Let the King be Lifted up

 

The next day the great crowd that had come for the festival heard that Jesus was on his way to Jerusalem.  

They took palm branches and went out to meet him, shouting, “Hosanna! “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!” “Blessed is the king of Israel!”


Jesus found a young donkey and sat on it, as it is written:
“Do not be afraid, Daughter Zion; see, your king is coming, seated on a donkey’s colt.”


At first, his disciples did not understand all this. Only after Jesus was glorified did they realize that these things had been written about him and that these things had been done to him.


Now the crowd that was with him when he called Lazarus from the tomb and raised him from the dead continued to spread the word. 

Many people, because they had heard that he had performed this sign, went out to meet him.

John 12:12-18

The Healing Garden: How to Find Beauty in a World of Chaos

Often we miss opportunities to capture the reality of the beauty that surrounds us because we are too caught up in our busyness. It takes a conscious effort to take notice of the little miracles and unlimited beauty that unfolds all around us.

Whether you live in a city, suburb or in the country, we are part of a collection of beauty.  Embrace the kaleidoscope of color that is found in a field of flowers or the silent whistle of leaves on a tree. Take notice of the backdrop under the night lite sky or a chiseled, sculpture of an architectural work of art in the heart of the city. Observe the colorful personalities that make up the tapestry of a community or region. Listen to the city rhythms of sirens, horns, or loud conversations. Gaze upon the choreography of weaving traffic.

When we embrace our natural environments and even our own circumstances, we release tension, resistance and stress. We can transform how we see our world. In the midst of chaos, it can be a place of acceptance and harmony.

It’s realizing that although we can’t change every area of annoyance and distraction in our lives, we can learn to perceive the discomfort through a different lens. We might be contained within our boundaries but understanding that things will eventually change because life is constantly evolving and shifting. 

Grounding yourself in peace is a life skill that only comes by a relationship with the Lord.

There is also healing that takes place when we don’t build up a resistance to it. Whether in solitude or a bustling crowd of people, we can find our center which surrounds us in peace and tranquility.  Just by taking a moment to pause, we can capture our lives in motion instead of a selfie.

There is beauty in living in the moment. If you blink, you’ll miss it.

Scripture Readings:

But I have calmed and quieted myself, I am like a weaned child with its mother; like a weaned child I am content. Psalm 131:2

The fear of the Lord leads to life; then one rests content, untouched by trouble. Prov 19:21

I saw a man who had no family, no son or brother. He always worked hard but was never satisfied with what he had. He never asked himself, “For whom am I working so hard? Why don’t I let myself enjoy life?” This also is very sad and useless. Eccl 4:8 (NCV)

Be still, and know that I am God. Psalm 46:10

What’s the difference between trust, faith and belief?

 

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Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the Lord our God. Psalm 20:7

Do you wonder if trust, faith or belief means the same thing?

Although they sound the same or at least very similar, these words are not the same. However, they are part of the same family, per say, and weaved together in various ways.

TRUST

  1. A reliance on the integrity, veracity or reliability of a person or thing.
  2. Something committed to one’s care for use or safekeeping.
  3. The state or position of one who has received an important charge.
  4. Confident expectation; hope
  5. In commerce, credit
  6. To rely upon; to commit to the care of another
  7. The property or thing held in trust as in relation subsisting between the holder and the property so held.
  8. A combination of business firms formed to control productions or prices of some commodity.

In the world, people rely on the trust of their spouse, friends, doctors, teachers and other people in their communities. They depend on their opinions, advice, judgments, criticism, and perspectives. They depend on their status, position and intellect.

For the most part, they are self-reliant and value the ideas and opinions of others. Some people may even listen to the instruction or opinion of others before following their own minds.

The problem with trusting others is that they may not always use wisdom and could lean you towards the wrong decision. You may not have clarity on the right answer or correct decision to make (depending on the situation).

When making sound decisions, you should have a peace within which can easily be found through the Holy Spirit. When you put your trust in Him. You will eventually experience change. At times, you will wait endlessly for divine guidance with no answers in sight but you must remain diligent despite the circumstances. There may be a lesson to be learned while waiting for direction.

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Idolatry is another issue that arises by trusting in material things. Money, houses, fame, and fortune are all forms of idolatry. You may even be addicted to your cell phone or the internet. Whatever you put before God, will become a form of idolatry.

As a person strives for more, they become dissatisfied with their life. They begin to compare and judge others. The birth of greed, jealousy, envy, and depression cradles the mind and soul as they continue to pursue fleshy passions or possessions.

The Lord is the only source of real and complete satisfaction. When people fail you or objects become old, lost, stolen or broken, Jesus is the one and only who satisfies and quenches the trust in a dry, parched world.

