Posted by: Kimberly | Mon Apr 15, 2019

Hey Jesus!

With Palm Sunday this week, let’s talk about Jesus’ triumphant entry into Jerusalem. Remember, this happened just before Passover. Jesus had dinner with Mary and Martha. Lazarus was able to eat with them, because Jesus had raised him from the dead. As dinner was being prepared, Mary poured a fragrance from the Alabaster jar and anointed Jesus feet, wiping them with her hair. Judas took objection to this lavish gift and act of worship. Judas Iscariot, was the one who would soon betray Jesus and was the disciples’ treasurer and embezzler. We see where his heart was. The very next day was when Jesus was to enter Jerusalem. Many people had heard of the story of Lazarus and about the miracles Jesus performed. With this news, they were anxious to see them both. The priests, who were jealous of the attention being taken from them, were plotting to kill Jesus and Lazarus. We see where their hearts lie too. Both the priests and Judas were looking at monetary losses. 

My daughter was teaching her children the story of Palm Sunday and asked her three and a half year old son what the people said when Jesus entered Jerusalem, riding the donkey. He said, “Hey, Jesus!” While funny and cute, and not the answer she was looking for; I think he nailed it more than all the attendees at Palm Sunday then and today. When we truly know “Jesus” and what his name means and stands for, then it is sufficient. ‘At the name of Jesus every knee shall bow!’ (Philippians 2:10) Pray in the name of Jesus, ask anything and it will come to pass… (John 14:13-14 & 16:23-24) Call on the name of Jesus and you will be healed. (Mark 16:17-18) By the name of Jesus, we enter into salvation. (Acts 4:12) 

When my 3.5 year-old grandson said, ‘ Hey Jesus,’ he said a mouthful! Isn’t it just like a child to remind us what’s important? He encapsulated everything Jesus stood for by saying his name. The Hebrew meaning of the name Jesus comes from Yeshua, the first part meaning “God.” YWVH used over 6,800 times in the Hebrew Bible and translated, Lord. The second part of the name Yeshua means deliverer, to save, or rescue. Putting this together, Jesus means God delivers, saves, and rescues, through the Messiah, who bears God’s name. 

So what did they say to Jesus riding into Jerusalem? “Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.” Hosanna was an appeal for deliverance, the rest is the meaning of his name. On Palm Sunday, some of those who were there shouting, were doing so because they caught the fervor of others. It’s okay to catch fervor, but it doesn’t take hold to take on another person’s fervor as it does to have your own, through a personal encounter. When you have a personal encounter with Jesus, you may be the one saying, “Hey Jesus!” and meaning it with as much zeal as “Hosanna, Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!” 

Jesus asked his disciples who they said he was. I ask myself who do I say Jesus is? Yes, I revere him, I do not take lightly his worthiness of revere, awe, wonder, or praise, but I also know that he is approachable. He is my ‘Hey Jesus!’ whenever I need him and he is My deliverer today and everyday. He doesn’t expect palm branches or alabaster jars, but I’ll gladly lay them down and pour them out for him. It’s more an attitude of what’s behind the words, than what the words are. Who do I say Jesus is? He is my all. 
Matthew 16:13-20  Let him be your ‘Hey Jesus,’ your all, and your salvation today. 

Posted by: Kimberly | Wed Mar 27, 2019

Is Projecting Constructive or Destructive?

What is projection? Projection is when we take a behavior and transfer it over to another situation. There are several applications to projection. For instance, if we have a low self image because of our weight, height, or intellect, etc., we might find someone we deem inferior to us and then put them down in an effort to make ourselves feel better. While this may sound like a negative way to boost self image, people do it every day. Gossip is a form of putting others down. How does bullying start? Because one person feels inferior to another for some reason. Perhaps they were made fun of by their peers, siblings, or sadly, their parents. Instead of being the victim, they later victimize others.

