Negative is Positive

Are you tired of hearing about COVID?

Annoyed by the mask mandates?

Have you had your nose scraped enough?

We are all in this together so hang in there!

I bring up COVID because last Saturday night, I took my son to get tested.

We went to the drive-thru and received a test kit. My son swabbed his own nose, put everything in the right bag and placed it in the collection container. It took less than 10 minutes.

And then we waited.

And waited some more.


Let me back up a little. Here is the timeline leading up to the test on Saturday night.

Thursday: son said throat was a little soar

Friday: son awoke feeling sore throat, cough, and fatigued; stayed home from school

Friday night: son still symptomatic and now, can’t really taste

Saturday morning: son couldn’t taste or smell banana

Saturday night: took son to get tested

Now you are up to date.

More waiting.

The worst part about waiting is that we excluded ourselves from a few social events.

My wife and daughter missed a wedding shower.

We all stayed home from church.

My daughter could not go to soccer practice.

We were in limbo while we waited for the test results. Everything hinged on that result.

It came back Monday afternoon. And it was negative.

That’s one test I am glad my son failed!

But it did me an idea.

There is a test that all humans have taken or will take at some point.

It is the sin test.

We are born with sin. It is our nature. So, when it comes time to take the sin test, we will test positive for sin.

Just like the COVID test, the results will be positive if we have the virus.

There is a silver lining. We don’t need to wait for the results.

We can take a sin test right now instead of waiting until we die.

Jesus is the vaccine. He eradicates sin. Blows it away! Sin has no chance.

Ephesians says we accept Jesus by faith, not by works. This is how the vaccine is administered.

There is no copay. No lines. You don’t need insurance. And no waiting for results.

So really, a negative (for sin) can be a positive (righteous in Christ).

Over the next two or three weeks, I will explore this idea of ‘testing negative for sin”.

Ideas like righteousness, salvation, grace, and hope.

Hope you don’t mind a little waiting. (Insert winking emoji here)

Remember?

Jesus is risen! Yes!!!

Easter celebrates the empty tomb. Our faith rests on this fact. Jesus is not in the grave anymore.

The Power of An Empty Tomb —

And that brings me to a question:

Why do you look for the living among the dead?

Here is the origin of that question. Luke 24:1-8

1On the first day of the week, very early in the morning, the women took the spices they had prepared and went to the tomb. 2They found the stone rolled away from the tomb, 3but when they entered, they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus. 4While they were wondering about this, suddenly two men in clothes that gleamed like lightning stood beside them. 5In 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? 6He is not here; he has risen! Remember how he told you, while he was still with you in Galilee: 7‘The Son of Man must be delivered over to the hands of sinners, be crucified and on the third day be raised again.’ ” 8Then they remembered his words.” NIV

Easter is over, at least the celebration part. But every day can be an ’empty tomb’ day.

So why do we keep going back to ‘dead’ things?

You know what I mean, right?

Old habits…

Broken relationships…

Unhealthy things…

Undisciplined living…

Note verse 8. “Then they remembered…”

The ladies recalled what Jesus had taught them. AFTER the angels spoke to them.

Is that what it takes for us? Angel visits?!?!


If you remember back to the H.E.L.P. series, you know that God is right there with us.

Through God’s assistance, we can have ‘angel visits’ on a regular basis.

  • The Holy Spirit can speak to us on a daily basis.
  • Going to church can be refreshing.
  • Reading the Bible will unlock power in your life.
  • Friends will stand by you.

These are the ‘angel visits’ that will help us remember the words of Jesus.

So while the hype of Easter is behind us and you have eaten all the chocolate from your kids’ baskets, be encouraged by the fact that we don’t need angels to visit us.

God can (and would love to) reveal Himself to you today. Look for Him even now.

God bless!

Next week starts a new series so come back for, possibly, the best two minutes of your day!

The Final Chronicle

Can you imagine what the disciples might be feeling right now? It is late Saturday night. Jesus, the teacher, mentor and friend, was crucified yesterday.

What a mixture of emotions! Fear…disappointment…failure? What about anger and loneliness?

These men and women would have thought or even expected Jesus to overthrow the Roman rule and set up His kingdom. They were supposed to be on the winning side!

But now, huddled together, in the shadows, hiding from the authorities, they wait.

Scared and confused.

What would they be waiting for? They probably didn’t know themselves.


Welcome to the Final Chronicle in this Easter series; Chronicles of Calvary.

I have written about some people and even a lamb but tonight’s post will not feature a person. Nor an animal.

It focuses on something different. Something unexpected.

A hill.

A hill called Calvary.

Calvary, also called Golgotha, is located just outside the city of Jerusalem.

Maps - New Testament Bible Maps by Generation Word

This hill, not much more than an outcropping of rock, is the turning point.

On the surface, this hill represents torture, blood, and death. In human eyes, justice is served.

But underneath all of that lies a much different story.

The script is flipped.

Yes, there is still death. Jesus dies. He had to. That was the only way.

