As we celebrate Palm Sunday, we reflect upon the triumphant entry of the Lord Jesus Christ into Jerusalem. Men, women and children were worshipping Him and Praising Him. Everyone was not happy that day. The religious were furious and went to Jesus demanding that His followers stop. They recognized that Jesus was His followers were doing what was foretold in the Scriptures.
Zechariah 9: 9 Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion; shout, O daughter of Jerusalem: behold, thy King cometh unto thee: He is just, and having salvation: lowly, and riding upon a colt the foal of an ass.
Jesus made His entry into Jerusalem and there was shouting and praise unto God. The crowd was saying Hosanna; blessed is he that c ometh in the name of the Lord. They were celebrating the arrival of their Great King and Lord God.
Isn’t it amazing that even though Jesus went about doing good by healing the sick and delivering the captives, He was hated by some and they sat in motion to destroy Him. Isaiah said it right He was a man that was rejected and despised. He bore our guilt and sins upon His own body as our sacrificial lamb of God. He willingly laid down His life for us. The Innocent, Holy One took upon Himself all our sins and willing took the bitter cup by giving His Life and a ransom. While we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. The innocent for the guilty. The Holy One for the filthy and sinful ones. We have all sinned and come short of God’s Glory.
When Christ made His Triumphant Entry into Jerusalem, He was met with worship and praise by some and hatred and rejection by others. The scriptures tell us that Christ first died for our sins and then rose from the dead; triumphant over death, hell and the grave. The Great King of Glory before He could be crowned King of kings and Lord of lords, first needed to conquer sin and the penalty of sin and that is death.
He truly is victorious over death, hell and the grave. Let us crown Him, worship Him and Magnify Him for He truly is Worthy of all Praise.
Has Jesus Christ made His Triumphant entry into your heart? Has He defeated the enemy of sin and given you the gift of the Holy Ghost? That’s what it is all about. Sealing us with the Holy Spirit of Promise.
Joy is a state of mind. It is a condition of the heart. Nehemiah went back to Jerusalem. Israel had been exiled for 70 years because of their backsliding. The Babylonians had taken them captive, destroyed their Temple, demolished their walls, burned their city with fire. All that was left was the remnants of what once was. When Nehemiah felt burdened for the remnant of Jewish people still in the land and when he heard of their plight and poverty, he began to Pray and Seek God. He repented for his sins and the sins of his fathers and the whole Nation. Revival always begins with an admission of sin and guilt. Many want to blame this and that. Many want to point fingers at others and make excuses. Honesty comes into to play. Nehemiah became honest and included not only the sins of disobedience of his fathers, but also his own sins. When Nehemiah turned to God and humbly asked for forgiveness, God heard and began the process of revival.
The Scriptures tell us to humble ourselves under the mighty Hand of God and He will exalt us. God resists the proud but gives grace to the humble. The Publican went to the house of God and would not even lift his head. He humbly asked God to forgive him because he admitted his sin. The scriptures tell us that if we hide our sin, we will not prosper. We need to repent and ask God to forgive us and restore us. This is what Nehemiah did and God heard him and began the process of restoration.
2 Chronicles 7: 14 If my people, which are called by my name shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.
What a Great Promise God has given to us all. Humility and repentance will cleanse us and begin the restoration process.
Nehemiah came to a remnant that needed to return to God in their hearts. What he saw was what sin had done. The Bible tells us that the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ. Nehemiah saw rubble, ruins, disaster, poverty, fear, torment, everywhere he looks was despair. It looked impossible, but Nehemiah challenged the people of Israel to return to the Lord and when they began the re-building process, He reminded them that the Joy of the Lord was their strength. We cannot have Joy and sin in our hearts. We must be cleansed, and forgiven; then Joy will come in.
It is not time to be weak. It is time to be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. We need to serve the Lord with Gladness. We need to take off heavy burdens and put on Christ. He promised that He came that our Joy might be full and His Joy remain in us.
The Joy of the Lord is Our Strength.
Years ago, a politician sat before a Congressional Committee and said it depends on what the meaning of is, is. Is, is a statement of being, it means to be present or in existence, to be real and genuine. I am glad to know that God is.
He is Real, He is Genuine, He is on the throne and rules and reigns. He is a friend that sticks closer than a brother. He is the Almighty. He is Holy. He is righteous. He is sovereign. He is wonderful. He is counselor. He is the Mighty God. He is the Everlasting Father. He is the Prince of Peace. He is the everlasting and only true potentate, the King of Glory. He is the Creator. He is the Redeemer. He is The Savior of the world. He is the Good Shepherd, the Chief Shepherd and My Shepherd. He is the Great Physician. He is the Only Wise God. He is the way, the truth and the Life. He is the Rock of my salvation. He is the King of Glory. He is the all-knowing, all powerful and omnipresent God. He is larger than the world. David said though I make my bed in Sheol, He is there. He is the door to the sheepfold. He is our exceeding great reward.
