Peace in the Midst of Trouble

July 26, 2023

“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33).
If you have been walking with the Lord for a good number of years, you would agree with me that the Christian life is a battle.  First of all, let me assure you that troubles are inevitable for a child of God. Jesus Himself affirms it when He said, “In this world, you will have trouble…” In other words, as long as you are still in this world, problem is not a may be or it might. It will definitely come to you for sure.  The moment you overcome one, the next one is on the horizon.
Peace can often feel very far from us at times, especially in the midst of trouble. How could one have peace when face to face with difficulties in life? As followers of Jesus Christ, we ought to know that troubles will come in many different forms. It is not a question of “if,” but “when” as you certainly will encounter difficult moments in life.
We can learn from one who had experienced so many hardships as a result of being a follower of Jesus. His social status stripped from him, beaten by rods on three different occasions, stoned and thrown out of a city, kicked out from synagogues, persecuted by friends, imprisoned multiple times, ship-wrecked three times, spent a day and night out on the open seas, and so much more. This is none other than the Apostle Paul. He clarifies why he delights in sharing Christ’s sufferings, “That I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, that by any means possible I may attain the resurrection from the dead” (Philippians 3:10-11).
Why would Paul rejoice in such sufferings? Why should any of us rejoice in suffering? In his letter to the church in Corinth, Paul exhorted the believers by saying, “Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all,” (2 Corinthians 4:16-17).
So, Brothers and Sisters: take heart and set your eyes on eternal glory. Paul describes our sufferings as “light and momentary,” and yes that is the truth! Furthermore, they will achieve for us eternal glory that far outweighs them all! Jesus our Lord, the righteous Judge will give us the crown of righteousness awaiting us! That’s what we ought to be focusing on. Until that day, we present ourselves as ambassadors of heaven. Our presence and conduct in this world should be influential to the fallen world.
Be of good cheer, the Lord has overcome the world!
Living a Transformed Life

May 10, 2023

Greetings Family and Friends! May our Lord’s Grace and Peace be with you all, may this message finds you well. As you read, I pray the meditations of my heart be pleasing to our Lord God in Heaven.
It has often been said by many believers; “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” This is quoted out of scripture and found in Philippians 4:13.
Paul’s declaration became a popular verse recited by believers; however, it is important to understand the true context surrounding this passage.
Context by definition is: the circumstances that form the setting for an event, statement, or idea, and in terms of which it can be fully understood and assessed. In other words, the environment and conditions related to a specific event, statement, or idea that would help others fully understand what happened.
Let’s focus on the statement Paul made when he said “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”
This scripture was written while Paul awaited his execution. He had spent two years in a Roman prison cell, where he was sentenced to death by decapitation. What was the crime he committed that cost him his life by such a brutal method of execution? Spreading the Gospel of Jesus Christ that saves lives for eternity.
Before Paul became Paul, he was once named Saul of Tarsus who intensely persecuted Christians. He would pursue followers of Christ to torture and kill them. As Saul was in the middle of his mission to hunt down Christians, he encountered our resurrected Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ, Acts 9. This encounter drastically changed the course of his life from one who wanted to destroy the work of Christ to one who said, “I am not ashamed of the Gospel for it is the power of God for salvation to those who believe, first to the Jews, then the Gentiles,” (Romans 1:16). His life was totally transformed. God’s plan began to unfold before him.
Paul’s drastic transformation resulting from His encounter with Christ caused him to position himself on the frontlines when it came to sharing the Good News. He dedicated the rest of his life to teaching and spreading the life changing message of Jesus Christ, the Gospel. “For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain” was the zealous attitude Paul carried throughout his ministry and is reason for all of us in Christ to self examine.
How did our own encounter with Christ transform our lives? Have we dedicated our lives to sharing the Gospel that saves? Or is gaining salvation good enough? Are we on the sidelines after being justified, without any work involved, simply waiting to enter glory with Jesus? Or are we one to say, “For me to live is Christ and to die is gain?”
Paul didn’t simply wait to enter into glory with Jesus, he gave up his life to live for Christ.
As we have seen from the life of Christ, and later, in the life of Paul, we know that living a Christian life is not always smooth sailing, in fact, we often find ourselves facing many storms: but can we say we are truly facing persecution? In these moments, let us not abandon our faith so swiftly.
Paul became very familiar with long suffering through excruciating circumstances. His response to these challenges is humbling when we are in the midst of our own troubles.
Let’s put into perspective some of the trauma Paul had experienced as a direct result of his service for the Gospel of Jesus Christ:
  • He was quickly deserted by all his friends.
  • His status in the community among religious leaders and Pharisees were stripped.
  • At Lystra, Paul was stoned, dragged out of the city, and left to die, Acts 14:19.
  • Throughout his missionary journeys, Paul traveled thousands of miles mostly on foot, building churches, sharing the Gospel and teaching the word of God.
  • He survived a plot for his assassination, Acts 23.
  • He was whipped with 39 lashes, a total of 5 times 2 Corinthians 11:24.
  • Paul was shipwrecked, a total of 3 times 2 Corinthians 11:25.
  • He spent an entire night and day in the open sea, 2 Corinthians 11:25.
  • He was beaten publicly with rods three times, 2 Corinthians 11:25.
  • When on the island of Malta, Paul was bitten by a poisonous viper, which he shook off into the fire. The islanders were watching and thought he would drop dead, instead he survived Acts 28.
  • During his missionary trips, he would often be left without food, water, and sleepless times.
  • Paul was falsely arrested many times. 2 Corinthians 11:27.
  • He was beaten up and thrown into prison many times without fair trials.
  • He was chained to a prison wall for two years in Rome, Acts 24-28.
Throughout the overwhelming trauma and sometimes excruciating experiences Paul had to endure, it would have been easy for him to grow bitter and fearful, or even give up on his mission. However, his remarkable ability to persevere allowed him to persist, even thrive as he continued to share the story of Christ.
In his life’s testimony, Paul indeed did all things through Christ who strengthens. His imprisonment led to the greater progress of the Gospel. Writing to the Philippians, Paul said, “Now I want you to know, brethren, that my circumstances have turned out for the greater progress of the Gospel, so that my imprisonment in the cause of Christ has become well known throughout the whole praetorian guard and to everyone else,” (Philippians 1:12-13).
As followers of Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior, after learning and understanding the extent of what Christ did for us, there should be nothing that would hinder us from surrendering all to Him.
Can we exhibit the same zealous attitude portrayed by Paul? Paul’s statements aligned with his actions: “I’m not ashamed of the Gospel for it is the power of God that saves those who believe.” “For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.” “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” These statements were not made to be taken lightly; Let us remember the weight behind these declarations, and the context from which they came.
What is Truth?

May 05, 2023

At the time Jesus was accused, He was brought before Pilot to be tried; Pilot asked Him, “So, are you the king of the Jews? Jesus answered, ‘You say correctly that I am a king. For this I have been born, and for this I have come into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth hears My voice.’ Pilate said to Him, ‘What is truth?’ ” (John 18:37-38).
Pilot questioning the meaning of truth has resonated with many throughout history. In this postmodern day, truth could mean whatever anyone thinks it is. It is based on skepticism, relativism, what makes sense, and what is fair according to an individual’s perspective. Have you heard the common saying, “Live your own truth?”
In the world we live in today, perspectives about what truth means is constantly changing. The way people view the world, how they understand reality and truth, the way we approach the important questions of life has fundamentally changed.
So, the question remains, “What is truth?” To know what truth is, let’s first confirm what it is not:
Truth does not simply mean whatever works.
Truth does not simply mean what is consistent.
Truth does not simply mean what is understandable.
Truth does not simply mean what makes sense.
Truth does not simply mean what is comfortable.
Truth does not simply mean what society thinks.
With that understanding in mind, let’s see what the Word of God says:
The Apostle Paul talks about the wrath of God that is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who suppress the truth in unrighteousness” (Romans 1:8).
The Gospel of Mark talks about those who continue to suppress the truth. It says, “They will hear it, but never have,” (Mark 4:12).
The only way you can know the truth is to live in it. Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth and the life.” (John 3:16). Jesus is the Truth.
Jesus said to the Jews who had believed him, “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” (John 8:31-32).
“We know also that the Son of God has come and has given us understanding, so that we may know him who is true. And we are in him who is true by being in his Son Jesus Christ. He is the true God and eternal life,” 1 John 5:20.

