The Titanic’s Last Hero

Last week was the 103rd anniversary of one of the most tragic events in world history – the sinking of the Titanic.

One passenger interested me – John Harper. He was a Baptist minister on his way to Chicago to hold a revival meeting at Moody Church. His wife had died and he was accompanied with his 6 year old daughter, Nana, and her nurse. On April 14, the Titanic hit an iceberg and Harper made sure his daughter and her nurse were safely on a lifeboat.

As the rear of the huge ship began to lurch upwards, it was reported that Harper was seen making his way up the deck yelling, “Women, children and unsaved into the lifeboats!” It was only minutes later that the Titanic began to rumble deep within. Most people thought it was an explosion; actually the ship was literally breaking in half. At this point, many people jumped off the decks and into the icy, dark waters below. John Harper was one of these people.

That night 1,528 people went into the frigid waters. John Harper was seen swimming frantically to people in the water leading them to Jesus before the hypothermia became fatal. Mr. Harper swam up to one young man who had climbed up on a piece of debris. Rev. Harper asked him between breaths, “Are you saved?” The young man replied that he was not.

Harper then tried to lead him to Christ only to have the young man who was near shock, reply no. John Harper then took off his life jacket and threw it to the man and said, “Here then, you need this more than I do…” and swam away to other people. A few minutes later Harper swam back to the young man and succeeded in leading him to salvation. Of the 1,528 people that went into the water that night, six were rescued by the lifeboats. One of them was this young man.

Four years later, at a survivors meeting, this young man stood up and in tears recounted how that after John Harper had led him to Christ. Mr.Harper had tried to swim back to help other people, yet because of the intense cold, had grown too weak to swim. His last words before going under in the frigid waters were, “Believe on the Name of the Lord Jesus and you will be saved.”  This servant of God did what he had to do. While other people were trying to buy their way onto the lifeboats and selfishly trying to save their own lives, John Harper gave up his life so that others could be saved.

“Greater love hath no man than this, that he lay down his life for his friends…” John Harper was truly the hero of the Titanic!

John 3:16 – The Love of God

The topic of God’s love is an overwhelming subject to try and tackle in only one article.

A.W. Tozer once said, “I can no more do justice to this awesome and wonder-filled topic than a child can grasp a star. Still, by reaching toward the star the child may call attention to it and even indicate the direction one must look to see it. And so, I stretch my heart toward the high, shining love of God so that we may be encouraged to look up and have hope.”

In John 3:16 Jesus said, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in him should not perish but have everlasting life.” It is only one sentence – 25 words. Yet that one sentence is packed with much truth.

From this one verse we can find at least seven truths (probably more) about the love of God…

1. THE LOVE OF GOD IS UNCONDITIONAL.

For God so loved the world…

The Greek word for world (kosmos) is defined as “the ungodly multitude; the whole mass of men alienated from God, and therefore hostile to the cause of Christ.” This is the world that God loved. It doesn’t say that God loved all the good guys. God loves everyone. Philip Yancey once wrote: “There is nothing we can do to make God love us more. There is nothing we can do to make God love us less.”

2. THE LOVE OF GOD IS SACRIFICIAL.

…that he gave

How did God love us? He loved us by giving, by serving, by sacrificing. Some love others because of what those people do for them or how them make them feel. But God shows us that true love has nothing to do with what you can do for me, but everything to do with what I can do for you.

3. THE LOVE OF GOD IS VALUABLE.

…his only

Not only did God give, but He gave the only one he had. When you give to someone out of your abundance that is one thing, but when you give out of your poverty that is quite another. If you had several vehicles it might be seen as a noble thing if you were to give one of them to a family who had none. But if you were to give them the only vehicle you had that would be seen as something more than noble – something above and beyond the call of duty – it would been seen as real sacrifice.

4. GOD’S LOVE IS PERSONAL. 

…Son

God’s love is not just a philosophy or a theological topic. God’s love was made manifest in this world through the person of Jesus Christ the only Son of the Father. Jesus Christ came into this world to reveal to us the love of God in human form.

5. GOD’S LOVE IS ACCESSIBLE.

…that whosoever believes in him

The really good news about God’s love is that it is not limited to a select few. It is not available only to those who were born with right color of skin or on the correct continent. Nor is it difficult to obtain. It is not reserved for only the intellectual elite or financial wizards. The love of God is accessible to “whoever believes in” Jesus.