The Bible clearly tells us that God is. He is our refuge and strength, He is a very present help in trouble . He is merciful and full of grace. He is gracious and kind. He is the sinners friend. He is the Great High Priest that ever lives to make intercession for us. He is longsuffering, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance. He is Love. He is our help and shield. He is a strong and mighty tower and the righteous runs into it and is safe. He is faithful and will not allow our feet to be removed.
These are just a few of the definitions of is found in the Bible. I believe we can say God is. Because He is, we have hope beyond this life.
Truely, It is all in Him.
During the Recent controversy between Duck Dynasty Patriarch Phil Robertson and Various Corporations. Because of the recent public outcry, some of the Corporations have recanted their position and admitted they were wrong. I commend them for doing so, because in the beginning when some of these organizations began to “pile on”, they caused many including me to make a choice. I told my wife that I would not give business to anyone that denounced what Phil said. He was asked a question. He answered according to his faith and belief system. Every answer to a question is always subject to our beliefs, our convictions, our morals, our opinions and absolutes. Absolutes are what we view as Ultimate Authority. Christians view The Holy Scriptures as Absolute Authority. The Word of God is Final and Absolute Authority in the heart of a true believer. When we read the Bible, we do find strong rebuke and warnings. We find that some things are abominations in the eyes of God. Since we Believe Him and His Word, we too have to embrace His Teachings and Admonitions to repent and put off works of darkness. Even The Apostle Paul said that some things will not enter the Kingdom of God.
1 Corinthians 6: 9 Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the Kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulters, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, 10. Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall enter the kingdom of God. 11. And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God.
We also find many other scriptures that tell us that God hates some actions and behaviors of some and commands all men everywhere to repent of their sins. Jesus said except we repent we shall perish. Sin is sin and sin must be dealt with and repented of. None of us can cast stones at another, because we have all sinned. We were born with a nature to sin. No one had to teach us how to sin, it was in our members.
Paul would be considered too direct and offensive in today’s society. Remember he was speaking to people that had been delivered and changed through conversion. Just like John the Baptist, he preached against sin. Some didn’t like what these men said. Some didn’t like what Stephen said in Acts 7. They stopped their ears and ran upon him like a pack of wild dogs. They resisted the truth preached to them. They gnashed him with their teeth, they stoned him to death. Some will come to the light and others will hate the light because their deeds are evil.
Let’s face it, many will reject the Truth and some will speak evil of the truth. It is the truth that will make us free. Only the Truth of God’s Word will liberate an individual and change our destiny. These men didn’t preach to rub peoples noses in it, he preached out of love. They preached to save souls and bring men to repentance. One of the problems we face in our world today is there are some that want to censor what Christians believe and say. There are those who want to broadcast and enforce their beliefs on others but they don’t want anyone else out there to have a say about God. The Bible tells us that God chose Preaching to save the World. How can men believe on God when they haven’t heard? Faith in God comes by hearing the Word of God. How can we hear without a preacher. Remember God chose preaching to save them that believe. Many want to censor what is being said. I do feel that what we say should be said in kindness, love and mercy, however, we cannot be ashamed of the Gospel of Christ. If we are ashamed of Him He will be ashamed of us. If we deny Him, He will deny us. A very popular Television commentator even took a stand and said how wrong Phil was. I normally like what this commentator has to say, but on this He was totally wrong. Phil was asked a question and the question needed t be answered. Why is it that everyone wants to silence the Christian Voice. Watering down the Gospel will have no one. The Bible speaks for itself and will judge us all. If we are wise, we will listen and obey.
We must understand that Phil was most likely baited. Baiting has been going on for a long, long time. They did it when Jesus walked among men. The Pharisees, and Lawyers, known to be haters of Jesus, would often try to trick Him into answering a question that would place Him in disagreement with the Law of Moses. They stood in every meeting, listening, critiquing, and criticizing His every word and deed. They would ask Him questions to try and trap him. The motives of their questions were not because they were hungry for truth. The motives were, simply they hated Him for His words and Preaching.
These are my thoughts based on Knowledge and Faith in Jesus Christ. God weighs the spirits of men.
