KANYE – SIGN OF THINGS TO COME

Matt:21:31,32 – Jesus said, “You’re right. For many sinners, tax collectors, and prostitutes are going into God’s kingdom realm ahead of you! John came to show you the path of goodness and righteousness, yet the despised and outcasts believed in him, but you did not. When you saw them turn, you neither repented of your ways nor believed his words.”

Kanye West has got church people talking, everyone has their opinion. I guess everyone is shocked to see Kanye accept the message of Christ and repentance. Who would have thought? It’s quite shocking to see who accepts the gospel and those who don’t. That was one of the shocking things about the ministry of John the Baptist and of Jesus. The folks who were practicing religion, the Pharisees and Sadducees, were unimpressed with the ministry of Jesus and had no intention of following the Lord. Actually His ministry was quite inconvenient. On the other hand the prostitutes, the publicans, tax collectors, and all sorts of common sinners were passionately following the Lord. The church folks were disgusted with the likes of Mary Magdalene, Simon the Zealot, and Matthew the tax collector but these were part of His inner circle who followed Him with their lives and ultimately changed the world. Like Jesus said, “people’s hearts burn with extreme passion to press in and receive it (the kingdom of God)”.

Today, not much has changed. Church people like the status quo. Of course they want more folks but don’t rock the boat with riffraff, just give them the “quality people”. The problem is Jesus has always liked to rock the boat. Uneducated fishermen, prostitutes, tax gatherers, and a cursing Pharisee were His primary vessels. He sits in the heavens and laughs as He orchestrates His plans to change the world.

What made me start thinking about all this was Kanye West and Kim Kardashian, not exactly the pair you would have picked to represent your church last year. Kanye claims to be born again and has renounced his old lifestyle. What if his salvation is legit? This reminds me of the summer of 1973 and the movie JESUS CHRIST SUPERSTAR. The church world was irate and even picketed some theaters, I was getting saved and beginning my gospel journey. Maybe the Lord is calling in His tax collectors, publicans, and sinners once again. Maybe Kanye is just another sign of how Jesus loves to rock the boat.

THE WORSHIPPING CHILDREN

Matt. 21:15,16 – But when the chief priests and scribes saw the wonderful things that He did, and the children crying out in the temple and saying, “Hosanna to the Son of David!” they were indignant and said to Him, “Do You hear what these are saying?” And Jesus said to them, “Yes. Have you never read, ‘Out of the mouth of babes and nursing infants You have perfected praise’? “

Pride is a huge problem for all of us. It seems like much of what the Lord does in our lives is to deal with arrogance so that we can be vessels that He can actually work through. The tendency that all of us have is to take credit when the Lord uses us in any way. Childlike humility is the sure evidence of a deep work of Christ in someone’s life. Jesus often pointed to children to portray something He wanted to see in His followers. He told them unless they were converted and became like children they would never see the kingdom of God. At the triumphal entry the worshipping children were a prophetic type of the children of God worshipping at the coming of the Messiah. Here are some thoughts from Spurgeon on this passage.

“How often will children tell us of a God whom we have forgotten! How doth their simple prattle refute those learned fools who deny the being of God! Many men have been made to hold their tongues, while sucklings have borne witness to the glory of the God of heaven. It is singular how clearly the history of the church expounds this verse. Did not the children cry “Hosannah!” in the temple, when proud Pharisees were silent and contemptuous? and did not the Savior quote these very words as a justification of their infantile cries?….He who delights in the songs of angels is pleased to honor himself in the eyes of his enemies by the praises of little children.”

So how do we deal with pride and hardness of heart that keeps us from the purity of worshipping the Lord like a little child? That quality, childlikeness, is the work of the Spirit in our hearts. The influence of the Spirit allows us to see Christ more clearly. Seeing Him deals a death blow to the pride that blocks us from worship. Seeing His greatness humbles us, how can we be great in our own eyes when we are slain by His magnificence? So take a look at Christ, entering Jerusalem on a donkey and then returning a second time in His glory. One look and you will be singing and dancing with the children.

PERFECTED PRAISE

Matt.21:16 – and said to Him, “Do You hear what these children are saying?” And Jesus *said to them, “Yes; have you never read, ‘OUT OF THE MOUTH OF INFANTS AND NURSING BABIES YOU HAVE PREPARED PRAISE FOR YOURSELF’?”

