Your ‘Jubilee’ [v164]

OCTOBER 2012

Your ‘Jubilee’

Just last week, my sister, Terry, had her 50TH BIRTHDAY (half way there, kiddo!). I went down to Ft. Lauderdale, Florida to surprise her with a video I created that showed most of the highlights of her life (at least the ones I could get pictures of!). She very much enjoyed ‘reminiscing’ about all the things she had experienced and accomplished during her first 50 years here on earth—and so did her friends.

Interested in her friends’ reactions to this ‘milestone’, I did a little research on what anniversaries, especially 50th ones, mean to people. I found out that it’s pretty special—and it is a ‘concept’ that has been around for a very long time. Primarily, in our ‘western’ culture, it has to do with how long a married couple has been together.

This tradition may have originated in medieval Germany where, if a married couple lived to celebrate their 25th wedding anniversary, the wife was presented, by her friends and neighbors, with a silver ‘plated’ wreath to congratulate them for the good fortune that had prolonged the lives of the couple for so many years. Then, on the celebration of their 50th, the wife received a wreath made of ‘solid’ gold! That might be the reason why the 50th anniversary is referred to as the “GOLDEN JUBILEE.”

Here’s what a few people have said, over the years, about the 50th wedding anniversary:

“That we arrived at fifty years together is due as much to luck as to love, and a talent for knowing, when we stumble, where to fall, and how to help the other get up again.”
[Author Unknown]

———

“Half a century ago, they say,
A wonderful marriage began that day.
Two beautiful people joined as one,
And worked together to make living fun.

We celebrate now those fifty years;
We raise our glass and give three cheers:
To partners in life in both work and play,
It’s our pleasure to share your golden day.”

[Karl Fuchs]

———-

“How precious are the memories,
Of fifty years of caring,
Of hopes and dreams fulfilled,
And a lifetime of love and sharing.

And though memories of those years
Are held in the heart forever,
There’s so much more to come
As you continue life’s journey together.”

[Author unknown]

 
In addition to people having parties for the couple, in many countries, the couple ‘reenacts’ their original wedding to reaffirm their commitment to each other, and demonstrate that the vows they took are still considered sacred (To some couples the ceremony offers the chance to celebrate the wedding they never had). Some of the reasons couples mentioned for holding a vow renewal include having passed through a difficult time in their relationship, to have a religious ceremony if their original wedding had not been one, or to celebrate a significant anniversary.

[ Here’s a few ideas/examples/tips for renewing vows:
http://www.ccchristiancorner.com/anniversaryvows.html
http://marriage.about.com/od/vows/a/renewalvows.htm
http://www.ehow.com/how_5863557_word-50th-anniversary-renewal-vows.html ].

 
In addition to weddings, to show how much we emphasize the concept of celebrating ‘major’ anniversaries, back in 2002, England had a four-day “golden jubilee” celebrating Queen Elizabeth’s 50 years on the throne. This was something really special, since only four other monarchs have ruled Great Britain as long as she has. [ Here’s a video of some of the pageantry:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oPoq3qJk4pQ ].

The Queen spoke of 50 unforgettable years and the changes to British life and society in that time—and she elaborated that the monarchy must also change. Elizabeth said she had “witnessed the transformation of the international landscape through which [the United Kingdom] must chart its course.” She also “resolved to continue, with the support of [the Royal Family], to serve the people… to the best of [her] ability through the changing times ahead.”

Even way over ‘across the pond’, Canadian Premier Gordon Campbell said during the jubilee: “Your Majesty, as much as the world has changed in the last 50 years, though one thing has always remained constant—the sincere affection between the people of British Columbia and their Queen.”

 
A bit more than a millennium before the first British monarch that was the first to reach the “golden jubilee” (King Henry III in 1266), another ‘monarchy’ also put a lot of emphasis on the concept of the 50th year “jubilee.”

In the Bible, we read that when God was Israel’s “monarch” (they didn’t have a “human” king until King Saul in 1026 BC), God instituted the concept of “jubilee” for them—the ‘RELEASE’ of all the “slaves” (voluntary workers—to pay back a debt) back to their families; the ‘REVERSION’ of lands back to their original owners; and to allow the land to lie fallow and not be harvested, so the soil could go thru ‘RENEWAL’. Specifically, here’s what God said:

“Count off seven Sabbaths of years. Seven times seven years. So that the seven Sabbaths of years amount to a period of 49 years. Then have the trumpet sounded everywhere on the tenth day of the seventh month. On the day of Atonement sound the trumpet throughout your land. Consecrate the 50th year and proclaim liberty throughout the land and to all its inhabitants. It shall be a Jubilee for you. Each one of you is to return to his family property and each to his own clan. The fiftieth year shall be a Jubilee for you. Do not sow and do not reap what grows of itself or harvest the untended vines. For it is a Jubilee and it is to be holy for you. Eat only what is taken directly from the fields.” [Leviticus 25:8-12]”.