FAITH

  1. Belief without evidence.
  2. Confident trust
  3. Belief in God; the Bible
  4. A specific religion
  5. Anything given adherence or credence to a man’s political faith
  6. Allegiance

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In the Bible, it states, “Faith is the evidence hoped for the evidence of things not seen. Heb 11:1

In this culture, it seems foolish to believe in something that you cannot see. Have you ever heard the popular saying, “Seeing is believing?” This statement reinforces the belief of the natural realm or physical world while dismissing the reality of the spiritual one.

It’s not easy to believe in something you cannot see but everyone does it every day whether they realize it or not. The act of breathing is a form of faith. This simple yet necessary activity gives us life each and every day. Not one of us has ever seen oxygen but we know it exists.

The closest we ever got to see it is in the middle of winter when a puff of smoke comes out of your mouth or nostrils. The Lord also provides similar ways to reveal himself to us if we acknowledge His presence.

Another example is music. No one has ever seen music yet it exists. Although we hear it, we will never be able to see or touch it. Just like the Father, the Lord speaks to us within our spirit but we must be still enough to listen to the whisper of God.

BELIEF

1 The acceptance of something as true or actual

2. That which is believed true, as a creed

3.  Religious faith

4.  Confidence, trust

5.  An opinion

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The mere definition of belief opens up a Pandora’s box because there are so many belief systems in this world. So many opinions and perspectives of different cultures, ethnicities, races, religions, and regions. This aids in the chaos and confusion because everyone has their own opinions and what they feel is believed to be true.

The Lord loves us so much that He has given us freedom of choice. He does not force us, manipulate us or persuade us to believe in Him. He allows us free reign to seek Him or reject him.

Independence is a beautiful thing. However, when we depend solely on ourselves and the world system, it leads us to misery, deception, confusion, and frustration.

If you allowed a child, complete freedom to do what they wanted, they would self-destruct. They would probably eat all the candy, cookies or ice cream they wanted. Plus, they would watch TV or play video games all day and night and leave a mess in their rooms as well as the whole house.

Well, we are no different. We would choose all the pleasures of this world and ignore the consequences of our actions.

The Lord has defined certain principles and guidelines to abide by for our good. This is not to hurt us but to protect us. The Lord is a loving Father who guides us along life’s journey. There is a multitude of promises that align with the Lord’s instructions waiting for us. He is not waiting for the first chance we mess up so he can punish us if we do something wrong. He is full of compassion, grace, and mercy. However, you must be willing to cleanse your heart of all sin (repent) and walk as an example of Christ. The Lord has many gifts and treasures to enjoy on this earth as well as in heaven.

The Lord asks that you trust Him, walk in faith and believe in Him at all times.  Commit to His ways for His love endures forever.

Prayer

Lord, Thank you for being a loving Father. I honor and worship you in spirit and in truth. Help me to walk in your ways. When I mess up, let me be quick to correct my mistakes. I pray that you will give me a measure of faith that will shift all obstacles blocking my path. I rebuke all fear, self-doubt, addictions, temptation, anxiety or depression. Help me to trust in you alone. Reveal yourself to me in new ways and may I receive a fresh revelation. I believe your promises and I stand on your word in the mighty name of Jesus. Amen.

 

 

Facing Rejection with Humility

Photo Credit: Pixabay.com

It seems everyone has dealt with rejection at one time or another in their lives. Rejection comes in many forms. It may be when you tried to make a friend in elementary school, but was teased and laughed at instead. In high school, you may have wanted to go to the prom with a boy or girl that you had a crush on, only to find out that they already had a date or had no interest in you. Even in adulthood, there are all kinds of rejection stemming from interviewing for a job to being declined for a loan for that beautiful home you dreamed of.

No matter how rejection finds you, the emotions that follow are real. The one person who suffered rejection was Jesus Christ. Throughout his ministry, he was taunted, scorned, and rejected. He could not even provide miracles in his hometown of Nazareth because they would not accept him or his teaching. He was kicked out of the synagogue while speaking, yet he did not walk with a scornful heart.

Rejection is a hard pill to swallow and can lead to other issues if you’re constantly rejected by others. It can stripe you from your self-esteem and confidence leaving you to feel like you’re not good enough or it can be the root of jealousy when you start to compare yourself to others. When you have suffered betrayal, insecurity, frustration, and fear, it tends to overwhelm your emotional state.

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Rejection does not feel good, but when you know and understand that there is a process in pain and that the Lord is establishing and guiding your footsteps, as well as shaping your character, it shines a new perspective on such negative feelings.

