AUDIO ‘I Think We’re in the Greatest Revival in History’

ROBERT KRAYCHIK 6 Apr 2020

“I think we’re in the greatest revival in history,” said MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell, describing adversity as an opportunity for spiritual development. He offered his remarks in an interview on SiriusXM’s Breitbart News Sunday with host Joel Pollak.

Pollak recalled Lindell’s call for Americans to spend time with families during the coronavirus outbreak.  “I encourage you to use this time at home to get back in the word, read our Bibles, and spend time with our families,” said Lindell last week at the White House among other company CEOs attending a meeting regarding production of medical supplies.

Lindell said, “I wanted to write a message of hope to the people, not just what our companies are doing to help out. … I give the glory to God.” He explained he was only informed his remarks would be publicly broadcast moments before he delivered them.

Lindell added, “I was attacked by every host out there on the left, and and I don’t know why. I don’t understand it. I didn’t say you have to. I said this is a good time to spend time in the Word, with our bibles, get our country back to prayer, and to spend time with their families. … It just tells me that I’m absolutely giving the right message out there, because millions of people have backed me on that.”

Left-wing hostility to his White House remarks “got the message out even more,” estimated Lindell, “because I think we’re in the greatest revival in history, because people are looking for hope.”

LISTEN:

Lindell recalled instances where he was directed to hide his cross during infomercial presentations by various producers.

“I was attacked all the time for that, and it went on for years,” Lindell stated. “It’s almost like a prejudice against Christians, like if it was anybody else in another religion, it just seems like they don’t get attacked like Christianity does, but anyway, that’s just my opinion. I see it happening all the time. I personally have experienced it, and more than once.”

“I don’t think it was people on the left,” Lindell added. “It was the the narrative of the left-wing media, and I could name them all.”

Hardship can open doors for spiritual growth, determined Lindell, reflecting on his own experience with drug addiction.

Lindell reflected, “I view addiction as an opportunity for the greatest revival, because who’s looking for hope? Addicts and their families, and then along came this pandemic. Who’s looking for hope? There’s people at home, and they’re in fear.”

“With God, all things are possible,” remarked Lindell, describing the coronavirus outbreak as an opportunity to restore American medical and pharmaceutical manufacturing and lessen dependency on China.

Lindell concluded, “We’re in a place we’ve never been before People are scared and they need hope, and I’m telling you there’s no better place to find hope than in the Bible and with your families. Spend that time and spend that time in prayer.”

Breitbart News Sunday broadcasts live on SiriusXM Patriot 125 from 7:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. Eastern.

Follow Robert Kraychik on Twitter.

https://www.breitbart.com/radio/2020/04/06/mike-lindell-i-think-were-in-the-greatest-revival-in-history/

God Is Our Healer

March 30, 2020 by Jack Flacco

There is no illness so powerful that the Lord cannot heal. He commands the heavens, He rules the earth; nothing can surpass God’s willingness to bring healing to the one who surrenders the heart to Him.

“In those days Hezekiah became sick and was at the point of death. And Isaiah the prophet the son of Amoz came to him, and said to him, ‘Thus says the Lord: Set your house in order, for you shall die, you shall not recover.’ Then Hezekiah turned his face to the wall and prayed to the Lord, and said, ‘Please, O Lord, remember how I have walked before you in faithfulness and with a whole heart, and have done what is good in your sight.’ And Hezekiah wept bitterly. Then the word of the Lord came to Isaiah: ‘Go and say to Hezekiah, Thus says the Lord, the God of David your father: I have heard your prayer; I have seen your tears. Behold, I will add fifteen years to your life.’” (Isaiah 38:1-5)

God is faithful in all things. His mercy falls on all who believe. He will not ask us to bear suffering beyond our means. He will not allow misery to fill our hearts. His grace through the shed blood of Christ will save us.

We are His church, and we are those who know joy, for the knowledge of Jesus’ sacrifice for our sins fills our hearts with joy. How wonderful God is to have saved us and heal us of our infirmities.

God is our healer.

God Is Our Healer

Church Services By Free Conference

Hello Everyone,

We’re sending this email because we’ve seen that churches around the country have started cancelling services and we’re here to help. If your church has cancelled services, or if you know of churches who need access to audio and video conferencing to host their services, please rest assured that there are still ways for you to meet and congregate.

Thousands of churches around the US already use FreeConferenceCall.com. They do so because we can host up to 1,000 participants per call and we don’t put a cap on how long you can meet. (If you need to host services for more than 1,000 participants we can help with that too. Please contact us at 844.844.1322 and we’ll make sure you have everything you need.)

Importantly FreeConferenceCall.com is and has always been free. We’re supported by our incredible users. Some people choose to pay us for our services so that we’re able to offer our communication tools totally free to religious organizations, charities, and volunteers around the world. It is our mission to ensure people around the world are able to stay connected. Never has that mission felt more important than now. If we can help, please don’t hesitate to ask us.

If you’d like to try our tools to see if they can be helpful to you and your congregation you can create an account here https://www.freeconferencecall.com/prayer-line

If you know of another church who needs these services please pass our information along. We are here to help.

Thank you,

Dave
CEO and Founder of FreeConferenceCall.com
4300 E. Pacific Coast Hwy. Long Beach, CA 90804

FreeConferenceCall.com


We have successfully used this company over the years for group calls and recommend the company.

 

Coronavirus and Christ

‘BEHOLD THE KINDNESS AND SEVERITY OF GOD’

It matters little what we think about the coronavirus. But it matters forever what God thinks. He is not silent about what he thinks. Scarcely a page in the Bible is irrelevant for this crisis.

