This past Sunday was Palm Sunday. It was the day we celebrate Jesus entry into Jerusalem with crowds crying out to Him for salvation and deliverance.
The next day the large crowd that had come to the feast heard that Jesus was coming to Jerusalem. So they took branches of palm trees and went out to meet him, crying out, “Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord, even the King of Israel!” And Jesus found a young donkey and sat on it, just as it is written,
“Fear not, daughter of Zion;
behold, your king is coming,
sitting on a donkey’s colt!”
“But watch yourselves lest your hearts be weighed down with dissipation and drunkenness and cares of this life, and that day come upon you suddenly like a trap.” Luke 21:34 ESV
Jesus’ admonition for His disciples is important for us today.
We are locked in battle with being more powerful and knowledgeable than we. Their experience is many lifetimes longer than ours and yet it is through the power of Jesus’ name and His Holy Spirit that we fight. We encourage one another with testimony, telling of what He promises and how He delivers. It is through prayer and walking in the Spirit that we endure and work for His kingdom.
For this very reason, make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue,
and virtue with knowledge,
and knowledge with self-control,
and self-control with steadfastness,
and steadfastness with godliness,
and godliness with brotherly affection,
and brotherly affection with love.
For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they keep you from being ineffective or unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. 2 Peter 1:5-8 ESV
If you wonder “For what very reason?” join the club.
In verse 3 Peter tells us
His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness …. 2 Peter 1:3 ESV
The Spirit of God came upon Azariah the son of Oded,
and he went out to meet Asa and said to him, “Hear me, Asa, and all Judah and Benjamin: The LORD is with you while you are with him. If you seek him, he will be found by you, but if you forsake him, he will forsake you.
For a long time Israel was without the true God, and without a teaching priest and without law,
but when in their distress they turned to the LORD, the God of Israel, and sought him, he was found by them. 2 Chronicles 15:1-4 ESV
Sometimes, however, English translations have subtle differences from the original texts. Take for example a passage from Paul’s first letter to Timothy.
The purpose of my instruction is that all believers would be filled with love that comes from a pure heart, a clear conscience, and genuine faith. 1 Timothy 1:5 NLT
The Bible presents lists like this passage in 1 Timothy. My question when I read this was which part is “the list?” I see two possibilities and the difference may change what I focus on as I seek to follow Jesus.
As a person given to pride, too often my focus is on myself. I’m at the center of the stories I create in my head. Upon reading the Bible, however, I learned (and continue to learn) that everything is about God.
I’m made to love, worship, glorify and commune with Him (as is everything else that’s created).
Galatians 3:3 Are you so foolish? Having begun by the Spirit, are you now being perfected by the flesh? (NASB – sent from CadreBible)
Growing up we learn that responsibility is a hallmark of maturity. Paul even speaks of laying aside “… childish things ….” One thing we need to retain, however, is a complete dependence on God. Jesus likened this faith in God to children trust when He said that without that absolute trust that children display we couldn’t enter into the Kingdom of Heaven. This seems to present an issue for me because much of my adult life I’ve been taught that success is attainable by greater efforts. The aphorism “If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again” comes to mind. While God speaks to the value of industry over sloth, He also points out that spiritual goals are not attained by effort but through belief and even submission; characteristics often deemed less effective. One primary goal is righteousness and here’s what the Bible says about a Abraham.
I grew up in smaller churches. I served in a smaller church. We never needed small groups; the whole congregation was a small group. The families knew each other, the kids played together and we’d never been introduced to deconstructionist theology; we simply believed the Bible to be infallible and inerrant. The fellow Christians with whom I served likewise didn’t know better than to confess to one another and pray together earnestly. It never occurred to me to view my faith as anything other than vibrant and alive as a child and young man. Our Wednesday night meetings were several congregational songs followed by the whole church coming forward to the dais, sitting in the first few pews for those who were older, sitting or kneeling at the altar to share prayer requests aloud with one another and then spend time as first one person and then another prayed for the requests aloud with one designated member closing the prayer meeting. Singing and praying; it was a series of events enjoined in devotion and sincerity that I can only now begin to appreciate.