Palm Sunday Should Shake You

Christians around the world have/are celebrating Palm Sunday.  The following week, is “Resurrection Sunday.”

Currently, the entire world is experiencing shut down from a pandemic, that will have churches closed for what the traditional Catholic-parented denominations call “Holy Week”.

It’s a cruel spiritual irony.

Let’s start reading in Matthew 21

Now when they drew near to Jerusalem and came to Bethphage, to the Mount of Olives, then Jesus sent two disciples, 2saying to them, “Go into the village in front of you, and immediately you will find a donkey tied, and a colt with her. Untie them and bring them to me. If anyone says anything to you, you shall say, ‘The Lord needs them,’ and he will send them at once.” This took place to fulfill what was spoken by the prophet, saying,

“Say to the daughter of Zion,
‘Behold, your king is coming to you,
    humble, and mounted on a donkey,
    on a colt, the foal of a beast of burden.’”

 The disciples went and did as Jesus had directed them.  They brought the donkey and the colt and put on them their cloaks, and he sat on them.  Most of the crowd spread their cloaks on the road, and others cut branches from the trees and spread them on the road. And the crowds that went before him and that followed him were shouting, “Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest!” And when he entered Jerusalem, the whole city was stirred up, saying, “Who is this?”  And the crowds said, “This is the prophet Jesus, from Nazareth of Galilee.

And Jesus entered the temple and drove out all who sold and bought in the temple, and he overturned the tables of the money-changers and the seats of those who sold pigeons. He said to them, “It is written, ‘My house shall be called a house of prayer,’ but you make it a den of robbers.”

Jesus sends two of his disciples into town to collect a donkey for him to ride on, the Disciples go out and get it, everyone is having a good time, they’re all praising Jesus and calling him the King of Kings, putting their cloaks and palm branches on the ground for the donkey to walk on, then Jesus gets off the donkey and begins wrecking havoc on the temple grounds.

To be fair, people needed to have sacrifices available to give to God for their sins.  Why not be convenient, and sell them right there in Temple?  I mean your church has a coffee bar right?  You can buy the coffee you don’t make the time for on Sunday morning, right?  Same concept?

No.

They were selling with wrong motives, they were taking advantage of each other– they were taking God’s name in vain.

The third commandment, should be one of the most powerful commandments adhered to as the Body of Christ.

DO NOT MISAPPLY THE NAME OF GOD.  ((Exodus 20:7))

To the Church, the most important part of Palm Sunday is NOT when Jesus is declared King by the people, we all know who He is and worship him as the King of Kings.  It’s when He immediately gets off the donkey, and angrily drives out the people in the Temple defiling it.

What kind of church do you attend?

Do you believe God doesn’t judge His people?

Do you practice deceit and cultural relevance in order to draw people in?

Do you charge people to attend the functions your members are encouraged to attend that is not opened up to the public?

How many denominations insists that only Pastors should know the Word of God in depth, and does not teach it’s congregation to explore the Word of God for themselves?

How many churches around the world willingly profane the name of God, and the people not knowing any better blindly follow it?

If you truly believe in Jesus, are you willing for him to crash the party?

There are members of the Body of Christ who do not believe in the active gifts of the Holy Spirit.  Thereby silencing the active and living Word of God in their body, effectively pursuing worshiping God by their own philosophies and religious system.

There are members of the Body of Christ who do not believe all of the Gifts of the Holy Spirit are in use today, thereby silencing the Prophets God sends them to correct their behaviors.

There are members of the Body of Christ who misuse the active Gifts of the Holy Spirit, running around prophesying in God’s Name, and interpreting for themselves what his word means.

Still yet, there are people so in love with the concept of the Holy Spirit, they make a mockery of him through the actions of giving themselves over to whatever spiritual possession could happen to their body.

All around the world, the Internet is muting the voice of Christianity so their own platforms can be heard.

It is no wonder the plague is happening right now, there is so little bearing on what the Church believes and the Body is not unified.  All the while the World is effectively taking it apart.

At the end of this plague, how many people will go back to church, after attending an online service?  How many are not even watching online services?

How many are actively meeting with the Body weekly for Bible study?

How many are checking in on the people who are supposedly apart of their fellowship groups?

How many people are being left out, wildly losing their minds in the uncertainty of our current times?

Today, on Palm Sunday, reflecting on the coming of Christ, what kind of shape is the Western Church in, and what would GOD say of our congregations if we all received a prophetic letter, as the seven churches did in Revelation?

Jesus is coming again.  People all over the internet are trying to figure out where we are in the End Times, watching for the Beast, for the Mark of the Beast, making sure we’re warning people not to take the Mark of the Beast, worrying for ourselves what the Mark of the Beast is…..

None of these things matter nearly as much as OUR personal communion with Jesus Christ, and where our hearts and our local body of Christ is at with God.

