Palm Sunday: Dream Giver

They had a dream for how the world should be. They had a sense of justice. Surely the messiah supported their dream? Today they all followed Jesus, but by the end of the week He would kill their dreams…and they would kill Him.  What about you? Will you follow Christ even if your dreams must die? Or would you kill Jesus, to worship your dream?

*Encouraging skits at the end.

Praise God, Jesus didn’t stay dead!

(Edit: I changed the title from Dream Killer to Dream Giver, because although sometimes our dreams don’t line up with God and they must die, still God always gives a new dream to replace it…a better one.)

Hello dear ones, I pray you are having a blessed Palm Sunday. Today we celebrate Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem. For Lent this year, my family has been reading Not a Fan by Kyle Idleman. He asks the question: Are you a fan or a follower of Jesus? Fans know a lot about Jesus and they even celebrate His name, but fans don’t actually know Jesus personally. If you’re not a Jesus follower then this may confuse you. How can any of us know someone who died thousands of years ago and obviously isn’t bodily present at this time?  Well, when a person commits their life to Christ, His Holy Spirit comes to live in them. Hence, they know Him. This isn’t done by a magical prayer or church attendance.

The Bible says we must believe in our hearts and confess with our mouths that Jesus is Lord. The word “believe” here is an active belief. It happens in a repentant heart that actively chooses to give Jesus control as Lord of their life. A true follower of Jesus has to confess what God has done for them. They can’t help but talk about how God has changed them. They want to tell others about the forgiveness of Jesus. Fans may believe Jesus is God (just as the demons do), but they don’t surrender their will to Him. They will cease being fans when Jesus demands too much of them. Fans won’t die for Christ.

Jesus wants full surrender. The themes in Not a Fan are similar to what happened during Holy Week. Jesus’ fans praised Him as he entered Jerusalem. Let’s look at the scripture:

12 The next day, when the large crowd who had come to the Passoverfeast heard that Jesus was coming to Jerusalem, 13 they took branches of palm trees [in homage to Him as King] and went out to meet Him, and they began shouting and kept shouting “Hosanna! Blessed (celebrated, praised) is He who comes in the name of the Lord, even the King of Israel!”

14 And Jesus, finding a young donkey, sat on it; just as it is written [in Scripture], 15 Do not fear, Daughter of Zion; Behold, Your King is coming, seated on a donkey’s colt.” 16 His disciples did not understand [the meaning of] these things at first; but when Jesus was glorified and exalted, they remembered that these things had been written about Him and had been done to Him.

17 So the people, who were with Him when He called Lazarus out of the tomb and raised him from the dead, continued to tell others about Him. 18 For this reason the crowd went to meet Him, because they heard that He had performed this [miraculous] sign.19 Then the Pharisees [argued and] said to one another, “You see that your efforts are futile. Look! The whole world has gone [running] after Him!”

John 12:12-19 AMP. 

The fans followed Jesus because of His miracles. We see this through out the gospels. People wanted their bellies fed. Naturally they didn’t want to be sick. With a touch of Jesus’ hand, dreams were made true. But most people didn’t care about getting to know Jesus. They didn’t care about the Eternal Purpose. They wanted Jesus to fulfill their earthly dreams. We have earthly dreams too. Sometimes our dreams align with God’s will, but other times they don’t. There’s nothing wrong with dreams (the moral ones of course)…unless we worship them. If we put our dreams above God’s will, then we have made them idols.

This is a hard pill to swallow. What if your dream is for your sick father to be healed? Maybe you’ve been alone all your life and you’ve prayed for thirty years to have a suitable mate. Or you’ve watched your friends have children but you remain barren. Why not, God? Jesus’ disciples may have thought the same thing. Why not, Jesus? Why not destroy the Roman Empire and free the Jews from great evil? You’re our King, Jesus. Do something! But…

God knew better. God knows better. He could’ve given in to the peoples’ temporal dreams. They would’ve been happy for a little while, but then they would’ve died and spent eternity away from God. They would lose their souls, and those temporary dreams would be worthless. God sees the big picture. If you follow Jesus, He may ask to kill your dream. What will you do? Fight Him, or surrender? A good point to remember is that God gives us dreams too.

In my own life I have seen God take my small dreams and change them into better bigger dreams. Sometimes God postpones dreams. But whether God kills your dream, postpones it, or modifies it, isn’t the point. The question is: Will you follow Jesus no matter what He does? Will you surrender when you don’t understand? Will You praise God, when He doesn’t conform to who you think He should be? Or will you shout with the crowd, “Crucify Him!” Will you become God’s enemy, when He doesn’t submit to your will?

I pray you are a follower and not a fan. I pray you love Jesus even more than your own dreams. I bet all the people who yelled “Crucify” would’ve acted differently if they could’ve seen the big picture.  You and I have the privilege of knowing the end of THE story…of OUR story. If we follow Jesus we have a beautiful ending…better than any temporary dream of this earth.

