Tag Archives: Resurrection

Death Destroyed – A Triolet

If Christ is not risen, we have no hope
But the resurrection is our sure truth
Death destroyed wins for us Christ’s righteous robe
If Christ is not risen, we have no hope

We would be pitied and no way to cope
Would waste all our days to old age from youth
If Christ is not risen, we have no hope
But the resurrection is our sure truth

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Resurrection – A Poem

Last Sunday I was kind of tired in the afternoon so I lay down on the couch to take a nap. As I was dozing off the concept for this poem came to me. I realized that considering how important the resurrection of Christ is, I needed to write a poem about it. When I sat down to write it, this is what I came up with.

Resurrection
Risen from the grip of death
Empty tomb testifies to truth
Savior of the broken ones
Undeserving His banquet guests
Risen is our merciful Lord
Risen is our Holy God
Emmanuel lives again
Creator of all is the Light
To a lost and lonely world
Igniting in the hearts of men
Odes to One who loved us so
Now we all may rise again

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He Is Risen!

He Is Risen, Indeed!

On the first day of the week, very early in the morning, the women took the spices they had prepared and went to the tomb. They found the stone rolled away from the tomb, but when they entered, they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus. While they were wondering about this, suddenly two men in clothes that gleamed like lightning stood beside them. In their fright the women bowed down with their faces to the ground, but the men said to them, “Why do you look for the living among the dead? He is not here; he has risen! Remember how he told you, while he was still with you in Galilee: ‘The Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, be crucified and on the third day be raised again.’ ” Then they remembered his words.

When they came back from the tomb, they told all these things to the Eleven and to all the others. It was Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Mary the mother of James, and the others with them who told this to the apostles. But they did not believe the women, because their words seemed to them like nonsense. Peter, however, got up and ran to the tomb. Bending over, he saw the strips of linen lying by themselves, and he went away, wondering to himself what had happened. Luke 24:1-12 (NIV).

One of my favorite things about this account of the Resurrection of Jesus is that the first people to learn that He had risen were the women. At this time, the testimony of women was of no value. But God valued their witness and their testimony about this awesome event. This reminds me that He believes my testimony and witness of His glory is important, too.

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Limericks for Lent

Last Thursday I wrote my first limerick in response to the dVerse Poets Pub FormForAll, then later that day wrote two more. At least one of my readers expressed concern that I might get stuck in this genre of poetry – an idea I quickly dismissed. And yet this morning as I pondered what to write, a limerick came to mind, followed quickly by several more.

Typically, limericks tend to the crude and somewhat distasteful (such as “There once was a man from Nantucket” that lends itself to all sorts of rude limericks). But as a poetic form it need not be so, and even can be used to express more subtle humor.

This series of limericks was in part inspired by a post I read the other day titled “Easter joy and Holy joking” about how the resurrection was the greatest joke in all of history. It was a joke on Satan who thought the crucifixion was his greatest victory. He thought he had finally obtained eternal dominion over mankind and that we would forever believe his lies. Thankfully he was wrong and God knew what He was doing that Good Friday and Easter Sunday.

Limericks for Lent

There’s a man who was God come to earth
He arrived by a strange virgin birth
He gave sight to the blind
And He saved all mankind
Wanting us to all know of our worth

V V V

There’s a man who was God in the flesh
He first came in a lowly barn crèche
With disciples He walked
There was truth when He talked
He allows us to start life afresh

V V V

There’s a man, King of kings, who was God
On this evil planet He did trod
To the lost He gave peace
And the first He made least
Lord of lords in the end all will laud

V V V

The devil tricked Eve, so it goes
But the joke was on him, I suppose
On the cross Jesus died
All to save you and I
And defying the grave He then rose

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I Remember You, Lord

Today I want to share a song by Mac Powell of Third Day called I Remember You. It is a short but beautiful song that is perfect for this Lenten season. As we look forward to Palm Sunday, Good Friday, and Easter, this song is a wonderful reminder of what it is we focus on during Lent.

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I’m the Best Kind of Zombie

We all face temptations every day. Sometimes it seems impossible to resist. But Jesus has given us a way.