There are far too many churches caught up on being ministry to everyone outside of the church, they forget to minister to the people INSIDE of the church.

If this is not your church, great!  I am so glad your congregation is taken care of.  I myself have yet to find a body of Christ that ministers to EVERYONE in their church, and doesn’t push out those who are different from them, offering an alternative perspective to their denominational teachings.

Receptivity to God is vital.  And instead of Worshiping God and calling out to Him to heal us and heal our land with Jesus Christ, many of them are waiting on a vaccine.

It’s ironic WHO uses a snake on a staff.  Jesus was lifted up for us, and looking to GOD as our healing, hope and salvation, instead of the Snake on the Staff the medical community uses, is going to weed out the Wheat and the Tares as we come together again when our church doors open, to find out who is still here, and who has lost Hope in Christ.

Are YOU watching the numbers they project onto the screen, in fear and trembling? Wondering if you’re going to die with the rest of them, because your faith is misplaced?

Is your Faith solidly in Jesus Christ, and people mock you because you’re not taking this seriously, because you know GOD is greater than disease, and He’s already got the End in sight?

Chaos. Confusion. Hate. The internet is full of dividing us against each other, waiting on the World to find an answer to it.

GOD is clearing house.  The I AM is calling His people out.

We have set up idols in our households.  We worship the doctors who treat our family.  We worship the medications they give us.  We worship the vaccines they inject into our children, thanking them for caring for our Offspring, and we berate anyone who doesn’t worship the medical community for the God-send they are.

And during this plague, GOD is asking of US, WHO DO YOU WORSHIP?

Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the wilderness, so also must the Son of Man be lifted up – so that anyone who believes in HIM would have eternal life. ((John 3:14-16))

Whatever you believe about the medical community doesn’t stand against the power of the God of the Universe who has already determined who will live, and who will die during this curse against Humanity.  The only thing He has asked of us is to BELIEVE he is who he says he is.

 

With All of Your Heart

Worship should be emotional.

You hear worship pastors, pastors, and conservative Christians say worship is not about “a feeling”.

And it’s not.  But that doesn’t mean that worship of a Great and Mighty God should be flat and stagnant either.

The only way to sense the Presence of God is with your Spirit, which often could be confused as an emotional experience, because we only sense the things of the Spirit with our Spirit, and the entity of our Soul lives inside the hollow shells of flesh.

Jesus says to love Him with all of our heart, soul, and mind.

Our heart first of all, because it is the foundation of all our emotions.

Jeremiah 17:9 says the heart is deceitful and desperately wicked.

Desperately wicked.  Deceitful.
Two words we wouldn’t consider to apply to our hearts.

And yet, so fitting.

When I searched for the verse reference using “The heart is deceitful” a French movie popped up before the verse in Jeremiah.
From what I researched briefly, the movie is about a boy named Jeremiah who lives with his very worldly mother and pretty much hits on every point of sin.

Our society is heavily saturated with worldly pleasures.

We love them.

We revel in them.

We desire them.

And God tells us first in Deuteronomy to love Him with our desperately wicked heart.

Jesus Christ tells us to love him with all of our deceitful heart.

To desire Him.

To revel in Him.

To chase after Him.

Worship should glorify God.  It should magnify God.  It should be a time when ALL of us reaches out to ALL of Him.  Engaging Him from the depths of our heart, with all of our emotions and fixing our hearts entirely on the Living God.

Emotions that otherwise seek out sin, SHOULD be focused 100% on God.  It’s why He asks for our hearts first.  Our heart is full of desires, longings and wants.
Hone in those desires, longings and wants and center them entirely on Christ, and worship of our Triune God.

Sometimes the perception of the Holy Spirit could be a feeling.  A drawing, an awareness that something is moving us.  To someone who does not understand how to explain this concept, they may describe it as a “feeling”.
There is nothing wrong with this.  They’re expressing an experience they have had with their God.  It should be celebrated!  Teach them later what it means.

Worship God, with all of your heart, your soul, and your mind.  Move in the Spirit, allow the Holy Spirit to move in YOU, love Him, adore Him, fall to your knees in awe of Him, allow the entirety of your being to reach out and Glorify the One True God.  The Holy Spirit is our Gift, sent to us by Christ Himself, and it is beautiful to give yourself over to Him in worship.

How to Pray as the Spirit Leads

Jesus tells us we don’t pray as we ought to at the very beginning of his ministry (Matt 6:5-18).  But, thanks to Pentecost and the descending of the Holy Spirit, we now have direct access to the Father through the Spirit who is continually interceding on our behalf. (Romans 8:26)

People pray all of the time.  We pray for little things, we pray for big things, we pray when people are sick, we pray when we don’t have enough money, we pray when we feel we need something and God doesn’t seem to be providing.

