Today’s Reading :  I Chronicles 4:9-10

What is in a name? When Jillian and I were expecting our children, we wanted them to have names that would reflect some part of their history and heritage.  We felt that the name that they had would create a personality or presence that would continue with them.  After long hours of discussions and deep thought we decided that the children would have specific names that would be part of our families’ histories and a reflection of them.

Oliver, was named from our grandfathers.  Upon research we found that Oliver has many possible linkages:  Latin term/name olivarius “olive tree planter”, or the Old Norse Óleifr (Ólaf); or a genuinely West Germanic name, perhaps from ala- “all” and wēra “true” “ All true” , or from alf “elf” and hari “army, warrior” “ Elf Army” .  As Oliver has grown up into a young man, I can identify that the name and the person that he is becoming are true and I am excited to see where this “army of elves” will go.

Ruby, was named in memory of grandmothers.   Her name meaning is associated with the precious stone that ultimately derived from Latin ruber “red”.  Ruby is also considered the short feminine form of the biblical name, Reuben, meaning, “behold, a son” in Hebrew; behold a daughter.  This is name seems to fit her from birth, as she was the first daughter that we had, but also due to her personality.  She is my spicy and passionate child.  She is also one of the most precious and tenderhearted individuals I know.

Nadya is the French form of the Russian Nadya, a nickname form of Nadezha, which is directly derived from the word meaning, “hope”.  Nadya was named for the true namesake of hope.  Hope for the peace and joy of God in our lives.   Jillian and I had experienced many highs and lows as parents with Oliver and Ruby through countless hospitalizations and health issues that we purposefully and intentionally gave her name with a specific blessing.  Nadya has been a true inspiration and joy to our family and continues to give us hope daily.


In the reading we are presented with a different naming process:  I Chronicles 4:9-10

Jabez was more honorable than his brothers. His mother had named him Jabez,[a] saying, “I gave birth to him in pain.” 10 Jabez cried out to the God of Israel, “Oh, that you would bless me and enlarge my territory! Let your hand be with me, and keep me from harm so that I will be free from pain.” And God granted his request.


After much research, I was unable to find the direct mother and father of Jabez, but he is known as a direct descendant of Judah and his son Perez.  This would have been a big deal in the ancient times.  The lineage of the person would direct your path in life as well as your name.  Jabez was of the same line of David and Christ.  He knew that he was blessed through God’s anointing his forefathers Israel, Judah, and Perez.

He knew that the name that is given to you does not determine your outlook.  He would have been familiar with the story of his forefather Jacob being converted to Israel.  He would have been familiar with the story of his forefather Perez and how was conceived and how he preserved through these obstacles.  Jabez was aware of his name, it was rooted in sorrow and pain, but he was determine that God would create a blessing in the midst of the anguish and turmoil that he produced in coming into the world.

With the knowledge of whose he was (God’s, YHWH, Jehovah) and the circumstances that placed on him from his name, Jabez knew he had to speak it into existence and create a new direction for his life.  Jabez spoke such power that he is known today for his courage and faith.  He was known to an extent that there was a place: either a city or region that bore his name I Chronicles 2:55.

The example that Jabez has made for us is that no matter the situations that we are born into or have created ourselves, we are still God’s children and we are able to change the situation when we acknowledge God’s presence in us and that we are worthy of his blessings.

Jonathan : Speak it. Believe it. Achieve it.

Today’s Reading : I Samuel Chapters 14 &20

Jonathan was the son of the first king of Israel, Saul, and the best friend and brother-in-law to David, the second and most known king of Israel.  Jonathan is a unique individual in that he defined the roles of his life through the Spirit of God and not through the prescribed doctrine of the culture. During his lifetime, Jonathan followed Jewish law, which held family bonds and relationships higher than any other bond found in the community.  He was both a devout son and friend, but through his actions he exhibited a connection more through spirit than blood.    I think that his life could be summed up into three phrases: Speak it. Believe it. Achieve it.

Jonathan was a great soldier and warrior, but he also had an amazing relationship with God.  He was able to discern and consult with God in some of the most profound adventures and journeys in his life.

Speak it. Believe it. Achieve it.

