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!!!!
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
When the men got up to leave, they looked down towards Sodom, and Abraham walked along with them to see them on their way. Then the Lord said, “Shall I hide from Abraham what I am about to do? Genesis 18:16-17
These words… “Shall I hide… seemed to have struck a deep cord when I read them once again this morning. I mean… this is God thinking and thinking aloud for that matter! What He was about to do to Sodom was already decided…but there was a moment of hesitation. God wasn’t about to surprise Abraham with the aftershocks of the destroyed Sodom. No…He hesitated. Why? Because what He had with Abraham was special. It was a SAVOURY FRIENDSHIP! A friendship which was pleasant and enjoyable. Yes…God enjoyed His friendship with Abraham more than Abraham could every know. His opinion on what God was about to do mattered. His suggestions or requests were not lightly taken into consideration.
Lets go down the ages…. its you and me. God is thinking…He is thinking aloud for that matter! But….have we heard what He is planning to do? Much of what I read in the Bible is God thinking aloud. He is still the same God who wants to enjoy A SAVOURY FRIENDSHIP with us His children. He is not will to do things before He passes the message to His children. He desires to hear our opinion in the matter. He is willing to stoop further than we can every imagine. What He was willing to do for Abraham inspite of Sodom’s great sin…He is willing to do for us…inspite of the fallen world we live in.
Then he said, “May the Lord not be angry, but let me speak just once more. What if only ten can be found there?” He answered, “For the sake of ten, I will not destroy it.” Genesis 18:32
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;
Salmon the father of Boaz, whose mother was RAHAB, Boaz the father of Obed, whose mother was RUTH, Obed the father of Jesse, and Jesse the father of David. Matthew 1:5-6
The Gospel of Matthew begins the life of Jesus with his geneology. It introduces Jesus backwards by way of showing us his lineage. And while some women are mentioned along with their husbands in his geneology, two of them particularly stands out. RAHAB and RUTH. They are part of Our Lord’s earthly lineage not by accident, but AGAINST THE ODDS.
You see, both of them were foreigners; one a prostitute and the other, a widow. In the natural, where they were in life seemed prove enough of the future they were likely to face. Rahab must have already given up hope of ever finding a man who could love her for who she really was. She knew that she was no husband material. Ruth on the other hand, had clung to her mother-in-law, Naomi out of a deep loyalty as a way of honoring what she had with her son. No, another marriage was nowhere near her mind.
But AGAINST THE ODDS, the Lord brought opportunity in both their lives which needed a RADICAL OBEDIENCE. And although as foreigners God was as much removed from their everyday reality as can possibly be, when opportunity came knocking they both obeyed without a second thought.
Maybe that you today….God is asking you to do something AGAINST THE ODDS. There are no promises of a grand future….but that might just be what you might miss by not OBEYING. It might be someone in your lineage…they laid the foundation against the odds and now you are reaping the harvest. God wants you and I to look backwards and be thankful for those against the odds moments and He is also calling us to go ahead and do the right thing against the odds to give the future generation something to look back as Our Lord Jesus did and hence move forward with a grateful heart, against the odds.