There's a great emphasis today being put on the words and actions of Jesus, particularly the action part.  Much is made of His acts of love, His going to the lost, His ministry of healing and so on.  This is all good, it's very good, but I think in our emphasis on His works, we are missing His greatest work; Calvary.  We're trying to emulate Christ, but without our own personal Calvary.  We live life on the horizontal plane of our own strength, instead of the vertical ascent of His victory and life.
     In Luke 18:31, Jesus said, "Behold, we go up to Jerusalem."  It was at Jerusalem that Christ would fulfill the pinnacle of His calling, the cross.  His call to each of His disciples was that they too would "go up to Jerusalem," to their own personal cross.  Oswald Chambers said that "Nothing must deflect us from going up to our Jerusalem," yet many things do.  One of those things is our own personal "works" or ministry.  It is much easier to imitate His workload, than go to His cross.
What we miss is that we cannot "go out" to them, until we have gone up to Jerusalem.  Neither can we live the overcoming life, or be vessels of His grace and life, until we've done so.  We may do much, but in the end it can be "much ado about nothing."   A.W. Tozer said more than a half-century ago, "Only what is done through the Eternal Spirit will abide eternally; all else is wood, hay, stubble. It is a solemn thought that some of us who fancy ourselves to be important evangelical leaders may find at last we've been but busy harvesters of stubble."  Somehow we think that the Father will honor our good intentions, but our good intentions, like all else, have to go up to Jerusalem.  They must die upon our, His, cross.
    Three times a year, the faithful of Israel would go up to Jerusalem, singing Psalms 120 to 134.  These were known as the Songs of Ascents.  Just as the road to Jerusalem wound upward, so were their hearts to likewise go upward to Him.  This would be what Paul called "the upward call of God in Christ Jesus."  Jesus knew that road, and very likely, He sang those songs not only with His lips, but with all of His heart, especially as He went up to Jerusalem and His cross.   Have you and I taken that road?  Are we singing those songs?  Or, are we going out, day after day, without ever really going up?  Are we spiritual flatliners, living on the horizontal, or vertical climbers, hearing that upward call, letting nothing deflect us from our own Jerusalem.  Are we going out, without ever having come up? 

Pastor O
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   May 2019   
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