I Samuel 14:6-15

Jonathan said to the young man who carried his armor, “Come, let us go over to the garrison of these uncircumcised. It may be that the Lord will work for us, for nothing can hinder the Lord from saving by many or by few.” And his armor-bearer said to him, “Do all that is in your heart. Do as you wish.[b] Behold, I am with you heart and soul.” Then Jonathan said, “Behold, we will cross over to the men, and we will show ourselves to them.If they say to us, ‘Wait until we come to you,’ then we will stand still in our place, and we will not go up to them. 10 But if they say, ‘Come up to us,’ then we will go up, for the Lord has given them into our hand. And this shall be the sign to us.” 11 So both of them showed themselves to the garrison of the Philistines. And the Philistines said, “Look, Hebrews are coming out of the holes where they have hidden themselves.” 12 And the men of the garrison hailed Jonathan and his armor-bearer and said, “Come up to us, and we will show you a thing.” And Jonathan said to his armor-bearer, “Come up after me, for the Lord has given them into the hand of Israel.” 13 Then Jonathan climbed up on his hands and feet, and his armor-bearer after him. And they fell before Jonathan, and his armor-bearer killed them after him. 14 And that first strike, which Jonathan and his armor-bearer made, killed about twenty men within as it were half a furrow’s length in an acre[c] of land. 15 And there was a panic in the camp, in the field, and among all the people. The garrison and even the raiders trembled, the earth quaked, and it became a very great panic.[d]

This is a great example of Jonathan’s mindset and spirit.  Jonathan has a plan and then he SPEAKS the words of how to proceed.  He gives two possible scenarios of how the conversation with the enemy might and states if the responds is “Come up to us” the Lord is with us and the Lord has given the enemy into the hands of Jonathan. Unlike his father, Jonathan gave God a way to show his ultimate authority and power.  There could have been many other possibilities that this interaction could have taken, but he had the foresight to provide a way that only God would know the outcomes.   Sometimes in our lives, how much better would the outcomes be if we presented two sides of the scenario and allowed God to work in the midst with the answer we seek.

Speak it. Believe it. Achieve it.

I Samuel 20: 3-11; 35-42

 But David vowed again, saying, “Your father knows well that I have found favor in your eyes, and he thinks, ‘Do not let Jonathan know this, lest he be grieved.’ But truly, as the Lord lives and as your soul lives, there is but a step between me and death.” Then Jonathan said to David, “Whatever you say, I will do for you.” David said to Jonathan, “Behold, tomorrow is the new moon, and I should not fail to sit at table with the king. But let me go, that I may hide myself in the field till the third day at evening. If your father misses me at all, then say, ‘David earnestly asked leave of me to run to Bethlehem his city, for there is a yearly sacrifice there for all the clan.’ If he says, ‘Good!’ it will be well with your servant, but if he is angry, then know that harm is determined by him. Therefore deal kindly with your servant, for you have brought your servant into a covenant of the Lord with you. But if there is guilt in me, kill me yourself, for why should you bring me to your father?” And Jonathan said, “Far be it from you! If I knew that it was determined by my father that harm should come to you, would I not tell you?” 10 Then David said to Jonathan, “Who will tell me if your father answers you roughly?” 11 And Jonathan said to David, “Come, let us go out into the field.” So they both went out into the field.

 In the morning Jonathan went out into the field to the appointment with David, and with him a little boy. 36 And he said to his boy, “Run and find the arrows that I shoot.” As the boy ran, he shot an arrow beyond him. 37 And when the boy came to the place of the arrow that Jonathan had shot, Jonathan called after the boy and said, “Is not the arrow beyond you?”38 And Jonathan called after the boy, “Hurry! Be quick! Do not stay!” So Jonathan’s boy gathered up the arrows and came to his master. 39 But the boy knew nothing. Only Jonathan and David knew the matter. 40 And Jonathan gave his weapons to his boy and said to him, “Go and carry them to the city.” 41 And as soon as the boy had gone, David rose from beside the stone heap[f] and fell on his face to the ground and bowed three times. And they kissed one another and wept with one another, David weeping the most. 42 Then Jonathan said to David, “Go in peace, because we have sworn both of us in the name of the Lord, saying, ‘The Lord shall be between me and you, and between my offspring and your offspring, forever.’” And he rose and departed, and Jonathan went into the city.[g]

Again, Jonathan and David are speaking with the intentional purpose that the Lord is with the two of them. They don’t make large and arrogant claims, but humbly speak about the circumstance.  They speak with confidence and are in agreement with each other. They are not fighting and upset with each other, they are at peace with each other over some very powerful and hard matters: the possibility of the King trying to kill David, Jonathan’s best friend and the son-in-law of Saul.

Some of the attributes that we can gain from Jonathan are:

Speak it.

  • When we are presented with major or minor life choices we have a chance to give God the opportunity to confirm his purpose in our lives. We have to speak boldly and intentional about the direction God has in our lives.

Believe it.

