Lamentations_3

Scripture – What stood out?

Lamentations 3

21 Yet this I call to mind

    and therefore I have hope:

22 Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed,

    for his compassions never fail.

23 They are new every morning;

    great is your faithfulness.

24 I say to myself, “The Lord is my portion;

   therefore I will wait for him.”

 

Observation – What does it say?

This chapter begins with a reminder that sometimes affliction is not from the enemy, sometimes it is from God. Lamentations 3:1 states “I am the man who has seen affliction, by the rod of the Lord’s wrath.”

 

Understanding – What does it mean?

I think upon this particular dichotomy a lot, potentially a tri-chotomy. If something negative or pain inducing happens, is it from the enemy, God, or…neither? Only three options but when I am not hearing clearly from the Lord picking apart which is which can make my head spin! I have had the opportunity to live a life which has been given room for introspection. That in itself is such a gift considering all the lives out there that struggle for food and shelter on an hourly basis. 

 

Reading this chapter and this verse makes one point stand out for me. If the affliction is of the enemy…I serve a God that has conquered the enemy. If I truly accept that, then that pain is suddenly not as scary to deal with. My God conquered the source of that issue! If the affliction is from God however…the source of that pain is from the One whom I serve…

 

I remember growing up I had a healthy fear of my father. And I LOVED my mom…Until it was time to get punished! For such a slender woman she generated great power when wielding a stick. Over time, the sting of the discipline would fade, my parents would shower me with love, and I couldn’t help but reciprocate. 

 

Life Application How can I apply this to my life today?

 

I often feel like God is angry with me. And I feel like much of my adult life has been a series of discipling seasons filled with pain. But this is the hope I cling to, because of the Lord’s great love I am not consumed. Growing up I didn’t know who I was more afraid of, getting mugged and beaten by strangers or my parents. At the end of every disciplinary moment I received from my parents I learned something. They were always trying to teach me something. 

 

In a society where pain is the antithesis of civilized living, it is not condoned in any way shape or form. I don’t want to give in to that way of thought Lord. If you are trying to teach me something through affliction I want to learn. Thank you for modeling that through my parents. Thank you Lord for being consumed by your love for me

-Ken Lee



John__10

Scripture

John 10: 14-15

I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me — just as the Father knows me and I know the Father — and I lay down my life for the sheep.
 

Observation

As Jesus speaks to the Pharisees he uses a parable of sheep and a shepherd to further the assertion that He is the Son of God. Throughout this parable He repeats that He is a good shepherd, and that if anyone wishes to come through the gates (or gain eternal life) they must got through Him. Jesus also states that a good shepherd lays down their life for their flock, which is exactly what Jesus has come to do for the world at this time. As He continues, however, the Pharisees accuse Him of being demon-possessed. 
 

Understanding

When I was younger I always wondered how my parents knew that I was calling out for them. We would be at the park with lots of kids, yet every time I said “Mom!” Or “Dad!” they seemed to instinctively know my voice. In the same way I always knew my parents voice, granted I had it easier since they were using my name and not “daughter.” Hearing them say my name always brought ease and comfort (except when they used my first and middle name, then I knew I was in trouble). My main point here though is that I knew my parents’ voice and they knew mine (and still do).

I think this is the same concept that Jesus puts forward here. His sheep (us) know His voice like a parent knows their kid’s voice. We constantly call out to Him, so He has become trained to know what we sound like because He longs to respond. I don’t think that we quite know the gravity of this either. The Creator of the Universe doesn’t just know my name, but He also knows the sound of my voice, and He responds to it! Here’s the tough part: I don’t always train myself to know the sound of His voice. If I call myself one of His sheep, then I should therefore know Him. Part of knowing Him is knowing His voice, and hanging on every word that He speaks to me.

Lately, I haven’t been a good sheep to my shepherd. Sure, I know Him and I understand the nature of God, but I haven’t taken the time to listen. And He’s willing to lay down His life for me and His entire flock then the least I can do is listen to what He has to say. I want to instinctively know my Heavenly Father’s voice like I know my earthly father’s voice.
 

Life Application

So how exactly do we do that?

Some people hate this exercise, and although it is extremely uncomfortable it’s really successful. I find I listen the best when I am… wait for it… it’s really profound: NOT talking. So if we just sit in silence for like fifteen minutes we might be amazed at what we hear. I hope you join me in sitting in silence for fifteen minutes this week to tune into the voice of our Heavenly Father. He may say exactly what you needed hear, but were too busy to talking over Him to listen to.

