Make A Way For The King

Palm Sunday was just exactly that, the people making a way for the King’s arrival.  He arrived riding a donkey’s colt and the people laid down palm branches and their cloaks.

  

“Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion! Shout, O daughter of Jerusalem!Behold, your King is coming to you; He is just and having salvation, Lowly and riding on a donkey, A colt, the foal of a donkey.” ~Zechariah 9:9 

The symbolism:

  1. The donkey may refer to the Eastern tradition that it is an animal of peace, versus the horse, which is the animal of war.  A king would have come riding upon a horse when he was bent on war and riding upon a donkey when he wanted to point out he was coming in peace. Jesus’ entry to Jerusalem would have thus symbolized his entry as the Prince of Peace, not as a war-waging king.
  2.  Jesus approaches Jerusalem, he looks at the city and weeps over it, foretelling the suffering that awaits the city.
  3. The palm branch was the emblem of Judea and appeared on the coins of the land, symbolizing one of the country’s riches. When Jesus entered Jerusalem, the trees were in bloom, so in covering the way with palm branches, the people were offering a symbol of great value and luxury. 

Palm Sunday is a celebration for all Christians for the coming of the King, our Savior, the Son of the Most High God.  In a short time from now, historically, Jesus will take on His own sholders the sins of the world.  The sins of mankind allowing all, Jews and Gentiles alike, will be permitted to accept salvation upon repentance and baptism into the fold.  And God will accept them based upon His promises set forth within the Biblical Text.

Jesus entered the city of Jerusalem in order to fullfil a promise for man and a foretelling of the Son of Man. It was through a man which sin, or the nature of man, was revealed. And it was through a man, God in the flesh (the Son of Man; Jesus) which salvation was also reveled.

Stay vigilant! Stay vocal! Stay blessed!

MK Murphy, PhD, DD

Driving God Out of Our Lives

http://www.charismanews.com/us/48769-rachel-held-evans-departs-evangelicalism-are-millennials-next

http://www.charismanews.com/opinion/48678-the-new-christian-left-is-twisting-the-gospel

I came across these two articles over the past few weeks. It brought to my mind the fact that how far we, as a nation…let alone the world, have driven God out of our lives & our society.  A judgement is coming upon us for our actions, or inaction.  

“The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.”  Edmund Burke


But it is not just any action, it is an action based upon a moral, ethical, & a Godly standard:

“Therefore God also gave them up to uncleanness, in the lusts of their hearts, to dishonor their bodies among themselves, who exchanged the truth of God for the lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen. For this reason God gave them up to vile passions. For even their women exchanged the natural use for what is against nature.”  ~ Romans 1:24-26 

And, even now & throughout history, man has twisted the Bible, it’s text & message to say what they desire – steering it away from its central message and purpose to suit their own purposes & needs.

There will always be a remnant, throughtout history, who will believe in God and the word which was left behind for us. But the majority of man will push God out of his life and out of society, in general. Be careful what you seek to do and be weary of the actions you take in the name of Rights and Liberty, for it is by man’s own hand that he will be destroyed through divisive behaviors. Be weary of the actions you take, or don’t take my friends!

Stay vigilant! Stay vocal! Stay blessed!

MK Murphy, PhD, DD

The Gift of Forgiveness 

 

 “But Jesus went to the Mount of Olives. Now early in the morning He came again into the temple, and all the people came to Him; and He sat down and taught them. Then the scribes and Pharisees brought to Him a woman caught in adultery. And when they had set her in the midst, they said to Him, “Teacher, this woman was caught in adultery, in the very act. Now Moses, in the law, commanded us that such should be stoned. But what do You say?” This they said, testing Him, that they might have something of which to accuse Him. But Jesus stooped down and wrote on the ground with His finger, as though He did not hear. So when they continued asking Him, He raised Himself up and said to them, “He who is without sin among you, let him throw a stone at her first.” And again He stooped down and wrote on the ground. Then those who heard it, being convicted by their conscience, went out one by one, beginning with the oldest even to the last. And Jesus was left alone, and the woman standing in the midst. When Jesus had raised Himself up and saw no one but the woman, He said to her, “Woman, where are those accusers of yours? Has no one condemned you?” She said, “No one, Lord.”And Jesus said to her, “Neither do I condemn you; go and sin no more.” Then Jesus spoke to them again, saying, “I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life.” ” ~John 8:1-12 (NKJV) 