  • When we make a proclamation, we have to have faith that is will be completed. We cannot allow doubt to sway our thoughts.  There will be times when we are waiting on the answer, doubt or uncertainty will creep in, but we must remember the promise that God continually give us and has made.  He will give you the desires of your heart if you believe.

Achieve it.

  • Once you have made the proclamation and keep the faith, you will see the fullness of God manifested. He is awesome and amazing and through Jesus and the Holy Spirit, God will show his love to those who speak it, believe it, and they will achieve it.


Exodus 32


As we continue our journey of the faithful people of our spiritual foundation we visit Aaron, brother of Moses and the first high priest of Israel.  Some verses that give us a glimpse of Aaron are

Exodus 4:14-16

14 Then the anger of the Lord was kindled against Moses and he said, “Is there not Aaron, your brother, the Levite? I know that he can speak well. Behold, he is coming out to meet you, and when he sees you, he will be glad in his heart. 15 You shall speak to him and put the words in his mouth, and I will be with your mouth and with his mouth and will teach you both what to do. 16 He shall speak for you to the people, and he shall be your mouth, and you shall be as God to him.

Aaron was the main spokesperson for Moses and God. Aaron had been gifted with eloquent speech.  God understood the weaknesses and strengths of his children and will properly suit individuals that compliment each other.  Moses was gifted in leading and directing the people of Israel and Aaron was gifted with speaking and instructing the people with assistance from God.  When the two of them were working in concert and under the leadership of God, they were able to create new and amazing things, but aside from God they brought folly to themselves and the people who followed.

In Exodus 28:1-3: God makes Aaron and his descendants the first official priest of the people of Israel:

“Then bring near to you Aaron your brother, and his sons with him, from among the people of Israel, to serve me as priests—Aaron and Aaron’s sons, Nadab and Abihu, Eleazar and Ithamar. And you shall make holy garments for Aaron your brother, for glory and for beauty. You shall speak to all the skillful, whom I have filled with a spirit of skill, that they make Aaron’s garments to consecrate him for my priesthood.

This was the appointment and the promise that God had given Aaron to be the principle communicator between God, Moses, and the people.  Aaron was given a major appointment and blessing from God.  This was given to Moses to communicate to Aaron, but God made the promise.  This was not something that God had done without understanding responsibilities and remaifications of the office and duties.  This was God’s own choice.  God’s infinite understanding and particular specifications can be seen in the preparations of the priest’s garments and tools for the temple.  In chapters 28 & 29, God gives specific directions down to the particular threads that are supposed to be used in the garments.

Exodus 28:6-8

“And they shall make the ephod of gold, of blue and purple and scarlet yarns, and of fine twined linen, skillfully worked. It shall have two shoulder pieces attached to its two edges, so that it may be joined together. And the skillfully woven band on it shall be made like it and be of one piece with it, of gold, blue and purple and scarlet yarns, and fine twined linen.

Almost simultaneously, as God is given this blessing and decree to Moses, the people start to stir restlessly in the camp and pressures, persuade, or coax Aaron to produce a golden calf so that the people can have something tangible to praise and worship.  When this happens Moses is sent to the people and Aaron

Exodus Chapter 32: 21-24

And Moses said to Aaron, “What did this people do to you that you have brought such a great sin upon them?” 22 And Aaron said, “Let not the anger of my lord burn hot. You know the people, that they are set on evil. 23 For they said to me, ‘Make us gods who shall go before us. As for this Moses, the man who brought us up out of the land of Egypt, we do not know what has become of him.’ 24 So I said to them, ‘Let any who have gold take it off.’ So they gave it to me, and I threw it into the fire, and out came this calf.”

In the previous section, if God was like man and had the same inadequacies that we have, God would have taken away this appointed service and station and created another person in its place, but God is faithful to his promise and will remain behind them until fulfillment.

Hebrews 5: 1-5

For every high priest chosen from among men is appointed to act on behalf of men in relation to God, to offer gifts and sacrifices for sins. He can deal gently with the ignorant and wayward, since he himself is beset with weakness. Because of this he is obligated to offer sacrifice for his own sins just as he does for those of the people. And no one takes this honor for himself, but only when called by God, just as Aaron was.

Aaron gives us an example in several ways:

  • God will make a promise and plan for our lives, even when we are not fully aware that the Maker is at work
  • Even though we may commit unthinkable acts against self, others, and God; God still loves us and will help us to show his glory
  • When we acknowledge our shameful acts and turn way from those acts and allow God to bless us, He will be victorious over all the things in our past.




