carolina. As soon as I saw it, I knew I wanted to have these crosses to give out at our church’s food ministry. We provide food for those in need in the community. We have seen a dramatic increase in our numbers during the pandemic. I rather like the thought that this one special cross from North Carolina will now become 200 in Virginia. Cannot thank you enough for your wonderful ministry! You are truly a blessing to all.’  Karen ~ Concordia Lutheran Church Food Ministry, Triangle, VA

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‘My sister has opened a new business and wants to be a good witness to all her customers.  Could you please send her some crosses?’ Donna ~ MO

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‘I teach religious education and lead a Bible study group which includes male and female young soldiers.  Because of the Covid-19, our Base chapels have been shut down.  We are praying for the Base Commander to re-open them by Memorial Day.  I hope and trust that we will see many more coming to the services when that happens.  It would be such a joy to have your wonderful crosses to share with them, especially the ones who are going to be deployed to dangerous zones.  Thank you.’ Carol ~ GA

 


 

It seems some new symptom, some new decision, some new protest, some new something or other springs up every time we open the paper or turn on the TV.  Our world is spinning wildly and, while everyone has an opinion on what to do to get it under control, there is always someone else that disagrees.  Shouting, challenging, impatience, disobedience, denial, and disregard … they all seem to be the new ‘norm’.  This latest look at how fragile humanity is hasn’t been particularly tasteful.  Too often, we forget that we are ALL in this together!

During these uncertain times, hopefully the conversations we have with God have become more personal, more proprietary.  We all have issues we’re dealing with … some new found, others have been with us for some time.  Whether we’re dealing with fear, anxiety, frustration or confusion, we continue to seek His wisdom and depend on His guidance.  And, we continue to pray, pray, pray!!

As I was searching for something I thought would be helpful to us, I found this prayer I previously posted in September, 2016.  I liked it then; I think it is even more relevant now.

 

 THE FIVE FINGER PRAYER

 

Your thumb is nearest you.  So, begin your prayers by praying for those closest to you. They are the easiest to remember.  To pray for our loved ones is, as CS Lewis once said, a ‘sweet duty’.

 

The next finger is the pointing finger.  Pray for those who teach, instruct and heal.  This includes teachers, doctors and pastors.  They need support and wisdom in pointing others in the right direction.  Keep them in your prayers.

 

The middle finger is the tallest and largest finger.  It reminds us of our leaders.  Pray for the President, the Prime Minister, leaders in business and industry, as well as administrators. These people shape our nation and guide public opinion.  They need God’s continued guidance.

 

The fourth finger is our ring finger.  Surprising to many is the fact that this is our weakest finger, as any piano teacher will testify.  It should remind us to pray for those who are weak, in trouble, or in pain.  They need your prayers day and night; you can’t pray enough for them.

 

And, lastly, comes our little finger … the smallest finger of all which is where we should place ourselves in relation to God and others.  As the Bible says, ‘The least shall be the greatest among you.’  Your pinkie should remind you to pray for yourself.  By the time you have prayed for the other four groups, your own needs will be put into proper perspective and you will be able to pray for yourself more effectively.

 

EVERY time we look at our hands and all the ways they serve us, we should remember this five finger prayer.  Andwe should remember how many ways we are to serve the Lord … and we should pray.

 

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Go out into the darkness and put your hand into the Hand of God.  That shall be to you better than light and safer than a known way.  – Minnie Louise Haskins

 


 

We are so thankful for our Cross The World family and especially thankful for these folks who shared the cross during the month of May:

Clairemont Emmanuel Baptist – San Diego, CA

Augustana Care Health Center – Apple Valley, MN

St. Francis Hospital Pastoral Care – Tulsa, OK

Marcia – PA

David – CA

Jill – WI

Margie – PA

Stephen – MO

Donna – MO

Carol – GA

Concordia Food Ministry – Stafford, VA

The Deerfield – New Richmond, WI

 


 

A couple of notes from us:

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First of all, Cross The World continues to thank you, our family, for your support of our ministry.  We tell you all the time that we can’t do this without you and your faithfulness to us and God has been outstanding!  This pandemic shuttering of businesses has been hard on all of us but we want you to know that, because we are a small ministry and our woodshop is remotely located (er, in the woods!), we have remained safe and healthy.  Praise the Lord!!  Additionally, we want you to know that we have not shuttered our doors to your needs.  We continue to work as we always have to produce and ship crosses to you so you will have them available as you need them.  We’re there for you!  Don’t be afraid to let us know how we can assist you!!

Secondly, if you don’t want to wait to receive an email letting you know there has been something new added to our blog but would rather get an automatic notice, consider entering your email address in the ‘Follow Blog Via Email’ box located in the lower right hand corner of any page of this blog.  Remember to hit the ‘Follow’ button too!

And, lastly, we invite you to visit the Covid-19 page.  We’ve added some new things (the new entries will be printed in red).  If you have something you want to share with your CTW family, send it to us and we’ll pass it on.

 


 

In a world on unrelenting changes, I am the One who never changes.
I am the Alpha and the Omega … the First and the Last … the Beginning and the End.
Find in Me the stability for which you have yearned.
In My Presence, you can face uncertainty with perfect Peace.