-Allison Khan 


John_9

Scripture

 

John 9:41-Jesus said, “If you were blind, you would not be guilty of sin; but now that you claim you can see, your guilt remains.”

 

Observation-What does it say?

Jesus healed a man who was born blind. Not only did He heal his physical blindness, but His spiritual blindness as well. The man was healed of his spiritual blindness because he recognized he was blind, he believed in Jesus as the “Son of Man” and worshipped Him. As Jesus was talking to the man, Jesus said that He came “so that the blind will see and those who see will become blind.” A Pharisee heard this and took offense to it. He asked Jesus if they were blind too. Jesus’ response in verse 41 says it all.

 

Understanding-What does it mean?

The Pharisees did not acknowledge their blindness (sinful nature). Jesus cannot save those who think they are not guilty of sin. He came to save sinners like you and me. He didn’t come to save those who do NOT think they are sinners, for they have no need of Jesus, and as a result “their guilt remains.”

 

“For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. For it is written: “I will destroy the wisdom of the wise; the intelligence of the intelligent I will frustrate.”” 1 Corinthians 1:18-19 NIV

 

Life Application

Admit our need for Jesus, thank Him for His saving grace and pray for a heart to share with people who are spiritually blind, that their eyes (hearts) would be open to the Truth. 

I grew up in the church, which means that I went to church with my parents from the time I exited my mother’s womb. (Actually, I started attending while still in the womb, according to my mom.) However, I was spiritually blind because I remember at 14 years old thinking to myself that I was NOT a sinner and I hadn’t broken any of the 10 commandments, so why do I need Jesus? I just wanted to live my life and decided that I would not say the sinners’ prayer yet, but wait until I got older. I was blind and did not recognize it at that time. Praise God that 2 years later, I opened my heart to His invitation for salvation, as I admitted my need for Him and recognized my sin and blindness.

There are so many in the world and even in churches today that are still spiritually blind. They are unable to recognize their need for Jesus because they don’t think that they are sinners. Just like the Pharisees who pointed the finger at “those sinners,” I pray that we would not fall into that same trap, but rather pray for a heart for the lost and spiritually blind to come to know and receive His saving grace.

Dear Lord,

Thank You for saving a wretch like me.  Your grace is amazing.  Please forgive me for the many times I have acted like a Pharisee, because I had forgotten Your saving grace over my own life.  I pray for healing over people in our families, in our churches and in our community who are still spiritually blind.  May they recognize their need for You and use me as You will to reach out to sinners just like me.  “Amazing grace, how sweet the sound, that saved a wretch like me.  I once was lost, but now I’m found.  Was blind, but now I see.”  Amen.

 

-Michelle Gaddi 



Psalm_70

Scripture:

Psalm 70:4 (TLB)

But fill the followers of God with joy. Let those who love your salvation exclaim, “What a wonderful God he is!” 

Observation:

Almost like a reprise from Psalm 40, “entitled, “a psalm to bring to remembrance;’’ for it may be of use sometimes to pray over the prayers we have formerly made to God upon similar occasions, which may be done with new affections.”  David prays that God would send help to himself (v1, v5), shame to his enemies (v2, v3) and joy to his friends (v4). 

https://www.biblestudytools.com/commentaries/matthew-henry-complete/psalms/70.html

Understanding:

I just love David’s prayer for his friends, those he loves, for other followers…

But fill the followers of God with joy. Let those who love your salvation exclaim, “What a wonderful God he is!” (TLB)

Let those on the hunt for you
    sing and celebrate.
Let all who love your saving way
    say over and over, “God is mighty!” (The Message)

Let all who look for You be full of joy and be glad in You. And let those who love Your saving power always say, “Let God be honored.”(NLV)

But may all who search for you
    be filled with joy and gladness in you.
May those who love your salvation
    repeatedly shout, “God is great!” (NLT)

Regardless of the version, it was clear that David – even when he considered himself poor and needy – took time to pray blessings over fellow believers…a prayer of joy, gladness and praise. And, his experiences were pretty real and raw – with people trying to kill and humiliate him.  Even then, he lifted up his friends, those he loved, those who were seeking God. 

Life Application:

May David’s prayer be an example to us. No matter how big our own “stuff” may be, may we take time to bless others in our prayers and in our actions. 

PS God has an amazing way of putting things in perspective when we rest our eyes on Him.  So a side benefit that usually comes when we spend time with him and take time to pray and cover others, our own “stuff” becomes smaller, lighter, more manageable.