I have always found this story to be…fascinating!  What was Jesus writing in the sand?  I’ve heard many thoughs on this; such as, the sins of each in the crowd, the name of the man with whom she was committing adultery, and the list could go on indefinitely.  But the crux of this story is the grand scale of forgiveness for the great amount of sin & scarring upon her soul.  And the greater stain of sin upon the souls of those who dragged her to Jesus

 

in order to accuse & condemn her.  We each have sins and scars on our souls from those sins we have committed and have not sought forgiveness for.  According to James it is irrelevant as to the size of the sin which we commit, little white lie or murder…we are equally guilty in God’s eyes.  Jesus spoke about this in the segment of Not to Judge Others (Luke 6:37-42).  We cannot see because we have so much stuck in our own eyes based upon the amount of sin we have committed.  And yet we cannot see it in ourselves, but we can sure see it in others and then either we talk bad about that person to their faces or we start talking in gosiping circles.

 

 Once Jesus convicted them, those that condemned the adulterous woman, they all just wandered away.  “Where are those accusers of yours? Has no one condemned you?”  She had an amazing change in her life, she was destined for some greatness in her own right, by God’s grace.  When we each commit a sin, or some eggregious act toward another, and we are forgiven…a weight, a tremendous weight, is then taken from our shoulders.  We undeerstand the the actions of the “adulterous woman.”  

  It is at that time we are able to understand the washing of Jesus’ feet with tears.  We can understand the act, as well as, the potential for us to do such a thing if Jesus were in front of us right now!  No matter who you are, or what sex you are, we are all at some point in time the adulterous woman who has sinned greatly against God & His commandments.  And because of THAT alone, we are in need of God’s forgiveness & His grace.  We are so sorrowful of our act(s) that we would, if we could, wash our Lord’s feet with our tears!

Stay vigilant! Stay vocal! Stay blessed!

MK Murphy, PhD, DD

God Does Not Give Us Gifts He Does Not Intend for Us to Use 

This past week or two, and even right now, I have been feeling as though I possess no tangible gifts for God to use with respect to me, His will, and my purpose in this life.  Then, lo and behold, this came across my screen.   It hasn’t completely aided me, but it did comfort & assist me.  Thought it would be helpful for you in your search for gifts and to hear a moving change in the man, Shawn Michaels.  I did feel that I could not have written anything any better than Mr. Michaels.

Stay vigilant! Stay vocal! Stay blessed!

MK Murphy, PhD, DD

Before my salvation, I wrestled because I had a God-given ability. Afterward, I wrestled because God had a purpose for me. – Shawn Michaels                
FaithGateway
Today

God Does Not Give Us Gifts He Does Not Intend for Us to Use
by Shawn Michaels, Wrestling for My Life

Meet Shawn Michaels

Editor’s Note: Shawn Michaels, aka “The Heartbreak Kid”, “The Showstopper”, “The Headliner”, “The Main Event”, “The Icon”, and “Mr. Wrestlemania” is an eleven-time winner of Pro Wrestling Illustrated and WWE’s Match of the Year Award. He has been blessed enough to be the WWE World Champion, World Heavyweight Champion, Royal Rumble winner (twice), Intercontinental Champion, World Tag Team Champion along with many other noteworthy accolades.  All of that used to be his entire identity… until he met Jesus and faith in Him changes his entire life from the inside out. We hope you enjoy this excerpt from Wrestling for My Life and share it with the wrestling fans in your life.

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The Christian friends who expressed hesitancy about me returning to wrestling did so out of concern for me. I have said that WWE is not as evil as it is often made out to be, but there obviously had been plenty of pitfalls there for me to fall into my first time around.

Rebecca might have experienced a little bit of trepidation, but when I asked her opinion about me returning, she said she was at peace with it. When I went back, my old lifestyle had absolutely no appeal to me. I didn’t want to live in a way that would be detrimental to me or my family.

For the first time in my life I felt that I could clearly see the lines between right and wrong.

My salvation came with the realization that if you don’t live for something, you don’t live for much of anything. My something was Jesus, my Lord and Savior, and I no longer wanted to maintain a lifestyle that would disappoint the One who had given His life for me.

With the change that God brought to my life, there was nothing about my previous lifestyle that I wanted to revisit for old times’ sake. The assumption was that before I became a Christian, I had fallen prey to the pursuit of fame and money associated with the wrestling lifestyle. Based on that assumption, I understood why some people were concerned about my going back to WWE. But the assumption was false.

Fame and money and those pursuits were not a temptation for me. They were not a threat for me. They were not the reasons I had gotten into all the stuff I had before. I had drunk a lot, done drugs, and popped pills for two reasons: because of boredom, and because I was empty and lonely. My wife used to say that idle hands are the devil’s workshop, and that was true with me, because a lot of the destructive things I did were just a way to kill time.

