Frame Each Day by the Cross and the Resurrection

What frames your life? What parameters establish your direction and influence your choices? As we choose to frame our lives by the cross and resurrection of Jesus Christ, His death, burial, and life direct our steps, giving us context and foundation. Rather than an annual weekend celebration, the reality of Easter should color our entire lives with hope and assurance.

Who is the first person you desire to talk with every morning? The first One on your mind? Is it God? Or do we, like many others, scroll through social media and check emails before we give Him thought or place. That first conversation, no matter how simple, acknowledges God’s place and active participation in all we are and do.

The daily spiritual disciplines of prayer, Bible reading and meditation, connection with other believers, and even communion, ground us in Christ’s finished work of the cross. For good reason, the first Christians established these basic tenants of faith early in church’s history.

“They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer . . . Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts.”
Acts 2:42-46

The breaking of bread became a tangible reminder of the New Covenant they now enjoyed. Many of these men and women became amazing giants of faith. If they framed “every day” by the cross and resurrection of Jesus Christ, should it be any less important for us?

Boast in Him

On the cross, Jesus declared each one of us precious enough to die for. Yet without Him, we have nothing to boast about. ALL honor, glory, power, and praise belong to Him. Only in humility are we rightly positioned before Him. And well it should be! All our boasting points completely toward Jesus.

The Cross

Paul wrote to the Corinthians,

“Brothers and sisters, think of what you were when you were called. Not many of you were wise by human standards; not many were influential; (and) not many were of noble birth. But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. God chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things — and the things that are not — to nullify the things that are, so that no one may boast before him. It is because of him that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God that is, our righteousness, holiness and redemption. Therefore, as it is written: ‘Let the one who boasts boast in the Lord.’ ”
1 Corinthians 1:26-30

Paul closes his letter to the Galatian church in a similar manner.

“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

We find an inexplicable paradox in the cross. Jesus Christ is everything; we are nothing. Yet, He became nothing, to give us everything. Such realization grounds and secures us. The cross and resurrection deems humanity of unspeakable value, despite personal frailty and failure.

The Cross and Resurrection

By daily celebrating Easter’s reality, we remember the cross and resurrection, allowing God to remind us both where we came from and where we are going — from the dead root to living hope. May we never forget how Christ’s death and resurrection rescued us from hopelessness and brought us into a confident future. Jesus removed our sins from us, cancelling our great debt and bridging the gap between God and humanity. His resurrection thunder-clapped through Heaven and Earth His indisputable victory over sin, satan, and death.

By framing each day by the cross and resurrection, we remind ourselves that our lives are not our own. Jesus purchased us at a costly price. God uses these defining events to remind us that to follow Jesus means choosing the way of sacrifice.

Good Friday

“And whoever does not carry their cross and follow me cannot be my disciple.”
Luke 14:27

We are forgetful and need a constant reminder of all God has done. The Israelites suffered from the same condition. The early Christians did too. Just because Christ suffered for us doesn’t mean all suffering has ended. Jesus and the other writers of the epistles spoke otherwise.

“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”
John 16:33

So whether our days turn out supremely joyous or far from it, when we frame each day by the cross and resurrection, everything assumes proper perspective. Christ’s victory over-shadows everything! Today is but a millisecond in the vast time-line of eternity.

Victory

When a sports team wins a championship, a grand celebration often follows. The triumphant team hits the major news feeds. Families celebrate! Communities celebrate! Strangers even celebrate! Why? Everyone loves to see a decisive victory.

Resurrection

By framing each day by the cross and resurrection, we join once again in the celebration of the greatest victory ever.

” When you were dead in your sins and in the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made you alive with Christ. He forgave us all our sins, having canceled the charge of our legal indebtedness, which stood against us and condemned us; he has taken it away nailing it to the cross. And having disarmed the powers and authorities, he made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross.”
Colossians 2:15

Jesus hung naked, publicly degraded, and humiliated. But then . . . through His sinless sacrifice, He disarmed every evil power and authority, exposing them before Heaven and Earth to humiliation and shame. The enemy’s signature move became his greatest defeat.

