Palm Sunday Musings: Moving Beyond Great Expectations

Today, Sunday 4/17/11, is Palm Sunday. It is the day that we remember and celebrate Jesus triumphant entry into Jerusalem where people placed palm fronds before Him. Palm fronds historically mean triumph and victory[i] and the act of laying them down before someone was a common welcome for a coming king or hero.[ii] The crowd was anticipating Jesus arrival. Part of the great anticipation stems from the resurrection of Lazarus. The Orthodox and Eastern Catholic Church recognize the Saturday prior to Palm Sunday as Lazarus Saturday with belief that Lazarus was raised from the dead on that day.[iii]  The palm Sunday account in John 12 does suggest that the resurrection of Lazarus was fairly recent as the crowd and followed him and those conspiring to kill Jesus also want to kill Lazarus. 

 So the scenario is that Jesus shown Himself to have power over death in resurrecting Jesus and approached Jerusalem.  The crowd was rife with anticipation. Jesus showed himself to have power over death. Expectations soared. The thoughts had to be The Messiah had finally arrived as who else has power over death. Finally the Son of David is coming to claim the throne, set all things right, and set them free from home and establish the reign of David.  They expected great and big things.  God’s plans were quite different.  Soon the crowd would turn.  Many who proclaimed “Hosanna” later proclaimed “Crucify Him!”  What changed? 

God’s plan was not what people expected.  They were expecting immediate relief and victory. They were focused on this life and the political tyranny they lived under.  They looked with eyes of this world, not eyes on the eternal world.  They looked for a conquering king, not a lamb to be slain. God ways did not meet the human expectation. Even those who did not join in the refrain to kill Jesus did not get it.  So the retreated and withdrew not having a clue what was going on.  They gave everything to follow Jesus, for what? To see him die?  They didn’t sign up for that, even though told over and over that was the plan, they didn’t get it.  No rather, on Palm Sunday, expectations were great.  Lazarus was alive and who could stop Jesus. He will bring victory.  

Guess what, we often still do not get it.  We have expectations. We get caught up in this world. God does not do things the way we expect. We fail to see His way and His victory. We often get angry when God doesn’t match our expectations or withdraw when we have no idea what God is doing as it does not match how we think things should play out.  But God’s ways are not our ways.  God did bring victory. He used the events to follow to redeem all that will surrender to Jesus as Savior and Lord.  Jesus is making all things right, but still we can miss it. We can still get distracted with the ways of the world and what we want God to do in this world, in the here and now. Life can be focused on what is going on “immediately” and the varied “tyrannies of suffering” we live under. We want all made right and want to see God working now.  Ah, but God asks us to surrender in spite of all before us.  Whatever pain, whatever struggle, whatever is going on in this life. The call is to trust Him and surrender to Him.  This is day to day moment by moment. We each need to get past our great expectations and surrender. 

And here is what is worth focusing on today, and the true celebration. Jesus is soon coming to make all things right.  He will be coming back as the Lion of Judah.  He will be coming to set all things right. He who has power over death is coming and will conquer all. Every knee will bow, every tongue confess that Jesus is Lord above all Lords, King above all Kings.  At that point, it will be truly Hosanna in the Highest, for there is none like the Lamb who was slain who comes forth as the Lion of Judah, He above all others.  He who is both Lamb and Lion.  The time is coming, rejoice. Set aside the thoughts and expectations of self, for God has His ways. In Him alone is victory.  Look to His life, and let go of whatever you hold onto. While it is still Today, let go and surrender, for there is no other way.


Musings Final day #AACC conference: Engaging in Forward Movement

Today was a day where much was stirred with in me. The teachings and God’s work within my pointed to ensuring in being engaged in forward movement.  The day started of by attending the presentation of the founder of POD AACC publisher Servant One press.  This stirred up thoughts laid in childhood that some day may write a book.  Publish on Demand is a risky venture but if God is leading, there is need to follow through and engage in walking in God’s direction.

Honestly, the morning resulted in some distractions as my mind kept going to what is ahead and sorting out steps to take.  Yet, God made clear the principle of needing to walk forward in the path he sets before me.  There are steps to take to move ahead with what God has set before me, and lingering can lead to stagnation. The question is really, am I ready to do what God wants. I have had movements of lingering. Starting the blog is one such area. Yet, to move forward, there can be no lingering, as doing so does not put me where God would have me to be.

The other thought that was clear was that it is easy to be distracted. This was first evident in my being distracted during part of the time making it difficult to attend. It was reinforced by the luncheon speaker, Dr. Archibald Hart, who talked of the dangers and distractions of the day and age we are living in.  A point that struck home is that “multitasking results in 30% effectiveness.”  My brain often has many thoughts and ideas going at once. On the forum it and even this blog it has lead to varied starts ands stops of varied subject without carrying the discussion to the full conclusion.  Perhaps thoughts have reached a resolved state in my own mind, but the distractedness of the multi-threaded conversation can well result in reduced efficacy and clarity of communication.