We were once dead in our sins and transgressions, but Christ has made us alive again in Him. We are like zombies who once were dead but have been made alive again.

The Christian band Audio Adrenaline sings a great song about this called Some Kind of Zombie. I thought it was a perfect song to share during the season of Lent as we seek to turn towards God and away from the temptations to sin that plague us each day.

As I walk through the maze of temptations, I like to think of these lyrics:

Oh here they come
I’m not afraid
there’s no temptation I can’t evade.
I stand up straight
look through the haze
I begin to walk through the maze
here they come
they’re all around me
but I’m dead to sin like
some kind of zombie.

As I listen to this song, I am reminded of Paul’s words in Romans 6:8-14 (NIV):

Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him. For we know that since Christ was raised from the dead, he cannot die again; death no longer has mastery over him. The death he died, he died to sin once for all; but the life he lives, he lives to God.

In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus. Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its evil desires. Do not offer the parts of your body to sin, as instruments of wickedness, but rather offer yourselves to God, as those who have been brought from death to life; and offer the parts of your body to him as instruments of righteousness. For sin shall not be your master, because you are not under law, but under grace.

Because of Jesus, I am the best kind of zombie – one that is slave only to the grace of God and not to my sinful nature. Just as this Audio Adrenaline song says, “I walked away from the grave” and into an abundant life in obedience to Christ.

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Psalm 124 – If God Was Not on Our Side

The date today is 12/4, so I decided to post Psalm 124. It is a wonderful Psalm that reminds us that we would be completely lost if the Lord had not been on our side.

He was on our side when He entered Mary’s womb. He was on our side when He was born in a lowly manger, helpless and cold.

He was on our side when He spent 40 days in the wilderness and was tempted by Satan. He was on our side when He resisted that temptation and made a way for us to do so, too.

He was on our side when He was baptized in the Jordan by John. He was on our side as He walked with His disciples and taught them what they needed to pass on to future generations about us.

He was on our side when He did not condemn the woman caught in adultery, but told her to leave her life of sin. He was on our side when He gave sight to the blind, made the lame walk, and fed the hungry.

He was on our side when He condemned the Pharisees for their legalism that kept the people in darkness.

He was on our side when He hung on the cross wearing a crown of thorns, His side pierced with a spear. He was on our side when He took all our sin upon Himself.

He was on our side when He rose again from the dead. He is on our side even now as He sits at the right hand of the Father.

Praise be to God that He has been and always will be on our side!

Psalm 124

    A song of ascents. Of David.

 1 If the LORD had not been on our side—
   let Israel say—
2 if the LORD had not been on our side
   when men attacked us,
3 when their anger flared against us,
   they would have swallowed us alive;
4 the flood would have engulfed us,
   the torrent would have swept over us,
5 the raging waters
   would have swept us away.

 6 Praise be to the LORD,
   who has not let us be torn by their teeth.
7 We have escaped like a bird
   out of the fowler’s snare;
the snare has been broken,
   and we have escaped.
8 Our help is in the name of the LORD,
   the Maker of heaven and earth.

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Easter Is Over. Now What?

Lent is over. Good Friday is history. Easter has come and gone. Now what? If I was one of the original apostles meeting with Jesus after His resurrection, my next move would have been to wait.

Once when he was eating with them, he commanded them, “Do not leave Jerusalem until the Father sends you the gift he promised, as I told you before. John baptized with water, but in just a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.” Acts 1:4-5 (NLT).

But I don’t have to wait for the Holy Spirit. He already dwells in me and has from the moment I believed that Jesus died for my sins and claimed Him as my Savior.

Pondering the journey of Lent, through the agony of seeing Jesus on the cross, and joy of His resurrection, I still have to ask myself, “Now what?” If faith in Christ doesn’t change anything about how I think and live, then what is the point?

And so the answer to the question “Now what?” must be that now I let Him change me to be more like Him. I allow Him to change me to be more loving, more patient, gentler, kinder, less selfish.

I have already allowed Him to change me a great deal, but there is more that He can do in my heart and in how I think. On Good Friday, I nailed my sins to the cross, and Jesus desires for me to leave them there. To His cross I nailed fear, lack of trust, selfishness, anger, and unforgiveness. He desires that I move forward in my life with courage, trust, selflessness, understanding, and forgiveness.