6. GOD’S LOVE IS NONJUDGMENTAL. 

…should not perish

God’s goal in sending his Son was not condemn you are to show you how bad you are. God’s desire in sending his Son was to show you His love and draw you into a love relationship with Himself. He didn’t come to punish you. He came to pardon you. However this does not mean that God is not a God of judgment. God will judge us for our sins and even sentence us to hell, but only as a last resort – only over his Son’s dead body – only if we refuse to accept his offer of forgiveness.

7. GOD’S LOVE IS BENEFICIAL.

…but have everlasting life.

To have Jesus is to have life forever. It is both a quantity and quality. His love is deep and wide.

More than fifty years ago, at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, a sociology professor assigned his class the project of interviewing 200 youth residing in downtown slums. His students predicted that ninety percent would serve time in prison. Twenty-five years later the same professor asked a class to track down the original boys and discover what had happened. One hundred eighty were located and only four had ever been in jail. Why were predictions so far off?

Looking for common factors, over 100 of the boys mentioned the strong influence of a teacher they all had in common. They then located the teacher, a seventy-year-old Sheila O’Rourke, in a Memphis nursing home. Puzzled by the interest in her, she could only exclaim, “All I ever did was love each of them.”

That is the power of love. If that is the result of being loved with an imperfect, human love what must be the results of being loved by a perfect, divine love? As a result of this teacher’s love each of these boys had a life. But as a result of God’s love each of us can have eternal life.

Looking for a Personal Miracle

Sometimes it seems like God is not fair. He heals one person of cancer and we rejoice. Yet another dies and we mourn. Is that really fair?

Well, God is not always fair. He’s good, but not always fair. Some people receive blessings that others do not. Some people go through trials that others seem to bypass. Some people experience a miracle and others live life without evidence of a supernatural God.

God is a personal God and treats us all as individuals. One of the challenging aspects of life is to allow God to perform a miracle His way.

I suppose this is the problem. We want Jesus to perform a miracle like He did to someone else. But God treats us all as individuals. Even though He loves us all, He loves us personally.

This is illustrated when Jesus healed a deaf man. You can read this story in Mark 7:31-37.

A deaf man was brought by his friends to Jesus. Possibly his disability kept him from Jesus. But his friends believed Jesus could heal him. They knew he couldn’t ask for himself so they asked Jesus to touch him as he had done to previous miracle recipients.

So Jesus took the man aside from the crowd, all by himself. He gave him personal attention and a private audience. This man had a unique problem and Jesus dealt with him uniquely.

Jesus could have begun with spoken words, but the man would not know what was going on. So He moved with the kind of communication a deaf man would understand. He put his hands in the man’s ears and touched his tongue with spit.

This seems very strange, but it is also very personal. Jesus touched him. True compassion doesn’t just feel, it reaches out. There is very little effect from Christianity that turns away from contact with hurting people. The surest way to harden your heart is to fail to do something when we feel compassion for others.

If you are seeking for a miracle, know that Jesus wants to touch you. Jesus is not just the all-powerful Son of God, but He wants to have a personal relationship with you. He wants to get close to you. This is the amazing part of the story for me – Jesus came to save the whole world, but He wants to come to you in such a private way that He singles you out and deals with you as if you were the only person He came to save. Your needs are the most important thing for Him right now.

You may not receive the miracle you are looking for. For some the problem is removed. Others are given the special presence of Jesus to endure the problem. Either way, when we get to Heaven we will agree with the people following this miracle – “He has done all things well.” We may not understand the ways of God now, but one day it will all make sense.

Please do not let your problems separate you from Jesus. But allow them to squeeze you closer to Him and He will give you the inner strength to handle anything life throws at you.

4 Great Coaching Questions

I have recently been involved in a ‘coaching’ training relationship with my good friend, Chuck Turner. In short, coaching is a recent method to help others grow in their life. Bob Logan said coaching is “the process of coming alongside a person to help them discover a greater agenda for their life and work, and to see that agenda become a reality.

Coaching is different than counseling and mentoring. Coaching asks specific questions to allow a person to unlock their own God-given potential. Coaching helps people be and do what God wants them to be and do.

Coaching incorporates asking great questions to allow a person to filter what God is doing in their life and what God wants to do in their life. My training is to be able to help someone in a personal relationship. But I discovered that coaching can be useful in about any situation to uncover some great ‘next steps.’