To know Him who is true and what truth is, is to live in Him. Are you living in Jesus Christ?

What Good Does Worrying Do?

April 23, 2023

“Who by worrying can add an hour to your life? Since, you cannot do this very little thing, why do you worry about the rest? Consider how the flowers grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you, not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today, and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, how much more will He clothe you, you of little faith!” (Matthew 6:25-28). In other words, Jesus brought up a very key point flaw in our faith: what good does worrying do?
Anxiety is a psychological issue in our society. A study revealed that 90% of what we worry about never materialized. Our worries and stress that stems from our anxiety is mainly based on our perspective.
In the business world, companies often use marketing strategies to raise worries; convincing consumers that their life is utterly dependent upon the product being advertised.
Remember the good old Kirby vacuum with an unbelievable price tag of over $2k? The company salesperson would visit your home. He or she would bring in the vacuum and demonstrates; showing you the filthiness that’s been captured on a filter. The salesperson would then say something like, “This is what you and your household breath in every day. And no other vacuum can clean this mess up. Unless you buy this vacuum, your family will have serious health issues.” My family eventually gave in and bought one.
Looking back, would my family experience serious health issues without it? Of course not. Due to the fear of becoming seriously ill, like many other consumers, we agreed to purchase the product to ease our anxiety.
Paul addressed the issue of anxiety (Philippians 4:4-7). He knew what it was like to experience hardship. He was in chains as he wrote this letter, and he had every reason to be anxious. Yet, he was full of joy and encouragement.
What was his secret? He started out in Philippians chapter 4, verse 4, “Rejoice in the Lord always; again, I will say, rejoice.” The joy Paul expressed here flows out of security in a relationship. There is a direct connection between joy and love. When we gain a greater understanding of the love that God, your Heavenly Father has for us, it will give us peace and joy.
Habakkuk expressed his joy in the Lord regardless of the condition he lived in (Habakkuk 3:17-18) because of the salvation he had in God. Paul had the same confidence as the prophet Habakkuk. He was convinced that God was in control and that God would fulfill the promises of His word (Romans 8:28).
Worry prevents many Christians from experiencing all that God intends for their lives. Satan uses anxiety to create a cowardly, joyless soul and in turn, make us ineffective to serve in God’s kingdom as we would spend much of our time worrying as opposed to serve the Lord joyfully and effectively.
Worry wants you to zero in on issues that takes your eyes off of Jesus, the One who overcame the world and won the victory on the cross.
“Be content with such things as you have. For He himself said, ‘I will never leave you nor forsake you.’ The Lord is our helper and there is nothing to be fear of,” (Hebrews 13:5-6).
Jesus says in Matthew Chapter 6, verse 29-31, “And do not set your heart on what you will eat or drink; do not worry about it. For the pagan world runs after all such things, and your Father knows that you need them. But seek His kingdom and righteousness ,and all these things will be given to you.”
Do you have that same confidence as Paul and Habakkuk? Or are you anxious because deep down, you are not fully convinced that God is able, that God is truly good? Like Jesus promised, when we seek His Kingdom and His righteousness, all these things will be added.
“Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus,” (Philippians 4:6-7).
The Triumphal Entry

April 03, 2023

The Nation of Israel had been living under the hostility of several powers, and during Jesus’ time the nation was subjected to the ruling power of the Roman Empire. Along with other cruel and abusive treatment, Rome imposed heavy taxes on the Jewish people and forced them to meet the demands of tax collectors. After living in such hostile conditions, the people were longing for a Savior.

Jesus’ triumphal entry into the City of Jerusalem took place on what is now known as Palm Sunday, which precedes the crucifixion that would occur the very next week (John Chapter 12). On that day, the city was crowded with Jews who came from all over the world to take part in the annual Passover celebration. In fact, the ancient historian Josephus estimates a million or more pilgrims were already flowing into the capital before Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem. His fame had drawn adoring crowds, all hoping for a king to liberate them from their brutal Roman oppressors. This event appears in all four Gospels as a momentous day. Palm Sunday became known to the people of Jesus’ day and has also spread to Christians throughout history. Even now, this historic event is celebrated all throughout the world.

Leading up to the triumphal entry, Jesus told His disciples that He would be betrayed by the chief priests and scribes. Ultimately, He would be delivered to the Gentiles to be mocked, scourged, and crucified.

As they drew near to Jerusalem and came to Bethphage at Mount Olives, Jesus sent two of His disciples to go into the village “saying to them, “Go to the village ahead of you, and at once you will find a donkey tied there, with her colt by her. Untie them and bring them to me. If anyone says anything to you, tell him that the Lord needs them, and he will send them right away.” (Matt 21:2-3)

So, it happened just as Jesus had told His two disciples: They brought the donkey and colt to Jesus, laid their cloaks on them, and set Jesus on them. As He was riding into Jerusalem, a great multitude came out from the city to welcome Him. They laid their cloaks on the road, cut palm branches, and spread them on the road. The people cried out, “Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest!”

As we look at the scriptures describing this event, what is the significance and implication displayed by Christ?

First off, Matthew 21:1-3 reveals the Omniscient God. He is ever present in the past, present and future. He foresees the future. It is said that Jesus fulfilled over 300 prophecies of the Old Testament during His early ministry. So here on Mount Olive about to enter the city, Jesus didn’t go down His to do list of prophecies to be fulfilled and said, “Okay, here it is, the Triumphal Entry. Let’s see, the Prophet Zachariah says I will ride into the City on a donkey. Alright guys, I need two of you to go into the village and bring me the donkey and her colt.” Of course Jesus didn’t do that. He was fulfilling prophecies according to the will of His Father. The psalmist puts it this way, “Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence? If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there,” (Psalm 139:7-8). It is only wise to allow the Lord to lead as He knows what’s ahead for you. “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways, acknowledge Him and He shall direct your paths,” (Proverbs 3:5-6).

Jesus riding into the city of Jerusalem openly declared that He was the true Messiah and King of Israel; fulfilling the Old Testament prophecy of Zechariah 9:9, “Rejoice greatly, O Daughter of Zion! Shout, Daughter of Jerusalem! See, your king comes to you, righteous and having salvation, gentle and riding on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey.” The spreading of cloaks was an act of honor for royalty. In His action, Jesus confirmed to all who witnessed that He indeed is their King and the Messiah they had been waiting for.

Riding on a donkey, in that culture is a symbol of one who comes to bring peace. The Prince of Peace came to bring peace. The mention of a donkey in Zechariah 9:9-10 fits the description of a king who would be “righteous and having salvation, gentle.” Rather than riding on a mighty horse to conquer, this king would enter in peace.

Jesus riding into the city on a donkey symbolizes His humility in contrast to earthly kings. He came as a lowly man on a donkey – not in royal robes. Jesus Christ conquered through love, grace, and mercy; not through force as earthly kings would.

Sadly, the multitude could not truly comprehend the praises they had toward Jesus that day. In their hearts, they did not recognize Jesus as their Savior from sin, but instead looked to Him in hopes of a deliverer who would lead them in a revolt against Rome. Their hope was that perhaps He would be a great temporal deliverer, but they did not know His sacrifice would lead to an eternal deliverance. The people hailed Him as King with their many “Hosannas” and recognized Him as the Son of David, however, their cries would later change to “Crucify Him!” Jesus obediently went to the cross to pay the ultimate sacrifice for us and died in our place so that we could rise with Him in eternity.

How is it in your own life? Would you allow Jesus to make a triumphal entry into your heart? Would you allow Him to rightfully reign in your heart on His wonderful terms that would not only be beneficial to you in this life, but for eternity?