Our voice is grass. His is granite. “The grass withers, and the flower falls, but the word of the Lord remains forever” (1 Peter 1:24–25). His words in Scripture “cannot be broken” (John 10:35). What he says is “true, and righteous altogether” (Psalm 19:9). Listening to God, and believing him, is like building your house on a rock, not sand (Matthew 7:24).

His voice is not only true; it is perfectly wise for every situation. “He is wonderful in counsel and excellent in wisdom” (Isaiah 28:29). “His understanding is beyond measure” (Psalm 147:5). When he gives counsel about the coronavirus, it is firm, unshakable, lasting. “The counsel of the Lord stands forever” (Psalm 33:11). “His way is perfect” (2 Samuel 22:31).

God’s words in these times are not only true and wise; they are also precious and sweet. “More to be desired are they than gold . . . sweeter also than honey and drippings of the honeycomb” (Psalm 19:10). They are the sweetness of life: “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life” (John 6:68). And with indestructible life come words of unshakable peace and joy: “Your words became to me a joy and the delight of my heart” (Jeremiah 15:16).

And the sweetness is not lost in this moment of bitter providence — not if we have learned the secret of “sorrowful, yet always rejoicing” (2 Corinthians 6:10). The secret is this: Knowing that the same sovereignty that could stop the coronavirus and doesn’t, is the very sovereignty that sustains the soul in it. Indeed, more than sustains — sweetens with hope that, for those who trust him, his purposes are kind, even in death.

“Behold the kindness and severity of God” (Romans 11:22). His providence is sweet and bitter. Naomi did not sin when she said, “The Almighty has dealt very bitterly with me” (Ruth 1:20). That was true. And it was spoken at the very moment when all her fortunes were about to change.

This is not a season for sentimental views of God. It is a bitter season. And God sent it. We know this, because he “works all things according to the counsel of his will” (Ephesians 1:11). All things. Not a sparrow falls to the ground apart from our heavenly Father (Matthew 10:29).

Nature is not sovereign. Satan is not sovereign. Sinful man is not sovereign. God rules them all (Luke 8:25Job 1:122:6Acts 4:27–28). So, we say with Job, “I know that you can do all things, and that no purpose of yours can be thwarted” (Job 42:2).

Therefore, God not only comprehends the coronavirus; he has purposes for it. God does nothing, and permits nothing, without wise purposes. Nothing just happens. Everything flows from the eternal counsels of God (Ephesians 1:11). All of it is wisdom. All of it is purposeful. For those who trust Jesus Christ, all of it is kindness. For others, it is a merciful wake-up call: “Let the one who is thirsty come; let the one who desires take the water of life without price” (Revelation 22:17).

Our hope and prayer in the resources below, which we plan to supplement weekly, is that we might be of some help in anchoring your soul in the word of God. That you might see the greatness and beauty and worth of Jesus Christ (Philippians 3:8). That you might treasure him above health and life (Psalm 63:3). And that God would be glorified in you, as you are satisfied in him.

This I call to mind, and therefore I have hope:
        The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases;
his mercies never come to an end; 
        they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. 
“The Lord is my portion,” says my soul, 
        “therefore I will hope in him.” (Lamentations 3:21–24) 

—John Piper

https://www.desiringgod.org/coronavirus

Tips for Parents Who Are Suddenly Homeschooling

March 16, 2020 Jenny

I saw a great meme last week that said, “And just like that, we were all homeschoolers.” I laughed, but it didn’t even occur to me that it would apply to our family before the week was out. We are in unprecedented times for sure. I sought the advice of some of my favorite moms who have been doing this homeschool thing for awhile now, several of whom are also working moms.

Everyone’s situation will be different, but hopefully this advice will help you in these crazy days.

  • Pray together. Invite Jesus in to your home and your day.
  • Decide if you’re a pajamas homeschool mom. Some moms feel that everyone is much more productive if they get up and get dressed to start their day. Some families may feel differently. Figure out what works for your people.
  • Create a schedule. Find a schedule that works for your family and stick with it. How you start the day can set the tone for the day. Consider starting with some Bible time together.
  • Allow the kids breaks. Five to ten minutes between every subject for two goes a long way for you both. Don’t let them on electronics during this time! Make them be active. Run, climb a tree etc. Set a timer to make sure the break doesn’t go too long. That break is great to keep them from not getting fatigued,  but also a good chance to sneak in a returned phone call or email. Again, the timer keeps you both on task.
  • Have a system for knowing what needs to be done. One mom says, “I keep all three sets of lesson plans out on my counter and cross off each one as they’re done. Some kids are self sufficient and I allow them to work on their own. Others are not and I have to work side by side. We have a place on the counter they put their completed assignments that need grading if I’m not working with them.”
  • Allow the kids breaks. Five to ten minutes between every subject or two goes a long way for you both. Don’t let them on electronics during this time! Make them be active. Run, climb a tree etc. Set a timer to make sure the break doesn’t go too long. That break is great to keep them from not getting fatigued, but also a good chance to sneak in a returned phone call or email. Again, the timer keeps you both on task.
  • Have a plan for electronics. This issue may be your biggest battle if you don’t have firm guidelines. You may choose to have no electronics during the school day, just like they are not allowed at school. You may choose to allow them during set breaks. Your call, but my suggestion would be to limit them as much as possible.
  • Keep chocolate on hand. Sometimes a Hersey’s Kiss does wonders when are patience is running thin. (I suppose for both kid and grown up)
  • Set aside an hour for quiet time in the afternoon. Make this a purposeful break from each other. Everyone goes to their own space. Encourage an hour of reading or other quiet activity. It’s their down time and can be your work time.
  • Brainstorm family projects that focus outward. Look for opportunities to serve neighbors, extended family, nursing home residents as quarantines and social distancing allow. Be creative.
  • The crockpot is your friend. 
  • You have to be flexible. If you start to “lose” your child or become frustrated with each other take a break, double up on a different subject and work on that one later.
  • Encourage Romans 12:10. “Take delight in honoring each other’. Out-give one another. Show grace, give extra chances, share the last cookie, etc…