Genesis 5: 21

Time. This is one of the most essential human commodities.  The actual passage of time can be both subjective and objective.  It depends on the person and the situation. I have had the fortune to be present and witness the birth of all three of my children.  In the moments before and during, time seems to stand still. It is as if the whole world stands still to witness the birth of a new blessing.  In the clinical notes, you would probably see delivery at x:xx.  In my current role as pharmacist, I have to assist on Code Blue Response Team and I have experienced the later side of life on some of the responses.  In this situation, the time phenomenon occurs again: time stands still.  I have first hand knowledge because I am the record keeper. I have to announce the minutes until the next medication can be given and the other functions that are occurring in the room.  Every time that I have recorded codes, it seems like 5 minutes have passed, but in actuality only 30 seconds have elapsed.

The patriarch that we have the opportunity to review this week is Enoch.  Enoch was the son of Jared and father to Methuselah. Genesis 5:18-24. 


18 When Jared had lived 162 years, he fathered Enoch. 19 Jared lived after he fathered Enoch 800 years and had other sons and daughters. 20 Thus all the days of Jared were 962 years, and he died.

21 When Enoch had lived 65 years, he fathered Methuselah. 22 Enoch walked with God[a] after he fathered Methuselah 300 years and had other sons and daughters.23 Thus all the days of Enoch were 365 years. 24 Enoch walked with God, and he was not,[b] for God took him.


Enoch was sixth generation descendant from Adam.  His son, Methuselah, was recorded to be 969 years old when he died, 39 more years than Adam and the oldest in the line of Adam.  One interesting aspect of this family tree and lineage is Enoch was able to see and interact with Adam.  How awesome would this be?  Actually knowing your great-great-great-great grand father?

I personally was not granted the opportunity to meet either one of my grandfathers here on this earthly plain, but I have the memories of them that have been told by countless individuals that I can almost picture them: their smile, their laugh, and their smell.  It is funny how we can learn so much from the family that remains and capture a piece of the past.  My son was fortunate to see and meet his great-grandfather and two great-grandmothers. He was able to meet grandpa Mark and have him at his baptism.  He was able to visit grandpa Mark on the farm in Kansas several times and actually know him. This week marks the fifth anniversary that grandpa Mark made his heaven journey.

In my imagination, I can see Adam talking to his grandson, Enoch.  Enoch is able to spend several centuries with Adam and learning about the time before and the current time.  Enoch was able to sit and absorb the wonders of the garden and the richness of the land.  He was able to see how despite the events of the past, God is truly faithful to his promise and he can see the first complete-hand made image of God, Adam. We have to remember that Adam was the first person made to live forever by the hands of God.  He was miracle and example of God’s awesomeness. Enoch was able to see all of these attributes and this allowed him to create and nurture a relationship with God that is unique and countless.  Enoch’s faith and relationship with God is an example of true devotion and love.  Hebrew 11: 5-6. 

By faith Enoch was taken up so that he should not see death, and he was not found, because God had taken him. Now before he was taken he was commended as having pleased God. And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him.

Heavenly Father, Please grant us the ability to have the faith as Enoch and create and foster a relationship with you that is pleasing in your sight.  Thank you for being outside of time and space and holding it all together. Amen

Walk the Talk

Walk the Talk

Todays Reading:  James Chapter 1

As we enter the heart of summer, I am reminded of the years of the past with the down home family reunions. Being from Texas, we would have big family reunions that would last for the entire weekend.  The reunion would start with a gathering of relatives on Thursday evening.  On the following day, we would have a fish fry that would be sponsored by a cousin who would have just caught the fish that morning.  On Saturday, we would have the big gathering and barbeque, where you met family that you scarcely, if at all remembered.  But this was the purpose of the gathering, to meet your family from two to three generation past, present, and future.

Some of my precious and memorable moments were the conversations that you would have traveling to the reunion or during the late nights around the fire or in your great-aunt’s living room or kitchen.  These are the times you hear about your father’s youth or the cousins’ shenanigans. You also gain so much wisdom just by listening to your elders. For instance, here are some southern nuggets of wisdom: “Don’t let someone else pick your shade tree” and   “Let’s sit down and chew the fat”.  These are sayings that mean to choose your own way of living and being and let’s sit down and chat.

As we have traveled through our Biblejournal journey, we can see a little of the family reunion unfolding. Jesus, in all the gospels, is the gentle father who gives us advice and teachings in many forms: parables, examples, and direct action.  Then we have the uncles: Peter, Paul, John, and James.   Each of the uncles will give you different advice at different times and in their own fashion.  Paul is the uncle that has traveled the world and has different experiences that will relate to everyone in their own specific way.  Peter is the uncle that is calm and tells you the stories of times with Jesus and how things will be to come.  Then we have Uncle James.  He is the uncle that gives you the stories and then tells you the truth of the matter. He is the apostle that loves yet direct to the point.  This is sometimes the favorite uncle because you always know what he is thinking. James is the uncle that forces us to “Walk to the talk”.

