Previous month:
January 2015
Next month:
March 2015

February 2015



Is God Getting Your Best?


Malachi 1:8

When you offer blind animals for sacrifice, is that not wrong? When you sacrifice lame or diseased animals, is that not wrong? Try offering them to your governor! Would he be pleased with you? Would he accept you?” says the Lord Almighty.

Observation – What does it say?

Under the old covenant or the law, Israel was forgiven and accepted by God because of their sacrifices to him. God is calling them out for offering unacceptable sacrifices. They wouldn’t be okay with offering a lame or diseased animal to their governor, but they were willing to offer them to God.

It was as though they were devoting their best animals to other things and giving God what was left over: the blind, diseased and lame. And, it obviously displeased God.

Understanding – What does it mean?

I felt convicted reading this. How often do I give God my leftovers? Last Sunday we looked at the parable of the sower and the thorny soil. These people allow the pursuit of wealth and other desires to crowd out what God desires to do in them. I don’t want Jesus to get put to the sidelines, to seek him when it’s convenient or as I’m falling asleep at night. I don’t want to make sharing my faith or encouraging others something that I’ll try to get around to, all the while giving the best of my time and energy to other things.

God deserves and desires our best… he’s jealous for it.

Life Application

God, please keep us from keeping the best of our time, energy and resources for other things. Show us the areas we have been trying to offer you the lame and diseased leftovers and what it looks like for us to give you our best. Thank you for giving your best for us. Amen.




If there had been newspapers in Joel's day, the headlines might have read:

No End to Drought in Sight

Any preacher worth his salt will get the people's attention by referring to something they're all concerned about. In this case, the people of Judah were talking about the economic crisis, so the Lord led Joel to use that event as a the background for his messages. The people didn't realize it, but they were watching the Day of the Lord unfold before their very eyes, and the Prophet Joel explained it to them.

Joel's message grew out of a national calamity: the invasion of a plague of locusts. Along with the locusts came a terrible drought, and the combination of the two brought the land to the place of famine. Joel had a message for the people of Judah, for he saw in these calamities the disciplining hand of God for their sins. But he looked beyond the locusts and saw another "army" a literal army of Gentile nations attacking Jerusalem. In other words, Joel used the immediate judgment of God (the locusts) as an illustration of the ultimate judgment, "the day of the Lord."

Like all true prophets, Joel was commissioned to call the people back to the worship of the true God; and he did this by declaring "the word of the Lord" (see Hosea, Micah, Zephaniah, Haggai, Zechariah, and Malachi). It was the task of the priests to teach the people the Law, and it was the responsibility of the prophets to call the people back to the Lord whenever they strayed from His Law. The prophets also interpreted historical events in the light of the Word of God to help the people understand God's will for their lives. They were "forth-tellers" as well as "foretellers."

Joel wanted the people of Judah to understand what God was saying to them through the plague and the drought. 

Allow me to sound the prophetic alarm today…

In our own times, the nations of the world are experiencing severe droughts and famines, frightening epidemics, unexpected earthquakes, devastating floods, and other "natural disasters," all of which have greatly affected national and global economy; yet very few people have asked, "What is God saying to us?" 

I am reminded to the words of Daniel that read a couple of weeks ago…

  • Daniel 9:13-14 (NIV) 13 Just as it is written in the Law of Moses, all this disaster has come upon us, yet we have not sought the favor of the LORD our God by turning from our sins and giving attention to your truth. 14 The LORD did not hesitate to bring the disaster upon us, for the LORD our God is righteous in everything he does; yet we have not obeyed him. 

I believe strongly that God is calling to us through the events of our times to turn to Him in repentance and deep sorrow regarding our sin and disobedience. 
God is speaking through the events of our times to remind us to give attention to His truth and respond in obedience. 

