Can I Get a Real "Hosanna?"

One day, many years ago, people lined dusty streets to catch a glimpse of the man called Jesus. They waved palms in adoration and laid them at His feet, shouting, “Hosanna! Hosanna!”

Hosanna is a shout of praise. A hallelujah - and an alleluia. It’s a cheer, a hurrah, a whoop, a song of praise, a glorification, and an exaltation.

They believed Him to be a king, but they didn’t understand who He really was and His purpose for living among us. It wasn’t long before palms were tossed to the side, and He was tossed in front of those who would put Him to death.

The people followed, allowing themselves to get caught up in the frenzy. “Crucify Him! Crucify Him!” They shouted obscenities at the man they had just honored with songs of praise and exaltation.

Today, we don’t cheer the beating and death of Christ. But we don’t necessarily praise and exalt Him as Lord and King, either . . .

Don’t you think that a bit odd? Considering we not only believe Him to be a king. We know Him to be THEE King. Our Savior. Our Lord.

We don’t have to speculate as to what He might do for us, our family, or our community. We KNOW what He did. Not only for us, but for all mankind.

This Sunday we’ll wave palms in our church and shout, “Hosanna!” But they will be subdued exclamations. Despite the easy-going and contemporary nature of our congregation, we’re still fairly conservative when it comes to worship.

Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we could all abandon our inhibitions and praise God as I believe He intended us to? Unfortunately, I don’t believe that’s truly possible until we join Him in heaven, are in His presence, and stand in awe.

So . . . in the meantime, as we wave those palms this Palm Sunday . . . and as we walk through Holy Week in preparation for the Easter celebration . . . maybe we could at least abandon all to Him in our hearts. And praise Him as He deserves to be praised.

Hosanna! Hosanna! Blessed be the King!


God Reveals Himself

I lay awake in bed, enveloped by warm blankets and the dark night. The clock next to my bed displayed eleven thirty. Rain falling on the roof above provided a comforting sound. A reminder of God’s presence surrounding our home . . .

The Holy Spirit communicates to my spirit and soul through music. But God reveals Himself through the sights, sounds, and smells of His creation.

I loved thunderstorms as a child. I still do. The strong winds, rolling dark clouds, lightening, and thunder speak to me of God’s strength and awesomeness.

Delicate, beautiful cherry blossoms fill the air with their fragrance, and somehow the sweet scent gives a sense of peace.

A weed grows through a crack in the sidewalk and is a sign for me that He has more than enough resources for any situation.

Did you know that ants have the ability to carry up to 50 times their weight? God not only provides what we need to carry our burdens, He’ll carry them for us.

A rainbow arched across the sky is a reminder that God doesn't forget His promises.

Notice the veins in a leaf, the center of a flower, and the intricate markings on an insect. God cares about detail in creation. Take heart that He also cares about the details in our lives.

An ugly caterpillar is freed from a cocoon and emerges as a beautiful butterfly. God desires to release us from our own prisons. We only need to ask.

Observe a bird in flight as it rests on an air current. When we’re weary, we need to rest in the presence of God, and He’ll lift us up.

Watch snow softly fall and know that as each flake is different from the other, God also created us to be unique. He values us as one-of-a-kind.

Listen to a child’s laughter . . . and hear God’s joy.

See. Hear. Smell.

God will reveal Himself to you every day in so many ways . . .


Life is Beautiful

I don’t often use this forum to talk about a movie, but when I discover that I’m still thinking about a particular film days—or even weeks—later, I want to share it. The story is funny, romantic, touching, uplifting, and heartbreaking.

The movie? Life is Beautiful. The Italian film was made in 1998 and was nominated for 7 Academy Awards – winning 3 Oscars, including best actor and best foreign film.

I love foreign films. I explain to people that if the movie is done well, you can engage to a point of forgetting that you’re reading subtitles. Some have a hard time believing that.

