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!
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
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
I have posted watchmen on your wall, O Jerusalem; they will never be silent day or night. You who call on the Lord, give yourselves no rest and give him no rest till he establishes Jerusalem and makes her the praise of the earth. Isaiah 62:6-7
There is one thing that Jerusalem is not … not yet – THE PRAISE OF THE EARTH. But it’s just a matter of time and what we only read in the Bible will one day become a FACT. Yes…. JERUSALEM. Its now a little over a week when the Lord first impressed these words into my heart. Of course, I pray for Jerusalem. But it’s an off and on kind of praying. I pray when I remember or when I see unrest in the Middle East.
The Lord began showing me His desire…. for a FULL HOUSE.
Salvation first belongs to the Jew, then to the Gentile. The bread is for the children and the breadcrumbs are for the others. The glory is theirs, the light of revelation is ours. You see, without a FULL HOUSE, we cannot quite grasps the fullness of GOD. Until JERUSALEM is established….we are not there yet. Pray for her…. PRAY FOR JERUSALEM.… the City of God .
“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!
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?
ISAIAH 52:12 But you will not leave in haste or go in flight; for the LORD will go before you, for the GOD OF ISRAEL will be YOUR REAR GUARD.
According to Collins dictionary… a REARGUARD is a detachment detailed to protect the rear of a military formation, esp. in retreat.
It is one thing to trust in the Lord at the beginning of a journey… it’s another to see Him when you arrive at your destination. Think about Job. Then again…think about me…and yes…think about yourself. When God spoke to me those words from Isaiah 52:12 on that cold February day of 2010…I had imagined that the journey ahead could be nothing but smooth sailing. But…how wrong things had proven to be. No…the fact is God had sent us packing. And Yes, for the record…He had kept part of HIS DEAL.
But there was a problem…for months on end…I didn’t seem to see where He was. I didn’t understand the silence. The battle ranged and like Job…I challenged Him as if He was my equal. The battle became evermore fierce…and my will to fight slowly began to slip away. GOD, WHERE ARE YOU? My soul cried out to Him. He didn’t answer. He didn’t sent a word in season. It became dry and parchy. The pain was unbearable.
“I HAVE BEEN WATCHING YOUR BACK” God whispered to my quietened soul last week, over 2 years since He had spoken those words from Isaiah. Yes, He had been MY REARGUARD. My life…that is, my soul had been left intact. The chaff had been separated from the wheat. The battle was over and I was on my way home. From now on
Psalms 147:13-14 HE WILL STRENGTHEN THE BARS OF MY GATES AND BLESS MY PEOPLE WITHIN ME. HE WILL GRANT PEACE TO MY BORDERS AND SATISFY ME WITH THE FINEST OF WHEAT.
It doesn’t matter at what point you are in your journey…and how fierce the battle may seem ahead of you…if God sent you out…He watching over your life…He will meet you at the end and you will be victorous in Him.
2 Samuel 13:15 Then Amnon hated her with INTENSE HATRED. In fact, he hated her more than he had loved her. Amnon said to her, ‘Get up and get out!’
The stories in the bible are not always what we would like them to be. Of all things, we hate to read the possibility of RAPE or INCEST among those who were chosen of God. But…truth be told. The bible stories are the very same stories we read in our modern newspapers or watch in our television screens in the safety of our homes. Everyone…wants to be loved and appreciated for the right reasons, and by the right person in different ways. No-one wants to be loved by a brother…not as a sister but as a lover! NO-ONE. Absolutely, no-one. But that’s exactly what happened to Tamar, King David’s daughter. David had several wives…hence, Tamar and Amnon had different mothers, but the same father. So in reality, they shared the same blood.
But that fact did not stop Amnon from falling in love with his half-sister, Tamar. Moreover, long before this, God has issued instructions about how to behave towards blood relatives in the book of Leviticus of which Amnon was fully aware.
Leviticus 18:6, 9 ‘No-one is to approach any close relative to have sexual relations. I am the Lord.
‘Do not have sexual relations with your SISTER, either your father’s daughter or your mother’s daughter, whether she was born in the same house or elsewhere.
However, Amnon was too much in love…to think rationally. He was so much into HIS FEELINGS… that he never once stopped to consider the consequences of following after his own heart. Yes…that’s what FATAL ATTRACTIONContinue reading →