If we can encourage others, we should encourage them.
~Romans 12:8

Monday, February 8, 2016

Lamentations 3 Exposed

I was scheduling posts for Twitter and I wanted some encouraging verses. Lamentations 3 popped into my head, so I looked it up to see what verse to post. I know Lamentations doesn't seem like a good place to find encouragement; after all it's a bunch of lamenting and wailing, right? When I was younger I used to question some of the books of the bible. Books like Lamentations and parts of Ecclesiastes seemed dark and depressing. Why would You put that in there Lord? But if you keep on living, and if you go through enough; you learn to appreciate even some of those dark passages.

It is widely believed that Jeremiah wrote Lamentations, and he was one whom had God's calling on him while he was still in the womb [Jeremiah 1:5]. If a great prophet like that can get to the point where he'd lost all hope of God doing anything for him, then anyone can. But thank God, Jeremiah was resilient, and again found his hope in the Lord.

Sometimes I examine parallel translations of the Bible and compile a chapter or segment that captures the essence of the scripture. Following is my exposition of Lamentation 3, composed of different translations, but all right from the Bible. It's about Israel's relationship with God. I hope it blesses you, and makes you think.

Lamentations 3

Hope in the Lord’s Faithfulness 

1  I am one who knows what it is to be punished by God, who has seen the afflictions that come from the rod of the Lord’s anger..
2  He has driven me away and made me walk in darkness rather than light;
3  And beat me again and again with merciless blows.
4  He has left my flesh open and raw, and has broken my bones.
5  He has shut me in a prison of misery and anguish.
6  He has forced me to live in the stagnant darkness of death.
7  He has bound me in chains; I am a prisoner with no hope of escape.
8  I cry aloud for help, but God refuses to listen; Even when I call out or cry for help, he shuts out my prayer.
9  He has barred my way with blocks of stone; he has made my paths crooked.
10 He waited for me like a bear; he pounced on me like a lion.
11 He chased me off the road, tore me to pieces, and left me.
12 He drew his bow and made me the target for his arrows.
13 He shot his arrows deep into my heart.
14 I became the laughingstock of all my people; they mock me in song all day long.
15 Bitter suffering is all he has given me for food and drink.
16 He rubbed my face in the ground and broke my teeth on rocks.
17 I have been deprived of peace; I have forgotten what prosperity, health and peace and happiness are.
18 I do not have much longer to live; my hope in the Lord is gone. So I say, “My strength has perished And so has my hope and expectation from the Lord.”
19 The thought of my pain, my homelessness, is bitter poison.
20 I think of it constantly, and my spirit is depressed. I will never forget this awful time, as I grieve over my loss.

21 Yet hope returns when I remember this one thing:
22 It is because of the Lord’s lovingkindnesses that we are not consumed, Because His [tender] compassions never fail. The Lord's unfailing love and mercy still continue,
23 They are new every morning; Great and beyond measure is Your faithfulness. Fresh as the morning, as sure as the sunrise.

24 The Lord is all I have, and so in him I put my hope.
“The Lord is my portion and my inheritance,” says my soul; “Therefore I have hope in Him and wait expectantly for Him.”
25 The LORD is good to those who depend on Him, who wait for Him, who trust in Him, To those who seek Him [on the authority of God’s word].
26 It is good to hope and wait patiently for the LORD's salvation. It is good to wait patiently for deliverance from the LORD.

27 And it is good for people to submit at an early age to the yoke of his discipline:
28 Let him sit alone [in hope] and keep quiet, Because God has laid it on him [for his benefit].
29 Let him put his mouth in the dust [in recognition of his unworthiness]; There may yet be hope.
30 Let them turn the other cheek to those who strike them and accept the insults of their enemies.
31 For no one is abandoned by the Lord forever.
32 Even if he makes us suffer, though he causes grief, he will have compassion According to His abundant lovingkindness and tender mercy.
33 For he does not willingly bring affliction or grief to anyone. For he does not enjoy hurting people or causing them sorrow.
34 The Lord knows when our spirits are crushed in prison; when any of the prisoners of the earth are crushed underfoot,
35 He knows when we are denied the rights he gave us; He knows when a person's rights are perverted in defiance of the Most High.
36 When justice is perverted in court, he knows.  When a man is thwarted in his appeal, does the Lord condone it?
37 Who can speak and have it happen if the Lord has not decreed it? The will of the Lord alone is always carried out.
38 Is it not from the mouth of the Most High That both adversity (misfortune) and good (prosperity, happiness) proceed? Good and evil alike take place at his command.
39 Then why should we, mere humans, complain when we are punished for our sins?

40 Let us examine our ways and turn back to the Lord.
41 Let us open our hearts and lift up our hands to God in heaven and pray,
42 “We have sinned and rebelled, and you, O Lord, have not forgiven us.
43 "You have engulfed us with your anger, chased us down, and slaughtered us without mercy. “You pursued us and killed us; your mercy was hidden by your anger,
44 By a cloud of fury too thick for our prayers to get through.
45 You have discarded us as refuse and garbage among the nations. You have made us the garbage dump of the world.
46 “We are insulted and mocked by all our enemies.
47 We have been through disaster and ruin; we live in danger and fear.
48 My eyes flow with rivers of tears at the destruction of my people.
49 “My tears will pour out in a ceaseless stream
50 Until the Lord looks down from heaven and sees us.
51 My heart is grieved when I see what has happened to the women of the city.
52 “I was hunted down and trapped like a bird by enemies I have never harmed, who had no cause to hate me.
53 They threw me alive into a pit and closed the opening with a stone.
54 Water began to close over me, and I thought death was near.
55 “From the bottom of the pit, O Lord, I cried out to you,
56 And when I begged you to listen to my cry, you heard.
57 You came near when I called you, You answered me and you said, “Do not fear.”

