The Highest Name

20170724_202952For this reason God raised him to the highest place above and gave him the name that is greater than any other name. Philippians 2:9 GNB

When I am facing new battles and unknown roads ahead I sometimes forget things. I forget what things I had set out to do this morning. As difficult news struggles to take over page one news in my life it is calming and quietly joyful to remember that there is a name greater than mine. His name is greater than any human friend or enemy. His name is higher than the authority of any diagnoses financial crisis or uncertainty. His is the name calms waves rebukes hurricanes and calls the dead from the grave. It is no joke, no exaggeration, and totally abundantly in control of the universe. What an awesome name! What an awesome God we serve!

On a Donkey!

 Then Jesus, when He had found a young donkey, sat on it; as it is written: “Fear not, daughter of Zion; Behold, your King is coming,Sitting on a donkey’s colt  John 12:14-15

The fact that Jesus chose the most humble animal to ride gives me hope today. I am not powerful, wealthy or amazingly smart. I am just an ordinary person in an ordinary neighborhood with common everyday problems. Why would God, the universe creator, the King of Glory, the awesome, glorious and Holy ruler of all life be accessible to me? Why would I dare even think I could bring my needs for daily bread and forgiveness for my mean-spirited sins to him?

Because according to scripture our king is coming, but not to harshly conquer us who by nature are His enemies. He is coming not to imprison us and cast us into prison or worse. He is coming humbly to take His throne and righteously rule over the life of anyone who will welcome Him into their gates. He knows we are afraid but He is not angry. He understands the feelings of our infirmities and He has shared inimage our weaknesses. He has been through every temptation we have faced, yet without sin. He has tasted death for every man and woman who has ever lived. He is coming, according to the Father’s plan, to be our king, seated on a donkey, so we will not be afraid. Today is the day to greet our king with palm branches along the path He is coming to our city and He has chosen to give His life for us again today!

Not Just an Exit

On TV difficulties are resolved in 30-60 minutes. Whether you need a home remodeled, a criminal caught or a love found the answer appears to be just one hour away. But our real life problems feel as if they will never go away. Not even our closest friends have the answers we need and worst of all it sometimes seems that not even God is concerned about us.

And Jesus asked his father, “How long has this been happening to him?” And he said, “From childhood Mark 14:2

In the gospel of Mark is a father desperate to find help for his son. He has watched over him for years, pulled him out of fires and saving him from drowning. He has tried but no friend, no family member and not even the disciples of Jesus were able to help. One of the things that I love most about our Lord Jesus is not His ability to do miracles or the amazing stories that He told, but that He stopped everything to spend time with the most ordinary of people

That day when Jesus came people maybe expected that He would give an immediate solution then go on His way. But Jesus isn’t like the super-hkimg1020ero that just helps people then flies off into the distance. Jesus cares about us and willingly comes and asks about our day. He doesn’t just come to show off His super -power but He spends time to become a part of our life.

Yes Jesus does have the answers for our needs, but He gives us more than just an exit from our difficulty. Jesus comes to be an entrance to a life together and will with us face every difficulty on the road ahead!

 

Or gather into barns

Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? Matthew 6:26

When we lived on the farm we always busily canned and pickled our way through the summers. Sometimes we picked blackberries to make jelly or we put up green beans in the freezer. With all the work it was easy to forget to enjoy the summer. We felt constantly pressed because in the back of our minds, long cold winter days waited. Though it is biblical  to store abundance with an eye to the days ahead, Jesus warned us against worry. He knew that no matter how big our barns, there was something in our heart that says, “It isn’t going to last the Winter!” 

So, the great Teacher takes our focus off our need and directs us to the birds. They have been flying by, singing their songs and living every thrilling momp1020288ent, as if it were their last. The robin didn’t lie awake in her nest last night worrying when the first frost would come. The barn owl didn’t redouble his efforts at catching prey because he imagined that leaner times lay ahead.

Then Jesus asked a question to which He was sure that we would know the answer.

“Are you not of more value than they?”

Sometimes we forget that when Jesus laid down His life for us He was making a value judgement about. As He carried the cross up the final rise to Calvary He was saying, “You are worth it all to me!” Knowing we are worth so much to Him in the midst of pressure and worry we can look to Him and smile because we know we are in His care. No matter how long our winter may be our Father’s barn will always be big enough to hold all we need!

Leaving the Light On

And going into the house they saw the child with Mary his mother, and they fell down and worshiped him. Then, opening their treasures, they offered him gifts, gold and frankincense and myrrh                  Matthew 2:11 NKJV

Motel Six has used the expression “We’ll leave the light on for you” in their advertising for as long as I can remember. “Leaving the light on”, represents at least three things that will help us no matter what our service to God.

Joseph and Mary certainly didn’t expect three foreign dignitaries that night in Bethlehem, but they opened the door when they heard the knock.   “Leaving the light on”, means having a welcoming attitude towards anyone who wants to help, no matter whom.

Secondly, “Leaving the Light on”, means giving space for them in our world. The cramped quarters of the place where Joseph and Mary were probably didn’t afford much room for three wise men, with their camels, servants and supplies. But what space was on hand was made available for their unexpected guests. In the same way, we need to be willing to share whatever time we have with people who haven’t been included in our plans.

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Last, “Leaving the light on”, means being ready for God’s unexpected gifts. It is unlikely that Mary had gotten any gold, frankincense or myrrh in her lifetime. It may even be that neither she nor Joseph had even ever seen any of those three gifts presented to Jesus that night.

If we are ready for God’s action plan, He will send us people we don’t know at times we don’t expect to bring blessings we couldn’t imagine. When God’s action plan has an opportunity to be put into motion, doors will be opened, Jesus will be worshiped and gifts will be given. God is still sending wise men to the Bethlehem. Let’s “leave the light on” for them!