Sunday, January 4, 2015

Jeremiah 33:1-33

1 While Jeremiah was still confined in the courtyard of the guard, the word of the Lord came to him a second time: 2 “This is what the Lord says, he who made the earth, the Lord who formed it and established it the Lord is his name: 3 ‘Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know.’ 4 For this is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says about the houses in this city and the royal palaces of Judah that have been torn down to be used against the siege ramps and the sword 5 in the fight with the Babylonians: ‘They will be filled with the dead bodies of the people I will slay in my anger and wrath. I will hide my face from this city because of all its wickedness.

6 “‘Nevertheless, I will bring health and healing to it; I will heal my people and will let them enjoy abundant peace and security. 7 I will bring Judah and Israel back from captivity and will rebuild them as they were before. 8 I will cleanse them from all the sin they have committed against me and will forgive all their sins of rebellion against me. 9 Then this city will bring me renown, joy, praise and honor before all nations on earth that hear of all the good things I do for it; and they will be in awe and will tremble at the abundant prosperity and peace I provide for it.’

10 “This is what the Lord says: ‘You say about this place, “It is a desolate waste, without people or animals.” Yet in the towns of Judah and the streets of Jerusalem that are deserted, inhabited by neither people nor animals, there will be heard once more 11 the sounds of joy and gladness, the voices of bride and bridegroom, and the voices of those who bring thank offerings to the house of the Lord, saying,

“Give thanks to the Lord Almighty, for the Lord is good; his love endures forever.” For I will restore the fortunes of the land as they were before,’ says the Lord.


Things at times may not look as bright as you wish them to be.

We all have a tendency to ask ourselves, didn't God promise me a prosperous future? didn't he promise me that my burdens will be light? didn't he promise me that everywhere my feet tread he will give to me? Well, why do I find myself chained up, limited, entrapped, or not going anywhere?

The prophet Jeremiah  is no novice to asking himself these questions or finding himself in predicaments which were way beyond what God had promised him or the people of Israel where they would be.  Even though this message was promised weeks if not months after the great message of Jeremiah 29 (I know the plans I have for you), the prophet finds himself chained to a brick wall with his liberties taken away.

You see, there are many times in our faith journey that everything that is happening is contrary to popular demand.  It seems as though the harder you try the harder it gets. But there are several benefits that are hard to identify when facing trials, and one of those benefits is the building of a Godly character. You see, this prophet was not only a prophet (one who hears and speaks for God) in public, or while his liberty is intacted. But, he continues to be a prophet while his liberties are taken away. He never stops hearing from God, nor does he shrink back every time God promises him and/or his people something which seems impossible to believe. No, he writes this message in the midst of great difficultly as he humbles himself to seek the voice of the only one who could hear him or rescue him.

For those who are trained to listen to the Word of the Lord or his voice, there is nothing greater, or more inspiring, or soothing to the soul then the voice of your maker. He has ways to transform your difficulties into hope.  Here in this message God promises a full restoration to Israel (God's promised people) as they journey through life's greatest valleys as well as life's greatest mountains. He invites each one of them to "call upon him" and the God who created the mouth will speak. He promises that he "will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know." Nothing is more needed when you have no one to talk to, when life's door is closing in on you, and there seems to be no way.  In this New Year, listen to the voice of the Lord, and humble yourself to him. You never know what you will hear!!

Happy New Year.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Psalms 45:1-7

1 My heart is stirred by a noble theme as I recite my verses for the king; my tongue is the pen of a skillful writer. 2 You are the most excellent of men and your lips have been anointed with grace, since God has blessed you forever.

3 Gird your sword on your side, you mighty one; clothe yourself with splendor and majesty. 4 In your majesty ride forth victoriously in the cause of truth, humility and justice; let your right hand achieve awesome deeds. 5 Let your sharp arrows pierce the hearts of the king’s enemies; let the nations fall beneath your feet.

6 Your throne, O God, will last for ever and ever; a scepter of justice will be the scepter of your kingdom. 7 You love righteousness and hate wickedness; therefore God, your God, has set you above your companions by anointing you with the oil of joy.


