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!
May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, O Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer. Psalm 18:14
A censor according to Oxford dictionary is: person authorizedo to examine letters, books and films etc…, and remove or ban anything regarded as harmful.
We live in a fallen world. It doesn’t take you a day or two before you hear that someone somewhere has just put themselves in the spotlight because of the words of their mouth. Yes….the WORDS OF THEIR MOUTH. Most of what is publicized or receives much public attention is when words are overly used or abused. One wrong sentence or phrase and one’s life is suddenly ruined or permanently damaged.
It is interesting to note that most of us are careless with our words from time to time. And hence, our greatest efforts to be courteous and civil are always being put to the test. For example, after being married for a while, a couple suddenly begins to be careless with their words. Before long, words that were unthinkable get exchanged in the hit of the moment. Teen children begin talking back to their parents etc.
But the Psalmist did not trust in his own ability to always keep his cool. He needed a HEART CENSOR. He needed the Lord to examine his heart and his words. He allowed the Lord’s full access into his heart’s affairs because he understood that when God had access then only good could come out from his mouth. If you and I could allow the HEART CENSOR into our hearts today, we will removed all those little and seemingly harmless ways that can still cause much pain and heartache when not dealt with sooner.
Its my prayer that you and I will allow our hearts to go through the test because at the end…there is always a reward for a censored heart!
The tongue has the power of lifeand death, and those who love it will eat of its fruit. Proverbs 18:21
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.
Psalm 112:1 Praise the Lord. Blessed is the man who fears the Lord, who finds GREAT DELIGHT in his commands.
Every man on the face of the earth wants or desires to be successful. And while..its right to desire to be successful, there are only two ways to get there. SUCCESS can either by FEAR-DRIVEN or FAITH-DRIVEN.
FEAR-DRIVEN SUCCESS says:
Blessed is the man who wakes up early and stays up late; the man who has a life insurance; the man who has savings for a rainy day; the man who exercises and eat health; the man who knows the rules of the game etc.
Psalm 127:2 In vain you rise early and stay up late, toiling for food to eat_ for he grants sleep to those he loves.
But…something goes missing for this man….HIS HEART! No matter how sure or secure he is at his present or perceived future….HIS HEART IS ALWAYS FEARFUL. Why? Because he has no fear of the Lord in his heart.
On the other hand…the man who has the fear of the Lord in his heart walks securely. His present or future is sure…as he walks by faith.
You are called a FATHER because you have a CHILD or CHILDREN. They might be your natural seed, adopted or spiritual children. But whatever the case, ONCE A FATHER, ALWAYS A FATHER. Fathers have their God-given role to raise up children into responsible adults. But the GODLY FATHER has a defined task to raise up children into a GODLY OFFSPRING… which in turn makes up a GODLY GENERATION. Throughout the history of the children of Israel, when the FATHERS failed in their role to raise up GODLY OFFSPRING, the next generation became godless and began worshiping foreign god.
Today, you as a GODLY FATHER… as you celebrate your first or more years of being a father…remember, your role has not changed. God desires for you to continue in the following: Continue reading →
For the last 3 days, I have been EMOTIONAL….yes, I am full of GOOD EMOTIONS. And while I do not know how to express them through this computer screen…one thing is for sure. My EMOTIONS at this point in time can only equal the emotions of these TWO VERY EMOTIONAL WOMEN in the bible. So…I will borrow their words…to express my own emotions as well as theirs!
HANNAH…THE BARREN ONE.
She was married to a wonderful husband but couldn’t bear him children. She was constantly mocked and ridiculed by her co-wife. But finally, God heard her prayer and opened her womb. She became the mother of Samuel…one of the greatest prophets in the Old Testament.
