Weekly Seed of Faith 3/29/2024

Seed of Faith – Palm Sunday   By Pastor Dave  

As he went along, people spread their cloaks on the road. When he came near the place where the road goes down the Mount of Olives, the whole crowd of disciples began joyfully to praise God in loud voices for all the miracles they had seen: “Blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord!” “Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!” Some of the Pharisees in the crowd said to Jesus, “Teacher, rebuke your disciples!” “I tell you,” he replied, “if they keep quiet, the stones will cry out.” Luke 19:36-40

Dear Faithful Seed Sowers,

I pray that your Palm Sunday and Holy Week are filled to overflowing with God’s grace, mercy, forgiveness and love. May you see without a shadow of a doubt that God loves you with an unfailing love.

This Seed of Faith leads us to Palm Sunday and Holy Week.

The story of Jesus’ triumphant entry into Jerusalem is recorded by all four Gospel writers: Matthew 21:1-11, Mark 11:1-11, Luke 19:28-40 and John 12:12-19.  John gives us eight verses to record this momentous event while Mark and Matthew use eleven.  Luke, the Gentile Doctor, Dr. Detail, uses sixteen verses.   I encourage you this week to read and compare them all — Matthew 21-28, Mark 11-16, Luke 19:28-24 and John 12-21.

I encourage you to read the story in Luke 19:28-44

Put yourself in the story, then put the story in you.

Think about this for a moment.  Where are you in this story? Where are you in your faith walk with Jesus? There were crowds of people in this story.  Scholars believe that there were over 2 million people in Jerusalem during the time of the Passover.  Jesus was riding into town on a donkey and the crowds went wild.

1 The people who knew their Scriptures and were waiting for God to send a KING to overthrow the Roman government—this crowd went wild with praise!

2. The crowd of the Pharisees, however, did not go wild with praise.  They went wild with protest.

3.The third kind of crowd was absolutely passive—to them, this parade was no big deal either way.

Praising, protesting or passive!  What crowd were you in on Palm Sunday?

Will we praise Jesus, protest Jesus or be passive about Jesus?

This is the “So what?” for us today:  what crowd am I in?

·       Am I in the “THINK-I-WILL-PRAISE-Jesus-TODAY” crowd?

·       Am I in the “THINK-I-WILL-PROTEST-Jesus-TODAY” crowd?

·       Am I in the “THINK-I-WILL-PASS-on-Jesus-TODAY” crowd?

Praise.  Protest. Pass.  Our choice.  Today’s “So What?” comes down to a choice…a personal choice made by me…made by you…to either PRAISE…PROTEST. …or PASS on this JESUS OF NAZARETH. PRAISE…PROTEST…or PASS on the God who hung on a cross for you and me.

Guess what? Today I have a house (pointing to your heart) that is on the parade route!

All day long I’m serving snacks and punch to anyone who needs a good view on the parade route for Jesus.

Can you only imagine the day when we see this parade for real? Palm Sunday is lamb selection for REAL! Jesus, the real lamb of God rode into town on a donkey. This lamb of God is unblemished.

Read Matthew 17:20. Jesus spoke these words, “If you have faith like a tiny grain of mustard seed, you can say to the mountain, ‘move!’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.”

As I get ready to send this SEED of FAITH out, I want you to know I am praying for you. I pray for you daily. I pray you rise up each day, carry your cross, and follow our risen Lord.

This week the SEED will host a Maundy Thursday service at 7 pm on 3/28 and a GOOD FRIDAY service at 7 pm on GOOD FRIDAY. If you are in the area, stop in. If not, join us online.  If you need a copy of the liturgy sheet, email me at pastordave@theseedchristianfellowship.com or text me.

I want to see you in the PRAISING JESUS CROWD!

See you Sunday!

God loves you and so do I,

Pastor Dave


Copyright © 2018 THE SEED CHRISTIAN FELLOWSHIP, All rights reserved. May you be blessed by God’s grace and love. You are receiving this email because you signed up for our weekly devotionals.   Our mailing address is: 6450 Emerald Street Alta Loma, California 91701   Want to change how you receive these emails? You can update your preferences or unsubscribe from this list.

Weekly Seed of Faith 3/24/2024

Seed of Faith – Psalm 124  If It Hadn’t Been For God  By Pastor Dave  

“If the Lord had not been on our side— let Israel say— If the Lord had not been on our side when men attacked us, … Our help is in the name of the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth.” Psalm 124:1-2, 5

Dear Faithful Seed Sowers,

We have been journeying to Jerusalem this Lenten season by walking through the Psalms of Ascent. The Psalms of Ascent are Psalms120-134. Today we will look at Psalm 124. These Psalms were sung as the pilgrims went up to Jerusalem to gather together for the three major feast and festivals of the year: Passover, Pentecost, and Yom Kippur — the Day of Atonement. Millions of Jews ascended to and from Jerusalem and as they ascended, they SANG! Sounds like fun.

I encourage you to read these Psalms. Read them out loud slowly, read them slowly. Put yourself on the journey to Jerusalem. Put yourself into the storyline. Underline which verse, phrase or word speaks to you. Ask the Holy Spirit to light up the words and fill your heart with the promises found in these passages.

This Psalm is given the title — A song of ascent of David. The scholars have given the credit of writing this song to King David. Maybe he wrote this when he faced Goliath in the valley of Elah. Maybe he wrote it after his own son, Absalom, had taken his throne and chased him out of Jerusalem. Many scholars say that this Psalm was written in Hezekiah’s day, during exile, or during Nehemiah’s day of rebuilding the temple and wall. One thing for sure, Psalm 124 is a relevant Psalm for all of God’s people who suffer.

As always, let us put ourself into this story. We are climbing up the mountain. We are Jerusalem bound for one of our 3 feast days (think of Christmas, or Easter) that requires us back to Jerusalem. And, as we gather and journey together, let us put the story of this psalm into our current life.

As I read the Bible, i ask myself a lot of questions. One question I ask all the time is, Where does God fit in?

Where does God fit into your life?

Where does God fit into your trials and tribulations?

Where does God fit into your hazards and hardships?

Where does God fit into your assaults and abuses?

Where does God fit into your pain and problems?

Where does God fit into your life—in 2024?

Can you imagine walking with your family from Galilee (about 100-120 miles) up to Jerusalem? You join in with the others and sing songs. If the average pace of an average person is 3 miles per hour, and you walk ten hours a day (?), then it’s going to take some time to walk 120 miles—4 days—uphill, thin air.

How can you sing songs when you are conquered by Romans and the climb is so long, hot, and steep?

How can you sing songs when there has been pain and suffering in your life?

