Jesus, The King of Peace. Us, the Donkey?

Easter ~ Jesus, the King of Peace. Us, the Donkey? Lessons from Christ at Easter (via @JeanWilund.com)

Jesus, The King of Peace

The end was near.

Jesus’ ministry on earth was approaching its climax, but the large crowd gathered in Jerusalem for Passover remained unaware.

All they knew was this man called Jesus was coming. 

They hoped He was coming to set them free from the iron rule of Rome.

Crowds lined the streets with palm branches as they would a victorious ruler — a warrior king.

But Jesus rarely did the expected.

He came, not as the conquering king mounted on a warhorse, but riding on the colt of a donkey as the King of Peace.

It appears many felt betrayed that Christ chose to come as the King of Peace because they wound up betraying Him in the end.

Cries of “Hosanna! Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord, even the King of Israel,” would soon be replaced with shouts of “Crucify Him!”

Jesus Christ, as the King of Kings (Revelation 19:16), could’ve rightfully marched into the capital city on a warhorse. 

He could’ve taken His place on any throne in the world, starting with the one in Jerusalem. But by design, He humbly rode in as the King of Peace on a donkey instead.

Us, a Donkey?

Jesus was pleased to ride on this humble beast of peace just as He is pleased for His Spirit to live in all who trust in Him. 

In a sense, the King of Glory has once again humbled Himself to ride a donkey. 

I guess I just called Christians donkeys. 

Calling Christians donkeys sounds worse than it is.

Kings of old traditionally rode donkeys during times of peace. They weren’t despised. They symbolized peace.

But they weren’t handsome warhorses, either. I’d rather see myself as a regal Arabian horse than a round, awkward-looking donkey.

But then again, as Christians with Christ living His life through us (Galatians 2:20), we’re really both.

We possess the strength of a warrior steed (Romans 8:37) with the calling of a peaceful donkey (Hebrews 12:14). 

Christians are Donkey Warriors

Even while seated on a donkey, Jesus never ceased to be the conquering, all-powerful Great I Am. (John 8:58)

Christians are called to be a people of peace through which the Great I Am displays His own glory. 

What donkey could feel degraded when the Great I Am sits upon him?

The warhorse suddenly becomes nothing in the presence of a donkey on which rides the King of Kings. 

It’s Not About the Steed. It’s About the Rider

I don’t want the world to notice me, but Christ in me.

I’m not always a pretty sight, marred by selfishness, anger, and impatience.

But if others see Christ in me, they’ll see the peaceable strength of love, grace, and mercy even in times when those three seem out of place.

Let’s aim to be Donkey Warriors — Christians who exude Christ’s calling of peace with the quiet power of Christ’s Spirit. 

He must increase, but I must decrease.
~John 3:30

If we live like Donkey Warriors, perhaps we’ll hear the same words spoken of our generation as were spoken during the last week of Jesus’ ministry on earth:

 So the Pharisees said to one another, “You see that you are not doing any good; look, the world has gone after Him.”

I can’t think of anything better that could be said about me than that my life made others go after Christ. 

I admit I’ve feared that my life has driven people away from Christ instead of to Him!

Read, Listen, & Reflect

I encourage you to read John 12:12-19 and consider what it would’ve been like as Jesus entered Jerusalem on the donkey while listening to Michael W. Smith’s song “Giving” from his “Freedom” album.

This song seems to fit the somber mood Jesus and the disciples may have felt as He entered Jerusalem in peace.

Then the mood in the music and Jerusalem intensifies as the people worshiped their coming King only to discover He’s not the King of War they want. Instead, He’s the humble King of Peace they need.

How can we reflect Christ’s peace to those around us today?

What can we do today to show the world the King of Peace they so desperately need?

The Red Thread of Jesus via JeanWilund.com

The Red Thread of Jesus via JeanWilund.com

I hope you’ve been encouraged today, and I hope you’ll join me tomorrow as we move closer and closer to Resurrection Sunday. 

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Hate and Despair Are Never the Answer. Jesus Is.

Hate & Despair are never the answer -- Jesus is. via www.JeanWilund.com

I Miss Fluffy Facebook

I never thought I’d miss reading a Facebook post about what someone ate for breakfast or that they’re going to brush their teeth.

But with so much hate and despair spewing out on Facebook and on every place an opinion or thought can be spewed, I long for a mundane post that someone just scooped the poop for their pup.

I miss fluffy posts about kittens.

Society seems intent on ripping itself apart with venomous, hate-filled words and accusations slung far and wide.

Many are ready to declare all hope is gone.

 

Hate and despair are infecting America like a life-stealing cancer, spreading from coast to coast.

I refuse to give in to that mentality.

I choose to smile at the future.