The Darker the Night, the Brighter the Light
I have been a fan of the Gaither Vocal Band for a very long time, so it was a great blessing to have been able to watch them worship live for the first time. What a performance and uplifting time of worship that was! The event took place at the Shadow Mountain Community Church which is lead by Dr. David Jeremiah in San Diego, CA. We even had a moment after the service to briefly meet with them which was a great experience too.
Throughout the worship, there were moments of interaction with the audience and short thoughts being shared between the songs. One in particular that stood out and resonated with me was when Bill Gaither spoke on the darkness of these times. He then emphasized, “The darker the night, the brighter the light.” What does this refer to?
During His sermon on the mount, Jesus used the concept of light and salt to refer to the role of His followers in this world. Jesus said, “You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled by men. You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden, nor does anyone light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on the lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven.” (Matthew 5:13-16).
Salt serves two purposes: preservation and flavor. In the First Century, salt was used as a means to preserve food since refrigeration did not exist. As islanders, this is a very familiar practice that we could identify with. Many of us grew up in remote villages where refrigeration was not yet available and we used salt.
Salt also enhances the flavor of food. We are to enhance the flavor of life in this world with the guidance of the Holy Spirit and in obedience to Christ. Our conduct needs to influence the world for good just as salt has a positive influence on the food it seasons. We are to be peacemakers, we are to direct those in sorrow to the One true Healer and Comforter, we are to forgive those who do wrong against us and exemplify the love of God. And when we help others, don’t expect anything in return. There is no reward in heaven for those who do good deeds to seek admiration from men. Jesus has shown that the Father in heaven gives rewards to His people for practicing righteousness in truly righteous ways (Matthew 5:3-12).
When Christ is within us, it should be evident as the “light of the world” for all to see. Just as a city on a hill cannot be hidden, your light should shine so that people would give glory to God. This is not to say that when you do righteous things you should announce it, but instead allow your righteous deeds to speak for themselves and ultimately glorify God. When the Apostle Paul and Barnabas performed powerful healings in Lystra, the people responded by worshiping them. Paul and Barnabas tore their clothes and shouted, “Friends, why are you doing this? We too are only human, like you.” They pointed the people towards the living God for He is the One to be glorified and worshiped (Acts 14). Likewise, the same should be in our lives. All glory, honor, and praise belong to God alone. “I am the LORD, that is My name; I will not give My glory to another, nor My praise to graven images,” (Isaiah 42:8).
How is your life as a follower of Jesus Christ? Does it preserve and season the world we live in for the better? Do people notice the transformation in your life from the patterns of the world into the newness of life in Christ? People should be able to clearly see the distinction between us and the world. The presence of Christians in the world should be like light shining through darkness reflecting the true light that comes from heaven, and “the darker the night, the brighter the light.”
For Such A Time As This

March 16, 2023

Has it ever come to mind that perhaps God may have placed you in a certain situation or circumstance for a purpose?

Let’s look at the story of Esther where we discover a phrase that says, “For such a time as this” (Esther 4:14). What does this phrase really mean?

Esther was raised by her cousin, Mordecai who adopted her as his daughter (Esther 2:7). Esther was an orphan who later became the queen of Persia saving her people from what seemed a certain demise.

At this time, Xerxes (King of Persia) enjoyed publicly displaying his kingdom’s wealth and power. The previous Queen, Vashti, enraged the prideful king when she refused to come at his command to display her beauty amongst the people and nobles. His advisors urged him to remove the queen, as a result – she was dethroned and a decree went out in search of a beautiful girl to take the throne beside Xerxes (Esther 2:1-4).  A historian recorded 400 women that were chosen, of all that were called – Esther, a Jew became the new Queen of Persia.

Much time had passed when among Queen Esther’s people, Mordecai became aware of a genocidal plot against the Jews. Hamon, a trusted adviser to the king, hated them and sought to have them murdered. Esther had grown accustomed to a royal lifestyle, we see in scripture as Mordecai pleaded with her to think above the luxurious distractions saying to her , “Do not imagine that you in the king’s palace can escape any more than all the Jews. For if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance will arise for the Jews from another place and you and your father’s house will perish. And who knows whether you have not attained royalty ‘for such a time as this?’” (Esther 4:13-14).

What he had asked was not an easy task, she would risk giving up her title, personal ambitions, reputation, and most importantly – her life to speak to a king known to murder indiscriminately. She was called to action, and her bravery and faith in God are a testament to the trust this young woman had in the living God. An entire nation was saved because of her obedience regardless of how it might have taken her life. God saved her and spared the lives of her people.

How many souls can be spared in the culture where we live today if we chose to step up to service, even if it involves sacrifice?

This passage reminds us that God’s kingdom work will move forward with or without us. God assigns our positions, status, intellect, wealth, resources, in order to optimize His kingdom purposes. He didn’t place us where we are so we could enjoy and store up earthly treasures for ourselves. He  places us wherever we are for Him and for His purposes.

We can learn an important characteristic of God from Esther’s story: His complete sovereignty over His Creation. God orchestrates and maneuvers every aspect of life in order to position people, government, events and situations for His plan and purpose.  Esther was in the harem “for such a time as this.” She was made queen “for such a time as this.” She was strengthened and prepared to intercede for her people “for such a time as this.”

The Lord may position you in the right place, at just the right time, among the right people, in a certain situation, “for such a time as this.”

You Matter To God

March 7, 2023

Have you ever felt as though you were unloved, rejected, and that your presence was unwanted? Have you ever felt alone and as though you were merely existing and insignificant? 

In the Gospel of John chapter 4, we read about a lonely woman who was an outcast in her time.  Jesus and His disciples had been making their way from Judea to Galilee and stopped in a city called Samaria.  Now, Jews typically went through great lengths to avoid the easier route through Samaria and would instead travel off the coast or through the mountains. The reason being that these two groups held deeply rooted hatred and tension towards one another.

During the captivity of the Israelites by the Assyrians, those left behind intermarried and their offspring became known as the Samaritans.  Consequently, Samaritans were not accepted as Jews and the Jews did not want to have any dealings with them.  Despite these racial and social barriers, Jesus chose to travel through Samaria for the sake of one person – a seemingly insignificant woman by the well.

When Jesus arrived in Samaria, He wearily sat down to rest beside the well weary after their long journey.  At about the 6th hour (high noon), a woman came to draw water and Jesus made a simple request for a drink of the water. It was uncommon for a woman to draw water at this time of day as it was the hottest part of the day.  Normally, this task would be completed in the morning or in the evening when temperatures were much cooler. 

When the woman had realized Jesus was asking her for water, she questioned in her defense, “How can you, being a Jew ask for a drink from me, a Samaritan woman?” Jesus responded by letting the woman know that “whoever drinks this water will thirst again,” but what He has to offer is living water.  If only she drank it, she would be satisfied and never thirst again. It would become “a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”  Instead of embracing Jesus in His pursuit, her walls went up. To this day, we encounter instances where Jesus is mentioned and walls immediately go up as well. We tend to come up with excuses and justification for our sins, but Jesus knows all about us. He longs for us to realize that we need Him; we need this living water that would satisfy our thirst eternally.

As the story progresses, we come to learn that this woman was indeed living in sin and had been drinking from a well of relationships.  In her shame, she went to draw water at a time when no other women would be around. The choices that this woman made resulted in rejection and separated her from those around her. This is what sin does. It builds walls that separates you from friends, family, and most importantly, it separates you from God. 

This story illustrates one who thirsts and longs for something to quench the deepest desires within their souls and cover their shame.  Time has proven that many have attempted to satisfy this thirst through many different ways, but it is never and will never be enough. Only Jesus can quench this thirst.  Jesus knew everything about the Samaritan woman and everything that she had done, yet He was full of grace.  And just as this one Samaritan woman mattered to God, you matter to God as well.  “For you created my innermost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made!” (Psalm 139: 13-14).

