When Jesus came to town riding on the colt of a donkey large crowds surrounded him joyfully praising God in loud voices for all the miracles they had seen. Luke 19:38-40 (NIV) tells us what they were saying and how the Pharisees responded to such an exuberant expression of praise, “Blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord! Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!” Some of the Pharisees in the crowd said to Jesus, “Teacher, rebuke your disciples!” “I tell you,” he replied, “if they keep quiet, the stones will cry out.” So, in essence, what Jesus was saying was, “don’t rain on my parade,” don’t tell people who are joyfully praising me to be quiet … don’t diminish how they choose to express their heartfelt praise and gratitude for all they are thankful for. In other words, Jesus Himself was giving the “go-ahead” for people to be themselves and to express themselves fully … not holding anything back. In other areas of scripture, the principle remains. Consider Romans 12:11 (NIV) which says, “Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord.” Also, Jeremiah, (the prophet) said in Jeremiah 20:9 (NIV), “But if I say, “I will not mention his word or speak anymore in his name,” his word is in my heart like a fire, a fire shut up in my bones. I am weary of holding it in; indeed, I cannot.” In another scripture we read, “Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit.” (Ephesians 5:18 NIV). And again in Acts 1:8 (NIV) we read, “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” So, since 2 Timothy 3:15-17 (NIV) tells us, “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work” I believe all of scripture applies to us today as well (that is, all of the principles that were taught can be principles we can use and practice in our lives today as well). So, the timeless truth for today is to not allow anyone to “rain on your parade.” That means, if you, from a humble heart of gratitude, wish to praise the Lord in an exuberant way as His followers did in the past, feel free. Don’t let anyone stop you. 1 Thessalonians 5:18-20 The Message (MSG) even tells us, “Don’t suppress the Spirit, and don’t stifle those who have a word from the Master.” As Easter approaches, and with it a special opportunity to give thanks to God for all He has done through giving us Jesus to be our Savior and King, I invite you to fully express yourself from your heart and soul … holding nothing back … for everything God gave to His early church and His early followers He makes available to us today as well … remember, Jesus is the same yesterday, today, and forever; God doesn’t show favoritism; God’s gifts are irrevocable; His gifts are for us and our children and our children’s children. Since God knew His disciples (past, present, and future) would need power to be His witnesses (wherever they went), He provided the baptism of the Holy Spirit (see Acts chapter 2). Now, we have the opportunity to trust and believe His provision is for us today as well (after all, we never cease needing His power to live out our lives for Him and He knows that). That being said, I invite you to pray and ask God for the baptism of the Holy Spirit from a humble and grateful heart … and then, by God’s power and through a gentle and loving attitude, be courageous enough to not let anyone rain on your parade as you worship God with all your heart, in spirit and in truth.