And I can because of one thing — one person — Jesus Christ.

Hate and despair are never the answer. Jesus is. 


When Jesus comes into a life, He changes the heart.

He molds and shapes us into people who want to love, not destroy, others. Even those we disagree with.

And once our hearts look more like Christ’s, our hands and feet move toward healing society rather than ripping it apart.

No matter what political view you hold, Jesus is the answer to our need.

But we’ll never know how He is the answer until we know Him.

We’ll never really know Him until we know Him through His Word.

It’s that simple. But it’s not overnight. So let’s get moving.


I pray this will be the Year of The Word — the Year of Jesus.

I hope this year millions turn to God’s Word to find out just who this Jesus is.

Who is this One who says He’s both God and man?

How can Jesus be the answer to every need — every crisis — every longing?

What hope can He truly offer America? The world?

In a time when people are screaming and calling others hate-filled, disparaging names, my prayer is that we’ll stop long enough to take a deep breath and call out the name of Jesus instead.

That’s when everything will change. That’s where peace is found and every answer revealed.

Hate and despair are never the answer. Jesus is.

Jesus by Chris Tomlin


Chris Tomlin’s song Jesus is the message we need to hear.

It’s the song I wish was stuck in every heart and on every mind in America.

Listen to it here, and then sing it out as a prayer for us all. 

 

If you’re overwhelmed by today’s news reports, don’t give in to despair.

Smile at the future and call out to the One who holds it and you — Jesus. 




Magnify the Name of the Lord to Minimize Your Stress

Magnify the Name of the Lord to Minimize Your Stress and watch Music Video Magnify by Messenger via www.JeanWilund.comOh the Stress!

Every fall I find myself stressed out, and I’ve battled it for too embarrassingly long. I suffer from Competition Stress Anxiety.

I just made that term up, but it sounds about right.

If you’re not into sports, this post is still for you because we all have something in life that stresses us out.

It might be of minor importance like mine, as in the I Just Moved to a New Place and Have to Make New Friends Stress Anxiety or the I Have Too Many Things to Do and No Matter What I Do the List Only Gets Longer Stress Anxiety.

Or it might be quite serious like My Medical Bills are Piling Up With No End in Sight Stress Anxiety or worse I Just Lost My Child And Don’t Think I’ll Ever Be Happy Again Stress Anxiety.

Insert whatever your stressor is into the blank:  ________ Stress Anxiety.

Trying to EnJOY But Can Only EnSTRESS?

Before and during the Clemson vs Louisville game, I felt my stress magnify to the point I nearly gave up football.

Before and during the Clemson vs Florida State game, my stress magnified to the point that even though we won, I did give up football.

For a day. Then reality hit.

My husband and I host football parties every game we’re not attending. We love sports, we love our friends, and we love to combine them.

I’m not going to tell my husband we have to give them up just because I magnify my stress. And I’m not going to hide in my room during the games and ignore our guests.

Besides, I want to be able to watch AND enjoy football.

See the word “joy” tucked in there? It’s not “enSTRESS.” It’s “enJOY.”

Lord, Help Me!

I need help only God can give because this is ridiculous! It’s just football, Jean!

So I prayed. A lot.

I prayed and asked God to help me remember that He is both loving and sovereign, and thus if Clemson loses, it’s ok.

God let Paul get imprisoned. It wasn’t fun, but it was purposeful.  

I prayed for God to remind me He has far greater plans for each of the players than just their win-loss record. It’s ok for them to lose because God will use it.

God let Joseph get sold into slavery by his brothers, but God allowed it because He had plans for Joseph to one day become second in command over Egypt. 

I prayed I wouldn’t lose sight of the fact that it’s just a game, not a real problem. Real problems involve cancer, unemployment, and life or death situations. Not football — unless you make your living playing football.

God led Israel to the Red Sea. He boxed them in with their enemy charging toward them in war chariots, ready to drag them back into slavery. That’s a real problem. That’s serious stress. 

I prayed. A lot.

And I’d have momentary success. Super-sonic fast fleeting success, but not lasting joy.

I’ve Magnified the Forest So Now I Can’t See The Trees

Yes, I know the phrase is “can’t see the forest for the trees,” but in my case, all I could see was the massive forest. I missed the beauty of each individual tree.

I could only see the whole season — we must win every game, especially the National Championship.

I couldn’t enjoy each beautiful tree — every hard-fought, well-earned win.

As I talked about my all-or-nothing mentality with God, I remembered a time years ago when I prayed and prayed for God to remove a negative mindset I couldn’t seem to change.

All day, every day I prayed and asked God to change my thinking to one that encouraged, rather than depressed, me.

I prayed and experienced similar fleeting success as my competition stress anxiety.

