“Just as He Said”

Image by TC Perch from PixabayWhen the women arrived at the empty tomb Easter morning, an angel explained that Jesus had risen, “just as he said.” His faithful followers saw for themselves that death could not hold their Savior. Death cannot hold us either, “just as he said.”

The stone that would seal our fate, entombing us in an existence of death and decay, hopelessness and fear, unsatisfied desires and frustrated dreams—that stone was rolled away. “Just as he said.”

What is the heavy stone you can’t move?

  • Fear? Jesus said, “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you…Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” John 14:27
  • Guilt? Jesus said, “This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.” Matt 26:28
  • Problems? Jesus said, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest…you will find rest for your souls.” Matt 11:28-29
  • Emptiness? Jesus said, “I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit.” John 15:5
  • Anger? Jesus said, “Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven.” Luke 6:37

There are more stones—and more promises. No stone is heavier than the one on Jesus’ tomb, and it proved too weak to secure death’s victory. Because that stone couldn’t hold Him, your stone can’t hold you.

Live in peace, unburdened and fruitful, forgiving and forgiven.

Live… “just as he said.”

Image by TC Perch from Pixabay.

Between the Palms and the Cross

Today I share a guest post that deeply touched my heart. It is an inspiring poem by a talented, award-winning poet and personal friend, Maude Carolan Pych.

Between the Palms and the Cross

It’s Lent—MaudePoemPic

I’m sitting here meditating

upon that final week

wondering what happened to H

is followers

after Jesus entered Jerusalem

riding astride a donkey

as people spread their coats before Him

along the dusty road

Wondering about those followers

the ones who cut branches from palm trees

and waved them at Him in homage, proclaiming

Hosanna to the Son of David!

Hosanna in the highest!

After all, He was their humble King

I’m sitting here wondering what happened

between then and days later

when Jesus stood before Pilate

amid a crowd of onlookers

persuasive chief priests and elders

and everyone began shouting

Crucify Him! Crucify Him!

Did they forget the taste of water

that He turned into wine?

Did they forget the healed lepers and the blind?

Did they forget Him preaching

to the multitudes, Blessed be the poor…

and the thousands He fed with a few loaves and fish

Did they forget He healed a pitiful demoniac

and the woman with an issue of blood

Could they have forgotten that he said to the dead girl,

Talitha kum, and she sprang right up and walked

And Lazarus? Could they possibly have forgotten

that Jesus called His friend out of the tomb

and Lazarus emerged, grave clothes coiled

around his body…after three days!

I’m still sitting here wondering about

how quickly they turned

from their hosannas

to calling for His death

Wasn’t there one clear-headed believer

one unable-to-be-swayed witness

one unshakable faithful-unto-death follower

to boldly shout out in protest…

No!

No. There wasn’t

Not even one

The Imbalanced Math of Easter

Biblical Mathematics (5)

5-Easter-Image by Jo-B from PixabayThe principles of Biblical mathematics can be seen most clearly at Easter in the celebration of Jesus’ victory. He suffered the ultimate subtraction and division to add and multiply His grace to us. Think about it…

Subtraction : the act of taking something away

  • Jesus—stripped of His glory, dignity, clothing, and life
  • Us—the subtraction of guilt, shame, and debt—a zero net balance

Division : the act of separating

  • Jesus—separated from friends, from His Father, and then from the world, heaven and God when He descended into hell
  • Us—the temple curtain tore, closing our separation from God and offering us instead, separation us from sin’s curse, our failure, our debt, and our fear to approach Him

Addition : the act of joining or supplementing to cause increase

  • Jesus—added the weight of sin, human suffering and shame, to His blameless perfect life
  • Us—to our need, was added supply; to our debt, was added redemption; to our sin, was added forgiveness; to our despair was added hope

Multiplication : the act of increasing greatly

  • Jesus—bore the multiplied sin of mankind, past, present, future, and suffered pain and agony multiplied beyond comprehension for our freedom.
  • Us—multiplied, immeasurable grace, fresh mercy every morning, free and unending forgiveness

Lord Jesus, our words fall short. We cannot express the depth of our gratitude so we offer the only thing we can, our lives. Loving Spirit, grace us to walk away from temptation and subtract sinful attitudes and practices. Inspire us to live separate lives, dividing our time and treasure to serve others. Help us cultivate and produce fruit that reflects you. Multiply our love, for you and others. Amen.

Image by Jo-B from Pixabay

Multiplication

Biblical Mathematics (4)

4-Image offered by Julia Barret at teacherspayteachers.com

If addition is good, multiplication is better. Add 8 to 32 and you get 40; multiply 8 times 32 and you get 256. We’re blessed when God adds to our lives, but when He multiplies, we’re overwhelmed.

By definition, multiply means to increase in number especially greatly or in multiples. With that in mind, let’s look at three aspects of Biblical multiplication.

A relationship with God multiplies our grace and peace (2 Peter 1:2). A look at the synonyms for multiplication informs us that this means our grace and peace are increased, enlarged, augmented—they reproduce. Who wouldn’t like more grace and peace? I told you, God’s multiplication is overwhelming!

On top of that, our connection with Jesus enables us to do our own multiplication. He wants us to bear fruit, more fruit, much fruit—and He empowers us to do so.