Matthew 2: 1 ¶ Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judaea in the days of Herod the king, behold, there came wise men from the east to Jerusalem,
2 Saying, Where is he that is born King of the Jews? for we have seen his star in the east, and are come to worship him.
3 When Herod the king had heard these things, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him.
While this world has seen great and monumental change, when it comes down to it, two thousand years have not changed the mentality and condition of men’s hearts. We truly are living in troublesome times. A time that men’s hearts are failing them for fear of the things coming upon the world. Our world is troubled by many things. Troubled by hatred, troubled by greed, troubled by malice, troubled by evil, troubled by selfishness, troubled by perversion, troubled by racism, troubled by evil doers, troubled by pride and arrogance. Sin is the root cause of the trouble we are seeing today. As a matter of fact the things I mentioned above, are only a few of the problems we face today. These things are the results of sin. Sin has passed upon the whole human race. The Bible tell us that sin is the root cause of all man’s problems.
Christ came into the world for one purpose and that was to save sinners from their sins. He was born to be the sacrifice for sins. He was destined to die for the guilty. He came to seek and to save them that were under the law of sin and death. Christ is the answer for what troubles the world today. He is the only answer to sin. The Creator of Heaven and Earth came in the form of man to save us from our sins.
2Co 5:19 To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation.
All have sinned and all need The Savior. The wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.
The Bible tells us that many were troubled in the days of Christ’s Birth.
When Herod and all of Jerusalem heard the disturbing words about the birth of Christ, he was greatly troubled, but not only him, all of Jerusalem was troubled over this announcement. “Where is he that is born King of the Jews?” This provoked men to be troubled. This caused men’s ears to perk up. This cause deep thought about what was going on in the world and especially their hearts. Herod was troubled that another King would replace him and he was so determined not to allow that to happen, he ordered a decree to have all the male infants slaughtered. he would not be dethroned. He would slay and kill any possibility that another King could replace him. We could see that Herod had a reason of selfishness and greed as to why he would be troubled, but all of Jerusalem with him? Why would all of Jerusalem be troubled? No doubt, men were is a comfort zone and they didn’t want anything to interrupt business as usual. They were content to continue a life that appeased the carnal nature of humanity.
Christ did come and fulfilled the plan of salvation for all the human race. God is no respecter of persons, but in every nation, he that feareth him and worketh righteousness is accepted of Him. Christ is coming again this time, not as a babe born in a manger. This time He is coming back as King of kings and Lord of lords. He is coming back in an hour that many are not looking for Him. When He comes again, no doubt that He will appear in a troublesome time.
2 Thessalonians 1: 7 And to you who are troubled rest with us, when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels,
8 In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ:
9 Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power;
10 When he shall come to be glorified in his saints, and to be admired in all them that believe (because our testimony among you was believed) in that day.
During this Christmas season, let us wholeheartedly turn our hearts toward God in repentance. Let us pray and seek His blessing upon our families. Let us turn to Him in Faith and expectation. While we live in a troubled world, Christ is the answer.
Matthew 5:13 Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be slated? It is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to e trodden under the foot of men.
Jesus used the allegory of salt in his comparison of a believer. Salt is essential, so is a believer. The Human body needs and is dependent upon salt. Salt is a part of the Human cell make-up. We need a certain amount of salt to exist. Salt makes things taste better. Salt heals and cleanses, salt is involved in the manufacturing process of many items and chemicals. Many of Napoleon’s Troops died in their flight from Moscow because they ran out of salt and had no way to cleanse wounds that were treatable. Salt was used to cleanse and heal wounds. In days of old salt was used as payment, because it was so valuable and used in everyday activities. Salt makes people thirsty. Believers are placed in the world to cause people to desire living water. Jesus is that living water. When we project Christ to a needy world, when we live a Christian life and be an example of Christ Like conduct, we are witnessing Jesus to a world that cannot live in eternity without Christ.
When Jesus said to His Disciples, “You are the Salt of the Earth.” He was including believers today in that description. The life we live should be an example of faith, charity, friendliness, hospitality, mercy, kindness and longsuffering. As salt we should influence our world for the better. We should bring value to a world that needs the Righteousness, Peace, and Joy of GOD. The Bible tells us that because iniquity shall abound the love of many shall wax cold. Our world is filled with skeptics and contempt and mistrust seems to reign in the hearts of men. Truly Jesus was telling us of a time that iniquity, sin, evil, perversion would make men’s heart not only fail but become hardened due to the deceitfulness of sin. Men are wary and untrusting, men are becoming calloused and filled with mistrust. Truly we that follow and profess Christ are called by God to bring value and contribution to this world. As Christians we should work overtime to smile, wave, be friendly and always seek through prayer and open doors to bring savor to a world that needs salt.