There is something special about children and revival and worship. Jesus went so far as to say unless we are converted and become like little children we will never enter the kingdom of God. What is it about children that qualifies someone to enter God’s kingdom? I think the mystery is hidden in today’s verse. Do you see it? The pharisees couldn’t enter the kingdom because of worship. What stops a person from true worship? It centers around ego, image, and pride. Only the humble, those who acknowledge the greatness of the Lord, are capable of worship. True worship begins when someone sees God’s greatness. In that light they also see their own smallness. People who are self important and stuck on other’s perceptions of themselves can never worship. David said it like this , Ps.34:1,2 – “I will bless the LORD at all times: his praise shall continually be in my mouth. My soul shall make her boast in the LORD: the humble shall hear thereof, and be glad.” George Whitefield was often pelted with rotten eggs and worse while he preached. Check out his observations of children.

“Whitfield says, “I cannot help adding that several little boys and girls, who were fond of sitting round me on the pulpit while I preached, and handed to me people’s notes—though they were often pelted with eggs, dirt, & c., thrown at me—never once gave way; but on the contrary, every time I was struck, turned up their little weeping eyes, and seemed to wish they could receive the blows for me. God make them, in their growing years, great and living martyrs for him who, out of the mouths of babes and sucklings, perfects praise!” He who delights in the songs of angels is pleased to honor himself in the eyes of his enemies by the praises of little children. What a contrast between the glory above the heavens, and the mouths of babes and sucklings! yet by both the name of God is made excellent.”

Praise and worship is quite liberating. Not only is praise perfected in us when we are converted and become like children, we too experience the power of being adjusted and repaired in that atmosphere. I don’t care what the big boys and self important say, I’m gonna worship Him anyway.

AT THE MENTION OF HIS NAME

gift-habeshaw-453482.jpgMatt. 1:21-23 – She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.” All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had spoken by the prophet:

“Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall call his name Immanuel” (which means, God with us).

The prophecies of the birth of Jesus are astounding. Those Christmas prophecies were mightily used by the Lord to build my faith as a young Christian. I was stunned by the revelation of His humanity and deity to the prophets hundreds of years before the birth of Christ. In today’s verse we have a word from an angel to call His Name Jesus. Then we have a commentary from Matthew on Isaiah’s prophesy. Matthew said that Isaiah’s prophesy about Immanuel was actually declaring the deity of this one born of a virgin. The name of Jesus was a fulfillment of that prophesy, Jesus would actually be God with us. Jesus is our Immanuel. Here are the words to a song from Bethel called AT THE MENTION OF YOUR NAME. From the first time His Name was uttered by the angel up until the present day when we call His Name, God is with us. Enjoy the song.

You’re here with the grace of the Savior

With the heart of the Father

You’re all we need

You’re here with the hands of the Healer

With the power of Your Spirit

You’re all we need

At the mention of Your name

Every chain will break

I know everything will change

Jesus, just the whisper of Your name

Will silence wind and waves

At the mention of Your name

You’re here, You’re the Provider

All I’ve ever needed

Jesus, You supply

You’re here, with wonder-working power

Everything You breathe on

Coming back to life

You are my strength

You are my anchor

And You never fail

You are my hope

You will deliver

Emmanuel

At the mention of Your name

Every chain will break

I know everything will change

Jesus, just the whisper of Your name

Will silence wind and waves

At the mention of Your name

Just the mention, Oh

Just the whisper, Oh

You’re just a breath away

You’re just a breath away

So whatever you are facing today just call out His Name. Everything changes at the mention of His Name.

HE HEALED THE BLIND AND THE LAME

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Matt. 21:14 ¶ And the blind and the lame came to him in the temple, and he healed them.

After Jesus cleansed the temple He began to heal the blind and the lame. This miracle, connected to the cleansing of the temple, is filled with spiritual application. The first thing Jesus does when He comes into our lives is cleanse our hearts from sin. The results of that is we are healed of our spiritual blindness and lameness. Before Christ enters our temple, we are blind to His beauty, unable to see Him in our lives. We are also lame, unable to function, paralyzed by our own sin. That changes when Jesus enters our temple. This passage also speaks to us about Jesus entering His church. He cleanses our motives as a congregation and fills His church with power to change lives. Here are some thoughts from Adam Clarke on this passage.

