Why do we celebrate Palm Sunday

Why do we celebrate Palm Sunday

Palm Sunday marks the start of Holy Week in the Christian Calendar and marks the day that Jesus entered Jerusalem riding on a donkey as crowds of people cheered and waved palm branches. Almost 600 years had passed since a king in the line of David sat on a Jewish throne in Jerusalem and many were eager for the promised Messiah, or Anointed One, to lead an overthrow of the oppressive Roman occupation. Many also were hoping for an overthrow of the equally oppressive religious leaders who imposed a strict regimen of impossible-to-adhere-to rules and regulations.

That’s why, when Jesus approached the City of David riding on a donkey it seemed to be the fulfillment of an ancient prophecy:

“Say to Daughter Zion,
    ‘See, your king comes to you,
gentle and riding on a donkey,
    and on a colt, the foal of a donkey.’”
Zechariah 9:9

As the crowd spread garments before the man they thought would be their physical deliverer, they also waved palm branches and shouted,

“Hosanna in the highest heaven!”“Hosanna to the Son of David!”
“Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!”
“Hosanna in the highest heaven!”
Matthew 21:10

The word Hosanna means save. What the crowd was saying was “save us from the physical and spiritual oppression that controls our lives. Lead us in a rebellion that will set us free.” The people did not understand that the kind of rebellion that Jesus would lead was not going to be a physical one that would provide temporary freedom, but a much more significant spiritual rebellion that would provide eternal freedom for all mankind.

Christians today celebrate Palm Sunday to remind us of King Jesus who, within a week, would turn the world upside down by allowing himself to be killed for the sins of everyone, and to rise from the dead to provide assurance of eternal live to those who accept the sacrifice Jesus made on their behalf.

If you would like to learn more about how you can become intimately connected to God and truly understand his purpose for you, please go to our Next Steps page.

What Does it Mean to Have Your Sins Forgiven?

What Does it Mean to Have Your Sins Forgiven?

To clearly answer this question let me establish some definitional terms. Sin is an intentional or unintentional thought or act that separates us from our relationship with God or our oneness with God. It can be generally characterized as any serious failure in thought or deed that could’ve been avoided.

At a minimum, it is a failure to live up to God’s standards starting with but not limited to just the 10 Commandments. Our level of awareness or conscience helps us know when we have sinned. It is impossible to live with out sinning. The Bible says, “all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.” That is true because all humans have inherited a sin nature and being no longer perfect they sin. (Romans 3:23)

The emotional, mental and physical burden of living one’s life under sin and it’s negative effect on us and others, without the benefit of forgiveness, is a well-documented fact of life. Everyone, at one time or another, experiences guilt, depression, anger, hate, broken relationships, greed and much more. Fortunately, God’s forgiveness will allow us to live without these burdens negatively consuming our lives. Forgiveness is both a once-in-a-lifetime experience at the moment of salvation and a continuous process for the rest of our lives. The good news of Christ Jesus is that He paid the price for our sins at the cross and now God’s grace will redeem us. When we trust in Jesus as Lord and Savior, He will lift our burdens and make our lives purposeful and joyful. (Romans 5:8)

The Christian pathway to God requires faith and belief in and an experience with God beyond what is completely understandable. The traditional components of God’s forgiveness are a belief in the love of God, an acknowledgment of a sense of wrong thinking or doing (a separation from God), a confession that some thought or act caused the separation, an acknowledgment of the need for reconciliation with God, a genuine regret and request for forgiveness and acceptance of God’s grace and forgiveness and repentance or turning away from sin and following Jesus.

Just ask any of the millions upon millions of Christians who have experienced God’s grace and forgiveness. Remember, don’t forget to ask God as only God can forgive sins. When you do this you will be able to move forward in your life at peace with God and reborn into the continuing newness of life in Christ. And, you will have fellowship with Him now and forever. That’s really Good News.

If you would like to learn more about Jesus and his power to set you free from sin while offering you an opportunity to enjoy an eternity free from guilt, pain and shame, please go to our Next Steps page.

Photo Copyright: gregmack / 123RF Stock Photo

Why did Jesus talk more about hell than heaven?

Why did Jesus talk more about hell than heaven?

Jesus spoke more of Hell than Heaven but we do know He spoke a lot about both.You know God tells us that He loved us so much that “… while we were still sinners Christ died for us.” (Rom 5:8). So God’s purpose for each of us is to bring us into a present and future Heavenly relationship with Him. So warning us of the consequences of not giving our hearts and lives to Christ is a further evidence of this love for us. Jesus it seems wanted to make the choice simple and obvious.
It is similar to you and your children whom you love. If you see them entering a dangerous situation don’t you immediately warn and stop them and tell them of the danger?