 
So, why did God ‘command’ the Jubilee? What is its purpose?

The first purpose of the Jubilee is to show the people that they are to live all their life in total faith and dependence upon God, and it is a way to ‘restart’ afresh in the right ‘direction’—and that can happen FOR YOU, too!

How many times do you suppose you have said or heard it said, “If only I had it to do over again”? Hindsight is always ‘20/20’, right? Well, God gives you the opportunity to essentially ‘erase’ the past and start over.

I remember, as a child, I used to play with a toy called an “Etch-a-Sketch.” Most of you ‘middle-aged’ people played with one. For the younger ‘folk’, it was a red and grey plastic ‘iPad’ kind of thing (about the same size, just 1-inch thicker), that was full of some kind of ‘sand’. It had no digital readouts, nor did it beep or flash at you. It didn’t even need batteries! You twisted two knobs at the bottom corners of the screen to ‘draw’ a picture. If you messed up, all you had to do was shake the thing a couple of times and you got a clean screen—a chance to START ALL OVER!

[ Here’s a ‘time-lapse’ example of what it is capable of:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UyCe3RNT7pw ].

 
Again, it is possible FOR YOU to ‘start all over’ with God. You see, we are all on this pilgrimage called “life.” During the time we live here on earth, we are ‘determining’ where we spend will eternity (Note: heavy ‘stakes’ involved!). Somehow, though, all of us seem to mess up and get ourselves into deep trouble with God. So, we all need a chance to start all over. That is where the concept of Jubilee comes in—a sort of divine “Etch-a-Sketch.”

The Israelite nation that God dealt with under the Old Testament system is gone now. The Old Testament law (including the law of Jubilee) was ‘nailed’ to the cross of Jesus Christ. Today the ‘church’ is the Israel of God, and we serve under the terms of the New Testament. There is, however, still a tremendously significant application of the concept of Jubilee that applies to us today.

 
While Jesus was a very popular Rabbi, He was asked to read in the Synagogue—and the priest opened the scroll to this passage from the prophet Isaiah:

“’God’s Spirit is on me; He’s chosen me to preach the message of good news to the poor, Sent Me to announce pardon to prisoners and recovery of sight to the blind, To set the burdened and battered free, to announce, “This is God’s year to act!”’

Jesus rolled up the scroll, handed it back to the assistant, and sat down. Every eye in the place was on Him, intent. Then he said, “You’ve just heard Scripture make history. It came true just now in this place” [Luke 4:16-21]. To everyone’s surprise, essentially Jesus said this passage was written about Him—He’s calling Himself God!

So then, the coming of Jesus Christ brought the same opportunity to us today as the ancient year of Jubilee brought to the Israelites—a chance to start all over!

 
As I mentioned, “Jubilee” is all about “RELEASE,” “REVERSION,” and “RENEWAL.”

The word used in Luke 4:18 for “RELEASE” describes a total canceling of a debt. It wasn’t a partial payment so that the indentured slave could finish by working his way into freedom. It was complete. It covered all the debt. This shows that Jubilee is also a great illustration of the magnitude of God’s grace (God giving you what you don’t deserve).

God also has oceans of mercy (God withholding what you do deserve)—and there’s enough of it to extend to every person who desires it, and enough of it to cover all of your ‘sin debt’. That’s really good news! The prophet Micah said that God will “cast all your sins into the depths of the sea” if you will just ‘turn’ to Him.

So, for the ‘forgotten’, insignificant, indebted Israelite ‘slave’ who had nothing to offer to God, Jubilee was a statement of the great love and compassion of God—and it can be the same for you today! Just accept the ‘release’ God has provided for you!

