by Rev. Dr. Selwyn Q. Bachus, Senior Pastor
|SCRIPTURE||THEME||MEDITATIONAL THOUGHT||KEY POINTS||PRAYER|
|Psalm 124 (NKJV)||A Survivor's Psalm||It shouts me to know that without the Lord on our side, our lives would have been vastly different from what they are right now. In fact, God delivers us even when we don't deserve being delivered.||Today's Psalm is a testimony of David and it is also a testimony to how we have made it over all these years, "If it had not been for the Lord on my side." With all we have been through, when friends deserted us, when the person we loved abandons us, when the church disappointed us, I thank God for being on my side.|
The words of Psalm 124 are a Psalm of Ascent. Immersing themselves in Psalms of Ascent, the Israelites viewed themselves as people journeying together as they made their way to Jerusalem each year for the 3 religious festivals that all Jews were required to attend. This Psalm of Ascent was:
A Call to Reflection:
The worship leader would prepare the people to worship the Lord. "Let Israel say...," and he would say it again; "Let Israel say, if it had not been for the Lord on our side." The reflection was for how good God had been for the worshipper individually and collectively. The reflection was a personal statement of praise. The Jews came from all areas of the known land to get to the temple in Jerusalem. Every now and then, the road and traveling conditions were not that good; sometimes it was treacherous, dangerous and hazardous. And then, there we're times that those who started the trip did not complete it, so the Israelites would say, "If it had not been on the Lord on our side."
A Collective Reflection:
The children of Israel gave God praise for their greater history. They remembered God bringing them out of bondage, bringing them across the Red Sea, giving them the Promised Land, and uniting the kingdom under the kingship of David. So when we get together, we should not need a cheerleader to get us to stand on our feet, but because the Lord has been good to us, we should be able to stand to our feet and say, "If it had not been for the Lord on our side."
The Lord's Protection:
The Lord is a protector for us just as He was for the children of Israel. However, even as the Lord's people, we will have difficult days and seasons of trouble. We will have adversaries and enemies come against us. People will try to harm your character, your reputation, and your ministry; they will also try to divide your church. However, the protection of the Lord will be there when the enemy rises up against us. It will be there when the enemy may have proximity, provisions and purpose, but when the Lord is on your side, the enemy will not overtake you.
The Lord's Power to Deliver:
Psalm 124 is ascribed to David specifically, and he knows God's power to deliver first hand. God had to step in and correct the messes, missteps, and mistakes that David committed. Since God has redeemed and restored David, He was able to pin this Psalm with certainty and assurance. Even when we are enticed to walk into a trap and we become ensnared, because the Lord is on our side, the Lord will break the very trap that we walked into.
|God, we thank you for being on our side. For if it had not been for you on our side, we don't know where we would be. In Jesus Name. Amen.|
|Luke 7:11-17 (NKJV)||When Jesus Intervenes||It shouts me to know that Jesus intervenes on our behalf because he loves us. As big as God is and as small as we are, God still intervenes in our lives regardless of what we have done.||In the text, we see Jesus intervening on behalf of a widow woman who had just lost her only son and had multiple problems going on in her life all at the same time. |
A woman with multiple problems
Luke shows us the burden a woman is baring and the tragedies she has already experienced. According to the text, the woman was headed to the cemetery to bury her only son. But not only that, she was a widower, dealing with multiple issues all at the same time. Many of us can handle a single problem but when multiple problems occur, burdens and trials become unbearable. This is when Jesus intervenes because he loves us. The Lord will never leave us nor forsake us.
An unscheduled encounter
Jesus has left Capernaum, and as he enters the city of Nian, he meets the widow woman headed to the cemetery. In most cases, miracles occur when people come to Jesus, however, in this case, the widow woman had not sought out Jesus making this an unscheduled encounter for the widow woman. While this was an unscheduled encounter for the widow woman; it was a scheduled encounter for Jesus.