There is a powerful word that is used twice in the opening of this Psalm. The word is “IF.”   The word begins with the first two stanzas/verses of the Psalm. “If” is a conjunction which means it is tying together what has been said before. The

Hebrew word “IF” can be translated with words like, “surely, unless, except, if not and if.”

What the Psalmist wants to make very clear is that all of Israel, and everyone after, must remember:

If the Lord had not been on our side— let Israel say—

If the Lord had not been on our side when men attacked us,

Surely the Lord had been on our side … Unless the Lord had been on our side … Except the Lord had been on our side — If the Lord had not been on our side.

I have been doing VBS for over 45 years (from when our children attended VBS til now). VBS is code for VACATION BIBLE SCHOOL! VBS is usually held in the summer and usually the church goes all out—the sanctuary is decorated with a theme (Ocean/Desert/Mountains—etc) and there’s tons of kids, tons of crafts, tons of music and tons of fun! When we did VBS, we often sang a song called— “Whose Side are you Leaning on?” The words went like this …

Whose side are you leaning on? I’m leaning on the Lord’s side.
Whose side are you leaning on? I’m leaning on the Lord’s side.
I lean, I lean, I lean, I lean—I’m leaning on the Lord’s side.

Of course it would be very loud and very interactive because we changed out the words “leaning on” with words like: clapping on, hopping on, shouting on, and whispering on…the Lord’s side! We’d divide up into two teams (boys vs girls, or one side of the church pews verses the other) and the church would be hopping loud!

The point was to teach the children and the adults to lean on the Lord’s side—no matter what.

When I read Psalm 124, I am reminded of those VBS days of getting the children, youth helpers and adults up and singing, clapping, hopping, shouting, and whispering—all on the Lord’s side.

The Psalmist here in Psalm 124 reminds us that no matter what we face in life, God is on our side. What the Israelites were singing was that the God they were going to Jerusalem to worship was ,indeed, a very great God. Just think of all God had saved them from—starting with Genesis.


The Psalmist gives us six powerful and moving images of trials, testing, hardships, hazards, fears, and fatal enemies that they faced.

One — An animal swallowing its prey (v. 3).The enemy was fierce. If God had not intervened, we would have been devoured by that fierce foe, the psalmist says.

Two — A flood submerging its victims (v. 4).The flood is a frequent figure in the Old Testament for sudden life-threatening dangers.

Three— A torrent rushing over everything (v. 4).In the first line of verse 4 the image was of being engulfed by quickly rising floodwaters.

Four— Waters sweeping everything before them (v. 5) Some times our trials, troubles, testing, and tribulations are like that. It is not so much a question of being submerged by these troubles—buried by them, as we might say. It is like being sucked under the water of a rushing flood trying to get to the surface and get a breath. Sometime the trials and troubles come in like a flood and it is so hard to get our head above the water.

This reminds me of the time I took a group of men from Rochelle, Il, to Boulder, Colorado for a men’s retreat called Promise Keepers. We drove all night to make the trip and, while there, we decided to go whitewater rafting one day. The guide was a great guide. We had several boats. We hit the rapids and one of our men was knocked out of the boat and went under the water. To be honest with you, I thought for sure we had lost him. The water was ice cold, and the river was still very high from the snow runoff. John went under and it seemed like it was a long time before we saw him surface down river from us—trying to swim to shore. We got him back in the boat, but I will never forget the torrent of water rushing fiercely over us

This is what the writer of the psalm (song) wants to tell us. If the Lord had not been on our side, the waters of life would have overwhelmed us.

“SO WHAT?” Do you ever feel overwhelmed? Then this song is for you!

We spent a month or longer in Romans 8 last year. There are some mighty verses to remember from Romans:

Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus … Romans 8:1

What, then, shall we sayin response to this? If God is for us, who can be against us? 32 He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things? 33 Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies. 34 Who is he that condemns? Christ Jesus, who died—more than that, who was raised to life—is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us. 35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword?

The Greek word for “trouble” or “tribulation” used by Paul in Romans 8:35 is “thlipsis,” and it has to do with pressure and being pressed down by something. The Latin word, which is used to translate “thlipsis” is “tribulation.”

This is a powerful word picture that that the Psalmist gives us here.

Are we facing trials, testing, tribulations, and temptations that are overwhelming us like a flood?

Then we need to look up and reach up and trust that the Lord is on our side. God is with us. (EMMANUEL)

In verses five and six we have the last two terrible descriptions that can bring a person down to defeat.

Five — An animal grinding its prey (v. 6)

Six — A bird entangled in a trap (v. 7)

“If the Lord had not been on our side…”

The first is the image of an animal actually grinding away on a carcass. (I think of all those National Geographic videos where the big cat catches the antelope.) In the Book of Daniel this is what King Darius expected to see when he rushed to the lion’s den early in the morning following the day he had reluctantly caused Daniel to be lowered into it. “Daniel, servant of the living God, has your God, whom you serve continually, been able to rescue you from the lions?” he cried out. (Dan. 6:20).

Daniel might have replied, “If the Lord had not been on my side, I would have been ground to pieces by their teeth.”

What he did say was, “My God sent his angel, and he shut the mouths of the lions. They have not hurt me” (Dan. 6:22).

Many of us can also say, quite accurately, if the Lord had not been on our side, our enemies would have ground us into little pieces, swallowed us up, and spit out our bones.

The word “IF” is the stand-alone word that helps us to stop, pause and ponder all that God has ever done for us.

“If the Lord had not been on our side” — reminds me of some of the great “But God” statements in the New Testament.

Romans has the first one that comes to mind — “But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. (Romans 5:8)

“But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved.” (Ephesians 2:4-5)

But God demonstrates His love for us by sending His one and only Son to die for us— even while we are sinners.

Even when we are dead in our transgressions — when we are being overwhelmed by the raging waters of the flood, trapped in the snare of the fowler and the jaws of our enemies are closing in on us, God who is rich in mercy has made us alive in Christ by His marvelous, amazing, and outrageous grace.

This past week, I was talking with a young man who was really struggling with life’s battles. He texted me in desperation and asked how he could earn God’s love. He felt like all was dark and the waves of the troubles he was facing were crashing in on him.  In texted him back that night with a short answer. “You cannot ever earn God’s love. God’s love is all because of grace. All you can do is simply receive God’s love. Receive God’s grace.”  The rescue he was looking for was something that he wanted to earn himself. He thought he could work his way out of the trials, testing, tribulations, and temptations that were crushing him by doing something. Buzzer sound. NO! NO WAY.

But God … If God had not been for us — If God had not been on our side!

This Psalm is not about the problems and pain that we face. This Psalm is about the Person that brings us through. “IF GOD!”

This Psalm is not about the trials and tribulations that we have. This Psalm is about the Person that overcomes these trials and tribulations. “IF GOD!”