Treasure in Jars of Clay
February 27, 2023
God’s calling upon my life as a pastor and overseer of the MOMUSA Ministry was not at all how I pictured my life would be. Growing up as a young island boy, I never in my wildest dreams thought I’d be serving the Lord abroad and sharing the Good News to not only Chuukese, but to other islanders and beyond. In my early years, I made my way to the US in pursuit of higher education and to seek better opportunities. Little did I know, the Lord had His own plans for my life. I completed two years at Lassen Community College where I met my wife, moved to San Diego where we completed our studies, settled down with our family, and have been in Southern California since.
In my youth, I had a few brothers in the Lord who I attended Bible study with in Chuuk. As God orchestrated, they too ended up living in the same apartment complex as my family and I in San Diego. A small home-based fellowship began; together we met for weekly prayer nights, extending to Pasadena where another brother and co-founder lived. A ministry was born called MOMUSA: Micronesian Outreach Ministries USA.
Recalling my previous disposition in life and what I considered qualifying factors, I considered myself unqualified for God’s work. It begs to question: Would God make a mistake to call an unqualified person to ministry? Should He have called someone else with more credentials or one that possessed many years of experience instead?
God never makes mistakes. When He calls, that individual is just the right person for the task. Don’t be like Jonah who tried to run from God’s call and finally learned to obey while in the darkest and deepest moment of his life, in the belly of a huge fish. Instead, be like Phillip who obeyed his calling and went to the Gaza Desert without question, Acts 8. Heed the call of the Lord upon your life just as young Samuel willingly did when he responded with, “Speak Lord, for your servant is listening.” (1 Samuel 3).
In 2 Corinthians 4, the Apostle Paul encourages that we do not lose heart since it is by God’s mercy we have received such a calling. A privilege bestowed by God. In other words, though we are not qualified, by His mercy, we have been called. In 2 Corinthians 4:7 it states, “We have this treasure in earthen vessels, so that the surpassing greatness of the power will be of God and not from ourselves.” We are merely earthen vessels (or fragile jars of clay) who in our weaknesses have been entrusted with treasure of great worth (or the Good News of Jesus Christ). Many times, we like to boast of what we consider our own accomplishments in this work, but the Apostle Paul reminds us that we are nothing but simple and “unqualified” jars of clay, yet God chose us to do mighty works so that the power would point to Himself, and not us. The works and successes that take place through us are not results of our own ability to claim, but God doing the work through us.
Therefore, although we may feel inadequate and unequipped for God’s work, if He calls someone to ministry, even through weakness, we will see His strength. “For when I am weak, then I am strong.” (2 Corinthians 12:10). God qualifies and equips those whom He calls. Just as my wife and I have been called for ministry. Even in our shortcomings, we have experienced God’s power using mere, lowly people for His great work. Being called by the Lord is a humbling privilege and I thank the Lord for including my wife and I in His Kingdom work.
Marriage Within the Purpose and Plan of God

February 22, 2023

In 2022, the CDC reported over 1.6 million marriages in the US and of those marriages 630,505 resulted in divorces.  Unfortunately, many married couples go separate ways when things don’t work out as they desired and this has sadly become a norm in today’s society. 

Being married for over 35 years, I could attest that marriage is not always full of sunshine. There are moments when all is well and everything runs smoothly, and there are other times when they don’t.  All in all, my wife and I have been blessed with 35 wonderful years of marriage.

So, what is the secret? What is the recipe for a successful marriage? To better answer these questions, we must first understand what marriage is, the origin of marriage, and its intended purpose.

First and foremost, we should understand that marriage is not an invention of man, but rather a sacred institution created by God and for God (Genesis 1:27, 2:24).  The purpose of marriage resides within the purpose and plan of God.  Since marriage is created by God, it must honor and glorify Him.

Ephesians 5:31-32 reads, “For this reason, a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife and the two shall become one flesh. This is a great mystery, but I speak concerning Christ and the church.

The marriage between a man and his wife is a reflection of the marriage between Jesus Christ and His Church.  The Bible describes the Son as the groom and the church as His bride.  The Son expressed His love for His bride with a love written in blood that went to the cross.  Husbands, you are to love your wives as Christ loves His church – with a love that knows no end.  A love that was expressed to His bride through self- sacrifice, absolute self-sacrifice. The church expresses her love to the Son.  She joyfully submits to the loving head, acknowledging Him as her leader and following gladly where He leads.  This is the marriage that all marriages should model after.

So, will it always be smooth sailing and easy? Definitely not. There will be challenges to overcome, but what have we learned about the secret to a successful marriage? Look to God’s Word – the Word that has withstood the test of time.

Looking For Love

February 13, 2023

Happy Valentine’s Day FB Family! Greetings to you all!
Valentine’s Day is celebrated every year on February 14th around the world. In many parts of the world, this event is known as a day of expressing love towards a special person. Some choose to share expensive gifts like jewelry or a fancy dinner. In the business world, Valentine’s Day generates high revenue; consumers are expected to spend $25.9 billion on Valentine’s Day this year.
However, there is a murky history behind this highly celebrated tradition. In a few words, Valentine’s Day contains both religious and Roman traditions. The origin of Valentine’s Day as known by many, is a pagan festival of Lupercalia which is celebrated in February. Evidently, Lupercalia was outlawed by the rise of the Church. To commemorate Valentine and to get rid of the paganism practice of Lupercalia, Pope Gelasius declared February 14th as St. Valentine’s Day.
Some may deny it, but indeed everyone is looking for love in life. We see examples in life of people going to great lengths to express their love towards one another. All of these efforts are about showing love for someone they love.
However, there is a deeper love I would like to point our attention to: the Biblical truth about true love and how to obtain it. I know of someone who loves you so much and has already given you His very best gift. “For God so loved the world (you) that He gave His one and only Son (Jesus) that whosoever believed in Him should not perish but have everlasting life,” (John 3:16).
If you’re as old as me, you might know the song written by Johnny Cash, “Looking for love in all the wrong places.” Have you been looking for love in all the wrong places? Have you been rejected and broken-hearted? If this describes you, come to Jesus. He loves you, He will accept you, and He will never leave you. You don’t even need to impress Him. Just come to Him and experience the true meaning of love.
Be of Good Cheer

February 06, 2023

Over the past few weeks, there have been a series of winter storms that hit Southern California which have proven to be fatal. The scope of damage included homes being flooded, cars swallowed by sinkholes, fallen power lines, and unfortunately 22 deaths as well. It is estimated at more than $30 billion in losses in addition to the lives that were lost.
Today, the sky is clear. Sitting in my car scanning the sky, there isn’t a cloud in the sky, not even one. The sun is out, shining bright and my friend Siri informed me that today’s temperature in San Diego is in the 60’s. Not bad considering the time of the year. The storm has passed, but it is just a matter of time until the next one hits.
Similarly, in our lives we will find that the decision to pick up our cross daily will not always be smooth sailing. There will be moments in our lives that we will go through storms. As a believer and follower of Jesus Christ, you will face trials and tribulations. No one is exempt and this is a part of the package. Although we know we will face these storms in life, we must always remember that a beautiful day lies ahead for we serve a Mighty and Victorious King!
Jesus told His disciples in an effort to comfort them as His departure drew near, “Be of good cheer” (John 16:33). This happened just as they were about to face the darkest moment of their lives. Jesus knew that persecution, even death, awaited them.
But how could Jesus tell them to be of good cheer knowing persecution and death lied ahead? How could they be cheerful in the darkest, and what seemed like the lowest point in their lives? Jesus explained in the latter part of that verse saying, “I have overcome the world.” This is the victory we have as followers of Jesus Christ. Whatever situation you face in life, with Christ you will overcome it. We are more than conquerors in Christ.
So the next time you are faced with your storm, remember what Christ said, “These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.”
A Better Place

January 23, 2023

Growing up as a young island boy, I’ve always dreamed of coming to the US. Being influenced by movies and those that came from abroad, the place I always wanted to go to was America.

Naturally, people long for a better place.  There is a void within man’s heart that yearns for something better and satisfying.

Interestingly, Ecclesiastes 3:11 says, “God has placed eternity in the heart of man.”  Longing for a better place, for eternity, has been a divine plan all along!

Ecclesiastes further explains the progression of life.  There is a time to be born, a time to die, and the in betweens. From a baby’s first breath, to adulthood, to the diminishing point where we gradually get older and weaker, then on to the day we exit this earthly life.

Hebrews 9:27 explains, we are all appointed to die once. Our exit from this life is not an option and we will all come to that point in our lifetime.