A divine declaration
Not only did the woman lose her husband, she is on her way to bury her only son. When the Lord approaches her, He has compassion for her and says, "Do not weep." Saying do not weep is an indication that because Jesus was with her, she had no reason to weep because all of her problems were about to be resolved.
A divine demonstration
Not only did Jesus declare that the woman should not weep, he also demonstrated his power by raising her son from the dead and presenting him to his mother. Just as Jesus had compassion, healed, and demonstrated His power to the widow woman, he is ale to do the same for us.
|God, we thank you for the many times you unselfishly intervene in our lives. We are grateful that regardless of the number of people who are calling and clamoring around you for attention, you always have room for us. In Jesus Name. Amen.|
|Mark 7:31-37 (NKJV)||A Touch From the Master||It shouts me to know that when it comes to the work and ministry of Jesus, the testimony of those who have encounter Him is that "Jesus does all things well."||Many of us have experienced the healing touch of Jesus Christ. And while other things have touched us, there is nothing like the touch of Jesus Christ. "He touched me and made me whole." Truly, there is something special about the touch of Jesus Christ; it is available to all of us, especially when we are heavy burdened. It soothes spirits and comforts all fears. |
In the text on today, we find Jesus healing a deaf mute. On this occasion, I want to draw your attention what was needed for the man to be healed.
The man was deaf and had a speech impediment that conversely affected his life, rendering him dependent. People had to care for him because he could not operate fully on his own. At the time of the text, Jesus spent his time teaching his disciples as they traveled on the outskirts of Galilee in order to keep away from his enemies. Jesus did not do any miracles during this time. However, the last time Jesus was in Decapolis, he healed a man filled with a legion of demons. After being healed, the man went home and told the people about being healed by Jesus. Because the demonic man told the story of healing, when Jesus came back to town, the people gathered around him.
The way the man was healed was telling. Jesus separates him from the crowd to remove all distraction and allowed the man to focus on the Lord. Jesus addressed the man using sign language. He put his fingers in the man's ears to convey to the man that was going to do something about his deafness. He then spits on the tip of his finger and places in on the man's tongue. He then looks up to heaven to indicate that the help was coming from above. Finally, Jesus sigh's, letting the man know he was praying to God. The Lord wants to meet us where we are and take us to where He needs us to be. If we are waiting on something other than the power of Jesus, we may never be ready. We must trust in the Lord now. The Lord specializes in turning things around, cleaning things up, recycling things that are bad, and making them good. Sometimes the Lord has to use unusual methods and take us to some unusual places in order to heal and save us. Therefore, any way the Lord choses to bless us, we should be satisfied.
The miracle was not in what Jesus did for the man, but in the word that Jesus spoke, "Ephphatha," meaning be opened. In this case, the miracle was only possible through the word of Jesus. We must believe in the power of the word of the Lord for healing, deliverance, and being set free; for there is power in the word of Jesus. Jesus tells the crowd to keep what has happened to the man to themselves. But the crowd went forth and told it everywhere they went. "Jesus does all things well"
|God, we thank you for your healing touch and power. We are grateful that you deal with the root causation of our pain and not just the symptoms. Thank you for doing all things well. In Jesus name we pray. Amen.|
|Isaiah 6:1-8 (NKJV)||A Year to Remember||It shouts me to know that a coal from the altar touching his lips atoned for Isaiah's sin, but the blood of Jesus atoned for our sin. Jesus paid it all, all to him we owe, sin had left a crimson stain, but He washed it bright as snow.||In today's text, we are given insight into a series of events in the life of the prophet Isaiah that became a year to remember. During those days, Uzziah was the king of Judah who sought the Lord and provided tremendous abundance for the people. Because Isaiah lived in Judah during the time of the text, he knew a lot about king Uzziah and grew to support his kingship. King Uzziah built towers, fortified the city wall, had an unmatched army, and his fame spread far and wide; he was a good king. |
However, as it happens most often, Uzziah's heart became strong (proud) and he became fearless; so-much-so that he entered the holy temple to burn incense on the altar which was an assignment given specifically to the priest. Uzziah was a king not a priest, his role was that of a warrior not a pastor, and his actions displeased God greatly. The Bible reminds us in Proverbs 16:18, "Pride goes before destruction and a haughty spirit before a fall."