Everyone has the opportunity to grow and mature. Sometimes it is easy to comply with the rules and policies.  At other times, it is harder to follow the rules to the law.  James asks us a Christians to not only know God and Christ, but to actually live, as we love them.  Throughout the book of James, he is reinforcing us to take deliberate and intentional actions to live our lives so that others may see God’s love in us.

A couple of nuggets that James gives are:

  • Steadfastness: verse 1-4, 12
    • The true essence of a person is not discovered without some adversity or trails. When we are in the midst of hard, difficult, and challenging times this is the opportunity that we should be thankful and in awe of God’s presence in our lives.  It is once we have overcome that we are stronger and more capable of greater results.
  • Ask God for Wisdom: verse 5
    • God is a loving Father and will give freely all that he has, but we have to ask for the gift.He is ready to give wisdom, knowledge and peace when we ask it.  We have been conditioned from the exit of Eden to shy away from God, but this is the time that he wants to bless us and we have to be sure of our relationship that he WANTS to bless us
  • God is good and perfect and doesn’t want to tempt us : verse 17
    • We as humans and Christians are fallible and will fall often. It is not that God wants us to fail, but the desire of our hearts sometimes quiets the voice of God.  His presence is always there and he will give us an alternative whenever we are tempted, we just have to listen and be receptive.
  • Quick, Slow, Slow: Verse 19
    • This sounds like a dance routine, but it is the verse “Be QUICK to hear, SLOW to speak, SLOW to anger”.
  • True Religion
    • James puts the purest definition religion:
      • James 1: 27: religion that is pure and undefiled before God the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world.
    • Doing good to those who are not able to provide for themselves is the Truest Religion

May we blessed to listen and follow these recommendations from James to bring God’s grace and love to those we interact with. Amen


The Perfect Storm

Todays Reading Acts 27

Water.  This integral element has been an essential part of creation from the beginning of existence.

Genesis 1:2

The earth was without form and void, and darkness was over the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters. Through water we are borne, purified, and sanctified.  Water can be manifested in many ways: seas, lakes, rivers, dew, rain, and storms.  In these many different forms water can embody both: order and chaos. Order manifested as rivers, lakes, and seas: water is used for food, transportation, and cleansing.  Chaos manifested as rain, tempest and storms it can bring refreshment, cleaning, and clarity.

Throughout the bible, God uses storms to get our attention and bring a new revelation to our current situation.  God has many types of storms to get us to refocus and look to Him. The first storm that is mentioned is the storm with Noah. God uses this storm as a communication tool.  He used the storm and the flood to communicate His sadness of the people who wanted to turn away from Him and submit to their own desires and God offers this salvation to the world through cleansing.  Another time that God uses the storm as a communication tool is with Jonah.  During the time that Jonah is trying to escape his duties and obligations, God send a tempest to the sea where Jonah is traveling.  This allows God to communicate to Jonah, but it also is used as miracle moment where the sailors start to praise God for the awesome powers that they witnessed.

In the new testament, God through Jesus, shows the true power of Christ amid several storms.  These storms are demonstration devices.  In Matthew 8 and 14:

Matthew: 23- 27

23 And when he got into the boat, his disciples followed him. 24 And behold, there arose a great storm on the sea, so that the boat was being swamped by the waves; but he was asleep. 25 And they went and woke him, saying, “Save us, Lord; we are perishing.” 26 And he said to them, “Why are you afraid, O you of little faith?” Then he rose and rebuked the winds and the sea, and there was a great calm. 27 And the men marveled, saying, “What sort of man is this, that even winds and sea obey him?”


Matthew 14:23- 27

When evening came, he was there alone, 24 but the boat by this time was a long way[b] from the land,[c]beaten by the waves, for the wind was against them. 25 And in the fourth watch of the night[d] he came to them, walking on the sea. 26 But when the disciples saw him walking on the sea, they were terrified, and said, “It is a ghost!” and they cried out in fear. 27 But immediately Jesus spoke to them, saying, “Take heart; it is I. Do not be afraid.”

These instances were demonstrations of the complete and ultimate power that Christ possess in the bible and in our lives.

