Devotion: Monday, March 26, 2018

A Biblical, Christ-filled word to bless your lives. 

Welcome to “Word from The Center” MONDAY, a devotional word from the Center of our faith, Jesus Christ, reflections from His Word. I’m Gregory Seltz. Today’s verse is from John 12:42-43, where the Bible says,

42 Yet at the same time many even among the leaders believed in him (Jesus). But because of the Pharisees they would not openly acknowledge their faith for fear they would be put out of the synagogue; 43 for they loved human praise more than praise from God.

THE POWER OF PROPER PRAISE

In 2011 and in 2014, Yvette and I were privileged to go to Germany, to the place of the Reformation as well as the place of the “fall of the Berlin Wall.” Besides getting a “behind the scenes” look at some of the most precious places where Luther did his work, I met and interviewed Thuringa’s Minister President Christine Lieberknecht, a significant leader in the fall of the Berlin Wall. President Raegan, Pope John Paul II, and Margaret Thatcher were principle influencers from without. But, people like Lieberknecht and Pastor Christian Fuhrer were principle leaders from within. All these leaders were praised by the people for the freedoms that came when the walls of imprisonment came tumbling down. But the praise and the joys to God were short lived because many that day apparently sought political freedoms alone and not the spiritual freedoms which last forever.

You see, the Churches in Germany were full before November 9, 1989. They were full because the Church of Germany was the only public alternative to the tyranny of the state and the stifling power of the State’s secret service police, the Stasi. In the church there was a level of freedom even if it was muted.

But, On November 9th, 1989, amidst a prayer service of thousands, a woman burst in and shouted that the wall had fallen, East Germany was free. Their prayers had been answered. The people began to shout and stomp their feet. This was their “hosanna moment.” They began to praise God for their political freedoms and they praised their leaders for making it happen.

Like on Palm Sunday, “They threw their branches down in praise,” but over time it became more apparent that it was not praise for Jesus the Savior, but praise for Christ the political Liberator. Today, those same churches, with the freedom to worship without tyranny have more often chosen not to worship at all. Even leaders like Minister President Lieberknecht have been set aside by the people who, faced with the costs of temporal liberty and freedom, I’ve been told, are yearning anew for the days of the commonly shared miseries of socialism. Wow!

This Holy Week then, let it be the week to realize anew that your faith in Jesus is the MOST precious gift you have. It is a gift that can sustain you amidst tyranny. It is a gift that can empower and guide your liberty too. So, during this Holy Week—set aside the cultural arguments, and the culture praises or jeers….set aside the political issues, as important as they might be—and go to the cross of Jesus Christ, honestly, forthrightly, with your Palm Branches of Praise not just for the freedoms, liberties, and blessings of today….but for the eternal life that is yours because of His life, death, and resurrection for you. Filled with Praises of Him, Praises for Him, that Lasts! That’s the power of Praise for life now and forever. And, that praised-filled faith can never be taken away no matter the politics of the day.

PRAYER: Dear Lord Jesus, thank you for the liberties and freedoms we enjoy today. But may they never replace our praise for the eternal liberty that comes with our sins forgiven by your life, death, and resurrection. Sustain us with that faith, with that praise of your Name! AMEN.

 

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