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His Entry, Our Triumph

Jesus rode into Jerusalem on a donkey of all animals! Have you ever asked why? One may say because the donkey represented Jesus’ kingdom, characterized by peace and humility. Yes, it is true Jesus preached peace and humility. Yet, the very next day Jesus threw over the tables in the temple and kicked everyone out because they were misusing God’s house as a selling place instead of a house of prayer.

Another reason Jesus rode into Jerusalem on a donkey was that it was prophesied the Messiah would do so. In Zechariah 9:9 it reads

Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion! Shout in triumph, O daughter of Jerusalem! Behold, your king is coming to you; He is just and endowed with salvation, Humble, and mounted on a donkey, Even on a colt, the foal of a donkey.

By Jesus riding into Jerusalem on a donkey, Jesus was pronouncing His kingship to both the Jewish leaders and to the people. They all knew the prophetic writing. The amazing part is that by doing so Jesus hastened His own crucifixion! By riding on a donkey into Jerusalem He set into motion the chain of  events that made His own death happen: the people would cheer Him as Messiah, and the Pharisees and Sadducees would want to kill Him because of it.

In short, Jesus rode into Jerusalem in that way so He could die for our sins; So that we could be forgiven and have a new, eternal life.

Isn’t that a reason to love Him more today?

Have you accepted and appreciated this gift He has given you?

Hosanna! Hosanna in the highest! Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!Donkey 2

The Crisis in Morality, from a Teacher’s Persective

As a middle school teacher in an American public school, and with over twenty-five years experience working with students from all walks of life, I can say that America is in a moral and social crisis. Happy, well-adjusted students are more of an exception than the norm. Why do I say such? Students today live in homes where divorce is common, parents are in prison, and addiction is well-known. Grandparents and great grandparents often raise the children now. There is sadness, depression and violence. Poverty is not the worst thing that can happen anymore. Profanity, disrespect, and licentiousness are established by a large percentage of students before they even reach the middle school years. It is very sad and alarming to witness this moral and social decline.

What’s the solution? It’s not money. It’s not regulation. It’s goodness and righteousness. This moral rightness can only come from the inside. When we have a moral code than our actions tend to go in the right direction. The family unit must be rebuilt and strengthened. The character of our society needs rejuvenation.

Hollywood is a moral failure and partly to blame for the demise in our culture. What else? Violence in television and internet, pornography, lack of a moral code, rejection of moral values and religion, and acceptance of depraved life styles and choices. Many parents have stopped policing what their children do. Politicians and interest groups have fought for godless rights and won. Greed and covetousness are no longer sins, and both adults and children in American want more and more and more without restraint. Faith in God and Christian education is no longer a priority.

We must promote a moral America again. The church needs to do her part setting the example, and preaching a value system again. Parents and citizens must speak up and do whatever they can to fight the publicity of wrong ideas and godless values. Parents must parent again, and stop allowing their children to take part in things that degrade their minds and souls. Again, the church must stand up. We need a revival of values and a revival of the Spirit. The church must support the family and help them find the way to what is good and right.

Most of all, we must pray and turn to God. Evil has found its way into the void made as we kicked out the ways of God. The Lord will help us as a nation as we turn to Him. Let’s turn to Him for our families sake and for future generations. Everyone needs to do their part to promote Godliness and a moral America for the sake of our children and our future. Everyone. Faith leaders have the utmost moral responsibility to help our communities and must lead the way.

 

 

 

Desire Change? Ask the Lord. Change Happens with God

God is the only one who can change a soul, and such a miracle is part of the “Mystery of Christ.” When the Lord truly comes into a life, there is affective change. He can change the heart, the attitude of a mind, emotion and behavior. As you continue to walk with the Lord, there is growth, maturation, and continuous change. It is both a natural and healthy progression to desire this improvement, or sanctification.

There is, however, a worldly cynicism which espouses the idea that  “people don’t change,” “you can’t change a tiger’s stripes,” or “you can’t teach an old dog new tricks,” but in God’s economy, it is not true. With God, the vilest soul can be re-born, old mindsets renewed, bad habits defeated, and addictions overcome. Again, this is a mystery, but the Scripture bears witness to this:

“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation: The old has gone, the new is come!”

So how does true change happen? With God, and only God.  He gives the strength, the will, and the desire. He makes provision for miracles –small or large– to take place.

We do, however, have a part. We must desire the change, seek Him, and follow Him in faith, trust, and obedience:

  1. Come to the Lord. Our first responsibility in change involves coming to Him and fully dedicating your heart to Him. This involves repentance and asking forgiveness for faults and sin, provided through the sacrifice Jesus Christ made for us.
  2. Dedicate your life to Him. This is a commitment to entrust God with your heart, soul, mind and body.
  3. Pray. Ask the Lord to change you, or something in your life.  From asking for a new life, heart, or attitude, to asking for help defeating habits, addictions, unforgiveness, hatred, or dissension. You can also intercede for others.
  4. Wait for the Lord to accomplish the task.

I realize that this may seem easy. It’s not. Waiting is not easy, and many people find prayer a challenge. Humility is a necessary component in dedication. Believing God for change requires faith, submission and patience.

