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The resources that made Canaan a land flowing with milk and honey for Israel, also made it attractive to others. As a result, Israel in the Bible, fought many wars with their neighbors. They were wealthy but life was never a bed of roses, never an unending paradise for the common people.

Life was much worse for the common people of Israel when they had corrupt wicked rulers. However, in the midst of their hardships, God sent them prophets – men and women who reminded the leaders to be humble towards God, to be kind, loving, and fair to the common people. The prophets, like John the Baptist, also reminded the common people to repent of their evil ways.

One such period of hardship in Israel was when a mighty swarm of locust destroyed all their crops, in the days of the prophet Joel. The Bible states that such a level of destruction had never happened to Israel before (Joel 1:1-4) – people and animals starved. What were the people to do to turns things around? Joel called on the priests, the leaders, and common people to fast and pray (Joel 2:12-17).

Joel 2:25-27 (NIV) shows that God responded to the nation’s prayers: “I will repay you for the years the locusts have eaten… You will have plenty to eat, until you are full, and you will praise the name of the Lord your God, who has worked wonders for you… Then you will know that I am in Israel, that I am the Lord your God, and that there is no other; never again will my people be shamed.”

When nations sincerely pray, heaven answers; may our leaders have the humility to pray with the people in these hard times, Amen!


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Have you recently heard some news, or observed an event that upset you, made you angry, unsettled you and possibly robbed you of sleep? Do you get the feeling that in our world today, unsettling news and events are overwhelming our capacity to cope – be it natural disasters, political conflicts, economic hardships, religious scandals, and relationship failures. Life seems to be a stormy raging sea – a tempest!

The Bible tells a story in Matthew Chapter 8, about Jesus in a tempest in the sea of Galilee. When Jesus started his mnistry, he was living in Capernaum, a town at the north-west edge of the sea of Galilee. During one of his teaching and healing sessions, the crowdsize was overwhelming, and in order to get some well deserved rest, Jesus got into a boat to cross to the eastern side of the sea of Galilee. As soon as they set out, a strong and furious storm started got in their way.

Matthew 8:23-27 (NIV) narrates the story like this: “23 Then he got into the boat and his disciples followed him. 24 Suddenly a furious storm came up on the lake, so that the waves swept over the boat. But Jesus was sleeping. 25 The disciples went and woke him, saying, “Lord, save us! We’re going to drown!” 26 He replied, “You of little faith, why are you so afraid?” Then he got up and rebuked the winds and the waves, and it was completely calm. 27 The men were amazed and asked, “What kind of man is this? Even the winds and the waves obey him!”

Jesus was sleeping even with the tempest raging around him – incredible! King Solomon, speaking about the blessings that come to god-fearing people did say in Proverbs Chapter 3:24 (NIV) that “When you lie down, you will not be afraid; when you lie down, your sleep will be sweet.” Jesus was definitely enjoying sweet sleep (hahaha) despite the raging turbulent tempest!

Today, we may not have the power to calm the tempest, but we can pray for peace of mind and “sweet sleep” in tempestous times. May the Lord hear our prayers and give us sweet sleep daily, Amen!


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Matthew 9:35-36 (Easy-to-Read Bible) says: “Jesus traveled through all the towns and villages. He taught in their synagogues and told people the Good News about God’s kingdom. He healed all kinds of diseases and sicknesses. 36 Jesus saw the many people and felt sorry for them because they were worried and helpless – like sheep without a shepherd to lead them.”

Israel during the time of Jesus, was under Roman colonialism, the Roman governor of Israel was there to serve Rome and not to serve the local people. The local jewish political, business, and religious leaders cared more about themselves and their personal wealth, than about the people. This failure of political, business, and religious leadership in Israel to care for the people left them helpless.

It is in this situation that Jesus says to the people in Matthew 11:28-29 (Easy-to-Read Bible): “Come to me all of you who are tired from the heavy burden you have been forced to carry. I will give you rest. 29 Accept my teaching. Learn from me. I am gentle and humble in spirit. And you will be able to get some rest.”

Many in our world today are “worried and helpless”; many in countries where the leaders care more about their personal interests than about the people are “like sheep without a shephered to lead them”. The Jesus solution remains the same – “come to me”, “learn from me”, “and you will be able to get some rest”.

Like King David said in Psalm 23, when the Lord is your shepherd, he will lead you to green pastures and calm waters; may this be your experience in Jesus name, Amen!