Here is just a few benefits of rejection:

  • Builds character
  • Develops thicker skin and makes you stronger
  • Provides safety and protection from unseen danger or harm
  • Teaches you how to accept rejection and move on
  • Pushes you to greatness by developing yourself on a personal, spiritual, emotional, mental and physical level
  • Increases patience
  • Motivates and pushes you to try harder

When you feel rejected, understand that there is a loving God who created you and loves you unconditionally. It’s often hard to grasp his love at times because we live in a physical world, but we are made up of spiritual DNA and also battle with things we cannot visually grasp. Our battle is not with flesh and blood but with spiritual things in high places. (Eph 6:10-17)

Don’t allow rejection to destroy who you are. Speak words of encouragement to yourself and to others. Build a support group of positive, nurturing friends who will inspire and motivate you. However, make sure can motivate and encourage yourself. Work on yourself every day.

Learn a new hobby or participate in your community. To attend a conference or seminar to learn something new. Keep growing. Don’t take rejection personally. Stand tall in your abilities, talents, and gifts. Just keep it moving. When you know who you are in Christ, you will not be swayed by the opinions of others and the pressures of the world.

Prayer

Lord, we receive your unconditional love. Heal our hearts from the pain of rejection. Let us not look to the world for our worth, but to you who created us in your image. You hold all the power in your hands. Thank you for your love and the freedom to be me.

In Jesus name, Amen


Pick up Your Cross

When we reflect upon the Resurrection, we celebrate the triumph of Jesus overcoming the grave and sitting at the right hand of the Father in Heaven. We celebrate His victory and all He has done for our Salvation. He is alive and lives in our hearts and we await for His return. He will reign upon the earth as He did once before.

As followers of Christ, we must remain steadfast knowing that we should walk as Jesus and live as an example.  We should pick up our cross daily and follow Him. Mark 10:21

What exactly does that mean? Jesus requested the apostles to leave all they had to follow Him. In the New Testament, Jesus speaks of giving up everything to follow Him. He commanded to give riches and treasures to the poor and to put Him first in every area of our life. In Mark 10:25, Jesus said, “It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than a rich man to enter into the Kingdom of God.”

Jesus want to know your heart is pure and that you can be content in all circumstances. Nothing should stand in the way of relationship with Him.  Of course, our Father gives us good pleasures, but He wants us to delight in Him. He wants us to honor and obey Him. He does not want us to be persuaded or enticed by glitz, glamour, fame and fortune.  Neither does He desire the church to become a den of thieves.

Picking up your cross also means to be obedient to what the Lord ask you to do.  When we follow and surrender to Jesus, we desire to please Him. He will also fulfill the desires of our heart. “If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you.” John 15:7

Moses answered the call to lead the Israelites through the wilderness to the promise land. Joseph was obedient to endure betrayal and be thrown into a pit, despite the jealousy of his brothers, and still blessed them in spite of their evil ways towards him. Jeremiah was obedient to prophesy over disobedience in the land.

It is not always easy to be obedient to the Lord. In many cases, it can be tough. However, the Lord supplies everything you need to overcome the challenges, obstacles and surprises life brings. God is not looking for perfect people. He calls the misfits, the outsiders, the prideful, the unqualified, and the sinful.  Mark 2:13-17

When we pick up our cross, we are not carrying the burdens of life on our shoulders. This may be a misinterpretation of what the verse means and easily misunderstood. Jesus already paid the price for the penalty of sin for all of us. He carries our burdens. The greatest love of all flows from the heart of Jesus. By no means, we are to believe that we are to carry the cross like Christ did. Our works or deeds on earth does not open the doors to heaven. Salvation does. That is the whole reason Christ died for us. Without the crucifixion of Christ, there would be no sacrifice. Nevertheless, our works will be rewarded once we enter into the Kingdom. “Through faith and patience we will inherit the promises.” Heb 6:12

All that you search for in this world is null and void and does not satisfy. Jesus said, “I am the bread of life: He that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst.” John 6:35

Pick up your cross and follow Him daily. Be a disciple of Christ.  Share the Gospel. Uplift and encourage others. Ask for wisdom, discernment and understanding and walk as examples of Christ.

Just a few things to think about…

What can you do to welcome others who have a different lifestyle than you or do not have the same faith or values that you have? How do you react or respond to stress, worry, doubt or fear? How do you act when you’re angry, tired or frustrated? What can you do differently when emotions take over? How do you lead by example in the workplace? How do you share your testimony with others when they don’t know Christ?

You’re welcome to leave your comments. Thanks for your support.

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Additional Scripture References:

Matt 7:9-11

Phil 4:19

Heb 6:10

 John 18  and  John 19

 I Peter 1:3-9

 Romans 3:23-25

 I Corth 15:13-28

In the Secret Place

When a woman gets an ultrasound, it is an exciting moment for the mom-to-be.  For the first time, she experiences the formation of a miracle and watches the movements of her child inside her womb.

The child is enclosed in a protective shell and is shielded from the outside world, yet comfortable in the natural environment which is the only world known of. All their needs are met and they continue to grow and develop until the designated time of birth.