“The blind and the lame came. Having condemned the profane use of the temple, he now shows the proper use of it. It is a house of prayer, where God is to manifest his goodness and power in giving sight to the spiritually blind, and feet to the lame. The Church or chapel in which the blind and the lame are not healed has no Christ in it, and is not worthy of attendance.”
So the church should be a hospital rather than a shopping mall. That’s exactly what Jesus displayed when He turned over the tables of merchandise and began to heal the sick. Matthew Henry also spoke powerfully about this passage.

“The temple was profane and abused when it was made a market-place, but it was graced and honored when it was made an hospital; to be doing good in God’s, is more honorable, and better becomes it, than to be getting money there. Christ’s healing was a real answer to that question, Who is this? His works testified of him more than the hosannas; and his healing in the temple was the fulfilling of the promise, that the glory of the latter house should be greater than the glory of the former.”

As we welcome Jesus into our lives and into our churches He is glorified and our lives are completed. This Holy Week open wide the gates of your heart, He will cleanse your temple and make you whole.

HE STIRRED THE HEARTS OF THE CHILDREN

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Matt. 21:15-16 ¶ But when the chief priests and the scribes saw the wonderful things that he did, and the children crying out in the temple, “Hosanna to the Son of David!” they were indignant, and they said to him, “Do you hear what these are saying?” And Jesus said to them, “Yes; have you never read,
“‘Out of the mouth of infants and nursing babies

you have prepared praise’?”

Church people get offended over just about anything. I remember our first church fight was just a few months after we opened our church. New people were starting to come to church so I filled the yard with shells for a parking area. People actually got mad and left the church over that. People have gotten mad and left for the last 38 years over all sorts of interesting things. Jonathan Edwards caused a stir in his church in the 1700’s when he had children leading small groups in neighborhood homes. I guess some folks want things to stay the same no matter what. Jesus got flack about kids worshipping too. I guess the Pharisees (some things never change) didn’t like the kids shouting out in worship. That’s exactly what Jesus was looking for, He wanted excitement, He couldn’t take lukewarm worship. Jesus has always awakened the next generation to carry His message. Adam Clarke made some interesting observations about this passage in the Methodist revival in the 1700’s.

“The eighth Psalm, out of which these words are quoted, is applied to Jesus Christ in three other places in the new covenant. Which proves it to be merely a prophetic psalm, relating to the Messiah. It was a common thing among the Jews for the children to be employed in public acclamations; and thus they were accustomed to hail their celebrated rabbins. This shouting of the children was therefore no strange thing in the land: only they were exasperated, because a person was celebrated against whom they had a rooted hatred. As to the prophecy that foretold this, they regarded it not. Some imagine that babes and sucklings in the prophecy have a much more extensive meaning, and refer also to the first preachers of the Gospel of Christ.”
Is it possible that the Lord is stirring the millennials, the “children” of the last revival to preach the gospel to their generation? I think I hear the sound of “children” shouting again. It won’t take long for the Pharisees to crucify somebody, they just can’t take the sound of passionate worship.

IMAGES OF THE COMING KING

Matt. 21:5 “Tell the daughter of Zion,
‘Behold, your King is coming to you,
Lowly, and sitting on a donkey,
A colt, the foal of a donkey.’ ”

The last week of Jesus’s life was a swirling panorama of images, prophetic images of the soon coming kingdom. It begin with the triumphal entry of Christ, he was making His final entrance into the city of David. He came on a donkey stirring prophetic visions from the book of Zechariah, “Behold, your King is coming to you”. It was impossible for his friends to hold back their joy, the city seemed to burst with praises, “Hosanna to the coming King!”. Just behind this picture was the unmistakeable expectancy of another coming. No one could express it, but they felt it, Jesus was prophesying with His actions about His Second coming.
The scene suddenly changed, one moment there was dancing and singing, the next moment there were scowls and accusations. The religious leaders were not happy, this was way out of bounds. “Tell the children to be quiet” they complained. Jesus response, “if they don’t worship the rocks will”.
From there Jesus entered the temple. Before you knew it He was turning over tables and driving people out with whips. “You have turned My Father’s house into a house of merchandise rather than a house of prayer”. He was cleansing the temple, preparing His house for a move of the Spirit.
The next picture is Christ teaching in the temple, healing the sick, ministering to the hurting. That’s what He always does. That’s what His house is for, that’s what He is doing today.
The next image from that week of weeks was Mary anointing Jesus with oil. The house was filled with the fragrance of the costly spikenard. What else could Mary do? After all He had done in her life all she could do was lay at His feet, wash them with tears, and anoint His head with oil. This is where the dissension in the disciples midst began to break out. “Why this waste? We should be feeding the poor rather than this extravagant display of worship.”
The next picture that comes to mind is the communion itself. As Jesus poured out the wine and broke the bread He was painting an eternal picture in our minds. The new and better covenant, a new way to live our lives was being introduced. The way into the Holiest of all was being openly portrayed. Jesus was restoring man to the Father. He came to die so that we could live. This final image came after supper. He began to wash their feet. He was actually showing them the ministry of the One coming after Him. He was prophesying about the age of the Holy Spirit. As we celebrate Palm Sunday and Easter this year our mind will turn to these images. We know His first coming was an assurance, an assurance that all things He spoke would soon be fulfilled.

