…and they journeyed to another village. Luke 9:56
You thought He would stop, He continued. You thought He would give up, He pressed on. Jesus and His followers were passing through a Samaritan village in their journey to Jerusalem but were not welcomed upon knowing their final destination. Instead of staring into the wall, they continued their journey towards Jerusalem via another village. You see He did not battle the wall, He worked around it. He walked through another way for he is resolutely determined (v. 51) to reach the designated destination. It was another way yet His eyes were still focus on the same finish line. They re-routed. He re-routed.
We have a similar itinerary in life.
Want to read mine? I was serving as an altar boy when I was in elementary school. I thought I was developing a relationship with God when a fellow server gave me a reason to stop in what I am doing. From high school years up to early college, I was a nominal catholic. I attended church services yet have no relationship with God. When I was in 4th year college, a friend invited me to attend a life changing seminar which paved way for me to be re-routed back to God.
Here’s another. One acquaintance of ours has been long living far away from the Lord. People have concluded on her, they said she won’t change. They said she was born like that. Her family has accepted her the way she was. When she came to work for abroad, things changed, she changed. Who would have thought, going abroad was Jesus’ plan of re-route.
Jesus does not stop when we stopped. Jesus continues the journey when we have lost our way. Jesus is resolutely determined to bring us to the finish line. We are re-routed.
…knock and the door will be opened to you. Matthew 7:7c
I have a standing invitation, which is three years old, from N. Dag Reppen. Who is Mr. Reppen? He is a world renowned expert in power systems engineering. He is one of the founders of a firm that started and established what we use and what we know now in electric power engineering. Yes, the guy is big time! Yet, I have not come to his abode in spite of his invitation. For three years, I was not able to respond to his invitation. Why? I wanted to fix the date with him so I may able to arrange my schedule. Last time I saw Mr. Reppen, he told me, “If you decide to come, just knock.”
We have a standing invitation, too. From Jesus. He is the expert of the experts. He is the founder of everything. He started a mission two thousand years ago and it is still going strong day by day. He is the BIG in big time- He is God.
Maybe you have heard His invitation in the past and has shunned it. Or maybe you have responded to His invitation and now He is calling you to a higher door. You aren’t able to heed His summon for you want to fix the date. After college. After the wedding. When the visa is approved. When you passed the board exams. After you reach your dream. When healing is done. When you are retired. When you get what you want. When life is good. You still want to arrange something whereas Jesus is the One who arranges all things.
You set an appointment with the doctor but not with the Healer. You make a date with your girlfriend or boyfriend but not to the Friend who laid down His life for you. You ask for an appointment with your boss but not with the real Big Boss. You calendar a date for the tutor to come but not with the Source of all wisdom.
Drop the date. Don’t be late. Jesus’ invitation stands. And He is saying, “If you decide to come, just knock.”
But they answered her, “There is no one among your relatives who has this name.” Luke 1:61
Bad reputation. Dysfunctional. Society’s zero. Clan of drunkards. School junkies. Jail’s permanent visitors. Drug addicts. Neighborhood’s menace. Weaklings. Push overs. Surplus shop. With debt until death. Broken. Broke.
Do these words ring a bell in your family? These are familiar tags for families who can’t make a day without being stared upon by passers by. Signature of lineage of families who have not broke away from what their roots were. If the grandfather was, the father is, the son will be. The newborn girl has the same footprints as the mother who took the shoes of the grandmother.
Can you break the family’s tradition?
Zechariah did. He named his son John. No one among his relatives has that name. Nada. If you look into their family tree, you won’t see a hanging fruit named John. The roots have not bore that fruit before. The branches were not familiar with that fruit. For in the history of that tree, no one has that ID. Yet, the father wrote on a tablet, “His name is John.”, for this was God’s direction. This is where action is louder than words. Zechariah followed God’s will and broke the family’s tradition.
We can, too. If we follow God’s direction in our lives. If we step on Jesus’ footprints. If we run after the heart of God with passion. If we stay on course with the Captain of the ship. Even at sometimes, the family’s voice will deaf our one voice. Even at sometimes, the family’s culture mutes our desire to be holy. After all, action is better heard than intonation. As long as we can be faithful to God, by His grace, we can break that domino effect of failure in our blood.
Expect this, in God’s time, there would be a fruit hanging on the tree who’s not family.
Hezekiah took the letter from the hand of the messengers and read it; then he went up to the temple of the LORD, and spreading it out before him, he prayed in the LORD’S presence… 2 Kings 19:14-15a
Hezekiah got a bad news on a bad day. Assyrians are about to attack God’s chosen. About one hundred and eighty-five thousand men are about to unleash their wrath against Hezekiah and the people. His first reaction was not to talk about it with his wife or with his friends. He did not allow fear to come to him instead his faith drove him to God. He did not ask, “Why me or why us?” He did not question God’s faithfulness. He did not analyze if they had the power to overcome the opposition. He did not count on their weapons; he counted on God. He did not fear the King of Assyria; he put his faith on the heavenly King. He spread the letter out before God. He did not fold the problem, he presented it. He did not keep it to himself, he exposed it. No shadow covered his concern; he laid it out to God’s light. He spread it out before God – implying God alone can and will save them. And God did.
