VIDEO Palm Sunday Video

Mar 20, 2012

Copyright: Sharefaith

Palm Sunday is one of the most important days in the Christian calendar after Christmas and Easter. Palm Sunday is the Sunday before Easter, and marks the beginning of Holy Week, the week of events leading up to Jesus’ death.

As The Smoke Goeth Upward

And if Timothy comes, see that he may be with you without fear; for he does the work of the Lord, as I also do. 1 Corinthians 16:10

Long ago a young man named John Carmichael became pastor of a rural church in Scotland. He was insecure, and though he tried hard to prepare his sermons, he battled stage fright and often forgot his points. One afternoon, he heard a knock at the door. The elders had sent a representative to see him, and he expected to be dismissed from his role. But, no, the message was: “Remember, when you stand in your place to speak to us in the name of the Lord, that as the smoke goeth up from the homes of the people in the morning, so will their prayers be ascending, for their minister, and as you look down upon us before you begin to speak, maybe say to yourself next Sabbath, ‘They are all loving me.’”

Because of that encouragement, Carmichael thrived in his work and became a long-tenured and greatly loved minister in the highlands of Scotland.1

Who can we encourage today? When we involve ourselves with others, the effects will be long-lasting. Great rewards are found when we take time to involve and invest ourselves in the lives of others. If there is no deposit, there is no return.

Optimism and enthusiasm are more powerful than sarcasm and cynicism. John Wooden, The Essential Wooden

Walking With Jesus in a Storm

Matthew 14:22-33

It was night. There were high winds, crashing waves, and low visibility. For the disciples, who were on the sea in a small boat, the situation had reached crisis proportions—and Jesus was not with them. While they were dealing with the frightening weather, He was on the mountainside praying.

In the midst of the storm, perhaps the disciples thought Jesus had forgotten them. However, He knew exactly where they were and what they were experiencing. Though we can’t see Jesus physically, He is omniscient—He can identify where we are at every moment. No darkness can hide us; no trial can obscure His vision. We are always seen, known, and understood!

Leaving that place of prayer, Jesus sought out the disciples. And He will do the same for us. However, the Twelve didn’t recognize Him because He went to them by walking on the water. Jesus often does not come in the way that we expect. Our preconceived ideas of how He works can make us wonder where He might be and can blind us to how near He actually is.

Experiencing Jesus’ presence in hard times can teach us precious truths. During an earlier rough sea adventure, the disciples had observed both Jesus’ trust in God and His authority over nature (Matt. 8:23-26). In the latest storm, they watched the Lord walk on water—and they saw one of their own do it, too. Through the storms, they learned who Jesus was, what He could do, and what their own potential was.

When turmoil hits, let’s ask for spiritual eyes to discern the Lord’s presence. Then, we must listen for His voice and obey (John 10:27).

A Good Name

“A good name is better than precious ointment; and the day of death than the day of one’s birth.” (Ecclesiastes 7:1)

It seems odd at first that Solomon would link these two maxims together. How is the day of death better than birth, and what has this to do with the value of one’s good name? The great king had once enjoyed a name synonymous with godliness and great wisdom, but his name had eventually become so sullied with the excesses of wealth and fleshly indulgence that he began to long even for death. It is a tragic thing for godly young people to allow their good names to be ruined by careless carnality, thenceforth never to be able to fulfill the promise their lives once seemed to carry. Solomon could employ all the most costly ointments and other comforts to ease his declining years, but they could never redeem his good name. “A good name is rather to be chosen than great riches, and loving favour rather than silver and gold. The rich and poor meet together: the LORD is the maker of them all” (Proverbs 22:1-2).

The Christian believer has a double incentive to maintain a good name, of course, for his words and deeds inevitably reflect, for good or ill, on the name of Christ as well. When we cause our own names to be damaged, we also (as David did) give “great occasion to the enemies of the LORD to blaspheme” (2 Samuel 12:14), and there are, sadly, many such enemies eagerly watching for us to give them yet another occasion to “blaspheme that worthy name by the which ye are called” (James 2:7).

In a very real sense, of course, even those who do maintain a good name all their lives can joyfully anticipate the day of death. Christ has promised: “I will write upon him the name of my God . . . and I will write upon him my new name” (Revelation 3:12). That will, indeed, be a “good name” and one we shall enjoy forever! HMM

“God looketh on the heart.”

1 Corinthians 10:1-12

1 Corinthians 10:1

Ignorance about Old Testament history is very undesirable, for thereby much of spiritual instruction is lost. The Israelites were intended to be practical lessons to us. They hud all the outward ordinances and privileges of religion, and yet they perished, and we ought to take heed lest we do the same. Were we baptized with an outward baptism at the outset of our religious history? So were they, with the cloud above them and the sea on either side, buried in baptism with their leader.