Paul said the live I now live, I live by the faith of the Son of God who loved me and gave himself for me. Paul was speaking of the Sacrificial Service of Jesus Christ. He was speaking of a life that was about serving others. Paul went everywhere influencing others to seek and serve Christ and their fellow man. Christians should live for Him. Christians should lead others to Christ. Be kind, be courteous, be gracious, use the value that Christ said and never lose your purpose.
Eph 4:32 And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.
Jas 1:18 Of his own will begat he us with the word of truth, that we should be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures.
1 Peter 2: 21 For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps: 22 Who did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth: 23 Who, when he was reviled, reviled not again; when he suffered, he threatened not; but committed himself to him that judgeth righteously:
You are Worth Your Salt in Jesus Name.
Influence can be used for good or evil. Jesus influenced Philip and Philip influenced Nathaniel. Jesus influenced Matthew the Tax Collector and He left his government job and became a fisher of men. Jesus in a short period of time influenced his Disciples and after His death, Burial and Resurrection, He baptized them with the Holy Ghost and Fire as prophesied and they turned their world upside down. They went everywhere influencing men and women to turn their heart to God and Repent of their sins. Their message didn’t stop at Repentance; they Influenced men and women to be Baptized in Jesus Name and Receive the Gift of the Holy Ghost. The Power of the Holy Ghost is given to influence our lives for the good. It reproves sin and guides us into all truth. The Holy Ghost influences us to live an overcoming life. We are more than conquerors through Him that Loved us and gave Himself for us.
He told his followers to Follow Him and He would make them fishers of men. Making is a process, it doesn’t happen overnight, there are no short cuts, Discipleship is a daily submitting ourselves to His will. Paul said, “I die daily.” That means every day he surrendered his life to Jesus Christ. Jesus said that if we do not deny ourselves and take up our cross daily, we are not worthy of Him. Living for Christ is a daily walk. It is an ongoing seeking and praying and growing in The Grace of God.
A lady one day told me that salvation is free and I replied yes but Discipleship will cost you everything. The Lord told the Rich Young Ruler to go and sell all that he had and follow him and then he would have treasure in heaven. The only way to have true treasure in this life and in the life to come is to follow Jesus. Just as Jesus was led out into the wilderness to be tempted, we too will go through lonely places, difficult places, time of sorrow and suffering.
It takes a lifetime to make a saint of God. Rest assured He is doing a good work in us and is determined to complete it. Sometimes He allows us to follow Him in Suffering. Sometimes we follow in pain and sorrow, sometimes we follow Him through the Valley of the shadow of death as David said. In this life we will suffer tribulations, but Jesus told us to be of good cheer because He has overcome the world. He assures us that He will never leave us nor forsake us. He will be with us in through the fire through the flood and through difficult times. The Bible assure us that if we suffer with Him we shall also reign with Him.
Turn your life over to Jesus, seek to do His will. The Bible tells us to delight ourselves in the Lord and He will give you the desires of our heart. What this means is, when we really delight ourselves in serving Him, Submitting to Him, Surrendering to Him, we will be in alignment with Him and He shall direct our paths. When you are in agreement with God, it will no longer be about you, it will be about Him. “Not my will, but thine be done.”
The Scriptures tell us that influence is a powerful thing. As humans we can be influenced for good or evil. I have known people who fit both categories. Call it, “hanging around the wrong crowd” or “running with the wrong crowd,” or even “misery loves company.” People are influenced by those they associate with. I have known people that greatly messed their life up by simply choosing the wrong company. A young man that I went to High School with, lived in the same town, we played basketball, Baseball and football together. In his senior year in High School, he ended up in prison because he accepted a ride on a Friday night with others. Things went really bad; a store was held up and a man was shot. This young man would have never done this on his own. He spent quality years in prison because he was in the wrong place at the wrong time. The Bible does tell us that evil communication corrupts good manners.
One of King David’s sons; Amnon had a friend named Jonadab. Jonadab empowered Amnon with suggestions, when lived out caused a grievous sin to be committed. He raped his sister and this sin soon afterward cost him his life. Again, Evil communication corrupts good manners.
I have known many individuals that listened to the wrong voices and later suffered greatly because they did things that brought shame and reproach. It is so critically important that we allow good influences into our lives. We have to make hard choices and purpose in our hearts that we will not allow things or people to influence us negatively. The Bible tell s us that Iron sharpens iron. It has been said that if we want to be successful, hang around successful people.