We can learn from Hezekiah.
Spread out your bad news to God. Spread out your concern about being conquered by financial problems. Spread out your letter of termination to the King of kings. Spread out your over the limit lab results to the One who heals. Spread out that death certificate to the Fountain of Life. Spread out before God that newspaper which headlines corruption and immorality in government.
Don’t let the bad news sandwich you. Spread it out before God.
Yes, the LORD has chosen Zion, desired it for a dwelling: “This is my resting place forever; here I will dwell, for I desire it…” Psalm 132:13-14
We hopped from one house to another. This is what we did as a family when we were looking for our home, at least our dream home. We have standards. It should have three to four bedrooms. It should have two full bathrooms. A spacious living room is a must. Wooden floors would be very desirable. No repairs needed when we move in, is a top priority. My daughters will not transfer school was another important consideration. We had several house visits before we jumped into offering our interests to buy one. However, our real estate agent was very understanding after we revoked our home buying agreement because we realized the house was not our dream dwelling place. We started again with our house tripping itinerary. We looked one house, then another then another. Until, we saw this one. It matched every detail of our check list plus an affordable price. So right there and then, our agent called the other agent and the rest is history.
If we think God would do the same, we are mistaken. God won’t hop from one heart to another to find His dwelling place, His dream home. Every heart is His dream home. God has no standards in desiring His home. The only thing I can think of God looks into is if the door is open, if He is welcome. God will not discriminate if you have four religious events to attend to every week. God will not go to another heart if you do not perform well. He will not revoke His agreement to dwell in you. Never. When God sees your heart is open for Him, He will choose it. He will dwell in it. He will desire to dwell in your heart. There is no timetable for God to use your heart as His address. For as long as forever, He will dwell in your heart. Every heart is a matched for God to dwell.
Right here and right now, God is calling you. Open your heart for Him to enter, to dwell in there forever and create history, His story.
But you, remain faithful to what you have learned and believed, because you know from whom you learned it… 2 Timothy 3:14
They were ahead of me on the line. An Indian woman and her son stopped by the Subway sandwich store to get their lunch same as myself. When it was their turn, the mother requested the server to change his plastic hand gloves. She explained that those hand gloves might have residues of meat which the server has touched for the previous customers. It came to me, this is about their religion. It’s not about that they are living a healthy life, which even a small millimeter of meat is a No-no, but this is about remaining faithful to what they have learned and believed. This woman remained faithful even if she was not sure if the server understands to what she is standing up for. Though, there were many customers hearing their conversation, she did not allow herself to be dwarfed by the crowds and she remained faithful and boy, I looked at her like I was bending my neck upwards at Yao Ming. She stood tall, she remained faithful.
So should we.
….. when a friend drops a gossip in the midst of your conversation.
….. when your boss blurts a direction for you to falsify your report.
….. when your leader in the community takes the slide.
….. when peers ridicule you for what you believed in.
….. when others have falter being faithful.
….. even when faith seems to be less.
….. in small or big things.
….. when everybody is watching or nobody is looking.
Paul exhorted Timothy to remain faithful, and he is encouraging us to do the same. Remain faithful to what we have learned and believed. For us to stand up for Jesus even at some times we may be misunderstood. To remain steadfast in the midst of worldly pressures to keep our faith burning. Do not allow any residue not belonging from God to be planted in our hearts and lives. Never mind the crowd, focus on depending on Jesus for grace to make a decision for Him to stand tall and stand strong when situations challenges our devotion.
Do not be dwarfed, stand tall and remain faithful.
To you I raise my eyes, to you enthroned in heaven. Yes, like the eyes of a servant on the hand of his master, like the eyes of a maid on the hand of her mistress, so our eyes are on the LORD our God, till we are shown favor. Psalms 123:1-2
You have your own notes. As you take the floor, with other choir members, the conductor smiles at you. He raises his hands. Signaling the start of the piece.
Where do you raise your eyes? On your own notes or on his hands.
The psalmist has his answer. The psalmist’ eyes are on His hands. Like a waiter’s eyes waiting for those hands to provide a cue. Like the maid’s eyes patiently locked upon the mistress’ hand gestures. He fixes those pupils until favor comes upon him.
Practically, where do you put your confidence? Where do you point your eyes when help is needed? Where are your eyes darted when darkness comes? What is clear in your eyes when life is bleak?
Most of the time, we can’t wait on God thus we take our eyes off from Him. You look on your bank account balance. You raise your eyes on the economy. You stare at your job security. You gaze upon your credentials. You peek at your skills. Your eyes raised on your own notes.
God gives the right direction at the right time. Won’t you raise your eyes on Him?