Have you ever had the chance to put the brakes on your daily routines, and stop to wonder about the awesomeness of our God? Have you ever considered giving to God rather then receiving from God? Is there something that you can offer God today simply because he is God?

The Bible and history teaches us that there was a peculiar family by the name of "Korah" or the "sons of Korah" (like most peculiar families around us today :) ) that were called to serve God full time in the Sanctuary. They were chosen by God to represent him, serve him and minister unto him with thanksgiving, praise and shouts of joy. Many remember the "sons of Korah" for their rebellion later in the pages of history but for one simple moment I would like to focus on the "sons of Korah" for their commitment, for their sacrifice and for the climax of their family history. For we all have family history we don't want to remember this thanksgiving holiday, but not all is doom but rather like most of us we can find some good pages in our family history that can brighten up our days and make us smile.

You see there is good in most people, I even believe that there is good in everyone. As I contemplate through the pages of my own life, I can stop to remember that while we are still alive there is hope for change, hope for healing, and even hope for deliverance. God never "gives up "on what he created, and as the "sons of Korah" experienced, there was a moment in history where psalms (prayerful songs) can only describe the beauty and goodness of God in their lives.

Psalms 45 describes the intimacy of their thoughts, the passionate love for their God, and their gratefulness for his unending covenant with his people. The director of music is overwhelmed with the balm of gratitude that allows him to see images of a coming Savior and King. He rejoices in this kingdom which is based on justice, peace and joy. He embraces by faith the moral rise of a God (Jesus) who hates wickedness and is bathed in the anointing of joy. This is my God, this is your God, can you see him today?

I invite you to take this moment right now and close your eyes to think optimistically, to think about the subtle moments in life where technology, the busyness of life, and the responsibilities of paying your bills has vanished. Give Jesus your attention for one moment and give him your praise this thanksgiving holidays. Write him a psalm, write him a poem, and give him something worth while as you honor him at your dinner tables. He is God and he is worthy of praise!

God Bless you, as you invite Jesus to your family fellowship this thanksgiving holidays :)

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Philippians 1:3-11

3 I thank my God every time I remember you. 4 In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy 5 because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now, 6 being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.

7 It is right for me to feel this way about all of you, since I have you in my heart and, whether I am in chains or defending and confirming the gospel, all of you share in God’s grace with me. 8 God can testify how I long for all of you with the affection of Christ Jesus.

9 And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, 10 so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, 11 filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ—to the glory and praise of God.


When we read the bible and meditate on it's words we should also consider the history, the geography, the demographics and the culture of the people which the Bible is addressing or revealing. The story of Paul and this wonderful letter (epistle) to the Church at Philippi begins not on a mountain top overseeing the see of Galilee, nor does it begin on the vast hills with newly born lambs running up and down a green pasture to meet their shepherd. No, it begins in a dark cave, as a man of God is imprisoned by a society who hates "Good News". You see the Romans didn't imprison Paul because of a heinous crime but rather for spreading the liberating news of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Have you ever been around people or have participated in a culture of people who just hates "good news"? They have been so cultivated in bad news that just the mention of "good news" becomes a crime!

Paul found himself in a dungeon with his ankles chained awaiting his release, because after all he was innocent in the eyes of God, but guilty in the eyes of man. He didn't scream, he didn't cry, he didn't give up hope nor did he wave the white towel and surrender his faith to the overwhelming circumstances that can plague an individual facing prison time in the hands of an enemy. This Godly hero begins his letter thanking God for the people he has been able to serve. His mind was not on his circumstance, nor was it in a 5 by 10 cell with the damp smell of muddy water. No, he thanks God for every moment he had to serve the people of God. He learns the importance of prayer since he has no one to talk to, no one to sing with, no one to encourage him. You see his prayer is not the type of prayer of someone helpless nor hopeless but one who knows his God and says " I always pray with joy because of your partnership in the gospel". He loses no confidence in the character and faithfulness of God because after all he clearly understood that his "apostolic call" would probably invite death to constantly knock on his door.