For parents who are trying to work at the same time:

  • Recognize can’t do both at the exact same time and do both well. Set aside work time vs school time. Get up early or stay up late. Do as much as possible so you have a good start on answering emails, sending out necessary reports, etc… so you can focus on the kids and school once they’re up. 
  • Try to limit phone calls during school. The distraction gets kids off task and it’s so much harder to get them back at it.
  • Work on schoolwork in sections. Start with what they can do independently so you can set up, make calls, and try to plan your work day accordingly.
  • Don’t take your frustrations out on your kids. Often bad attitudes from them are a manifestation of your frustrations.

Finally, for everyone…

  • Make this an adventure. This season may last longer than we anticipate, but it won’t last forever. Choose joy over stress. Look for the good in the unanticipated time together. Relax. Do fun things. Laugh.

 

Big thank you to Jenny Daugherty, Stephanie King, and Elizabeth Heisey for your insight! I would love to hear what tips you would add! Comment below. 

Tips for Parents Who Are Suddenly Homeschooling

VIDEO Triumph and Tears

 

Nov 16, 2014 by John MacArthur

Open your Bible to John chapter 12.  We come into chapter 12 of John’s gospel and to a monumental moment in the history of our Lord.  Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John all record this event.  Matthew 21, Mark 11, Luke 19, John 12.  This is the event, which we tend to call the triumphal entry.  Sometimes it’s called Palm Sunday.  A more accurate chronology of this week in the life of our Lord would actually put it on Monday, the second day of the week of Passover.  But this is a very traditionally well-known moment in the life of our Lord when he enters the city of Jerusalem to all of the praise and hosannas of the people who are acclaiming Him as the King and the Messiah.  It’s a familiar part of Christian tradition and even Scripture revelation.  But what is really going on on that day deserves a very close look, and John helps us with that.  I’ll try to fold in some insights from Matthew, Mark, and Luke as we go as well. 

While this on the surface looks like a triumphant day of acclamation, just exactly what our Lord might have been hoping for after 3 years of ministry and 33 years of life in this world, since He was born to a virgin in Bethlehem.  It looks as if this would be finally the realization of what He had all along wanted, but as you well know, the hosannas died very fast.  In fact, our Lord did much to kill them the very day they were given. 

By Friday, the people were crying for Barabbas to be released and the one they had claimed as King to be crucified, just a few days later.  But before we get to that, let’s pick up the story on this traditional triumphant day in which our Lord comes into Jerusalem.  I’ll start reading in verse 12. 

“On the next day the large crowd who had come to the feast, when they heard that Jesus was coming to Jerusalem, took 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.’  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.’  These things His disciples did not understand at the first; but when Jesus was glorified, then they remembered that these things were written of Him, and that they had done these things to Him.  So the people, who were with Him when He called Lazarus out of the tomb and raised him from the dead, continued to testify about Him.  For this reason also, the people went and met Him because they heard that He had performed this sign.  So the Pharisees said to one another, ‘You see that you are not doing any good; look, the world has gone after Him.’  Now there were some gentiles among those who were going up to worship at the feast; these then came to Philip who was from Bethsaida of Galilee and began to ask him saying, ‘Sir, we wish to see Jesus.’  Philip came and told Andrew, Andrew and Philip came and told Jesus.”

With that, we begin the Passion Week of our Lord on Monday.  They hailed Him as King.  He comes into the city to the hosannas and the hallelujahs and the praise of the people of Israel.  “King Jesus,” they say, “has arrived to take His throne.”  Their hearts are bright with hope, anticipation that the long-awaited Messiah is indeed this one named Jesus of Nazareth, this Galilean.  He has accumulated a massively profound reputation by doing miracles for three years during His ministry; which have been talked about across the land and essentially done in every village and town and hamlet throughout Israel from north to south and side to side. 

It all culminated in this amazing raising of Lazarus from the dead.  This our Lord chose to do in the little village of Bethany. Two miles east of the eastern wall of the temple in Jerusalem very close to the city where word about this resurrection could be verified and where testimony would spread literally and infiltrate the whole of Jerusalem.  And do so at the very time when the most massive congregation had arrived there from all over the world as Jews came on the pilgrimage to Passover. 

This at the surface, at the beginning looked like the most hopeful moment in the life of our Lord, but this King came to die.  This King came to die, and still we say, “Long live the King.”  For He came to die, and then to rise again.  This is Monday.  Now, we all know what happened when He arrived.  He arrived a couple of days before.  We saw that at the beginning of chapter 12.  Jesus came six days before the Passover.  That puts Him in Bethany.  He came through the little tiny hamlet of Bethpage into Bethany, and then He spent that Sunday with his friends: Mary, Martha, and Lazarus.  There was actually a supper made for Him there in the home of a leper that He had healed by the name of Simon.  Simon must have had a home to accommodate our Lord.  Simon’s family, Mary, Martha, Lazarus, all the disciples who were traveling with Him.  So it was a great supper to celebrate the Lord who had raised Lazarus from the dead, a wonderful celebration. 

