Translate

Friday, March 27, 2015

Hosanna! Hosanna!


And when he was come nigh, even now at the descent of the mount of Olives, the whole multitude of the disciples began to rejoice and praise God with a loud voice for all the mighty works that they had seen; Saying, Blessed be the King that cometh in the name of the Lord: peace in heaven, and glory in the highest. And some of the Pharisees from among the multitude said unto him, Master, rebuke thy disciples. And he answered and said unto them, I tell you that, if these should hold their peace, the stones would immediately cry out. 
(Luke 19:37-40 KJV)

As we get closer to Holy Week (beginning this coming Sunday [March 29] and ending on Easter Sunday [April 5]) and Easter Day let us turn our thoughts towards the final week of Jesus’ ministry on earth—beginning with His entry into Jerusalem on what Christians call Palm Sunday. 


What do you suppose it would have been like to have been in the crowd exclaiming “Hosanna!  …Hosanna in the highest!” waving a palm branch, celebrating Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem?

Where would you have been?

What would you have been doing?

From http://worshiphousemedia.s3.amazonaws.com/images/main/s/mo/mow/mo/silvercrosspalmsundaybranches.jpg


The excitement of the crowd must have been electric. People cheering for Jesus, their King, fulfilling prophecy declared hundreds of years before (they likely did not realize the meaning of their actions). Children running about, laughing, enjoying life—some would have memories of Jesus interacting with them, loving on them.

Here’s a hymn that reflects on this day, Hosanna, Loud Hosanna! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5FPydZdCL4c

However, not all were happy with this celebratory time. The loudest voices crying out against this were many of the religious elite—scribes and Pharisees. Due to how Jesus presented Himself and the things He did caused them to reject Him out of hand and seek a way, anyway to kill Him. Jesus did not do what they expected Him to do—to bring to an end the rule of the Romans.

During the week to come Jesus (and His disciples) would face unbelievable pain and suffering—physical, emotional, spiritual—culminating in Jesus’ death on a cross and His resurrection three days later. The week that started out so cheerfully and vibrantly on Sunday, ends in deep darkness, horror, and solemnity on Friday. The most exciting news is yet to come!   

Palm Sunday was the high point of Jesus’ ministry (the one time He was popular), while celebrating the significance of this day in Jesus’ ministry, may we reflectively prepare our hearts for Good Friday and Easter. This day also fulfilled a prophecy from Zechariah 9:9 click here for Scripture.

From https://3.bp.blogspot.com/-WliX00_2YDE/VRRz2ozxKOI/AAAAAAAAADw/QyJiyOmVHmw/s1600/Palm-sunday-Hosanna-to-the-king-of-kings.jpg


Please join with me in prayer:

Dear Jesus, with the crowd that welcomed You into Jerusalem, we lift our voices to praise You.  We remember the joy of this day, while remembering the pain and horror yet to come—followed by Your victory over death, sin, and the grave that is coming. In Your name, we pray. Amen

From My Heart to Yours,

Kim



Friday, March 20, 2015

Counting the Cost

From http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-mxG39fqgd48/UTe-ZuGfR0I/AAAAAAAAASg/IP0KxVggYIg/s1600/ctc2.jpg

If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple. And whosoever doth not bear his cross, and come after me, cannot be my disciple. For which of you, intending to build a tower, sitteth not down first, and counteth the cost, whether he have sufficient to finish it?  Lest haply, after he hath laid the foundation, and is not able to finish it, all that behold it begin to mock him, Saying, This man began to build, and was not able to finish. Or what king, going to make war against another king, sitteth not down first, and consulteth whether he be able with ten thousand to meet him that cometh against him with twenty thousand? Or else, while the other is yet a great way off, he sendeth an ambassage, and desireth conditions of peace. So likewise, whosoever he be of you that forsaketh not all that he hath, he cannot be my disciple. (Luke 14:26-35 KJV)

In the last two weeks, I have written about Salvation and A New Creation—today we will consider what it means to count the cost, before saying “yes” to Jesus. Certainly, there is a cost—what that cost is differs from person to person. Just as we count the cost (budgeting) in planning for a week, a month, or a year—counting the cost of following Jesus into a new way life and living is important too.