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We read in Luke 4:13-21 (KJV) (shortened):

13 And when the devil had ended all the temptation, he departed from him [Jesus]… 16 And he [Jesus] came to Nazareth… he went into the synagogue on the sabbath day… 17 And there was delivered unto him the book of the prophet Esaias. And when he had opened the book, he found the place where it was written, 18 The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised… 20 And he closed the book… 21 And he began to say unto them, This day is this scripture fulfilled in your ears.

Fortunate is the man or woman who has never experienced a broken heart. Adam and Eve must have been brokenhearted when their son Cain killed their other son Abel. Abraham and Sarah must have been brokenhearted for so long when they could not have a baby. Jacob must have been brokenhearted when his wife Rachel died, and when their son Joseph suddenly disappeared.

I lived with my grandparents for a few years in early childhood; during that period, I missed my parents deeply; when I was united back with my parents, it took some years before the sadness in my heart went away; even children can be brokenhearted. I went from hopeless to feeling hopeful; from unwanted to feeling loved; the love from my parents healed me; so I know that brokenhearts can heal!

Jesus states in Luke 4 that one of his mission is to heal the brokenhearted; to give hope for hopelessness; to give love in place of pain. The passage that Jesus read was from Isaiah 61 verses 1-2, and in verse 3 it goes on to say:

“To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness…”.

Wow, what beautiful promise – Jesus gives beauty for ashes, joy for mourning, praise for the spirit of heaviness. I want this to be my experience today and every day. I can’t stop the troubles of life from reaching my shore like waves of the sea, but I can have Jesus be my sea wall breaking the waves and stopping them from eroding my peace, my joy, my health, and my hope.

I pray you let Jesus heal your brokenheart, Amen!


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Everyone experiences trauma at some point in their life; trauma is the result of a deeply painful experience that causes physical and or emotional harm; traumatic events are stressful, frightening, and sometimes leave us in a state of shock. Trauma can be long lasting, affecting our ability to trust and form healthy relationships in our families, local communities where we live, in the work place, and even at Church.

Given the economic difficulties in our world today, given the political extremisms and instability, multiple wars, and regular occurrences of natural disasters, traumatic incidences are never far away. How do we remain healthy and balanced in such a traumatic world? What does the Bible have to say about this?

Apostle Paul said in Philippians 4:6-7 (Easy-to-Read Bible): “Don’t worry about anything, but pray and ask God for everything you need, always giving thanks… And because you belong to Christ Jesus, God’s peace will stand guard over all your thoughts and feelings. His peace can do this far better than our human minds.”

Apostle Paul was a man who experienced many traumatic events, including being stoned for preaching the gospel, whipped and beaten mercilessly, and imprisoned many times. How did Apostle Paul overcome? He experienced God’s peace over his thoughts and feelings – this is God’s peace over mind and body.

God’s peace over our thoughts and feelings, over our minds and body, is what we need to recover from trauma; it is a critically important shield we need in our traumatic world of today. Make this a regular part of your prayers, and experience the results!

May God’s peace, guard over your thoughts and feelings, Amen!


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Life can be a continuous stream of activities, from the start of a new year to the end. We can find ourselves being so busy with work, family, Church, social life, entertainment – so much that we don’t have time for a private retreat. I don’t mean the Church planned retreat, which ends being a very busy time organizing and or participating in the retreat events for some Church members.

A private retreat is a time when you intentionally step back from the busy-ness; a time when you intentionally create a quiet space to go through your plans, purposes, achievements, and shortcomings for the year. The months of April, May, June are a good time to do this; to take stock and then begin to make the corrections required to have a fruitful year. It is not enough to be busy as a bee, we must monitor and evaluate ourselves if we are fruitful, productive, and faithful.

In Mark 6:30-32 (NIV) we read: “The apostles gathered around Jesus. They told him all they had done and taught. 31 But many people were coming and going. So they did not even have a chance to eat. Then Jesus said to his apostles, “Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place. You need to get some rest.” 32 So they went away by themselves in a boat to a quiet place.”

Jesus had sent out the apostles two by two to go preach and heal the sick; they came back with exciting results to share; Jesus next move was let’s retreat, rest, calm down the excitement, revisit the vision. Reading further along this chapter, the crowd saw them retreat to a quiet place and followed; however, we clearly see Jesus taking his small team for a private retreat.