At that celebration there was a high point of love and affection that came towards Jesus from the two sisters of Lazarus.  There was Martha, who was serving.  Her service, as we pointed out last week was noble, loving service.  And then there was Mary in verse 3, who took a pound of very costly ointment kind of perfume of pure nard.  Nard was an herb that produced an amazing fragrance that could be captured in oil, and this was pure.  It came from the Himalayas.  It had to come by camel, so it was rare and it was costly.  Judas even points out that it would take a year’s income to buy a pound of this. 

In a lavish and extravagant expression of her love, she broke the alabaster jar in which it was contained and poured it all over Jesus, the other writers tell us, from head to foot.  The whole house was filled with the fragrance.  Then she loosened her hair, which was not to be done by a woman of dignity, but she did it and wiped His feet with her hair.  An amazing treatment of our Lord out of deep, profound spiritual love for Him.  No sooner does the fragrance of the perfume dominate the room in an expression of love than we see immediate hate in Judas in verse 4, who says, “‘Why wasn’t this perfume sold for that year’s wages and given to poor people?’  He said this not because he was concerned about the poor, but because he was a thief and he had the money box.” 

He was the traveling treasurer of the disciples and he used to pilfer or steal what was put in it.  So the pinnacle of love and hate was seen in that very first day at the very supper when our Lord was to be honored.  He was honored in lavish expression of love, but He was dishonored by the betrayal of Judas that very same event.  The word got out, as you remember, that Jesus had arrived.  He was the most important person at Passover.  He was the most important person in the country.  He was the person everybody wanted to see because He cast out demons, He healed, He created food.  There had never been and never will be anybody like Him.  They wanted to take every advantage of the opportunity to be a part of what He was doing in a miraculous way.

So a large crowd of the Jews in verse 9 learned that He was there, “And they came not for Jesus’ sake alone, but they came to Bethany that they might also see Lazarus, whom He raised from the dead.”  Now, I told you that there had been other resurrections, but there had not been another resurrection in which a four day period had passed from the death to the resurrection.  So that maybe somebody might have explained away the earlier resurrections, but not this one.  The fact that it happened with such proximity to the city of Jerusalem made it the topic of conversation.  All the people who might not have known about it otherwise who were pilgrims from all around the Mediterranean and North Africa would find out about it, and it drew a tremendous crowd.

But on the other hand, the leaders planned to put Lazarus to death also.  They wanted to execute Lazarus because his testimony so effective that the Jews were abandoning the temple religion and heading toward believing in Jesus.  This miracle had a massive impact at the final moment of our Lord’s public ministry.  It is His final public ministry.  In the dark, later in the week, He will restore an ear, but a very private miracle indeed in the darkness of the garden.  This is the great culminating public miracle. 

That’s Sunday.  That’s Sunday.  On that same day, people are milling around in Bethany wanting a glimpse of Lazarus and of Jesus.  Now we come to Monday, verse 12 on the next day.  “The large crowd who had come to the feast, when they heard that Jesus was coming to Jerusalem.”  Now, let me just stop there for a moment and say this is a pretty dramatic change.  It’s a very dramatic change.  There had been times before when they would have wanted to crown Jesus king, but He didn’t allow it to happen.

Back in chapter 6 after He had just created food to feed maybe 20,000 people plus in Galilee.  Verse 15, Jesus perceiving that they were intending to come and take Him by force to make Him king withdrew again to the mountain by himself alone.  They wanted to make Him a king back in John 6, up in Galilee.  He didn’t allow it to happen.  He prevented it from happening, and He disappeared. 

In chapter 8, Jesus goes into the temple treasury in Jerusalem and taught there.  It says in verse 20, “No one seized Him because His hour had not yet come.”  His hour had not yet come.  At the end of that eighth chapter, verse 59, “They picked up stones to throw at Him, but Jesus hid Himself and went out of the temple.” 

Sometimes He removed Himself.  Sometimes they were restrained.  Sometimes, no doubt, they were restrained by divine power because it wasn’t His hour, but look at verse 23 of chapter 12.  Jesus answered them saying, “The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified.”  Now it is His hour.  It is His hour because it is God’s hour. 

So understand this: Jesus creates a demonstration.  He creates all of this.  He sets this up.  He sets it up by healing Lazarus, raising him from the dead.  He comes to Bethany, the point of that miracle, days or maybe a few weeks earlier.  He lingers there.  He remains there to draw the crowd to see Him, to see Lazarus, to strengthen the testimony of that miracle power.  He deliberately sets Himself in a situation to draw the largest possible crowd of people, and a crowd comes on Sunday to Bethany and overruns that little village.  Then another crowd packs the city of Jerusalem. 

We’re talking hundreds of thousands of people in that city and this Passover season.  He wants to generate the enthusiasm of the masses.  He wants not only to be received for who He is, the King, even if it’s only a fickle reception.  But He also wants to exacerbate the fury of the leaders of Israel so that they will against their own plan wind up crucifying Him on the very day that God has ordained at the Passover.  He forces the Sanhedrin to change their plans with respect to His execution to harmonize with the purpose of God. 

The Sanhedrin did not plan to kill Him at a time when the city was overrun with pilgrims and at a time when He was the most popular in His entire ministry.  But that’s exactly when they would crucify Him because that’s when God had planned His crucifixion.  So He comes to die.  Now with that as kind of a background, let’s look more closely at the story and we’ll work our way through it.  It’s pretty simple; not a lot hidden here.  First, we could say there is the presentation the Lord makes of Himself. 