This Psalm is not about the hazards we will face in life. This Psalm is about the HELP we receive from the person who comes to HELP. “IF GOD!”

PRAISE — “Our help is in the name of the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth.”

The last verse is so foundational. The last verse brings help in the midst of the storms and floods of life.

“Our help is in the name of the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth.”

When I write in my journal. I stop to reflect on individual words.

Let us read it with the emphasis on one word at time …

“Our help is in the name of the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth.”  God is a personal God and He is always waiting for us to cry out to Him for Help.

“Our help is in the name of the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth. ”Help!” Who here needs help? God’s strongest saints realize their weaknesses, and appeal to Him for strength. One Sunday morning, as Charles H. Spurgeon passed through the door back of the pulpit in the Tabernacle, and saw the great crowd of people, he was overheard saying, “O God, help!” Strong as he was, he realized that he was insufficient for so great a task as preaching the Gospel in power, unless God should be his Helper.[v]

“Our help is in the name of the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth.” I once talked with a man who was battling spiritual darkness. He said that one night it felt like the devil was laying on his chest trying to suffocate him. He said that the only word he could say in the darkness was the name of Jesus. He just said the name of Jesus over and over again until the darkness lifted, and the light began to shine. He said that at the name of Jesus everything broke free.

“Our help is in the name of the LORD…”

Dan Crawford, the  successor to David Livingstone, carried a copy of the New Testament in the pocket of his jacket. At the time of his death someone found the following verses penned on the flyleaf of that well-worn Book:

“I cannot do it alone! The waves dash fast and high.

the fog comes chill around, and the light goes out in the sky.

But I know that we two shall win in the end—Jesus and I.

Coward and wayward and weak, I change with the changing sky.

today so strong and brave, tomorrow too weak to fly.

But He never gives up, so we two shall win—Jesus and I!”[vi]

“Our help is in the name of the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth.

A story is told of Lord Radstock. Lord Radstock is perhaps best known for his work, beginning in 1874, as an Evangelical missionary among the aristocracy and upper-class of St Petersburg. He preached in French at evening parties and at 5o’clock teas and, according to the historian Leroy-Beaulieu, ‘This high-class missionary quickly became fashionable.’ Although sceptics mocked the ‘apostle-lord,’ as he was soon known, ‘the evangelistic seed sprang up none the less from falling on drawing-room carpets.’ He returned to Russia in 1875–6 and again in 1878. He also extended his mission all over Europe and visited India a total of seven times. In London he was responsible for many social and philanthropic works.

One evening Lord Radstock was speaking at a meeting in Woolwich, and afterwards nearly missed his train home. He just had time to jump in as the guard blew his whistle. But a young army officer had followed him to the platform and, running up to the carriage window, said to Lord Radstock, “Sir, I heard you speak tonight, but tell me, how can a fellow keep straight?”

The train began to move. Lord Radstock pulled a pencil from his pocket and laid it on the palm of his hand.

“Can that pencil stand upright?” “No,” said the young officer. Lord Radstock grasped the pencil in his hand, and held it up in an upright position. “Ah!” said the young fellow, moving beside the train, “but you are holding it now.” “Yes,” said Lord Radstock,” and your life is like this pencil, helpless, but Christ is the hand that can hold you.” As the train rounded the curve and was lost to sight, the last thing the young officer saw was Lord Radstock’s outstretched hand holding that pencil upright.

Twenty-five years later the same officer met Lord Radstock in India, and told him that all those many years ago, on that railway platform, he had trusted his life to Christ, who had upheld him and kept him ever since.[i]

So what?

Here is a thought, many years ago, a baby, then a child, then a teenager, then a young man named Jesus—made that same trek up the hill from Nazareth to Jerusalem. Three times a year Jesus made that trip; we know this for sure because we are told that Jesus got separated from his family and Mary and Joseph returned to find Jesus preaching in the synagogue! But think about this, some scholars say David wrote this Psalm, but some say it was written when the exiles returned from Babylon (539 BC)! Can we only imagine, Jesus singing this psalm as he climbed the mountain up to Jerusalem?

I do not know all. the trails, tribulations, testing and temptations that you face. I do not know the hazards, dangers, and perils that we will go through in this life. I do not know your sorrows or your sufferings, What I do know is this: our help — is the name of the Lord — who made heaven and earth. Were it not for God…I would not have made it. Whose side are we leaning on? We are leaning on the Lord’s side…for as long as it takes…until we have escaped.

See you Sunday!

God loves you and so do I,

Pastor Dave


Copyright © 2018 THE SEED CHRISTIAN FELLOWSHIP, All rights reserved. May you be blessed by God’s grace and love. You are receiving this email because you signed up for our weekly devotionals.   Our mailing address is: 6450 Emerald Street Alta Loma, California 91701   Want to change how you receive these emails? You can update your preferences or unsubscribe from this list.

Weekly Seed of Faith 3/1/2024

Seed of Faith – Joy In The Journey, Eyes On The Lord   By Pastor Dave  

“I lift up my eyes to you, to you whose throne is in heaven. As the eyes of slaves look to the hand of their master, as the eyes of a maid look to the hand of her mistress,

so our eyes look to the Lord our God, till he shows us his mercy. Have mercy on us, O Lord, have mercy on us, for we have endured much contempt. We have endured much ridicule from the proud, much contempt from the arrogant.” Psalm 123:1-4

Dear Faithful Seed Sowers,

We have been journeying to Jerusalem this Lenten season by reading and reflecting on the Psalms of Ascent —- Psalms 120-134.  If you would like a full copy of the weekly manuscripts, please email me. I’d be glad to email copies to you.

There are some important words that we will look at today.  The first is “eyes” and the second is” mercy.”

The word “eyes” is used four times in verses one and two.  At first, we are told that the Psalmist lifts up his eyes and then he “looks” three times.  The eyes of the slaves look to their masters and the eyes of the maids look to their mistresses. So our eyes will look to the Lord. This is not an endorsement of slavery. Back in the times of the Old Testament, it was common for those who served others to keep their eyes on their masters.  The master may never say a word but simply point or look at something and the servant would already be in action.  That is what the Psalmist is saying about keeping your eyes on the Lord.

What if we are the servant, and Jesus is our master?
Are we keeping our eyes on Jesus so much so that nary a word is ever spoken than we are already moved to action? (pause and ponder that)
Or do we try every which way to Sunday to make sure we get orders from the boss before we spring into action? (Not that I would know anything about that!)

I challenge you to look to Jesus.  So often, plain, and simple, we do not spend our time looking to Him. Instead, we look to the world to find the solution to our problem. We look to others to help us and to make sense of our problems. We look to fill our hearts with other things that promise to make us happy, or bring us comfort.

