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Don’t rain on my parade (a Timeless Truths blog post)

umbrella

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.

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Freedom (a Timeless Truths blog post)

man jumping

How many of you would like to be free just about now? With all the regulations in place it seems that rebellion against authority is a given (regardless of whether or not that rebellion is actually carried out). We were not meant to live under the tyranny of rules and regulations that cause us to forfeit our freedom. We were not meant to live without a means to express ourselves in an appropriate way … that’s why so many people have fought for so long and for so hard so that we could enjoy the freedom that is meant to be ours. Did you know that Jesus was one of those people? Did you know that Jesus came to set you and me free? For too long religious leaders would have you believe otherwise. For too long people have been led to believe they had to follow a long list of do’s and don’ts in order to receive favor with God … but that’s not true. The truth is found in scripture. The truth says in Galatians 2:15,16 (NIV) “We … know that a person is not justified by the works of the law, but by faith in Jesus Christ. So we, too, have put our faith in Christ Jesus that we may be justified by faith in Christ and not by the works of the law, because by the works of the law no one will be justified.” This is good news for you and for me. It means we don’t have to be perfect. It means we can choose to trust in Jesus’ perfection that is credited to us on our behalf when we accept his free gift of salvation. It means we can enjoy freedom in a personal relationship with God knowing, by faith, He accepts us, approves us, and loves us unconditionally … all because of what Jesus did for each and every one of us when he died on the cross to pay the penalty for our sins and to justify us before God as we put our faith and trust in him alone to make us righteousness. Galatians 5:1 (NIV) is also an encouragement to us as it says, “It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.” Of course this doesn’t mean we should just go out and commit every kind of sin imaginable though because we’re trusting in Jesus. No, on the contrary, because of what Jesus has already done for us we should have an attitude of gratitude … and that gratitude should motivate us to want to live in a way that is honoring to him. So, as you ponder the timeless truth of the freedom Christ has already made available to you, check yourself to see if you’re actually living in that freedom. See if you are trusting in Jesus alone to make you right with God. And don’t be afraid to exercise that freedom as you allow the Holy Spirit to lead you and guide you in how you live your life because the Holy Spirit will never lead you in a way that is contrary to scripture and to honoring God. Be thankful, therefore, for the freedom you can enjoy today … no matter where you live … for John 8:31, 32 (NIV) says, “ … Jesus said, “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” Also, 2 Corinthians 3:17 (NIV) tells us, “ … where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.”

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