1 Corinthians 10:3, 4

Thus they had the analogy of the Lord’s Supper; they ate manna, and drank from the riven rock; the bread and wine of the Communion are similar types of him whose flesh is meat indeed, and whose blood is drink indeed.

1 Corinthians 10:5

They died, notwithstanding their participation in divine ordinances, and so shall we, unless by faith we avoid their faults.

1 Corinthians 10:12

Our baptism, participation in the Lord’s Supper, and other privileges, may make us think ourselves secure, but we must take heed, for far more is needed.

In the Psalms we find the same lesson set to music.

Psalm 95

Psalm 95:1-11

They were outwardly his people, and had every means used upon them to make them worthy of their calling, but as they never became a spiritual people, their privileges were of no avail, and they died in the wilderness. Let us beware of resting in anything short of saving faith, and a real change of heart. “Ye must be born again.”

 

Come, sound his praise abroad,

And hymns of glory sing;

Jehovah is the sovereign God,

The universal King.

 

Come, worship at his throne,

Come, bow before the Lord:

We are his works, and not our own;

He form’d us by his word.

 

Today attend his voice,

Nor dare provoke his rod;

Come, like the people of his choice,

And own your gracious God.

 

Jesus Cleans Up Peter’s Mess!

Luke 22:49-51

Have you ever had a time when it nearly broke your heart to see what a mess a friend had made of his life? Because you loved your friend so much, you were willing to do anything necessary to assist him in getting his life back in order again. Although you knew it would be difficult, you were nonetheless willing to step into his disorder, chaos, and confusion to help him because you knew he’d never get out of his mess by himself.

Let’s see what Jesus did for Peter that night in the Garden of Gethsemane after Peter chopped off the ear of Malchus, the servant of the high priest. There is something we can learn from the example Jesus gave us that night.

What Peter did to Malchus was not only scandalous—it was against the law and therefore punishable. Peter’s action was criminal! Peter’s wrongdoing was sufficient to ruin his entire life, since he could have been sentenced for physically injuring a fellow citizen. And this wasn’t just any citizen. As the servant of the high priest, Malchus was an extremely well-known man in the city of Jerusalem. Peter certainly would have been imprisoned for injuring a person of such stature.

Jesus had just been sweating blood from the intense spiritual battle He fought in prayer in the Garden. Then He had received the kiss of betrayal from a friend and was therefore facing the prospect of the Cross and three days in the grave. Now a new problem had been thrust upon Him. Because of Peter’s impetuous, unauthorized behavior, Jesus had to put everything on hold for a moment so He could step forward and fix the mess Peter had created!

As blood poured from the side of Malchus’ head and dripped from the blade Peter held in his hand, Jesus asked the soldiers, “… Suffer ye thus far…” (Luke 22:51). This was the equivalent of saying, “Let Me just do one more thing before you take Me!”

Then Jesus reached out to Malchus and “… touched his ear, and healed him.” Rather than allow Himself to be taken away while Peter was still subject to arrest, imprisonment, and possible execution, Jesus stopped the entire process to fix the mess Peter made that night.

The Bible says that Jesus “touched” the servant. The Greek word for “touch” is aptomai, a word that means to firmly grasp or to hold tightly. This is very important, for it lets us know that Jesus didn’t just lightly touch Malchus; He firmly grabbed the servant’s head and held him tightly.

This is important because it tells us the tenacity with which Jesus prayed! When He laid His hands on people, they knew that hands had been laid on them!

The Bible doesn’t tell us whether Jesus touched the stump that remained from the severed ear and grew a new ear or grabbed the old ear from the ground and miraculously set it back in its place. Regardless of how the miracle occurred, however, the word aptomai (“touched”) lets us know that Jesus was aggressive in the way He touched the man.

As a result of Jesus’ touch, Malchus was completely “healed” (v. 51). The word “healed” is the Greek word iaomai, which means to cure, to restore, or to heal. Jesus completely restored Malchus’ ear before the soldiers bound Him and led Him out of the Garden.

That night in the Garden of Gethsemane, Jesus’ very words knocked 300 to 600 soldiers off their feet and flat on their backs. He didn’t need Peter’s help. He didn’t request Peter’s intervention. Nevertheless, Peter suddenly jumped in the middle of God’s business and tried to create a revolt. Yet rather than walk off and leave Peter in the mess he had made by his own doings, Jesus stopped everything that was happening and intervened on his behalf. Jesus took the time to heal Malchus’ ear for two primary reasons: 1) because He is a Healer and 2) because He didn’t want Peter to be arrested for his impulsive actions.