Stop being afraid and look to Jesus
Stop allowing resentment to ruin your life and look to Jesus!
Stop worrying about tomorrow for tomorrow has enough troubles of it’s own, look to Jesus!
Stop abusing alcohol, drugs and sex; they will never fill the hole in your soul, look to Jesus!
Stop the frenzy for money and material possessions the prize you run after, look to Jesus!
Stop being unforgiving and forgive, set yourself free, look to Jesus!
Stop being insecure in who you are and look to Jesus!
Stop allowing other people to steal your joy and look to Jesus!
Stop flirting with temptation and look to Jesus!
Stop being jealous and look to Jesus!
Stop being angry and look to Jesus!
Stop being impatient and look to Jesus!
Stop being critical and look to Jesus!
Stop running the rat race of life and look to Jesus!

There is a wonderful old hymn called “Turn Your Eyes on Jesus.” This song was written by a woman named Helen Lemmel. I encourage you to YouTube your favorite version and sing along.

The chorus of that hymn gives us these powerful words …

“Turn your eyes upon Jesus; look full in His wonderful face, and the things of earth will grow strangely dim in the light of His glory and grace.”

What a great hymn.  Are you weary and troubled? Has the light of the world been dimmed in your life and the only thing you see now is darkness?

The answer is to turn your eyes upon Jesus.  Lift your eyes UP to the one who is HEAVEN.

The writer of Hebrews encourages us to fix our eyes on Jesus. These verses in chapter 12 of Hebrews come after the famous “hall of faith”, chapter 11.  “Since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, and we are to throw off all the weights of sins that cling so closely and fix our eyes upon Jesus so that we can run the race that is set before us looking to Jesus the pioneer and perfector of our faith.” Hebrews 12:1-2

Listen, when you choose to follow Jesus, I can almost guarantee you that you will have many nay-sayers who will ridicule and mock you. The psalm today gives us the best advice: Fix your eyes on Jesus, and ask the Lord to have mercy on you as you follow Him.

So What?

What does the writer of the Psalm teach us today?  There is one other key word that is used over and over again and that word is “mercy.” The word “mercy” is used three times in the last two verses. The Hebrew word for “mercy” is “chanan” and it means, “to show kindness, to be gracious, to show favor, to be graciously kind, or mercy.”

I believe that mercy is the most important word in this short Psalm. Why? Because that mercy is what the Psalmist is praying for.

Mercy is an aspect of grace, but the unique aspect of mercy is that it is given to the pitiful, in this case to those who have endured “much ridicule from the proud, much contempt from the arrogant.”

Put yourself in the story.  Put the story in you.

I can remember when I decided to leave the family business and go into the ministry.  Not everyone thought it was a good idea.  I was laughed at, even ridiculed, and ostracized by some. Even my own family ridiculed me. My dad fired me and told me to get out. When I was leaving, he said, “I suppose you think your God will take care of you?”  I told him I knew my God would take care of me.  Some in my hometown told me that I was a fool and that they would not support me. All I knew was that God was calling me into full-time ministry and I had to keep my eyes on Him. A dozen years later, after serving three churches, I was called back to Southern California. I was going to work in a prison ministry. When that door was frozen shut, I went to my denomination. I asked if they would merely lend me support to help some friends start a new church. They said, “No. You are not what we are looking for. You are foolish.  You cannot start a church without money.” Again, here I was, having to keep my eyes on the Lord.

I am sure that if you made it this far in reading this Seed of Faith, you have faced obstacles and even ridicule for stepping out in your faith.

Call upon the mercy of the Lord and keep your eyes on Jesus as you journey to Jerusalem this season.

Every week I tell you to put yourself in the story and then to put the story in you. But from now on—after you do those two things—then go put the story out there…in your corner of the world…dropping breadcrumbs of faith all along your way.

See you Sunday as we hike up that mountain towards Jerusalem TOGETHER!

Keep looking UP, look UP to the maker of the mountains.

“Father, help us to be so intent on keeping our eyes upon You that nary a word must be spoken before we are after doing Your will. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.”

God loves you and so do I,

Pastor Dave


Copyright © 2018 THE SEED CHRISTIAN FELLOWSHIP, All rights reserved. May you be blessed by God’s grace and love. You are receiving this email because you signed up for our weekly devotionals.   Our mailing address is: 6450 Emerald Street Alta Loma, California 91701   Want to change how you receive these emails? You can update your preferences or unsubscribe from this list.


Seed of Faith – Joy In The Journey Psalm 122  By Pastor Dave  

I rejoiced with those who said to me, “Let us go to the house of the Lord.” Psalm 122:1

Dear Faithful Seed Sowers,

Welcome to this week’s Seed of Faith. It is our prayer at the SEED that the verse for our church will be amazingly true for each one of you: “For you have been born again, not of perishable seed, but of imperishable, through the living and enduring word of God.” (1 Peter 1:23) 

Yes, we pray that we will all be born again and again though God’s enduring Word of life, Jesus Christ. There is no other way!

Each year at this time I sit down with pen and paper and spend time in prayer. I seek the Lord’s will and guidance as what I am to preach and teach. Twice a year, I put together the Sundays for six months of the year. I sit with an empty preaching calendar—complete with potential titles, subjects, and Scriptures. I also have my bible nearby and the church calendar list of Sundays. This gives me helpful guidance as I attempt to layout the year ahead, breaking it down into two six month sets. I have been praying for many months for the sermon series outline for the first half of this year.

The Lord put it on my heart to teach through the Psalms of Ascent during this Lenten season leading up through Palm Sunday and Easter. After Easter, we will turn to the last book of the Bible and dive deep into the book of Revelation and the seven churches.

I encourage you to take time to read Psalms 120-134 during this season of Lent.

As I prayed and heard the Holy Spirit whisper to continue the Psalms of Ascent, I went to my computer to look. I sort of remembered doing them—was it a series I’d done in Round Rock, Upland or Aurora? Was it a bible study I had done somewhere? It just seemed familiar to me. I went to my computer and I realized that I started it during Lent of 2020. We all know what happened next: COVID. I saw that I had started the series and had preached on two psalms: 120 and 121.

These are the psalms (songs) the people would sing together as they traveled UP THE MOUNTAIN TO JERUSALEM in order to celebrate their special FEAST days. Three times a year, the Jewish people were to gather together in Jerusalem. Soon there were psalms that they memorized and sang together as they hiked up the mountain.

Psalm 120 is the Psalm of repentance. A perfect place to start singing. “God, I’m a sinner and I need to repent of my ways.” Perfect place to begin.