STRENGTH FOR THE JOURNEY

STRENGTH FOR THE JOURNEY, LIVING OFF ANGELS FOOD

MERRY MONDAY BY PARRIS BAILEY-

“I KNOW MY REDEEMER LIVETH, AND THAT HE SHALL STAND AT THE LATTER DAY UPON THE EARTH, AND THROUGH AFTER MY SKIN WORMS DESTROY MY BODY, YET IN MY FLESH SHALL I SEE GOD” JOB 19:25-26

I can’t imagine going through what Job went through. He had battles on all fronts! His children were taken, his provision blown up, his health was failing and all his friends blasted him. God was doing something amazing in Job that changed his whole life around. If you think about the Bible, most of the people that became somebody for God had a serious encounter that made them or broke them. Abraham and Jacob had a visit from a angel, Moses with the burning bush and David had many encounters that were supernatural. Stephen, as he was dying, saw Jesus standing up for him, Peter had a conversation with the risen Christ, and Paul will never forget the Damascus Road experience. How about you? The story of redemption is life changing for all of us for in Matt. 21:44 says “whosoever shall fall on this stone shall be broken: but on whomsoever it shall fall, it will grind him to powder.” Anyone want to be ground to powder?
Job, through it all, had a supernatural encounter with God. He begin to call for an intercessor or umpire to help sort his problems out with God. From deep within, Job began to prophesy things to come! When Christ comes into our hearts, He seals us and puts within us the spirit of adoption, so when trouble comes our way we can know our Redeemer lives, for “The LORD shall fight for you, and ye shall hold your peace.” (Ex. 14:14) Many years ago Frank and I entered a difficult season and during it, The Lord spoke out of I Kings 19:7 when Elijah was discouraged after Jezebel threatened to take His life. I love this passage, “And the angel of the LORD came again the second time, and touched him, and said, Arise and eat; because the journey is too great for thee. And he arose, and did eat and drink, and went in the strength of that meat forty days and forty nights unto Horeb the mount of God.” Are you facing situations that are out of your control? God can give you “strength for the journey” for He can feed you with Angel’s Food. Job kept knocking on the heart of God until he got his release. Elijah in his despair received supernatural strength. The same God that recused, redeemed and inspired the prophets intercedes for us today. Job came to the conclusion that even though his flesh will decay, he will see his Redeemer. I pray as you read this blog today that you will have a supernatural moment, an encounter with the living God and realize that you will get “to the other side” soon enough. It just might be time to do some water walking.

MOVED

MOVED

And the multitudes that went before, and that followed, cried, saying, Hosanna to the Son of David: Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord; Hosanna in the highest. And when he was come into Jerusalem, all the city was moved, saying, Who is this? And the multitude said, This is Jesus the prophet of Nazareth of Galilee.
Matt.21: 9,10

When Jesus entered into Jerusalem, commonly called His triumphal entry, Mathew says the whole city was “moved”. The word he used translated moved is the word used for earthquake, the whole city was literally shaken. Everyone is effected one way or another when Jesus comes to town. Matthew Henry makes some interesting comments about the different ways people are moved in his observations on this verse.

“We have here his entertainment in Jerusalem; When he was come into Jerusalem, all the city was moved; every one took notice of him, some were moved with wonder at the novelty of the thing, others with laughter at the meanness (insignificance) of it; some perhaps were moved with joy, who waited for the Consolation of Israel; others, of the Pharisaical class, were moved with envy and indignation. So various are the motions in the minds of men upon the approach of Christ’s kingdom!”