The next time you think you are too busy or too important to get involved in a friend’s problem, remember this example that Jesus gave us on the night of His arrest. That night Jesus had a lot on His mind, but He still stopped everything to help a friend. He could have said, “Peter, you’ve made this mess by yourself; now you can fix it by yourself.” But it was clear that Peter would never get out of this trouble without assistance, so Jesus stepped in to help Peter get things back in order again.

When you are tempted to be judgmental about other people’s self-imposed problems, it would be good for you to remember the many times God’s mercy has intervened to save you from messy situations that you created yourself. Even though you deserved to get in trouble, God loved you enough to come right alongside you and help you pull things together so you could get out of that mess. Now whenever you see others in trouble, you have the opportunity to be an extension of God’s mercy to them.

Put everything on hold for a few minutes so you can reach out to a friend in trouble; then do whatever you can to help restore the situation. If this was important enough for Jesus to do, then you have time to do it too! Make it a priority today to be a faithful friend to the end, just as Jesus was to Peter in the Garden of Gethsemane!

MY PRAYER FOR TODAY

Lord, I am so thankful for the many times You have stepped into my life to clean up the messes I’ve created by myself. Had I been more patient and waited on You, I could have avoided the problems that stole my time, my thoughts, my energies, and my money. Forgive me for being impetuous, and help me learn to wait on You. When I see others make the same mistakes I’ve made, help me remember the times You have helped me so I can respond with a heart filled with compassion and not with judgment, reaching out to help them recover from the mistakes they have made!

I pray this in Jesus’ name!

MY CONFESSION FOR TODAY

I confess that I am merciful and compassionate to people who have messed up their lives. Their problems are my opportunities to allow God to use me in their lives by helping them recover from their mistakes. God loves these people so much that He wants to send me alongside them to assist, teach, and do whatever I can to help them get back on their feet again. I have been so touched by God’s mercy myself that judgment and condemnation cannot operate inside me! Rather than lecture people about their mistakes so they feel even worse about what they have done, I am God’s mercy extended to support them in their time of trouble!

I declare this by faith in Jesus’ name!

QUESTIONS FOR YOU TO CONSIDER

  1. Can you recollect a time in your life when you were so impatient with what was happening in your life that you took matters in your own hands to speed them up a bit—only to find out that you made things much worse?
  2. Can you think of other people who need God to supernaturally intervene to fix the messes they have made? Have you asked God if He wants to use you to help them find a way out of this difficult time they are facing right now?
  3. When you consider Jesus’ attitude toward those who are undeserving, how does it affect your attitude toward others who find themselves in some kind of self-made trouble?

When you are tempted to be judgmental about other peoples self-imposed problems, it would be good for you to remember the many times God’s mercy has intervened to save you from messy situations that you created yourself. Even though you deserved to get in trouble, God loved you enough to come right alongside you and help you pull things together so you could get out of that mess.

 

The Lord Is The Stronghold Of My Life

The Lord is the stronghold of my life. Of whom shall I be afraid?” (Psalm 27:1b)

 

Look around you at the people, circumstances and institutions in which you tend to put your trust. With the slightest shift of the wind they could come crumbling down around you:

 

People are fickle.

 

Circumstances change.

 

Institutions rise and fall.

 

King David cautioned such:

 

Do not put your trust in princes, in mortal men, who cannot saveThough your riches increase, do not set your heart on them.” (Psalm 146:3; 62:10b)

 

One sneeze in London, Wall Street or OPEC and we all get colds. One unforeseen change in governmental policy and whole industries are deeply affected.

 

Most of the kings and king-makers of the last decade are but a faded memory in today’s centers of power and commerce.

 

So… what exactly is the stronghold of your life? If it happens to be people, circumstances, or institutions you have just cause to be afraid.

 

King David grasped the vulnerability of our man-made towers of Babel, in crying out to God,

 

Whom have I in heaven but you, and earth has nothing I desire but you. My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.” (Psalm 73:25, 26)

 

Therefore today, as you embark upon the challenges confronting you, keep in mind the Scripture’s formula for experiencing God as your stronghold:

 

My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness. Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christs power may rest on meFor when I am weak, then I am strong.” (2 Corinthians 12:9, 10)

 

The only barrier to you experiencing God as your stronghold would be your foolish trust in man, or in your lofty assumption that you can pull it off without Him at the center of your efforts.