Hosanna Past And Future

As we contemplate Palm Sunday today,  let’s look  back at Mark’s account of Christ’s triumphal entry into Jerusalem.

Now when they drew near to Jerusalem, to Bethphage and Bethany, at the Mount of Olives, Jesus sent two of his disciples and said to them, “Go into the village in front of you, and immediately as you enter it you will find a colt tied, on which no one has ever sat. Untie it and bring it. If anyone says to you, ‘Why are you doing this?’ say, ‘The Lord has need of it and will send it back here immediately.’” And they went away and found a colt tied at a door outside in the street, and they untied it. And some of those standing there said to them, “What are you doing, untying the colt?” And they told them what Jesus had said, and they let them go. And they brought the colt to Jesus and threw their cloaks on it, and he sat on it. And many spread their cloaks on the road, and others spread leafy branches that they had cut from the fields. And those who went before and those who followed were shouting, “Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! 10 Blessed is the coming kingdom of our father David! Hosanna in the highest!” ~~Mark 11:1-10 (ESV)

Hopes soared high that day. Messiah had come at last, and surely He would end Roman oppression and usher in His kingdom. Finally, they thought, all the world would see how God favored Israel, and they rejoiced to witness this fulfillment of His promise.

A week later, feeling bitterly disillusioned, those same people demanded that Rome crucify Jesus. They didn’t understand that His kingdom would arrive in stages, allowing the Gentiles to come to saving faith.

But the completed canon of Scripture reveals that more must take place before the final consummation of His kingdom. We can rest assured that the King Who humbly entered Jerusalem riding on a  donkey colt will one day return in the clouds astride a white stallion as heavenly portals ring with loud Hosannas!

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Movie Night With American Gospel

Friday night I resisted the urge to put another Bette Davis movie in the DVD player. Instead, I forked over the $4.99 to rent American Gospel: Christ Alone from Amazon Prime (it can also be rented from YouTube). Although I felt somewhat uncomfortable with the appearances of Jackie Hill-Perry and Matt Chandler, overall the film presented the Gospel accurately and exposed various ways that we distort and counterfeit it.

Please watch this trailer. I pray it will encourage you to rent the movie.

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Hidden In His Protection

This world isn’t friendly towards anyone who takes Christ or His Word seriously. And since Obergefell, the hostility has become a great deal more open. No wonder we struggle with feelings of vulnerability!

Thankfully, we serve a Savior Who loves us passionately and tenderly. However the world may harm us emotionally, financially or even physically, He lovingly keeps our souls under His protection, assuring us of abundant spiritual blessings. He calls us to take refuge in Him as we delight in the pleasures of His glory and holiness. What a comfort to be hidden in His protection for all eternity.

I have always loved the hymn that I’m posting today because it reminds me to take shelter in the Lord Jesus Christ. Perhaps you also will find encouragement in its lyrics to trust Him as He hides your soul in the depths of His love.

 

 

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St. Patrick’s Breastplate

John and I listen to a variety of Christian podcasts and watch several Christian YouTube channels. I particularly enjoy Bruce Gore for his church history lectures. Bruce Gore isn’t a big Christian celebrity; he merely videotapes Adult Sunday School classes and classes he teaches in a Christian school. He’s informative and often amusing.

Last weekend, John and I watched Gore’s Sunday School class on St. Patrick. I’d heard and read about Patrick from other sources, so most of the information served as a refresher for me. He did add depth to the familiar narrative, most particularly in showing God’s hand in giving Patrick love and compassion for the very people who kidnapped and enslaved him.

But rather than focus solely on Patrick’s missionary work in Ireland, Gore wonderfully brought out Patrick’s love for Christ. As a matter of fact, Patrick clung to Christ as his breastplate Who shielded him.

But I was surprised when Gore said that Patrick wrote a hymn about Christ, which is sometimes referred to as The Breastplate of St. Patrick. When Gore mentioned that his church occasionally sings this hymn, I looked it up on YouTube. I love the way Patrick honored Christ in the lyrics. And what better hymn to post today?

 

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The Sinking Sand Of Self

I have never outgrown my love for Shirley Temple movies. Several years ago, John gave me the complete collection of her movies on DVD as a birthday gift. Some of my favorites include The Little Princess, Captain January and Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm.

Her character in Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm often assures people, “I’m very self-reliant!” In the story’s context, her self-reliance always rescues her from horrible dilemmas, therefore becoming a desirable quality.  In fact, when my sister and I were kids, our mother used this movie to encourage us toward self-reliance.

But in the context of salvation and spiritual life, nothing could more dangerous than depending on oneself. We may think our good works and religious devotion commend us to God, but those things simply can’t support us. Before His judgment throne, only the shed blood of Jesus Christ and the righteousness that He imputes to us can justify any of us.

Any ground other than Christ will prove itself to be nothing more than sinking sand. Little Rebecca, precisely because of her charming self-reliance, must never serve as a spiritual role model. Christ alone is our solid Rock. Let’s make sure to stand  on Him!

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Adoring Him

Certainly, we should spend a lot of time adoring the Lord for graciously saving us. We lived as God’s enemies, rebelling against His standards and rebelling even more against His authority over us. Yet He loved us, through no merit of our own, and paid the complete price for our sin by shedding His blood on the cross.

Many beloved hymns rightly celebrate Christ’s redemptive work on our behalf, and I delight in featuring such hymns most Sundays. But once in a while, it’s good to shift our attention to His holiness and majestic nature — to set aside all He’s done for us in favor of worshiping Him for His own sake.

Today’s short hymn adores the Lord for His holiness and majesty. Maybe we need this sweet reminder.

 

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Needing The Lord Isn’t Shameful

They intended to shame me by reciting the tired old line that I used Jesus as a crutch. Looking back 48 years later, I wish I’d pointed out the rather ironic (and actually humorous) detail that I physically depend on a wheelchair. I mean, a mere crutch doesn’t demand nearly as much reliance as a wheelchair!

Furthermore, I feel no shame for needing a wheelchair, nor should I. Instead, I feel gratitude that I live in a time and place that allows me to have a power wheelchair. My wheelchair helps me get around the apartment, travel between Adult Sunday School and church services, and roam around downtown Boston. Crutches and wheelchairs provide marvelous freedom to people who would otherwise be bedridden.

My high school friends didn’t understand that I need Jesus even more than I need my wheelchair. Sin  cripples every aspect of my life, preventing me from honoring the Lord as fully as He deserves. So I gladly depend on Him, ashamed of my sin but eternally grateful that He stands close to hold me up.

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