In Acts 27, as Paul is coming to the closure of his mission, he is sent to Rome to be persecuted by Caesar.  In the previous chapters, Paul makes his case to Agrippa and then is sent to Rome by ship.  This trip takes several months to complete.  During this time, Paul can communicate and share the gospel with many of the crew members and the guards from Rome.  They all know this man as a decent man, but he is still considered a prisoner and not truly worthy of any grace.  But God uses this opportunity to produce some amazing miracle moments.

  • Be strong in your convictions and knowledge of whose you are:
    • Acts 27: 21- 25: “Men, you should have listened to me and not have set sail from Crete and incurred this injury and loss.22 Yet now I urge you to take heart, for there will be no loss of life among you, but only of the ship. 23 For this very night there stood before me an angel of the God to whom I belong and whom I worship, 24 and he said, ‘Do not be afraid, Paul; you must stand before Caesar. And behold, God has granted you all those who sail with you.’ 25 So take heart, men, for I have faith in God that it will be exactly as I have been told
    • We to listen to direction from God and his messengers to be delivered and saved
      • Acts 27: 30- 32: And as the sailors were seeking to escape from the ship, and had lowered the ship’s boat into the sea under pretense of laying out anchors from the bow,31 Paul said to the centurion and the soldiers, “Unless these men stay in the ship, you cannot be saved.” 32 Then the soldiers cut away the ropes of the ship’s boat and let it go.
  • When the time for deliverance is ready, we must be ready
    • Acts 27: 33-34: “Today is the fourteenth day that you have continued in suspense and without food, having taken nothing.34 Therefore I urge you to take some food. For it will give you strength,[f] for not a hair is to perish from the head of any of you.” 

In all the storms that we have seen in the bible and in our lives, we should inquire: What is the revelation that God is presenting to me: Is it a communication tool, a demonstration device, or a miracle moment?   When we allow God to reveal this to us, then we must then be strong in our relationship with God and know that this is something that will create a deeper relationship and expand our work through Him.

Mixed Results


Today’s Reading Acts 17


The Book of Acts is the periodical record of the apostles that chronicles the various journeys and adventures that they encountered.  In this particular adventure Paul and Silas were traveling through several cities and territories that in are someway common and foreign to the travelers.  The principle cities were Thessalonica and Athens. These two cities were very different from each other.  We are familiar with both either from biblical or historical significance.

We are familiar with Thessalonica from the books of the bible.   This is the city that Paul has written to on two separate accounts to the Church established there.  The purpose of the letters were to assure and clarify for the early Christians that the second coming of the Messiah will happen, but there is not a particular set time and they must continue their faith journey in the midst of persecution and unrest in the city.  In Chapter 17, the expectation of the travelers was that the people of Thessalonica would be open and receptive to the news of the gospel from their strong Jewish heritage and open and eager to advance their knowledge of Scripture and the fulfillment of the Scriptures. This however was the complete contrast at what happened. The Jewish people and the city officials began to persecute the travelers.  They not only forced them from their city, but when they became aware of the continued travels of Paul and Silas they continued to pursue the group. The theme of similar people persecuting each other is continued even after Christ has come into the world.

The second place that is mention is Chapter 17 is Athens.  This is one of the epicenters of higher and intellectual thoughts in the ancient world. Many of the known philosophers and thinkers that created logical understandings are found here: Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle’s.  This is the capital of Ancient Greece.  This city is founded on the belief that the goddess Athena created the city.  This is a city that has several gods and goddesses that rule them and they worship.  Even in the chapter Paul refers to one of these

Acts 17:22-25 “Men of Athens, I perceive that in every way you are very religious. 23 For as I passed along and observed the objects of your worship, I found also an altar with this inscription: ‘To the unknown god.’ What therefore you worship as unknown, this I proclaim to you.24 The God who made the world and everything in it, being Lord of heaven and earth, does not live in temples made by man,[c] 25 nor is he served by human hands, as though he needed anything, since he himself gives to all mankind life and breath and everything.

To this city and people, Paul was hesitant and somewhat cautious to this unknown.  This is a city whose existence is based on strong theology and dogma. This is an area that would create some anxiety to the unprepared, but Paul was prepared and courageous in his pursuit of proclaiming the gospel in the face of complete persecution, until death.  In this city Paul not only create a new church, but was pursed to continue to give more information about the risen Christ.


It is interesting that the known is sometimes the place we would receive so much opposition, and the unknown is the place that God allows us to grow and flourish in proclaiming his goodness and grace.