A private retreat is possible even if you are working a regular job; you could use your lunch breaks for a week to be by yourself in a quiet place, rather than with everyone else as usual; you could take Friday off work so you have a long weekend for a private retreat; you could do this in April and again in August, and quite obviously at the end of the year. A private retreat to take stock of your life, to reflect, pray, and re-strategize to move forward, is good for the spirit, soul, and body.

May the Lord show you the way in this matter, Amen!


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Today is Resurrection Sunday when Jesus rose from the dead; we read in Matthew 28:1-7 (NIV) (shortened): “After the Sabbath, at dawn on the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to look at the tomb. There was a violent earthquake, for an angel of the Lord came down from heaven and, going to the tomb, rolled back the stone… The angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid… you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. He is not here; he has risen, just as he said… from the dead and is going ahead of you into Galilee…”.

Before the resurrection, the fear of death ruled over everyone – both the righteous and the unrighteous. Death was viewed by some as the end of life, and by others as a transition to a dark prison for everyone good or bad. Why love your wicked neighbor, if both you and your wicked neighbor end up a dark prison after death? The teachings and resurrection of Jesus changed all that; Jesus taught his followers to love God, love their neighbor, and look forward to life after death.

As a result, Apostle Paul could write in Philippians 1:20-24 (NIV): “I eagerly expect and hope that I will in no way be ashamed, but will have sufficient courage so that now as always Christ will be exalted in my body, whether by life or by death. 21 For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain. 22 If I am to go on living in the body, this will mean fruitful labor for me. Yet what shall I choose? I do not know! 23 I am torn between the two: I desire to depart and be with Christ, which is better by far; 24 but it is more necessary for you that I remain in the body.”

Paul was locked up in prison and facing a death sentence by the Roman government, for preaching about Jesus. Yet, he continued preaching Jesus and in this letter to the Philippians, he boldly told the Church that “to live is Christ and to die is gain”. Paul had absolute confidence that he would resurrect to a better life after death – where did this faith come from? It came from knowing that Jesus died and resurrected; Jesus proved to his followers that new life after death is possible!

Resurrection Sunday is a reminder to all Christians of a new life after death; it is also a renewed call to everyone to look to Jesus the first born from the dead, as the messiah with power to give life after death. He is risen, so that we too can rise!

I pray we all get to experience this new life, Amen!


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Today in the Christian calendar is Palm Sunday – the day that Jesus rode into Jerusalem on a donkey. Jesus was welcomed into the city by a large crowd who placed palm branches on the ground for him to ride upon. Putting down palm branches for a person to ride upon when entering a city, was a cultural practice that celebrated victory and triumph of that person on behalf of that city. The crowd were welcoming Jesus into Jerusalem the way they would welcome a King!

The book of Matthew 21:9 (NIV) records that: “The crowds that went ahead of him and those that followed shouted, “Hosanna to the Son of David!” “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!” “Hosanna in the highest heaven!”

The chant of “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!” – is taken from Psalm 118 and verse 26. In Psalm 118, King David sings praises God for delivering him from his many troubles, adversities, and enemies. Towards the end of the Psalm, from verses 21 to 26, King David writes:

“21 I will give you thanks, for you answered me; you have become my salvation. 22 The stone the builders rejected has become the cornerstone; 23 the Lord has done this, and it is marvelous in our eyes. 24 The Lord has done it this very day; let us rejoice today and be glad. 25 Lord, save us! Lord, grant us success! 26 Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord. From the house of the Lord we bless you.”

The Israelites understood this part of the Psalm to refer to the messiah – the deliverer and redeemer of Israel and all humanity. So, when Jesus rode on a donkey into Jerusalem, instead of walking as he would normally do, the crowds who often followed him, burst into a celebration.

Jesus, the great teacher and miracle worker who had been with them for three and half years, comes into Jerusalem riding a donkey – the people felt this must be God’s appointed King coming to deliver them. Yes, he delivered them, not just them, he delivered all humanity from Satan’s grip. What does this practically mean? We will look into this next week on Easter Sunday!

Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord, Amen!

BY THE RIVERS OF BABYLON (6) – Ezekiel Last Vision of Healing for the Nations

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The Bible teaches that God’s plan for Israel is key to his plan for the world. In Genesis, God promised Eve a son who will crush Satan’s head; the promise was passed to Abraham, and fulfilled in Israel with the birth of Christ. God disciplined and cleansed Israel like we see in the book of Ezekiel, to fulfil his plans for the world.