58 “You came to my rescue, Lord, and saved my life. O Lord, you championed my cause, you redeemed my life.
59 You have seen the wrong done to me, LORD. Be my judge, and prove me right.

Lord I am grateful because even though there may be times when I feel forsaken, there is always hope. Help me not to dwell on my losses, but on Your great faithfulness. Remind me that even though there may be seasons when it seems like You are silent, when I call You will answer, and come to my rescue.

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Prayer Meeting every Thursday

Prayer Meeting 

Thursday January 28, 2016

5 pm Pacific, 7 pm Central, 8 pm Eastern

You are welcome to join us for the weekly prayer conference.

You can share prayer requests and praise reports or just listen.


Code 55 77 55

Tuesday, January 5, 2016


Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me.
Revelation 3:20 NIV

Recently I was having some trouble in my relationship with God. Not very happy with the status quo. I was praying real prayers like "Lord please make me glad that I gave You my life". I tried to listen to Charles Stanley on the InTouch Ministries app, and that usually makes me feel better, but not this time. His message of "Obey God and leave all the consequences to Him" is less encouraging when your obedience has brought undesirable results.

As fate would have it, I left the TV on a channel I seldom watch, which was airing a show I never watch. They began singing a song and I had that familiar feeling of being serenaded by God. How many times has God serenaded me with beautiful love songs; always just what I need at the time. 

Here is the song entitled You Can Come to Me on YouTube. I hope you will listen to the lyrics and imagine God singing over you. 

Monday, December 28, 2015

Blessed and Highly Favored

And having come in, the angel said to her, “Rejoice, highly favored one, the Lord is with you; blessed are you among women!”
Luke 1:28 NKJV

Blessed and highly favored. That's a phrase many Christians use, proudly claiming the title. I  certainly do it. When asked how I am, I often respond "blessed and highly favored". But what does that really mean from a biblical perspective?

Mary was a young virgin engaged to be married, when an angel visited her and told her she had been chosen by God to carry God's Son, the King of kings. What an honor, to be so blessed and highly favored. Royalty brings visions of luxury, splendor, and great provision. Favor suggests being able to get what you want from others. But what was the reality of Mary, the mother of Jesus the Messiah?

Her fiance broke up with her when he learned of the pregnancy. Blessed and highly favored.
Mary couldn't even get a hotel room, and she had to give birth to the Savior of the World in a barn full of animals. Blessed and highly favored.

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Don't let Relationship deteriorate into Religion

Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in the Spirit and in truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks. God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in the Spirit and in truth.”
John 4:23-24 NIV

Inspired by Daniel [Daniel 6:10], some years ago I adopted the practice of setting alarms and regularly giving thanks throughout the day. It's a great way to disrupt the negative, and get one's mind focused back on what is good, lovely, and worthy of praise.

This practice evolved into me texting loved ones at critical times, usually their birthday (September 30th = 9:30). I do this to let them know that I'm thinking of them, praying for them, and/or sending them blessings. Sometimes all I send is an emoticon such as praying hands or a smiley face. That's enough to say "I'm thinking of you".

Monday, July 13, 2015

; your story is not over yet

All of us like sheep have gone astray, Each of us has turned to his own way; But the LORD has caused the iniquity of us all To fall on Him.
Isaiah 53:6 NASB

Did I really start my blog post with a semicolon? Yes, yes I did.

Recently I heard about the semicolon movement. What I first heard is that people in recovery from addictions were getting semicolon tattoos. They adopted the punctuation because in literature a semicolon separates two related thoughts. It's much stronger than a comma; a semicolon means the author could have ended the sentence there, but chose to continue with a new thought. People who've dealt with substance abuse could have ended their stories in failure, but after bottoming out they started over.

I love that. I'm not recommending tattoos but I like the idea that they realize their story is not over, and instead of ending with the finality of a period, they start over. A new beginning.

I've even seen semicolon butterfly tattoos so you know I love that.

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Waiting When God is late.

11 but Samuel said, “What is this you have done?”
Saul replied, “I saw my men scattering from me, and you didn’t arrive when you said you would, and the Philistines are at Micmash ready for battle. 12 So I said, ‘The Philistines are ready to march against us at Gilgal, and I haven’t even asked for the Lord’s help!’ So I felt compelled to offer the burnt offering myself before you came.”
1 Samuel 13:11-12 NLT

Anointed Messages has a text ministry. Subscribers receive a prayer at 8 am and/or the daily text at 3 pm. When God gives me a message I store it in a file and schedule it for the appointed time. 

I like having a storehouse of messages. I like when the queue is full and messages are scheduled in advance. But every now and then I don't have a message as the time approaches. There's a temptation to come up with my own message for the sake of being on time. But it's God's ministry, and the messages must be God's - not mine. God eventually shows up with the perfect message.

Anointed Messages Sermon Notes