He comes to Jerusalem at the end of verse 12, and as He comes, the large crowd 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.”  There are two crowds in this scene, like two waves colliding.  There is the crowd that is in the city of Jerusalem surging toward Him as He approaches. 

Then if you drop down to verse 17, there is the crowd of people, “Who were with Him when He called Lazarus out of the tomb and raised him from the dead, and continue to testify about Him.  For this reason also the people went and met Him, because they heard that He had performed this sign.”

So you have a crowd in Jerusalem surging to meet Him when they hear He’s coming, and you have a crowd that is already gathered again on Monday, apparently in Bethany coming with Him to Jerusalem.  So there’s two crowds coming at Him really from both sides.  Just to reconstruct, Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John without belaboring the point, Jesus left Bethany on that Monday morning.  Probably had spent the night with Mary, Martha, and Lazarus in their home because He had done that before, and they were very, very dear friends.

You remember how true a friend Lazarus was, causing deep sadness to Jesus even over his death, even though He knew He would raise him from the dead.  So very likely, He stayed in their home.  He’d had the supper the day before at the home of Simon.  In the morning on that Monday, he left.  Very soon after leaving, He approaches the Mount of Olives.  If you are standing at the eastern gate of the temple mount and you look directly east, you’d look over the Kidron Valley, and that is where the blood flowed that was run from the animals that were being sacrificed. 

So it would be a time that you would see blood flowing into that stream if it was the morning sacrifice, the evening sacrifice, and especially later in the week at Passover when the lambs were all being slaughtered.  You would see the Mount of Olives, and you would see the Mount of Olives rise.  Well, if you went around to the right, you’d go to the back side and two mile walk, you’d come to Bethany.  Jesus leaves Bethany in the morning and has to come up a little of the eastern slope of the Mount of Olives and around that mount.

As He begins His journey, He asks two of His disciples to do something.  He sends them to a nearby hamlet, and He says, “Go to this place, and you will find a post, and you will find a donkey and a donkey’s colt tied to the post.  I want you to bring those animals to Me.  Bring the donkey and bring the donkey’s colt.”  Now, when the disciples reached the village, they found the right home.  They saw exactly what Jesus said they would see; these two animals tied to a post.  They start to untie the animals to take the animals with them, and the owner comes out and says, “What are you doing?  Why are you taking these animals?”  You remember their answer?  Very cryptic, brief answer.  They said, “The Lord needs them.  The Lord needs them.” 

That should indicate to you that whoever was the owner of that house and those animals knew the Lord.  They don’t have to describe who they’re talking about.  “The Lord needs them.”  Plenty of reason to think that this may well have been a follower of Jesus who was eager to provide for Him whatever He asked for.  The disciples then, once they’d secured the animals, took off their outer cloaks, which they would be wearing in the morning up in the mountains where they were.  They threw the outer garments over the colt and over the mother of the colt and brought them to Jesus.

You remember the story.  Jesus chose the colt to ride and not the mother.  Why the two?  Jesus wanted to come into the city in humility.  He didn’t even ride the older more mature animal.  He rode the weaker, younger animal.  The mature animal was brought along to lead the young colt because the colt will always follow his mother.  This is the way Jesus could demonstrably express the humility that was going to come His way during that week.  As He approached the city and the crowd began to gather around Him, people spread their garments in front of Him, like throwing down the red carpet.  They spread their clothes in the path so that the little animal could walk along their garments, and then they would pick them up.

Along the way, others cut down palm branches, which were ubiquitous in that country at that time.  They threw those palm branches down in front also to make a highway, make a pathway for their coming King.  Palm branches are always associated in the Old Testament with celebrations.  They were used in celebration.  They were used in expressions of joy.  This is the most joyous moment certainly in the life of Israel during the time of our Lord.

They had done something like this 100 years before.  A conqueror by the name of Judas Maccabeus had essentially conquered Acra, brought back Acra to Israel.  One hundred years before our Lord, they did something like this.  They threw down palm branches, and were hoping that he who had conquered Acra was their Messiah who would throw out all the occupying enemies and give them back their freedom and bring in the promises of God.  He was not. 

So here they are 100 years later, a completely different generation expressing the same kind of joy and euphoria to this one who has demonstrated power far beyond the previous one 100 years earlier.  No one had ever raised the dead.  Jesus comes to Jerusalem and the enthusiasm of the crowd mounts.  He is officially creating His own coronation.  He is the Messiah.  He is the King.  He will not deny their hosannas.  In fact, as I will read a little later, He actually says, “If these people don’t cry out hosanna, the rocks will cry out.” 

So He creates His own, I guess you could say, fateful presentation of Himself; but He is not a typical conqueror.  He’s not riding on a white horse.  John sees Him doing that the next time He comes with blood splattered garments and a two-edged sword.  But this time, He comes humbly.  He comes peacefully.  He comes to die.  His coming has critical biblical prophetic significance.  He will fulfill prophecy.  He will fulfill divine prophecy.

When He comes, notice verse 13, “They took the branches of palm trees.”  Now, remember this is a large crowd.  How large is this crowd?  Well, it’s hard to know.  Hundreds of thousands, nobody would debate.  We have one extant existing census, ancient census indicating that on one Passover in Jerusalem 256,500 lambs were slain.  That’s a quarter of a million lambs.  If you establish, say, ten people for each lamb because a lamb was a family sacrifice, that would take it up to 2.5 million people.  We can’t be certain of that. 