Now, some may think that death is a bad thing, but for a child of God, death is a beautiful and glorious event. For a child of God, death is only a departure where we leave one place for another.  The Apostle Paul puts it this way, “…absent from the body is to be present with with Lord” (2 Corinthians 5:8).

The destination for a believer, as described in Revelation 21:4, is a place where God will “wipe away every tear from their eyes, there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying.  There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed.”

The things happening around us should prompt us to get our one-way ticket ready for our trip to heaven.  A trip to the place we are longing for, the place that Jesus is preparing for us.

The progression of life is beautiful because it gets us somewhere, but there is only one way that gets us to our eternal destiny with Christ.  How do we get there?  Jesus Himself said it, I am the way, the truth, and the life.  No one comes to the Father except through Me,” (John 14:6).

Question is, do you have Christ in your life?  He is the only way there, not religion, not being a good person, not belonging to a godly family, only Jesus.

A Ransom For Your Deliverance

January 16, 2023

In the retail business world, redemption is defined as the act of exchanging of one thing for another such as, a coupon.  You would go into a store that issued the coupon, and you submit the coupon in exchange for the product, or to redeem the product it represents.

According to the Merriam Webster Dictionary, ‘redemption’ means to ‘buy back’, ‘to get or win back’, ‘to free from what distresses or harms’, ‘to free from captivity by payment of ransom.’

In the beginning, God created man.  Man could fellowship with the holy and glorious God face to face; because of disobedience, relationship with God was destroyed (Genesis 3).

Jesus was sent on a mission by His Father to restore that broken relationship.  “For God so love the world that He sent His only Son…” (John 3:16).

What was required to rescue man? Scripture paints a clear picture:  a sacrifice of life would need to happen because sin is punishable by death, (Romans 6:23).  In order for God to accept and be pleased, only a perfect sacrifice would satisfy the requirement.  Jesus, the perfect and spotless Lamb of God (John 1:29), was willing to restore that broken relationship.  He willingly sacrificed His life to take away the sin of the world.

God always had a plan.  This is not something He scrambled and suddenly came up with as a solution to rescue man.  “…the Lamb who was slain from the creation of the world,” (Revelation 13:8).  Yes, God foreknew man will fall.  He had a plan before the foundation of the world that Jesus would come and gave His life as a ransom for our deliverance.

In Mark 10:45, Jesus said, “For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.”

What is ransom?  It means a sum of money or other payment demanded or paid for the release of a prisoner.  The amount has to be precise to satisfy what is required for the penalty.  And because sin is punishable by death, Christ had to sacrifice His life as a ransom for our deliverance from the imprisonment of sin.

Thus, a ransom was necessary in exchange for man’s freedom.  You were living under the bondage of sin and death, but because Jesus gave up His life as ransom, you have been bought out by the blood of Jesus Christ as an exchange for your deliverance from the slave market of sin.

Now after deliverance from the slave market, God didn’t just stop there and said, you are good to go, you are free.  No, He didn’t do that.  Instead, deposited His Holy Spirit into our hearts.  I don’t know how that works, but the Bible says that the Spirit of God establishes residence in a believers life one that person has a personal relationship with our Lord Jesus Christ.  In addition, God adopted us as His sons, no longer slaves but sons, wow!

In writing to the Galatians, the Apostle Paul writes, “But when the fullness of the time had come, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, that we might receive the adoption as sons.  You are no longer slave but a son,” (Galatians 4:4-7). 

And as an adopted son, you are heir of God, co-heir with Christ.  “Now if we are children, then we are heirs, heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ…”(Romans 8:17).  Think about it, what belongs to Christ, belongs to you as well.  As children, we have an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade kept in heaven.

By what means are you claiming you are a son of God? Have you been adopted as a son of God? A ransom has already been paid for your deliverance by Jesus Christ on the cross of calvary. All you have to do is to accept it that payment. “But as many as received Him, He gave them the power to become children of God, even to those who believed in His Name,” (John 1:12).

Righteousness Through Faith Not By Works

January 09, 2023

In his letter to the Galatians, the Apostle Paul wrote a series of questions to the believers in Galatia. He took them back to their experience when they were first converted. Paul brought the Gospel of Jesus Christ to them, and they responded; by the grace of God through faith in Jesus Christ, many were saved. They understood that salvation is a gift of God and not a result of their works.
Later on, many of the people turned their back on these teachings led by the Apostle Paul and they began to follow the teachings of the false apostles known as the Judaizers.
As we approach the third chapter of Galatians, Paul begins with, “O foolish Galatians!” Now that is a strong statement to say to anyone. Paul wrote this out of love toward the people whom he loved; In contrast to how people would use the phrase out of anger and hatred, Paul pleaded with the Galatians to come to their senses. They already got saved by simply believing and accepting the finished work of Jesus Christ; redeemed from the slave market of sin, receiving freedom in Christ – but now, they began to believe in their own works for their salvation.
So, Paul wrote them a series of questions: How were you saved? Was it by keeping the law, performing certain rituals? Is that how you were found righteous in the sight of God? Or was it by your responding to the Gospel through faith? Verse 2, Paul asked, did you receive the Spirit by the works of the Law, or by hearing of faith? What about the work of God began through His Spirit in your life, now you want to perfect it by the flesh? How about the many sufferings you’ve endured as result of being a follower of Jesus Christ, are they now in vain? The powers and gifts flowing through you by the Spirit, were they by works, or was it through faith? The miracles you’ve observed and experienced in your midst, was that a result of your own spirituality or manifestation of your faith in Jesus Christ?
The obvious answer to all these questions was that it was by FAITH and not by works.
Why then would the Galatians now seek to bring themselves to a state of spiritual maturity by their own effort? If all that took place in their midst was done by the Spirit of God, why would they now try to perfect the work of God through the means of their own flesh, through their own effort? Why would they turn their back upon Jesus from what He had done for them and now embrace a legalistic system that could not save and perfect them?
One answer, legalism appeals to the flesh. Flesh desires some sense of satisfaction, accomplishment. “I want to have some part in the process.” Or “If I do this, or do that, then God must do this.” “If I give this much, if I do that ministry, then God must bless me.” Certainly, the Lord will bless His children regardless, but not based on our own works or efforts.
In Paul’s letter to the Philippians, he writes, “If someone else thinks they have reasons to put confidence in the flesh, I have more: Circumcised on the eight day, of the people of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of Hebrews in regard to the law, a Pharisee as for zeal, persecuting the church as for righteousness based on the law, faultless. But whatever were gains to me I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. What is more, I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them garbage, that I may gain Christ and be found in Him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith is Christ, the righteousness that comes from God on the basis of faith.”
In closing, let me take you back to Galatians 2:21. The Apostle Paul says, “I do not set aside the grace of God; for if righteousness comes through the law, then Christ died in vain.” Think about it. Jesus Christ the Son of God, the ever present, all knowing, all powerful, the Creator of the Universe and mankind, who is God Himself, incarnated into flesh, mortal body that subjects to death and willingly accepted the ultimate sacrifice on the cross, if we can justify ourselves by our own efforts and works, why then would He come? If righteousness could be gained through the law, then Christ died in vain.
Move Forward Eyes On Jesus