Another form of projection is to think that others should take up the same causes that you have. If you’re all for sheep eating green grass, then everyone else should be, right? If you believe that the version of Bible you read or your church is the right one, then everyone else should also, right? That’s a projection of arrogance and superiority. That line of thinking says that you are the only one who thinks correctly and promotes you as perfect. Others perceive you to be haughty and overbearing and you don’t understand why they don’t see things your way. Sound familiar? I’ve been there before. On some issues, I still am, but I try to be open-minded, while still staying grounded in the Word, led by the Holy Spirit. That is the crux of life as a Christian. It is who Jesus Christ left us, the Holy Spirit to guide us into all truth. But are we truly listening? Are we being guided? Did we hear the Holy Spirit tell us to argue with others? Let’s see, the Holy Spirit’s character is to comfort, to bring forth truth, to establish peace. No, I don’t think the Holy Spirit ever told me to argue with a friend or family member.

Then one of the ways projection hurts Christianity the most is by those who project their own mindset, their own thoughts, or the actions of others towards them on God and on Christians in general. Because, somewhere, someone professing to be a Christian hurt them and they decided ‘how could Christianity be real? How could God be real? How could God love me if I have these thoughts? How can I trust another ‘Christian?’ How can I trust another church?’ Well, here’s my answer, 1. God did NOT cause any bad things to happen to you! He didn’t give you or anyone else bad thoughts! God is LOVE! He Loved you so much, and everyone else in this world, that he gave up his own son to die and brought him back to life. You may say, ‘Well he knew he was going to bring him back.’ Oh? Why? Because he’s God? So then you Do Believe in God? Because everything within us cries out for our creator and if we nearly die, we cry out to him. Don’t let a near death experience test you to find out. Get off the fence and follow his Son, who was a perfect example of a human being and perfect love. 2. Mankind will fail. There’s not a single person out there who’s not going to disappoint you at some point. There are few, very few Christians who lead a life sold out completely to follow Christ and allow the Holy Spirit to lead them. Everyone has a weakness they won’t relinquish control over. 3. As far as thinking others think like you, there are some people who are not out to hurt you and who have very pure motives. If you’re tuned into the Holy Spirit, you’ll know which ones are pure and who to avoid.

There’s another area of projection I’ve seen Christians do in their walk, that thwarts their spiritual growth. Some Christians may think another believer has more spiritual knowledge than they do, so they belittle the one they deem beyond them. Or perhaps they’re afraid to move forward with God, to take the next step, so they criticize everything another believer says or believes, putting down their church or doctrine.

Jesus wasn’t looking for a set of rules, he came to free us from the law! He wasn’t here to participate in sacraments, traditions or even a church, nor a building, he was looking for true worshippers, whose lives were lived by example, those who would follow him. He wanted those who were led by the Holy Spirit, doing the Father’s will. His “church” was/is not bound by walls, or certain days. If we project anything as Christians, May it be the love of Jesus Christ, faithfulness, gentleness, self- control, grace, compassion, patience, peace, comfort, and joy.

John 4:23-24 But the time is coming-indeed it’s here now-when true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and in truth. The Father is looking for those who will worship him that way. For God is Spirit, so those who worship him must worship in spirit and in truth.”

Hebrews 8:1-2 Here is the main point: We have a High Priest who sat down in the place of honor beside the throne of the majestic God in heaven. There he ministers in the heavenly Tabernacle, the true place of worship that was built by the Lord and not by human hands.

Posted by: Kimberly | Sat Feb 16, 2019

Relationship or Religion

As Christians we are supposed to spread the gospel, not point out the sins and errors of others. What is the gospel? It is the good news, the hope for a better life, the positive things that make others want to become Christians. No, we aren’t selling anything, but Yes, we are promoting a better way of life. We aren’t selling religion or promulgating a false utopia. We are sharing what it means to live in perfect love and perfect peace, a way of life that transcends a life without Christ and the Holy Spirit. Life in Christ is a better life, when submitted to the Holy Spirit, it brings about peace and love. We cannot attain it through religion or any achievement that we do. It is a free gift given to us by God. Religion should not be our identity. Our identity should come from Christ. When someone asks if we are Christians, our answer should not be we are this or that brand of religion, because that is not Christ-centered. If that comes first, we’re putting more emphasis on the religion than on our walk with Jesus, because religion doesn’t have the ability to transform, but the Holy Spirit does.