During labor, a mother and child experiences discomfort, struggles and difficulties; but through pain, sweat and tears, the child is exposed to the world in which they must adapt, learn, develop and grow in a whole new environment.

As children of God, we are also protected and shielded from unknown dangers. Even though we live in a fallen world, we are held in the palm of His hands. Despite the attacks that come against us in the natural or spiritual realm, we are victorious!

Unseen dangers lurk all around us, yet the Lord provides his protection, love, mercy, grace, peace, guidance, and security. His arms of protection surround us and will forever protect us from harm. We are cradled just like a newborn in His loving care. Although we are not exempt from difficulties, hardship, and loss, we are overcomers by the Blood of the Lamb. No matter what you may experience in this world, you have a God that loves you and will watch over you.

Our position is to enter into the secret place. In the secret place, there is peace. There is wisdom. There is power. There is a strength upon His wings. Welcome His presence with praise. Wherever your prayer closet may be, enter in the secret place with reverence and admiration. There may be a tornado swirling around you, but you can find peace in the eye of the storm. Command, “Peace be still.” Use your authority in God’s word to fight every battle.

Prayer

Lord, I (we) welcome you and praise your Holy name. I (we) thank you for your love, guidance, and protection. Thank you for watching over my (our) family and friends. I (we) pray that you will open the hearts of those who are lost.  Protect our country and this nation and may you bless the world leaders with wisdom and guidance. I (we) ask that you will lead me (us) through victory and that I (we) may turn (my) our heart(s) to you in repentance. Renew my (our) mind(s) so that I (we) can be who you called me (us) to be.

In Jesus Name, Amen.

 

Psalm 91

Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High
    will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.[a]
I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress,
    my God, in whom I trust.”

Surely he will save you
    from the fowler’s snare
    and from the deadly pestilence.
He will cover you with his feathers,
    and under his wings you will find refuge;
    his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart.
You will not fear the terror of night,
    nor the arrow that flies by day,
nor the pestilence that stalks in the darkness,
    nor the plague that destroys at midday.
A thousand may fall at your side,
    ten thousand at your right hand,
    but it will not come near you.
You will only observe with your eyes
    and see the punishment of the wicked.

If you say, “The Lord is my refuge,”
    and you make the Most High your dwelling,
10 no harm will overtake you,
    no disaster will come near your tent.
11 For he will command his angels concerning you
    to guard you in all your ways;
12 they will lift you up in their hands,
    so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.
13 You will tread on the lion and the cobra;
    you will trample the great lion and the serpent.

14 “Because he[b] loves me,” says the Lord, “I will rescue him;
    I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name.
15 He will call on me, and I will answer him;
    I will be with him in trouble,
    I will deliver him and honor him.
16 With long life I will satisfy him
    and show him my salvation.”


The Labyrinth of Life

 16 I will lead the blind by ways they have not known, along unfamiliar paths I will guide them; I will turn the darkness into light before them and make the rough places smooth. These are the things I will do;  I will not forsake them.  Isaiah 42:16

Do you feel that you’re on a road to nowhere? That life has pushed you down a twisted path that is based on poor choices and decisions and uncontrolled circumstances determined by external sources?

The more effort you put into your life, the more energy is sucked out of you. No matter what you try to do seems to work. Even though you may feel like you will never get to your destination, your life is constantly being diverted and misdirected. From dead ends, left turns and wrong turns that lead to right turns, it’s like a labyrinth of frustration, confusion, aggravation, not to mention stress. You may feel like a rat on a wheel, running to nowhere.

Just because you can’t see a way out, doesn’t mean there isn’t one. The forced direction that you experience, may possibly be how the Lord orders and directs your steps. With each twist and turn, the Lord is guiding your steps to the purpose and plan he has for your life. Who said life was easy? It’s not a direct shot even for the best of us. Some people may have fewer turns than others, yet we will hopefully end up exactly where we need to be.

Before you make a decision, you should always check your spirit. Do you have peace with your decision? Does something feel off? Do you feel nervous, tense, or afraid?

The Holy Spirit guides you with a sense of peace. He offers wisdom and guidance. Do not ignore your intuition. That is the prompting of the Holy Spirit. Fear can be very tricky because it can be a warning sign prior to danger, but it can also be a false alarm from satan himself. Either way, fear is not of God and you must learn to test the spirit prior to making any decision.

No matter where you are on your journey, keep on moving. God is not the master of confusion and He did not create you for failure. If you get tired and weary along the way, take a break or just pause for a minute (praise break), recharge your battery (meditate on scriptures), and walk-in faith (prayer).

The Lord has the ultimate blueprint and knows what He’s doing even if you don’t. He has the ultimate global positioning system (GPS). Let Him lead the way because He will never lead you wrong. “He will lead you by the still waters.” Psalm 23:2

 But the path of the just is like the shining sun, That shines ever brighter unto the perfect day.  Proverbs 4:18