So, if you are ever with someone and want to really connect with what God is doing in their life, I suggest talking through four questions.

1. What can I celebrate with you today?

Few people get a chance to share their joys with others. Often we are burdened with what’s not working in our life. But this question will begin a conversation with what is working in our life.

2. What are you struggling with today?

Everybody’s going through something. Most people don’t want to hear your stuff, but when you have someone who wants to listen, it is a big encouragement. Be that person. Allow someone else to tell you what’s not working in their life.

3. What one thing can you do to improve your life today?

Every problem may have multiple solutions. Allow your friend to brainstorm various things they can do to improve their life. It may be in the area they are struggling with, or may be in some other area. But let them come up with one practical thing they can do to improve their life. This becomes a SMART goal (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, Time-specific). To get the most out of this question, schedule a time to get together in the future and make sure this goal is being realized.

4. How can I pray for you?

Prayer is a powerful thing. Coaching is a wonderful method to help people make positive steps in their life. But when you introduce God into the relationship, the power multiplies. Pray for your friend and ask God to help them keep their goal.

One of the temptations for a coach is to help people solve their problems. A counselor relationship is best for that. Coaching helps people figure out their own solutions to their problems. Rather than pouring information and wisdom into a person, coaching draws these out of a person. We are more apt to keep our own goals than goals that others set for us.

I hope you can coach someone soon. 

Beyond Baseball – Jackie Robinson Day

From a child, baseball has been my favorite team sport.  Today, April 15, is Jackie Robinson Day. On April 15, 1997, it became the only number retired throughout the entire league. It is prominently displayed in every Major League park.  Beginning in 2004, Major League Baseball permanently named April 15th Jackie Robinson Day each year, marking the day in 1947 when Robinson, a 28-year-old rookie, courageously ran onto Ebbets Field transforming one of the most sacred spaces in American culture.

I want to share with you another hero with Jackie Robinson. Branch Rickey, the Brooklyn Dodger president who signed Robinson. While a young coach at Ohio Wesleyan University he made a promise to help break the racial barrier in baseball. Later, as president of the Brooklyn Dodgers, Rickey meticulously planned and shaped his ‘great experiment’ for integrating the national pastime but he needed a player of great ability, personal courage, and unfathomable self-control.

Rickey said of Robinson, “God was with me when I picked Jackie. I don’t think any other man could have done what he did those first two or three years.” And Robinson would say that in his estimation Rickey did more for African Americans “than any white man since Abraham Lincoln.” (I think it interesting that on this same date, April 15, Abraham Lincoln was assassinated. This year, 2015, is the 150th anniversary.)

In their first meeting, Aug. 28, 1945, Rickey stunned Robinson with the news he wanted him to play for the Brooklyn Dodgers. He grilled him for hours and made him commit to three years of non-retaliation. Rickey read to him from Giovanni Papini’s book “Life of Christ” and pointed him to the biblical account of Jesus’s Sermon on the Mount.

Rickey told Robinson, “We can’t fight our way through this Robinson. We’ve got no army. There’s virtually nobody on our side. No owners. No umpires. Very few newspapermen. And I’m afraid many fans will be hostile. We’ll be in a tough position. We can win only if we convince the world that I’m doing this because you are a great ball player and a fine gentleman.”  They agreed.

Rickey said about signing Robinson, “I couldn’t face my God much longer knowing that His black creatures are held separate and distinct from His white creatures in the game that has given me all I own.”

On November 13, 1965, Branch Rickey stepped to the podium to speak after having been inducted into the Missouri Sports Hall of Fame. Baseball’s ferocious gentleman had left the hospital against the advice of his doctors because, as he often said, “it is better to die ten minutes sooner than to live doing nothing.” He rose to speak about a topic he had lived — courage. He spoke of having objectives on which there is no price and began to tell the biblical story of Zaccheus, who he said, “Had the greatest amount of courage of any man in the Bible.” He did not get to finish telling about one of his favorite biblical characters because — while still speaking — he collapsed, and less than a month later died.

Billy Graham said of Branch Rickey, “He was a man of deep piety and integrity — that rare combination of a ‘man’s man’ and a Christian man, at the same time.”

May we be people of integrity and people of action.

How to Experience Miracles in your Life – Great Faith

Do you need a miracle in your life but think miracles are not for you? You’ve blown it too many times. The situation you find yourself in right now is your own fault so why would God help you.