When one of my daughters was encouraged by a friend to watch the movie and asked I’d view it with her, I jumped at the chance. Never one to watch foreign films, she discovered that I was right. She became so immersed in the beautiful story, the subtitles didn’t hinder her enjoyment.

Life is Beautiful is the story of Guido, a charming, but bumbling waiter gifted with an imagination and a wonderful sense of humor. He wins the heart of the woman he loves and they have a son. Their lives are truly beautiful . . .

But Guido is Jewish and when the Nazi’s take him and his son, his wife voluntarily gets on the train to the concentration camp. Guido uses his strengths to bring hope and beauty to his family in the midst of horrible conditions.

There might be some who would view the watered down misery of the prisoners as being insensitive to what actually happened to the victims of the holocaust. But even as the atrocities of the prison are softened, the reality of what happened to the Jewish people is still stated. The movie isn’t so much about the pain of what people experienced in the camps, but the spirit of the people, and the ability to survive.

This film is about seeing the good in our lives, no matter what our circumstances are. It’s about making a choice to see beauty – even while surrounded by ugliness. It’s about the kind of love shared between a husband and wife – and the love shared between a parent and child.

I won’t spoil the ending for you . . . but despite some sadness, I also felt uplifted. And hopefully, even a bit changed.

Life is beautiful.


Angels Watching Over Us

Do you believe in guardian angels?

I do.

And I wonder how much they’ve had to do with the small and large miracles that have occurred in my life. Does God give them direction as to when they should step in and intervene? Or are they given a general command to watch over and protect?

If we sat back and thought about it, I think we’d all be able to fill a notebook with stories of how something could have gone soooo bad, but we were spared. And we could also share anecdotes about unexpected blessings.

This week—once again—I experienced someone in traffic cutting in front of me. The lady was to my right and just ahead of me. Cars lined up as we approached a red stop light. Without warning, she bolted to the left in order to drive around the car ahead of her, only to veer back into her original lane. As I saw her move into my lane, I did what I could to stop. I couldn’t drive into the oncoming traffic in the lane to the right of me!

I’m sure I missed hitting her car by mere inches, but she drove on, probably clueless as to what happened. I had to concentrate so hard on not hitting any other cars, I couldn’t even give her a warning honk on the horn. Whew! It felt like my guardian angel stood as a buffer between the two vehicles.

Perhaps even more incredible was what I experienced when my car was stolen some years ago. I’d received a notice from the IRS that I owed a large sum of money for back taxes due to forms being incorrectly filed years prior to that. Of course interest had been added on each year in-between filing and being contacted. I actually DIDN’T owe the additional taxes, but needed to meet with my accountant to get the situation resolved, and set up an appointment to bring in vital documents pertaining to my case.

I met with him after work on a Friday, prior to meeting a friend for dinner and a play. Later that night, I came out of the theater and discovered that my car had been stolen. (I no longer own cars without securities systems!) Not only had my vehicle been taken, but the backpack that held important tax papers and personal information—like my social security number. I was devastated and fearful of what thieves could do with that information. And angry with myself for leaving the documents in the car to begin with.

So my husband and I prayed . . .

The next day I received a call from a fellow employee who worked on Saturdays. He’d received a phone call from a lady who had found my backpack, and after locating a phone number inside, called looking for me.
The elderly lady lived on the third floor in an apartment building in a small city nearby. She’d discovered the backpack sitting on the floor next to the elevator door.

I was stunned.

We retrieved the backpack and discovered that insignificant articles had been taken – gum, Chap stick, etc. It didn’t look like the documents had been bothered. I’ve never had any problems with identity theft. Either the people who took the car didn’t have a clue as to what they held in their hands . . . or my guardian angel blinded them to it.

God is good.

And the car? Weeks later I receive a call from the Seattle police department. It had been involved in a hit- and-run in the heart of the city, totaling the car and leaving the occupant of the other vehicle in the hospital. The thieves were never caught.

Guardian angels watching over us . . .


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