Paul was confident, he was determined, he was convinced and he was emotional about his God and the message that he had the privilege of sharing. He completes his dissertation similar to the way he began this letter - in prayer. Stating that the most important essence, and experience that anyone who suffers similar circumstances should seek and acquire is the divine love of Christ and the knowledge that produces the fruit of righteousness among the brethren.

You see I am convinced of this, that people who are afraid, imprisoned, confused, hurt, hopeless and angry just need one thing, a taste of the divine love that comes from the throne of God. If you find yourself in similar circumstances I challenge you to seek the face of Jesus and ask him for the anointing of his divine love that flows continually from his heart to yours!

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Luke 19:1-10

1 Jesus entered Jericho and was passing through. 2 A man was there by the name of Zacchaeus; he was a chief tax collector and was wealthy. 3 He wanted to see who Jesus was, but because he was short he could not see over the crowd. 4 So he ran ahead and climbed a sycamore-fig tree to see him, since Jesus was coming that way.

5 When Jesus reached the spot, he looked up and said to him, “Zacchaeus, come down immediately. I must stay at your house today.” 6 So he came down at once and welcomed him gladly. 7 All the people saw this and began to mutter, “He has gone to be the guest of a sinner.” 8 But Zacchaeus stood up and said to the Lord, “Look, Lord! Here and now I give half of my possessions to the poor, and if I have cheated anybody out of anything, I will pay back four times the amount.”

9 Jesus said to him, “Today salvation has come to this house, because this man, too, is a son of Abraham. 10 For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.”


The Lord wants you to know, he never saved you to leave you the same way he found you!

The wonderful message of the Gospel of Jesus Christ is that the message found within holy scripture is not only words of faith, affirmation, promises, blessings, salvation and/or grace. But, it is a message about a father's love, a son's obedience, and the Holy Spirit and his desire to dwell in the life of  all believer's.

The "good news" is not bad news. It is not only for those faint hearted or broken hearted. You don't have to always be in misery to worship or serve God. The "good news" has been written for the rich and poor, the young and old, the short and tall, and even the big or small. God says in Proverb 22:2 "The rich and the poor have a common bond, The LORD is the maker of them all".  Jesus wants all those listening to know that he is moved by faith. This young rich man named Zacchaeus was found in a city called Jericho, God has an incredible way of setting the stage for a miracle. You see Jericho was a city known for it's walls and God has always had an incredible ability to walk through walls, or tare them down. This city was not only the stage of Old Testament miracle, but the location of a New Testament revelation.

You see the Word of God makes clear that Zacchaeus even though being wealthy, strong, fast and wise he still had barriers or walls to climb or to break in his life. He is like many of us who don't find himself or herself in desperate need for God to manifest himself. He is not someone who is bankrupted or in his or her last leg of the race. But, one thing is clear he still has this innate eagerness to know Christ and the beauty of his bountiful mercy.  His "desire" was all he needed to move the heart of God. Amazed by his willingness to outrun, climb and position himself to meet his Savior, Jesus stop's and looks up at this man that the bible described "small in stature."

For the first time in his life, this young tax collector will not be known or remembered for his incredible ability to collect Roman taxes, but rather for the faith and his willingness to be changed by the presence of Jesus Christ. A simple but passionate invitation of Jesus was enough to change Zacchaeus life, bring him to his knees of conviction, and bring forth an action that will bring salvation to his house and to all who would read his story.

If you find yourself not in need of God because everything is swell, then I challenge you to rethink or consider the message of Zacchaeus. You don't have to be in misery to worship and serve God!

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

John 8:1-11

1 but Jesus went to the Mount of Olives.

2 At dawn he appeared again in the temple courts, where all the people gathered around him, and he sat down to teach them. 3 The teachers of the law and the Pharisees brought in a woman caught in adultery. They made her stand before the group 4 and said to Jesus, “Teacher, this woman was caught in the act of adultery. 5 In the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women. Now what do you say?” 6 They were using this question as a trap, in order to have a basis for accusing him.

But Jesus bent down and started to write on the ground with his finger. 7 When they kept on questioning him, he straightened up and said to them, “Let any one of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.” 8 Again he stooped down and wrote on the ground.

