Praising God this Palm Sunday

On the next day the large crowd who had come to the feast, when they heard that Jesus was coming to Jerusalem, took the branches of the palm trees and went out to meet Him, and began to shout, ‘Hosanna! Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord, even the King of Israel.’” “For this reason also the people went and met Him, because they heard that He had performed this sign.” (John 12:12-13, 18)

They took the palm branches to meet Jesus. They went to praise and adore Him. Why? The Bible tells us it was because of the mighty deeds He had done. The people of Israel had seen all the things He did, all the miracles He performed. They spent time with Him. Many came to see what else He would do. I imagine that many came thinking He was going to overthrow Rome and be their ruler. Verses 14-15 read, “Jesus, finding a young donkey, sat on it; as it is written ‘Fear not daughter of Zion; Behold, your King is coming, seated on a donkey’s colt.” Whatever their reasoning for this display, they sang praises to the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. He is and was Messiah.

Sometimes we hear these stories and think, “Well, I know that. What can you tell me that is new?” Let me challenge you to view this Palm Sunday with a new perspective. The story holds true and it never changes. It is God’s word. However, maybe we can change our heart as we celebrate the beginning of Holy Week.

Praise to the King. The people sang “Hosanna! Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord.” “Hosanna is used to express adoration, praise, or joy (especially in biblical, Judaic, and Christian use).” It is defined as “an expression of adoration, praise or joy” [1]( Internet Dictionary)Jesus is the King of Kings. There is none other like Him. He is loving, just, caring, omnipotent, omnipresent, omniscient, faithful, and holy, just to name a few. Spend some time in worship praising the Lord for Who He is.

Adoration. While praise is defined in the internet dictionary as “the expression of approval or admiration for someone or something,”[2] adoration is defined as “deep love and respect and worship. Synonyms include worship, glorify, praise, revere, reverence, exalt, laud, extol, esteem, pay homage to.”[3] Adoration goes deeper. It brings us to the very throne of God. In the Christmas story, we see the wise men (magi) coming to “adore” the baby Jesus. Do we have that kind of deep love for Jesus? When we spend time with Jesus do we want to fall to our knees in worship and adoration?

Lifting holy hands. In I Timothy 2:1-8 we read, “I want the men in every place to pray, lifting up holy hands, without wrath and dissension.” “Then Ezra blessed the Lord, the great God. And all the people answered, ‘Amen, Amen!’ while lifting up their hands; and they knelt down and worshiped the Lord with their faces toward the ground.” (Nehemiah 8:6) “Let my prayer be counted as incense before You; the lifting up of my hands as the evening offering.” (Psalm 141:2)

In each of these verses, we see that the lifting of hands is equal to an offering of praise and worship to God. Some of us feel awkward at lifting our hands in public worship. It makes me wonder why? Why do we shy away from it? Are we simply afraid of what those around us may think? We need to realize that this is an act of worship. This worship is to God. May I challenge you on this Palm Sunday, this first day of the Holy Week, when you spend time with your Creator and Savior in praise and adoration to allow yourself to raise your hands as an act of worship?

Marvel. Dictionary.com defines marvel as “to be filled with wonder, admiration, or astonishment, as at something surprising or extraordinary.”[4] Have you ever been to the Grand Canyon in Arizona? I have once. I remember the moment I laid on eyes on it. I wanted to cry and sing and praise God all at the same time. In fact I started singing How Great Thou Art and How Great is Our God. My heart was so full that all I could do was pour out all I was feeling in worship of the One who created that magnificent sight. I marveled at it.

Do we marvel at God and all He has done? When we see God working in our lives and the lives of those around us do we say ‘I know that was you God” or do we think, cool? We need to make sure our praise and thanksgiving goes where it belongs. “…Great and marvelous are Your works, O Lord God, the Almighty; Righteous and true are Your ways, King of the nations!” (Revelation 15:3)

As we celebrate Palm Sunday may each of us come in Praise and Adoration, lifting holy hands as we Marvel at all God has done and continues do in our lives. Hallelujah to the King of Kings and Lord of Lords!

 

Scripture quotations taken from the New American Standard Bible® (NASB), Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission. www.lockman.org

1 Hosanna
2 Praise
3 Adoration
Marvel

Morning Walk

I’ve been awake since 3:00 am. While that is not unusual for me, it is frustrating and has the potential to put me in a bad mood for the rest of the day. This morning I finally gave up trying to go back to sleep and rolled out of bed at 4:50 am. I quietly slipped on some clothes and left the house.

There is nothing quite like a walk in the early morning hours before anyone else is out and about. It is so peaceful. As I watched the fog grow out of the creek behind out house and listened as the birds woke and greeted one another, I praised God for his blessings. My prayers were disjointed and sporadic as I walked this morning, the fog in my mind mirroring the fog rising above the trees. However, I just can’t help but talk with God as I walk.

I came home and pulled out my Bible, looking for verses about getting up early to pray, but the one that jumped out to me wasn’t exactly about rising early or prayer. Instead I found: “From the rising of the sun to the place where it sets, the name of the LORD is to be praised.” (Psalm 113:3) I may have praised God in the early morning, but His word reminds me to praise him from the moment I rise in the morning to the moment I fall asleep at night and wherever I am during that time.

