The late Steve Snyder of International Christian Concern first introduced me to Shahbaz Bhatti, the leader of All Pakistan Minorities Alliance (APMA) in the earlier part of the
21st Century.  Shahbaz helped Christians and other non-Muslim people advocate for human rights in Pakistan.  My work was to write stories on what God was doing in Pakistan.

Shahbaz Bhatti advocated for Christian girls in Pakistan

I’ll never forget the afternoon when Shahbaz returned from a high level meeting with our government in Washington, DC.  He was staying with my friends nearby and I was there to greet him after his trip so we could do media interviews.

Shahbaz walked in the door and exclaimed, “Sister Hope, I can’t believe
what I saw!”

For a man who just came from a meeting of great political importance (just Google his name and you can see for yourself), he was so childlike in his exuberance that I smiled.  “Tell me, what did you see?”

He said, “I walk on the street in your capitol and I see a man with a cross around his neck! I can’t believe! I run to him and hug his neck and I tell him, ‘You are a Christian! My
Brother! You know, in my country you cannot do this?’”

At this point I was laughing.  I pictured this Pakistani man with the big moustache hugging an American stranger on the streets of DC who, frankly, may or may not have been a
“Christian brother”.

To Shahbaz, the freedom to display the cross openly was a big deal.  In fact, he wanted nothing more than to see this type of freedom of religion in his own nation.   When he came to visit the United States every couple of years, it usually took him a little more than a week to stop looking behind him as he traveled place to place in America.  He was used to fielding verbal threats and even real bullets from the Taliban and Al Qaeda when living in his home in Pakistan.

The last week of July 2011, I spoke–well, I preached–on the importance of displaying the cross at the Montrose Christian Writers Conference in Montrose, Pennsylvania.  (This Wednesday I’ll speak on the cross at the Philadelphia Christian Writers Conference 7:30 at the PBU Philadelphia Biblical University campus)  We gave our Father God time to speak to our hearts–“Father, where would you like me to display your cross?”

Afterward writers came up to me and many already knew where they would display the cross in their home or neighborhood.  What about you?  Is the cross displayed somewhere in your home or local area?  Please leave a comment and tell us where!  Let’s encourage one another to display the cross!

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About Lift the Cross of Jesus!

My day job is writing--I'm an author and publisher of a number of books. More on that later. But there is nothing of greater importance to me than the early morning hours I spend with the Creator of the Universe. Although He knows everything there is to know, His greatest delight isn't to give us knowledge, but to give us love. My highest joy is to watch the sun rise with notebook in hand and write the words he speaks to my heart. I want to share some of those words with you here . . . words on the cross.
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9 Responses to

  1. Thank you for the reminder to rejoice in the privilege of lifting up the cross. I had all but stopped wearing my cross jewelry simply because of all who wear crosses without every looking to Jesus. You have reminded me not to react to others’ actions but choose to act on Jesus’ actions! Today is our 19th wedding anniversary; we’re heading to Lowe’s to purchase wood for the cross we have decided to display on our garage–in the peaked area above the door. Thank you again. May God richly bless you as you bless others.

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    • BillieJo, this is such a powerful testament to your marriage and to your commitment to Christ. Thank you for posting here–I know you’re encouraging me as I read your commitment to display the cross on your anniversary!

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      • OK, I have to leave a comment here. An 8-year-old boy is displaying the cross his grandma gave him after she told him about the message on the cross and the North Korean Children (www.historymakerpublishing.com ). This is too sweet not to post! Shirley of Idaho said:
        When you spoke at the conference about the Korean orphanage,I bought a silver cross, like the bigger one I gave you, and gave it to my grandson, Mikie, after telling him your story. But….I tell you this to say….that my grandson has been with us on and off all summer, and he has landscaped his version of a river, dam and inlets down our mountain hillside. Quite long. When you turn on our outside water, it flows down the hill in falls, pools, and it is quite pretty. We are going to decorate it with small white rocks to make a rock river. Of course, we have complimented him on his work. But….one morning just as the sun was peeking its beautiful head above the mountaintops, I saw something shining down on one of the large flat rocks. I trudged down the hill and there was the silver cross, laying perfectly centered on what Mikie called an inlet. When I asked him why he left the cross down on the rock, he said two things….”you told me about your friend with the cross in her yard, and you didn’t have a cross in your yard, but Grandma….I layed it there so every time you saw it you could know that God has this land and your house in his hands.
        I had to share it Hope, because he was truly blessed by your story. We’ve prayed for those Korean children, and will continue to do so. You touched my heart something big when met you, and I think about you a lot. May God bless you and keep you safe. I sent a hug from my little corner of the world.

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  2. I’ve got several crosses hung in my apartment. The cross is powerful…. it defeated Satan. Let’s display the cross every chance we get!!! 🙂 Hope, I prayed for you that God would give you the words to say in your speech tomorrow.

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    • I do need prayer, Brittany, thank you. I’ll be speaking at the Philadelphia Christian Writers Conf. tomorrow at 7:30 on the PBU (Philadelphia Biblical University) campus on what else? The cross! One of the songs we’ll be singing says, “Now by this I overcome, nothing but the blood of Jesus. Now by this I”ll reach my home–nothing but the blood of Jesus.” He carried his cross up the hill of Calvary. What an honor to display the cross for others to be reminded of His great love! Thanks, Brittany!

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  3. Julie Walker says:

    Thank you, Hope, for your reminder to display the cross visually to others which gives us verbal opportunities to share the eternal significance of the cross in our lives.
    A visual reminder of the cross came to me when my husband gave me a gold cross charm on Valentine’s Day of 2005. When he gave me the gift, he told me that the cross was to remind him that my value to him is based on the cross. That is one of my most treasured gifts from my husband and the love and significance he displayed in presenting this gift to me. I love that to tell that story when people comment on my cross necklace.

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    • Such sweet testimonies are coming through here on couples and the cross! Holy marriages! FUN marriages! Julie this is so sweet. You know, my mom let me borrow her gold cross necklace when I spoke last week at the Montrose Christian Writers Confernece. She said my dad gave it to her their first Easter together in 1958 and he wrapped it sweetly in an Easter basket! Valentines cross from Julie, an Anniversary Cross from Billie Jo, and an Easter Cross from my mom. Does anyone else have a holiday cross story?

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  4. Another lifting up the cross story for you, Hope. This is from “Judy” a dear Christian sister with some difficult family issues. Last night in a Bible Study group Judy told me of an idea you will love. She says that I am always encouraging her to go ‘sit at the foot of the cross’ when troubles seem too great, so she has decided visualizing the cross is not enough. She is asking her son to build a large cross for her to go sit under. She plans to have a pile of large rocks near her cross and when a trial is just too much, she will take a rock, name it and place it at the foot of the cross. Cool, isn’t it? Have a blessed day! bj

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    • “Judy’s” idea is so creative. You know, Judy’s idea reminds me of the way that Jacob set up rocks after he wrestled with an angel all night–to memoralize the place where he met with God. My girlfriend and I like to take our kiddos and our mamas for a weekend away once a year. Two years ago we painted rocks. Some had pictures on them. My daughter wrote “love” in Chinese and we wrote scriptures, too. One of us painted a cross. (The rock painting kit was less than $10 at Ollies.) We set them around the house and in our large planters . . . good “memorials”.

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