In the book of Ezekiel, God cleanses Israel from idolatry and occultism, through a painful captivity in Babylon that lasted 70 years. Israel had drifted into worshipping the sun, moon, trees, and animals including snakes. When God brought them back to Jerusalem from captivity, they never drifted into idolatry again. It was necessary to cleanse Israel so that the birth of Jesus was not hindered.

Ezekiel, shows how God disciplined and cleansed Israel from Chapters 4 to 24; and how God’s discipline extended to the nations of the world from Chapters 25 to 32; and how God will restore Israel from Chapters 33 to 39. Ezekiel’s last vision from Chapter 40 to 48 go on to show how God will return to a new Temple in Jerusalem, and from there will flow a river that heals the world.

We read in Ezekiel 47:1 (Easy-to-Read Bible): “The man led me back to the entrance of the Temple. I saw water coming out from under the east gate of the Temple. (The front of the Temple is on the east side.) The water flowed down from under the south end of the Temple and ran south of the altar…”

We then read in Ezekiel 47:7-12 (Easy-to-Read Bible) (shortened): “As I walked back along the side of the river, I saw many trees on both sides… [the] water flows into the Dead Sea so that the water in that sea becomes fresh and clean… You can see fishermen… throwing their fishing nets and catching many kinds of fish… All kinds of fruit trees will grow on both sides of the river. Their leaves never will become dry and fall. The fruit will never stop growing on those trees. The trees will produce fruit every month, because the water for the trees comes from the Temple. The fruit from the trees will be for food, and their leaves will be for healing.”

This above message in Ezekiel is repeated in the book of Revelation 22:1-2, where it adds that the leaves of the trees “are for healing the nations”. The Bible teaches that God created the nation of Israel as a starting point for healing the world. This is God’s persistent purpose for all humanity, if our hearts are open to receive it.

There is much pain in this old world, the Lord is building a new one where there is no sorrow, don’t miss out on it, remain blessed, Amen!

BY THE RIVERS OF BABYLON (5) – God Disciplines but the End-Goal is to Bless

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What does the future hold for Israel? We readily go to the gospel of Matthew and the book of Revelation for answers. However, Ezekiel has answers too. While the message of Ezekiel speaks first to Israel, we saw that the prophet had a message for the world in Ezekiel Chapter 25 to 32; after this, the prophet’s message focused mainly on Israel again from Chapter 33 to the end in Chapter 48. In this section, Chapter 38 and 39, speak of a global army who will make war against Israel.

Ezekiel 38:1-6 (Easy-to-Read Bible) (shortened) says: “The word of the Lord came to me. He said, “Son of man, look toward Gog in the land of Magog… Tell him that this is what the Lord God says: ‘Gog, you are the most important leader of the nations of Meshech and Tubal, but I am against you… I will bring back all the men in your army… All the soldiers will be wearing their uniforms… Soldiers from Persia, Ethiopia, and Put will be with them… There will also be Gomer… and there will be the nation of Togarmah from the far north with all its groups of soldiers…”

In the above passage, Ezekiel saw an army led by a European leader (Gog), with support from Asia (Persia), from Africa (Ethiopia and Put (Ancient Libya)), and other Europeans (Gomer and Togarmah). Ezekiel saw a global coalition of soldiers making war against Israel after their return to the promised land. Ezekiel saw how God will intervene through nature to rescue Israel from extermination.

Ezekiel 38:18-19 (Easy-to-Read Bible) says: ‘The Lord God said, “At that time Gog will come to fight against the land of Israel. I will show my anger. In my anger and strong emotions, I make this promise: I promise that there will be a strong earthquake in the land of Israel.”

Ezekiel Chapter 38 and 39 assures Israel that though they are in captivity, they have a future, they are firmly in God’s plans and no one can exterminate them no matter the size of the enemy army. In Ezekiel Chapter 4 to 22, we see clearly that God is using the captivity to discipline Israel and call them to repent from idolatry. In Ezekiel 33 to 48 we see that will restore Israel and protect them against rulers who are even more powerful than King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon.

God disciplines his people but his end-goal is to bless all who worship him; may this truth encourage all of God’s people, Amen!