Let’s not procrastinate, hesitate or deviate from this course of action.  Something important is about to break loose if God’s people will…

  • Joel 1:13-15 (NIV) 13 Put on sackcloth, O priests, and mourn; wail, you who minister before the altar. Come, spend the night in sackcloth, you who minister before my God; for the grain offerings and drink offerings are withheld from the house of your God. 14 Declare a holy fast; call a sacred assembly. Summon the elders and all who live in the land to the house of the LORD your God, and cry out to the LORD. 15 Alas for that day! For the day of the LORD is near; it will come like destruction from the Almighty. 

Will you?



Whose House Are You Building?


Haggai 1:5-6

Now this is what the Lord Almighty says: “Give careful thought to your ways. You have planted much, but harvested little. You eat, but never have enough. You drink, but never have your fill. You put on clothes, but are not warm. You earn wages, only to put them in a purse with holes in it.”

Observation – What does it say?

Have you ever felt like something in your life was missing? Have you ever tried really hard to accomplish something or fix something and it just ended up being a waste of time and energy?

God was calling his people to stop and take a look at their lives for a moment. He was pointed out that they focus on a lot of things but none of them satisfy. Their many efforts accomplish little and they are always left wanting. Why?

Haggai 1:9

“You expected much, but see, it turned out to be little. What you brought home, I blew away. Why?” declares the Lord Almighty. “Because of my house, which remains a ruin, while each of you is busy with your own house.

THEY NEGLECTED GOD’S HOUSE. They were too busy trying to take care of and build their own houses; no one gave time or attention to God or building his house.

Understanding – What does it mean?

It’s not all about me and my house and my needs. When I make it all about me, I’m always left feeling empty and unsatisfied. And I notice that the times I’m filled with the most joy and fulfillment are the times I’m focused on serving and worshiping God!

He is the source of all we need and I believe he is calling us, in our busy and distracted lives to stop and give careful thought to our ways. What percentage of our time, money and resources is spent building things that wont last for eternity? And, what percentage is spent building God’s house? …spent multiplying Christ-followers?

If something seems to be missing in your life, if it feels like you keep trying to get ahead but never can, it’s probably because God is trying to get your attention.

C.S. Lewis said, “Aim at heaven and you will get earth thrown in. Aim at earth and you will get neither.”

Life Application

The disciples "left their nets and followed him." Too often I try to follow God without letting go of my own pursuits. I want both, but God doesn't give us that option. In order to experience the fullness of what he has in store for us we must leave our nets, stop pursuing stuff that doesn't last for eternity and give ourselves fully to him and his mission.

God, forgive me for selfishly focusing on myself, my wants, my needs when I could be focusing more on building your house. Please help me to let go of my wants so I can focus on yours. I want to build your church, and I also want to focus on being a better host of your presence myself.  Please keep me from letting busyness and the desire for other things push worship and prayer to the sidelines in my life. I want to be consumed with you and your presence! Purify me. Purify your church. Amen.



The Wonders Of His Love


Zephaniah 3:17

   The Lord your God is with you,
    the Mighty Warrior who saves.
He will take great delight in you;
    in his love he will no longer rebuke you,
    but will rejoice over you with singing.”

Observation – What does it say?

The first two and a half chapters of this book declare the coming judgment of God against all the people’s of the earth for their sin and despite being warned, continuing in their wickedness. In the midst of the sins of mankind being magnified, we would expect nothing but unrestrained destruction and punishment to follow. But instead, God also pours out his extravagant mercy, love and grace. Wow. Although God is just, he is also overflowing with love and grace, even to those who had once refused to turn to him! Thank God for the hope found in these last 11 verses. The LORD declares restoration and redemption for his people.

Understanding – What does it mean?

This is the beauty of the gospel! God’s love and grace extended to those who least deserve it!

Romans 5:8 (NLT) But God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners.

It was when I was running from God, living in sin and facing its horrible consequences that I turned to God for help. I deserved nothing but punishment yet, because Jesus died and took my punishment on the cross, I was filled with the love of God!