Because of his arrogance and disobedience, Uzziah was stricken with leprosy and remained a leper for the rest of his life; living along and distant from society. Immediately after the death of King Uzziah, the Bible says that Isaiah saw the Lord, high and lifted up. What this means for us on today is that we need to make sure that nothing is distracting us or standing in the way of us giving authentic and genuine worship to the Lord.
According to the text, Isaiah experienced at least three things at the death of Uzziah:
Authentic Worship - Because the king was dead and Isaiah was broken, barriers to worship were removed, and he realized that the Lord would never leave him nor forsake him.
Recognition of His Sin and Waywardness - Isaiah recognized how unacceptable, unclean, and sinful he was. He may have looked like he was doing good when compared to his contemporaries, but when compared to the Lord, he was lacking. He may have looked good to himself and others, but when he compared himself to the Lord, he cried out unclean in recognition of how he was living.
A Desire and Willingness to be Used by the Lord - Out of recognition and gratitude of his iniquity being taken away and sin being purged from his life by the Lord, Isaiah volunteers to freely serve the Lord marking the beginning of his prophetic ministry.
Like Isaiah, God is calling us to self-examination based on His word and not worldly characteristics and standards. We are called to "Go and be a blessing." When we accept Christ into our lives, and strive to live according to His word, we too will be able to say, "Here am I, Lord, send me."
|God, we give you thanks for allowing us to see the distractions and barriers that prohibit us from worshipping you in sprit and in truth on today. We ask you to give us the courage and willingness to remove these distractions and barriers so that our worship will be authentic and genuine. In Jesus name we pray. Amen.|
|Luke 10:29-37 (NKJV)||The Road From Jerusalem To Jericho||It shouts me to know that regardless of the condition I find myself in, Jesus will take the time to restore me to health and wholeness when others pass me by.||A certain young lawyer seeks to challenge and trick Jesus by asking a question that he already knew the answer to. The question was, "Who is My Neighbor?" Responding to the question, Jesus tells the lawyer a parable about "The Good Samaritan." According to the text and the situation at hand, this tragedy could have happened to anyone regardless of their socio-economic condition.|
As the story unfolds, we find a man traveling from Jerusalem to Jericho on the Jericho Road. The Jericho Road was very extensive, treacherous, and often inhabited by thieves and robbers. Just like the man in the text, many of us have had our own Jericho Road experience(s) in life. As Christians, the question for us on today is this, "How do we treat those we encounter in the midst of a Jericho Road experience? Will we respond proactively or reactively?
According to the text, Jesus gives us a picture of three types of people and how they responded:
The So Called Religious Person - This person was a Priest who was highly religious and very spiritual. The priest passes by and walked on the other side of the road. Apparently, religious law was more important than the life of a human being.
The Person Fearful of Contamination - This person was a Levite who also decided to pass by on the other side of the road for fear of being contaminated. Sometimes we spend so much time trying to get people to look up to us, we have no time for those that need us.
The Unlikely Hero - This person was a Samaritan who went above and beyond to assist the man in need. Your neighbor is not limited to those who look and think like you, rather, your neighbor is anyone created in the image of Almighty God. Too many of us miss out on opportunities to do good because we are to busy doing for ourselves to see about someone else.
Seeing the man in need, the Samaritan goes and see about him. He makes sure the man in need had everything necessary for healing and restoration. While the Samaritan did not personally know the man, he had enough compassion to be a blessing to him because he was blessed.