January 05, 2023

Looking back to how you’ve progressed through the year, 2022, would you say that you are satisfied of where you are at now spiritually? Have you grown more mature or gotten stronger spiritually in comparison to the beginning of the year as a follower of Jesus Chris?
I am not an athlete, but I understand the training athletes go through to some extent. I researched online to find out the types of training an Olympian had to go through in preparation for an Olympic event. Here in the US, it is said that an Olympian goes through strict training four hours each day, 365 days a year for six years, not to mention trainings prior to the qualification to participate. Wow! That is a lot of hard training time! And not only physical but mental with strict discipline. Now, all these efforts are to hold a record that will eventually breaks, or to win a medal that would not last forever, or a name that will soon be forgotten.
The writer of Hebrews 12 likened the Christian life to a spiritual race. Hebrews 12:1-2 says, “Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.”
Visualize you are in a race arena, surrounded by such a great audience, spectators if you will, and you are standing on the line getting ready to take off, one thing you would want to make sure of that you would not have any ounce of extra weight on your body that would weigh you down. Not only weight, but you want to clear off your mind as well, having nothing else on your mind, but to stay focus on the finish line and the price to win.
Peter says in 1 Peter 1:13, to gird up the loins of your mind. The phrase is a figurative of speech as the mind does not have loin. In the Old Testament, in 1 Kings 18:46, Elijah outran Ahab to the entrance of Jezreel because he girded up his loin. In that culture, the loin cloth hung down along with the robe, identical to the cloth some of the islander male would wrap around his loin. In the old days, the guys would tight around their loins with a piece of loin cloth called an “Opi” before the race. By wrapping or tying up this loin cloth, a person could run much more effectively. So, Peter by telling us gird up the loins of your mind, he meant get ready for action.
To succeed in the Christian race, as the athlete trains, one following needs to be disciplined.
Gird up and get ready for action in 2023. It is important we have a good vision going into 2023. Setting our eyes on Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith. Let us lay aside all that holds us back – sin that easily ensnares us. Let’s run with endurance the race and looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith.
What are that things that may have held you down and the sin that entrapped you in 2022 that have caused you to be an ineffective follower of Jesus Christ? Could the weight be work schedules, or personal pursues, or even families? And could the sin be unforgiving, gossiping, envious? Whatever they were, you need to get rid of them, and leave them where they belong, in the past.
“Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus,” (Philippians 3:13-14).
Look unto Jesus, He is the author and finisher of your faith.
May We Not Forget

January 02, 2023

2023! Yes we made it into the new year. Not our own ability, simply grace. Thank you Lord!
I want to take this opportunity to wish you all my FB Family a Happy and prosperous 2023 New Year!
As we enter this new year, may we not forget the goodness of God. May we not forget to take a moment to thank Him for all that He has done for us. May we not forget the greatest Gift of all that was given to us on Christmas Day. May we not forget the ultimate sacrifice our Lord did for us on the cross. And may we acknowledge that He continues to provide for our daily need. Not only for the righteous, but for all.
“He makes the sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends the rain on the just and unjust,” (Matthew 5:45). This is our God! That is why He deserves our worship.
May we not forget.
Immanuel "God With Us"

December 19, 2022

“Behold, the virgin shall be with child, and bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel,” which translated, “God with us.” (Matthew 1:23).
The greatest story every told, the greatest Gift ever presented to mankind. This Christmas, the birth of our Savior, the arrival of Jesus Christ on planet earth, may we see it in a way that we have never seen before. May we grasp the significance of it, not only for the world at large, but for us as individuals that God has come to us, Immanuel, “God with us.”
God loves us so much and wants to restore the broken relationship we once had with Him.  The Old Testament, Genesis Chapter 3 records that man was able to fellowship with God, face to face.  But, because Adam and Even disobeyed God’s command, sin came upon them and destroyed the fellowship.
Just as through one man (Adam) sin came into the world and death through sin, in this way, death spread to all men for all have sinned.  And he penalty of sin is eternal separation from God.  Romans 6:23 says, “For the wages of sin is death…”  But, not only God’s justice is perfect, He is also a loving God where in the later part of the same verse, it says, “…but the gift of God is life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believed in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life,” (John 3:16).
God’s redemptive plan is made available to anyone through our Lord Jesus.  Jesus, in our place, paid the penalty of our sins.  His sacrificial and substitutional death on the cross our behalf was a pleasing aroma to the Father.  In other words, God would not accept any less perfect sacrifice for the payment of our sins, except that of Jesus Christ.
“For whoever calls on the Name of the Lord will be saved,” (Romans 10:13).
Have You Consider What Jesus Left Behind?

“You know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though He was rich, yet for our sake, He became poor in order that we through His poverty might become rich.” (2 Corinthians 8:9)

The Gospel of Luke chapter 2 records that Jesus came into the world in human form. In getting further into the scriptures, have you ever considered what Jesus left behind for you when He came down?

Let us consider a few more things:

  • Where was He before He came?
  • Where was He in eternity past?
  • What was He experiencing?

The Bible tells us that Jesus Christ is God. John Chapter 1 begins with, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God and the Word was God.” Jesus is God! He is the all powerful, all knowing, and all present God. Jesus is Lord over all!

As God, He was there in eternity past, eternity present, and eternity future. He was there being worshipped with the Cherubim and Seraphim proclaiming, “Worthy and holy!” He was, and is still, in total glory.

Jesus said in John 17, “Father, glorify Me with Yourself, with the glory I had before the world began.”

This is where Jesus was – in glory. The glory that Moses could not look upon. A glory that filled the Temple so thick that the priests could not freely go in to minister. A glory that caused Peter, James and John on the Mount of Transfiguration to fall on their faces in complete fear and reverence. A glory that is presently in heaven with angels bowing before His throne in worship.

In consideration of these things, take a moment to think about what Jesus left behind for you.

He is the Creator of the Universe. He spoke the world into existence. He breathed the breath of life into the nostrils of man. He put the planets in their orbits, hung the stars in space, and keeps the earth rotating upon its axis. Jesus sustains all creation. “He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together,” (Colossians Chapter 1). The entire Universe is subject to His command, power, and absolute authority!

Yet because of His love for mankind, He came! He laid aside His divine privileges, took the form of a man, and became what we are so that we could become what He is, glorified! (Philippians 2:5-8).

Paul emphasized it further in 2 Corinthians 8, “You know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though He was rich, yet for our sake, He became poor in order that we through His poverty might become rich.”

That is what Jesus did for you and for me. He not only emptied Himself out willingly, but He gave His life on that cross at Calvary so that we could have everlasting life with Him in glory.

Again I must ask, have you considered what Jesus left for you?

Why Jesus Came

Have you ever thought of why Jesus came down to earth from heaven?  Why would the Son of God, the second person of the Trinity, who is Himself God, the One true God; Creator of all things, come and be born in mortal human flesh?

In the Gospel of Luke, the 9th chapter, the Bible tells us a story about a man named Zacchaeus.  He was small, short. His lack made it so he was unable to see Jesus over the much taller, larger crowd as He was walking through the town of Jericho.  

Not only was he physically little, but his story reveals he was also a lonely guy. No one would want to have anything to do with him because he was a tax-collector.  

Based on this context, what is wrong with being a tax-collector during that time?  Why were they so rejected by the community? 

We learned tax collectors were known for their corrupt conduct.  Deceiving people and effectively defrauding them of their tax.  

Tax-collectors during Jesus’ day were very rich because of that.  

Therefore, Zacchaeus was not only a tax-collector, but a chief tax-collector.  

Worse yet, the tax-collectors were despised as traitors by the Jews because they were working for the Roman Empire, who was against the Jewish community.

Zacchaeus had no friend in the town of Jericho.  

When Jesus showed up, it was a big deal.  

So here is Christ, walking down the street and Zacchaeus unable to see him in the crowd.  People were trying to make a shot at Jesus;  Zacchaeus had no chance getting through to Jesus because of the crowd and his physical challenge.  

Perhaps, since he was hated, he thought to himself, I’d better just run ahead and climb on that tree. I’ll keep the distance from everyone else and climb that tree.  At least I could see Jesus from there.  

We don’t know for sure that was the case.  But what we do know is 

  • He took quick measures, not allowing anything in the way to stop him from seeing Jesus.
  • He left his tax table ( something very important to him) and ran ahead, climbing up on a sycamore tree just so he could get a view of Jesus.  

Picture that, a sea of people were all around Jesus, out of all that was happening in that moment; Jesus came down under this tree, looks up, makes eye contact at Zacchaeus and He calls him up by name. 

He said, “Zacchaeus, come down from that tree.  I’m coming to your house today.” 

You could imagine the shock Zacchaeus had that Jesus noticed him and knew him by name.  Better yet, Jesus wanted to come to his house.  

The picture painted in the Bible shows  Zacchaeus was overjoyed as he was welcoming Jesus into his house.

Whoever you are, and whatever and messy situation you may be involved in, the Lord knows. 

 He knows you by name.  

Don’t ever think that you are too deep into a messy situation that Jesus won’t regard you.  You are the reason He came. 

Conversely, we see as Pharisees point out Christ in His action, saying, “Jesus is gone to be a guest at a man’s house who is a sinner!” 