1 Samuel 2:1-10 Then Hannah prayed and said: “My heartREJOICESin the Lord; in the Lord my horn is lifted high. My mouth boasts over my enemies, for I delight in your deliverance. ‘There is no-one holy like the Lord; there is no-one besides you; there is no Rock like our God. ‘Do not keep talking such arrogance, for the Lord is a God who knows, and by him deeds are weighed. ‘The bows of the warriors are broken, but those who stumbled are armed with strength. Those whose were full hire themselves out for food, but THOSE WHO WERE HUNGRY HUNGER NO MORE. SHE WHO WAS BARREN HAS BORNE SEVEN CHILDREN, but she who has many sons pines away. ‘The Lord brings death and makes alive; he brings to the grave and raises up. ‘The Lord sends poverty and wealth; he humbles and he exalts. HE RAISES THE POOR Continue reading →
2 Kings 13:18-19 Then he said, ‘Take the arrows,’ and the king took them. Elisha told him, ‘Strike the ground.’ He struck it three times and stopped. The man of God was angry with him and said, ‘You should have struck the ground FIVE OR SIX TIMES; then you would have defeated Aram and COMPLETELY DESTROYED IT. But now you will defeat it only three times.
Everyone who enters into a fight…hopes always to win. But there is always a WINNER and a loser. However, there is another different angle to any kind of fight. Sometimes, you might win by default or sheer luck. Thankfully, as a child of God…who is constantly faced with different kinds of battles…our perspective in a fight is…or ought to be that one of a victor. Yet…in spite of this awesome knowledge, we at times enter into our fight UNARMED and UNPREPARED to endure through to the end. At other times, we have no strength to keep our hands on the WEAPON for too long. That’s what happened to the King of Israel.
Israel was ever fighting different kinds of enemies. Before each battle, according to the instructions, each king was required to inquire from the Lord through the prophet. In the account from 2 Kings 13, we see Jehoash, King of Israel consulting Prophet Elisha before going to fight the Arameans. And this was Elisha’s instruction to him.
2 King 13:15-17 Elisha said, “Get a bow and some arrows,” and he did so. “Take the bow in your hands,” he said to the king of Israel. When he had taken it, Elisha put HIS HANDS ON THE KING’S HANDS. ‘Open the east window,’ he said, and he opened it. “Shoot!” Elisha said, and he shot. THE LORD’S ARROW OF VICTORY, the arrow of victory over Aram!” Elisha declared. ‘YOU WILL COMPLETELY destroy the Arameans at Aphek.”Continue reading →
Psalm 20:7 Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but WE TRUST in the NAME OF THE LORD OUR GOD.
What does SIMPLY CHURCH got to do with anything? You see, church…for you and I may have a whole lot of different meanings. And so does…CHARIOTS AND HORSES. Ask the nobles in the days gone by and you might found out that…CHARIOTS AND HORSES represented in those days…POWER, PROSPERITY & PRESTIGE. In the middle ages, those who owned and rode in HORSE AND CHARIOTS…were usually the CREME of the society, to be regarded with high honour…not because of anything they had done on their part but simply because one was born into aristocracy.
But what does SIMPLY CHURCH got to do with you and me? EVERYTHING...and much more. Church…and I mean church in the only place where you require no qualifications whatsoever to be part of…other than…allowing Jesus to take your lowly place by forgiving your sins and admitting you into AN ETERNAL ARISTOCRACY…in this life and in eternity. Yes…CHARIOTS and HORSES can seem for some like a secure place…of power, prosperity and prestige…but SIMPLY CHURCH…is more secure than all the horses and chariots put together. Why? Because the bible says so: Continue reading →
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 →
John 3:8 The WIND blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of THE SPIRIT.
Last night, as I put my head down to sleep, I heard the Lord speak gently into my spirit. “THE WIND IS CHANGING.” Let me explain a bit. You see, sometime at the end of November last year, our landlady came with this unexpected announcement. Our house…where we moved in on our wedding night…and where our daughter has called home was soon going to be sold. Suddenly, our lives were turned upside down. For one…renting a house in our town is almost an impossible affair. Most houses are built for sale…and rarely do you find a house for rent. Secondly, because of the scarcity of rental houses, those available are at exaggerated rates.
But earlier in September, we had began thinking of looking for our own house to buy and settle down. We had an eye on a particular house…and the excitement was getting on as we prepared to get things moving in the right direction. Then…again, quite unexpectedly, the plans to relocate were soon interrupted. God closed the doors on us. Yes…the time for CHANGE was here but THE WIND OF CHANGE was not. Finally, when our landlady gave us notice of three months to move out…something happened to both of us, my husband and I at the same time. It was as if God had been waiting for this ONE MOMENT in time for a long time. Without a a long discussion or compromise, we knew that NOW…was the time for us to move out. Not out of our house…but rather to move on with THE WIND OF CHANGE.Continue reading →