I’m not against religion, don’t get me wrong, but I am against putting religion before God. I’m also against bashing religions and those who constantly point to religions that aren’t of their choosing. I think we can learn from many different religions, but we must have a personal relationship with Jesus. When we do, then we are true Christians, not just a CINO (Christian in name only). True Christianity is led by the Spirit. When we study the scriptures, the Spirit reveals to us the deeper meanings of the word. 1 Corinthians 2:10-12 & 1 John 2:6 To me it is better to live as a true Christian, than as those who are masquerading as ones. We are to live a life that points others to Jesus Christ, but when we point our fingers to the faux Christians and heretics, we are only bringing attention to the problems in religion, not Christianity. For me to serve Christ is to be able to impact the souls of the world, for me to follow religion and the traditions of man, is to lose my own soul, because Christ is not first. To follow any religion, no matter its creed, its leader, its origin, I’m not following the only example that is pure, which is Jesus Christ. Sure, Jesus scolded the Pharisees for profiting from following religion and the traditions of man in Matthew 15:1-9, but he did it when he was face to face with them, not in a message to the masses.

 

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I would imagine if Jesus constantly spoke on the problems in the churches of his day, he never would have had the time to preach the gospel. He couldn’t have reminded them of the prophecies that showed he was the Messiah, even though many rejected that. Those reminders did give them a sign after he was resurrected. He wouldn’t have had time to heal the sick. He never would have been able to be the loving example we have to follow today. There are plenty of wrong things happening to point out in religion and plenty of sins done by parishioners in Jesus’ time and today. If all he was doing was pointing to this heretic or that sinner, how would we know to be saved? How would we learn to love each other? How would we have an example to follow?

I choose to spend my life sharing the example of Christ, by being the best example I can be of him and sharing his love. Sure, I fall short, because I’m not him. I’m not neglecting that there is sin and evil in this world, but I’m loving those who are in the churches of heretical teachings, those who are sinners, because that is what Jesus did. The Holy Spirit is there to convict and to bring others to repentance. Jesus gave us a new commandment, to Love others as he loved us, in John 13:34-35. Loving others, to me is the crux of the gospel. I believe, if we don’t, we’ve missed it. Jesus said, that the world will know we are his followers by our ability to love those who are enemies and those who persecute us in Matthew 5:43-45. When we point out the fallacies of other religions, we point at their sin — Jesus didn’t point at their sin, except in instances of one on one, but he did say “Repent & Follow me.” ‘Put the world behind and follow me.’

If I choose to attack what others are doing wrong or what’s wrong in their religion, then I am alienating them by trashing what they identify with, and I look like another pseudo Christian. But if I love them, I win them over and then I may be able to show them individually how to repent if the Spirit gives me the opportunity. There is an abundance of humility that comes with living a spirit filled life, it is the meekness spoken of in the Bible, meekness is not weakness, it is restrained strength and humility. It is being able to know when to speak and only speaking in those circumstances. It is a controlled strength, having knowledge and using it wisely. The mass trashing of a group that I’ll never meet personally is not only not meekness, it has no effect, because spreading hate towards others and their religion doesn’t win anyone over. It only paints me as an angry person, whether I am or not, I come across as having righteous indignation. But seeing the wrong in another religion and keeping my mouth shut until a person in that group asks my opinion or personally comes to me with a question, is using restraint and meekness. Then I am acting as an example of Christ. I choose to follow Christ in love, instead of alienating all my religious friends by pointing out that their leaders or teachers are in error. Instead, we should just love them and share what Christ means to us. If our lives show that we have peace, instead of constant fraction against one entity or another; then we have something they might desire in their lives also. You see, I feel when we attack a group that we don’t have direct contact to effect, we alienate anyone affiliated with that group. And when we alienate, we lose our audience, but when we love, we have mass appeal. The beatitudes come into play here. Matthew 5:1-11

The example we have to follow is that when Jesus was speaking to the masses, he preached a general message of “Repent and follow me. Love everyone.” When Jesus had a personal audience, he often had a personal reprimand, but he did so in love. He didn’t call out to the masses what the Sadducees and Pharisees were doing wrong, nor did he call out to the masses what the woman at the well was doing, but in person, he pointed out to each of them their individual sins and gave them the opportunity to repent.

Will we follow his example? Will we learn to be wise or will we have righteous indignation? Whose example are we following? Is it our own, a leader who is every bit as fallible as we are, or are we following the only perfect example in Jesus? Are we trashing religion and thereby making Christianity irrelevant or are we living a Christ centered life and making Christianity more appealing?

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