Our schedules back then were so busy that all there really was time for outside of wrestling was sitting in a hotel room watching TV until you fell asleep. That, to me, was torture. Plus, I didn’t like to be alone with myself, because I didn’t like myself. I went out and drank because that was a way to be with others. I did drugs to get high and took pills to get relaxed so I could get into a mental state where I wouldn’t have to deal with who I had become.

I never had any withdrawals once I quit. I found Jesus, and I was done with the drugs and pills. Just like that. I have had surgeries since and have had no problems getting off the pain pills after I recovered. I took the pills exactly as prescribed and stopped exactly when I was supposed to.

To me, the complete life turnaround was the strongest witness I could have as a Christian.

Although there were a lot of new faces in WWE, I knew they had heard stories about me. The biggest reputation black marks against me were being difficult to work with and being a pill head. While some of the old-timers who were still around might have wondered if the change would last, I think they also hoped I had changed for good, because they remembered quite well how I had been before, when I had been hanging out in the bars, drinking, doing drugs, messing around with women, going off on people, and generally being disrespectful.

When I had left the first time, the range of how much I was liked by the other wrestlers was probably little to none, with the exception of my best friend, Hunter. I guess one of the upsides to the hell of a life I had lived was that I had set the bar so low that it would not have taken much effort to not be as bad as what I had been. Trust me, that is not something to be proud of!

I used to be one of the guys going to the strip clubs. I didn’t go to those places when I went back. Gosh, I didn’t even know if the younger guys were going to them. I didn’t know where they went. When I could, I brought my family with me. I did that so we could spend more time together, but one of the by-products was that the guys got to see me with my family and their mental images of me would be me with my family instead of in those other places. I think that simply not being seen in certain places I had previously frequented proved to be a pretty viable witness on its own.

I had only one fear associated with my return: that I would not be as good a wrestler as before. I didn’t know how much my back could withstand, but I wasn’t as worried about my body as much as I was my wrestling ability. I was thirty-seven years old when I got back into the ring at the SummerSlam pay-per-view event, working an angle in which Triple H had turned on me. My knees and back felt years older than thirty-seven, but the fans ate up the Triple H angle, and when our match went over well and I didn’t experience too much unexpected soreness afterward, I was back to wrestling.

I didn’t wrestle full-time, managing my schedule so I could spend time at home and still be available for the run-up to and during the big events.

The fans were receptive to the cleaned-up Shawn Michaels. I knew I would face the same challenges with them that I did with the guys. Namely, was this change real and would it last? I couldn’t blame the fans for being suspicious that the Christian story might be just another made-up wrestling storyline. In every personal interview I took part in, I made sure to include my faith in an effort to show that I had experienced a legitimate, real-life change.

I also started incorporating Christian words and symbols into my wardrobe. I wore overt Christian T-shirts into the ring, such as shirts that included Jesus’ name or made a declaration such as “He Is Risen.” I was excited about the shirts, and I took a bit of heat from fans for wearing them and for talking about God so openly. But I had expected that and had determined I wasn’t going to let it bother me. I was genuinely happy and was telling folks long before I knew that “I shouldn’t.”

Vince was fine with the messaged shirts, too, although he did come to me after a couple of months of me wearing them and said he wanted to ask a question about my shirts.

“Do you have a problem with them?” I asked Vince.

“I think they’re great,” he answered. “But there are some countries where we air that we have to digitally alter the overt Jesus stuff. I’m not asking you to change what you’re doing; I’m asking what we can do.”

Vince offered to have WWE create and merchandise shirts that would be able to be aired unaltered in those places while still getting out the message I wanted to send. He said it would be cheaper for WWE to make the shirts for me than to continue digitally altering them for certain locations.

I thought about it and agreed. That put the creative gurus at WWE in charge of my shirts, and they started designing me shirts with crosses on them and “HBK” (for Heartbreak Kid) inside an Ichthys, the Christian fish symbol.

Spending fifteen seconds in the ring before a match with a message on a T-shirt might not seem like having much impact until you realize that we were watched by four to five million people per week in just the United States. That was a big audience!

As for what those people were watching in the ring, I believe a strong case can be made that despite the physical issues, I was a better wrestler — and certainly a better storyteller — in the second part of my career than in the first. Not bad for a dude who not only hadn’t planned on ever wrestling again, but also had struggled with the decision as to whether he should even rejoin WWE.

