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.
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!!!!
Then the Lord said to Satan, “Have you considered my servant Job? There is no-one on earth like him; he is blameless and upright, a man who fears God and shuns evil.” Job 1:8
Think about it. The Lord is holding His morning meetings with His angels. Each has to report back on their earlier assignments on earth, while also waiting to be sent out to their newest. Satan also joins them from time to time….YES, he is the accuser of the brethren. Think about this! God has a very good report… about one particular man: JOB. He has a VOTE OF CONFIDENCE in him.
But Satan has his point to make. He thinks that Job’s loyalty and confidence in God is based on the exclusive protection he enjoys from God. As soon as the hedge is lifted…the enemy has the upperhand. Job is left standing alone EXPOSED. You may think this as tragic but wait until you hear the story.
You see, God’s vote of confidence in Job was not necessary based on Job’s ability to endure all the hardships but rather on GOD’S ABILITY and HIS ABUNDANT GRACE to see him through the trial. In his weakness, God became his strength.
As it was with Job, it still speaks well of you. A VOTE OF CONFIDENCE from God means you have the majority. Paul reminds us this:
But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed but not in despair; persecuted but not abandoned; struck down but not destroyed. We always carry around our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may be revealed in our mortal body. 2 Corinthians 4:7-10
Do not quench the Holy Spirit. 1 Thesssalonians 5:19
For sometime now, I have been battling these heavy and conflicting thoughts and opinions towards a certain matter. And while from outside, what I feel might seem right, inside there is no comfort in my spirit. For me, there was no way forward. It wasn’t until a few days ago that I finally brought my burden to the Lord. But to my own shock and surprise, He wake me up last night with this words in my mind…. DO NOT QUENCH THE HOLY SPIRIT.
You see, the fact remains….the problem is still there. But the Lord made me understand this, that the problem was not the problem…the problem was ME. Yes… the PROBLEM OF SELF. At one point or another, there comes a time in life when we come at a crossroad…and our greatest obstacle is…. SELF. Self ego and all that comes with it seem to have the loudest opinion in the matter. The Bible clearly says this: There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way of death. Proverbs14:12
Maybe that you? Just like me….God is asking not to push away His Spirit which is deposited in you to safeguard you and watch over your welfare. Its good to be reminded of these words by Paul to the Corinthians;
For our weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ. 2 Corinthians 10:4-5
Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see. Hebrew 11:1
Just imagine yourself unable to move your own weight around….just for a moment. Then again, imagine a little change in your situation because you have something to help support your weight…that’s right; crutches. For someone in need, crutches can seem like a god-send.You see for a long while, I tried to convince myself that what I had was better than not having at all. In the past 2 years, my faith had been tested and stretched to the limit. My faith had been shaken and turned inside out…in a sense…my faith had been exposed.
And because of this…my faith was sure….but it lacked the certainty of the unseen. My hope was still intact…but my vision was distorted. As I began to seek the Lord about my faith’s condition, He didn’t seem to be in a hurry to answer…. not until recently. His answer came in as a shock to my system: “YOUR FAITH IS ON CRUTCHES.”
In otherwise, the Lord didn’t come to offer me good wishes and hope for a speedy recovery something that I had been seeking from Him all throughout my shakings. No…instead He was offering me more:FAITH WITHOUT CRUTCHES…a NOW faith. Just like Jesus had asked the man who had been an invalid for 38 years… He is asking you and I today. “Do you want to get well?” And I suspect your answer as a good as mine. Yes, Lord!
Your faith need not be on crutches. He is saying to you and I today;
“Therefore keep watch, because you do not know the day or the hour. Matthew 25:13
I missed the weather forecast yesterday. Hence, I did my washing today only to be confronted by a heavy downpour. I mean….CATS & DOGS! To begin with, I hate tracking the weather forecast. My husband on the other hand is a vivid tracker… which is understandable. Having grown up in Africa myself where the weather is almost always predictable and without the disadvantage of the four seasons in a year, I didn’t quite appreciate the importance of the weatherman till I came to Europe.
Hang on, what I am trying to say here? As a child of God… I have another different kind of weatherman. Is he accurate in his prediction? Is he reliable to the letter? Long before Jesus walked on the face of this earth, God had spoken of him through the ages. His forecast of the coming of His ONE AND ONLY BELOVED SON came true 2000 years ago.
While my heart looks forward to the forecast of his soon return, sometimes I miss out on the signs written all over when my heart becomes preoccupied with my today. Like the 5 foolish virgins, I have enough supply for today, and I lack the wisdom to stock up for the long haul. I constantly miss the forecast.
May the Lord help you and I to keep watch…. because the BRIDEGROOM is surely coming and at an hour we expect him not!
Psalms 139:23-24 Search me , O God and know my heart: test me and know MY ANXIOUS THOUGHTS. See if there is any offensive way in me; and lead me in the way everlasting.
We all experience ANXIOUS THOUGHTS from time to time…if not most of the time. In the world we live in, we have been so accustomed to hearing negative and most often the pessimistic point of view that we have come to accept this as the norm. It is normal to think about the future…and of course plan forward. But of late, the Lord has been reminding me of the simple principle…TODAY HAS ENOUGH TROUBLE OF ITS OWN. Yes…those ANXIOUS THOUGHTS, long hours of sleepless nights will not and cannot change a thing.
As a baby Christian, it was easier to let go of those anxious thought…and trust MY DADDY for today. But as time pass by, as a mature Christian… I take charge of many things and like the foolish Galatians…I start mixing my faith with works. I feel the need to help God with my tomorrow. And hence….THOSE ANXIOUS THOUGHTS. Maybe that’s you. Maybe….like me you need to have BABY THOUGHTS but A MATURE HEART. God wants us to have peace. To rest assured that the sky will always be blue, the water will always be colourless and yes…GOD WILL ALWAYS BE FAITHFUL to meet us in our tomorrow.
John 20:27 Then He said to Thomas, “Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hands and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe.”
It is with no doubt the most overly used phrase when referring to a person who needs the convincing before they jump into the boat. Yes…doubting Thomas of course. But this last Easter, I was once again reminded that doubting Thomas needed not be the one who met Jesus in flesh and blood. Countless of times, I have needed the convincing and persuading that HIS SCARS are for real. Like Thomas, I realised that when Jesus had asked him to reach out and TOUCH HIS SCARS…it wasn’t to condemn him or call him unfaithful. But rather He was asking Thomas to believe inspite of…what He had witness a few days earlier.
Maybe thats you…Jesus is asking you to TOUCH HIS SCARS. Jesus is giving you the access to see the evidence of His pain, His passion, His love, His forgiveness and His lovingkindness which He gave willing at the Cross of Calvary. I needed to TOUCH HIS SCARS today. What about you?