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.
Goodness me! Where do I start? It’s good to be alive….and I truly mean that. GOD has been GOOD… and I mean that as well. When my family set out into the unknown this past July, we never could have imagined what was in store for us. Yes…unknowingly, we had set…or rather God had set us up for the next IMPOSSIBLE mission yet to encounter in our lives. Hmm..meeting and marrying my husband was a challenge in itself…and yes, the IMPOSSIBLE then… become POSSIBLE…because of HIS AMAZING GRACE.
Then again…bringing my daughter to the point of birth…was yet another IMPOSSIBLE mission…but became POSSIBLE because of HIS AMAZING GRACE. Then come July…and then August…and what had seemed like a brilliant idea to pack up and leave behind family, friends…and yes, familiarity…becomes infused with deep frustration and ANGER when things didn’t seem to move on as quickly as we had anticipated.
BUT….let me stop there. My soul had to be born again. Yes…on 17 October, the anniversary of my 17th year in the Lord, which was also the first anniversary of this blog, I seat in church listening to the preacher say what I needed to hear. Yes…my heart needed to beREVIVED, RESTORED and REPLENISHED in a new and AMAZING way. Yes…HIS AMAZING GRACE has keep me and my family going…and I can now say…I am rising up again to walk the course He has set out for me.
God has been GOOD…and I mean that! And HIS GRACE has been AMAZING!!!
For all my blogging friends out there….I want to say thank you….for your prayers and love! And for all my readers…known and unknown…I will be back. God has been doing an AMAZING JOB…in my heart and I hope when I will get back on this page…it will show…as it did with Moses whenever He came down from the mountain of the Lord to face the children of Israel.
May the Grace of the Lord be with you, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit now and forevermore. AMEN!!!
Thank you all for your kind words of encouragement. Yes…my family arrived in the UK on the 7th July and we have been trying to settle in. Obviously, there is still alot to be done…before we can move on but God has been faithful. Walking this road is a SWEET/BITTER experience in itself…but just as a friend sent me an email last week….OUR FAITH ought and should always look away….but LOOK UP at the AUTHOR and FINISHER of our FAITH. And while our circumstances and life sitiuations are different in every sense of that word….WE SHARE THE SAME FAITH….the faith that stays FIXED ON JESUS. The faith that Peter had when he walked on water towards Jesus. The faith that Hannah had as she cried out in faith to the Lord for a baby, the faith that Paul and Silas had when locked up in the prison. I am tapping into that SAME FAITH… and I hope and pray you will take the same grace today and walk down with me…towards the END of the promise.
BY THE WAY….Sarah laughed at the beginning out of fear but in THE END, she laughed out of pleasure. Whatever your reason for laughter….GOD IS FAITHFUL.
PS NOTE: I am not yet back on the net full time. So do bear with me.
The last time I checked….and I kept wondering, “GOD, DOES IT MATTER?” All this trusting, believing, pleading and staying at one point. “DOES IT MATTER?” So here I am and the Lord put it out well. Yes, it matters. Oh…it more than matters. I am stretching your spiritual muscles. For too long…you have confined yourself to accomodate what you can handle in your present situation. But I am here…I want you TO STRETCH, I want you TO ENLARGE, I want you to MOVE OUT….yes, because I have plans for you. In case you might wonder who this word is for…It for me….and you, and him, and her, and yes….for most of us.
DARE I SAY MORE…..read ISAIAH 54 for the bigger picture.