A man was there by the name of Zacchaeus; he was a chief tax collector and was wealthy. He wanted to see who Jesus was, but being a short man he could not, because of the crowd. So he ran ahead and climbed a sycamore-fig tree to see him since Jesus was coming that way. Luke 19:2-4
For a couple of months now, the story of Zacchaeus has been lingering on my mind. I had planned to write on it sometime in early October last year, but I kept pushing it aside. But the Holy Spirit kept at it and hence I had to surrender.
For the most part, his story might seem far removed from our own reality. But looking closer… you realize that in so many ways than one his story is mostly like your story! Lets face it, Zacchaeus had much going against him than for him. He was public enemy number one; a tax collector. He was short; everyone around him had a better view…meaning he had to do with the second-hand eyewitness account of what was happening around him. He was a curious man; he wanted to see who Jesus was…not so much as to know him as a friend but rather as the new kid on the block. And above all, he was a wealthy man.
Let’s face it. In life, you and I will encounter difficult situations. Like Zacchaeus, you may suffer from many shortcomings not of your own making…but others which are self-made. You may be limited by a physical, emotional or mental disability which continually hinder your progress. But God is saying to you and I today… GO THE EXTRA MILE and I will meet you along the way. Use what is at your disposal to gain what you are missing. Like Zacchaeus… there is a sycamore tree for each and everyone of us. Climb yours… STAND TALL AND BE COUNTED. Jesus is coming your way!
Count off seven sabbaths of years – seven times seven years – so that the seven sabbaths of years amount to a period of forty-nine years. Then have the trumpets sounded everywhere on the tenth day of the seventh month; on the Day of Atonement sound the trumpet throughout your land. Consecrate the fiftieth year and proclaim liberty throughout the land to all its inhabitants. It shall be a jubilee for you; each one of you is to return to his family property and each to his own clan. The fiftieth year shall be a JUBILEE FOR YOU;- Leviticus 25:8-11a
I started the New Year with one thing in mind: REST. Yes… rest! Why does God demand of His children a time fo rest? Why doesn’t He want us to be on the move on a constant basis? If anything, the world we are living in, is obviously in a RUSH PANDEMIC. Everyone seems to be busy caught up with something… be it important or insignificant. The point is the world is busy…and that includes my world.
For a long while, I have lacked that space and time for rest… rest for my soul. Rest for soul-searching and seeking the mind of Christ. But while I have been busy filling my time with other things, my soul has being yearning for something else altogether. Then, the Lord spoke into my year. 2013 will be a year of Jubilee for me. In other words, its will not only be a time for REST for me, but it will be my time of REST seven times multiplied!
For me, the Year of Jubilee means family, home, love and friendship. It means laughter and merrymaking. It means the sound of children playing and music and dance. Its means that my HANDS ARE NO LONGER TIED. I don’t know about you… but I will enjoy my time out and embrace the goodness that comes with the package.
A voice is heard in Rama, weeping and great mourning, Rachel weeping for her children and refusing to be comforted, because they are no more. Matthew 2:18
Two days ago, I happened to stumble through the above passages twice in one reading. First, I read them from Jeremiah 31:15, then moments later, I read them again from Matthew. Of course with Christmas round the corner, we all need to remind ourselves of Christ, Our Saviour’s birth from scripture.
But while the birth of Jesus brought so much joy for some, for others it brought pain and great loss… the demise of little boys. Boys who could probably have been Jesus’ neighbours and playmates. Just imagine… when Jesus came back from hiding in Egypt, most of his agemates were all dead and gone. Yes… killed by Herod in the hope that Jesus was among them.
Just like during Christ’s birth, today STOP TO REMEMBER those mothers whose pain and loss will only be magnified this Christmas as they miss their sons and daughters… especially those who are out in war or the fallen heros. STOP AND SAY a prayer and remember…Christmas just like in the actual Christ’ birth will not necessarily bring joy to everyone.
STOP TO REMEMBER…those voices weeping in the land.
The people walking in darknesss have seen a great light; on those living in the land of the shadow of death a light has dawned. Isaiah 9:2
My Advent candlelight is on. As we countdown to Christmas so many lights of all shapes and colours will or are already on. But more than the light we see with our natural eyes… there is another LIGHT. The LIGHT OF THE WORLD.
You see, unlike the lights on our Christmas trees and streets, the LIGHT OF THE WORLD is always on. He knows His light has nothing to do with a festive season marked somewhere in our earthly calender. His light shines the most in our darkest moments, through our hurts, pain and disappointment. Let the light beacon on your heart this Christmas…and may it take over and lead you as you move forward into a new season.
For once you were darkness, but now you are LIGHT in the LORD. Live as children of light (for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness, rightneousness and truth) and find out what pleases the Lord. Ephesians 5:8-10
Let no debt remaining outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for he who loves his fellow-man has fulfilled the law. Romans 13:8
Most of us are IN THE RED…. financially speaking that is. Some of us are able to manage our debts well and pay back what we owe to our creditors. While a few of us do also struggle with paying back the debts owed. But Paul reminds us of a different kind of debt. In essence, even the most richest of us… financially speaking can never be on the other side. According to Paul’s letter to the Romans, the continuing debt to love is never ending. Which means you and I are and will ever be IN THE RED.
Look around you… there is someone out there who needs to be loved. You are indebted to them. As we approach Christmas, we are reminded of the great love accorded to us by God, the Father when He send Jesus to pay back the debt we could not pay so in turn we may extend the same love to others.
As you and I manage our other debts… may we remember that God always judges us most on how we manage the debt of loving our fellow human being.
Then the master called the servant in. “You wicked servant,’ he said ‘I cancelled all that debt of yours because you begged me to. Shouldn’t you have had mercy on you fellow-servant just as I had on you? In anger his maser turned him over to the jailers to be tortured, until he paid back all her owed. Matthew 18:32-34
If you make the Most High your dwelling- even the Lord, who is my refuge- then no harm will befall you, no disaster will come near you. Psalm 91:9-10
The other day I got to read Psalm 91 but incredibly it was the two verses above that drew my attention. For most of us Psalms 91 speaks volumes. But for me… in a different way God made me see another point: THE DWELLING PLACE and my choice in it either as a permanent residence or an occasional visitor.
You see, when things are going our way, our plans are following into place, our enemies are at peace with us… we tend to stray away from our DWELLING PLACE. We find pleasure in other temporary places which seem to offer the best deals and service. There seems to be no danger around us.
Then trouble strikes! We are bruised and broken. Then we remember…yes, there was a place for hiding. There was a shelter in SOMEONE greater than our troubles. What the Lord wanted me to understand was; as His Child, my home was with and in Him. I am not a guest but a permanent residence in His DWELLING PLACE. But I have to make the choice to stay and enjoy all the benefits that comes with the place.
Maybe like me, you have strayed from THE DWELLING PLACE. COME BACK HOME… the FATHER IS WAITING!!!!