Heavenly Father,

Thank you for allowing us to be bold and courageous in all that we do in your name.  Thank you for the protection in the places that are unknown and known. Allow us to listen to the Holy Spirit for guidance in the midst of friend and foe. And thank you for the guidance to stand firm in our beliefs no matter the circumstances: for sometimes were blessed by foes and cursed by friends.  Thank you for your provision and protection. Amen

No Justice



Today’s Reading Matthew 27


Webster defines Justice as 

1athe maintenance or administration of what is just especially by the impartial adjustment of conflicting claims or the assignment of merited rewards or punishments meting out justice -social justice

bJUDGEa supreme court justice—used as a title Justice Marshall

cthe administration of law a fugitive from justice especially  : the establishment or determination of rights according to the rules of law or equity a system of justice

2athe quality of being just, impartial, or fair questioned the justice of the their decision

b(1)the principle or ideal of just dealing or right action

(2)conformity to this principle or ideal: RIGHTEOUSNESSthe justice of their cause

cthe quality of conforming to law

3conformity to truth, fact, or reason: CORRECTNESS


There are a couple of ways to look at the chapter and decide where is the justice and how it is applied. In the superficial and most poignant account of the Gospel, Jesus is the main defendant on trail and is sentenced to death.  But from a different perspective we can see our SIN, as the one on trial.

Paul account of the justice and account of sin is so profound in Romans that every ounce of the book of Romans clearly spells out that the justice and justification of the Passion of Christ for us in simply Devine mercy and grace.  In Romans 6: 23: For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

So with this information as we review the high points on Chapter 27, can we ask ourselves “Is this the true justice that is due to our sins that we commit continually?”


  • Verse 23

Pilate said to them, “Then what shall I do with Jesus who is called Christ?” They all said, “Let him be crucified!” 23 And he said, “Why? What evil has he done?” But they shouted all the more, “Let him be crucified!”

  • Verse 26

Then he released for them Barabbas, and having scourged[c] Jesus, delivered him to be crucified.

  • Verse 28

And they stripped him and put a scarlet robe on him, 29 and twisting together a crown of thorns, they put it on his head and put a reed in his right hand.

  • Verse 30

And they spit on him and took the reed and struck him on the head. 

  • Verse 35

And when they had crucified him, they divided his garments among them by casting lots. 

These are a few of the examples that our sin was subjected in order to produce the love and passion that Christ had and has for us today.  Christ was not on trial, He was the vessel that held the Sin that we all have committed to God was on trial.  He was the only perfect vessel that would be able to properly cleans our Sins and reset the relationship with God.  Sin ultimately was on trial and Christ was the final victim.  Through this perfect sacrifice a Savior who was not shown justice in this human form has justified us.

Heavenly Father,

Thank you for Your amazing sacrifice and trading our sin for justice.  Thank you for justifying us when we continually are not capable of producing this justice for ourselves.  Amen






Faith University

Todays Reading : Mark 9


While preparing and researching for the blog today, I came across several headings and overall topics.  The heading that I found most interesting was “Slow Learners”. I think that this is intriguing because in the grand scheme of things we collectively are perpetual learners and sometimes others grasp ideas faster than others.  From the beginning of our journey from birth until we pass away we are learning in this Faith University.  Currently we are in the midst of graduation season, which makes me reminiscence of undergrad and graduate school.

The formal ceremony that the graduates attended is called Commencement.  It is the beginning of their journey with this newfound knowledge and confidence. Many will go into the world and succeed without question, yet there are many who continue to have life lessons that will allow them to continue to grow and mature.  The latter set understands that the process that started them at the beginning is not finite, yet a continual process.  These individuals see that the process might be slow, but the reward is great.

One particular time that I remember very well in undergrad as a Slow Learner is Organic Chemistry II.  This was a class that was required for my degree program. I enjoyed the class, but the lab session always created new adventures in learning.  Many of the labs were multi-week labs.  So you would start a certain portion of the lab, allow it to mature, then on the returning week the completion of the lab is finished and your results would be recorded.  Almost 90% of the time, my second week lab had some type of mishap that would happen and I would have to stay several hours later to complete the lab.  The only saving grace that made me smile during these weeks was the final product would be correct and the yield within the required range.

In Mark Chapter 9, Jesus is continually teaching his disciples some of the most important aspects of the journey in this Faith University.