“The Lords Prayer” is a simple version of trusting and relying on God for the bigger things.  And it’s quoted daily and weekly by different groups of people.

Are you praying that prayer for ritual?  Are you praying in the Spirit? Are you meaning every word as you say it?  Do you even know what that prayer means?

What does praying in the Spirit look like?

Is it in tongues? Is it quietly in a closet where no one can see? Is it knelt down in mass together for meaningless repetition of Scripture references turned into prayers?

Praying as led by the Spirit is simply a quiet heart before God, and open ears ready to listen as He moves in your heart.  And it can be in any setting you’re apart of, whether you’re in a prayer group, or in church, your heart and mind are open to pray as the Spirit directs.  While everyone else is chattering on in tongues, or while everyone else is ritualistically repeating words written over 500 years ago, even in the middle of a crowded sidewalk, you can stop and pray as the Spirit leads.

People say, “The Holy Spirit is always with us, we don’t have to ‘invite’ him to join us.” But this is not true.  Inviting the Holy Spirit to join you is an intimate experience that invites people to encounter God.  Being entirely directed by the Holy Spirit gives God room to move as He wills, and when God is on the move, hearts are changed, lives are reached, needs are met.

The Church of Acts had everything in common, because the Holy Spirit was in their midst and they were open and willing to be used by God, to worship God, to spread the message of Jesus Christ, and to help each other out as they had need.

The modern church lacks so many of these essential characteristics.  Satan got ahold of the church far too early into the game, and it took 1500 years for God to change the face of the Church, through Martin Luther, who became a catalyst for the Holy Spirit to get back into the doors.

Sadly, there was already a mindset established, and so many denominations have yet to break free from the “roots” of traditionalism to fully embrace God as He desired us to.  As the Early Church did.

When the Holy Spirit shows up, there is a definite Change in the atmosphere.  The presence of God is sweet, and refreshing, like living water to soothe the soul.  The air is fresh, you can smell the sweetness of heaven.  Those with the gift of Discerning Spirits can sense the presence of Angels in the congregation.

The Holy Spirit can show up anywhere.  Anytime.  His presence is undeniable.  When Jesus said His sheep know His voice, it’s true.  Especially when the Believers are pressing in together in prayer, entirely focused on Him, the Holy Spirit is undeniably in the midst.

Sadly, the Flesh can wrestle against the foreign voice, and impose it’s own will over the Spirit. (Genesis 32:22-32)  We’re taught to question the things we supernaturally sense, hear and feel, with good reason! (I John 4:1) Look at the Charismatic branches of Christianity!  The “slain in the Spirit”, the “drunk on the Spirit”, mass babbling on in tongues, and false prophecy is not of God.

However, when you KNOW it is God moving, it is so important to listen.
I have personally witnessed in my Spirit when people have wrestled against the Holy Spirit and imposed their own Will over church.  I’ve been called to intercede on behalf of pastors, when God wanted to change the sermon last minute, or do something different in service– and the pastors missed it.  I even stopped going to a church because of this, and God led me to a different place, one that I most certainly needed during that time in my life.

So how do we pray as led by the Spirit when so many different perspectives of Prayer and the Holy Spirit exist?

It’s simple.  Just listen.  Give your heart directly to God, and seek His voice.  And then be willing to pray as He directs.

Even if it means you’re praying against what you would wish for.  While everyone else in the room is praying for healing, and stumbling over their words, and you know you’re supposed to pray that God will provide for the people who are going to be left behind.  ((I’ve done this.  It is heartbreaking, but praying for God’s Will includes praying for the hard things.))

There are other times when we can get wrapped up in praying and focusing in on the things that are extremely important to us, and God has already done them!
A great example of this kind of praying is when the Believers are gathered together petitioning on behalf of Peter, and Peter was let out of prison by an Angel, and was at the door knocking, and they were so wrapped up in their prayers and petitions they didn’t even believe the servant girl when she said, “Peter is here, guys…..” (Acts 12:1-19)

We don’t know the mind of God.  We can’t see the bigger picture.  The Holy Spirit guides us in our weaknesses, even our weakness in prayer and not knowing what or how to pray.

There is a time to pray in tongues.  I pray in tongues from time to time.
There is a time to be still before God.  There is a time to petition Him with all of your heart.

Jesus told us to pray for His Will.  And His Will is most important.
To pray for His provision.  To pray for His forgiveness.
To pray for His Kingdom to grow.

And thanks to the Holy Spirit, we have a helper who can guide us into deeper, stronger relationship with God, to have glimpses of the Mind of God, in order to pray for the things we need, the things He wants for us, and the things we know those around us need. (Luke 24:45; John 14:16-18; Romans 8:2-6)

The veil has been removed, the Temple curtain torn in two.  We have access to GOD!  Why would you not take advantage of that, and draw into a deeper, personal, meaningful relationship with Him, by the overwhelming and glorious presence of the Holy Spirit?