Eve was negatively influenced by the devil and lost paradise. Resisting temptation to do evil requires watchfulness and diligence. We must purpose within our hearts not to defile ourselves just like Daniel did. Sure there were those that went along to get along. Daniel made a stand to not defile himself. As Christians we have to make good decisions and purpose within our hearts that we are going to do that which is right. That means that we will not entertain suggestions and ideas that are contrary with the Bible.
Joshua said, as for me and my house we will serve the Lord. Joshua challenged the people to make up their minds, don’t be double minded or unstable. Make a Choice, Make a Consecration and move forward.
Paul said follow me as I follow Christ. Certainly, He influenced numerous individuals. He was determined to forget things left behind and reach forward unto worthy goals.
Paul influenced Aquila, and Priscilla, Silas, Timothy, Titus, Philemon. Even while in Jail for preaching the Gospel of Jesus Christ, He influenced the Philippian Jailer and the Philippian Jailer and His Family heard the Gospel, Repented and were baptized that very night. Influence is a powerful thing. Jesus said we are the salt of the earth. Salt flavors, enhances, and preserves. In other words Salt has influence. Don’t lose your saltiness. Make good decisions and be faithful unto God. Walk humbly and He shall sustain you.
Paul influenced many for Christ. Let us do our best to love people and influence them to serve God. We will rejoice when we do so.
Psalms 100: 1 Make a joyful noise unto the Lord all ye lands. 2 Serve the Lord with gladness: come before His presence with singing. 3. Know ye that the Lord He is God: it is he that hath made us and not we ourselves; we are the sheep of His Pasture. 4. Enter into His gates with thanksgiving, and into His courts with praise; be thankful unto Him and bless His Holy Name. 5. For the Lord is good; His mercy is everlasting; and His truth endureth to all generations.
The scriptures admonish us the serve the Lord with Gladness. He and He alone is God. There is none like Him. He is the One True God. The Only Potentate and king of Glory. What a privilege it is to know Him. He is worthy of all praise. One of the greatest revelations of life is to know our Creator and Redeemer. Knowing Him is a great joy and Serving God is a privilege and we should recognize it as such. There is a state of mind that we need to bring into conformity with God’s Word. Serve Him with gladness, be thankful, Bless His Holy Name.
As believers we need to count our blessings. The Bible even tells us to count it all joy, even when we fall into divers temptations. We should rejoice and be glad that we can identify with Him. Things don’t always go the way we want them to, however, The Lord is for us and if God be for us who can be against us. Greater is He that is in us than he that is in the world.
Serving God with Gladness is a condition of the heart, a state of mind. Serving God with Gladness is not an option. We need to put off complaining and every negative thought. Serving God with Gladness is the key to victory. We need to resist the temptation to complain and murmur. We need to remind ourselves daily that We belong to Him. He is the Good Shepherd. He gave His all to us and we have a reason to rejoice. We have a reason to be glad. In this world there are many struggles and trials, however, we can be glad and serve Him with gladness. Don’t allow things or people to speak negative things into your spirit. Celebrate, Rejoice, and Be Glad, Be Thankful. He is on the Throne.
Genesis 1 opens with God moving upon the face of the deep. In Lesson 1 we discovered that Genesis 1 and the creation is a mirror of what happens in New Testament Salvation. For an individual to be saved, it will take a sovereign act of God’s Spirit moving upon the darkness, chaos, confusion, emptiness and waste to transform the human heart. Only God can create and change the human heart. In Salvation He transforms our hearts and makes us new creations in Him. Only God can change the desires of the heart. If God doesn’t move man has no hope. On the day of Pentecost God moved and filled that place with His Spirit. He empowered the believers in the upper room to become His witnesses. We need a move of God in our lives. That starts the process of Salvation.
In Lesson Two God Spoke. When He spoke things began to happen. As with Salvation, man needs the spoken Word of God to be saved. The Word testifies of a patient, merciful and Gracious God. The Word builds faith and gives hope and begins the process of creating us into His likeness. The Word is quick and powerful. The Word of God is Creative. It makes alive. It transforms and builds faith in God.
The Third thing we see is that God said let there be light. There is no life without light. Every living thing needs light. The Bible tells us that many will come to the light and there deeds will reproved. Light illuminates and reveals. Jesus gave us a parable about the widow woman that lost one coin, she lit a candle and swept and searched until she found it. Light was needed to find that which was lost. Man is lost without God. He is in darkness, but when light come forth, if man will approach the light and appreciate the light, he will be changed by the light of God’s presence. The Bible tells us that God is light and in Him is no darkness at all. The Light of the Gospel has shined in our hearts to give witness that we serve a God that loves us and gave Himself for us. The Scriptures tell us that Jesus was the light. Some approached the light and some refused the light because their deeds were evil. What are you going to do with the Light?