Even after being told about God’s mercy and grace, some people still reject God’s offer because they want to hold onto an old lifestyle they’re afraid to give up, are too proud, or just too ‘preoccupied’ to accept God’s grace. What they don’t realize is how much better their new life could be if they would just open the ‘door’ to let God ‘in’. A story might help illustrate this:

“A man in charge of a drawbridge across a large river brought several of his children to work with him one day. This particular bridge controlled a rail trestle for passenger trains as well as river traffic. The attendant was enjoying showing his children the various structures of the bridge and explaining how they worked.

About ten minutes to eight o’clock, he stopped and told them he must get back to his control booth because a train was due to pass through at eight o’clock. He put them in a safe area and admonished them to stay there and watch as the bridge was lowered, then climbed to the control area and began checking his gauges and levers in preparation for lowering the bridge.

As the train approached he looked below and saw that his youngest son had left the safe area and was climbing up into the huge gear mechanism that controlled the bridge pulleys. In near panic he screamed to the children below to get back where they were told. But the noise of the approaching train drowned out his frantic screams. There was no time get the child out of the gears. He was faced with a choice. Save the people or save his precious little son.

As the train thundered onto the bridge, he closed his eyes and pulled the lever to lower the draw section. As the train passed by he could see the people in the passenger cars. They were eating, talking, and enjoying themselves, totally oblivious to the sacrifice he had just made on their behalf. Suddenly, as the train was nearly clear of the bridge he shouted out above the noise, “Don’t you realize what I have done for you?” The train went on without even slowing down.”
[Dennis E. Hensley].

Unbelievably horrifying and gut-wrenching, yes, but this is similar to the ‘angst’ God ‘suffered’ as He sacrificed His one and only Son on man’s behalf to ‘bridge’ the gap between Him and us. But the people of this earth continue to ‘hurtle’ onward, utterly oblivious to what has been done for them. Some people are too preoccupied to recognize the peril they are in, and what has been done on their behalf! So, let me strongly suggest, if you have not done so, “release” yourself into God’s ‘hands’!

 
Now, let’s talk about “REVERSION.” For the Israelites, the land was to revert back to its original owners—but that doesn’t happen these days, so what needs to be given back? Well, YOU DO…back to God!

You see, God is the original ‘owner’ of you. In the ‘beginning’, our ‘parents’ (Adam and Eve) fell out of God’s grace, and they came under the ‘spell’ of the Prince of this world (Satan/Devil).

But, you have the choice to revert back to your original ‘owner’. The question is, will you volitionally ‘bow your knee’ to the Lordship of Jesus Christ now, or will you have to be compelled to do it—with all of creation—at the end of time? If you choose to do so, then, there can be “RENEWAL”—now!

 
In the Israelite’s time, the land was to be renewed by not being harvested or cultivated, but to grow ‘wild’ for a year. Again, we are not an agrarian people, so I started looking for Biblical analogies—well, there’s the ‘soil’ of our faith in God. Jubilee, for you, could mean that you allow your faith to grow biblically ‘wild’ for a year—to be radically committed on a journey about stepping out, risking, trusting, and living your life within the mystery of grace, with this ‘merciful’ God.

Then, on the other side of this renewal ‘coin’ is…rest. Jesus said, “Come unto me and I will give you rest.” Bible commentator, Matthew Henry said this about this passage:

“All who come will receive rest as Christ’s gift, and obtain peace and comfort in their hearts. But in coming to him they must take his yoke, and submit to his authority. We need we fear his yoke, since His commandments are holy, just, and good… So powerful are the assistances he gives us, so suitable the encouragements, and so strong the consolations to be found in the way of duty, that we may truly say, it is a yoke of pleasantness. The way of duty is the way of rest. The truths Christ teaches are such as we may venture our souls upon. Such is the Redeemer’s mercy; and why should the labouring and burdened sinner seek for rest from any other quarter?… In vain do we draw near to Jesus with our lips, while the heart is far from him. Then come to Jesus to find rest for your souls.”

 
Today, “Jubilee” boils down to one word…trust. The past is not the least bit threatening in terms of risk, or stepping out, but moving forward is. But that’s what Jubilee is all about. Moving forward with God. To move forward and faithfully in your “Jubilee” you need to trust Jesus being more than just ‘second hand’. Jesus IS YOUR “Jubilee”!

Inviting Christ into your life to be your Lord of every facet of your life is definitely taking a radical ‘step’ turning your life over to Him and declaring “I trust you Lord.” Jubilee is tough, it’s risky—but it’s well worth it! (eternity is a very long time!)

