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.

 

Who Is Your Savior?

WHO IS YOUR SAVIOR_

Here in the United States of America, our churches have cancelled services all across the country during one of the most important times of the Christian year. This being, our reflection on the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

The death and resurrection of Jesus Christ is THE MOST IMPORTANT part of our faith. If Jesus did not shed his blood, as the ultimate sacrifice for all of us, there would be no redemption for our souls.

In the last 100 years, somehow American’s have gotten caught up in the idea that only doctors can save our mortal bodies. They do whatever the doctor tells them to, and take whatever medication is prescribed without a second thought.

It has gotten so bad in Western society, if you even question the medical community – which we all know is severely imperfect – you’re automatically labeled anti-science, and written off as an idiot.

God established perfect order for the world, even to the point He gave us plants that would heal our ailments and illnesses. Ailments and illnesses we have because of the Curse.

The Creator of the Universe loves us so much He planned every last detail of our Exile.
As I sit and write this, my heart is overwhelmed with joy and sorrow by this concept.

Christianity in the world today is a ritual. We go to church, we sing about God, we go home and we do not include that same God in our daily lives.

We don’t ask Him if what we do is good for us, or if what the doctor has given us would be best for our bodies. We put more Faith and Trust in the snake on the staff, than we do our own God.

Many times in Scripture, Jesus addresses the Pharisees at the core of the issue – they are not acting in the interest of God, they are acting on behalf of their own idea of God.

Matthew 15:1-20 is where we’re going to start.

Then Pharisees and scribes came to Jesus from Jerusalem and said, “Why do your disciples break the tradition of the elders? For they do not wash their hands before they eat.”
He answered them, “And why do you break the commandment of God for the sake of your tradition? For God said, ‘Honor your father and your mother,’ and, ‘Whoever speaks evil of father or mother must surely die.’ But you say that whoever tells father or mother, ‘Whatever support you might have had from me is given to God,’ then that person need not honor the father. So, for the sake of your tradition, you make void the word of God. You hypocrites! Isaiah prophesied rightly about you when he said:

‘This people honors me with their lips,
but their hearts are far from me;
in vain do they worship me,
teaching human precepts as doctrines.’ ((Isaiah 29:13-16))”

Then he called the crowd to him and said to them, “Listen and understand: it is not what goes into the mouth that defiles a person, but it is what comes out of the mouth that defiles.”
Then the disciples approached and said to him, “Do you know that the Pharisees took offense when they heard what you said?”
He answered, “Every plant that my heavenly Father has not planted will be uprooted. Let them alone; they are blind guides of the blind. And if one blind person guides another, both will fall into a pit.”
But Peter said to him, “Explain this parable to us.”

Then he said, “Are you also still without understanding? Do you not see that whatever goes into the mouth enters the stomach, and goes out into the sewer? But what comes out of the mouth proceeds from the heart, and this is what defiles. For out of the heart come evil intentions, murder, adultery, fornication, theft, false witness, slander. These are what defile a person, but to eat with unwashed hands does not defile.”

Kind of an appropriate place to start in this current plague, the Pharisees come up to Jesus and they’re like, “Hey, why don’t your disciples wash their hands before they eat? Because- it’s what we teach, and it’s one of our traditions.”

Hygiene is very important. Let’s all stop and acknowledge this. Road signs off the highway currently tell us to wash our hands. Washing hands prevents the spread of disease and keeps people healthy. BUT! Jesus doesn’t care about the washing of hands, Jesus cares about their motives.

His response to them is, “why do you break the commandments of God for the sake of your tradition?” In the recording of this story in Mark 7, it says Jesus also added “You neatly set aside the commandment of God to maintain your own tradition.”

What traditions do we follow in our society that set aside the Commands of God?

You might be saying, “Jesus fulfilled the Law, the Law doesn’t matter anymore” and according to some denominational teachings, you would be correct in your perspective. However, if you further study on your own outside of leaning on the understanding of your pastor and denominational doctrines, you will find this is untrue.

Jesus came to be the ultimate sacrifice and therefore we no longer have to sacrifice animals for our redemption, but through the law, Paul says, we become conscious of sin.

Jesus re-established during his time on earth, it is not the law that matters, it is how WE interact with GOD that matters.

Paul is pretty concrete when he says you can’t serve two masters. You have to pick one.
Either GOD is most important, or the Traditions of Man is most important.

Satan is an evil, frustrating demon. From the beginning of time he has been looking for the opportunity to become greater than God. Each time he has ascended to “greatness” God has knocked him right back down through the Glory of His Goodness and supreme reign over the Universe.

So, along comes the Serpent to establish a new, fresh way of conquering God and His people. Their health and wellness.

Let’s talk a minute about the Snake on the Staff. The real one, of course. From the Bible.

Read with me in Numbers 21:4-9

They traveled from Mount Hor along the route to the Red Sea, to go around Edom. But the people grew impatient on the way; they spoke against God and against Moses, and said, “Why have you brought us up out of Egypt to die in the wilderness? There is no bread! There is no water! And we detest this miserable food!”
Then the Lord sent venomous snakes among them; they bit the people and many Israelites died. The people came to Moses and said, “We sinned when we spoke against the Lord and against you. Pray that the Lord will take the snakes away from us.” So Moses prayed for the people.
The Lord said to Moses, “Make a snake and put it up on a pole; anyone who is bitten can look at it and live.” So Moses made a bronze snake and put it up on a pole. Then when anyone was bitten by a snake and looked at the bronze snake, they lived.

Ironic, right?

Jesus references the snake on the staff is a symbol of HIS own death and salvation.

In the beginning of His ministry, one of the Pharisees came to Jesus and asked Him who He was and what He had been sent by God to do. ((John 3:1-21))

We’re only going to look into a small part of the passage for right now:

No one has ever gone into heaven except the one who came from heaven—the Son of Man. Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the wilderness, so the Son of Man must be lifted up, that everyone who believes may have eternal life in him.
For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.

vs 13-16

Our salvation is entirely dependent on the sacrifice of Christ, who was lifted up on a cross to shed his blood for US.

Is your faith and trust dependent on the medical community “finding a cure” or “creating a vaccine”, or is it in the God of the Universe who has already planned ahead of time this would happen, and gave us the cures to our illnesses in nature?

This Resurrection season, it is seriously time to focus in on who your savior is.

If it is Christ, Serve HIM.

Therefore this is what the Holy One of Israel says:

“Because you have rejected this message,
relied on oppression
and depended on deceit,
this sin will become for you
like a high wall, cracked and bulging,
that collapses suddenly, in an instant.
It will break in pieces like pottery,
shattered so mercilessly
that among its pieces not a fragment will be found
for taking coals from a hearth
or scooping water out of a cistern.”

“Go up to Gilead and get balm,
Virgin Daughter Egypt.
But you try many medicines in vain;
there is no healing for you.

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.

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).