Filling a Need … Finding Peace: A Story

Zacchaeus (Luke 19:1-10) was a leader among tax collectors. He could afford great jewelry and fine clothes. His position allowed him to charge the people of Jericho more than they owed. Everyone knew he skimmed off the top. They feared this little man.

But this little man had a secret—he wanted more. He had a need. A nagging in his heart that rubies or fine spices couldn’t satisfy. When he heard that this man Jesus was coming to town, he knew he had to talk to him. See him.

Zacchaeus left his tax collecting table for the place where he thought he’d have his chance to see him.

Drat. He’d already passed. He needed to guess … which road would he take? To see Jesus he’d have to take a gamble and run ahead. Hopefully he’d guess right and get there before Jesus arrived. But where to go?

He had an idea. By the Sycamore tree. That’s where he’d wait. He’d have an opportunity to talk with him, for sure.

But when Zacchaeus got to the Sycamore tree, other people were waiting there for Jesus, too. Double drat. What could he do now? He wanted—needed—to see this Man of God for himself.

Zacchaeus looked back down the road and saw a crowd walking his way. Was Jesus surrounded by all those people? How could Zacchaeus make his way through so many people? He was so short … he’d be lost in the crowd for sure.

He looked around. There—the tree! He could climb the Sycamore tree and at least have a look at him … this man who heals. Zacchaeus wasn’t sure what he’d gain by just seeing him, but it had to be enough.

The crowd came closer and Zacchaeus could hear their voices. Begging for Jesus’ attention. All coming at him with requests. Needs. Everyone had a need.

He had a need.

Zacchaeus sighed. What’s the use? He had been fooling himself. He may be rich, but his wealth cost him more than he planned. He had treated people terribly. And now he was going to miss his chance to ask this Jesus for what he wanted most: peace. He needed peace. But it wasn’t to be.

The crowd milled then stopped under the branches of the Sycamore tree. Jesus hushed the crowd with his hands. They waited, anticipating divine wisdom from Jesus. Instead, He looked up.

“Good day, Zacchaeus.”

Zacchaeus caught his breath. “Um … good day to you, teacher.”

Jesus smiled. “Why are you in the tree?”

He felt foolish. “I wanted to see you. I’m so small.” He cleared his throat. “I really wanted to talk with you … I thought maybe you could help me. But you’re busy. Everyone wants to ask you for something.”

Jesus continued to smile as he held out his hand. “Zacchaeus. Come down. I’m coming to your house today. I’m going to stay with you. We can talk about your lack of peace then.”

Is this how it began? I put a bit of flesh to the story, but it could have happened that way.

How diligent are you chasing after Jesus? What are you willing to do to find peace?

God’s Splinters

We’ve all heard it before. “God never gives us anything we can’t handle.” [BTW, that’s totally bogus, but a topic for another email.] Or how about, “When God closes a door He opens a window.”

Sound bites that find their footing in truth, but sometimes come off a bit too churchie.

(Can I get an AMEN!)

But don’t turn your back on the gist of what’s being said. Bad things happen. Splinters. Continue reading

Learning to Bloom Again is Finally Here!

Finally! Learning to Bloom Again: Walking through Forgiveness After Divorce is available. Not only is it available, but for May 8th, it’s free.

Check it out, and see there are promises waiting for you.

Let me know what you think. I’d be tickled pink if you’d write a short review.

Reaching the Nepali Bhutanese in Harrisburg, PA

Reaching other countries for Christ may not be as difficult as you think.

I recently had the privilege to write an article for One Christian Voice  Christian Magazine about Pastor Kevin Brown of Lighthouse Church in Harrisburg, PA about just that.  Thinking outside the box that we create for ourselves when it comes to serving in foreign missions.

The article also appeared in the Southern Jersey Once Christian Voice version of the magazine as well as the Philadelphia version.

I challenge you … think outside the box when it comes to reaching others for Christ.

That is … if you dare.

The Focus is Off

I’ve always enjoyed the story of the Prodigal Son. But its focus challenged me. My heart went to the son who stayed behind … the one who could not forgive his younger brother.  Brandon Adams writes about that in his latest blog, It’s Never Too Late to Come Back.

It’s important to remember that God loves us all … and offers forgiveness to all who seek it.

A new morning awaits … for all of us.

Mason Jar Blessings

Welcome, February!

Check out my article in the last Leading Hearts magazine. Begin your own mason jar full of blessings!

The Samaritan Woman and Seventh Man

It happened a long time ago. It started when a Samaritan woman met a guy and got married.

We don’t know much more than that. All we know is that they were married … and that marriage ended. Did her husband die or did he divorce her? Was she so hard to live with that this husband couldn’t take it any longer? We can only guess. But she was single again, then married. Again. And again. And again until she had five husbands.

Life went on for this Samaritan lady when she moved in with another man. Had he refused to marry her because of her reputation or was her character so difficult to be around he wouldn’t commit himself? Was she an old woman by now, bitter and worn? At least he allowed her to live there, cook for him and tend to his needs. Continue reading

Metchem’s Three-Day Revival

If you watch the news you’re probably getting depressed … frustrated … wondering if God has looked away. I can tell you, He’s alive and well. Look what He’s doing in Sierra Leone. Thank you, Mike Peper and your team for sharing how God’s hand is moving in your section of Africa.

Please follow Mike Peper’s ministry at  https://www.saltandlightforafrica.com/.

Dealing with Christmas Chaos

“I can’t wait until Christmas is over.”

Sound familiar? We all feel the pressure. Seeking the perfect present. Wrapping the gifts just right. Setting an impeccable table. No wonder we feel stressful over the season.

What about changing how we think? What about instead of, I have to say, I get to ?

Instead of I have to buy the perfect present, say I get to buy a present? So many people are all alone during the holidays. Consider what they’d give to spend a few hours with family members no longer near. And many people struggle with monthly bills and can’t afford the tiniest gift.

Continue reading

God Calls Shenanigans

Last Thursday was supposed to be the season where families got together; celebrated their special closeness.

How’d you do?

Know it wasn’t an accident you were placed with your family. God’s plan put you there. With that in mind, let me ask again. How’d you do?

Did you hang on to your old mantra:

“I don’t want to be hurt anymore.”  “You don’t know what they did to me.”  “We have nothing in common; it’s best we just keep our distance and live our lives apart.”

Sorry, I think God calls shenanigans.

Continue reading