|Lord, when I find myself in troubled and tragic situations, remind me of the words of the song, "Pass Me not O Gentle Savior" and give me the confidence to know that help is on the way. "Pass me not O gentle Savior, hear my humble cry. While on others Thou art calling, do not pass me by. In Jesus name. Amen.|
|Mark 1:29-31 (NKJV)||An Answer For Crisis||It shouts me to know that there is no problem the Lord cannot fix and there is no crisis the Lord cannot conquer. The Lord is the answer to any crisis I may have.||When it comes to crisis, the church is always the place where people go, because as Christians, we always have crisis circling around our spiritual neighborhood. It seems that we don't have time to savor the moment of what we experience in worship before we are distracted with a crisis. However, it's good to know that God works while worship is going on and after worship has ended.|
According to the text, the disciples took Simon's mother-in-law to Jesus and Jesus healed her of her fever (crisis). Therefore, when we take our problems and crisis to Jesus the problem-solver, Jesus will:
Heed the Call - Jesus knows he is needed. He comes just because we call and for no other reason.
Hold (touch) Us - While we don't deserver the healing touch from the Lord, by grace, God provides it.
Help Us - By lifting the woman up, Jesus gave her hope that while she was not healed in that moment, her healing was on the way.
Heal Us - Once the woman was completely lifted up, she discovered that she was healed. Jesus is more than a healer of diseases, He can also heal your mind, body and soul. Jesus can heal relationships, disappointments, shame, addiction, and those who have lost their way.
While God is answering your crisis, He can provide you assurance in the midst of affliction; courage in the midst of challenge; composure in the midst of calamity, and security in the mist of sorrow. The Lord is the answer to any crisis we may have in life.
|Lord, when trouble, problems, and crisis come up in my life, give me the wisdom and knowledge to bring these and other issues to you. By faith, I know you are a problem-solver and therefore, I know you can handle any crisis I may have. In Jesus Name. Amen.|
|Genesis 12:1-9 (NKJV)||A Step Of Faith||It shouts me to know that when the Lord calls, the Lord delivers. No matter how long it takes and how far I have to go, I can praise God every step of the way. In God's own time, what God said will come to past.||When we are required to do great things for the Lord by faith, we don't need a lot of faith, just enough for the Lord to work with. The Lord has done great things in our lives when we took a step of faith. Abraham is listed in the annals of history as the father of faith because of his faith.|
We can learn a lot from the life of Abraham when it comes to having faith in God.
You must have faith in the Lord's destiny for your life
You must have enough faith to take a step of faith
You must have enough faith to completely trust the Lord
You must have enough faith to worship the Lord B. The Faithfulness of God Never Forgets Us
C. The Faithfulness of God Never Fails Us
|Lord, give me such faith that regardless of my circumstances and conditions in life, I will be able to trust you will my whole heart and step out on faith.|
|Joshua 1:5-7 (NKJV)||The Faithfulness of God||It shouts me when I realize, that God has honored me with the same promise of His faithfulness that made my predecessors at Salem great warriors and witnesses in the Kingdom of God.||A. The Faithfulness of God Never Forsakes Us|
B. The Faithfulness of God Never Forgets Us
C. The Faithfulness of God Never Fails Us
|Lord, help me to remember, the promised assurance of Your f faithfulness. In Jesus Name. Amen.|
|Genesis 45:1-8 (NKJV)||An Unexpected Tapestry||It shouts me to know that God works behind the scenes to reweave the tapestry of my life regardless of my messes, mistakes, and missteps.||What others see in us is very different from what God sees. |
God takes the tapestry woven in our lives and turns it into something unexpected.
God can take our greatest mistakes and turn them into something good.
|God, thank you for see me in my highest possibility and blessing me even when my
actions are inconsistent with your will for my life. Amen.
|Matthew 1:1-6 (NKJV)||Shaking the Family Tree||It shouts me when I realize that the inclusive, sovereign, and redemptive power of God covered and kept our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ as a holy and acceptable sacrifice, as He journeyed through a messy family genealogy on His way to the cross, the grave, and resurrection.||God is an inclusive God - God is a God of all people, not just the Jews but everybody.|
God is a sovereign God - While we may not always like it, what God has in store for us is for us; nobody will be able to stop it or take it away.