Life Application

Praise God! Worship him with me today! Let the truth in the verse above sink in… God is with you! He is mighty to save. He takes great delight in you. In his love he no longer rebukes you. Because of his great love and Christ’s death and resurrection, God no longer rebukes you. Instead, he rejoices over you with singing!

Habakkuk 1-3


Unshakable Joy


Habakkuk 3:17-18

17 Though the fig tree does not bud
    and there are no grapes on the vines,
though the olive crop fails
    and the fields produce no food,
though there are no sheep in the pen
    and no cattle in the stalls,
18 yet I will rejoice in the Lord,
    I will be joyful in God my Savior.

Observation – What does it say?

Habakkuk was in a hard place, but he reminded himself of who God is and the amazing things God had done. This reminder filled Habakkuk with hope in the midst of a life surrounded by violence and wicked people.

He imagines in verse 17 all of his comforts and physical needs being denied. But he resolves that even in a horrible scenario like that, he will rejoice in God.

Understanding – What does it mean?

It’s easy when it’s easy. It’s easy to worship and rejoice in God when everything is going well, when we get the bonus at work, when we get the news that the cancer has gone into remission, when the report card says 4.0, etc. But what about rejoicing and praising God when things are really hard? The apostle Paul said:

Philippians 4:4 Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!

Rejoice always?? Paul didn’t say this as someone who never experienced difficulty. He went through tons of hardship! Among other things, he had been stoned, flogged, shipwrecked, and beaten yet he was able to rejoice and be content in every circumstance. On once occasion he and his friend Silas had been thrown in prison for talking about Jesus with a crowd of people.

Acts 16:25 About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening to them.

Even in prison at midnight they sang to God! It’s easy to rejoice when things are going well. But reserved for those who trust in God is this powerful and beautiful ability to rejoice when everything isn’t going well.

Life Application

God, regardless of how my circumstances unfold in the future and what trials I face, help me to respond like Habakkuk, “Yet I will rejoice in the Lord!” And for everyone going through trials right now, reveal yourself to them. Enable them to trust you and to rejoice in you today. Fill them with joy that doesn’t hinge on circumstances. Amen.

Nahum 2-3



Nahum 3:4

…all because of the wanton lust of a prostitute,
    alluring, the mistress of sorceries,
who enslaved nations by her prostitution
    and peoples by her witchcraft.

Observation – What does it say?

This verse gives the reason for all the destruction and judgment being executed on Nineveh by God. Hence the phrase, “all because.” In scripture, prostitution is often referenced with direct connection to idolatry. It was spiritual prostitution; a turning to worship other gods. This verse points out that Nineveh’s prostitution to other gods not only affected Nineveh but other nations and peoples.

Understanding – What does it mean?

What struck me is that Nineveh led countless others (nations!) astray by her disobedience. Our culture is filled with talk of tolerance and 'coexist’ bumper stickers everywhere. Our culture would say, “You have your religious beliefs and I have mine. What’s true for you may not necessarily be true for me and that’s ok. Let’s just get along.”  Likewise, if you’re doing drugs or making other poor decisions many people have an attitude that says, “That’s their own choice. They can do it as long as they aren’t hurting anyone else.”

The problem with leaving people to their religious beliefs (that don’t recognize that Jesus is the only way to God) is that not only is the Bible clear that they are going to hell, they also have potential to bring others with them! Like them, addicts and people harming themselves are never just hurting themselves. 

You are a leader whether you want to be or not.

Everyone of us has influence, just like the city of Nineveh. It may not be as far reaching as Nineveh's influence, but we each have our family, friends, coworkers, classmates, neighbors, etc. We can use our influence to encourage them towards God and towards making right decisions, or we can influence them in the other direction. Whether it was intentional or not, Nineveh’s idolatry led nations astray! Jesus said,

Matthew 18:6

"If anyone causes one of these little ones--those who believe in me--to stumble, it would be better for them to have a large millstone hung around their neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea.”

Wow. We have to be careful! Our decisions, our actions and our beliefs are rubbing off on those around us! The questions I’m forced to ask myself is: “Are there areas of sin in my life?” And, “Am I bringing anyone else into my sin?”