Jesus is ‘calling’ you to experience a ‘jubilee’ (even if it’s not your 50th birthday!). Jesus announced in the Synagogue the “Jubilee” as an opportunity to make a fresh start. “Today,” He said, ‘it’s been fulfilled. I’m your FRESH START if only you’ll take it!”

 
If you want an opportunity to start over, you must ‘allow’ the quality of God’s mercy to ‘reach’ you. It will reach you if you want it to. The apostle Paul said it better than I can:

“By entering through faith into what God has always wanted to do for us—set us right with Him, make us fit for Him—we have it all together with God because of our Master Jesus. And that’s not all: We throw open our doors to God and discover at the same moment that He has already thrown open His door to us. We find ourselves standing where we always hoped we might stand—out in the wide open spaces of God’s grace and glory, standing tall and shouting our praise” [Romans 5:1-2].

Make 2012 YOUR “JUBILEE”!!!

 
[Excerpts from: Dr. Ronald W. Scates; Dr. Pat Hartsock; Dave Redick]

[ P.S.: If you would like to investigate further about what the Bible has to say about being able to have your own “JUBILEE” and have all your SINS FORGIVEN, visit the following link:

http://www.thesearchformeaning.net/sfm_pres/sp_q9_d5_4of10.html

 
Blessings…Mark

 
LIFE’S DEEP THOUGHTS (v164) for OCTOBER 2012
If you have a ‘neat’ story or some thoughts about an issue or current event that you would like me to try to respond to, I would be glad to give it a try…so, send them to me at: mbesh@comcast.net

*****************************
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50TH BIRTHDAY QUOTES

“Forty is the old age of youth; fifty is the youth of old age.”
[Victor Hugo]

“The years between fifty and seventy are the hardest. You are always being asked to do things, and yet you are not decrepit enough to turn them down.”
[T S Eliot]

“From birth to age eighteen, a girl needs good parents. From eighteen to thirty-five, she needs good looks. From thirty-five to fifty-five, she needs a good personality. From fifty-five on she needs good cash.”
[Sophie Tucker]

“Nature gives you the face you have at twenty, but it’s up to you to merit the face you have at fifty.”
[Coco Chanel]

“I do think I feel it but you don’t think you are cause at a certain time you are no age but you don’t think you are anything. You feel the life you have lived. I feel that. It’s been a long fifty years.”
[Bob Geldof]

“Inside every older person is a younger person wondering what happened.”
[Jennifer Yane]

“Age is a number, and mine is unlisted.”
[Author unknown]

“Age is a high price to pay for maturity.”
[Tom Stoppard]

“Growing old is mandatory; growing up is optional.”
[Chili Davis]

“You are only young once, but you can be immature for a lifetime.”
[John P. Grier]

”The face you have at age twenty-five is the face God gave you, but the face you have after fifty is the face you earned.”
[Cindy Crawford]

“The best birthdays of all are those that haven’t arrived yet.”
[Robert Orben]

“As you get older three things happen. The first is your memory goes, and I can’t remember the other two.”
[Sir Norman Wisdom]

“Wisdom doesn’t necessarily come with age. Sometimes age just shows up all by itself.”
[Tom Wilson]

“Let us respect gray hairs, especially our own.”
[J. P. Sears]

“They say that age is all in your mind. The trick is keeping it from creeping down into your body.”
[Author unknown]

“Age is something that doesn’t matter, unless you are a cheese.”
[Billie Burke]

“Growing old is like being increasingly penalized for a crime you have not committed.”
[Anthony Powell]

“To me, old age is always fifteen years older than I am.”
[Bernard M. Baruch]

“Of late I appear
to have reached that stage
when people who look old
who are only my age.”
[Richard Armour]

“The secret to eternal youth is arrested development.”
[Alice Roosevelt Longworth]

“Just remember, once you’re over the hill you begin to pick up speed.”
[Charles Schultz]

“Middle age is when your classmates are so gray and wrinkled and bald they don’t recognize you.”
[Bennett Cerf]

“Middle age is when you still believe you’ll feel better in the morning.”
[Bob Hope]

“Middle age occurs when you are too young to take up golf and too old to rush up to the net.”
[Franklin Pierce Adams]

“Middle Age: When you begin to exchange your emotions for symptoms.”
[Georges Clemenceau]

“Middle age is when you’ve met so many people that every new person you meet reminds you of someone else.”
[Ogden Nash]

“The old believe everything; the middle-aged suspect everything; the young know everything.”
[Oscar Wilde]

“I’m not 50—I’m 18 with 32 years experience!”
[Unknown author]

******************************
LIBERTY BELL INSCRIPTION
Did you know that this nation was founded not simply on religious freedom, but on the concept of God’s “Jubilee”? The words engraved into the Liberty Bell read, “Proclaim liberty throughout all the land unto all the inhabitants thereof.” They are a direct quote from Leviticus 25:10, the ‘Jubilee’ chapter in the Bible.