But the effort is totally worth it. God does miracles when we ask Him.

 “And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.”2

I have experienced miraculous change. A few highlights:

  • God made me a new person when I gave my life to Him at 24 years old. He opened my eyes to Jesus, forgiveness, redemption, and justification. He made me new person.
  • He delivered me from a 10 year smoking habit. I haven’t smoked a cigarette in 25 years.
  • He helped me to lose my desire for alcohol.
  • He helped me forgive those who haven’t asked for forgiveness.
  • He gave me confidence and boldness.
  • He enabled me to have the endurance to study to become a minister while being a mom, teacher, wife and church volunteer.

Now, I am asking for new things. One thing is weightloss, which has been a great struggle for me. The Lord has already helped me lose 15 pounds this past summer, and for health’s sake, I need to lose at least 15 more. I could never have done this without prayer.

Nothing, absolutely nothing is impossible with the Lord.  We can believe great things  for ourselves and for others. Give the Lord your requests and wait and see how He helps you. This makes me so excited, and makes me want to praise Him. I am thankful!

1 2 Cor 5:17

2 Hebrews 11:6

What’s the Word?

Happy New Year! Time for resolutions- changes we make to improve ourselves. We resolve to keep fit, lose weight, work harder and smarter, (for us teachers- keep up with our grading,) save money, or improve our relationships.

In Preparing for Spiritual Growth in the New Year,  Chris Rainey writes how we can improve our relationship with God. He suggests five goals- Developing a structured Bible reading plan, reading additional (self improvement) books, finding mentors, focusing on specific spiritual disciplines and focusing on a specific Word from the Lord.

This final suggestion- focusing on a specific word from the Lord- is something that I am especially excited to do this year. It involves finding one Bible scripture, and reading, writing, focusing on it everyday. God’s word is so powerful that it’s a mystery, and I believe memorizing a scripture over and over in this seemingly simple act has the ability to transform us and accomplish things. You can focus on a scripture that is epecially meaningful to your needs, or a promise you are leaning on, or one that inspires you. The Scripture can help you conquer a sin that eats at you, a bad attitude, or an uninspiring mindset. It can help you reach goals, or generate new love for others, yourself or even the Lord. The capacity of the Scripture is summed up in Hebrews 4:12,

For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.

Let do this! I want to hear how God changes us through the memorization of the Word of God.  I have chosen Ephesians 6:19-20.

Pray also for me that whenever I open my mouth, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel for which I am in chains. Pray that I may declare it fearlessly as I should.

Here are some suggestions categorized by topic. (It’s a somewhat short list, I will add more daily.)  Join me on this endeavor and lets see what happens, and please share with me what verse you decide on. Write it in the comments below. And let’s try to encourage one another. Note: these lists are not exhaustive. Continue to search the Scriptures and find one that resonates with what the Lord is showing you,.

Praise the Lord! Happy Memorizing, and Happy New Year!

Strength Scriptures

Psalm 34:10b Those who seek the Lord lack no good thing.

Isaiah 26: 3-4 Those of steadfast mind you keep in peace—because they trust in you. Trust in the Lord forever, for in the Lord God you have an everlasting rock.

Psalm 32:7-8 You are my hiding place; you will protect me from trouble and surround me with songs of deliverance.

Isaiah 43:1-3 Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you; when you walk through fire you shall not be burned, and the flame shall not consume you. For I am the Lord you God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior.

Philippians 4:6 Do not worry about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. 

John 14:27 Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.

Psalm 27: 1-3 The LORD is my light and my salvation whom shall I fear? The LORD is the stronghold of my life— of whom shall I be afraid? When the wicked advance against me to devour me,it is my enemies and my foes who will stumble and fall.Though an army besiege me, my heart will not fear;though war break out against me,even then I will be confident.

Joshua 1:9 Be strong and courageous; do not be frightened or dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.

Psalm 145: 18-19 The Lord is near to all who call on him, to all who call on him in truth. He fulfills the desires of those who fear him; he hears their cry and saves them.

1 Peter 5:7 Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.

1 John 4:16 And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them.
Ephesians 4:2 Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love.
1 Corinthians 2: 9 However, as it is written: What no eye has seen, what no ear has heard, and what no human mind has conceived — the things God has prepared for those who love him
Romans 12:9 Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good
1 Corinthians 13:2 If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing
John 15:13 Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends
Spirit Filled Living
Luke 1:41 When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the baby leaped in her womb; and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit.
Luke 4:1 Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led around by the Spirit in the wilderness
John 7:38 Whoever believes in me, as Scripture has said, rivers of living water will flow from within them.”
Acts 2:4 All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them.
Acts 4:31 And when they had prayed, the place where they had gathered together was shaken, and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak the word of God with boldness.
Acts 9:17 So Ananias departed and entered the house, and after laying his hands on him said, “Brother Saul, the Lord Jesus, who appeared to you on the road by which you were coming, has sent me so that you may regain your sight and be filled with the Holy Spirit.”
Acts 13:9 But Saul, who was also known as Paul, filled with the Holy Spirit, fixed his gaze on him,
Acts 13:52 And the disciples were continually filled with joy and with the Holy Spirit.
Ephesians 5:18 Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit,