This was my message in United Africa Presbyterian Church, Dallas, US, on November 3, 2019. Please, read on: I am glad to be here. It was in 2014 that I ministered last here. Our topic is ‘Breaking through your limitations’. We have limitations and the good news is that they can be broken, under God. Zacchaeus, in Luke 19, knew that his limitation was his small stature, which prevented him from seeing the Lord Jesus. To satisfy his deep desire to see Him, he ran, not minding his status as a wealthy man, in search of a tree by the road side. He found one, a cycamore tree, and climbed it.
When the Lord Jesus reached there, He called him and told him to come down quickly as He would be his Guest that day. Running and climbing of the tree were good but none could attract God’s presence. Jesus saw his heart desire and decided to satisfy him, in spite of the criticism that He was visiting a sinner. The Lord made it clear that He came to seek and save the lost. That day, Uncle Zaccheaus promised to channel half of his wealth to charity. He promised to restitute also, by paying back four folds to the people he had defrauded as a tax collector. That was good but would not earn him Heaven. After fellowshipping with him, praise God, Jesus said that salvation had come to his house that day!
One day, before my retirement in Texaco Overseas, I entered the office of one of my supervisors, and it was stinking. I asked him what caused it. He mentioned a female staff member, who entered his office. “You know that she smells,” he told me. I was lost in thought, for an unbeliever, to tell me that my Christian sister was smelling! I went back to my office and rang her, telling her to see me immediately. She did, and I told her to bolt the door. I put the issue before her. “No, sir, I don’t have body odour,” she defended. “You have,” I told her, “and I have told my wife. She is looking for a suitable deodorant to buy for you, but her problem is how it will not embarrass you”. She was all eyes before she left me. It is possible for someone not to be aware of his limitation.
How a man handles his limitation is very important. Acts 3 has the record of how a lame man became a beggar. He begged Peter and John for money. Peter felt that it was better to teach him how to fish, than giving him fish. He did that by praying for his healing. And he was healed. In 1971, during my Long Vacation, my boss was always very passionate about wounded soldiers during the civil war. He was giving them money always and when he offered employment to one of them, he turned it down, believing that begging was more lucrative! I read about a beggar, who kept by his side, a plate for collecting money, a dog and a sign board, with the inscription, ‘I am blind’. One day, a man, who was dropping money for him always, forgot to do so. He ran after him, reminding him of it. “Aren’t you blind, how did you know when I passed?” The man asked him. “My dog is blind, not me,” he replied. He had adjusted, even for a dog’s limitation!
Naaman was a General in the Syrian Army but he was a leper. It was strange to his Jewish housemaid that he was living with them, because in Israel, lepers were secluded from the society. She informed them that their Prophet would heal him, if he went there. Naaman went to the house of Elisha, the prophet. The Prophet gave him the prescription for his healing through a messenger: ‘Deep inside River Jordan seven times’. The General could not stomach that, feeling humiliated, and that as a top military brass, Elisha would have come to see him. He rationalized how he Elisha would have handled his healing. Naaman was more interested in formalism than his healing. Pride even made him to say that their two rivers in Damascus were better than all the rivers in Israel. One wonders why he did not go there to deep himself all the years. Pride is always an obstacle in receiving things from God and from man. He left in anger but his soldiers pleaded with him to heed to the counsel of Elisha. Thank God he did and was healed – 2Kings 5:1-14
Self determination is thus required in breaking our limitations. A woman came from Canaan for the Lord Jesus to heal her demonized daughter. – Matt. 15:22. She did not mind the cold reception given to her as the Lord Jesus did not make any response after her plea. His disciples even told Him to send her away for disturbing them. Jesus told her that He came only for the Jews. She worshipped Him, pleading for His help. He told her that children’s food should not be given to dogs. General Naaman would not have tolerated that, but she did, accepting that she was a dog! “You are quite right, Sir. I’m not requesting for the children’s food, which is on the table, I’m requesting for our own food, the dogs’ food, which is under the table, because the children will not eat it,” she declared. The Lord Jesus appreciated her unusual faith and healed her daughter immediately – Matthew 15:23 -24
A woman, who had an issue of blood for twelve years, heard that the Lord Jesus was passing by, might have asked, “Which Jesus, is it the Jesus that brought back to life, the only child of a widow, when they were going to bury him?” Hearing that He was the one, she might have told them that He would heal her that moment. “Uncle Jairus has booked Him, that is where He is going now. You can meet His disciples later for you to be booked, maybe, tomorrow or any time,” someone might have told her. She might have told the person that she would not do that. “How can He touch you if you are not in His schedule?” She might have been told. “I will touch Him,” she replied. “Nobody touches Him. He is the one to touch people,” she might have been told. “Then, that’s good news for me. I will do what no one has done,” she replied. She touched Jesus and was healed! Mark 5:25-34.
Hearing that Jesus was around was good news to a beggar, Bartimaeus. Confirming, perhaps, that it was the Jesus that brought back life to Lazarus, after his death and burial, he started shouting for Him to heal him. The disciples tried to stop him and he rather increased the pitch of his shouting. The Lord Jesus sent for him. Faith in the Lord Jesus compelled him to throw away his coat. “Why are you doing this?” Someone might have asked him. “This is my identity as a beggar. I will not need it again. Nobody has met Jesus and remained the same,” he must have explained joyfully. “Your faith has made you whole,” the Lord told him and restored his sight immediately. He joined the disciples!
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