God is a redemptive God - God can redeem the most difficult situations and turn them into blessings.
|Lord, help me to remember You are a faithful provider. In Jesus Name, AMEN|
|Psalm 18:1-3 (NKJV)||The Worthy God We Worship||It shouts me to know that like the psalmist David, we should have a song of victory in our hearts and on our lips because we have been saved by God's grace.||The Lord is worthy of our affection|
The Lord is worthy of our confidence
The Lord is worthy of our praise
|Lord, teach me to call upon you, no matter what circumstances I find myself in. Cause me to realize that there is victory in you and that you are my Savior forever. You are worthy to be praised. In Jesus Name, AMEN.|
|Luke 19:1-10 (NKJV)||When Jesus Has A Place At The Table||It shouts me when I realize, that despite my imperfect background and unlovable features Jesus still loves me and wants to be with me.||Zacchaeus went to great lengths to be in the presence of Jesus because he was small in stature and because he was despised for being a tax collector. He did it at the risk of: |
Being personally embarrassed by the crowd
Being rejected by the crowd
Being offensive to the crowd
In the midst of Zacchaeus' great effort to see Jesus, restoration takes place and Jesus restored him to a place that was better than before.
|Lord, help me to allow you to have a place at the table of my heart. In Jesus name, Amen.|
|Psalm 105: 1-22 (NKJV)||The Lord Is Faithful||It shouts me when I realize the faithfulness of God never forgets, forsakes, or fails, when it comes to His absolute promise to protect and provide when all else fails in the weakest and darkest moments of our lives.||Faithfulness is one of the characteristics of God; it is inextricably tied to God's grace and mercy. In the text, the people of Israel are required to look back over their lives and see that God is ever faithful. According to the text, the Lord shows his faithfulness in the following ways:|
The Lord is faithful in his promise
The Lord is faithful in his protection
The Lord is faithful in his promotion
There is a constant refrain in the text that says, "And the Lord was with Joseph." Just as the Lord was with Joseph, His desire is to be with you and me because of His faithfulness.
|Lord, help me to remember that nobody can do more for me or with me than You. In Jesus Name, Amen.|
|Psalm 34: 1-3 (NKJV)||Positioned For A Blessing||It shouts me to know that wherever I find myself and whatever situation I am in, I can bless the Lord for my safe keeping and my deliverance. Oh, magnify the Lord with me...!||All times are the right times to praise the Lord. While many people wait until trouble shows up to bless the Lord, the Psalmist David reminds us that anytime is a good time to bless the Lord. And while he may have been in trouble during the time of the text, David reminds us that the Lord's praise shall continually be in his mouth. According to the text, if you want to position yourself for a blessing you must have the right attitude because:|
An attitude of blessings and praise is an act of the will
An attitude of blessings and praise flows from our emotions
An attitude of blessings and praise spreads to those around us.
|Lord, help me to remember that anytime is the right time to give you honor, glory, and praise. I will bless you at all times. Amen.|
|Genesis 26:1-5 (NKJV)||What God Has For You||It shouts me to know that what God has for me is for me. It has been designed and tailored just for me, and it has my name on it.||Even though Abraham and Sarah was promised a child from the Lord, they went ahead of the Lord and Sarah allows Hagar, her maidservant to have a child by Abraham. However, in the fullness of time, Sarah gives birth to Issac because what God had for Abraham and Sarah came to past.|
What God has for you is for you in spite of your location: The location where Issac finds himself is not the best location for his family. He decides to go down to Egypt, however, God tells him not to go because the land he was in would be blessed. The Lord can bless you right where you are despite your location and your situation.
What God has for you is for you in spite of your imperfection: Issac was the benefactor of a generational promise. He would be the beneficiary of the promise that was made to Abraham, even though Abraham was deceased.
What God has for you is for you in spite of others: As soon as the Lord started blessing Issac, the people began to despise him and asked him to leave from among them. However, God move Issac from one blessing to another until he received his greatest blessing.
|Lord, I am so glad that every time I turn around, you keep on blessing me. Therefore, help me to be more faithful with your provisions, and allow me to be a blessing to others because you are a blessing to me. In Jesus Name, AMEN.|