7 Palm Sunday Questions

Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion!
Shout aloud, O daughter of Jerusalem!
Behold, your king is coming to you;
righteous and having salvation is he,
humble and mounted on a donkey,
on a colt, the foal of a donkey.  Zechariah 9:9

Five days before the Passover, our Messiah rode down the Mount of Olives as He lived His life on earth, the embodiment of the Beatitudes:

  1. Heir of the Kingdom of Heaven
  2. Comforter, Teacher, and Healer
  3. Meek Ruler of the earth
  4. Righteous
  5. Merciful
  6. God Incarnate
  7. The only begotten Son of God
  8. Persecuted for righteousness’ sake

Continue reading 7 Palm Sunday Questions

Walking in the Way of the Beatitudes

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The only PURE, authentic walk came from a man from Nazareth. A poor carpenter. A man baptized by John. A man who spent 40 days in the wilderness fasting. A man who was tempted as we are—and more. A man who preached with authority. A man who touched lepers, healed the blind, gave song to the deaf, raised the dead, fed 5,000, walked on water, commanded the storm to be still, a man who was crucified, buried, and rose from the dead. Jesus.

The Holy Servant

One night, Jesus did something remarkable. Some think this was the night before the Passover; others think it was during the Passover.

When the Israelites ate a meal, they sat at U-shaped low tables, about the height of coffee tables. They rested on their left arms, leaning on pillows, eating with their right hands, and positioning their legs behind them.

Now before the Feast of the Passover, Jesus knowing that His hour had come that He would depart out of this world to the Father, having loved His own who were in the world, He loved them to the end. During supper, the devil having already put into the heart of Judas Iscariot, the son of Simon, to betray Him, Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into His hands, and that He had come forth from God and was going back to God, got up from supper, and laid aside His garments; and taking a towel, He girded Himself. John 13:1-4

I wonder if He was thinking about the time in heaven that He laid aside His garments of glory to take on the humble clothing of a baby on earth. 

Then He poured water into the basin John 13:5

Was He thinking of His blood being poured out in a few hours to cleanse you and me?

and began to wash the disciples’ feet and to wipe them with the towel with which He was girded. 

What could Jesus be thinking as He tenderly picked up the dirty feet of Thomas? Was He thinking ahead at Thomas’ reaction when the disciples would tell him that Jesus was alive?

As He held the feet of John, the Beloved, and dipped them in the basin, was Jesus seeing John boiled in oil? Or in heaven receiving the Revelation of what was to come?

I wonder what He was thinking as He washed the feet of Andrew. Was He remembering how Andrew brought Peter to Him?

Peter may have watched Jesus wash each of the eleven other disciples’ feet in horror. This was a job for the lowest servant, and here was the Son of God—washing dirty feet!

So He came to Simon Peter. He said to Him, “Lord, do You wash my feet?” Jesus answered and said to him, “What I do you do not realize now, but you will understand hereafter.” Peter said to Him, “Never shall You wash my feet!” Jesus answered him, “If I do not wash you, you have no part with Me.” Simon Peter said to Him, “Lord, then wash not only my feet, but also my hands and my head.” Jesus said to him, “He who has bathed needs only to wash his feet, but is completely clean; and you are clean, John 13:6-10

The Israelites bathed before they ate meals together. When they got to the host’s home, their feet were dirty. Just their feet needed washing.

I wonder if Jesus smiled and remembered Peter walking on water, turning his eyes on the storm, sinking, and crying “Save me!”

I imagine Jesus continuing His conversation

and you are clean, but not all of you.”  For He knew the one who was betraying Him; for this reason He said, “Not all of you are clean.” John 13:10-11

Yes, He washed Judas’ feet. As Jesus washed Judas’ feet, I wonder if He was thinking of the Sermon on the Mount when He said, “But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you” (Matthew 5:44).

Or was He thinking, “Judas, I love you”?

Washing Mama

When Mama was dying, a nurse bathed Mama. Bathing dying people was what this woman did every day, several times a day. She talked to Mama in very soothing tones and told her everything that she was going to do before she did it. Her gentle and slow movements exuded love. She started with Mama’s hair; soaking a wash cloth with warm sudsy water, she gently stroked Mama’s hair. Then, she lifted Mama’s head ever so slightly to rinse her hair and pat it dry, all the while talking to her in a soft voice, telling her about the beautiful day. She moved to her hands and lifted them to wash her arm, hands, and fingers—one finger at a time, gently drying them as she went. She made sure that she positioned Mama comfortably among all the pillows that were supporting her fragile body.

