Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma

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Overcoming obstacles

Chaplain Bertram Bobb

May 2013

Thank you for your prayers with my 89th Happy Birthday greetings on March 30. May God bless you much.

Will you read about Jesus and Zaccheus in Luke chapter 19 verses 1 through 10? What is keeping you from coming to Jesus Christ? What is stopping you?

Zaccheus was a publican. That means that he was a tax collector. He was despised and he was a social outcast. He was a lonely man and he was hated for his work. Zaccheus was curious. He wanted to see Jesus. But he had to overcome some obstacles in the way.

There was a big crowd and Zaccheus was a little man. Getting through the crowd was almost impossible. Everybody wanted to get close to Jesus.

Many people in that day wanted to know Jesus; as many people today want to know Him too. Something is missing in your life. You are not really happy, you just can’t be satisfied. You want something else in life.

Zaccheus was making money. He was not satisfied. Money is not the answer.

Perhaps you would like to know and have Jesus in your heart and to have salvation. You may be facing obstacles too.

What are some of the obstacles that you may face?

First, there’s pride. The Bible teaches that pride can keep people from Jesus Christ. In James 4:5 we read: “… God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble.”

A second obstacle that may keep you from Christ is idolatry. Idolatry is sin, because whether or not we realize it, we worship ourselves and other people. The things that we have created have become gods. Anything that comes between you and God is idolatry.

A third obstacle that may keep you from Christ is worldliness. Jesus said in Mark 8:36-37, “For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? Or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?”

Many of you are selling your soul for a little bit of this world. But suppose you had all of the wealth of the whole world, and lost your own soul? You would say, “It isn’t worth it.” That word, “world,” means a world system dominated by evil, that means enmity with God. (James 4:4).

A fourth obstacle that keeps people from God is self-righteousness. The Bible says in Proverbs 30:12: “There is a generation that is pure in their own eyes, and yet is not washed from their filthiness.

We are pure in our own eyes, we are patting ourselves on the backs, we say we are good when actually we continue to sin and break God’s laws. Self-righteousness keeps us from Jesus Christ.

Now we have looked at some obstacles. Let’s look at Jesus. His is a personal call. Jesus called Zaccheus by name. Because Zaccheus was short in stature, he had climbed a sycamore tree and was out on the limb sitting there, watching Jesus.

Suddenly, Zaccheus, one of the most unpopular men in town, heard his name called by Jesus. Imagine how startled he was. Out of the crowd, out of all those religious leaders, Zaccheus considered the worst sinner in town, was called by name.

The Bible says Jesus, the Good Shepherd, “… calleth his own by name, and leadeth them out.” (John 10:3)

In Genesis we read that God came into the Garden of Eden personally to call Adam. Later He called Abraham and Jacob and Moses and Joshua. When the Lord Jesus Christ came, He called His disciples by name, and they followed Him.

Jesus calls you by name. He knows your name. He knows all about you and He calls you.

He says, “I want to come into your heart. You need me to help you, to forgive you, to take you to heaven. Come to me.”

It was an urgent call. Jesus said, “Zaccheus make haste!

And that’s what He says to you – “Hurry! Make haste!” If you are going to Christ, come now.

Nowhere does the Bible promise that tomorrow you can be saved. It’s today. Today He is urgently calling you by name.

And Zaccheus did make haste. Receiving Jesus Christ involves an act of faith beyond human reason. The Bible says in I Corinthians 2:14, “But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.”

Zaccheus just joyfully followed Jesus by faith, and Jesus received him and forgave him. Jesus is knocking on your heart’s door. He is asking you to receive Him. Are you a sinner? Have you broken God’s law?

You can say as many others, “I am a sinner, I deserve judgment and hell, but I am going to heaven because of Jesus Christ. I have received Christ. I have come to the cross and He has forgiven my sin. I have eternal life, and I know that I am saved. If Jesus Christ should come back today, I am ready.” Are you ready?

Pray for America and for our leaders. Pray for our men and women in our armed forces.