Then someone said:

You can’t stop thinking about one thing until you start thinking about something else

All my many prayers about my problem kept my problem on my mind. And that caused my stress to magnify and peace to minimize.

I now knew the solution:

Quit Praying So Much

As crazy as that sounds, I needed to STOP praying all day about my problem. It only increased my stress.

I needed to bring my stress to God once in the morning and then let it go for the rest of the day and then turn my prayers into praise.

It overcame my stress back then. It should overcome my Competition Stress Anxiety too.

No more praying, “God, I know it’s just football, and you’ll use a loss for their good and Your glory. . . Lord, help me to rejoice even if Clemson loses . . . Father, take away my anxious heart about whether we’ll win or not . . .

Instead, praise, “God, you are . . . ” and then let every amazing truth I know about God flood my heart and mind with no mention or even thought of football.

Praise Magnifies the Name of God and Minimizes Stress

Like the Israelites who marched around Jericho once a day and then returned to their camp, we need to march around our problems in prayer once a day, and then return to our day.

When stress is highest, praise needs to be higher.

We must stop worrying and praying about our problems incessantly.

Praise magnifies God’s name. It puts our minds in the right perspective.

The Proof is in the Praise

Magnify the Name of the Lord to Minimize Your Stress and watch Music Video Magnify by Messenger via www.JeanWilund.comI tried my Prayers into Praise strategy at the next game — The Pitt Game! Yes, the game Clemson LOST.

And guess what. It worked!

Each time my stress began to rise, I took a deep breath and began to praise God.

I didn’t praise Him for the Clemson Tigers. Or that He’ll use a loss for good.

I praised Him for being God.

I took my mind off of football and my stress and put it onto God.

I worshiped Him for being loving, powerful, sovereign, and ruler over all. I imagined what it will be like one day when we His people are in heaven worshipping Him in one voice. I let His powerful presence awe me.

As I praised Him in spirit and in truth just for being God, I magnified His name and felt my stress melt away.

It’s like the little minimize button on the computer that takes a big window and makes it small. The potential of losing — my source of stress — was still there but it was so small as to be almost invisible. Until something happened that clicked on the maximize button and my stress began to fill the screen of my mind. But then I praised — not prayed — again.

I praised God a lot during that game.

I was truly sad when we lost, but my stress level never rose near what it had been during the games we won, nor did it stay elevated long.

Try magnifying God’s name next time your stress level rises. Take your mind off your worries and focus on who God is, not what He can do for you.

Magnify by We Are Messengers

Listen to We Are Messengers sing Magnify, and let’s magnify God’s name together.

O magnify the LORD with me, And let us exalt His name together.
~Psalm 34:3

Your turn: What helps you maximize your peace and minimize your stress?

#MAGNIFY the name of the Lord to minimize your stress #MondayMusic @MessengersMusic Click To Tweet




Praise Picture ~ Peace!

John 14:27 -- My peace I give to you! (Praise Picture via www.JeanWilund.com)

Praise Picture — Peace!

I just wanted to share this Praise Picture with you. Now go take on the day — with peace, and lots of it!

PS — And look forward to my upcoming Never-Ending List of the Character Traits of God. It’s almost ready. 🙂

Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you. -- I'll take it, #Jesus! #Peace #PraisePicture Click To Tweet




The Surprise Blessing of Desperation — While My Child is Away – Part 2

The Surprise Blessing of Desperation

Imagine sitting across from two of your kids as they describe waking up, floating in a river hours after having been struck by lightning and blown out of their kayaks.

Edie Melson lived that nightmare.

Read the excerpt here if you missed yesterday’s post.

Motivation to Pray

Edie and her husband have raised three boys.

Three boys.

Boys get blown out of kayaks.

They say, “Hey y’all! Watch this!”

Boys are motivation to pray.

I’ll never forget when my son and his friends started their own Fight Club.

They pummeled each other for fun until we parents complained about the broken bones and outlawed it.

I’ve got other stories, but fortunately, none involve our son getting thunder bolted out of a kayak.

Edie and I talked about her journey to becoming a prayer warrior and writing her latest prayer book, While My Child is Away: My Prayers for When We Are Apart. 

Her story will encourage and inspire you.


Edie Melson, author of While My Soldier ServesEdie Melson:

I wanted to share my story to empower other people.

I write books on prayer now, but prayer for me didn’t come easily.

I thought I was really bad at it. I felt inadequate, like my prayers weren’t powerful enough to affect anything.

But I knew I had to pray.

The biggest thing was the desperation.

My kids needed prayer, and I couldn’t do anything but pray.

At that point, I didn’t realize that prayer was the best thing—the strongest thing—I could do.