Christ’s persistent warnings about Hell tells us that it is a real place and He doesn’t want anyone to go there. Remember, a person’s ultimate destination at death is either Heaven or Hell. The point is that Jesus is saying that there is existence beyond physical death and there are only two possible outcomes. The fact is that God would have all come to know and trust Him and gain eternal life, but He gave everyone the free will to choose.
So, how about you? Have you come into that life-transforming personal relationship with Jesus and now know for sure where you will be for eternity?

If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved.

Romans 10:9&10 (NIV)

If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved.

Romans 10:9&10 (NIV)

What is the primary difference between Christianity and all other world religions?

What is the primary difference between Christianity and all other world religions?

So far as we know, humans are the only beings that feel the need for a power beyond themselves and then define that power from their own perspective. We makes images and fashions theologies to negotiate and “cut’ deals with God developing rituals which often misrepresent God.

Christianity draws on the life, death and resurrection of Jesus, God’s son who came to earth to teach us how to live and to serve as the sacrifice for our sins. Christianity represents God as all-powerful, all-knowing, and present everywhere. This God, whose nature is Love, redeems and empowers those who accept and trust God’s Grace. (i.e. salvation in Jesus Christ)

In short, world religions are man made. Christianity is God Inspired. (For additional perspective, read the answer posted on November 4, 2020)

If you would like to learn more about Jesus and his power to set you free from sin while offering you an opportunity to enjoy an eternity free from guilt, pain and shame, please go to our Next Steps page.

How can I know that Christianity is true?

How can I know that Christianity is true?

That depends on who is defining Christianity. Basic Christianity is the understanding that a person cannot do anything, including good works or good deeds, to win a place in heaven. Christianity alone teaches that forgiveness of individual sin and the promise of eternal life with God are gifts offered to an individual by God. To receive these gifts of both forgiveness and eternal life, one only has to accept the gift by faith in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. So the question becomes, is Jesus true? Is what he says about himself truthful?

Jesus, the first century teacher, is documented in the Bible and by historians of that period, Josephus and Tacitus. His teachings are among the best preserved words from antiquity. His birth, life, teachings, miracles, death and resurrection were all prophesied more than 500 years before he was born. Only God, who exists beyond both time and space, could know the future. Jesus’ miracles demonstrated his divine power. In his three and a half years of ministry, thousands were healed of all sorts of diseases and these events had many witnesses to testify to their authenticity. His death and resurrection are documented historical facts. The raised-from-the-dead-Jesus was seen by more than 500 people, including the eleven apostles, during the 40 days he stayed on earth after his resurrection.

Jesus’ ascension back into heaven had many witnesses proving again he was the Son of God. In addition, there are thousands of verified reports of Jesus appearing to people throughout the world, even to Muslims, who are accepting in great numbers the truth of Jesus as the human manifestation of God. They are recognizing that Jesus is the only path to an eternal relationship with God, the creator of the universe–the only entity who can bring true peace to the human soul and to the world.

Throughout history, many people have tried to hijack Christianity, to use the religion to advance their personal agendas. They have distorted the teachings of Jesus. They have killed and bullied and destroyed in the name of Jesus. However, even a casual reading of the Bible clearly demonstrates that Christians are called to love their enemies, to serve the poor, care for widows and orphans, and to reflect the love of Jesus in all they do. They are called into a life of service on behalf of God, not because God demands it, but because they are so thankful for what he has already done for them. This is the truth of Christianity.

By contrast, all other religious systems are either unverifiable or irrational, thereby disqualifying them as being true. For these reasons alone you can know for certain that Christianity is true, but the question is, ‘Do you believe it?’ Every individual has the free will to receive God’s gift of salvation or reject it and pursue their own self-centered life. Heaven and Hell hang in the balance of this decision. All other religions propose a path to God. Unfortunately, the fact is these are all dead ends leading to eternal destruction. There is no path. There is only the Way of Jesus Christ because he is the Truth and he is God. (John 14:6)

What is the primary difference between Christianity and all other world religions?

What is the primary difference between Christianity and all other world religions?

Two phrases differentiate Christianity from all other world religions;

“in order that” and “because of.”

Most religions require you to do something or perform some sort of ritual “in order that” you can gain favor with God. You must keep ALL the rituals and make ALL the sacrifices. In religions other than Christianity, you never know if or when you have done enough.

With Christianity, on the other hand, you enjoy right standing with God “because of” Jesus Christ.

More than 1900 years ago, Paul, an apostle of Jesus, explained this in a letter he wrote to the church in the city of Ephesus:

For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast.

Ephesians 2:8,9

You can have a relationship and peace with God, have you sins forgiven, receive the gift of eternal life and have the absolute certainty of Heaven. The Apostle John clarified this in his account of the life of Jesus, and also some of his letters:

Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.“

John 14:6

Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life.

1 John 5:12

World religions are man made. Christianity is God Inspired.

If you would like to learn more about Jesus and his power to set you free from sin while offering you an opportunity to enjoy an eternity free from guilt, pain and shame, please go to our Next Steps page.