Revelation 21:3-5a (AMP) says 

and then I heard a loud voice from the throne, saying, “See! The tabernacle of God is among men, and He will live among them, and they will be His people, and God Himself will be with them [a][as their God,]and He will wipe away every tear from their eyes; and there will no longer be death; there will no longer be sorrow and anguish, or crying, or pain; for the [b]former order of things has passed away.”

And He who sits on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.”

This is why Christians all over the world are enduring persecution, loving their enemies, and dying for the faith. Death is temporary for us. The reward of following Christ, is greater than the sacrifice.

Now, there are those who will tell you that being a Jesus follower means God will take away all your problems in this lifetime. They say if you have enough faith you can ask for anything and God will give it to you. They take verses like this out of context:

“Delight yourself in the Lord,
And He will give you the desires and petitions of your heart.” Psalm 37:4 AMP

But we can see by looking at the entire context of the Bible, that we must pray for God’s will. It’s not like we ask for a million dollars and God blinks like a Genie and poof! We are rich.  So according to context, many have interpreted the above verse to mean that if we delight in the Lord, He actually gives us the desires we are supposed to have. Jesus changes our desires to conform to His will, as we draw closer to God.

“14 This is the [remarkable degree of] confidence which we [as believers are entitled to] have before Him: that [c]if we ask anything according to His will, [that is, consistent with His plan and purpose] He hears us. 15 And if we know [for a fact, as indeed we do] that He hears and listens to us in whatever we ask, we [also] know [with settled and absolute knowledge] that we have [granted to us] the requests which we have asked from Him.” 1 John 5:14-15 AMP

I believe, as we draw closer to Jesus, our dreams will grow into God dreams. So, the dream killer is also the dream giver, and His dreams are much much better.

We are all slaves to someone/ something. Don’t believe me? Go without food for a couple days, and you’ll see that you are a slave to your stomach. Personally I want a Good and loving master. I want Jesus. Even if a few dreams have to die a long the way. I may kick and scream along the way sometimes, but ultimately I will submit to my Lord. I made that commitment a long time ago.

Romans 6:17-23 AMP says:

“17 But thank God that though you were slaves of sin, you became obedient with all your heart to the standard of teaching in which you were instructed and to which you were committed. 18 And having been set free from sin, you have become the slaves of righteousness [of conformity to God’s will and purpose]. 19 I am speaking in [familiar] human terms because of your natural limitations [your spiritual immaturity]. For just as you presented your bodily members as slaves to impurity and to [moral] lawlessness, leading to further lawlessness, so now offer your members [your abilities, your talents] as slaves to righteousness, leading to [d]sanctification [that is, being set apart for God’s purpose].

20 When you were slaves of sin, you were free in regard to righteousness [you had no desire to conform to God’s will]. 21 So what benefit did you get at that time from the things of which you are now ashamed? [None!] For the outcome of those things is death! 22 But now since you have been set free from sin and have become [willing] slaves to God, you have your benefit, resulting in sanctification [being made holy and set apart for God’s purpose], and the outcome [of this] is eternal life. 23 For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God [that is, His remarkable, overwhelming gift of grace to believers] is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

Are you just a fan of Jesus? Maybe you’ve went to church all your life, but you don’t really know Jesus. You can be a true follower. You can have eternal life, divine friendship, and the power of the Holy Spirit. Do you need to submit to Jesus as Lord of your life? All you have to do is tell Jesus. Believe and confess.

You won’t become flawless, and their will be many struggles. But if you are committed to Christ, He will come along side you and help you through your hardship. He will change your “want to’s” (as my Pastor says).

I leave you with a quote from the devotional section of Hinds’ Feet on High Places. 

“When we say, ‘Lord’, that should automatically mean ‘yes’ to any request He has for us. By the very act of calling Him ‘Lord’, we are saying that He is in charge and that we are eager to listen and obey with our hearts fully surrendered to Him. ‘No, Lord’, is a contradiction.” ~Darien Cooper

These skits says it all:

My prayer is that of A.W. Tozer:

Rise, O Lord, into thy proper place of honor, above my ambitions, above my likes and dislikes, above my family, my health and even my life itself. Let me decrease that thou mayest increase, let me sink that thou mayest rise above. Ride forth upon me as thou didst ride into Jerusalem mounted upon the humble little beast…and let me hear the children cry to thee, ‘Hosanna in the highest.’ “

God bless & remember the High King lives! ~Amber Dover

A similar post but with Easter skit videos:

http://amberdover.com/2012/04/02/what-do-we-do-with-jesus/

 

Palm Sunday Crafts:

Lent Crafts Part Three 2015

 

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