Tuesday, March 27, 2012

The Centrefold of the Gospel – The Cross!

It is nearly Good Friday followed by Resurrection Sunday.   My husband Ray has his devotions included here on our blog and I have invited him to share his thoughts here today.  He has just released this third book in his 31 Day Devotional Series and with Good Friday and Resurrection Sunday this coming weekend, we would like to give a copy away to someone, somewhere, in this world of ours to help him or her be "captured by the wisdom, power, grace and wonder of Calvary"- as the blurb on the back cover invites.

These devotional meditations take you to the heart of the Gospel. They will fill you with awe of God. They will cause you to bow before the Lord in adoration.

Ray writes:-
Recently Australian Television screened Islamists desecrating Australian and British war graves in Libya. The natural response of course was outrage and the question asked, “Why would they do such a thing?” Part of the answer was portrayed in the scene of a number of men hacking at the tall memorial in the shape of the cross. For followers of the Crescent the Cross is anathema. In their eyes the West is Christian and the Cross our standard.

In our Western Democracies Christendom is either being sold short even by some of its leaders or opposed by militant agnostics. What is their focus? The smothering or removal of the symbol and message of the Cross! No wonder the scriptures speak about the cross being a stumbling stone or an object of foolishness (1 Corinthians 1:18-25).

I was motivated to write a devotional with the specific theme about the Cross. As a person convinced about its unchanging message, I was concerned that too many were tending to ignore the Cross’s crucial centrality to our faith. Most sermons or teaching major on the way God made the Cross of Christ our means of salvation. This wonderful truth should constantly overwhelm us and make us more devoted to our Lord. However there is so much more to what Jesus achieved on the Cross. From Genesis through to Revelation the shadow or reality of the cross, in symbol, implication or direct illustration confronts the honest reader who takes the Bible seriously.

In these devotions I’ve endeavoured to take you into the heart of God not simply for us, important as that is, but for the very honour of His Name and the redemption of creation. The cross is actually the cover, centrefold and back page of the Gospel. Without it the Church has no message and Humankind has no hope. We can talk about God being glorified, we can sing about the wonder of His grace but if that excludes the Cross we are in fact robbing the Lord God of His glory!

Once again the Church is being seduced into compromise. Wanting to be popular, relevant and non offensive there are those who want the Cross to be put into a cupboard and only mentioned on special occasions. Certain Denominations don’t want to upset Islam or atheists with a message of the crucified Son of God/Son of Man. Then they wonder why the Spirit of God writes over them ‘Ichabod!’

The Cross is the glory of God.
Therefore, ‘I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes: first to the Jews, then to the Gentiles. (Romans 1:16).

‘May I never boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world.’ (Galatians 6:14)
I may not wear a cross around my neck but it is over my heart. The cross is the badge of identity with Christ Jesus the Lord of Glory.
Ray (who enjoys the centrefold) Hawkins.
For years, Ray has been writing in various ways, including Bible studies, articles for church papers and also poetry - and beautiful love letters too! Since having his 31 Day Devotional meditation books published, he has become more and more involved in the "world" of writing that I have been now for over nineteen years.
It has been my real delight to share with him in the Christian writers' conferences held in Queensland the last couple of years. His Book One in this series was short-listed in the devotion book category of the CALEB awards while my Justice at Baragula went on to final. For details about all Ray's books click on  http://www.evenbeforepublishing.com/ 
Mary is multi-published in inspirational romance and her third book, Justice at Baragula, is available as an e-book as well as print from http://www.koorong.com/search/product/view.jhtml?code=9781921589515   
To learn more about Mary and Ray Hawkins, check out their website and blog from:  http://www.mary-hawkins.com/

Please leave a comment and you will be entered in the draw for a signed copy of Captured By Calvary - and please don't forget to check back to see if you are the winner and we then need your address details .  


  1. I say a BIG AMEN to you Ray for writing this devotional Captured By Calvary. As a Christian I am happy to read that you do not believe in compromising God's word! I love what you wrote:

    Once again the Church is being seduced into compromise. Wanting to be popular, relevant and non offensive there are those who want the Cross to be put into a cupboard and only mentioned on special occasions. Certain Denominations don’t want to upset Islam or atheists with a message of the crucified Son of God/Son of Man. Then they wonder why the Spirit of God writes over them ‘Ichabod!’

    Keep on proclaiming God's Truth!


  2. I feel so sad when Muslims mistake citizen's of so-called Christian countries for Christ himself. If they knew Jesus, they would fall in love, but they can't see him for our cultural failures. May your work draw many to the Savior.

  3. The cross is, as you say, Ray central to what we believe and is the powere of God and we need to be bolder in saying that. Good on you.

  4. One of my favorite hymns is "The Old Rugged Cross" which you can hear at http://nethymnal.org/htm/o/r/oruggedc.htm

    Without the cross, there would have been no resurrection. Without the resurrection, we would have no hope. Thank you for the reminder.

  5. God bless you Ray. I know Mary's devotion to the Lord and knew of yours. However, after reading the above focused solely on the cross, not yourself, but on the lover of our souls Jesus, then I am sold.
    Blessings Crystal Mary Lindsey

  6. To Judy, LeAnne, Dale, Judith and Crystal, thanks for your encouraging support and convictions about the cross. I'm sure that your writings will be flavoured by this conviction and woven into the experiences of your characters. In turn this will be used by the Holy Spirit to seize the heart of the reader through their eyes riveted by your story.
    This should both humble and excite us.
    Ray Hawkins (courtesy of MarHawkins

  7. Ray and Mary, how wonderful that you both write! Yes, Ray, "Lift High the Cross"!

  8. Ray said it so well in his comment, but I did want to thank Donna especially for your comment. I've been published since 1993 and without Ray's wonderful, generous support I know my writing career could never have happened. He lives out what he preaches, teaches and now is writing and being published like this too! You are so right, Donna. We have ministered together for over 47 years now but it is just that "extra" wonder for me to now be able to share with him in this way also! God IS good = all the time!

  9. The cross is definitely everything. If you don't believe in the resurrection, what is there to believe in? Thankyou God for your grace and love. Thanks Ray, for a lovely devotional.

  10. Ray, great post! Congrats on your new devotion book release. I've read your other two devotion books and I'm looking forward to reading this one :)

  11. I'm coming in late Ray, with all my computer problems. Thank you and I pray this book will be greatly used. The cross is the mighty cornerstone for our faith, so no wonder it is either attacked or ignored. How wonderful that God's "foolishness" is the means by where we must be saved!
    ritagal (at) optusnet (dot) com (dot) au

  12. Thank you all so much for your comments. I am so sorry I neglected to say the draw will take place next Thursday, April 5th Eastern Australian Standard (without our Summer Daylight time)and annouced that evening. This will hopefully give more readers from the ACFW loop to participate.

  13. Not sure what happened but I did leave a comment before here to say that Donna won the draw. Congratulations, Donna!