This is a massive crowd, crushing crowd, a crowd overrunning everything, and they have these palm branches, which are symbols of strength and beauty, strength because they flourish in a desert; beauty because they are evergreen.  They become symbols of joy.  They become symbols of enduring salvation. 

In fact, the apostle John in one of his visions seeing into heaven in chapter 7 of the book of Revelation sees a scene that is depicted using palm branches.  You will remember this.  John sees the vision in Revelation 7:9 A great multitude is what he sees as he looks into heaven.  He says it’s such a great multitude it can’t be counted from every nation and tribe and people and tongue standing before the throne and before the lamb clothed in white robes, a symbol of purity, righteousness, and palm branches were in their hands.  And they cry out with a loud voice saying, “Salvation to our God who sits on the throne and to the Lamb.”  So here John sees heaven and the joy of heaven is depicted in the vision as symbolized in palm branches.  That just simply demonstrates how they were used and familiar to John. 

They are hailing the conquering hero.  That’s what they’re doing.  Their redeemer has arrived.  Deliverance from Roman domination is imminent.  They require a mighty deliverer.  This is a mighty deliverer because He raised Lazarus from the dead.  So they say, “Hosanna.”  That word is in Psalm 118:25 It is actually the word “hosanna.”  It gets translated to “save now.”  That’s what it means, but it is the word “hosanna”.  It is a plea for deliverance.  Save now, save now, deliver us. 

They are using Psalm 118 because Psalm 118 is the conqueror’s Psalm and Psalm 118 was always read and always recited at Passover.  It is the final Psalm in the Hallel, the sequence of praise psalms.  So they are at the Passover celebrating God’s salvation, salvation to come, and they cry out, “Save now, save us!”  They are calling Jesus their savior.  Matthew adds that they also called Him “Son of David.”  The Messiah, according to 2 Samuel 7 would be David’s son, who would have an everlasting kingdom.  Then they say, “Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord,” again from Psalm 118.  I read that earlier, verse 26.  That is a Messianic expectation, and that same Psalm also, do you remember, has a statement that is referred to by our Lord later in the week in the parable that He tells in Mark 12 when He says, “The chief cornerstone rejected becomes the head of the corner.  It is a marvelous thing that God has done.” 

So you see they see Him as their king, their savior, their deliverer, their Messiah.  Their hope and their expectation is that at any moment, this power over death that He exhibited, this miracle power will be exercised against Rome.  They will be crushed and Jesus will establish His throne and fulfill all of the promises through Abraham, David, and all the prophets.  There is prophecy fulfilled here.  In verse 14, when Jesus found that young donkey, He sat on it.  It was to fulfill a prophecy of Zachariah 9:9, “Fear not, daughter of Zion; behold, your King is coming seated on a donkey’s colt.”  Hmm.  The dull statement of Zachariah is this, “Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion!  Shout, O daughter of Jerusalem!  Behold, the King comes to you; He is just and having salvation, lowly riding on a donkey upon a colt, the foal of a donkey.”

Prophesying the arrival of a Messiah.  You not only have a fateful presentation.  You have a fulfilled prophecy.  As Jesus comes exactly the way the prophets said He would come.  There’s another prophecy that has to be considered, being fulfilled at this very moment.  Turn to Daniel 9, Daniel 9.  Hurrying to explain this is a little challenging, but I’ll try.  Daniel 9:24.  I would commend you maybe listening to the messages on our website at Grace to You if you want to download them to get the full picture here.  But let me just sum it up for you. 

Daniel is praying in the first part of this chapter all the way down to verse 20.  God sends Him an answer to His prayer.  He’s praying for the deliverance of Israel from Babylon, okay.  He knows that God has promised 70 years of captivity.  He says that in Daniel 9:2, and he knows the 70 years are up, and he’s praying for God to fulfill His promise and deliver Israel out of Babylon.  In response to that prayer, God gives him a far more vast promise, not just a promise of deliverance from Babylon.  God fulfilled that.  God fulfilled that.  Cyrus wrote a degree that sent the Jews back.  They went back under Nehemiah, rebuilt the city and did all of that.

Now that’s contained within this prophecy, but this prophecy stretches to the millennial kingdom.  Daniel 9:24, “Seventy weeks have been decreed for your people and your holy city.”  Seventy weeks of years, seventy times seven, 490 years; 490 years have been decreed.  God’s plan and purpose for Israel and the bringing in of the kingdom.  What do you mean?  To finish transgression, to make an end of sin, to make atonement for iniquity, to bring in everlasting righteousness, to seal up vision and prophecy, the end of revelation, and to anoint the most holy place.  This is the full history until God is done and He has established His Messiah on His everlasting throne.  This full history will run for 490 years, 490 years. 

Now, it’s got six elements.  The first three are fulfilled at His first coming: to finish the transgression, to make an end of sin, to make atonement for iniquity.  The first time Jesus came, He came to deal with transgression, sin, and iniquity.  The second time He comes: to bring in everlasting righteousness, to bring an end or fulfillment to all vision and prophecy, and to anoint the holy place, to set Himself on the throne.  So the two comings are implied by those two different works.  This is 490 years, but it’s broken down very importantly into 2 parts.

