Christian Devotionals

"That's Why We Praise Him"

As we head into Holy Week, please be sure to take time to show appreciation for your Savior. This has been a hectic week for me: doing ministry, preparing for Holy Week services, managing our home and traveling down throughout the week to visit my mother in the hospital. All of these things are very important, but what a shame it would be if I allowed this flurry of activity to keep me from showing gratitude to Jesus during this all-important week leading up to Easter. Imagine that, being so busy in Christian ministry that I forgo our regular quiet times together and skimp on my Bible reading. Although we never deliberately relegate Jesus to the sidelines, our jam-packed schedules sure seem to put Him there. So let's take a few moments right now to reflect upon some scripture passages that can help us better appreciate our Lord for who He is and for what He's done:

3 And this is the way to have eternal life-to know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, the one you sent to earth.4 I brought glory to you here on earth by completing the work you gave me to do. 5 Now, Father, bring me into the glory we shared before the world began.
John 17:3-5 (New Living Translation)

You probably didn't expect that passage, did you? Many people would have quoted Gospel accounts of Jesus' torture and crucifixion to rally the brethren and exhort them to be appreciative. Well the reason I selected John 17 was because the Holy Spirit brought it to my attention several times during this week. You see my mother, who is recovering from a series of strokes and confined to a hospital bed, mustered up all of her strength to remind me about what Jesus gave up for us. Here she was, partially paralyzed and barely able to speak, yet she earnestly and passionately wanted to praise Jesus for willingly leaving heaven in order to save us. Her words were hard to understand, but her face expressed a level of awe and appreciation for Jesus - an appreciation that was greater than this devotion could ever hope to accomplish. She then labored to tell me how He surrendered all the glory and privilege that comes with being the Son of God, left paradise, became human and was rejected by the very people that He came to save. Yet He willingly obeyed His Father, knowing in advance that all of this would go down and result in His crucifixion. Can you think of any greater love than this (love for us and His Father)?

Two days later, my mother asked me to read John 17. After reading verses 3 through 5, we reflected on this passage and reiterated what we talked about two days earlier. Not only did our appreciation for Jesus grow, but we were able to see a hope-filled future. This is a future where we will see Christ in all His true glory - the glory that He shared with His Father before the creation of the world. One day we'll see that glory, "What a day, glorious day that will be," as the old hymn goes. After I finished this chapter, I said a prayer and my mother closed with a familiar quote from Philippians 2:

8 And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death- even death on a cross! 9Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, 10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11 and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord.
Philippians 2:8-11 (New International Version)

Let me tell you, I will forever treasure this memory with my mother and treasure my relationship with the Savior whom we both share. As I drove home, I tuned in to a Christian radio program where I heard the host actually read from John 17. She closed by quoting the very passage that my mother and I shared (John 17: 3-5). And if that wasn't enough, she quoted Philippians 2:8-11. I don't know about you, but I believe that the Holy Spirit wants all of us to reflect upon these wonderful truths and give our Savior some heartfelt praise. So, what are you waiting for?

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