Moving from the focus on me, there was also the reminder of the need to continually be engaging others in moving forward, becoming unstuck, being challenged.  In facilitating growth and balance there is a level of balancing listening and joining with challenging the forward growth.  This also involves adjusting and adapting to their timing as well. 

Finally, there is no true forward movement and growth without God. He is and has to be the core of all I do in helping others and moving forward in directions God leads.  That  of my self will falter and burn.  What is of him will become more clear.  Discernment is needed even in my own life to sort out which is which.

Ultimately, today was an unsettled feeling.  At the end of the conference, I stood there, watching listening, observing.  Knowing that the steps when I leave there needs to me more concerted engaging in forward movement.  God’s best for now and for those He brings my way, and to enable others to be brought my way or be touched by what God stirs within, it involves taking those steps.  So leaving was hard.  It is good to go home, but it is a hard thing. God made clear that he does not want me to sit comfortable. 

So, these are my thoughts about where God has me at the moment? Where are you?  Are you settled? Are you where God wants you to be?  Are there steps you need to take to move forward in your own life to follow the path God has before you? Are you standing still waiting for God to push you?  Now this, the journey and the steps are that of taking steps on the path with a curve you cannot see around.  The journey involves faith. God may request steps of great cost.  Perhaps it is change?  Perhaps you have already turned a corner and waiting on God.  The key is to be engaged in advancing, in moving forward.  For if we sleep, slumber and do not advance, the enemy of our souls most certainly will and will seek to kill, steal, and destroy.  So join me in being committed and intentional on engaging in forward movement.  The steps are not always easy, but God will see each of us through if we follow His commands.

Question of Week 9-9-9: Do you focus on God or something else?

This question comes from the very fact of todays date. In the man made calendar today is 9/9/9.  It is the kind of thing people can focus on and come up with all sorts of thoughts and ideas about.  It is but numbers and mankind created numbers.  Yet, it can be read to have a lot more meaning.  It is something else people can focus on outside of God and Jesus.  Other things that people can focus on include politics, family, prophecy, healing, pain, entertainment, work, and so on.  We easily can get sidetracked from that which is most important.  These other things can be good things to focus on and attend to, the problem is when it becomes the primary focus and actually supplants the pursuit of relationship with God and making disciples.  So where is your focus?

Blog Anniversary 6/10/2009: One year and still ticking.

Wow, this blog has been up and running for a year now.  It is amazing to look back at when I started writing for the blog and where things have gone since.  I think some important articles have been written. Some mistake were made as well but over all the blog is meeting the vision for the blog.  I wanted to make some comments about things happening in the world, do movie commentaries as led, shine light to ways people are deceived, and hopefully shine a light of truth on how really to be in true peace. 

This blog still has room to grow and develop. At some point the blog will migrate over to being hosted at www.peacebringer.netbut in the meantime I am still writing here.  Besides the blog, God lead me to start the forum and domain.  The forum is up and active and has further shaped the vision of looking to shine the light of truth, expose darkness, and build each other up.  I feel blessed by each person God has led to participate in the discussion and find myself challenged as well as hopefully challenge others to grow and evaluate themselves before God.

Now, I know this blog has plenty of growth to do. I realize there are some pretty consistent weaknesses.  One weakness is the inconsistency of posting.  I apologize for making those that follow the blog wonder when I next will post.  I have too often given in to my energy levels and let other things get in the way of writing.  Such a fact is part of the reason I missed making this post on the actual anniversary date. 

I also know I need to better define and organize my categories and broaden them out.  Currently the categories do not make for narrowed down selection to find particular types of posts.  So this is on my ever extensive to do list.   I also plan to reorganize and update my links and blogroll.

In terms of articles you can expect to see in the future there is a good “to do list.” : Ongoing Foundations of Strong Delusion Series, Barriers to the Gospel Series, A series on what we are taught by our culture through entertainment, a Christian approach to conspiracy,  an article or small series on examing morality perspectives, and other series or articles that are not at the top of my mind at the moment.

In the next year I also do hope to have the web portal actually have productive, useful, and interesting content.  Hopefully those of you who follow the blog consistently will continue to have patience as the blog, my writing, and the other services grow and mature.  I look forward to seeing what things God leads me to write on in the year to come. 

If there is anything you would like to see in the blog, portal, or forum please feel free to make a comment. If any content on the blog has touched you within the past year, I love to hear and read testimonies.  You can either post a comment here or drop me an email at peacebringer@peacebringer.net

Above all things I want to wish the readers blessing and may God draw you into deeper awareness of His love, truth, peace, and joy.  May God draw you into true deeper intimacy with Him and may the things the hinder, blind, bind, or get in the way become evident and released.  May God grant all the readers eyes to see, ears to hear, and an open heart to the things of God the Father, Jesus the Messiah, and the Holy Spirit.

So with that I bless you all in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, let us together see what God will do.