If you are His, and He is in you, the Spirit is with you, and the Spirit will not guide you wrong.  Listen.  Quiet your heart before God, and give Him the ability to direct.  To speak. To move in your heart in a way you’ve never known before.

The Lord is in the silence.  (I Kings 19:1-15) This is why Fasting is so important.  To give up of yourself and your needs to press into an intimate and quiet time with God.  Honing in completely on the Voice of the Shepherd.

You do not always need to fast to have an intimate moment with God, however, fasting is powerful and necessary.
When driving out demons one time, the disciples went to Jesus and asked why the demons wouldn’t leave, and Jesus said some only come out through prayer and fasting. (Mark 9:14-29)

Why do you think that would be?

Because when you wrestle against spiritual warfare, Jesus Christ is the only way out.  Pressing into Christ without distraction, or futile satisfaction is imperative to overcome.  We can fulfill our bodies needs and desires, but only God can satisfy our spirit.

Why would you NOT give that part of yourself to Him?

The beautiful thing about God, He will not establish in your life anything outside of Himself and His word that has been passed down since the Early Church so that you may see and know His excellent works, know His will, and know the depths, height, love and power that He desires to have over your life.

We were created for His glory.  Giving of yourself entirely to Him is the best sacrifice you can make, after the Sacrifice Jesus Christ made of Himself for you.

Streams of Living Water

Ezekiel 47:1-12

Where God has established His name, and His Glory, there are rivers of living water flowing from Heaven.  And they exist to bring the people Life.

There was a time I had a vision of waters flowing down from heaven, and these waters spread in four directions, as they fell to the platform and flowed out to empty room that would soon be a sanctuary.  The ceiling opened up to heaven, for God had established that this would be a place people would come to seek Him, and His Glory would dwell among the people.  It was a beautiful moment, in the middle of worship and intercessory prayer, to know that God had blessed this time and established the church to be His hands and feet!

…But one of the streams of water became murky when it left the platform.

The Kingdom of Heaven is for everyone.  The blood of Christ was shed for everyone.
The Prince has entered the gates, given his life as a sacrifice to the people He represents, and come out again as King.

Are the Living Waters that flow from heaven into your congregations being stirred?  How are they becoming murky?  In what ways does the misinterpretation of God’s word cloud the judgement of mankind?  In what ways has man stripped the Glory of God and all the wonders of His Fullness, to meet their own agendas?

Jesus Christ gives the living water.  Anyone who drinks of it will never thirst again, (John 4:13-14) for the Holy Spirit brings the Living Water and it flows freely to all who believe (John 7:37-39), and are sealed for the day of Redemption (Ephesians 1:13-14).

Acoustic

Cheyenne sang loudly with the small group sitting around the room, as the melodious reverberating sound of an acoustic guitar filled the space around them.

It brought warmth and a deep-seeded joy to hear the sound of Austin’s voice singing as he played. His eyes closed, his head fell back occassionally as he bobbed his head and body in rhythm to the music.

Cheyenne felt the presence of the Spirit stirring in the room as they worshipped in song together.

Tonight was simply a night of reflection and worship, to the glorious sound of an acoustic guitar, with their closest of friends. The fellowship that drew their hearts together like nothing could ever break them apart, was overwhelming in the deepest of ways.

Austin began to slow the tempo and his strum became gentle as the song came to an end, right before the next started.

Nothing in the world brought more delight to Cheyenne than hearing an acoustic guitar fill the expanse of a small room. It was certainly her most favorite sound in all of the world. Nothing could compare to it. Each chord humming in enchanting rhythm with the next, sustained evenly as a sound that pleased the ears, with gentle vibrations she could feel in her chest.

Closing her eyes, taking in the moment, Cheyenne was at peace, and all was right with the world, in a supernatural way that only the presence of God could provide.

In this moment she thanked Him for the guitar, and for music. For the mystical way an acoustic guitar could romance the soul, and for the talent God had given to Austin to master the technique.

And then she praised God from the depths of her soul, taking nothing in the moment for granted, knowing that this time she spent with her dearest of friends and the mingling of the Holy Spirit was special. She hoped the others felt as connected in Spirit as she did.

They spent time together long into the early hours of the night enjoying each others company, singing together, praying for one another, and abiding in love and joy, comforted to know the things that mattered most to their broken hearts were easy to share with one another, in a way that brought healing and hope.

And when they had said goodnight, Cheyenne curled up in bed content, reflecting on the time they had spent together, still filled with peace and joy. Still remembering the enchanting lull of the guitar as Austin played for them.

And it was the sound of the acoustic guitar seered into her memory as she fell asleep.