Life Application

Repent! Any area of sin that I have is most likely not just affecting me. My repentance not only benefits me but those around me. For example, when I repent of gossip my close friends will no longer get drug into my sin.

God, may I use the influence you’ve given me to lead people closer to you and not farther from you. Cleanse me of sin that my struggles wouldn’t become a stumbling block to others.

Nahum 1


Keep With Repentance! …The Danger Of Turning Back


Nahum 1:7-8

The Lord is good,
    a refuge in times of trouble.
He cares for those who trust in him,
    but with an overwhelming flood
he will make an end of Nineveh;
    he will pursue his foes into the realm of darkness.

Observation - What does it say?

In these two verses there is a huge contrast being highlighted between God’s people and the wicked people of Nineveh. But wait a second, didn’t we just read yesterday about how the people of Nineveh had repented and God spared them?

Yes. About 100 years prior to Nahum’s vision God had sent Jonah to declare God’s plan to destroy them for their wickedness. Nineveh in fact repented, turned from their wickedness and sought God and God spared them. However, soon after repenting they turned back to their wicked ways like a dog to it’s vomit.

Understanding - What does it mean?

The mercy of God was not continued because the people of Nineveh turned back to wickedness.  How horrible to experience God’s mercy and salvation and then turn back to wickedness. After repenting and turning to God, the people of Nineveh experienced God’s goodness and his great care for them as they put their trust in him – all the great things we read about in verse 7 that characterizes God's people. But after turning back they are now suddenly presented as a foil to the objects of God’s goodness in verse 7, compared against them as they have now become objects of his wrath.

Life Application

There are many theological questions and view points when it comes to the possibility of losing your salvation once you have it. Regardless of which stance makes the most sense biblically, this vision of Nahum challenges me to do what John the Baptist urged the Pharisees to do:

Matthew 3:7

“Produce fruit in keeping with repentance.”

God, please keep me from turning back to wickedness. Reveal to me and to all who read this areas of sin in our lives. We desire to always be objects of your goodness and mercy and not of your wrath. So please grant us the godly kind of sorrow that leads not to shame and guilt but to repentance. Amen.



A Second Chance


Jonah 1:1-3

The word of the Lord came to Jonah son of Amittai: “Go to the great city of Nineveh and preach against it, because its wickedness has come up before me.” But Jonah ran away from the Lord and headed for Tarshish.

Jonah 3:1-3

Then the word of the Lord came to Jonah a second time: “Go to the great city of Nineveh and proclaim to it the message I give you.” Jonah obeyed the word of the Lord and went to Nineveh.


How many times do I respond like Jonah did the first time? Even last night I was out with some friends for frozen yogurt in Valencia and the thought crossed my mind to invite the people at the table next to us to church. I knew it was God. But I hesitated and didn’t say a word. So frustrating!

Like Jonah, we are faced with opportunities to partner with God all the time. Sometimes we are too busy or distracted to recognize them, other times we recognize them but choose to run.

But there is a beautiful truth that is so clear in the book of Jonah! God is a God of second chances.

God gave both Jonah and Nineveh second chances. Both were running from God and disobeying him in some way, and he gave them both the opportunity to repent and obey.

Life Application

God, thank you for giving me a second chance when you saved me. I was an addict, a criminal, a disrespectful and rebellious son, and I wasn’t living at all to please you. But you made known to me your love and compassion. You completely transformed me! Thank you!

And, thank you for giving me second chances now when it comes to obeying your small whispers today. Like Jonah, I believe you speak to us because you want to show others your love and compassion through us. God, I really don’t want to miss out on that. I truly want to obey you. In the moment that you speak, please give me the strength to actually obey!

Daniel 12


Put Others On The Right Path


Daniel 12:3 (MSG)

“‘Men and women who have lived wisely and well will shine brilliantly, like the cloudless, star-strewn night skies. And those who put others on the right path to life will glow like stars forever...'"

