MINISTER GOD'S LOVE
"And Zacchaeus stood, and said unto the Lord; Behold, Lord, the half of my goods I give to the poor; and if I have taken any thing from any man by false accusation, I restore him fourfold." Luke 19:8
Zacchaeus was rich but Jesus made no demands for him to give away all his goods to the poor as He did with the rich young ruler. Zacchaeus had already repented and money was no longer his god, as was revealed by his actions. It seems that Zacchaeus was going above and beyond the requirement of restitution as stated in Mosaic law by offering to give half of his goods to the poor and to repay fourfold for his theft.
Publicans were hated by their fellow Jews. They were especially despised by the religious Jews as the epitome of sinners and Jewish religious laws prevented devout Jews from keeping company with any publican. To eat with a publican was unthinkable as the Jews considered this actually partaking of the publican's sins. This is why the people reacted so adversely to Jesus eating with Zacchaeus.
Jesus did not eat at Zacchaeus' house to participate in his sin but to extend mercy and forgiveness to him. This is always the criterion whereby we can judge whether or not we should be involved in a certain situation. We must not participate in other men's sins, but the Lord doesn't want us to retreat to monasteries either. We are the salt of the earth (Mt. 5:13), and to do any good, we have to get out of the "salt shaker." If we can be in control and minister the love of God, then we are right to associate with sinners. But when we are being controlled by the ungodliness of sinners, we need to take control or withdraw.
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PLEASE GOD NOT PEOPLE
"And many charged him that he should hold his peace: but he cried the more a great deal, Thou son of David, have mercy on me." Mark 10:48
The devil will always have someone available to tell us why we shouldn't expect to get results when petitioning God. Most people would rather stay with the crowd and not do anything to draw attention to themselves even if that means not getting their needs met. They will try to make you conform as well. If this man would have listened to the crowd, he would not have received his healing. "Ye have not, because ye ask not" (Jas. 4:2).
This blind man is a good example of an active kind of faith. He was not passive in his approach toward healing. He boldly cried out to Jesus for mercy. When the crowd ridiculed him and told him to be quiet, he cried out even louder for mercy.
Many people believe that God can perform the miracle they need but relatively few are willing to actively pursue it until they get results. They are afraid of what others will think of them. This man had his attention focused only on Jesus. Nothing else mattered and that is why he got healed.
An integral part of faith is seeking God only with your whole heart. If we are concerned about what people think so that we can gain their approval, we will never take a stand in faith for anything that we might be criticized for. This one thing has probably stopped as many people from receiving from God as anything else. You cannot be a "man-pleaser" and please God at the same time. Satan uses persecutions to steal away God's Word and thereby stop our faith. To see faith work, we must say with Paul, "let God be true, but every man a liar" (Rom. 3:4).
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Michael Stanley, 55