Psalm 121 calls us out of the world and the environment of deceit, lies and hostility and sets us on our way to God. Psalm 121 is the Psalm of trust. It teaches us to “lift our eyes to the mountains,” for that is where our help comes. Think about climbing up the mountain together with a group of your best friends and family, and there you are singing, “Where does our help come from?” “Our help comes from the mountain maker! Psalm 121 is a demonstration of a person who determinedly trusts God to work out His will and “guard you from every evil” in the midst of difficulty.

Here we are now at Psalm 122–the Psalm of worship. Psalm 122 is a demonstration of what people of faith everywhere always do: gather to an assigned place and worship their God. Just like us today, gathered in person and online—gathered in an assigned place in order to worship GOD.

Right above us are the San Gabriel mountains. At the top of one of the peaks is Mt. Baldy. Can you imagine us all gathering together and singing this psalm of worship as we made our way to the top? A song of worship would be perfect as we hiked.

Worship! What comes to your mind when you hear the word “worship?”

So many questions came to mind when I sat down to write this week’s message.

What does it mean to worship?

How are we to worship?

When are we to worship?

Why do we worship?

Why is there so much voluntary and faithful worship by Christians?

The word for “worship” is used 173 times in the Old Testament and 79 times in the New Testament—252 times total. The Greek word for “worship” is “προσκυνέω proskuneō” which means to bow down, prostrate oneself, kiss or give reverence.

Jonathan Edwards, who is considered the greatest theologian that America has had, said this about worship, “If man does not give his highest respect to the God that made him, there will be something else that has the possession of it. Men will either worship the true God, or some idol. It is impossible it should be other wise; something will have the heart of man. And that which a man gives his heart to may be called his god.”[i]

Brother Lawrence said, “The end we ought to propose to ourselves is to become, in this life, the most perfect worshipers of God we can possibly be, as we hope to be through all eternity.”[ii]

So what is in your heart?

In his book, “What Is Worship?” J. Vernon McGee tells of the time one of his church leaders invited him to hear a symphony orchestra perform. He said he knew nothing about music, but went anyway “to be nice.” What he first heard was a horrid cacophony of individual squeals and squawks, as each musician tuned his instrument. But then, he related when the conductor entered the scene, what a difference there was! At his cue, all those different instruments blended their voices to create truly beautiful music. Today, McGee explains, “every man is playing his own little tune. (But) one of these days, out from the wings will step the Conductor, the Lord Jesus Christ. And when He lifts His baton, from the ends of God’s universe those galactic systems will burst forth into song. Every bird, every angel, and then man will join the heavenly chorus. In the meantime, you and I can bow before Him and bring our own little souls into the harmony of heaven.”[iii]

While we were back in Illinois recently, my wife and I had the wonderful joy and blessing to go to our eldest granddaughter’s concert at Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois. She is on a full-ride scholarship there for playing the viola. Jac and I paid our respects at our dear friend’s visitation and then we drove 90 miles into Chicago. We arrived a little early, so we met our granddaughter in the food court for a little snack. She had just finished tuning up. We then walked over to the concert hall for the concert. Wow! What a blessing. I would agree with J Vernon McGee, as they were warming up, the noise in the room was loud and annoying but when the conductor came and stood in front of them and began to direct each instrument to play in tune, the music was amazing and such a joy.

This is what worship is about, dear friends. We all come together to offer our different gifts and together we create an amazing symphony for God to be glorified with.

“I rejoiced with those who said to me, “Let us go to the house of the Lord.” Our feet are standing in your gates, O Jerusalem.” Psalm 122:1-2

When we read or sing these opening verses, we see that the pilgrims have arrived in the city of Jerusalem. They walked and worked their way up the mountain. Why? To worship and give God all their praises.

Jerusalem is the city of peace. The pilgrims were called to praise and pray for the peace of Jerusalem. That is an amazing point: The place of worship should bring peace, a peace that surpasses all our understanding. The Prince of Peace came to rule and reign in the city of peace called Jerusalem.

WORSHIP. Proskeneo…we bow down before our God, and we sing praise.


As we begin this series on opening doors in 2024, where or what door is God calling you to walk through when it comes to making your journey with Jesus? There are open doors for worship. There are open doors for praise. There are open doors for prayer. Have you ever thought that it might be a great idea for each of us to open our Bibles up during the week, and not just together on Sundays? I could tell you this much, if we knew that next Sunday, we would be walking up to Baldy to reach the summit together, there would be many of us who grabbed the Living Word like it was our only road map! Go ahead, get out your book of Psalms and start reading 5 a day—and do not miss the idea that you can make notes in your Bible, or in a journal, about what ideas the Holy Spirit fills your head and your heart with. Today is February 4th—so this means if we have read 5 Psalms on the1st, 2nd, and 3rd—today we would be reading Psalms 16-20! If that is too much, then get your Bible out (even get your phone out) and get ready for next week’s journey up to Baldy with Psalm 123! Read it like it is your guide and road map! Or sit and ponder your notes and Psalm 122 each morning. The point is that we WORSHIP—bow with reverence before our God.

Every week during the message on Sunday, my wife is using the NOTES section on her phone. She takes precocious notes and clicks away at the power points. I have often wondered why she does that. This week I figured it out. When I am on the airplane, I am either reading on my iPad or listening to music or both. This week, on our flight to Chicago, I saw her using her phone and re-reading her notes and the PowerPoints from last week’s message! I did not just see her do it one time, but there she was on every flight pulling up notes from previous Sunday. Do you know what else?  As we landed, and made our way to the next gate, I heard her dropping verses and points all along her way. Anyone here even remember what the message was about? 2024—THE OPEN DOOR! I cannot tell you how many times I heard her speak to complete strangers about their open door! One man, let us call him Jerry, told her an amazing, almost unbelievable story. He and Jac talked about Jesus and how Jesus has changed their lives. Jerry accepted Christ 5 years ago and he has not missed a Sunday since! Jac gave Jerry a business card from THE SEED and sat there and showed him how to take the spiritual gifts test! His mom and sister were with him and they, too, are taking the test. I asked Jac on our last flight, “What’s going on?” She said, “I’m taking this OPEN DOOR 2024 serious, Dave. I pray every day that I do not miss a single OPEN DOOR. I pray that if God shows me an OPEN DOOR—I am going through it—no matter that I have no idea where it may lead.” Let me tell you, Jerry—was a big guy, he had tats all over, and he had been to jail. He came to Jesus in jail. Seriously, usually I am the guy talking Jesus, but I got to see the words the Holy Spirit gave me from Sunday be lived out this week as my wife shared. Jac had been reading and rereading all the scriptures about open doors. The hour-long JESUS discussion at the O’Hare airport began with Jac asking, “How was your time in Chicago?” Kind of like—well, here is an open door—wonder if Jerry wants to go with me through it? Jerry’s son had just graduated from Navy bootcamp, and this proud dad could not contain himself. He talked about how the Navy went all out for the ceremony and how his son is going to train to be a Navy seal. I just sat back and watched God work as Jerry shared and Jac planted seeds of faith.