So for me the next step I think needs to be to say, in the words of MercyMe, “So Long Self.”

The first time I heard this song I didn’t completely get it. But the more I spend time in God’s Word and in prayer, the more I express to Him a desire for the cross to really make a difference in my life, the more I understand what this song is all about.

I can’t go through life putting myself first. To be more like Christ, I must put others before myself. Just as Jesus laid down His life for my benefit, I must lay down my life for the benefit of others. This doesn’t mean that I must physically die for others (though some people are certainly called to do so), but it does mean I must set aside the selfish desire to improve only my own life and think of helping others. Sometimes that might mean giving up what society tells me are my rights, and it will often require me to trust that the spiritual blessings God will grant me as a result of my selflessness will far outweigh any material blessings I could gain by putting my desires first.

It will also require me to listen closely to the Holy Spirit and follow His advice and promptings. To truly say “so long” to my selfish nature, I must rely on Christ living in me.

My old self has been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me. So I live in this earthly body by trusting in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. I do not treat the grace of God as meaningless. For if keeping the law could make us right with God, then there was no need for Christ to die. Galatians 2:20-21 (NLT).

Christ died for me and you so that we may live free of sin and the law. He died so that we might be free to live according to His Spirit living in us.

Lent is over. Good Friday is history. Easter has come and gone. Now what will you do?

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Peter’s Denials Weigh Heavy on Saturday

Before His arrest, trial, and crucifixion, Jesus predicted that Peter would deny that he even knew Jesus, not just once and not just twice, but three times, before the night was over. As all that Jesus said was true so was this prediction. Standing in the courtyard outside the house of Caiaphas the High Priest, when he was recognized and people suggested he had been with Jesus, Peter denied ever having known him. John 18.

I’ve been thinking about how Peter must have felt on Saturday. His Lord is dead. The man Peter believed was the Son of God was gone and he hadn’t stood up for his Lord, his Master, his friend when the time came. Peter remembered that Jesus had predicted what he would do, but that knowledge was not a comfort to Peter. I imagine Peter was feeling a lot of fear on this day after the crucifixion. And guilt. Tremendous guilt and sorrow. The scriptures say that the rooster crowed as Jesus had predicted.

At that moment the Lord turned and looked at Peter. Suddenly, the Lord’s words flashed through Peter’s mind: “Before the rooster crows tomorrow morning, you will deny three times that you even know me.” And Peter left the courtyard, weeping bitterly. Luke 22:61-62 (NLT).

I suspect that the desire to weep — both over the loss of Jesus and his own shame — continued throughout the following day. That kind of sorrow doesn’t go away easily. That kind of pain is hard to live with.

Third Day sings a great song about Peter’s denials from Peter’s perspective. It’s called “Can’t Stand the Pain.” I found this video of it with clips from the movie The Passion of the Christ. The scene where Jesus turns and looks at Peter is heartbreaking.

But Peter’s heartbreak of Saturday is not the end of the story. After the Resurrection, John records this conversation in John 21:15-17 (NLT):

 After breakfast Jesus asked Simon Peter, “Simon son of John, do you love me more than these?”
   “Yes, Lord,” Peter replied, “you know I love you.”
   “Then feed my lambs,” Jesus told him.
 Jesus repeated the question: “Simon son of John, do you love me?”
   “Yes, Lord,” Peter said, “you know I love you.”
   “Then take care of my sheep,” Jesus said.
 A third time he asked him, “Simon son of John, do you love me?”
   Peter was hurt that Jesus asked the question a third time. He said, “Lord, you know everything. You know that I love you.”
   Jesus said, “Then feed my sheep.”

There are a couple of things that I love about the story of Peter’s denials, and the Lord’s restoration of Peter after the Resurrection.

It proves that anyone can be restored by our Lord. It doesn’t matter what you have done before, even if you have abandoned Him and denied Him in the past, if you love Him as Peter did, Jesus will restore your relationship with Him.