During Jesus’ ministry on earth, prior to His death and resurrection, He clearly communicated the cost of discipleship—following Him. He expected His earliest followers (and us) to count the cost of what it means to follow Him, before we commit our lives to Him. Jesus talked about picking up our cross (a topic for a future blog post!), leaving family (and everything else) to follow Him. The commitment is big; however, Jesus empowers us through the Holy Spirit to live life as the new creation He has made us!

Many times Jesus asks us to do things that not only may take us out of our comfort zones. He may also ask us to “leave home” (either literally or figuratively) and family, like Abram/Abraham, in order to follow Him to where He desires us to go and what He has for us to do. Jesus may well change our plans—His plans are far greater than ours!

When we commit our lives to Jesus, we don’t know what He may ask of us.  Jesus may ask us to give up treasured dreams, hobbies, careers, or perhaps a high paying job, in order to serve Him. One thing that we can be assured of: He will be there for us each step of the way. He will be faithful to us, that we can count on. However, Jesus expects His followers to surrender all to Him and that includes family. There is no looking back at the past; there is too much to do!

How have you counted the cost of following Jesus (discipleship)?

What is/was the cost to you?  

What is/was your choice?

From https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/236x/18/bf/9b/18bf9b90b68a486f31d3948daf7748b5.jpg


Please join with me in prayer:

Dear Heavenly Father, we desire to make a new or to renew our commitment to serving You. We have counted the cost and found the cost worth it. Grant us the strength and courage we need to leave home, family, or whatever else You ask us to do. We desire to look ahead at the path You have marked out for us and not behind us or to the right or to the left. Thank You for everyone who has obeyed You and gave much to follow and serve you—we seek to walk in their footsteps, following their example. In Jesus’ name. Amen.   

From My Heart to Yours,


Kim

Friday, March 13, 2015

A New Creation

Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new. (2 Corinthians 5:17 KJV)

From https://jmichaelrios.files.wordpress.com/2014/04/butterflylifecycle.gif


In Second Corinthians 5:17 we read about how we are a new creation in Christ and how old things are gone and all things are new…this is never more apparent than in the days and weeks surrounding Easter and particularly more so on Easter Day. Jesus transforms the whole of creation. Jesus transforms people!

From http://www.idio.net/sites/default/files/u19/newcreation-handsplant-logo.jpg



As winter turns into spring, we can vividly see new life emerging from last fall’s dead foliage—a visual reminder of what happens in our lives when we surrender them to Jesus Christ, asking Him to forgive our sins and dwell in our heart. In the whole of creation, if we have eyes to see, new growth springs to life, growing, changing, and developing before our very eyes. An example of this transformation is seen the process of a caterpillar transforming into a butterfly (see photo above). It is a process—a slow process—the end results are beautiful and worth the work and wait.

From https://movingnc.files.wordpress.com/2015/02/daffodils_in_snow.jpg


The musical Godspell brings this concept to life, along with several additional themes from the New Testament (with a heavy 1960s-1970s feel). Early in the musical, the cast members paint each other’s faces (clowning)—demonstrating how we can be fools for Christ (1 Corinthians 4:10 read here), as well as how people become a new creation in Christ, this is shown when they remove the robe covering their clothing. Eventually, they start dancing to the upbeat music that has been playing softly in the background—slowly increasing in volume. All of this shows the changes that occur inwardly (and outwardly) in the new believer, as well as how the things of God seem foolish to men (1 Corinthians 2:6-16—particularly verse 14 read here). 

