For my fourteenth birthday, my dad took me to a professional hockey game. I was stoked. I’d never been to an NHL game. We had great seats which made up for the fact that the game was awful. But what made the game was the fact that, somehow, my mom had managed to get a call in to the arena beforehand and, in between periods, there on the big screen was a big giant happy birthday to me! No one knew who I was, but I saw it. My dad saw it. And I told everyone about it. It’s pretty awesome to get a shout out like that.
But a happy birthday on the jumbotron is nothing compare to what Jesus has promised us.
And I assure you of this: If anyone acknowledges me publicly here on earth, I, the Son of Man, will openly acknowledge that person in the presence of God’s angels.
Luke 12:8 (NLT)
Jesus has promised us the ultimate shout out. At what cost to us? Only that we publicly acknowledge his lordship in our lives. Sounds pretty easy to me.
This day and age, though, public acknowledgement of Jesus Christ as Lord can make the atmosphere a little (or a lot) tense. But then you have to ask yourself this: is quietly going about your life never letting anyone know you’re a Christian for fear of persecution worth losing out on Jesus declaring you his brother or sister openly in the presence of the angels? Probably not.
I don’t know about you, but I’m looking forward to having a personal shout out from Jesus on the jumbotron of Heaven.
Daily Bible reading: 1 Samuel 1-3, Luke 12:1-34
The human mind has an incredible ability to change. We can have one thought one moment and a completely different one the next. The introduction of one tiny piece of information can change our way of thinking for years to come. Even pressure from people around you can force a change in thought or opinion.
Upon Jesus entry into the city, Jerusalem was stirred. He rode in on a young donkey saddled in coats. People who knew who he was spread their own cloaks on the ground before him. They cried,
“Praise God for the Son of David!
Bless the one who comes in the name of the Lord!
Praise God in the highest heaven!”
Matthew 21:9b (NLT)
What a wondrous reception for the Son of God.
But while the people in Jerusalem were celebrating the arrival of a prophet, Jesus had to have known that this same crowd would turn on him. These people that were shouting words of welcome and blessing would be the same crowd that would shout just days later, “Crucify him!”
How easily swayed man can be. There are so many who will merely shout the word of the day whether it be Hosanna! or Crucify!
It is in this analogy that we see the great importance not just of making a simple confession of faith, but of making disciples. Words can change from day to day, but when your words become your way of life, you will not be so easily swayed.
In Jerusalem, we see crowds who followed the loudest voice no matter what it said. When the voice shifts from blessing to cursing, does your own voice add to the noise or are you the one who remains steadfast shouting Hosanna! while the crowd calls Crucify!?
Daily Bible reading: Exodus 25-26, Matthew 21:1-22
We live in a noisy world. You can’t even leave your house with noise of all sorts being thrust at you. It would seem that the loudest voices always win. Being heard is more important than being right.
When you strive to be heard, what are you shouting? Are you shouting simply to be heard? Or are you shouting truth?
What I tell you now in the darkness, shout abroad when daybreak comes. What I whisper in your ears, shout from the housetops for all to hear!
Matthew 10:27 (NLT)
We are to shout what God whispers. But I think we often get caught whispering what He shouts.
Here’s something to think about: if we’re always shouting, how can we ever hear God’s whisper? Perhaps it’s time to be quiet for a while and figure out what we should be shouting before we add to the noise.
Daily Bible reading: Genesis 31-32, Matthew 10:24-42
When someone does something good, we praise them. At least we should praise them. As kids, we get rewards and praise for correct behaviour. As adults, we get bonuses and accolades for a job well done. And there are those who seek praise (and often receive it) though they’ve done nothing to deserve it.
What about God?
Clap your hands, all peoples!
Shout to God with loud songs of joy!
For the Lord, the Most High, is to be feared,
a great king over all the earth.
He subdued peoples under us,
and nations under our feet.
He chose our heritage for us,
the pride of Jacob whom he loves.
God has gone up with a shout,
the Lord with the sound of a trumpet.
Sing praises to God, sing praises!
For God is the King of all the earth;
sing praises with a psalm!
Psalm 47:1-7 (ESV)
If we offer praise even to those who are undeserving, how much more should we offer praise to God? And I’m not talking about the twenty minutes you may sing on Sunday morning. I’m talking about all the time. You got out of bed this morning. Surely that is worth something. If you’re reading this, you have a device on which to read it and access to the internet. You’re prospering in some way. You’re literate. You’re ahead of the majority of the world’s population. What is that worth?
As you go through your day, focus on the blessings – all the reasons why God deserves praise. But don’t stop there. Praise God. Whether it’s in a whispered prayer or telling someone else, praise God.
Daily Bible reading: Psalm 47-49; Acts 26