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If God is Worthy…

I think we occasionally fall into the trap of thinking that we are doing God a favor when we do good.  So much so that we might even think that God owes us.  For example, we might say ‘I’ve been a good person, so I think God will let me into heaven’.  This implies that God owes you something for what you’ve done.    The good news, and this is good news, is that this is simply incorrect.  Let me explain

graduation, diploma, ceremony, earned, worthy, respect, deserved

           Imagine that you are a principal in a school and one aspect of your job is determining who will graduate, and then giving them their diploma.  Now further imagine that there is a student in the school, who not only passed every test but scores the highest possible grade, an A+.   Now, when it comes to commencement, will you be doing the student a favor by giving them a diploma?  No, they earned it and you would only be doing what was right.  Actually it would be unjust for you not to graduate the student.  The student is worthy of the diploma and your recognition.

In a similar way, God is worthy.  God has done all the work and He allows us to participate in the honor ceremony.  It is only right that we honor Him.  Honoring him doesn’t make us worthy, but it allows us to participate in His worthiness!

“Suppose one of you has a servant plowing or looking after the sheep.  Will you say to the servant when he comes in from the field, ‘Come along now and sit down to eat’?  Won’t you rather say, ‘Prepare my supper, get yourself ready and wait on me, while I eat and drink; after that you may eat and drink’?  Will you thank the servant because he did what he was told to do?  So you also, when you have done everything you were told to do, should say, ‘We are unworthy servants; we have only done our duty.'”  – Luke 17:7-10

The above scripture is hard to understand in our culture, partially because we no longer have servants.  Thinking again of the principal example, we must understand that God is worthy and by providing him the honor and service he deserves, we are simply handing out a well earned diploma.

Jesus, worthy, thorns, crown of thorns, crown, king, king of kings, crucified
         So, what’s the good news?!   God has taken the test for us!!  He has done all the work, he has suffered and sacrificed and he has passed the test with flying colors, a perfect score.  We now get to participate in his honor ceremony by walking along side him and following his example.  We are not rewarded by doing good; doing good in Jesus’ name is our reward!
        So we are to ‘walk worthy of God who calls you into His own kingdom and glory’ (1 Thessalonians 2:12).  Lord, please help us to understand your holiness, your worthiness and joyful give up our will, for yours!   In Jesus’ very precious name.  Amen
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The Humblest Man Alive

We have seen commercials about the ‘most interesting man alive’ but I think the most interesting man alive would also be the humblest man alive.

So, who comes to mind for you?    Hopefully you don’t think of yourself!   Maybe your father comes to mind, or another relative, neighbor or friend.  You probably remember a time that stands out where they were very generous, thoughtful and humble.

But, we are talking about the humblest man alive!  I would argue that for this label the man would have to be of great significance, a man of great character and power, so that being humble would be out of place for a person of his stature.

Imagine a king, not any king mind you but a king that was not only capable but also deserving of his throne.  I think maybe of a king that fought and led many victories in battle to win the freedom of the kingdom.  His position was rightly earned and he was very suited to be king of a great kingdom.

Now imagine that king, due to the love he had for his people, longing to have his people know him, and his love.  So he steps down from his throne and puts on everyday clothes.  The clothes are old, slightly ripped and smell.  He then leaves the castle without any security or money, to live among his people.

He tells them that the king loves them but they respond quickly ‘we are our own king!’  They then say, ‘we won our freedom on our own.’  Astonished by this lie, the king attempts to show them the truth but is hastily shut up.  Finally the kind reveals his identity and says that he loves them very much.

The people only get mad and abuse him.  He doesn’t defend himself and is beaten until he dies a horrible death.

The people actually kill the man that led them to freedom, a man that was the most capable and gentle king they will ever know.  They will now have kings that will abuse them and never let them forget that they are slaves to their royal demands.

Jesus is our worthy, mighty, loving and humble king.  If we submit to Him, we will never have want for another!

“Christ Jesus, though He was in the form of God, did not regard equality with God something to be grasped.  Rather, he emptied Himself, taking the form of a slave .. He humbled Himself, becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.’ – Philippians 2:6-7

This week, won’t you consider the love of your proper, holy and loving King?!

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Hosanna! Reflections for Palm Sunday

From Mark 11:1-11: Jesus’ Triumphant Entry

Jesus entered Jerusalem with much fanfare and then he went back to Bethany (where he started in verse 1).  In the world’s eyes, he made no progress but spiritually he fulfilled the scriptures of Zechariah 9:9 and 14:4

“Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion!Shout, O daughter of Jerusalem!
Behold, your King is coming to you;
He is just and having salvation,
Lowly and riding on a donkey,
A colt, the foal of a donkey.”Zechariah 9:9

“And in that day His feet will stand on the Mount of Olives,
Which faces Jerusalem on the east.
And the Mount of Olives shall be split in two,

From east to west,
Making a very large valley;
Half of the mountain shall move toward the north
And half of it toward the south.”Zechariah 14:4

Reflection: Many times in our lives, we may feel that we are not going anywhere, as the world would define progress.  Take heart, God may be using these times to grow you in an eternal way!

During Jesus’ triumphant entry, branches were used to create a red carpet for Him.  The next day, as he traveled the same path, an unproductive fig tree was cursed.


Reflection: If we bear fruit, God will make us part of His glorious plan but if we are not, we will be cursed.  Can your neighbors, family and friends see your fruit?

As Jesus entered Jerusalem the crowd shouted ‘Hosanna!’  Possible a different crowd shouted ‘Crucify Him!’ only days later.  It was God that prompted the shouting on Jesus’ entry.  As Jesus said, if they were quiet, even the rocks would cry out. (Luke 19:40)  But it was the pharisees who prompted the crowd to shout crucify Him!

Reflection:  Each day we have a choice to listen to the messages of the world (money, sex, power, etc.) or of God.  Who are you following?!

Jesus didn’t have many possessions, at different times throughout the Gospels, he borrowed a colt, a boat, a room (for the last supper), and even His tomb was borrowed.  All borrowed because he would not need any of them for long.
Reflection: If God, who didn’t need help from anyone, choose to ask others for contributions to His mission, shouldn’t we?
Happy Palm Sunday!  May you have a blessed holy week!
illustrations from: 
http://paxchristiusa.org/2011/04/16/lent-2011-reflection-for-palm-sunday/
http://www.swaen.com/antique-map-of.php?id=1788