9 At this, those who heard began to go away one at a time, the older ones first, until only Jesus was left, with the woman still standing there. 10 Jesus straightened up and asked her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?”

11 “No one, sir,” she said. “Then neither do I condemn you,” Jesus declared. “Go now and leave your life of sin.”


Are you free from your past? Are you living out the full potential of Christ in your life? Or are there still things that echo through your mind when trying to live for Jesus that causes you to stumble?

The story of the adulterous women found in the scripture above really hits closer to home then you think. You see, the adulterous woman reflects all of us. She is a child of God who finds herself indulged in practices which she was never designed for. She is a fertile vessel, designed to be in covenant with God but because of past and present practices she has broke her "covenant" with her husband (Christ). You see this woman can be you, it could be the Church, it can anyone who is currently a "covenant breaker."

Because she was caught in her sin, she was presented to Jesus. But Jesus understands her, he forgives her, he knows her history, he knows her present, he knows what has made her indulge in a practice that violates her innocence and condemns her to shame. Jesus bends down and begins to write, like the one who wrote the "Ten Commandments" with his finger, or wrote the writings on the wall in the Book of Daniel. He writes, he writes because he is an author, he is the perfecter of our faith.

The story ends with forgiveness, with reconciliation, with purpose, and with freedom. You see the only way to live out your experience with Christ, and the salvation he offers is to understand that he will never condemn those who are found in him. Shame and condemnation is the fruit of the "fallen man" in the Garden of Eden, but Christ came to restore all things unto himself.

If you find yourself being a "covenant breaker" or indulging in sins that separate you from the love and protection of God, Jesus invites you to embrace his forgiveness no matter how shameful your sins are or were. He desires to cover your shame and condemnation with grace and forgiveness so that you may live a free life in him. There is only one final command though, “Go now and sin no more.”  

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Ephesians 5:15-20

15 Be very careful, then, how you live not as unwise but as wise, 16 making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. 17 Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is. 18 Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit, 19 speaking to one another with psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit. Sing and make music from your heart to the Lord, 20 always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.


There is nothing more frustrating in life than wondering around, spending our time and energy without direction or purpose. To often we hunger for a clear picture of what our future looks like through the eyes of God, and what does he really want from us. The last time I took my son to the doctor, I sat on the edge of my chair hoping that the physician attending to my son would give me the right prescription so that my son's health will improve. I had no doubt that the hard work of the physician and the knowledge he possessed can quickly help resolve the problem with my son's ailing body. In the same way, God has a prescription for our lives to live with maximum purpose and direction. The Word of God is our compass, and our hope should be that if we apply the remedies prescribed in his Word we will see the outcome and evidence of his promises.

The will of God for your life is provided in Scripture as the following:

1. Rejoice Always, pray continually, give thanks in all

1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 - "16 Rejoice always, 17 pray continually, 18 give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.

2. Have eternal life

John 6:40 "For my Father’s will is that everyone who looks to the Son and believes in him shall have eternal life, and I will raise them up at the last day.”

3. Good health, all goes well with you, and your soul

3 John 1:2 "Dear friend, I pray that you may enjoy good health and that all may go well with you, even as your soul is getting along well."

4. Blessed, favor, abundance

Deuteronomy 28:3-6  "You will be blessed in the city and blessed in the country. 4 The fruit of your womb will be blessed, and the crops of your land and the young of your livestock—the calves of your herds and the lambs of your flocks. 5 Your basket and your kneading trough will be blessed. 6 You will be blessed when you come in and blessed when you go out."

5. Be Sanctified

1 Thessalonians 4:3-5 - "It is God’s will that you should be sanctified"

6. Keep doing good

1 Peter 2:15 "For it is God’s will that by doing good you should silence the ignorant talk of foolish people."

7. To be sons of God

Ephesians 1:5 "He destined us in love to be his sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace which he freely bestowed on us in the Beloved."

8. That no one should perish

Matthew 18:14 "So it is the will of my Father who is in heaven that not one of these little ones should perish."