Exactly!  That’s where Jesus wanted to be at.  

He came for the sinners.  So the question is, How can you reach a sinner if you don’t spend some time with them? 

Zacchaeus walked into his house as a sinner, and he came out a saint.  That’s what spending time with Jesus will do.

Jesus revealed the reason He came.  

“Salvation has come to this house for the Son of Man has come to seek and save the lost.”  

He came, to seek and save the lost.

It is interesting that Jesus was born in Bethlehem to bring life in all its fullness.  The meaning of Bethlehem is, “House of bread.”  Jesus said, “I am the bread of life.” (John 6:35).  He said in John 10:10, “I have come that you might have life and have more abundantly.”  

Are you lost and feeling empty in your life?  

Jesus came to give you life and all of its fullness.

He came to give you life, and life more abundantly.

Goodness Of God
“The Lord is always good. He is always loving and kind, and His faithfulness goes on and on to each succeeding generation.” (Psalm 100:5).
In our church, sometimes a speaker would say, “God is good!” And the congregation would respond back, “All the time!” Then the speaker says, “All the time,” and again the congregation responds, “God is good!”
Just last Sunday, I shared about the goodness of God. And when I asked the question, “Is God really good all the time?” immediately one of our mother figures responded with confidence, “Yes! God is good all the time!” I am convinced she truly meant that from her heart and it was encouraging. To further emphasize the point, I asked again, “Is God truly good all the time?” then followed up with a few more questions in relation to the first one: “What about the times you were in pain? And what about the times you were depressed, stressed out, worried, or being attacked? Is God still really good during those times as well?”
Psalms is a book in the Bible that is filled with praise and expressions of gratitude. A book where the authors acknowledged the majestic, almighty, sovereign, loving, gracious and merciful God. Many Christians go directly to this area of the Bible in times of depression, discouragement, in troubling times, or in whatever circumstances they may be in. Interestingly, this Book of Psalms is right in the middle of the Bible. Close up the Bible, then open it evenly right in the middle, and you’re at the Book of Psalms.
In Psalms 100 verse 5 it speaks about the Goodness of God. It says, “The Lord is always good. He is always loving and kind, and His faithfulness goes on and on to each succeeding generation.” The Bible confirms that God is good ALWAYS. He is good all the time.
Now, how can this be true? How can this be true in my life?
Verse 1 demonstrates what the proper attitude should be when we approach toward God in worship – with a joyful heart and to serve Him with gladness. And focusing on His goodness results in our songs of praise. We worship the Lord not out of obligation, but we worship and serve Him willingly and with joy. The Lord sees the heart and doesn’t accept a heart that comes with grudges, feelings of burden, or obligation. He accepts a joyful heart.
Don’t forget to give thanks to God. For He is good all the time!
God's Seal Of Ownership
Today, I want to talk to you about Seal. I know that the first thing that may cross the mind of those that live in San Diego, would be the seals found at the La Jolla Coves. No, I’m not going to talk about that kind of seals. But I will talk about the seal being used in securing or protecting something.
The word “Sealed” in the New Testament means, “to stamp with a private mark.” If the seal is broken, the receiving party will know that the seal has been tampered or read by someone other than the sealer.
The Apostle Paul speaks of the Seal of God in 2 Timothy Chapter 2. After Paul preached the Gospel of Jesus Christ, many responded, and churches were built. And those who believed knew that, simply by God’s grace, they were being saved through their faith in the finished work of Jesus Christ on the cross, not of their works, but a gift of God.
After the churches were being established, Paul would move on to other cities to further spreading the Gospel of Jesus Christ and building churches. And while he’s away, false prophets would come into the churches that he had built and began circulating false doctrines. Paul was very concern about the churches, so here, he offers encouragement to Timothy where he says, “Nevertheless, the solid foundation of God stands, having this seal: “The Lord knows those who are His…” (2 Timothy 2:19). Basically, what Paul is telling Tim., I’m troubled, I’m concerned. Nevertheless, the solid foundation of God stands, God knows those who are His.
When a person accepted Christ as Lord and Savior, God deposits His Spirit in the heart of the new believer. The Holy Spirit is referred to as the “deposit,” “seal” in the life of a believer after being justified through faith in Jesus Christ. God anointed us and set His seal of ownership on us as His sons and daughters and put His Spirit in us as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come.
“On Him God the Father has placed His seal of approval” (John 6:27). Those who put their faith in Christ possess the Seal of God. Paul encourages Timothy that the solid foundation of God stands with this seal, “the Lord knows those who are His.”
As God’s children, we are sealed by God’s Spirit, being adopted into God’s family as sons and daughters. The Bible says that if we are God’s children, then we are heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, John 8:17. Imagine that! Wow! We should be humbled and filled with much gratitude and adoration. Our Lord Jesus Himself says in John 10:28-29, “And I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand. My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of My Father’s hand. The Father and I are one.” In other words, God knows if you are His. And if you are, you are secure in God’s hand! Is there anything better than that? Such a comforting knowledge.
What is your response to this goodness of God?
That I May Gain Christ

Prior to conversion, the Apostle Paul lived a life of self-righteousness. He felt that it was righteous in the eyes of God by keeping the Law of God. His heritage as a Jew or his position as a Pharisee or his religious zeal, all of these things combined, he thought made him righteous in the sight of God. All of these things he initially thought were great assets to his life.

But one day, a radical transformation took place in his life. He encountered Jesus on the road to Damascus (Acts Chapter 9). From that moment on, he’s never been the same. All the things of his life that he held at such high esteem, they became meaningless. All the past passions of his life seemed pointless.

“Yet indeed I also count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish, that I may gain Christ,” (Philippians 3:8).

To Paul, nothing else matters in comparison to gaining Christ in his life. This included his religion, status, family, friends, wealth and so on. His ultimate focus is on gaining Christ in his life. What can be more important than having Christ and being secured for eternity.

In writing to the Romans in the 8th Chapter, verse 38-39, Paul writes, “…nothing will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus.” That is security! Nothing! No angels, no powers, no things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, or any created being shall be able to separate us from that love of God in Christ Jesus.  That should bring a feeling of joy, peace, and satisfaction to anyone who has lost and is continually losing things for the sake of Christ.

Paul gave them all up, all that he once cherished in his life.  In fact, called them all rubbish in comparison to gaining Christ in his life.

Jesus Himself said, “He who finds his life will lose it, and he who loses his life for My sake will find it,” (Matthew 10:39).

Peace With God
“Without FAITH it is impossible to please God,” Hebrews 11:6. Yes, that is the truth. Because sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin. In this way, death spread to all because we’re all sinners. In other words, we are enemies of God because of sin. We are eternally separated from God.
Therefore, a peace treaty is necessary to make peace again with God, and it is through faith. “Therefore, since we have been justified through FAITH, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus,” (Romans 5:1).
But what is FAITH? It is an assurance of this hope for, the evidence of things unseen. Godly men and women in the Old Testament were accounted righteous by God, not by good works they did, simply believing in God. (Read Hebrews 11).
How do I have faith? Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God.” (Read Romans 10).
Being saved is a gift of God. “For by grace you have been saved through FAITH, and that is not of ourselves, it is the gift of God. Not of works, so that no one would boast,” (Ephesians 2:8-9).
The only peace treaty we could have is through faith in the finished work of Jesus Christ. Without FAITH, it is impossible to please God.
Make It A Daily Practice
If you are a child of God, make it a daily practice to start off your day in the Word. Before you get to the bad news, read first of the Good News (Bible). The bad news will always be there. In fact, there won’t be a day that goes by without bad news.
If you are like me, I love reading the news on a daily basis. And I have a tendency to grab my smartphone and browse away reading my messages, emails, and see what’s going on in the news or on social media. By the time I realized, I’ve already spent an hour or two doing just that. And there is nothing wrong of being informative. However, bad news and negativity on social media could ruin your day, obviously. That is why I am reminding myself and am encouraging you, if you are a child of God, to first read the Word, then you will have a good perspective of what you may encounter during the day. Begin your day off in the Word.
“Thy Word is a lamp unto my feet and a light onto my path,” Psalm 119:105.
God Doesn't Call The Equipped. He Equips The Called.
When God calls, He equips, empowers and provides. We are earthen vessels entrusted with the treasure. The Lord doesn’t need our equipments, He doesn’t need our power nor what we can provide. He simply needs our obedience.
One of my most used verses is Ephesians 2:10, “For we are God’s workmanship created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.”
We arrived on planet heart with divine purposes. Don’t be sidetracked by the wisdom of the world. When He calls, say, “Speak Lord, for your servant is listening.”
The Simplicity Of The Gospel Message

“And I, brethren, when I came to you, did not come with eloquence of speech or of wisdom declaring to you the testimony of God. For I determined not to know anything among you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified,” (1 Corinthians 2:1-2).