This woman had a servant’s heart, and she loved what she was doing.

I wondered why Mama lingered so long.

Perhaps it was for this woman. Perhaps it was for me to see the gentleness and lovingkindness this woman showed to my Mama.

Perhaps it was for the other loving nurses.

Perhaps it was to demonstrate how Jesus may have washed the feet of Judas, John, James and Simon Peter.

Why Jesus washed their feet

Jesus took up His garments and reclined at the table again

I wonder, as Jesus took up His garments, if He was thinking of a time very soon to come when He would take up His garments of glory and honor, put them on and sit at the right hand of God.

He said to them, “Do you know what I have done to you? You call Me Teacher and Lord; and you are right, for so I am. If I then, the Lord and the Teacher, washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I gave you an example that you also should do as I did to you. Truly, truly, I say to you, a slave is not greater than his master, nor is one who is sent greater than the one who sent him. If you know these things, you are blessed if you do them. John 13:12-17

Jesus said that He came to earth for service. He came teaching, healing, making people’s lives better, paying the price for our sins, and claiming victory over death for us all. Authentic service. In Acts 4:30, Paul calls Jesus “Your holy servant.”

Matthew Henry writes of Jesus washing the feet of His disciples:

He knew that he was equal with God, and all things were his; and yet he rose from his table in glory, laid aside his robes of light, girded himself with our nature, took upon him the form of a servant, came not to be ministered to, but to minister, poured out his blood, poured out his soul unto death, and thereby prepared a laver to wash us from our sins.

The Authentic Christian Woman

How do we apply authentic walking to our lives?

The authentic Christian woman acknowledges the holiness of God and worships Him.

The authentic Christian woman surrenders her plans, her body, her dreams, and her hopes to God.

The authentic Christian woman walks as Jesus did, as a servant.

The authentic Christian woman is blessed. She’s a Beatitudes woman.

She regards herself as lowly and unworthy of honor. Jesus says that she is blessed, and hers will be the kingdom of heaven.

  • Jesus took the role of the lowliest servant as He washed Judas’ feet and the feet of all the other disciples. Jesus sits at the right hand of God today.

She mourns because of her sin, and she will be comforted.

  • Jesus wept because Jerusalem did not recognize the hour of her visitation. Jesus rejoices in the righteous robes He will give His bride.

She is gentle or meek, and she will inherit the earth.

  • Jesus humbled Himself and laid aside His glory to become a baby of a poor carpenter. For you. For me. Jesus will redeem the earth.

She hungers and thirsts for righteousness; she will be satisfied.

  • Jesus fasted for 40 days after He was baptized. 40 days alone with God before His ministry. He is the bread of life.

She is merciful or compassionate, and she will receive mercy.

  • Jesus told the woman who was caught in adultery that He did not condemn her. He told her to go and sin no more. Jesus bestows mercy.

She is pure in heart (cleansed by fire), and she will see God.

  • Jesus knew no sin. Yet, He voluntarily took your sin, my sin, all the sins of the past, and all the sins of the future upon Himself. Jesus will see us in the likeness of Himself. He will see us looking into His eyes and living with Him eternally.

She is a peacemaker, and she will be called the daughter of God.

  • Jesus gave His life for our peace with God. He is the Son of God, the firstborn, our Savior.

She is persecuted for the sake of righteousness, and she will inherit the kingdom of God.

  • Jesus endured the cat-of-nine-tails, the beatings, the crown of thorns, and the cross. His inheritance is the kingdom of God.

She receives insults and persecution, and false things are said about her because of Jesus.

  • Jesus was accused of blasphemy. He was accused of not knowing who His father was. He was accused of casting out demons from the power of the devil.

She rejoices because her reward is great in heaven.

  • Jesus endured the agony of the cross for the joy set before Him. His reward in heaven is the Bride of Christ—the church—you and me!

The authentic Christian woman lives by the Beatitudes found in Matthew 5.

