Sunday, April 17, 2011
Now when they drew near Jerusalem, and came to Bethphage at the Mount of Olives, then Jesus sent two disciples, saying to them, "Go into the village opposite you, and immediately you will find a donkey tied, and a colt with her. Loose them and bring them to Me. And if anyone says anything to you, you shall say, "The Lord has need of them, and immediately he will send them."
All this was done that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, saying:
"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.'"
So the disciples went and did as Jesus commanded them.
They brought the donkey and the colt, laid their clothes on them, and set Him on them.
And a very great multitude spread their clothes on the road; others cut down branches from the trees and spread them on the road.
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!
Hosanna in the highest!"
Matthew 21:1-9 NKJV
At the dinner table recently Rod asked little Gracie, "What exactly is the Gospel?" She sat quietly thinking intently about her answer. She took a deep breath and correctly said, "The Gospel is the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ our Lord."
Every day the Gospel message is being presented all over the world. Every day eternal addresses are being changed from hell to heaven. Every day people are saying "YES" to Jesus! Every day countless others are rejecting this life-altering message of salvation for all eternity. Every day when people suppress the "measure of faith" that God our Creator has given to "each of us" they are REJECTING JESUS. This spells "the second death" for the unbeliever.
I once was one of these. For years I suppressed the measure of faith that God had given me to believe the Gospel message. But, God in all His infinite mercy gave me more and more chances. In my sin I flirted with death on a frequent basis. I drugged and drank. I partied in the dark and slept with strangers. God in His kindness kept me safe for the day when I said "YES" to Him and "NO" to my past.
Oh, PRAISE JESUS! Hosanna means "Save now". On that day in September of 2002 I heard my husband give the Gospel message to his step-daughter. She rejected the saving knowledge on that particular day, but I sank to my knees...listening secretly from a room down the hall and realized my need for the Lord's kind forgiveness.
You never know when someone else is listening to you. You never know when the words that fall from your lips that declare the Lord's kindnesses to you will impact a hidden listener. You must declare your testimony. You must declare His goodness. HE MADE THE WAY WHEN THERE WAS NO OTHER POSSIBLE WAY!
A couple of weeks ago the devil was having a real good day with me. My husband was gone...across the country for a week. I was (once again) living the hard life of a single mom. It was weird how that independent lonely feeling came back in almost an instant. I knew (hoped) that he would return, as planned.
But, on that day, my great enemy wanted to see how far he could get with me. It was soooo windy. I had grocery errands to do (I do run from store to store saving pennies here and there only to waste money on gas...it's a very old and probably bad habit.) After a stressful shopping experience with my very animated six year old, I was putting the first set of groceries in my trunk when a wild wind whipped up and slammed the trunk of my car into my head with great force. It literally knocked me for a loop. My vision temporarily blurred and the pain stunned me to tears instantly. I couldn't even get my car key into the hole to unlock the door. Meanwhile, Gracie was dancing all around (oblivious to my pain) asking for this and that and the other.
And I heard his evil whisper, "Next time you'll have to deal with two kids by yourself instead of only one."
When I finally managed to get us into the car, I sat in the front seat weeping loudly like a child who'd just wrecked his bike and skinned his knees. Man, I hate Satan. He is the meanest, cruelest, most despicable thing in all of creation. He never takes a break, it seems. Did I remember the victory of my Beloved while I cried in my car? Nope. My day of agony rolled along to the next stop and the next. I was wading in quicksand and by the time we got home I was spent. Praise God, my mom came and took Gracie for a "Grama day". I laid on the couch and FELT SO BAD.
Rod called. He was full of the joy of the LORD. A long-time dream had finally come true for him and he was sitting gleefully in his hometown gushing to me on the phone about what an indescribably awesome time he had with the LORD that morning. Every bit of elation he had on the West coast was equaled in full measure with the amount of suffering I was going through here on the East coast. But, we're one flesh. How can that be? After he told me all of the wonderful things that were happening with him, he asked me how I was doing. By then, I realized it was stupid old Satan oppressing the snot out of me. (We're one flesh, my husband and I, right? Why wouldn't he try to "mess with me" like Pastor Bob Wilson likes to say.)
Rod prayed for me and rebuked our enemy. He boldly cancelled Satan's assignment against me in Jesus' name and plead His precious blood over me afresh. I listened with cloudy ears. My head was still stinging. It was a miracle that the skin had not been broken. I decided to begin counting my blessings after we hung up the phone.
I laid on the couch and tried, but I fell back into a loathsome despair. I climbed into the shower and began to sing:
Holy and Anointed One.
Your name is like honey on my lips.
Your Spirit's like water to my soul.
Your word is a lamp unto my feet.
And Jesus, I love You.
I lo-ove You.
I sang it again. And again. And then, I became acutely aware of His presence. I squeaked out this honest statement:
"Lord, I have a hard time believing You are IN me, because I FEEL SO BAD."
I heard Him say these words,
"I FELT SO BAD in the Garden. And I AM GOD."
Instantly, I cried tears of great joy. Suffering is part of my journey home. And I remembered how only a few days earlier while I was having my morning Bible study and read about how we WILL suffer as Christians that I said to the LORD, "I don't know if I've ever experienced much suffering. How can I identify with Your suffering?"
Um. By the way...don't pray that. Don't ask that...unless you want an object lesson from the Lord. But...actually...I'm glad I had the lesson. Because honestly, all the torment that stinkin' Satan put me through that day was NOTHING (Zipola) compared to the tremendous rush of love I felt from My Saviour when He identified how He FELT in the Garden and HE IS GOD.
I'm telling this story about what happened to me a couple of Saturdays ago to impart this message. Once you confess your sins, accept God's perfect way of salvation (JESUS) and begin your journey with Him...ETERNAL LIFE BEGINS.
When He spoke to me in the shower that afternoon, I heard His precious voice with the most intimate clarity. He said, "My sheep hear My voice and they know Me." I have "That's me." written in my Bible next to this verse.
But wait, there's more. I didn't speak to Him about my fears of being a single mom again. But, He knows it all. So, after He told me how He FELT, He said this to me:
"Tell you what. I promise you, I will never leave you no matter what happens. Never. Okay?"
Friends, I was laughing through tears in the shower. I knew that already, but it makes all the difference in the world when you hear Him SAY IT. He knew the fear in my heart: after my husband preaches the Gospel He goes HOME and here I'm left behind.
But, I am blessed to have two husbands at once. Rod is my temporary husband...here on earth for a determined amount of time. God decides how long that will be. But, the LORD is my FOREVER HUSBAND. So, it was only right for Him to make me that promise. This is what He says of Himself in Isaiah 54:5
"For your Maker is your husband,
The LORD of hosts is His name;
And your Redeemer is the Holy One of Israel;
He is called the God of the whole earth."
He is gracious. He sent my Rod safely home to me after a mountain-top (actually, it was more like an Oasis-in-the-desert) experience in Holtville, California. Part of his heart and mind is still very much there. So much happened. So many blessings. So many wonderful kindnesses provided by God through His people. But, my husband's beautiful body is here. His precious face and soft sweet voice are here with me, safe and sound.
I'm telling you the straight truth. I never, ever miss my old life without Jesus. I pity all those who hear the salvation message and reject it.
Jesus is the greatest thing that ever happened in all the world!
He is our only Hope and new life with Him begins when you say
YES! Hosanna! (Save now!)
Praise Jesus with me! Thanks for reading. Love, Jenn