Saturday, March 31, 2012

The Donkey's Gospel Story

And when they came nigh to Jerusalem, unto Bethphage and Bethany, at the mount of Olives, he sendeth forth two of his disciples, And saith unto them, Go your way into the village over against you: and as soon as ye be entered into it, ye shall find a colt tied, whereon never man sat; loose him, and bring him. And if any man say unto you, Why do ye this? say ye that the Lord hath need of him; and straightway he will send him hither. And they went their way, and found the colt tied by the door without in a place where two ways met; and they loose him. And certain of them that stood there said unto them, What do ye, loosing the colt? And they said unto them even as Jesus had commanded: and they let them go. And they brought the colt to Jesus, and cast their garments on him; and he sat upon him.  And many spread their garments in the way: and others cut down branches off the trees, and strawed them in the way.
Mark 11:1-7

The living word of God is amazing.  If you look hard enough and pray for insight it is possible to find the gospel of Jesus Christ on every page from Genesis to Revelation.  The story of the donkey Jesus procured to ride on his triumphal entry into Jerusalem is no exception.  Let's consider the donkey's gospel story:

All donkey's live in the shadow of the cross.  On their back is a cross shape that is reminiscent of the LORD's cross and His being carried by the donkey as an old legend goes.  However, there is more than legend in the scripture. According to Exodus 13:13, they are animals specifically named as being redeemable by the sacrifice of a lamb. Therefore, every donkey was of value.  So is every human being that has ever lived.  Like the donkey, every man, woman, and child must be redeemed by the blood of Christ the Lamb.  Please understand that Jesus died for all humanity!  Most think it was just a special thing He did for Christians, but scripture assures us that He was crucified to redeem whosoever will call on Jesus to be saved!  "And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world."  1 John 2:2  The cross reminds us all that we need salvation and there is no other source than the Crucified Savior of Mt. Calvary.  We live in the shadow of the cross.

Donkey's are wild and untamed by nature.  Each gospel writer also assured us that the one ridden by Jesus was un-ridden, so there should have been some problems with riding this mount.  Jesus himself said, " ye shall find a colt tied, whereon never man sat."   Not only was Christ successful in riding this unbroken animal,  He rode it through a cacophony of noises that should have caused even more problems for the LORD on this ride.  Jesus' very presence is able to tame the most wild and wretched of sinners.  Let me be one that is a witness to this power of the great Peacemaker.  He tamed a wretch like me, and He can do it for you.  Even in the storms of life, Christ brings peace and rest and a spirit-filled, fruitful, tamed nature.  He takes that which is wildly sinful by nature, and through the power of His regenerating blood, He creates a new nature of righteousness and true holiness.  Only Jesus can do this.

Where was this untamed donkey when the LORD's apostles found him?  God's creature was in the possession of another.  Furthermore, the animal was bound and outside.  Unregenerate man is in the very same condition.  Men and women may think they have a wild and untamed nature; however, the truth is that his/her sin has him/her bound by another--Satan.  Those who have not accepted Christ are also outside of the blessings and benefits of God that are only found in Christ.  It takes Jesus to give the powerful command, "Let him/her go!  I have need of that one."  The one who was bound must then be set free!

Did you notice where they found the donkey?  "And they went their way, and found the colt tied by the door without in a place where two ways met; and they loose him (Mark 11:4)."  This is where Jesus finds all of us. We are near a door of opportunity at a crossroads between heaven and hell--a place where two ways meet.  One way is the way of the LORD, and the other is the road to destruction.  Do you know what happened to a donkey if it was not redeemed properly?  Here is what Exodus says, "And every firstling of an ass thou shalt redeem with a lamb; and if thou wilt not redeem it, then thou shalt break his neck: and all the firstborn of man among thy children shalt thou redeem (Exodus 13:13)."   Without the redeeming grace of Jesus we are marked for destruction.  

You, dear reader, are at a place where you have a decision to make.  Will you allow Christ to be Lord of your life or will you head the wrong way and be broken in judgement?  The choice ultimately is yours individually.  So what is your choice?  Do you wish to remain "untamed" yet bound by sin and Satan.  Or do you wish for Christ to speak on your behalf and say to Satan, "loose that one, I have need of him/her"?  The choice is yours.  Choose quickly as the Lord is Soon2Come. 

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Sha'alu Shalom Yerushalayim! (Pray for the Peace of Jerusalem!)

And the LORD shall inherit Judah his portion in the holy land, and shall choose Jerusalem again.
Zechariah 2:12

Have you ever noticed how often Jerusalem is in the news?  No matter where one is in the world it seems that this one city dominates the news.  Name any other capital city.  Think back.  Do you hear about that city as much as you hear about Jerusalem?  More than likely you chose your capital city so local news would tend to mention it, but choose a capital city far away and you will see that it is never mentioned as much as Jerusalem.  Why?

Who should control Jerusalem?  Is it an Arab possession?  Should it belong solely to Muslims?  Some seem to think so and are proposing a march to the city this week.   