“The resurrection is not the reversal of a defeat but the manifestation of the victory Jesus won on the cross for you and me.”
Nicky Gumbel

The cross and resurrection declare God’s glory, power, and dominion. Jesus transferred His victory to become our victory. And every victory we experience is His — through Him, for Him, and by Him.

It is Finished!

Perhaps Jesus’ greatest statement from the cross lay in these few words,

“So when Jesus had received the sour wine, He said, ‘It is finished!’ And bowing His head, He gave up His Spirit.”
John 19:30

It is Finished

Our limited understanding hinders us from comprehending how completely Jesus accomplished every assignment the Father had given Him. Everything that sin and rebellion stole, Jesus bought back. All Jesus needed to do was die — the Sinless for the guilty, the Prince of Peace for the turbulent, and the Obedient for the disobedient. He went far beyond!

” ‘He himself bore our sins‘ in his body on the cross, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; ‘by his wounds you have been healed.’ “
1 Peter 2:24

The cross declares again and again, “It is finished! Stain of sin go! Incurable wound be healed! Broken in mind and spirit be restored! Sickness and disease bow! Captives, be free!” Though circumstances may try to convince us otherwise, the cross and resurrection declare the work is finished — for good, for ever.

So Much More

This is no legal requirement! Framing every day by the cross and resurrection celebrates how God empowers us to walk with strength not our own, with faith He freely gives, with courage amidst our battles, and with grace piled upon grace.

“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ From the dead.”
1 Peter 1:3

The cross and resurrection stand as a framework to all generations and peoples. They bring every aspect of life and faith into focus. Jesus transferred to all who would believe “new birth into a living hope.”

Lily

Does living hope define us? When others look our way, do they see the vibrancy of Christ’s life in and through us — both the death to the old and alive to the new? As we consistently celebrate and frame our lives by the cross and resurrection, I believe they will.

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Communion – The Cross and Resurrection – “In Remembrance of Me”

Communion - The Cross and the Resurrection

In a small room with a cracker in one hand and a small glass of grape juice in the other, I silently reflected on their meaning. “Do this in remembrance of me,” Jesus said. Many times, I have received communion and held these tangible elements representing His death.

Communion

Communion

I waited for personal revelation of the implications of the cross: of Jesus’ death, burial and resurrection.

God still speaks. I “hear” Him mostly when reading the Bible, at times through dreams or visions, and often with thoughts I know are not my own. Of course, everything is weighed against the truth of scripture.

Tabernacle

In a vision, suddenly Jesus (the Son of God not the glorified Christ) took me by the hand. Together we quickly and purposefully rushed past multitudes standing by their tents. It seemed like perhaps the encampment of God’s people in the wilderness.

We approached what I knew to be the Old Testament tabernacle but without curtains to contain or divide it. There were no busy priest performing sacrifices or tending to the required rituals and requirements.

Past the Brazen Altar and the Laver He took me. Past the Golden Lampstand and the Table of Shewbread we went. There was no need to stop! Now as a New Testament believer, I knew Jesus had fulfilled every requirement of the Law. Together we skirted the Altar of Incense and entered the Holy Place.

“Do not think that I have come to
abolish the Law or the Prophets;
I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them.”
Matthew 5:17

A thick cloud of glory filled the area, circling and swirling. Jesus’ pace did not slow. A millisecond of panic gripped me as He let go of my hand. I was engulfed by the cloud.

Glory of God

I was lost, without body or identity; nothing of me existed in the Presence of Holy God. I an instant I was completely inhabited by God. I was “in” Him, in His glory. His Presence “consumed” me.

Joy

As I looked back toward Jesus, He was the embodiment of unconfined, unrestrained joy. In that moment, I realized this is part of why He died.

“…For the joy set before him he endured the cross,
scorning its shame…”
Hebrews 12:2

“For the joy set before Him!” Jesus’ greatest joy is to bring all who believe in Him to the Father with shameless audacity!