Or maybe you’re not even a Christian so why would God do a miracle for someone who doesn’t even have a relationship with Him.

Or maybe you doubt miracles at all. They aren’t for today. Or they aren’t for real. You don’t believe in them.

Meet a Woman Beyond Miracles..

A woman came to Jesus, who, from a Jewish point of view, was the ultimate outsider. She was a Gentile and a woman and an unclean spirit possessed her daughter. Yet, Jesus did a miracle in her life.

Read her story in Mark 7:24-30. You can also read the parallel account in Matthew 15:22-28.

How did she get a miracle? Her struggling faith made all the difference. Her faith had three qualities.

1. Her Faith was Persistent.

She persisted through silence. Jesus initially met her request with silence. Silence is a hard answer; for it is translatable into something worse than the hardest speech. Yet she was not silenced by the Lord’s silence.

She persisted through criticism. Even the disciples wanted to send her away. Her needs were annoying and they wanted her gone.

She persisted through neglect. The disciples were the ‘children’ and Jesus was not going to feed ‘dogs’ before children. ‘Dogs’ does not refer to wild dogs, but the domesticated house dogs. Jesus stated that the children must eat all they want.

She did not even let Jesus’ priorities turn her away. She continued to press Him until she received her answer.

2. Her Faith was Humble.

The woman immediately saw herself in the story. She did not think that she merited any help from God. From the context, she knew that she was a ‘dog’ an outsider. She did not argue that she was not an invited guest. She addressed Him as “Lord” which is the only time in Mark’s gospel that Jesus Christ is called Lord.

She knew her gods did not care. Jesus was her only hope and she had nowhere else to turn. She was willing to settle for the crumbs which fall from their master’s table, because that would be enough to meet her needs. She would settle for whatever she received from Jesus.

3. Her Faith was Trusting.

She took Christ at His Word. “If you say I’m a dog, I am. But that means I have a Master, and that is you. It means I am a humble part of the household and that I can claim the crumbs.”

The people of Tyre and Sidon were not known for faith (Matthew 11:21-22). Yet this woman dared to believe that Jesus could deliver her daughter. And she trusted His answer.

Do you want a miracle? Have faith – great faith. Persistent in your humble request and trust His answer in your life.

Heaven

Last week a dear, sweet lady died from cancer. Her name is Ardis Shiels. I was invited to share some thoughts at her funeral. I have so many wonderful memories of her and her husband, Jim. Jim passed away 7 years ago.

I shared a few stories that brought smiles and tears. But I wanted the family to know that Ardis’ life was not over. She had received Jesus Christ as her personal Savior and she was given eternal life. She is in Heaven right now.

Ardis Shiels

Many have loved ones in Heaven. I have grandparents and my mom and dad in Heaven. We use the word “Heaven” in our conversation when people die. But few have given much thought to what Heaven is like. Let me share with you some words of comfort about Heaven that I shared with Ardis’ family and friends.

1. Heaven is a REAL place.

As Jesus was preparing His disciples for the fact that He would die on the cross and leave them. It would be the darkest hour that any of them would go through. So Jesus uttered these words of comfort and hope about Heaven.

Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also. (John 14:1-3)

Twice in this passage Jesus calls it a place. Heaven is not an unreal, indifferent place. It is a place as literal and concrete as the house you live in today.

2. Heaven is a PERMANENT place.

We will always have to say goodbye to people we love. Sometimes it is only for a day when we go to work. Sometimes it is for several weeks or months as we travel. Sometimes it is at death and we will not see our loved ones until we die. But Heaven is a place where we will never leave. We will be at our final, wonderful home.

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,  and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade. This inheritance is kept in heaven for you (1 Peter 1:3-4).

3. Heaven is a PERSONAL place.

People are in Heaven. Elijah was taken up in a chariot to Heaven (2 Kings 2:11). Paul was taken up for a visit to Heaven and called it ‘Paradise’ (2 Corinthians 12:4). Jesus is there. He was taken up in His ascension (Acts 1:8-11). And our loved ones who know Jesus as personal Savior are there.

4. Heaven is a HOLY place.

Heaven will be holy because of what is not there. No sin. No sickness. No sorrow. No pain. No more death.

And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away. (Revelation 21:4)

But because we are not holy, we are excluded. Every person must come to Jesus and trust Him as personal Lord and Savior to receive His forgiveness of our sins. Sin will keep you out of Heaven. And since we’ve all sinned, we all need a Savior. It wouldn’t be holy anymore if God allowed a sinful person to inhabit Heaven.