Rei



John_7

Scripture  John 7:37-38  Now on the last day, the great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried out, saying, “If anyone is thirsty, let him come to Me and drink.  He who believes in Me, as the Scripture said, ‘From his innermost being will flow rivers of living water.’” 

 

Observation-What does it say?  Jesus enters Jerusalem during the Feast of Shelters, also known as the Feast of Tabernacles, is celebrated after the Feast of Atonement (Yom Kippur).  The Feast of Shelters, the most joyous and the longest of the festivals, was also considered to be the greatest of the feasts.  The Feast of Shelters memorialized God’s holy Dwelling place, the desert Tabernacle, which was later replaced by the Temple built by Solomon.  Jesus entered the city secretly, to avoid causing a disruption.  As he speaks in the city, the crowd becomes divided between belief and unbelief.  As his last statement before leaving the city, Jesus foretells the coming of the Holy Spirit.  The Holy Spirit will come and fill us to overflowing, like a river in our soul.

 

Understanding-What does it mean?  I love traveling to where there is water.  There is just something about water that seems to bring life to the area around it.  But something that I never really considered about water, it has to have an outflow to continue bringing life.  I learned the reality of this a couple of years ago, while driving to Idaho on vacation.  During our drive, we passed Walker Lake, in Nevada.  The lake has no natural outflow and is dying.  As agriculture has reduced the flow of water going into the lake, and sediment continues to flow in, the level of salt in the water is increasing.  This kills off the fish and increases the rate of evaporation.  

 

When we ask God to, He will pour out His love on us.  But, just like a river, we are supposed to have an outflow.  Jesus told us all the law and commandments are fulfilled in loving God and loving our neighbors (Matthew 22:36-40).  Furthermore, Jesus states later in the book of John that His disciples will be known by their love (John 13:35), and those who know Him and love Him will follow his commands (John 14:21).  Therefore, loving others is a natural outflow of God’s love and spirit in our lives.  It’s this outflow of love that shows the true life found in a life submitted to Jesus.  The Holy Spirit is our guide to living a life filled with love and submitted to Jesus.


Life Application:  Jesus, help me to rely more fully on you everyday.  As I trust in you, show me ways to love those around me in a way that is both practical and sensitive to the spiritual needs of others.  Help me to seek the needs of others before my own wants and needs.    

 
-Tyler Galloway


John__6

Scripture – What stood out?

John 6:26 Jesus answered, “Very truly I tell you, you are looking for me, not because you saw the signs I performed but because you ate the loaves and had your fill. 27 Do not work for food that spoils, but for food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you. For on him God the Father has placed his seal of approval.”

Observation – What does it say?

Jesus had just fed a group of 5 thousand (only the men were counted so the total number of people including women and children would be greater than 5k) the day before using 5 small loaves of bread and 2 fish . That night the disciples got on a boat (Jesus would join them on the boat later on walking on water) and crossed the lake into Capernaum. Some of the people who had experienced that miracle meal realizing Jesus had left would cross over in search of him.

Understanding – What does it mean?

I feel like I got a gut check after I read this verse. Literally, bc I am gaining weight like you would not believe right now. It is the middle of a pandemic and I’m getting fat. I am not exaggerating…And then Jesus hits me with this – do not work for food that spoils but for food that endures to eternal life! I can almost hear Jesus telling me to lose weight, and his voice sounds like my mother’s!

Eating my fill and satisfying my tummy in a nutshell is how I live here on earth. I am looking for some sort of satisfaction. And that is the constant struggle between the spiritual food that will endure and this earthly food which provides temporary satisfaction.

I have contemplated for months now what to do with my post-pandemic life. And while I don’t have all the answers I feel like one message is clear – focus on the food that endures and does not spoil.

Life Application How can I apply this to my life today?

Lord readjust my focus. May I stop being hungry and craving things that have no eternal consequences. Help me to reprioritize in my head and in my heart. May I focus on the food that brings me closer to eternal life with you. May I focus on living bread. May I focus on You.

 

In the name of Jesus do I pray, amen.

-kenneth lee

 



Psalm_67

Scripture
 
Psalms‬ ‭67:2-3
 
“May your ways be known throughout the earth, your saving power among people everywhere. May the nations praise you, O God. Yes, may all the nations praise you.”
 
Observation-What does it say?
 
This is a psalm of worship. This psalm of thanksgiving expresses the people’s gratefulness to God and their confidence in God’s continued blessings. The psalmist desires to see the whole world come to fear and know of God’s amazing saving power so all may come to praise Him.
 
Understanding-What does it mean?
 
The gospel of…(insert your name here).
 