It starts with the love of Jesus; it continues with the salvation of Jesus; it is possible by the power of Jesus.

Are you a Beatitudes woman?

My prayer

Father, thank You for Jesus and His great love, His great service, His great sacrifice, and His great victory. Bless us with ever-increasing knowledge and wisdom of what it means to walk in the way of the Beatitudes. We began in the love of Jesus from the foundation of the world, we were born again through the salvation Jesus offers, and we live in the power of Christ in us. Take us deeper, Lord. In Jesus’ name, we pray, Amen.

Please share this post with others who may be interested in walking the Beatitudes walk.

From heart to God’s promises

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“Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake. Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.” Matthew 5:10-12

Jesus saw the multitudes and retreated up to a mountain, and when His disciples came to Him, He taught them the upside down principles of His kingdom. The Beatitudes describe the mature heart of a follower of Jesus and the progression of promises that flow from that heart’s journey towards the kingdom of heaven.

The kingdom of heaven enfolds the Beatitudes, as the first “blessedness,” “poor in spirit,” and the last “blessedness,” “persecution,” end with the promise that the kingdom of heaven is that follower’s future.

Throughout His ministry, Jesus taught that the kingdom of heaven was at hand.

State of the heart

It’s an upside down kingdom, a kingdom that values a person who recognizes that he is nothing on his own, that he is poor in spirit. He mourns over that broken state, and that creates a meekness or gentleness. When a follower in the kingdom of heaven realizes that he needs what Jesus has, he hungers and thirsts for righteousness. Because of this longing, he realizes that others can do nothing apart from Jesus, and he has mercy on them. His heart is focused upon one thing, purely the will of Jesus. This kingdom citizen experiences peace with God and strives to bring others into this peace and peace with each other. Persecution follows, as the world does not understand the follower of this upside down kingdom.

What if we understood the state of our heart in light of the heart of Jesus?

Seven promises

Seven is the number of perfection. The blessed ones possess these great and precious promises.

  1. Kingdom of heaven
  2. Comfort
  3. Inherit the earth
  4. Satisfaction
  5. Mercy
  6. See God
  7. Called the sons of God

The drawing below illustrates the traits of the heart’s desire and the promises that follow.

The persecuted are promised the kingdom of heaven as are the poor in spirit. Jesus adds that their reward is great.

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What if we set our hearts’ desires upon possessing these promises?

My prayer

Jesus, thank You for the Beatitudes. Cause them to sink deep into our hearts and minds. Teach us their truth, their fullness, and their richness. Oh, Lord, we love You and long for the kingdom of heaven, for your comfort, to inherit the earth, for the satisfaction that comes from Your righteousness, for Your gracious mercy. We want to see You as You are, and we desire to be called the sons of God. Bless us and pour out Your Holy Spirit upon us to overflowing. In Your holy name, we pray. Amen.

Please share your thoughts about the Beatitudes and the promises they hold.

The cost of a peacemaker

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Peace on the Sea of Galilee

Abram and Lot journeyed to Bethel (means “House of God”) in the Promised Land. They had great flocks and herds, and the land could not support them. This caused tension among the herdsmen.

So Abram said to Lot, “Please let there be no strife between you and me, nor between my herdsmen and your herdsmen, for we are brothers. Genesis 13:8

Abram told Lot that they needed to separate in order to continue prospering and living in peace.

Lot, choose the direction you want to go, and I’ll go the opposite direction.

Abram, I’ll take the valley. It has plenty of water and looks like the best land.

So Lot took his flocks and herds and traveled towards the cities, as far as Sodom.

Abram walked in the opposite direction and settled in Canaan. There, God expanded His promise to Abram to include not only great descendants, but also vast land.

It costs to be a peacemaker, but God honors peacemakers. They are God’s sons.

 

Cost of peace

Abram gave the choice to Lot to preserve peace. Lot chose what he thought was the best land.

Peace between God and humanity cost Jesus His life. Jesus brought peace through His death on the cross, through taking our sin upon Himself and paying the price for our sin … death and separation from God. His disciples thought all was lost. But Jesus rose from the dead and now sits at the right hand of God speaking on our behalf.

Our Messiah’s peace leads to our salvation, completion, rest, and reconciliation with other people and with God. Our Shalom is the fullness of life.