5. Heaven is a place of REUNION.

King David said at the death of his infant son, “You cannot come to me but I can go to you.” (2 Samuel 12:23). Heaven is a place where we are reunited with our loved ones.

Who is in Heaven? Jesus is there. Our Heavenly Father is there. Those who have died in the Lord before us are there. Those who will die in the Lord after us. You will be there – if you have made your reservation by receiving Jesus as personal Lord and Savior.

You can read some of my other articles about Heaven: What is Heaven Like?, A Glimpse of Heaven, Do Children Go to Heaven When They Die?, Rewards in Heaven, Christmas in Heaven.

Jesus is Alive – 5 Results of the Resurrection

The Resurrection of Jesus. Why is it such a big deal? For a simple reason — as Christians, we believe that Easter is the Focal Point of History. Picture a timeline with a cross in the center. The Bible tells us that every moment from Creation on has been leading up to the cross (as part of God’s eternal plan), and that every moment since is lived in light of Jesus’ death and resurrection. Easter broadcasts the news – Jesus is Alive!

So what impact does the resurrection of Jesus have for you today. I have discovered five results of the resurrection.

Because Jesus is alive…

1. You can experience HOPE that relieves your DOUBT.

Let’s face it. Somebody coming back to life is an incredible miracle – hard to believe. Even the disciples had doubts. But once they experienced the resurrection, all doubts were put aside. The living Jesus replaces doubt with hope.

Even today, we may have doubts. Unlike the disciples, we do not have an appearance of the risen Jesus. But we can still talk with Him in prayer and hear from Him in His Word. And He has promised that as we gather with other Christians, He will be right there with us. So, if you are having any doubts, allow Jesus to give you hope. Even if you doubt the existence of God or the validity of the resurrection of Jesus, give Him a chance.

2. You can experience GRACE that forgives your FAILURE.  

The resurrection would be meaningless without the cross of Christ. Jesus died for our sins and rose from the dead as proof of God’s acceptance of His sacrifice. The Apostle Peter failed the Lord the night He was betrayed. But following the resurrection, Jesus appeared to Him and forgave Him.

Whatever you have done to hurt yourself or others, it has hurt Jesus. But He died to forgive you of your sins. If you come to Him in repentance and seek His mercy, He will save your soul and forgive all your sins.

3. You can experience COURAGE that conquers your FEAR.  

Following the crucifixion, the disciples locked themselves behind closed doors in fear. But following the resurrection, they went to the public areas and proclaimed Jesus as the Savior of the world. What happened? They experienced the resurrection of Jesus and it turned their fear to courage.

Sometimes we have fears in life. Strained relationships, poor health, financial difficulties, and death may cast a fearful shadow as we go through the valleys of life, but we have nothing to fear. The living Jesus will walk with us. Though we may not see Him in the dark, we can know He is with us.

4. You can experience LIFE that overcomes DEATH. 

It may appear that death is the ultimate conquerer – the last enemy. But Jesus conquered death. He said, “I am the resurrection and the life – He that believes in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live.” Because Jesus conquered death, we do too.

The promise of eternal life is a great comfort to all who have experienced the death of a loved one in Jesus. Though their body may be laid in a cemetery, their soul and spirit are with Jesus. God gives all those who believe in Jesus eternal life. Death does not have the final word.

5. You can experience PURPOSE that replaces your EMPTINESS. 

Following Jesus’ resurrection, He gave His disciples a purpose – spread the word about His death and resurrection. This is the Gospel. It is the only message that can change people for eternity.

People live for a lot of things – money, fame, self, family, or some other reason. One day all these will disappoint or dissolve. But all that is done for Jesus will last forever. Are you living for something that will last long after your not living?

If Jesus is alive, you have a choice to make…

— Believe in Jesus. Accept His claims. Submit to Him. Live under His daily direction. Receive the benefits of His death and resurrection. , or…

— Dismiss Jesus. Reject Him. Deny Him. Live only for yourself and under your own power.

 

Choose wisely.

You can read some of my other Easter articles: Love, Life & Hope, Grammatically Correct Easter, It’s Friday but Sunday’s Coming, Life After Easter

 

 

A Grammatically Correct Easter

What if you had to describe Easter using only punctuation marks. How would you do it?