I have given them the glory that you gave me,
that they may be one as we are one —
 
I in them and you in me
so that they may be brought to complete unity.
Then the world will know that you sent me
and have loved them even as you have loved me.

John 17:22-24

The “oneness” humanity once had in the garden completely restored! Access no longer denied with Father, Son and Holy Spirit! A unity that goes beyond humanity and reaches beyond comprehension! Communion, a common union!

Bridegroom Bride

I stepped out of the glory toward Jesus, The Bridegroom, as I glanced downward. I stood in shock and amazement! My garments radiated gold and even my skin was dusted with it.

Just as the Son’s joy is to bring us to the Father, the Father’s joy is to prepare us for the Son – a bride worthy of the bridegroom.

In Love

Jesus’ enthusiasm and love surpasses our understanding or even our confusion! He is ecstatic!

… even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it;
That he might sanctify and cleanse it
with the washing of water by the word,
 That he might present it to himself a glorious church,
not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing;
but that it should be holy and without blemish.”
Ephesians 5:25-27

Jesus is not coming back for a weak unprepared bride, but one adorned and ready! It has nothing to do with us; it has everything to do with the finished work of the cross.

In my right hand was an abnormally large golden sword.  It was fully my height and heavier than I could lift on my own, let alone wield! It is the sword of mercy and grace.

“Let us then approach
God’s throne of grace with confidence,
so that we may receive mercy and find grace
to help us in our time of need.”
Hebrews 4:16

Jesus arose from the grave with all authority and power! What is rightfully His, He lavishly gives to His bride! Here in Him alone, we receive mercy! Here, we find grace! Every need is met!

Bible

Available

My needs, in comparison to many others, are small indeed. Yet, in all honestly, I struggle with personal “heavy” things of life. Joy is not always spontaneous or overflowing, nor is victory obvious! I am contending, prayerfully war, for what Christ has attained.

Today I need the reminder of communion, the emblems of His death and resurrection. Drawing on the exuberant joy that originates and emanates from Him, I wait. Grasping tightly the sword I cannot wield on my own and did not merit by my efforts I take a stand, until like another warrior it is froze to my hand. I rest undone yet completely united in Him through His death and resurrection.

“For if we have been united with him in a death like his,
we will certainly also be united with him
in a resurrection like his.”
Romans 6:5

Jesus has each of us by the hand, leading us to places we cannot, could not and would not go on our own. We live in Him; He lives in us!

“This is how we know that we live in him
and he in us: He has given us of his Spirit.”
I John 4:13

As we celebrate the Easter season, and each time we participate in communion, may we remember we have received mercy and found grace.

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Committment

If this resonates with you, but you don’t know Jesus personally, today is an excellent opportunity to enter into a relationship with Him. Jesus did all the work! Do you know for sure that you will go to heaven when you die? You can.

“I write these things to you who believe
in the name of the Son of God
so that you may know that you have eternal life.”
I John 5:13

There is a problem! God is holy. Only those without sin can come to Him; everyone sins.

The solution to man’s greatest problem of sin is in Jesus Christ. God sent His Son Jesus to pay for our sin and make us holy before God.

Jesus death on the cross was payment for your sins and mine. If you believe Jesus Christ, the sinless Son of God, paid for your sins and has been raised to life, so that we too may have life, pray this simple prayer with me:

“Lord Jesus,
I believe that you died on the cross for my sins.
Please forgive me, come into my life,
and give my your life.
I want to do my best to live for you
from this day forward.
Thank You Jesus for what you have done,
be Lord of my life.
Amen.

Welcome into the family of God! If you don’t already have a bible, find one and begin reading in the book of John. It is helpful to join a local church where you will be encouraged and supported in your new walk of faith. An exciting chapter of your life has just begun. Congratulations!

“…if you confess with your mouth
that Jesus is Lord
and believe in your heart
that God raised him from the dead,
you will be saved.”
Romans 10:9-10