Remind you of us going up that mountain together to worship God? Yes! Maybe this week it’s going to be your turn to plant seeds of faith.

Every week I tell you to put yourself in the story and then to put the story in you. But from now on—after you do those two things—then go put the story out there…in your corner of the world…dropping breadcrumbs of faith all along your way.

Each week we have the opportunity to come to church and worship. Worship is voluntary. But when we gather together to worship, we get to encounter the presence of living God together– in our worship, our praise, and our prayers. We grow stronger together as a community of believers as we worship — as we give our voices, our time, our talents, and our treasures to the One who loved us so much that He gave His one and only Son. In worship we come face to face with the God who created us, the God who redeems us and the God who continues to provide for us. WORSHIP…proskuneo…we fall on our knees, and we praise our God as we pilgrimage HOME!

As we conclude today’s message, let us recite the last 3 verses of Psalm 122 as we pray for the peace of Jerusalem!

“Pray for the peace of Jerusalem: “May those who love you be secure. May there be peace within your walls and security within your citadels.” For the sake of my brothers and friends, I will say, “Peace be within you.” Psalm 122:7-9

See you Sunday as we hike up that mountain towards Jerusalem TOGETHER!

God loves you and so do I,

Pastor Dave


Copyright © 2018 THE SEED CHRISTIAN FELLOWSHIP, All rights reserved. May you be blessed by God’s grace and love. You are receiving this email because you signed up for our weekly devotionals.   Our mailing address is: 6450 Emerald Street Alta Loma, California 91701   Want to change how you receive these emails? You can update your preferences or unsubscribe from this list.

Weekly Seed of Faith 2/3/2024

Seed of Faith – Open Doors In 2024   By Pastor Dave  

To the angel of the church in Philadelphia write: “These are the words of him who is holy and true, who holds the key of David. What he opens no one can shut, and what he shuts no one can open. I know your deeds. See, I have placed before you an open door that no one can shut. I know that you have little strength, yet you have kept my word and have not denied my name.” Revelation 3:7-8

Dear Faithful Seed Sowers,

In the Hebrew calendar this year is 5784 while in America it is 2024. What is interesting is that in the Hebrew language the letter for “four” is called a “dalet.” Get ready! The Hebrew image of the number four is an open door. In the prophetic arm of the church, they call this year, 2024, “the open door” because of the number four. Rosh Hashanah (or the Jewish New Year) was on Friday, September 15, 2023—or 5784 if you are Jewish. Interesting that the image of the dalet (the number 4) is an open door?

I do not want to spend a lot of time today on the context of these passages since it is my hope to do a series on the seven churches of Revelation after Easter as we move towards Pentecost but what we do need to know is that this church we are speaking of in Philadelphia was small. The members of this small church had “little strength” to oppose the forces of evil. Yet they “kept my word and … not denied Jesus’ name” (v. 8). One other note is that they “kept my command to endure patiently” (v. 10).

What high praise from the Lord!  Makes me think of THE SEED.

A few good so what questions and thoughts to begin with …

Do you feel like you are of little strength?

Have you kept Jesus’ words?

Have you NOT denied Jesus’ name?

Have you kept Jesus’ commands and endured patiently?

Friends, what this passage teaches us today is that God lives behind the door. We are told in Revelation that the One — that is Jesus–holds the keys of David.

Listen again to what Jesus says, “What he opens no one can shut, and what he shuts no one can open. I know your deeds. See, I have placed before you an open door that no one can shut. I know that you have little strength, yet you have kept my word and have not denied my name.” Revelation 3:7-8

Jesus will open doors that no one can shut. Jesus will close doors that no one can open. Jesus has opened a door for you that no one can shut. That should make us jump up and shout HALLELJUH — PRAISE THE LORD. Our job is go find that open door. And—there’s more than one!

In John 10 we have two more of the great I Am statements of Jesus. Jesus tells us — Therefore Jesus said again, “I tell you the truth, I am the gate (DOOR) for the sheep. All who ever came before me were thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not listen to them. I am the gate (DOOR); whoever enters through me will be saved (or kept safe) He will come in and go out, and find pasture.” John 10:7-9

“I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. John 10:11

I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me. John 10:14

Twice Jesus tells us that He is the gate/door and twice Jesus says that He is the Good Shepherd.

When Jesus repeats Himself, we should listen. That’s a sort of a big deal in Scripture!

So What?

I believe that Jesus wants to open doors this year in your life. I also believe that Jesus will be closing some doors.

So what are some of the doors that Jesus is opening?

Reconciliation —- family, friends. coworkers, employers, employees, work, church, school!









Money — finances





The challenge for each of us is this: will we walk through the open doors or will we stop and hold back?

Will we offer forgiveness to others and walk through an open door?

Will we offer finances to someone in need and walk through an open door?

Will we reconcile with someone and walk through an open door?

Will we accept a call to work in a ministry and walk through an open door?

Will we hear the call to do mission work and walk through open doors?

Will we love others like God has loved us and walk through that open door?

The biggest challenge I hear over and over again is, “Why is God not opening that door for me?”  “Why has God not answered my prayers?”  Maybe God is closing doors that no one can open. Maybe it is so you will not be hurt any more than you already have been.

Do you remember the old TV show called “Let’s Make A Deal”? The contestant could choose between door number 1, 2 or 3. Sometimes the contestants made the right deal and went home with some wonderful prizes and other times they cashed out and lost everything.

Later in chapter three of Revelation we hear that Jesus is knocking on the door — “Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with me.” Revelation 3:20

Jesus is the Door and the Good Shepherd. Jesus holds the Keys of David and can open the door. Jesus will open doors that no one can shut. Jesus closes doors that no one can open. Yet we are told that Jesus stands at the door and knocks. If we hear His voice and open the door He will come in and eat with us forever and ever.

I have a good friend who has been praying the same prayer for two years. It is a prayer about reconciliation and restoration within her family.   This is what she said, “Pastor Dave, I have been knocking and knocking on that door for two years. It remains closed to me. While sitting on the beach, I heard the Holy Spirit whisper in my ear, ‘What does it say in Revelation 3:20? Jesus stands at the door and knocks? The Living Word says the Lord stands there and knocks and knocks and knocks. It does not say I stand there and knock and knock and knock.’ Pastor Dave, I have been standing at a very closed door for a very long time. I have been knocking and waiting and knocking for two years and no one has ever once come to open the door. You know why? That door is closed to me. Do you know what I am going to do? I am going to let Jesus stand there and knock and I am moving forward.” Funny thing, she is doing just that. Her heart is lighter, her smile is wider and, in her words, “I sicked Jesus on them and their closed door. He can knock Himself out now! That is His job now, not mine. I am free to move forward to the open a different door!”