From http://christianitymalaysia.com/wp/wp-content/uploads/2013/01/jesus_new_robe_man.jpg


The old has gone and the new has come! How amazing is this thought?! God makes us new, if we allow Him to; we are transformed (a transformation that continues until our death) through God’s work within us—into the person God has ordained us to be from the very beginning. As we let God work on us—not fighting that work (it can be painful at times!)—we will find that God will lead us places we never dreamed we would go; asking us to do things we never dreamed we would or could do. Life with God can be a great adventure! Hold on tight!


From http://christianstt.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/04/New-creation-in-Christ.jpg


In what ways did you change when you invited Jesus into your heart? What changes are you sensing the Lord is still calling you to make in your life?

What changes have you seen in others who have invited Jesus into their heart and life? 

For those of you who have Jesus Christ as Savior, what is your testimony?

Spend some time reflecting on these changes this week.  

Please join with me in prayer:

Lord and Savior, thank You for making all things new. We marvel at and praise You for the new creatures we have become in You. We celebrate new Christians who are transformed through accepting Your amazing gift of salvation. We continue to pray for the salvation of those who don’t yet have a saving relationship with Jesus that they would come to see their need and ask Jesus into their heart and life— forgiving their sins — making them a new creation in Christ. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

From My Heart to Yours,

Kim


P.S. To my readers, it came to my attention that those of you who read my blog through email didn’t get the full post, titled Salvation. To read the full post please click here Salvation. Should this happen in the future, please click on the title in the email to be directed to the blog post. Thank you!

Friday, March 6, 2015

Salvation


From http://www.riversofjoychurch.org/images/salvation.jpg

“For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.”  (Romans 6:23 KJV)

My message is different than the world’s message; that is exactly what I want, because the truths clearly outlined in the Bible provide our guide—a plan showing us the path to heaven. The world seems to indicate that all good people will end up in heaven. What exactly defines good? How good is good enough? How many good things much we do to achieve heaven? How can we find peace when our thoughts our focused on being a good person, doing good things?

God’s Word is clear, our good deeds are nothing more than filthy rags (see Isaiah 64:6 Read here.) FILTHY RAGS! That realization should be sobering. On our own, we cannot be good enough to merit heaven. This is true for each and every person who is alive or who has ever lived; a hard truth to grasp.  

Therefore, I ask you: Have you accepted Jesus as your Lord and Savior? If not, why not? What are you waiting for? God loves you deeply and desires nothing more than a relationship with you. God is waiting with open arms for you to come to Him. You can take comfort, because everyone has sinned (see Romans 3:23 Read here). Where will you be spending eternity?   


Sinners (and that’s all of us!) are worthy of death, as we can see in Romans 6:23 Read here. The only way we can be saved is by calling upon the name of the Lord (Romans 10:13 Read here).

From https://cdn2-b.examiner.com/sites/default/files/styles/image_content_width/hash/74/de/74deca34e675298b0fb8d95672d19929.png?itok=KcfKC0Ix 


Being Christian does have a cost, however, for those of us who believe and said “yes” to Jesus—the cost is more than worth it. As Christian, we shouldn’t expect wealth, health, and beds of ease; in fact, sometimes it is the exact opposite. Our relationships change, our activities change, our friendships change. Despite the cost, I believe it is worth the price I have paid and so do many others.

What are you waiting for? Jesus accepts us just as we are. Allowing Jesus to come into our hearts and lives changes us.  “Just as I am, Thou wilt receive, wilt welcome, pardon, cleanse, relieve; because Thy promise I believe, O Lamb of God, I come!  I come!” Listen to "Just as I Am"

Please join with me in prayer:

Dear Jesus, we come to you humbly admitting that we are sinners and that You died for us, to pay our penalties for our sins.  We need Your forgiveness and we turn from our sins.  We open our hearts to You and invite You to come in to our lives as our Savior and Lord.  Thank You, Jesus, for humbling Yourself to come to earth and live among us, die upon a cross for us and then rise again.  In Jesus’ Name we pray.  Amen. 


From My Heart to Yours,

Kim



P.S. Be looking for another post in the near future that will take another look at salvation.

Labels