Today Jesus is still coming into various towns, today He comes in the person of the Holy Spirit. Just as it was in the days of His entry into Jerusalem, today His visitation brings various kinds of responses. Some think He is irrelevant, others think His coming is comical just for the”needy” and uneducated, others see Him as a threat to their way of life. Still others see His visitation as the hope of their life, the fulfillment of all their dreams. His visitation “moves” them in the deepest part of their being, they have discovered the love of God in the person of Jesus Christ.
Has He moved you lately? Does your heart leap for joy at the mention of His Name, or are you clinging to the remnants of your shattered life, trying to hold onto what remains? Today, Jesus is visiting our world again and the whole world is being moved. The question remains, how has he moved you?

The Triumphant Entry of Christ

Matthew 21:8-11 And a very great multitude spread their clothes on the road; others cut down branches from the trees and spread them on the road. 9 Then the multitudes who went before and those who followed cried out, saying: “Hosanna to the Son of David! ‘ Blessed is He who comes in the name of the LORD!’[a]
Hosanna in the highest!” 10 And when He had come into Jerusalem, all the city was moved, saying, “Who is this?”
11 So the multitudes said, “This is Jesus, the prophet from Nazareth of Galilee.”

In Matthew’s description of Christ’s triumphal  entry he tells us that “a very great multitude spread their garments in the way”.  I was recently reading a book that caused me to rethink that great procession we know as “Palm Sunday”.  The book is The Life of Jesus Christ by James Stalker.   He claims that 2-3 million visitors had made the pilgrimage to Jerusalem that Passover.  That is a shocking number of people. Could it be possible that the Lord brought such a large population to Jerusalem that weekend because of the events that were to occur that particular weekend?  Could it be that there was a sovereign plan connected to the crucifixion and resurrection of our Lord?

The stories of Christ’s miracles had spread far and wide over the past three years.  Every Jewish person scattered all over that region of the world had heard of the miracles and the teachings of Christ.  They wondered, could this be the promised messiah?  Could this be the savior of the world?  They all came with hopes of seeing a miracle, or hearing one of His famous teachings.  There was an expectancy and excitement as hundreds of thousands poured into Jerusalem.

Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion; shout, O daughter of Jerusalem: behold thy King cometh unto thee:  He is just, and having salvation; lowly, and riding upon an ass, and upon a colt the foal of an ass.”

Zach. 9:9

As Jesus came into Jerusalem, the crowds were shouting with excitement. Their time had finally come.  Their king was taking His Throne.  They had no idea of the plan of God. Within a few days there was a betrayal, a denial, a trial, and a crucifixion. Their messiah was publicly executed.  They experienced catastrophic earthquakes and supernatural darkness as Christ hung on the cross. Then after three days, there were rumors of a resurrection.  What an incredible time to be in Jerusalem.  The most important event in history, the death and resurrection of Christ had come, and the expanded population of Jerusalem for this Passover had been effected permanently by these events.

The Second coming of the Lord will also come suddenly and unexpectedly. Paul said Jesus would come like a “thief in the night”.  The events taking place in our world are sign posts on the way to the second coming.  Every earthquake, every tsunami, every hurricane, every catastrophic act of terrorism, all of these things are just signs of the Return of Christ.

I believe God has a supernatural last day plan for the city of New Orleans. Our city is known historically for its sinful reputation. People from the world come here and do things they would never do anywhere else. Paul said, “Where sin abounds, grace does much more abound”.  There is a time of reciprocity coming from the Lord. There is an outpouring of God’s overflowing abundant grace coming to New Orleans as a sign to the nation. Jesus is coming back. I believe the crowds will gather as they did at His first coming, just wanting to see or hear a glimpse of Christ for themselves.

The crowds at that first Palm Sunday were looking for a messiah who would fix their earthly problems.  They did not understand His miracles or why He came. But in their ignorance they witnessed something greater that anything they hoped for.  They were there for the cross and the resurrection of our Lord.   Maybe your curiosity for the supernatural and a solution to your earthly problems may draw you to take a look at our Lord Jesus. As you draw close, you may be surprised at the sound of the pounding nails, astounded by the empty tomb.  Then you will see that Christ has a plan for you far bigger and better than just fixing your problems.  He has a new life for you that begins now and continues forever.