Although I am still tired and frustrated from lack of sleep, I will resist the potential bad mood by praising the God who greeted me with a beautiful morning and try to remember to praise Him for the rest of the day, wherever I am.

“From the rising of the sun to the place where it sets, the name of the LORD is to be praised.” (Psalm 113:3)

 

#morningwalk
#praisegod
#sleeplessnight

Scripture quotations are taken from the Holy Bible, New International version®. Copyright© 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide. www.zondervan.com The “NIV” and “New International Version” are trademarks registered in the United States Patent and Trademark Office by Biblica, Inc.™

This Time
I Will Praise the LORD

This time of year, our thoughts turn toward what the year may hold. We make plans and think about the previous years with all their disappointments and regrets.

Leah (Genesis 29:31-35) was doing this year after year. She thought children were the answer to not being loved. Having children was very important in biblical times, especially sons for they would carry on the family name. Leah believed that if she had sons her husband would be pleased, see her worth, and love her. The Lord gave her what she thought she wanted. Leah had three sons. Sadly, Isaac still didn’t love her.

Finally, Leah looked elsewhere and found love where it had always been waiting for her–in God’s arms. So when she had a fourth son, she praised God with that son’s very name, Judah which means praise. Pleasing her husband to make him love her was no longer the thing that defined Leah. Rather she decided to please God. After all, he had always loved her.

Have you ever done this? So caught up in what you think will make you happy, you miss how God can make you happy right where you are, nothing else needed.

Sometimes God gives us what we think we need to show us what we really need.

God is there for you whatever you feel you are missing in your life. God can satisfy it.

Is there anything in your life that you keep looking to for happiness other than to God?

Get Up. Take Your Mat.
Go Home.

When Jesus enters your story, you can’t keep quiet. Something within refuses to be still. Telling your story is a necessary part of your journey.

There once was a paralytic who received healing and forgiveness at the hands of Jesus, and he just couldn’t keep the good news to himself. Read his story in Luke 5:17-26.

The Paralytic’s Story

The crowd listening to Jesus and hoping for healing that day was so thick that a paralyzed man’s friends had to make a hole in the roof and lower their friend through it just so he could reach Jesus. Swaying on his mat as it was lowered to the ground, the paralyzed man was most certainly hoping for healing. He wanted to walk again. As his mat had come to rest directly in front of Jesus, his hopes must have been high.

Instead of healing the man, Jesus told him his sins were forgiven. As soon as those words were out of Jesus’ mouth, the Pharisees and teachers of the Law began to grumble among themselves, accusing Jesus of blasphemy–of claiming to be God–because only God can forgive sins. Jesus knew their thoughts and addressed their whispered accusations by saying (in essence), “I want you to know that I have the authority to forgive sins, so I’ll heal this man.”

So Jesus told the man lying there waiting for physical healing to get up, take his mat, and return home. Immediately, the man did as he was told. And he praised God on his way! As he headed home he told the people he met what Jesus had done for him–how Jesus had healed him AND forgiven his sins.

Reaction to the Story

This man’s story was witnessed by a crowd so large that his friends had been unable to carry him through the doors to see Jesus. The witnesses to this miracle AND the people this man told his story to were amazed by what Jesus had done. “Everyone was amazed and gave praise to God. They were filled with awe…” (Luke 5:26)

Telling Our Story

Our stories of what God has done for us and of how He has forgiven us have the potential to amaze people.

Our stories of what God has done for us and of how He has forgiven us have the potential to amaze people. Our stories can result in awe and praise directed to God. How?

Get Up – When the man got up, he was accepting the healing and forgiveness Jesus offered. Have you?

Take Your Mat – The mat he carried was the story of where he was before he met Jesus. Like this formerly paralyzed man, you need to take up your mat–the story of where you were without Jesus.

Go Home – Home represents the place you reside–your daily routine and the people who know you. Take your story with you every day and be prepared to share it.

Praise God – Share the story of where you were without Jesus and what He did for you as you walk through your daily routine. Give God the credit and honor He deserves.

Unless you take up your story and give God credit for what He did for you and how He forgave you, the people you meet will never have the opportunity to be amazed by your story and give praise to God. Give people the opportunity to be filled with awe. Share your story!

(As we explore how to Tell Your Story, each contributor will share a part of their God story with us. Here is Trisha’s Story.)

Think about it:

  • Get up! Have you accepted what Jesus did for you?
  • What is your mat (the place you were without Jesus)?
  • Where should you take your story?
  • How can you praise God as you carry your story along life’s way?

 

First post in series: Tell Your Story
Previous post in series: Storytelling Rules
Next post in series: Who Touched Me?

 

 

Scripture quotations are taken from the Holy Bible, New International version®. Copyright© 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.  www.zondervan.com The “NIV” and “New International Version” are trademarks registered in the United States Patent and Trademark Office by Biblica, Inc.™]