Maybe this Easter is a comma for you. Life has been moving pretty quickly, but Easter makes you stop, pause, think and listen. Sometimes we get moments when we are able to re-evaluate the direction of our life. But too often we allow these moments to pass over us and do nothing. When either God places your life on pause or you get a chance to slow down from your hectic life, make sure you use it to move in a more positive direction. Allow God to direct your life. Easter will help you in the right direction.

 

Perhaps today is a downer – a big bold period. You thought you’d feel excited, but instead it seems to be more of an empty ritual. You feel as if you’re not on the inside, but on the outside…an onlooker. It was this day when life became a period for Jesus’ disciples. He was dead. He was buried. An end to all their expectations.

But wait – news of an empty tomb…the period is no longer a period, it’s a question mark. That’s worse than a period. Now they’re beginning to doubt. Where is He? They’re perplexed. The guards are gone; the stone is rolled away. He is not there. If not there, where? An angel speaks, ‘Why do you seek the living One among the dead? He is not here, but He has risen. Remember how He spoke to you while He was in Galilee, saying the Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, and how He must be crucified, and the third day He must rise again?

Of course they remembered! The periods are gone. The question marks are removed. There is one massive exclamation point! That’s what Easter is all about…an exclamation of gratitude and of praise for the resurrection of Jesus Christ and for the salvation His victory over death brought to us.

What will you lay down to praise Jesus?

When Jesus came to Jerusalem on Palm Sunday, the crowd laid down their coats and palm branches before Him. They then praised Him as He entered and proclaimed Him as Savior (Hosanna means ‘to save’).

If Jesus came riding down your street, what would you lay down before Him? To answer that best we should consider if there is anything standing in the way of our ability to praise.

1. Does pride inhibit your praise?

We may not want to admit it, but perhaps pride stands in the way of our praise. I wonder if sometimes we might overlook pride as it relates to praise by referring to it as temperament. We might say, “Well, by nature, I’m just not a very expressive person. My personality doesn’t lend itself to the kind of praise that took place on that first Palm Sunday. I’m too reserved.”

Praise to Jesus can be offered in many different ways, just as sincerely by someone who raises their hands and dances and by someone who bows their head in reverent respect.

So how might we sometimes confuse personality with pride? When we don’t praise when we have the opportunity, and shrug it off as our personality, or just being reserved, we’re kidding ourselves.

If Jesus came riding down your street if it’s pride standing in the way of praise, would you be willing to lay it down?

2. Does fear inhibit your praise?

Perhaps fear at times stands in our way of praise.

The classic example I think of when someone had opportunity to put in a good word for Jesus, and was just too scared to do it is Peter. After Jesus had been arrested, Peter lurked behind in the shadows to see how things would turn out. Someone said to him, “You were with Nazarene, Jesus, weren’t you?”

What a perfect opportunity for Peter say, “I sure was. Jesus is innocent. He’s the Son of God – yes I follow Him and I proudly call him my Lord.”

But of course, Peter didn’t say that. He said, “I don’t know what you’re talking about.” Within a few moments he denied knowing Jesus two more times. He could have praised, but he was afraid.

Sometimes it is scary to praise Jesus. We don’t know what people might think of us if we really let loose with genuine Palm Sunday praise.

But if Jesus came riding down your street, and if it’s fear that stands in your way of praise, would you be willing to lay it down?

3. Does doubt inhibit your praise?

Or it could be that doubt hinders your ability to praise Jesus. Some who are surrounded by people who are praising Jesus may think, “I know a lot of others are really into this. But
I’m just not sure if I should be applauding. I have some serious questions that need to get answered before I can praise.”

It’s tough to praise when you have doubts. But if you give your doubts to Jesus and learn to trust Him, I’m sure He will help you with those doubts. Often, as we yield to Jesus our doubts go away.

If Jesus came riding down your street, and if it’s doubt that’s standing in the way of your ability praise, would you at least be willing to consider laying it down?

Or it could be possessions, sin, sadness, burdens, or worries that stand in your way of praise. Whatever it is, are you willing to lay it down?

If so, I encourage you to praise Jesus.

At church – sing, clap, raise your hands, close your eyes, bow your head – don’t confuse personality with pride

With a friend or co-worker – instead of saying – “Boy that really worked out well,” say, “God sure took care of that one!”

At home – whisper a love song to Jesus as a time of prayer, or sing it at the top of your lungs in your car.

“Everything that has breath, Praise the Lord!”