Sin is powerful and even victorious – if left unchecked.

But God was never planning on letting it go unchecked.

He had a plan. He always has a plan.

  • Simon was part of God’s plan
  • The Centurion played his part in God’s plan
  • Both criminals were in the plan as well
  • The little lamb that represents the sacrifice for sin is central to the plan

Calvary is part of His plan.


Life is not about you or me.

It is about what God is doing and whether or not we will join Him.

And it all happened on a single hill. God won.

Thank you for taking the time to read this post. I hope it was worth your time.

Mary had a little lamb…

Can you hear the tune in your head?

Mary had a little lamb, little lamb, little lamb…

Cute little guy, isn’t he?

The next character in the Chronicles of Calvary is not about a person. It is a lamb. A one year old lamb without spot or blemish.

We focused on three people for the first three Chronicles. Click on each to read their respective posts.

Simon

Centurion

Two Criminals


There are many aspects to the cross. This post is all about one particular aspect. Sacrifice.

If you have ever tried to read the book of Leviticus in the Old Testament, I am guessing that it was not easy. More so, it could have boring or perhaps really difficult to understand.

The theme of Leviticus is about the sacrificial system that God had set up starting with Moses.

Don’t worry. There will be no Levitical readings here.

Israel, after they escaped Egypt under God’s provisional hand, set about on a journey to the Promised Land.

During that journey, God had given Moses plans and instructions for a tabernacle. This would be a mobile house of worship.

When it was set up, the Levites would be the tribe that would be responsible for the overseeing of all the tabernacle duties; mainly the sacrificing.

Leviticus (named after the tribe of Levi) is the recording of how to do all the tabernacle rituals. Here is one artist’s rendition of the tabernacle.

A Tabernacle for God: Built By The Willing Heart • Spirit Life

But a bigger question that might be looming is one of ‘why’.

Why did God require sacrifice?

Simply stated: Sin was separating God from man. But because God is holy, he could not reside where sin existed. A sacrifice was used to remove the sin from a person or even the whole nation.

It was better to kill one lamb or goat rather than a person. It would not take too long to wipe out Israel if animals were not used as a sacrifice.

For the price of sin to be paid, there must be sacrifice.

Forward into the New Testament. Specifically, John’s gospel.

Here is verse 29 from chapter 1 of John:

“The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, “Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!” NIV


John knew who Jesus is and what his purpose was.

Jesus was to be the sacrifice for our sin.

Hebrews 9:12 states, “He did not enter by means of the blood of goats and calves; but he entered the Most Holy Place once for all by his own blood, thus obtaining eternal redemption.” NIV

Jesus was the lamb that was slaughtered for our sin and he did it at Calvary.

So I guess that little song was right on.

Mary had a little lamb…

Chronicles, the 2nd

If you recall, the first post in Chronicles of Calvary, is about Simon.

Simon was ordered to carry the cross of Jesus. You can read about him here.

Surveying the Cross” Simon of Cyrene – Daily Encouragement

Let’s move on to the second person in these Chronicles.

The centurion at the cross would have been the soldier in charge of the executions. It was his duty to make sure that all was in order and finally, that the prisoners would perish.

In Mark 15, the centurion at the crucifixion plays a prominent roll. Here are a few verses:

37With a loud cry, Jesus breathed his last.

38The curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom.

39And when the centurion, who stood there in front of Jesus, saw how he died, c he said, “Surely this man was the Son of God!”

40Some women were watching from a distance. Among them were Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James the younger and of Joseph, d and Salome. 

41In Galilee these women had followed him and cared for his needs. Many other women who had come up with him to Jerusalem were also there.

42It was Preparation Day (that is, the day before the Sabbath). So as evening approached, 

43Joseph of Arimathea, a prominent member of the Council, who was himself waiting for the kingdom of God, went boldly to Pilate and asked for Jesus’ body. 

44Pilate was surprised to hear that he was already dead. Summoning the centurion, he asked him if Jesus had already died. 

45When he learned from the centurion that it was so, he gave the body to Joseph. 

The Long Good Friday: The Story of Longinus the Centurion | The Inglorius  Padre Steve's World

I bolded (is that the right word?) the verses that reference the centurion.

In 39, he made a proclamation. He was fortunate enough to be present at the most important moment in the history of the world. I think that he knew who that man was, hanging there on the cross.

Verse 45 tells us that he made a pronouncement. Pilate, the Roman ruler, wanted to know for sure, that Jesus had died. The centurion was responsible for that knowledge.

Isn’t it cool that we can learn from the centurion?

We can proclaim that Jesus is God’s son. He was divine and human while he lived on earth. That is information that we can confidently shout from the tallest mountain. Proclaim it today!

We can also pronounce that Jesus died…and is risen! Our faith is for nothing if Jesus never died. Because only in death, can he be risen. And that, is what Easter is all about.

Tomorrow’s post will compare the two thieves that were crucified with Jesus. God bless!