******************************
“JUBILEE”
The Word provided for a time for the slaves to be set free,
For the debts to all be cancelled so His chosen one could see.
His deep desire was for forgiveness,
He longed to see their liberty.
And His yearning was embodied in the year of Jubilee.

(Chorus)
Jubilee, Jubilee,
Jesus is that Jubilee.
Debts forgiven, slaves set free,
Jesus is our Jubilee.

At the Lord’s appointed time His deep desire to give a man,
The heart of all true jubilation and with joy we understand.
In His voice we hear a trumpet sound that tells us we are free,
He is the incarnation of the year of Jubilee.

(Chorus)
Jubilee, Jubilee,
Jesus is that Jubilee.
Debts forgiven, slaves set free,
Jesus is our Jubilee.

To be so completely guilty, given over to despair,
To look into your Judge’s face and see a Savior there.

(Chorus)
Jubilee, Jubilee,
Jesus is that Jubilee.
Debts forgiven, slaves set free,
Jesus is our Jubilee.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I15coFa1ug0

[Michael Card]

******************************
“YOU ALONE CAN RESCUE”
Who, oh Lord, could save themselves,
Their own soul could heal?
Our shame was deeper than the sea
Your grace is deeper still.

You alone can rescue, You alone can save,
You alone can lift us from the grave.
You came down to find us, led us out of death,
To You alone belongs the highest praise.

You, oh Lord, have made a way,
The great divide You heal.
For when our hearts were far away,
Your love went further still.
Yes, your love goes further still.

You alone can rescue, You alone can save,
You alone can lift us from the grave.
You came down to find us, led us out of death,
To You alone belongs the highest praise.

You alone can rescue, You alone can save,
You alone can lift us from the grave.
You came down to find us, led us out of death.
To You alone belongs the highest praise.
To You alone belongs the highest praise.
To You alone belongs the highest praise.

We lift up our eyes, lift up our eyes,
You’re the Giver of Life.

You alone can rescue, You alone can save
You alone can lift us from the grave
You came down to find us, led us out of death.
To You alone belongs the highest praise.
To You alone belongs the highest praise.
To You alone belongs the highest praise.

To You alone.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UracNSSlfTo

[Matt Redmond]

******************************
“WHITE FLAG”
The battle rages on
As storm and tempest roar
We cannot win this fight
Inside our rebel hearts
We’re laying down our weapons now

We raise our white flag
We surrender
All to You
All for You

We raise our white flag
The war is over
Love has come
Your love has won

Here on this Holy ground
You made a way for peace
Laying your body down
You took our rightful place
This freedom song is marching on

We raise our white flag
We surrender
All to You
All for You

We raise our white flag
The war is over
Love has come
Your love has won

Bridge:
We lift the cross
Lift it high
Lift it high (x8)

We raise our white flag
We surrender
All to You
All for You

We raise our white flag
The war is over
Love has come
Your love has won

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2G5k7GUTRZ8

[Chris Tomlin]

******************************
DEEP THOUGHT:

“It is better to wear out than to rust out.”
[Bishop Richard Cumberland]

******************************
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Hope you enjoyed some of these insights—share them with your friends and colleagues—so we can have a larger ‘pool’ to receive from, and more to share with! Also, remember to include your name as the “source,” if some of this wisdom is of your doing—I would like to give credit where credit is due!

“God is sheer mercy and grace; not easily angered, He’s rich in love. He doesn’t endlessly nag and scold nor hold grudges forever. He doesn’t treat us as our sins deserve, nor pay us back in full for our wrongs. As high as heaven is over the earth, so strong is His love to those who fear Him. And as far as sunrise is from sunset, He has separated us from our sins.” [Psalm 103:8-12].

Mark

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Disclaimer: All the above jokes & inspirations are obtained from various sources and copyright are used when known. Other than our name and headers, we do not own the copyright to any of the materials sent to this list. We just want to spread the ministry of God’s love and cheerfulness throughout the world.

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