We all know the 4 major gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. But did you know that we, our life stories of what Jesus has done for us, are gospels as well? Did you know that the closest thing that some people may come to hearing the gospel is through our life’s testimonies and the example of the life we are living? It’s really quite mind blowing when you think about it. But we are an extension of the Bible, God’s story, to be told for generations to come.
 
In verses 2 & 3 the psalmist expresses their desire for the nations to know of God’s ways and saving power. The psalmist desires for all to praise Him and experience His blessings the way he has. How can we as His people continue to make that happen?
 
“Jesus came and told his disciples, “I have been given all authority in heaven and on earth. Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.””
‭‭Matthew‬ ‭28:18-20‬
 
Life Application
 
Even during times like these, we can still be on mission.
 
We may not currently be meeting at church, but the church was never about the building. The church is about the people…God’s people. And although we are unable to physically see each other, God provides the technology for other ways to still see each other, encourage one another, and pray for one another. Whether it’s through Zoom Meeting Rooms, On-Line Church Services, texts, or emails, there is no excuse for us to give that we cannot continue God’s mission. I mean look at the Apostle Paul for example. Even while being imprisoned, (for sharing the gospel), Paul still found a way to accomplish God’s mission. And even though we are on government “Stay Home” orders, we too can still find a way to accomplish God’s mission for us. So let’s be purposeful, use this opportunity to be on mission. Let those we come into contact with know of God’s ways and His amazing saving power. Let all praise His name and experience His amazing love and blessings. 😊
 
-Moses Gaddi


John__4

Scripture

 

John 4:42

 

“They said to the woman, “We no longer believe just because of what you said; now we have heard for ourselves, and we know that this man really is the Savior of the world.”

 

Observation-What does it say?

 

The woman at the well, a Samaritan woman, shared her encounter with Jesus with her people. First of all, Jesus came to her even though Jews and Samaritans do not associate with one another. Second, He knew the intimate details of her life….details that would be impossible for any stranger to know. Third, He knew she was thirsty for something more than what this world had to offer her, as He said that He can give her water that would cause her to never thirst again. The woman was amazed and Jesus eventually revealed to her that He was the Messiah that she was expecting (vs.25). The Samaritan woman could not keep this information to herself, so she told the other Samaritans in her town about Jesus. As a result of her testimony, many Samaritans believed in Him and chose to seek Him out for themselves. 

 

Understanding-What does it mean?

 

Our faith in Jesus Christ is not meant to be hidden. 

 

Keeping our faith to ourselves only benefits us, but we must share it with those around us too. As the Samaritan woman shared her encounter with Jesus (her testimony), it caused the other Samaritans to believe in Jesus and seek Him out for themselves. They had faith that became their own and it was no longer her faith alone (vs. 42)

 

Life Application

 

Freely share Jesus’ testimony and our testimony of faith.

 

Jesus’ testimony is His death and resurrection. His testimony has enabled us to be saved from hell and not have to live a life apart from a Holy God. (John 3:16). 

 

Our testimony is our personal experiences/encounters with Jesus. Some of us have an initial testimony that led to us accepting His invitation for our salvation. But, we are given testimonies all the time as we are with Jesus everyday.  It is meant to be shared with those who don’t know His goodness so that they can taste and see for themselves that He is good. 

 

Psalm 34:8- “Taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the one who takes refuge in Him.”

 

The water He gives is truly living water and is the only thing that can satisfy our thirst for eternity.

I am grateful for my parents who laid this foundation for me. Although it was their faith that I followed in the first half of my life, because of their example and testimony and the way they raised me, it became my faith as well in the later part of my life.

 

Dear Lord, thank You for the people You placed in my life to plant the seeds of faith in my life. Now that I have been adopted into Your family, I pray that my testimonies with You would not be hidden, but rather shared with joy in order to draw others to Yourself, so they can taste and see that You are good too. Thank You Jesus that it doesn’t matter what we’ve done or who we once were, but that we are now seen through the eyes of Christ.  Thank you that I will never thirst or hunger again. May more people be drawn to that truth as I am obedient to share it with them. Amen.

 

-Michelle Gaddi



Psalm_65

Scripture:

Psalm 65:5-8

You answer us with awesome and righteous deeds,
    God our Savior,
the hope of all the ends of the earth
    and of the farthest seas,
who formed the mountains by your power,
    having armed yourself with strength,
who stilled the roaring of the seas,
    the roaring of their waves,
    and the turmoil of the nations.
The whole earth is filled with awe at your wonders;
    where morning dawns, where evening fades,
    you call forth songs of joy.