Markers of a peacemaker

  • Received Jesus.

But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name, John 1:12

  • Placed faith in Jesus.

For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus. Galatians 3:26

  • Led by the Holy Spirit. 

For all who are being led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God. Romans 8:14

  • Loves and prays for enemies. 

You have heard that it was said, ‘YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven … Matthew 5:43-45

  • Guarded hearts and minds

And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:7

My prayer

Father, thank You that Jesus brings us peace with You. Father, loving our enemies is hard. Yet, Your dear Son loved His enemies and prayed for them. He asked You to forgive them. I pray for our enemies, those who hate You and hate Your followers. Father, show them Your love and Your forgiveness; show them Your holiness, and draw them to You. Soften their hearts, Lord, and cause them to receive Jesus as their Savior. Pour out Your peace upon them and upon Your children. Holy Spirit, lead us and guard our hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. Thank You, Father. In You, we have peace that is pure, merciful, and gracious.

Leave a comment telling us what the Lord is teaching you about your role as a peacemaker.

Jesus loves you

 

Sea of GalileeBlessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God. Matthew 5:8

Waves spilled into the boat and tossed it like a bobber on a fishing line.

A ghost walking towards the boat!

Take heart; it is I. Do not be afraid.

Lord, if it is you, command me to come to you on the water.

Come.

But when he saw the wind, he was afraid, and beginning to sink he cried out, “Lord, save me.” Matthew 14:23-30

Peter got out of the boat and walked toward Jesus. His will? Walk toward Jesus. His eyes fixed on Jesus, he walked on the Sea of Galilee towards His Messiah.

But he turned his eyes onto the storm, and his will changed. His will became,  “survive the storm.”

Peter knew that if Jesus told him to step out of the boat, he would be able to walk to Jesus even though there was a storm and only water was under his feet. So Peter stepped out of what men had built to keep him afloat onto the water. Impossible.

Peter walked with purity of heart. Soren Kierkegaard wrote that purity of heart is “to will one thing.”

Beloved, now we are children of God, and it has not appeared as yet what we will be. We know that when He appears, we will be like Him, because we will see Him just as He is. And everyone who has this hope fixed on Him purifies himself, just as He is pure. 1 John 3:2-3

In Biblical times, the heart was viewed as the throne of the spirit.

And He [Jesus] said to him, “ ‘YOU SHALL LOVE THE LORD YOUR GOD WITH ALL YOUR HEART, AND WITH ALL YOUR SOUL, AND WITH ALL YOUR MIND.’ Matthew 22:37

One will.

We live in a busy world that requires much of us. There is the family, the career, the church, the friends, the neighbors, the school, the community, the nation, the world. How do we love God with ALL our heart, soul, and mind … one focus, one will?

Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded. James 4:8

God is holy, and anyone who approaches God must be pure in heart. In myself, I’m not pure in heart. I’ve sinned. I’ve not kept God’s commandments, God’s Law.

The Bible tells us that the price of sin is death, Romans 6:23 and that there is no one who does not sin. This death is a physical death and a spiritual death that eternally separates us from God and all that is good and pure, an eternity of darkness and misery that we could never imagine.

Yet, God loved you and me so much that He sent His Son into the world, so that all who would believe in His Son would not suffer this consequence.

Jesus entered the world as a baby, born in poverty and humility. He grew up in a family with brothers and sisters. He learned his earthly father’s trade, carpentry.

In God’s timing, Jesus began His ministry. He healed the sick, gave sight to the blind, raised the dead, walked on water, calmed the sea, performed other miracles, and taught the multitudes.

The world rejected Jesus. My sin, your sin beat Jesus so badly, that He was unrecognizable as a man. My sin, your sin nailed the Son of God to the cross. Jesus took my sin, your sin upon Himself. Jesus paid the price of your sin, my sin, and the sin of the entire world … past, present, and future.

Three days after He died, Jesus rose from the dead. He showed Himself to His disciples and many others. Jesus now sits at the right hand of God, speaking on your behalf, my behalf, and on the behalf of all who believe in Him.

Jesus is the Way to a pure heart … the only Way … and He offers this Way to you and me … His free gift … His everlasting gift. All you and I have to do is accept the gift, trust Him, and let Him begin His good work in you.