“I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener … every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful … If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit.” John 15:1-5

Lastly, the words God spoke at creation, “Be fruitful and multiply” (Gen. 1:28), were not that different from Jesus’ final words before ascending into Heaven. He told His followers, then and now, to go and make disciples of all nations—to multiply (Matt. 28:19). He desires all people to live with Him in heaven, eternally.

There is only one way to multiply and that is by being attached to the Master Multiplier. He is the One who multiplies our grace and peace, enables our fruit to reproduce, and increases our love for others.

Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord.  2 Peter 1:2 NKJV

Image offered by Julia Barret at teacherspayteachers.com

Division—Separation

Biblical Mathematics (3)

3-Image by olafpictures from Pixabay

In math class I learned two forms of division—long and short. I liked neither. In Biblical mathematics I see three types of division and I like them all. I think you will too because, unlike standard math where division removes a part, Biblical division results in giving us more.

One definition of divide is to cause to be separate, distinct, or apart from. This is the division God has performed in our lives—He separated us from the world and made us a peculiar people, His people. In turn, we separate ourselves from negative influences, from temptation, and from sin.

But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. (1 Peter 2:9)

Division can also mean to separate into portions and distribute, dispense. God asks us, no, He expects us to divide what we have and share it with others—to part with our possessions and split them with those in need.

But just as you excel in everything…see that you also excel in this grace of giving…At the present time your plenty will supply what they need, so that in turn their plenty will supply what you need. Then there will be equality. (2 Cor. 8:7, 14)

The last definition of divide is to separate into two or more parts; the separating of things or persons in close union. God has very strong feelings about this form of division—He does not want it! Divisiveness does not reflect His heart. We are never to divide the body of Christ—no disunity, no disconnecting, no breaking up.

There should be no division in the body, but…its parts should have equal concern for each other. If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it. (1 Cor. 12:25-26)

The Biblical principles of division are so much more rewarding than the calculations of long and short division, which always result in having less.

God’s division amazingly, miraculously, always blesses us with increase.

Image by olafpictures from Pixabay

Subtraction

Biblical Mathematics (2)

2-Image by Luiz Jorge de Miranda Neto- Luiz Jorge Artista from Pixabay

I hope you’ve had a great week of addition, adding to the good things God has already given you. Today we’ll look at simple subtraction—the act of taking something away.

Our first instinct is to possessively object to have anything taken from us. After all, didn’t we say last week that God makes us bigger, better, more? That’s true, but we need to subtract to allow space for increase. We see this when we look at what God has subtracted from our lives to replace with something greater:

  • He took my sin and made me righteous.
  • He took my guilt and granted me forgiveness.
  • He took my condemnation and set me free.
  • He took my hopelessness and gave me purpose.
  • He took my emptiness and filled me.
  • He took me out of slavery and made me His child.

Jesus, the great Subtractor, has made me less to make me more. He moved me from the negative column to the plus side. In response, I participate in His Biblical subtraction process by renouncing these:

  • Bitterness
  • Anger
  • Selfishness
  • Fear
  • Unforgiveness
  • Worry

The difference between Jesus’ subtraction and mine is that He subtracts once and for all—He removes my sin completely and forever. My subtraction, however, is an ongoing process—a daily removal of life’s inevitable sin-stains.

So while the definition of subtract is simply to take away, the process for us is not simple or final—but so worth it. Every negative we subtract makes room for something positive.

And that’s an oxymoron of Biblical mathematics—the more we subtract, the greater we become.

But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy. 1 Peter 2:9-10

See also Eph.4:22-5:15.
Image by Luiz Jorge de Miranda Neto- Luiz Jorge Artista from Pixabay

Addition—accumulation, supplementation

Biblical Mathematics (1)

Image by Andrew Martin from PixabayOf the three academic basics—reading, writing & ‘rithmetic—math is my least favorite. If I had my way, the world would be labeled with letters, not numbers. Can you imagine? “Your caramel swirl cappuccino is $M.cw.” So simple!

As much as I dislike math, I’ve become intrigued with Biblical mathematics. Today’s post is a first look at the four basic operations of math found in the Bible: addition, subtraction, division, and multiplication.

Add simply means to join or unite, to bring about an increase or improvement. Addition is anything added—creating an increase.

Increase, to make greater, more, bigger.

When we give our lives to God, that’s exactly what He does for us—He makes us bigger, better, more. Using a timeless addition process, He adds to our lives that which lasts through eternity:

  • Faith & joy, complete and free
  • Grace & peace in abundance
  • Understanding & wisdom
  • Power, love & self-discipline
  • Hope & an inheritance
  • Everything we need for life and godliness
  • Belonging, a Father-child relationship with Him

We are no longer needy, but have been made complete, full, fulfilled—we lack no good thing.

“For this very reason,” says Peter, “make every effort to add…” We’ve been added to, now we enrich the life we’ve been given by adding to it:

  • Faith
  • Goodness
  • Knowledge
  • Self-control
  • Perseverance
  • Godliness
  • Brotherly kindness
  • Love

To all of us who have been added to, let’s continue the addition process.

May the Lord make your love increase and overflow for each other and for everyone else, just as ours does for you. 1 Thessalonians 3:12

Scripture references: John 15:12, 2 Peter 1:1-7, Job 32:8, James 1:5, 2 Timothy 2:7, Psalm 34:10; 84:11
Image by Andrew Martin from Pixabay

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