Victoria Osteen, wife of mega church pastor, Joel , may have redefined the purpose and reason Christians worship God. In one of their recent weekly broadcast, Victoria raised eyebrows in the Christian community when she said the following:
“I just want to encourage every one of us to realize when we obey God, we’re not doing it for God—I mean, that’s one way to look at it—we’re doing it for ourselves, because God takes pleasure when we’re happy. That’s the thing that gives Him the greatest joy… So, I want you to know this morning: Just do good for your own self. Do good because God wants you to be happy,” she continued. “When you come to church, when you worship Him, you’re not doing it for God really. You’re doing it for yourself, because that’s what makes God happy. Amen?”
Jesus’ triumphal Entry into Jerusalem:
(Matthew 21:1-11; Mark 11:1-11; Luke 19:29-44; John 12:12-19).
It was only one week before the historic Passover and the city of Jerusalem was crowded with pilgrims who had come there for the annual Passover celebration.
Jesus and His disciples would soon come to Jerusalem to take part in the festivities. They had been travelling for months; connecting with the towns and villages of Palestine. Everywhere Jesus went He preached the Kingdom of God and healed the sick.
As they journey to Jerusalem, Jesus warned His disciples that the time is come for Him to die, but after three days He would rise again.
So, as they came near Jerusalem, Jesus told two of His disciples to go into a nearby village and bring a donkey that would be waiting there. Jesus rode into Jerusalem on a donkey. Crowds of people spread their coats on the ground in front of Him. Some waved branches of palm trees, a sign of victory. The people shouted,
Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord.
In Luke 9:23 Jesus gives us a preview of what it means to follow Him. “… If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and pick up his cross daily and follow me”.
Although taking up your cross involves denying self, the main focus is about following Christ. The cross or burden we carry has to do with the choices we make with our will, the responses we have in our actions, and the attitude we carry in our hearts.
Our cross means that we are putting to death every decision, every response, and every attitude in our life that is not consistent with the love of Jesus Christ.
Jesus said, “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven,” (Matthew 7:21). Even so, one would have to search long and hard to find a professing Christian, who does not think he or she is ready to meet the Bridegroom.
The truth is, Just like unrepentant sinners; many people who have accepted Christ as Lord and Savior–are in danger of getting shut out of the banquet hall when the Bridegroom returns. Not that they are bad people, but humans like to do things their way and not God’s way. The prophet, Isaiah, talking to his country men and women, declared: “All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned everyone to his own way” (Isaiah 53:6).
Surely, many of us have intentionally detoured from the path that Jesus walked. We have turned to our own way. Then, we convince ourselves that we can get back on the right path in time to meet the Bridegroom. In fact, the five foolish virgins who went to buy oil for their lamps also thought they could get back in time to meet the Bridegroom. They were wrong..
Of course, one could argue that the five foolish virgins were not bad people. On the surface, it seems they did all the right things, and they were just as excited about meeting the Bridegroom, as the five wise virgins. However, they came up short when it matters most.
There is only one way to prepare for the Bridegroom, and that is, Follow the step-by-step plan that Jesus has laid before you. He said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No man comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6).
Therefore, friends, If one walk as Jesus walked, rest assure that a seat awaits you at the banquet table when the Bridegroom returns.
New Living Translation (NLT)
James Is Killed and Peter Is Imprisoned
King Herod Agrippa began to persecute some believers in the church. He had the apostle James (John’s brother) killed with a sword. When Herod saw how much this pleased the Jewish people, he also arrested Peter. (This took place during the Passover celebration.) Then he imprisoned him, placing him under the guard of four squads of four soldiers each. Herod intended to bring Peter out for public trial after the Passover. But while Peter was in prison, the church prayed very earnestly for him.
Peter’s Miraculous Escape from Prison
The night before Peter was to be placed on trial; he was asleep, fastened with two chains between two soldiers. Others stood guard at the prison gate. Suddenly, there was a bright light in the cell, and an angel of the Lord stood before Peter. The angel struck him on the side to awaken him and said, “Quick! Get up!” And the chains fell off his wrists. Then the angel told him, “Get dressed and put on your sandals.” And he did. “Now put on your coat and follow me,” the angel ordered.
So Peter left the cell, after the angel. But all the time he thought it was a vision. He didn’t realize it was actually happening. They passed the first and second guard posts and came to the iron gate leading to the city, and this opened for them all by itself. So they passed through and started walking down the street, and then the angel suddenly left him.
Peter finally came to his senses. “It’s really true!” he said. “The Lord has sent his angel and saved me from Herod and from what the Jewish leaders had planned to do to me!”