 

Observation:

Words borrowed from https://enduringword.com/bible-commentary/psalm-65/, italics mine.

By awesome deeds in righteousness You will answer us, O God of our salvation: This was an ongoing confidence in the continuation of God’s goodness. God had answered prayer and provided atonement; David expected such awesome deeds in the future also.

You who are the confidence of all the ends of the earth: David again lifted his vision from beyond Israel to the ends of the earth, to the far-off seas. He understood that though Israel belonged to God in a special sense, He was and is the God of the whole earth.

You who still the noise of the seas, the noise of their waves, and the tumult of the peoples: God’s might is shown in His ability to quiet not only the oceans but also the noise of the peoples of the world. His authority extended far beyond Israel, to the farthest parts of the earth.

  1. Stormy and noisy seas put forth enormous energy. According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), an average hurricane releases energy equivalent to 6×1014watts of electricity. This is 200 times world-wide electrical generating capacity. The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) says that in its lifetime an average hurricane can release as much energy as 10,000 nuclear bombs. Yet God can and does still the noise of the seas, the noise of their waves.
  2. Knowing this great power of God should build our faith when we see the tumult of the peoplesand are concerned for God’s salvation to reach the ends of the earth. We can think of those at the ends of the earth as those who are farthest off, least known, least thought of, most afflicted, and the hardest to reach.
  3. “The child of God in seasons of trouble should fly at once to him who stills the seas: nothing is too hard for him.” (Spurgeon)

You make the outgoings of the morning and evening rejoice: The exercise of God’s authority over the earth does not bring it fear and oppression; it brings rejoicing to the day.

 

Understanding:

This is another chapter where I just love the visual of the God we serve, the power He holds, the stretch of this authority to the very ends of the earth. 

 

Life Application:

Like David, let’s live in expectancy – expecting awesome deeds.  God is powerful and still wants to unleash that power…just wants willing hearts.  May we be willing and expectant today.

May we take time to recognize and remember God’s hand at work.  May that build our faith today.

May we take time to be still, seek the God that can still the noise – whatever that “noise” looks like in our lives today.

May we take time to be in awe at the power and magnitude of the God we serve.

And, finally, may we take time to rejoice!

…and may our willing, expectant, full-of-faith, peace-full, in awe, rejoicing hearts create interactions that leave people feeling calm, seen, heard and loved…in a way that leads hearts to Jesus. <3

Rei



Psalm 65

Scripture  Psalm 65:1&9  “Praise awaits you, our God, in Zion; to you our vows will be fulfilled…You care for the land and water it; you enrich it abundantly.  The streams of God are filled with water to provide the people with grain, for so you have ordained it.”

 

Observation-What does it say?  This psalm is ascribed to David.  There is no specific event this is tied to, but it could have been written at the end of a drought or maybe even a famine.  The psalm was most likely written when the tabernacle was on Mount Zion, before the temple was built in Jerusalem.  “The word translated ‘waiteth’ [awaiting] comes from a root meaning to be silent…. This does not mean that there is no praise, but on the contrary that praise is so complete that at first it can find no utterance.” (Morgan)  This silence gives the impression of being speechless because of the Lord’s greatness.  Later in the chapter, David praises God for the abundance of provision he lavishes on the earth.  The earth is barren until the rain that God helps to bring about growth.

 

Understanding-What does it mean?  I recently went to Zion National Park.  As we were driving to the park, the only thing I could say was, “This is AWESOME!!!”  I mean once we got to the park, I also said, “It’s so hot,” quite a bit.  But that’s what happens when you visit the desert in July.  On the shuttle, I got a chance to just sit and enjoy the amazing scenery.  It’s hard to describe how the great walls or red rock inspire a sense of connection to our creator.  The contrast between the lush valley, which holds the life bringing water, and the desert up above.  The whole time we were there, the words just seemed to escape me to offer as a praise for the grandeur around me.  I was speechless.

 

This brought new meaning to being silent in praise.  God’s word says, “Be still, and know that I am God”(Psalm 46:10).  God’s goodness and creation often inspires awe and speechlessness.  But, we are told this is praise enough.  Similarly, God tells us to look to him to learn how to pray.  “In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans.  And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God” (Romans 8:26-27).  Changing our perspective can point us towards the Spirit, giving us direction in prayer.  Even Jesus took time to go into the wilderness to pray (Luke 5:16).  

 

Life Application  God, help me to not fear when you are silent.  Thank you for providing me with places to see you.  Thank you for teaching me about you in the silence.  Help me to lean on the Holy Spirit when I don’t know what to pray.

 

-Tyler Galloway