The Final Week

Jesus and his disciples were making their way into Jerusalem when Jesus asked a couple of his followers to go ahead and find a donkey and her colt and bring them to him.  The instructions were simple…if anyone approaches and asks what you are doing, tell them, “The Lord needs them.”

Jesus then rides the donkey into Jerusalem to fulfill the scripture and the thing about it all is that the people were cheering, they were excited, they were welcoming in their Messiah as they had been following his ministry for the past three years and had seen all the healing he had done, they had heard his messages, they had followed him from town to town.

This same group of people would less than a week later be the same group who would call for the freedom of Barabbas and the death of Jesus by way of crucifixion.  What happened to cause the change of heart? Why did the people turn?

The truth is, they were scared…much as we are in our day.  They were afraid for their lives if they didn’t join the crowd and call for the crucifixion of the one they had cheered just a week earlier.  We do it as well, because we are so scared of how people will view us.  We are scared that they might judge us based on their worldly views, but we should not let things keep us from living out the life that we are called to.

Church, we must not let the world tell us how to live…we must live like Christ…we must walk in his steps and we must follow the path that he has set for us.  We may not know all the plans that God has for us, but if we live according to faith we can know that his plans are much better than our own.  Jesus tells us to take up our own cross and follow him daily, and today, we must do just that.

I encourage you during this Easter season, take a long, hard look at your life and see how you are living.  Are you loving like Jesus? Are you living like Jesus? Are you serving like Jesus? Are you winning others to the Kingdom of God? Are you showing the world that it has no hold on you? Are you living up to the name Christian?

It may be Friday in your life, but Sunday is coming!

“For we walk by faith, not by sight.” 2 Corinthians 2:7, (NKJV)

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Protect This House

“We must protect this house!”

If you’re a sports fan you likely know that this statement comes from an advertisement for Under Armor brand.  This is something that they are using in two different ways to sell their products.  The first is to employ the mind about the importance of a home team being better as they play at home, protecting their home turf and earning the victory; an encouragement to not allow someone to come in and defeat you in your own home.  The second is that their product offers protection for the athlete who is wearing it.

I think we can take this same mindset into our everyday lives as we live as Christians in this difficult world.  Today we face many trials, and I feel that we can adopt a couple different views of this statement into our lives as well.

The first, I feel we can use it to protect the church.  The sacred ground of our home churches will soon be under attack, if they aren’t already.  The Devil wants to attack where he can to try and destroy us, and he would love to take apart God’s house at the seams.  We must be protective of the place where we worship, helping to keep it as the place that people feel they can come and be safe from the attacks of the world.

Second, we must protect our own homes.  Scripture speaks to this is the book of Joshua where we see in 24:15 where it states, “But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.”  We must protect our children from the harms of the world (Proverbs 22:6).  Men, you must be the spiritual leader of your home, and women, continue to lead by example, seeking to be like the woman described in Proverbs 31.

The third way we can look at this statement is that our body is “Home” for the Lord.  We must protect this house by striving to take care of our bodies and working to make sure that this “Temple” is pure and glorified before the Lord.  We have to keep ourselves strong in the Lord and serve Him.

How do we protect our bodies?  Look to scripture:

“Flee from sexual immorality. Every other sin a person commits is outside the body, but the sexually immoral person sins against his own body.  Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.” – 1 Corinthians 6:18-20 (ESV)

“Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is. And do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit, addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with your heart, giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, submitting to one another out of reverence for Christ.” – Ephesians 5:16-20 (ESV)

Allow yourself to be filled with the Spirit of God and allow Him to work in you today.  You must protect your house, whether it is the church, your own home, or even your own body God must be seen by others in the way you live and carry yourself.

“We must protect this house!”  Is your answer today, “I WILL”?

Respect

“To get respect, you gotta give respect.”

I have heard those words a number of times when people are trying to explain to others that giving respect is the way to get respect…that, in many cases, may not be the case.

It doesn’t matter how much respect that you give some people, they just do not give it back.  Does that mean that we should stop giving respect?  NO!

This is where many Christians miss the point, using excuses like, “I’ll respect her when she starts showing me some respect,” or “I will treat him nicely when he stops treating me the way he does.” What if Christ had exercised this type of mentality when it came to saving the world?

He gave His life on a cross to save a lost and dying world…a world that showed him disrespect and chose to have Him placed on a cross as punishment.  Punishment that was unwarranted, punishment that was uncalled for…punishment that was unjust; yet, punishment that saved each and every person who has ever accepted the gift that was given.

Had Jesus reacted in the way that many of us do, he would have turned his back on those he came to save.  Had Jesus felt the way that many of us do, the world would not have received the gift of eternal life…He probably would not have gone to the cross, healed the sick, and helped the oppressed.

Jesus would not have cast the demons out of the possessed man, He would not have healed the prostitute who touched his garment…He wouldn’t have even welcomed Peter back into the fold after his denial that he even knew Christ.

No, the world would not be the same had Jesus acted the way that many of us who claim His name act toward others!

As Christians we are to live as Christ for the world to see.  We are set apart.  We are to be different than the world.  As Christians, we claim a higher calling; a calling that we are responsible for upholding.

Do you respect others?  Do you treat others the way that you want to be treated?  Remember how Jesus treated you, even if you didn’t deserve it, He still felt that you were important enough to show the same respect that He showed everyone, the ultimate sacrifice!

Remember how Jesus treated others, and show respect to all you encounter, whether you think they deserve it or not; because trust me – God thinks they do!

Live Every Moment

YOLO – You Only Live Once

This is a statement that more and more young people have adapted their lives around and is really getting under my skin lately.  It seems that they do not understand that you do only live once, but the final chapter is either Heaven or Hell.

This statement has become a reason to live as they want, not thinking of the consequences of their actions.  They are now living as if they have forever, but seemingly not caring if they meet an untimely end today, putting it in a one word anagram of “YOLO”.

We all want to live a long life, but we are not guaranteed tomorrow.  The truth about this statement comes when we think about our tombstone.  I don’t mean to sound morbid, but think about it with me for a moment.  On your tombstone there will be a couple of different things.  First will be your name, and under your name will be two dates, the day you were born and the date that you passed away.  The most important thing that may be on that stone is not your name or the dates; it’s not even the inscription that is included.

The most important inclusion on the tombstone could be the dash between the dates.  It is vitally important that we live the years of our life with a purpose.  We cannot view life as a You Only Live Once moment in the sense of living how we wish and filling our years with as much material fulfillment as we possibly can; instead we need to spend those years living for Christ, winning folks to His kingdom, and striving to serve Him with our lives.

When all is said and done, this comes down to a faith in Christ, a strong relationship with our families, and pouring our lives into others.  Will your dash be filled with a life that exemplified the love that God has shown you? Or, will your dash be filled with empty fulfillment? Will it be filled with a faith that was unshakeable? Or, will it be a material life that was filled with things that did not help to build the kingdom?

Today, we can choose to fill our lives with Christ.  Today, we can adopt a motto of Philippians 1:21 by saying, “For me to live is Christ, and to die is Gain.”  We can live a life that is heaven minded knowing that we will get there to spend eternity with Christ in His kingdom.

How will you fill your dash?  Choose today to serve Christ and work for heavenly fulfillment today.  You only live forever, will it be heaven or hell when you stand before the judgement?