So what? —- Look and see what doors Jesus is opening and walk through them with Holy Boldness.  Stop trying to go through doors that are closed!

I am praying for each of us daily—that we find many open doors and that we boldly go through them.  I am also praying for us that if we’ve been standing and knocking and knocking at a closed door—that we will be like my friend and say, “Jesus, it says in Revelation that standing at a closed door is YOUR job. Would you please stand here and keep knocking at that door? I really am wasting daylight if I just stand at that closed door—I need to go find the OPEN DOORS that you have for me.”

2024…the year of the open door? May you find at least one a day and may the LORD give you the wisdom to decipher between open and closed doors and may you be given the strength to move forward. Jesus is the professional door knocker—sick Him on those really difficult closed doors. He is the one who will bring repentance, restoration and reason. If that door ever opens, you will know and you will be able to be a part of that glorious reunion. Amen.

See you Sunday!

God loves you and so do I,

Pastor Dave


Copyright © 2018 THE SEED CHRISTIAN FELLOWSHIP, All rights reserved. May you be blessed by God’s grace and love. You are receiving this email because you signed up for our weekly devotionals.   Our mailing address is: 6450 Emerald Street Alta Loma, California 91701   Want to change how you receive these emails? You can update your preferences or unsubscribe from this list.

Love In A Line

Seed of Faith – Love In A Line   By Pastor Dave  

She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.” All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: “The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel”—which means, “God with us. Matthew 1:21-23

Dear Faithful Seed Sowers,

”It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas!” I pray daily for you; that your heart and home are filling up with the HOPE, LOVE, JOY and PEACE of the CHRIST child, of CHRISTMAS! (Christmas means more of Christ!)

Last week, we studied the genealogy of Jesus Christ in Matthew’s gospel. Listen, this genealogy is no fairy tale. It’s not Disney nor is it Star Wars or Star Trek. What we learned the first week of Advent is that this is the real deal. This is a true story and we can go back 49 generations. The birth of Jesus starts the JUBILEE! He is our Jubilee in so many ways. Let’s move on to the second week of Advent. (A side note: I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but it’s been a hectic, busy, intense Autumn for my wife and I. We poured ourself in ministry and went to 3 far away places—where Jac fell, went to the ER and needed PT. Then I had my health issues and went to ER. The truth is I just don’t feel well. My doctor rechecked my chest xrays and called to say he is referring me to both a cardiologist and a pulmonologist. Of course, that was yesterday, December 21st! Will get this done early next year. In all truth and honesty, I am struggling with my breathing and with debilitating headaches. It all started after my hernia surgery when I was put under. I do have a partial, lower-left collapsed lung and I am sure this is the cause of my concerns. Please remember to pray for me and for my medical care. Thank you.)

This week’s devotional is on the second candle of Advent when we look at how God’s love now works through the line of Abraham. This is the greatest story ever told: From the cradle through the cross.

Remember —- put your self into the ancient story and don’t leave until you’ve put the story in you anew!

Today we come to the Christmas story. And at first glance it reads like it could be another legend or a fairy tale. Here is a story about someone from a different world who breaks into our world and has miraculous powers. This Jesus character can calm the storms in our lives. Jesus, the Messiah, the Anointed One, heals people; not only that He raises people from the dead. Then the antagonists — the enemies— come onto the scene and turn on him. They not only turn on Jesus, but they put Him to death. Just when it seems like all hope is over, Jesus rises from the dead and saves those who call upon His name. (And you will name Him JESUS for He will save His people from their sin!)

So many people read the stories of Jesus, His miracles and resurrection, and they think, “Wow! Another great fairy tale!” Indeed, it looks like the Christmas story is one more story that gives us fiction and fairy tales. (The big guy in the red suit? Reindeer?)

But Matthew’s Gospel refutes that by grounding Jesus in history. The story of Jesus is not “once upon a time” nor is it—”In a galaxy far, far away.” Jesus’ story is not about going to Disneyland to see all the magnificent make-believe in a small world. Matthew tells us that the story of Jesus is real, and is grounded in history. Jesus Christ is not one more lovely story pointing to the unrealities of make believe. Jesus IS the true reality to which all the stories of this Bible we read. Jesus is the foundation built upon 49 generations.

The common starting point intertwined within each of the four Gospels begins with the ministry of John the Baptist. But before they get to the ministry of John the Baptist, each of the Gospel writers has a unique introduction that precedes its account of John the Baptist’s ministry. Mark begins with a simple one-line statement: “The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, Son of God.” Luke starts with a personal first-person account of his reasons for writing, directed to an influential friend whose name was Theophilus, followed by a detailed account of the miraculous births of John the Baptist and Jesus. Luke’s genealogy of Jesus does not appear until chapter 3. John’s gospel has a prologue that says, “In the Beginning was the Word and Word was with God and the Word was God.” John traces Jesus’ ancestry to eternity past and speaks of the incarnation without any specific mention of Jesus’ miraculous conception or birth.

Not so the gospel of Matthew. Matthew begins with a genealogy that traces Jesus’ ancestry first to King David and then further back to Abraham.

Beginning a book with a genealogy may seem strange to us, “just a listing of names” and, to be honest with you, I think so many of us skip over the first seventeen verses of Matthew. Maybe because it is a genealogy with a lot of names that are hard to pronounce. Maybe we skip over it because we do not understand the significance.

I love to spend my free time working on my ancestry through ancestry.com. My wife and I did our DNA tests so we could see who some of our relatives are. Now I know that can be good and bad. You find the in-laws and the out-laws. I have printouts of my relatives. I will not bore you with the names and dates. My wife said she would not let me … ha. There are a lot of names that are hard to pronounce, especially in her Italian genealogy. (Conigliaro, Trupiano, Mirabella, Di Lorenzo…)

My grandmother on my dad’s side raised me after my brother’s death. Her name was Margaret. I spent time with her, and she is the one who was responsible for bringing me to church. She was a staunch, Scottish/English Presbyterian. When I met and fell in love with my wife, I brought her up to Illinois from Kirksville, Missouri, to meet my grandmother. I told Nanny, that this was Jacalyn Trupiano and that I loved her and wanted to marry her. Nanny looked at me, looked at Trupi and said, “I assume she is Italian and Catholic.” And then before I could say anything, she said, “Well, David, I am not going to any Catholic wedding.”

