“Nothing accursed will be found there any more. But the throne of God and of the Lamb will be in it, and his servants will worship him; they will see his face, and his name will be on their foreheads.”
As we walk this holy week, may the steps we take and the words we speak reflect that of Jesus the Christ who died for our salvation. We began our Lenten journey with an ashen cross being placed on our foreheads. The closer we walk to Good Friday, may your hearts realize the true, sacrificial gift that was given to you so long ago, placing the name of Jesus upon you. Pause in humility. Pause in gratitude. Pause in love.
“Many people spread their cloaks on the road, while others spread branches they had cut in the fields. Those who went ahead and those who followed shouted,
‘Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!’
‘Blessed is the coming kingdom of our father David!’
‘Hosanna in the highest heaven!’”
In a few short days we will celebrate by waving palm branches in the air and shouting hosannas on Palm Sunday! Our tribute to honor Jesus as king. But, just like the people of Jesus day, we too get turned around. We often forget what life and faith is all about. We forget why we do what we do and what the anticipated result looks like. This holy day begins a Holy Week for Christians around the world. A day where we recall the shouts of praise quickly turned into shouts of “crucify him!” But we too do the same thing, don’t we? At one moment we offer our thanks and praise to God, usually when life is going the way we wish. It is in times like these that it is easy to shout our praises and offer our thanks. But, when we don’t get our way, or we can’t see the end in sight, we shout to God “why” and even ask that God go away! We argue with God, believing we know best and quickly find ourselves in the middle of a struggle. The struggle between the world and God. The struggle between right and wrong and good and evil. It is our own shout of “crucify!”
Take time to pause today. Ponder the times you’ve pushed God to the side. Quickly turning from shouting hosanna to crucify. Be intentional with your words. Allow yourself time for silence. Time to reflect upon the contrast between these two words and how they impact your relationship with God and those around you. May your “hosannas” ring louder than your shouts of “crucify!”
“So it is with you. Since you are eager for gifts of the Spirit,
try to excel in those that build up the church.”
I Corinthians 14:12
It seems that we are usually eager for God’s goodness to fill our lives. We want and often expect others to use patience, gentleness, mercy and self-control when dealing with us. We desire greater faith, would love to witness miracles in our daily life all the while wanting God’s greatness proclaimed.
The difficulty is we tend to look at such gifts from a one-sided view. We expect others to treat us kindly, but when it’s our turn to act we often forget that we too can share the same gifts. In addition, we tend to wish to experience or witness miracles or God’s Word proclaimed, but do not want any of the responsibility of making miracles or sharing the Good News.
God asks us to strive for excellence! To be eager to fill our world with spiritual goodness so that we build up the church, rather than tear it down.
Continue to seek the gifts of the Spirit and find creative ways to use them for God’s glory. This is how we build up the church and God’s world.
“Let us therefore make every effort to do what leads to peace
and to mutual edification.”
Take a moment and pause to think about a frustrating or difficult situation you encountered yesterday. How did you handle it? Was the situation so intense that you ended up walking away without any resolution or common ground? Did things escalate so much that neither party heard or even tried to understand the other? As you awoke today did you feel more chaos than peace?
Too often we allow the difficult events of life to overtake the peace that God provides and the ability we have to seek and bring peace to everyday situations. Instead of pausing, praying, intentionally listening, allowing ourselves to be educated, finding goodness even in difficulty…we tend to seek our own needs, our own ways and what we desire.
God has called us to higher ground! To take time for others. To truly listen, without planning our next remark. Sometimes this means sitting in silence as the words form in our mind. Sometimes it means not even responding as we process what we’ve heard. Taking time to offer helpful information without judgment for the sole purpose of edification.
Each of these takes great effort. Any worthwhile relationship takes great effort. Don’t miss opportunities today to bring peace to your relationships, even in times of difficulty and misunderstanding. Make an effort to be who God created you to be; one who shines for God’s peace!