Verse 25 says, “There will be a period of seven plus sixty-two.”  That’s 69, 69.  The decree to restore and rebuild Jerusalem until the Messiah, the Prince arrives, 69 weeks.  That’s 483 years.  So what was the decree to restore and rebuilt Jerusalem?  That decree was given by Artaxerxes.  That decree was given in the year 445, 445 B. C.  If you start with that, and you follow the calendar from 445 B.C., and you go 483 years, that’s the 69 weeks that are mentioned there, you end up in the year 30 in the month Nisan.  You end up at the very time when Jesus entered the city of Jerusalem.  That’s when the Messiah, the Prince will come, and He did come on schedule.  But verse 26 says, when He comes after the seven, “And after the sixty-two when the Messiah comes, He will be cut off and have nothing.”  Hmm.  That’s what happened. 

“And the people of the prince who is to come.”  Who is the prince who is to come?  Anti-Christ.  Daniel says a lot about him.  The antichrist, the people who belong to the antichrist and all those who reject Christ belong to the antichrist.  “The people of the antichrist who is to come will destroy the city and the sanctuary.”  In this case obviously the Romans, the destruction in 70 A.D., “And its end will come with a flood; even to the end there will be war; desolations are determined.”  We still have one week don’t we?  What happened to that seventieth week?  That’s in the future when the antichrist will make a covenant with the many with Israel for one week.  In the middle of the week, he will violate the covenant.  This is the abomination of desolation that Daniel writes about that Jesus comments on in the middle of the tribulation, which then brings horrendous destruction for the remainder of that seven years at the end of which our Lord comes to bring in everlasting righteousness, to establish His kingdom. 

So we are in the period of time between the first 69 weeks, which ended in 30 Nisan, and the final week, which is the time of great tribulation preceding the kingdom.  But for us, go back to John 12.  The important point is, and scholars have studied this with tremendous care and intensity.  The important point is they pinpoint the year A.D. 30, the Friday, the ninth of Nisan, the Jewish month of Nisan, as the time when Jesus came into the city.

It looks wonderful.  It looks glorious.  It looks hopeful, fulfilling prophecy, but remember Daniel said the Messiah will be cut off.  What does that mean?  Killed and have nothing.  Then desolation and destruction will follow and that’s exactly what did follow as the people of the prince, the antichrist forces come and destroy Jerusalem.

But still, they don’t take into account that prophecy anywhere in the narrative of the Passion Week, but it is there and it was fulfilled.  Again, it looks good, but if you go with me for just a moment, one other text that’s very helpful, and I alluded to it earlier.  Go to Luke 19.  This is Luke’s account of the triumphal entry.  As they come into the city, He’s approaching down the Mount of Olives, verse 37, “The whole crowd praising God joyfully with a loud voice for all the miracles they had seen.”  They were all shouting, verse 38, “Blessed is the King who comes in the name of the Lord,” from the Hallel, Psalm 118:26.  They say, “‘Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!’  Some of the Pharisees in the crowd said to Him, ‘Teacher, rebuke your disciples.’  Jesus answered, ‘I tell you, if these become silent, the stones will cry out!’  When He approached Jerusalem, He saw the city and wept over it saying, ‘If you had known in this day, even you, the things which make for peace!  But now they have been hidden from your eyes.  For the days will come upon you when your enemies will throw up a barricade against you, and surround you and hem you in on every side, and they will level you to the ground and your children within you, and they will not leave in you one stone upon another.’”  And they did not, they dismantled the temple down to the foundation, “‘Because you didn’t recognize the time of your visitation.’”

To illustrate it, He entered the temple and began to drive out those who were selling.  He didn’t attack the Romans.  Who did He attack?  He attacked the Jewish people at the heart of their worship, their religion.  They are beside themselves with fury as they express in verse 19, “The world has gone after Him.”  They try to silence the disciples and to get them to silence their Master.  Can’t happen.  The stones would cry out.  He is worthy of all of this praise, but it’s so short-lived and He knew that.  He knew exactly what was coming, and He gave them a preview of what was coming by attacking their system personally at its busiest time of the year, throwing people out of the temple. 

So we see this fateful presentation and fulfilled prophesy, even prophesy from Jesus as to what was going to happen began to be fulfilled with His attack on the temple.  Then we can add one other thought or two maybe.  We see the perplexity of the disciples.  Verse 16, “These things His disciples did not understand at the first; but when Jesus was glorified, then they remembered that these things were written of Him, and that they had done these things to Him.”

They didn’t get it when it was happening.  I just have to say it this way: they were ignorant actors in the drama, but don’t be surprised.  They had been ignorant for a long time.  They didn’t get most things.  They did not understand most things.  They did not certainly understand why He was talking about dying.  They even tried to rebuke Him for that in the words of Peter.  They didn’t understand why He was humbling Himself and washing their feet.  He said, “I have to do this.  I have to do this.  This is part of my humiliation.”  When He said, “I’m going away,” they panicked and Philip says, “Where are you going to go?  We don’t know where you’re going.  We don’t know how to get there.” 

Even in chapter 1 of Acts, they were still lingering in the dark about the kingdom.  “Are you going to bring the kingdom now?  Is it coming now?”  It was all very confusing to them until He was glorified.  Why?  Then it all began to make sense.  Why?  Because previous to His glorification, what had He done?  He had gone back to the Old Testament and taught them the Old Testament, all the things in the Old Testament about Himself.  Remember, on the road to Emmaus, Luke 24?  And then in the Upper Room in the night of His resurrection, He explained Old Testament prophecies that He had fulfilled in His death and resurrection, and it began to make sense.  Then in Acts 2, right after His glorification, right after He ascends into heaven, the Holy Spirit comes and with the Old Testament course that He gave them after His resurrection, and the arrival of the Holy Spirit.  Then they remembered that these things were written of Him.   