Observation – What does it say?

Speaking of the end times and the resurrection of the saints, we see that God has reserved a special glory for all those who have lived wisely and well. And he refers particularly to “those who put others on the right path to life”, that is those who share the gospel with others and lead them to salvation in Christ. They will shine like, “stars in the universe” (Philippians 2:15) forever.

Understanding – What does it mean? What other verses explain it?

God has called us not only to receive salvation for ourselves, but also to lead others to the same salvation.

2 Corinthians 5:11a, 20

11 Since, then, we know what it is to fear the Lord, we try to persuade others. 20 We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God.

Not only have our sins been forgiven and have we been reconciled to God through Christ, we have been appointed as Christ’s ambassadors. God has called all who have been saved, who have become Christ followers, to urge and persuade others to receive the same salvation. And, according to this verse in Daniel, those who respond to this high calling receive glory from God and will shine brightly forever.

Life Application

PII (pray, invest, invite). I choose to respond to God’s call. I want God to use me to put others on the right path to life! I have felt challenged lately… “When was the last time you crossed a name off your PII card?”

God, I don’t just want to talk about winning souls and how I want to lead people to you. I want to actually do it! Please use me! Use us! Cause our hearts to burn for the lost and fill us afresh with the same Holy Spirit and boldness that the believers were filled with in Acts 4 that led them to preach the word of God boldly. Make Desert Streams Church a soul winning church that each of us would shine like stars for eternity.

Daniel 11



Daniel 11:32

With flattery he will corrupt those who have violated the covenant, but the people who know their God will firmly resist him.


Daniel prophesying says that those who have violated the covenant (sinned) will be corrupted by flattery. I've witnessed many people who were living in sin and because they weren't ready to give up the sin they chose not to believe what the Bible teaches about God. Some even chose not to believe in God at all. Sounds crazy at first, but makes sense when you think about it. When we're living in sin, we experience major guilt and shame. The easiest way to try and escape the guilt is to change our beliefs. Someone uses flattery, "You're not that bad. Why are you so hard on yourself? It's not like you're a murderer or anything." Or, "You're really a good person for the most part. Besides, isn't that what God really wants? He knows your heart." If we don't believe in a God who hates sin or we don't believe that sin has consequences, we can sin freely without feeling bad about it. This is why many living in sin are easily corrupted and led astray when someone comes along with clever sounding arguments against what the Bible teaches about sin and God.

But, there is a second group of people Daniel mentions: People who know their God. And these people, rather than being corrupted and their faith being shipwrecked, firmly resist flattery and clever sounding arguments. They know their God, they know the truth, they are faithful to both and are kept strong until the end. When they die and face final judgement, they have no fear because they have kept their faith and know they will receive reward and not punishment.

How important it is to know our God! It’s knowing our God, our ongoing relationship with him, that will keep us standing firm in the truth and will give us strength to resist attacks on our faith. How well do you know him? The apostle Paul had one prayer for the Ephesians:

Ephesians 1:17

I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better.

He could have prayed for lots of things. For them to be free from worry, to get good jobs and promotions, to be blessed financially, to have better relationships, or just about anything else. But instead, his prayer boils down to the fact that he just wants them to know God better.

Maybe this is why Jesus told Martha that her sister Mary, who was sitting at Jesus’ feet listening to him, had found the one thing that is essential.

Life Application

Repent of sin! Remove it from my life so I won't fall away from God.

Keep pressing in to know God more! After the fast I decided I really wanted to continue growing closer to God, but in a way that didn't require me to abstain from eating any longer lol. So this is what I decided: even though I love sleep, I decided to start my day at 5am every day for 40 days (as opposed to 7am). And I’m devoting those early hours just to getting to know God more. Today is day 14 of 40 and it’s been awesome so far! …Hard some days to get up, but totally worth it. In addition to the great stuff I’m experiencing in those times, this scripture encourages me that sacrificing sleep to be with God is totally worth it!