It also shows how weak humans are without the Holy Spirit. When Peter denied Jesus, the Holy Spirit had not yet come upon him and his fear and sin overtook him, causing him to deny Jesus out of his own sense of self-preservation. If you compare this to how Peter boldly proclaims Jesus after he is filled with the Holy Spirit, the difference is astounding. See Acts 2. This shows me that without God we cannot be the bold and faithful followers He desires, but with His Spirit indwelling us we can do all things. “For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength.” Philippians 4:13 (NLT).

At our Good Friday service last night, our pastor said something that I had never thought of before. Peter wasn’t the only one who was probably feeling such guilt and sorrow on Saturday. All of the disciples had abandoned Him, and so they were all probably feeling fearful and lost. But there is another disciple whose actions were equivalent to Peter’s denials.

Simon Peter followed Jesus, as did another of the disciples. That other disciple was acquainted with the high priest, so he was allowed to enter the high priest’s courtyard with Jesus. Peter had to stay outside the gate. Then the disciple who knew the high priest spoke to the woman watching at the gate, and she let Peter in. John 18:15-16 (NLT).

This other disciple (possibly John) followed along and watched as Jesus was unfairly tried by the High Priest and the Sanhedrin. This disciple “knew the high priest,” and yet he didn’t speak up for Jesus. Although he didn’t deny that he knew Jesus, he did not defend Jesus either. He watched silently as Jesus was found guilty, and then spit on, beaten, slapped, and mocked. See Matthew 26:57-68.

Saturday weighed heavy on all the disciples. As a follower of Christ it weighs heavy on me, too, knowing that my sin was upon Him on the cross. As Christians today, we are blessed by the knowledge that the crucifixion was not the end of the story, and so that weight is bearable. But as they sat together in the locked upper room on Saturday, the disciples didn’t have that luxury of knowing what would happen the next day. Even though Jesus had told them He would rise again, the brutality of His flogging and crucifixion surely caused them to doubt and fear. I know it would have had that effect on me if I had been there. So today, in rememberance of the disciples who once deserted Him, denied Him, and silently watched as He was tortured and killed, but who later brought His truth to the world, I will ponder their sorrow and shame, and leave the celebration until tomorrow.

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Redemption and the Bread of Life for Recipe (Good) Friday

I know I usually post a recipe on Friday, but because it is Good Friday I decided I wanted to do something a little bit different. Instead of a recipe for food that will perish or last only for a single meal, I want to post the recipe for Redemption and the Bread of Life that will last you for an eternity if you choose to partake. This recipe was finished over 2,000 years ago, but to enjoy it you have to add two important things.

Redemption and the Bread of Life

Ingredients:

All the sin of mankind
One Spotless Lamb of God
One crown of thorns
Two wooden beams
Three nails
The blood of the Savior
Divine Love
One empty tomb
Belief
Confession

Directions:

The first part of the recipe was already finished when the Spotless Lamb of God took upon Himself all the sin of mankind, wore a crown of thorns, and was nailed to a cross made of two wooden beams. The blood of the Savior was shed because of Divine Love. After three days, one empty tomb was added to the recipe, and Redemption and the Bread of Life was ready for all to partake.

To enjoy Redemption and the Bread of Life, believe that the Spotless Lamb of God died for your sins and that God raised Him from the dead, and confess with your mouth that He is Lord of all. And while you are at it, enjoy this great video of Johnny Cash singing “Redemption.”

Finally, I just want to leave you with a few scriptures regarding the Bread of Life and how Jesus finished all that needed to be done, except for you to believe. And even that, I believe, His Holy Spirit has a hand in allowing us to do. Today is Good Friday, a somber day on which our Lord was crucified. But Sunday’s comin’ and Redemption is nigh’.

Then Jesus declared, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.” John 6:35 (NIV).

When he had received the drink, Jesus said, “It is finished.” With that, he bowed his head and gave up his spirit. John 19:30 (NIV).

Early on the first day of the week, while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene went to the tomb and saw that the stone had been removed from the entrance. So she came running to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one Jesus loved, and said, “They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we don’t know where they have put him!” John 20:1-2 (NIV).

If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. Romans 10:9 (NIV).

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