Some feel it should be in the hands of the UN.  Others think that a body such as the Catholic Church should control the temple mount and allow access to all.  Some believe that Jerusalem is the Jewish capital by right.  Most ignore this claim.  Even the US is currently trying to settle this question in the courts even though a resolution was passed in congress recognizing Jerusalem as Israel's capital city. The options are endless, but none of them have settled nor will settle the problem of Jerusalem.  

Zechariah was shown this very scenario during his ministry.  He wrote that Jerusalem would become a "cup of trembling" and a "burdensome stone"  to the world.  Furthermore, he saw that the nations of the world would all one day be drawn against this one city.  It is clear that we are near the fulfillment of this prophesy.   Satan, the adversary, feels that destroying Jerusalem and the Jewish people will show that God does not have the power to keep His promises.  This is the reason for the untold millions of Jews that have been killed in pogroms, persecutions, and holocausts.  It is also the reason that Jerusalem is the target of his rage.  As the "god of this world", he will marital humanity in a vain attempt to destroy the city and its people repeatedly.  His greatest attempt will come near the end of the Tribulation as the armies of the world meet at Armageddon to solve the question of Jerusalem.

What the adversary does not realize is who really controls Jerusalem.  Who does it belong to?  Zechariah also was clearly shown who Jerusalem belongs to in Zechariah 2:12.  It belongs to Jesus Christ.  Jerusalem is the city where he was crucified, buried, and where He rose from the dead.  As the heir of King David destined to reign forever, it is His capital city.  Furthermore, it is the place where He returns with the saints and angels.  Jesus, Son of David will do just what David did, rid Jerusalem of squatters.  Christ, as God the Son will choose Jerusalem from which to reign. Jerusalem belongs to the LORD!  He will meet the final invaders in one great bloodbath at the end of the Tribulation.  It is Christ who will then enter the Eastern Gate and restore the Temple of God. Things will get worse for this city before it gets better, but rest assured, this city is Christ's.  Praying for its peace is both a command and a request for the return of the Prince of Peace!  It is the very place where Jesus Christ is Soon2Come!

Pray for the peace of Jerusalem: they shall prosper that love thee.
Psalm 122:6

Monday, March 26, 2012

The LION and Intercessory Prayer

Then said I, O Lord GOD, cease, I beseech thee: by whom shall Jacob arise? for he is small. The LORD repented for this: This also shall not be, saith the Lord GOD.
Amos 7:5-6

What a merciful Savior.  The LORD has roared his warning in order to find those who will turn to Him.  In his attempt to warn an erring people of impending judgment, He has chosen a prophet who is also an intercessor.  Isn't that the way that it should be?  Should not those who see the dangers of the just actions of God on a sinful people call out for mercy on the very persons that they have been sent to warn?  This was the heart of the prophet Ezekiel, "Then fell I down upon my face, and cried with a loud voice, and said, Ah Lord GOD! wilt thou make a full end of the remnant of Israel (Ezekiel 11:13)?"  It was the heart of the weeping prophet Jeremiah.  It was also the very thing that God rebuked Jonah for not having--a merciful heart of intercession.  "And should not I spare Nineveh, that great city, wherein are more than sixscore thousand persons that cannot discern between their right hand and their left hand; and also much cattle (Jonah 4:11) ?"

In chapter 7 of the Book of Amos the prophet is shown visions of judgment on Israel.  In each instance the heart of a prayer warrior comes through.  Though Amos understands that the Lion, God our Savior, must deal with sin, Amos calls on God to be merciful.  Verses 1-3 seems to be an allusion to dealing with the political corruption in the administration of Jeroboam II.  Amos is asking to God judge their sin only as far as is needed to bring correction.  God answers with mercy.  Amos pleaded that God would not reduce the numbers of Jacob (Israel) to the point that they could not recover, and again God answers with mercy.  The question should then be who's heart are we really seeing?

There is no greater picture of the heart of God than the person of Jesus Christ--Emanuel, God with us!  At a time when most would seek to call down judgment from God, we see the LORD crying out for mercy.  At the cross where He purchased our salvation by His precious life's blood, He prayed for those who nailed Him to the cross.  Listen to the words of the heart of the Lion who warns repeatedly before He comes with justice, "Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do (Luke 23:34)."  Had you been whipped, beaten, mocked, punched, and nailed to a tree by the hands of cruel men, would you have been as gracious?  God's heart is one of mercy even in times of justice.  He does what He must but exacts no more.  What a merciful GOD!

The prophet Ezekiel warned us of a battle near the coming of Christ in chapters 38-39 of his work.  Most call it the battle of Gog/Magog.  Just last week, one of the primary countries involved, Russia, moved troops into Syria as a "peace keeping" force.  Russian Anti-Terror Troops Arrive in Syria - ABC News  Again, think of the mercy involved here.  This stunning prophecy that has all of the nations mentioned aligning themselves for the first time in world history is another example of the intercessory warning of the Lion of Judah.  Around 83 percent of the soldiers who attack Israel in that day, a day coming soon, will be destroyed.  Yet there is God's warning that has been in place for over 2000 years.  What mercy!  As we see the impending judgments fall, the heart of a true "prophet" will cry out in prayer for those in harms way.  Christ's servants will pray with the heart of a lion while sharing the message of the Lamb of God.  They act like their Lord Jesus who is Soon2Come!

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