I’ve been telling you over the last number of months that when you now open the book of Acts after chapter 1 begins, they start to make sense out of the Old Testament.  Then when the Spirit comes, it really explodes.  John is looking back as he writes this, and he’s saying of himself and the rest, we didn’t understand what was going on.  We didn’t understand it.  In other words, we were caught up with the crowd.  We were caught up with the enthusiasm.  We were caught up with the messianic fever.  We never did understand until we looked back after His glorification and begun to make sense of what He had said. 

All the way along, all week long, they’re going to be confused.  Thursday night in the Upper Room, they’re very confused, very confused.  So even His own beloved followers show perplexity.  The crowd?  Well, they’re described in verse 17 and 18.  They’re there as we read earlier.  They’re curious.  They’re fascinated.  Why are they there?  Are they there because they’re interested in Jesus’ theology?  No.  They heard that He had performed this sign.  They’re attracted by the supernatural, false followers, thrill seekers, who by Friday choose Barabbas, a well-known criminal to be released; Jesus to be held prisoner, and then screamed for Him to be crucified.  Fickle crowd. 

If the crowd is fickle, the Pharisees are angry, verse 19.  So the Pharisees said to one another, you see that you are not doing any good.  What you’re trying to stop is not working.  You’re not having any effect.  “The world has gone after Him.”  That’s such an important statement.  That shows you the massive impact of Jesus on a superficial level to people who were only looking for supernatural experiences and events.  The same people screamed for His crucifixion a few days later.  It’s really a testimony to the far-reaching reality of superficial faith.  Hear them now. 

John 19, we jump ahead.  Pilot brings Jesus out in verse 14, “‘Behold, your King!’  So they cried out, ‘Away with Him, away with Him, crucify Him!’  Pilot said to them, ‘Shall I crucify your King?’  The chief priests answered, ‘We have no king but Caesar.’”  What liars they were.  And then a most interesting word appears. 

We close at this point.  Vere 20, “There were some gentiles who wanted to see Jesus.”  What is this?  The rejection of Israel caused God to turn from the Jews to the gentiles.  Here is a preview of the church.  It’s a preview of the church.  We don’t know who they are, but they were gentiles who had come to embrace Judaism, proselytes.  There was, oh by the way, in the temple a court for the gentiles where they would be able to stay and not go in any further.

So they were from Bethsaida of Galilee, Galilean gentiles and they began talking to Philip.  Knowing he was a disciple of Jesus they said, “We want to see Jesus.”  Philip came and told Andrew, and they came and told Jesus.  The gentiles want genuinely to see Jesus.  They desire an interview.  It might have been hard to get to Jesus in this massive mob scene, but they wanted to see Him. 

It doesn’t say whether they did, but I know this, it does say in John 6:37, “Whoever comes to me, I will not cast out.  I will not turn away.”  So maybe what we have here in a little small way is the beginning of what we’re all a part of, the church of our Lord Jesus Christ, people who truly want to see Jesus.   

Father, we thank you for the time that we’ve been able to look at this.  We haven’t by any means come close to seeing all that is here.  We would have to read Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, think about all these things for a long time.  But Lord, even what we have come to understand is so wonderfully true.  It just has the ring of reality to us.  There are many religious books in the world, many religions: convoluted, fantasies, demonic inventions, ridiculous scenarios, lies and deception.  The simple majestic realities of Scripture stand alone and apart from all lies as true.  Thank you for the combined testimonies of the gospel writers writing at different times and all saying the same thing in a perfectly blended story.  There is a sadness in our hearts even as there was a sadness in the heart of Jesus.  He wept.  They were shouting with joy and waving palm branches, and He was crying. 

They thought the kingdom was coming.  He knew judgment was coming.  They thought they would crown Him.  He knew they would kill Him.  The King came to die, but by Sunday He came out of the grave.  Long live the King.  Because He lives, we live and share His life forever.  We rejoice in all of this.

https://www.gty.org/library/sermons-library/43-62


Soul-Improvement or Self-Improvement

PASTOR RAY PATRICK  MARCH 6, 2020

12 weeks ago did you make a new year’s resolution? What did you decided to change? Many of us made promises to ourselves to mark the beginning of a new year. We said “I will save more, exercise more, or spend less time on social media.” We begin with good intentions, but before long old habits tempt us to return to old ways. We slip up occasionally, then more frequently, and then all the time. Finally, we’re back to business as usual, as if our resolutions never existed.

Instead of choosing our own self-improvement goals, a better approach might be to ask ourselves: “what does the Lord desire of me?” In the book of Micah, God reveals that He wants us to do what is right, to be merciful, and to walk humbly with Him. All of these things relate to soul-improvement rather than self-improvement.

Today, when we choose soul-improvement instead of self-improvement, we don’t have to rely on our own strength. The Holy Spirit is standing by to help us as believers in our spiritual/soul growth. God’s Word says, He is able to “strengthen you with power through His Spirit in your inner being” (Eph. 3:16). Let’s resolve to be more Christ-like. To livejustly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly. Let’s resolve to focus more on spiritual soul-improvement. The Spirit will help us as we seek to walk with our God.

What does the Lord require of you but to do justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God?

MICAH 6:8

Pray with Me
Yahweh, thank You for choosing to lead me. Father, help me choose soul-improvement over self-improvement. I ask for a truthful spirit, a wise spirit, a kind spirit, so that Your life will be clearly seen in me. God, send Your Holy Spirit into my life, to show me how to do what You want me to do. Please teach me to live justly, love mercy and to walk humbly, in Christ’s Name! Amen.

https://godinterest.com/2020/03/06/soul-improvement-or-self-improvement/