I looked for books on prayers, but they were formal. And they weren’t my emotions.

One morning I called out to God in my quiet time.

The disciples asked You to teach them how to pray. Do it for me, too.

Everywhere I turned for the next six months, information just showed up. Scriptures would appear on billboards.

God finally got through to me that prayer wasn’t about the formality, the words, or the ways. It wasn’t legalistic. 

A huge weight fell off my shoulders. I can do this!

But I still felt awkward.

I began going through Psalms, inserting my children’s names in Scripture.

I began to write them out because I’m easily distracted.

This process of journaling and praying scripture for my children revolutionized my prayer life.

When I finally clued into the fact that the power in prayer didn’t rest in me or my words, it rested in God, the whole world opened to me.

All these prayers that were in me, waiting to come out in just the right way, started flowing because I finally got that it didn’t have to be perfect.

We want our prayers to matter the most with our kids.

Without realizing where the power in prayer comes from, we can dam up our prayers ourselves.

God wants us to be free and able to come to Him without feeling stressed.


The Surprise Blessing of Desperation

Desperation isn’t fun, but it’s a great teacher. It reaches us when logic and reason can’t.

God used desperation to clue me into the power of prayer, too.

With my kids far away, the only real power I still had to impact them was prayer.

Like Edie, I felt a desperate loss of control.

My desperation led to the surprise blessing of peace.

Peace comes whenever we let go of the need to control and choose to trust in and rely on God instead.

Fully trust in and rely on Him.

God knows all our kids’ needs, and He’s always good and faithful to work exactly as He knows best for their good and His glory.

And He knows how to move us from desperation to peace.

One helpful tool is Edie Melson’s While My Child is Away.


The Surprise Blessing of Desperation -While My Child is Away #Stop2Pray #Pray4MyChild @EdieMelson Click To Tweet


Edie Melson, author of While My Soldier ServesEdie Melson is the mother of three grown boys and the author of several books, including While My Soldier Serves: Prayers for Those With Loved Ones in the Military. A sought-after writing instructor, Edie serves as the co-director of the Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers Conference, as well as a popular faculty member at numerous others. Connect with her on her blog The Write Conversation at www.EdieMelson.com, Twitter, and Facebook. Edie and her husband live in Simpsonville, South Carolina.




Here’s My Heart, Lord (by Lauren Daigle) Because a Mother’s Heart is forever entwined with her children

Lyric Video: Here's My Heart, Lord (by Lauren Daigle) Because a Mother's Heart is forever entwined with her children (via www.JeanWilund.com)

As a mom, my heart is forever entwined with my children. When I give the Lord my heart — my whole heart — I’m giving Him my children, too.

As we walk through life, we must speak words that are true. Believing lies comes too easy for us.

As we launch our children out into the world, more than ever we must speak words that are true so that we can launch them out in confidence.

Our confidence doesn’t rest in whether we’ve prepared them properly or whether they’ll make wise choices. It rests in the Lord who goes with them, watches over them, and is working in their lives to draw them to Himself.

Here’s my heart, Lord . . .

Bobby . . . Brittany . . . Carolyn

Did I do enough, Lord?

Was I faithful to raise our children to understand how much You love them?

Did I come close to reflecting Your amazing grace? 

Speak what is true.

You are faithful when I am not, Lord.

I seem to be fairly faithful at being unfaithful. Thank You that Your grace covers me.  

You’re the Great Shepherd. You seek and save the lost and never lose your children.

I lost one in the gorilla house in Chicago! Thank You for finding her!

You are strong when I am weak.

That’s a daily occurrence, but I like walking in Your strength better than mine anyway.

You’re the great I AM.

I’m the great Am Not. You are everything I’m not and can never be. You’re everything we need. 

You’re near my children when I am far.

And I seem to keep getting farther and farther. 4,677 miles from one child to be exact.

Wedding Family Photo InstagramYou are life, Lord.

I like living. I want my children to live — really live.

They are Yours, and they are loved.

How can I ever thank You?

Take my heart, Lord. 

My heart is growing bigger. 

Bobby . . . Kaitlyn . . . Brittany . . . Carolyn

Thank You for Bobby’s wonderful bride, our newest daughter.

Hold my heart, Lord.

I trust in You.

My heart is in perfect peace with You.


 

Lauren Daigle once again grabs me with her music and her heart for the Lord.

In honor of Mother’s Day yesterday, I’m posting her song “Here’s My Heart” today. 

Here's My Heart, Lord by @Lauren_Daigle #TrustYourHeartToJesus #MondayMusic Click To Tweet

In honor of #MothersDay yesterday listen to HERE'S MY HEART by @Lauren_Daigle today. #Love Click To Tweet