I learned a valuable spiritual lesson in my return to wrestling: God does not give us gifts that He does not intend for us to use. Even in the days when my life was out of control, I considered my wrestling abilities a gift from God. I say it humbly when I say that I could wrestle really well. It always came naturally to me. There was nothing about the job of wrestling itself that I did not like or would define as work. To me, digging a six-foot ditch is work. Hard work!

But wrestling wasn’t.

Being good at wrestling was never difficult for me.

Someone once told me that God isn’t a bait-and-switch kind of God, and I don’t believe that God would have given me the gift of being a good wrestler and then not want me to wrestle.

The Lord built me to be a pro wrestler, and I did the best with what I had and tried to make the most use of my platform when I could. I would say that before my salvation, I wrestled because I had a God-given ability.

Afterward, I wrestled because God had a purpose for me.

Excerpted with permission from Wrestling for My Life by Shawn Michaels, copyright Zondervan 2015. 

* * *

Watch the Video

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Watch the video with Shawn Michaels, former WWE Wrestler.

You Turn

What are some God-given gifts you’ve been blessed to receive? Join the conversation on our blog! We’d love to hear from you about living out God’s purpose. 

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In Wrestling for My Life, WWE superstar Shawn Michaels shares from his heart about the highs and lows of his life inside the WWE. Included are some never-before-shared stories and an intimate look into his career as well as stories of hunting, family, and faith.

With millions of fans, Michaels had adulation and all the attention he could ask for, but he discovered there was something more. When he became a committed Christian during his years in the WWE it had to affect everything. Michaels reveals what it is like to be a man of faith in this unusual world and shares insights for all of us.

Learn more about Wrestling for My Life…. 


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The Love of God

Love2“Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

Love never fails. But whether there are prophecies, they will fail; whether there are tongues, they will cease; whether there is knowledge, it will vanish away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part. But when that which is perfect has come, then that which is in part will be done away.”

~1 Corinthians 13:4-10~

Love is a very funny thing, emotionally speaking.  By reading this passage you find out what the love of a parent is like and, for that matter & in my opinion, what the love of God is like.  Jesus said,

“‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the first and great commandment.  And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets.” ~Matthew 22:36-40  With this explanation, everyone is our neighbor.  However, we were also told by Jesus to “Love our enemies” as well. ~Matthew 5:43-48

Which is quite a bit easier said than done! Have you ever contemplated loving God?  Let alone, loving Him with all your heart, soul & mind?  There is an adage to extend a kindness to someone who can never repay for what you have done for them.  So, now the question how can we repay God for all that He has done for us?  We cannot!  As we can, in no way out give God and His everlasting goodness.   The only thing we can do is be as the traveler in the Parable of the Good Samaritan, by showing kindness and compassion to our fellow man…our brothers and sisters of another mother.

Be the Good Samaritan as you walk through life.  Spend time with God in prayer and your fellow man as you travel through life.  You can talk to God at any time you choose to speak to Him and your fellow man is all around you.  Be the love of God to everyone you come in contact with, it just may change your life…and maybe someone else’s in the process!

Stay vigilant! Stay vocal! Stay blessed!

MK Murphy, PhD, DD

Love1

Seizure of Property Foretold

siezure2Woe to those who devise iniquity, and work out evil on their beds!  At morning light they practice it, because it is in the power of their hand.  They covet fields and take them by violence, also houses, and seize them.  So they oppress a man and his house, a man and his inheritance.   ~ Michah 2:1-2

I recall a news article, or web post, where a retired California man was shot by police during a “drug raid.”  They found no drugs, because it was a no-knock raid the homeowner armed himself – as they lived out in the middle of nowhere – and because of the weapon in his hand, he was shot.  The wife lost her life long companion over something they had nothing to do with.  More behind the scenes:  Because of the location of the property a developer wanted to purchase the property and the owner said NO.  As time slipped on by, an “anonymous tip” suggested that he was dealing drugs.  The police obtained a warrant (no-knock); they killed the owner, seized the property and bank accounts under the drug seizure laws and never once charged either of the occupants, dead or otherwise.

This is a great travesty in our land, which will eventually lead to many other problems.  Under such circumstances, how would your faith hold up?  Seems very similar to the plight of Job, but instead it was the wife who survived.

siezureUnder such circumstances, who is to say…I would like to believe that my faith would hold up.  I would like to believe that my strength would be drawn from the pool of wisdom, known as the bible.  But unless you are sitting in those same circumstances, you cannot truly know.

I do not write this in order to douse your faith, or call it into question; but rather to reassess your faith, beliefs, and trust in the Almighty Author of Life!

Stay vigilant! Stay vocal! Stay blessed!

MK Murphy, PhD, DD