Nanny and my grandfather did not travel down to St Louis for our wedding but when our first daughter was born, she took Jenni in her arms and started cooing and rocking her and she said, “Well, you know, Jennifer, you can be a DAR— Daughter of the American Revolution—but your mother cannot!”  My wife looked at her and smiled and said, “Nanny, did not my relatives, Christopher Columbus, an Italian, drive the boat your relatives were on?” Nanny laughed and said, “Jackie, I think we are going to be good friends after all.” At the time, I did not understand that Nanny had done her ancestry—all the way back to the Mayflower and beyond. She was so very proud of her heritage. Through Ancestry, I have gone back thirteen generations, and can go two generations ahead. I come from royalty—from Lords and Ladies and Doctors and Pastors. I now understand why Nanny was so very proud of the Spencer line. (Princess Diana?)

Today we live in a very individualistic culture where you recommend yourself to others with a list of your degrees, work experience, and accomplishments. We call it our resume. And, sometimes, people embellish their resumes with fairy tale truths.

In the Old Testament times and in the time of Jesus that is not it how it was done. This was done through their “LINE” through their ancestry. Theirs was a more communal, family-oriented society. It’s like when Ancestry dings my phone and says, “You have a new match!” It’s exciting to me to go find other relatives and to see how we correlate in my “line”!

Matthew chapter one might look like a genealogy with a list of names but In those times it was your family pedigree, your clan—the people you were connected to—that constituted your résumé. So, a genealogy was a way of saying to the world, “This is who I am and this is where I come from.” The purpose of a genealogical résumé was to impress onlookers with the high quality and respectability of one’s roots.

What is so fascinating with Matthew’s account is that he does the very opposite with Jesus. This genealogy is shockingly unlike other ancient genealogies. To begin with, there are five women listed in the genealogy, all mothers in the line of Jesus. This will not strike modern readers as unusual, but in ancient, patriarchal societies, a woman was virtually never named in such lists, let alone five women!

In the times of Jesus, women were “gender outsiders.” Yet when Matthew begins his Gospel, there they are—five women listed in Jesus’ genealogy. Also, an interesting note is that most of the women in Jesus’ résumé were not all Jews but Gentiles (Tamar, Rahab, Ruth) …Canaanites and a Moabite. To the ancient Jewish people, these nations were unclean. The people from these nations were not allowed into the tabernacle or temple to worship. We could call them “racial outsiders,” and yet, here they are listed in Jesus’ genealogy.

As I studied, I knew I had to look at these women. Who were they? Why did Matthew mention them?

TAMAR: In Genesis 38 we are told the story of Tamar. Tamar tricked her father-in-law, Judah, into sleeping with her (even though in the full story it is also clear that Judah had been unjust to her). This was an act of incest which was against the law of God. Another note in this genealogy is that even though Jesus was descended from Perez not Zerah, Matthew includes both Perez and Zerah, both Judah and Tamar, to make sure we bring the whole story to mind. It was out of that dysfunctional family that the Messiah came. (Are you listening?)

RAHAB: In Joshua chapter2 and 6 we have the story of Rahab. In verse five of Matthew one we find the name of Rahab. She was not just a Canaanite woman, but she was also a prostitute. Notice that from the line of Rahab we get King David. (Still listening?)

RUTH: Next we are told about Ruth, the Moabite woman, who followed her mother-in-law, Naiomi, back to Bethlehem and ends up marrying Boaz. They have a son named Obed. Ruth is famous for saying to Naomi when Naomi tries to leave Ruth back in Moab — “But Ruth replied, “Don’t urge me to leave you or to turn back from you. Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God my God. Where you die I will die, and there I will be buried. May the Lord deal with me, be it ever so severely, if anything but death separates you and me.” When Naomi realized that Ruth was determined to go with her, she stopped urging her. (Ruth 1:16-18) From this story, Ruth gleans Boaz’s field. Boaz becomes Ruth’s “Kinsman Redeemer” and the line to Jesus is further established!

You have Tamar and Rahab as Canaanite women and Ruth as a Moabite woman. Are you following Matthew yet? Why is Matthew including women in this genealogy?

Perhaps the most interesting character and background story in the whole genealogy, however, is in verse six. There it says that in Jesus’ line is King David. You would think, if you were writing your resume or genealogy, you would want someone like King David in your genealogy. What is so fascinating is how Matthew records this, David was the father of Solomon, “whose mother had been Uriah’s wife. ”Does that name ring a bell? Uriah? This story is recorded in 2 Samuel chapters11 and 12. Why not just give her name? Her name was Bathsheba, but I believe hat Matthew is summoning his Jewish readers to recall a tragic and terrible chapter of Israel’s history. King David had an affair with Uriah’s wife Bathsheba, she became pregnant, and he had her husband killed so he could marry her. Why is this story recorded in the genealogy of Jesus?

Do you know why Matthew leaves off the name “Bathsheba”? It is not a slight of Bathsheba—it is a slam of David. It was out of that dysfunctional family, and out of that deeply flawed man, that the Messiah came. (I pray you are still listening. We all have families that can be labeled “dysfunctional”.)

Perhaps Jesus’ genealogy is the greatest story of all time that precedes the greatest story of all time.

So What?

The story of Jesus is not fiction nor is it a fairy tale. The story of Jesus is truth.

In this genealogy of Jesus—the Son of God–we have moral outsiders—adulterers, adulteresses, incestuous relationships, prostitutes. We have Kings who worshiped foreign Gods and had their own failures. Indeed, we are reminded that even the prominent male ancestors—Judah and David—were moral failures at one time of their lives.  (God redeems.)

I believe that this genealogy tells us about cultural outsiders, racial outsiders, and gender outsiders. The Law of Moses excluded these people from the presence of God, and yet, right here, they are all publicly acknowledged by Matthew (the tax accountant, the guy who is good with numbers and details) as the ancestors of Jesus, the SAVIOR of the world.

So what does it mean? First, it shows us that people who are excluded by culture, excluded by respectable society, and even excluded by the law of God, can be brought into Jesus’ family.

In Matthew’s genealogy we find a truth that is to be celebrated and told over and over again. It is not the good people who are in and the bad people who are out. Everyone is in only by the grace of Jesus Christ. It is only what Jesus has done for you that can give you standing before God. We are in the genealogy of Jesus because we are adopted into his family. We are all OUT before Jesus, we are all dysfunctional and, yet, we are beloved by God. Brought into the line, grafted in to be made whole and forgiven.

This genealogy is the prequel to the greatest story ever told.  Do you know Jesus as Lord and Savior? I pray you do.

See you Sunday!

God loves you and so do I,

Pastor Dave


Copyright © 2018 THE SEED CHRISTIAN FELLOWSHIP, All rights reserved. May you be blessed by God’s grace and love. You are receiving this email because you signed up for our weekly devotionals.   Our mailing address is: 6450 Emerald Street Alta Loma, California 91701   Want to change how you receive these emails? You can update your preferences or unsubscribe from this list.