When the Apostle Paul first arrived in Corinth, he preached the Gospel Message, people responded, the church was planted, they knew that they were being saved by grace, they were justified by faith through Christ. In writing to the Galatians, the Apostle Paul was greatly concerned about the churches, how they have turned away so quickly from Him who called them in the grace of Christ to a different gospel, Galatians 1:6. Here in 1 Corinthians in the first chapter, he wrote and reminded the church to think back to when he first came to them, think back to how they were being saved. Was it a result of living under the bondage of the Law, was it by works or following some religious rituals? He wrote that he did not come with eloquence of speech, that he was determined not to know anything else among them except Jesus Christ and Him crucified. He wanted the people to hear the simplicity of the Gospel, nothing else.

As ministers of the Gospel, we can be careless by attempting to add styles, persuasive and eloquence of speeches, or adding steps or religious rituals that people would go through in order to fully have salvation. Salvation is not attained by works or steps that man needs to go through, it is simply a gift of God, Ephesians 2:8-9. You have been saved through faith in Jesus Christ, believing in the finished work of Christ on the Cross of Calvary. For by grace, you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast,” (Ephesians 2:8-9).

“I do not set aside the grace of God; for if righteousness comes through the law, then Christ died in vain,” (Galatians 2:21).
Why Should I Study the Bible?

The Bible is literally “God’s breathed,” 2 Timothy 3:16. In other words, it is God’s very own words to us.

Going through life without the Bible would be like trying to get to a destination in the darkness of night without a gps or a shedding of light to lightens the path.

It is true, the Bible is about life, but it is beyond that. It is about our Lord Jesus Christ from Genesis 1:1 to Revelation 22:21. In order to see through life’s path in this world, you need to have a light, and Jesus Christ is the true light of the world.

“Thy Word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path,” (Psalm 119:105)
Delight in His Law and meditate on it day and night. We need it in this dark and fallen world.
One True Love You Can Count On

We have heard love expressed in so many ways by many. It becomes so norm to us that sometimes we say it without no deep affection behind it. Or some may sincerely say it with deep affection. However, when things don’t go well, that love is nowhere to be found.

But there is one true love we can truly depend on, it is an unconditional and lasting love. In fact, the Bible says there is no end to it, once you’re in, you are locked in for eternity.

“For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, no angels nor principalities nor powers, no things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, no any other created things, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord,” (Romans 8:38-39).

“Certainly the faithful love of the Lord hasn’t ended; certainly God’s compassion isn’t through! They are renewed every morning. Great is your faithful.” (Lamentations 3:22-23).

This love of God is not just by word, but it is demonstrated through Jesus Christ on the cross. “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life,” (John 3:16).
Flee From These Things
“If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new,” (2 Corinthians 5:17). In other words, the passions of the worldly life that the old self used to enjoy, they are now things of the past. The new regenerated person in Christ is now embracing the new life in Christ. Things of the past are beginning to fade out as the person is growing by yielding to the leading of the Spirit of God within his or her life.
In 1 Timothy 6:11-12, we learned of the Apostle’s advice to young Timothy, “But you, O man of God, flee these things and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, gentleness. Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, to which you were called and have confessed the good confession in the presence of many witnesses.”
Question to ask, how do we know if a person is truly a godly person? We can know by seeing that person running away from things that would endanger him or make him ineffective as a servant of Jesus Christ.
Timothy was called not to be a worldly man, but a godly man. That is why Paul started out in verse 11 by saying, “But you, o man of God…”
Nearing the end of his life as he was about to pass on the baton to Timothy, Paul knew the challenges that Timothy would be facing. Hence, he felt the need to encourage young Timothy to be strong as a young man in the ministry.
He further wrote in his second letter to Timothy, “Flee also youthful lusts; but pursue righteousness, faith, love, peace with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart,” (2 Timothy 2:22).
You could learn more of it in Acts 16, but for the sake of understanding, a brief history for how this strong relationship had begun between Paul and Timothy. Timothy was proven to be so trustworthy that Paul sent him as a representative to the churches he was concerned about (1 Thessalonians 3:2; Philippians 2:19). Paul referred to Timothy as “my son in the faith” (1 Timothy 1:2, 18; 2 Timothy 1:2). Paul was impressed by this young man’s faith and love of God that he picked him up in Lystra on his second missionary journey. Timothy’s mother was a Jewish, but his father was Greek. Although Timothy was free in Christ and he knew that circumcision was not necessary for salvation, yet he allowed himself to be circumcised to rid of anything that might be of hindrance to the effectiveness of the ministry toward the Jews. In writing to the Corinthians, the Apostle Paul wrote, “For though I am free from all men, I have made myself a servant to all, that I might win the more; and to the Jews I became as a Jew, that I might win Jews; to those who are under the law, as under the law, that I might win those who are under the law; to those without law, as without law (not being without law toward God, but under law toward Christ), that I might win those who are without law, to the weak I became as weak, that I might win the weak. I have become all things to all men, that I might by all means save some,” (1 Corinthians 9:19-23).
Do you have a desire to be a man or a woman of God, a person who seeks to live a godly life?
Paul wrote in verse 11, “But you o man of God, flee, run away from these things. The word flee means to run away to seek safety or escape something, safe from danger. Flee is a continual way of life for a child of God. It is not an option. If you’re going to be a godly man or woman, you need to continually runaway from those things that would lead you away from Jesus Christ.
A good example in the Bible is the story of Joseph in Genesis 39. When he was confronted by Potiphar’s wife, and when he was given the opportunity to sin, he ran in the opposite direction. Sin will always hinder the work of God’s Spirit within your life. It will always rob you of the blessings that God desires to give to you. The blessing of His peace, His joy, the blessing of assurance and comfort.
The Bible tells us that when desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin and sin when it is full grown, brings forth death. Therefore, if it brings death, run away from it.
The Lord Added To The Church Daily

“They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.  Everyone was filled with awe at the many wonders and signs performed by the apostles.  All the believers were together and had everything in common.  They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need.  Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts.  They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people.  And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.” (Acts 2:42-47)

The church (Body of Christ) is inseparable. We need each other and there is no better time to be together as now in consideration of the hostility around us.

As a church, we are the light of the world, like a city on a hilltop that cannot be hidden. The light deems when we are not together. But there is power when we are united and of one accord because we are together connecting to the true light, who is Jesus Christ Himself.

The writer of Hebrews in the 10th chapter writes, “And let us not neglect our meeting together as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of his return is drawing near,” (Hebrews 10:25).

Why there was such a daily growth to the First Century Church as recorded in the Book of Acts in the 2nd chapter. There is power and growth when believers are united and are in one accord.

Some take-aways from this passage are, the believers continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and in the breaking of bread and prayers. And as a result, fear of the Lord came upon them, and many wonders and signs were performed by the apostles and all that believed were together and had all things in common.  Verse 47 says, “And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved.”

I encourage the church (the Body of Christ) to continue steadfastly in the word, prayer, breaking of bread together.  And let me add, as we learn to know more of our God, there is nothing that could hold us back from worshipping Him.

You can’t be a strong believer isolating yourself from the rest of the Body members.  The members are interrelated and depended on each other and can only be strong when together with Christ being the Head of the Body.

If you are a child of God and don’t currently belong to a church, find a Bible-base teaching church and be part of that family.  Your isolation is vulnerable to the enemy whose mission is to steal, kill and destroy.