Like the Psalmist, tell Jesus,

One thing have I desired of the LORD, that will I seek after; that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the LORD, and to enquire in his temple. Psalm 27:4

My prayer

Jesus, I have sinned. Thank You that You loved me so much that You became a man, that You paid the price for my sin, that You died on the cross, and that You rose from the dead to advocate for me in heaven. I want to follow You. I want You to be my Savior. Please forgive me of my sins. Make my heart pure. I want to live my life for You. I want to see You. I want to behold You and live with You forever. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

If you prayed that prayer, please let me know in the comment section, and I will pray for you and your new walk with Jesus.

May the Lord richly bless you and keep you.

Inherit the earth … Jesus loves you

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Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth. Matthew 5:5

Church; a big, well-worn Bible; fishing; watermelon and rhubarb pie; many conversations about Jesus. These are some of my memories of my Momo and Popo. They laughed; they loved; they prayed; they served; they worshipped. They helped plant a church in a poor section of Lawton, Oklahoma.

Momo and Popo didn’t have much, but what they had they gave to others. Popo would spend all day fishing and return that night with a load of croppie. He cleaned them for the next hour or two and then packaged them to give to friends, family, neighbors, and church members.

Momo and Popo were not focused on their gain, but rather on the welfare of others. They were controlled by the Holy Spirit and trusted in God to control their lives.

It is the distinguishing character of the people of God that they are the meek ones of the earth; this is their badge; it is their livery. They are modest, and humble, and low in their own eyes; they are mild, and gentle, and yielding to others, not soon angry, not very angry, not long angry; they are the quiet in the land, Ps. 35:20. And they are subject and submissive to their God, to all his precepts and all his providences. Actuated by this principle and disposition, they have wrought his judgments, that is, have obeyed his laws, observed his institutions, have made conscience of their duty to him, and have laid out themselves for the advancement of his honour and interest in the world.

Moses was meek

Miriam and Aaron, sister and brother of Moses, spoke against Moses because he had married an Ethiopian woman. The Bible says that Moses was “very meek, above all the men which were upon the face of the earth.” Numbers 12:3

Moses did not defend himself. God defended Moses and struck Miriam with leprosy. Moses humbly let God defend him, and then he prayed for Miriam to be healed … Moses was meek, and he was strong. He led the Israelites out of Egypt and through the desert following the commands of God.

Heal her now, O God, I beseech thee. Numbers 12:13

Jesus was meek

“SAY TO THE DAUGHTER OF ZION,
‘BEHOLD YOUR KING IS COMING TO YOU,
GENTLE, [humble, meek] AND MOUNTED ON A DONKEY,
EVEN ON A COLT, THE FOAL OF A BEAST OF BURDEN.’” Matthew 21:5

King Jesus entered Jerusalem not on a stallion declaring victory, but on a donkey in peace and humility. Jesus was strong. That same day, He entered the temple, “drove out all who sold and bought in the temple, and overturned the tables of the money-changers and the seats of those who sold pigeons.” Matthew 12:12

Jesus’ destination was the cross where He would take on the sins of the world – past, present, and future.

He was oppressed and He was afflicted,
Yet He did not open His mouth;
Like a lamb that is led to slaughter,
And like a sheep that is silent before its shearers,
So He did not open His mouth. Isaiah 53:7

Like Moses, Jesus did not defend Himself.

Jesus loves you

Jesus chose to allow Himself to be nailed to the cross by sinful men. Jesus chose to hang on that cross and take on the sin of the world … your sins, my sins, paying the price for sin forever. Jesus gave up His spirit on the cross and died. But the third day, He rose from the dead, declaring victory over sin and death. He purchased our salvation, so that we could live with Him forever.

Jesus is gentle, humble, meek, and He loves you and me.

For the LORD takes pleasure in His people: He will beautify the meek with salvation. Psalm 149:4

Are you beautified with salvation?

This week, ask God to show you meekness in His Word. Ask Him to show you meekness in your life. Then, share what God has taught you below this post.

My prayer

Father, You are so gracious. Teach us what it means to be meek. Guide us into meekness. Thank You for Jesus and His redeeming love. Bring us closer to You. We love You, Lord!