“Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it. For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?”
(Matt. 16: 24-26)

This past Sunday we were looking at Ezekiel 7 at our afternoon Bible study. We noted how many verses used the words, the end is come vs. 2, the end come vs. 3, the end come, the end is come vs. 6, the time is come vs. 7, Behold, the day, behold, it is come vs. 10, the time is come, the day draweth near vs. 12. It seems that these are warnings to Israel that the end is very near and judgment is coming. Our Israel lands have been polluted and we have forgotten our God and abandoned His Word, “My face will I turn also from them, and they shall pollute my secret place: for the robbers shall enter into it, and defile it.”(Eze. 7:22). He has no pity for us nor will He spare us. Our abominations will be in our midst. It appears we have made our bed and are now sleeping in it. We will feel the power of His wrath. “And you shall know that I am the LORD!”(Eze. 7:4). The trumpet has been blown to make us ready but few have heard it and are not ready for the battle. (Eze. 7:14). Verse 25 says, “Destruction cometh; and they shall seek peace, and there shall be none.” Things will become so bad that they will seek a revelation but they cannot find one as the law has been lost from the priests and counsel from the ancients {elders} has perished. (vs. 26). “The king shall mourn, and the prince shall be clothed with desolation, and the hands of the people of the land shall tremble. I will do to them according to their way, and according to what they deserve I will judge them.” (vs. 27 from MEV.) He says again here, “And they shall know that I am the LORD!”

Wow, we are living in desperate times. At church on Sunday we sang this lovely old hymn “Take Up Thy Cross, the Savior said, if though wouldst my disciple be”. In this secular world where today’s gods are from the worldly ideas our belief in Jesus Christ our Saviour looks like failure to them. We appear fools in their eyes, but unfortunately, they do not know that they are the fools. It is by the grace of God that we have been chosen to be His servant people. We may have to go through many more trials and tribulations, but we are making ourselves ready for that glorious day when the Lord returns and we see Him face to face. He will bring with Him our rewards. “For the Son of man shall come in the glory of his Father with his angels; and then he shall reward every man according to his works.” (Matt. 16:27) Hallelujah! The words from this lovely hymn say it all.

I encourage you to prayerfully read the words of the entire hymn, authored by Charles W. Everest in 1833 AD. To aid you, I record below just three of its six stanzas.

Take up thy cross,
the Savior said,
if thou wouldst my disciple be;
deny thyself, the world forsake,
and humbly follow after me.

Take up thy cross,
let not its weight
fill thy weak spirit with alarm;
his strength shall bear
thy spirit up,
and brace thy heart
and nerve thine arm.

Take up thy cross
and follow Christ,
nor think til death to lay it down;
for only those who bear the cross
may hope to wear
the glorious crown.

The following verses in Psa. 19:7-11 tell us how to be brave at this time; He will give us strength. “The law of the LORD is perfect, converting the soul: the testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple. The statutes of the LORD are right, rejoicing the heart: the commandment of the LORD is pure, enlightening the eyes. The fear of the LORD is clean, enduring for ever: the judgments of the LORD are true and righteous altogether. More to be desired are they than gold, yea, than much fine gold: sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb. Moreover by them is thy servant warned: and in keeping of them there is great reward.”