  • Take time to experience the presence of God without questions, concerns, or haste.
    • In Mark 9 : 2-6 : And after six days Jesus took with him Peter and James and John, and led them up a high mountain by themselves. And he was transfigured before them,and his clothes became radiant, intensely white, as no one[a] on earth could bleach them.And there appeared to them Elijah with Moses, and they were talking with Jesus.And Peter said to Jesus, “Rabbi,[b] it is good that we are here. Let us make three tents, one for you and one for Moses and one for Elijah.” For he did not know what to say, for they were terrified.
    • God does not need our outward show of grandeur or pomp; he just wants to share time with us. Sometimes He gives us a glimpse of Glory.
  • Remember in all things enter any situation with prayer.
    • Mark 9:27 -29  27 But Jesus took him by the hand and lifted him up, and he arose. 28 And when he had entered the house, his disciples asked him privately, “Why could we not cast it out?” 29 And he said to them, “This kind cannot be driven out by anything but prayer.”[e]
    • After several of years with Christ the disciples had forgotten the basis of all the lessons: prayer. They had been given the Spirit to heal and cast out demons, but they had forgotten that the communication and relationship with God is the true power of the process.  It is more about the communication and relationship than the results.
  • Open your mind to the different ways God will bless you.
    • Mark 9: 38-4138 John said to him, “Teacher, we saw someone casting out demons in your name,[f]and we tried to stop him, because he was not following us.” 39 But Jesus said, “Do not stop him, for no one who does a mighty work in my name will be able soon afterward to speak evil of me. 40 For the one who is not against us is for us.41 For truly, I say to you, whoever gives you a cup of water to drink because you belong to Christ will by no means lose his reward.
    • Sometimes we forget that God chooses to bless us in the most amazing and uncommon ways. Let us pray that we allow God to open our eyes and soften our hearts to receive the blessings He has for us no matter how they are given to us.

Heavenly Father,

Thank you for allowing us to have this journey in this Faith University and continue to teach and strengthen us daily.  God, thank you for being the Master teacher and mentor who will guide us through every possible hurdle with love and compassion.



The Sermon on the Mount: The Reset

Today’s Reading Matthew 6


Over the last several years, I have come to embrace the concept of the Reset.  It is a concept that allows you to manage the complexities of life with a reasonable expectation of change.   The definition of insanity is where you continue to repeat the same thing over several repetitions with the expectation that things will change.  The concept of Reset knows that the result will have an impact at a later time, yet not instantaneously.

I became familiar with the concept in the beginning of my career as a pharmacist.  At one of my first assignments as a newly credentialed pharmacist, I had the opportunity to work with many different individuals. One such individual would consistently finish a closing shift with everything in disarray.  Each morning after the individual worked, I would have to open the pharmacy, which was in a state of chaos and flux.  After a couple of weeks of this behavior, I allowed myself to listen to the concept of RESET.  I would come into the pharmacy without being disgruntled and upset and saw it as a chance to RESET the pharmacy and then create a place of healing and peace. This allowed me to take control of the situation and not allow others to determine my overall mindset and spirit.

Over the last several weeks, we have been able to enjoy the risen Christ and the Easter season. Until recently, I did not know that the season of Easter is 50 days, which span from Easter Sunday to the day of Pentecost.  This is a season of RESET.  Christ has reset the complete bounds of death and sickness and darkness.   Before the Passion and the cross, Christ was teaching about the RESET in his Sermon on the Mount.

In Matthew Chapter 6, Christ is resetting our perspectives on several critical points in life: Giving, Prayer, Fasting, Money, and Worry.  Anyone of these items would and can cause chaos in the absence of Christ in the first century.  These same items that are preached on at the mountaintop are some of the items that we still have issues with today if we are not in the company of Christ.  Even if we are in true devotion of Christ these five things still shake us daily, but we have a anchor in Christ to keep us focused.  So how does Christ walk through these five:

  • Giving: Give without being boastful and give with a sincere heart. It’s not for the outside to know how much or how often you are giving.  God sees the heart and not the hand.
  • Prayer: God knows the desires of the faithful and the prayers of your heart before you can create the words.  It is not the performance of the prayers, yet the time spent in devotion with him.
  • Fasting: God does not take pleasure in your hurting and suffering as a show, but he wants the time of your devotion from other things( fasting) and focusing the time on Him. He will provide all of the things that you need for growth and survival and prosperity.
  • Money: God creates the opportunity for you to have wealth and prosperity.  He doesn’t want money or riches.  He creates these with the spoken word, he wants you to desire His presence as much as the riches the world desire.
  • Worry: When we RESET our purpose and understanding, then worry will cease to be.  We know that we will be cared for and reside in the promise that God has for us.  This knowledge will then allow us to not focus on the unknown, yet embrace the being of God.


As we reflect on the Sermon on the Mount, we see that is relevant today as it was when you spoke these words into existence.  Allow us to not get caught up in the chaos of the world, but be able to allow the Holy Spirit to RESET us daily in the knowledge of your mercy and grace. Amen