Saturday, June 24, 2017

Sat.’s Devo - God’s Army

Read: 2 Kings 6:1-7:20; Acts 15:36-16:
The king of Syria was stumped because Israel was always one step ahead of him. When he asked his men who the spy was, his men assured him that it was Elisha who told the king of Israel everything their king talked about in his bedroom. The king of Syria was now out to find Elisha and kill him. He found out that Elisha was in Dothan so he sent a huge army to fetch him. When Gehazi woke up that morning and saw them he ran and told Elisha. Elisha wasn’t worried, he prayed that God would open Gehazi’s spiritual eyes to see the huge army of God that surrounded Syria’s army. Elisha prayed for blindness for the army of Syria and then they led them to the middle of Samaria and had their eyes opened. They were in the middle of their enemies city surrounded by Israel’s army. Elisha told the king of Israel to make them a feast and send them home.
This band of soldiers never came back but the king of Syria gathered the rest of his army came back and sieged Samaria just as God had said they would.
When the siege became so severe that women were eating their own children, the king humbled himself in sackcloth, but instead of crying out to the Lord, he wanted to blame Elisha and kill him. Elisha knew he was coming and told his messengers that by tomorrow they would have flour and barley in abundance. One of the king’s men gave a sarcastic answer so Elisha told him he would see it but not be able to eat any. The next day a group of lepers went to the Syrian camp and found it empty and totally furnished with goods. God had scared them away. The lepers hid enough for themselves then ran and told the king. Samaria’s people plundered the camp but the man who didn’t believe was trampled under their feet. Everything that Elisha said would happen happened.
The army of God that Elisha and Gehazi saw is still available to us today. It encamps around us and delivers us. We can command it to fight for us just as Elisha did.
In Acts, Paul encounters the ups and downs of ministry. They had a vision of a man in Macedonia asking them to come and help. They went and many were saved. When Paul and Silas cast the spirit of divination out of a girl and cost her master monetarily, Paul and Silas received a beating and were thrown into the inner part of the jail. The leaders of Macedonia must have heard about what happened the last time Paul was thrown in jail because this time they put them in the inner part of the jail. At midnight, as Paul and Silas were praising God, God caused a great earthquake that shook everyone’s chains off and opened all the doors of the prison. When they didn’t escape, the prison ward fell on his knees and he was saved. By the time they were released from jail, God had saved the man’s household and God got great glory.
Lord, help us to see with our spiritual eyes what you are doing and never be afraid.

Friday, June 23, 2017

Fri.’s Devo - Miracles Through Elisha

Read: 2 Kings 4:18-5:27; Acts 15:1-35; Psalm 141:1-10; Proverbs 17:23
The Shunemite woman understood discernment. She understood that Elisha was a prophet so she build an place for him to stay. She understood that he had power to make her son live again. And, she understood the power of her tongue. When her son died, her confession was that he was alright until she got to Elisha. She did not want anyone to put their words on her son. She wasn’t going to leave unless Elisha came with her. She was tenacious. It took Elisha lying on top of the boy and imparting his life in the boy for him to come to life.
Elisha left there to return to Gilgal where there was a famine. He ran into some prophets and told Gehazi, his servant, to fix them some stew for them. They went to look for something to throw in the stew and came back with an unidentified root. When they began to eat it they realized it was poisoned. The men panicked but Elisha put some flour in it and it became safe to eat. This flour stood for Jesus who is the only one who can bring life from death. When we add him to our situations, bad roots become good.
Next, a man came and brought them twenty loaves from the first fruits of his wheat. This would make it the time of Pentecost. These 20 loaves would be like 20 dinner rolls to us so it wouldn’t be enough to feed 100 men who love rolls. But, God multiplied the bread and there was bread left over. That is what Pentecost is all about. It is about the seed of the Word of God multiplying in the hearts of people and the growth of the Church. It is also about abundant provision.
The next story is about Naaman who was from Syria. God planted his seed in a little maid who was captured from Israel. She was able to lead a mighty man of Syria to the Lord. He had leprosy which is a disease of the flesh and he needed his sin washed away. The man of God led him to believe in God and to be baptized in water even though he didn’t understand what was happening. When he came out clean, he was a believer. What an interesting story.
In Acts, the law is trying to seep back into the church and destroy their faith. The law is contrary and an enemy to grace. Paul and Barnabas shared all the miraculous things God was doing with the Gentiles and finally convinced them when he showed them that this was prophesied long ago. In Amos 9:11-12 it talks about the restoration of David’s tent and the remnant of the Jews and all the heathen that are called by God’s name. They decided to stop making it hard for Gentiles to enter into the church. Once they got this settled they could continue the ministry of building up the body so they sent Paul and Barnabas to Antioch.
Lord, give us some divine appointments today so we can sow seed, water soil and produce a harvest.

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Thurs.’s Devo - God’s Provision

Read: 2 Kings 3:1-4:17; Acts 14:8-28; Psalm 140:1-13; Proverbs 17:22
Jehoram, son of Ahab was king over Israel and he was evil. Jehoshaphat was king over Judah and he was good and honored God. They teamed up with the king of Edom to fight the king of Moab because he had refused to send tribute sheep to Israel. On their way they ran out of water and thought they were doomed. Jehoshaphat knew they needed God’s heart in the matter so he asked if their was a prophet in Israel. One of the king’s servants knew about Elisha and how he had taken Elijah’s place. So the three desperate kings went to find Elisha.
Elisha told the king of Israel that he should ask his false prophets but since Jehoshaphat had asked and he was a righteous man, Elisha promised to help them. He asked for a minstrel because music has the potential to woo the spirit of God. After he soaked in this, he knew what to do. He told them to dig ditches and that God would fill them with water though they wouldn’t see rain. He added that this was a small thing but through this he would deliver the Moabites to them.
The next morning, a meat offering was offered to the Lord and water started flowing from Edom and the country was fill of water. Where this water came…no one knew. When the sun hit the water it looked like blood to the Moabites. So instead of charging for war, they charged for spoil. Israel, Judah and Edom charged for war and totally defeated the Moabites.
In Chapter Four, we transition to the land of the prophets. A prophet’s widow comes to Elisha with her problem. Since her husband died, she had not been able to pay her bills so the creditors were going to take her two sons into slavery. Elisha asked her what she had in her house. She told him she only had a pot of oil. So Elisha told her to borrow a bunch of pots from her neighbors then bring her and her sons into her house, shut the door and start pouring. Her little pot of oil filled all the pots. Then she was able to sell the oil and get out of debt and live off the rest.
God used Elisha to provide for a woman, so God used a woman to provide for Elisha. This woman was a wealthy woman who always had Elisha over to eat whenever he was passing her way. She asked her husband to build an addition to their house for Elisha to stay with them when he passed by. She furnished it with the things he would need. He wanted to bless her back so he asked what she might need. She had the money to buy anything she needed, but what she wanted couldn’t be bought with money. She wanted a son so Elisha told her she would have a son in the time it takes to have a son. It happened just as he said.
When we do the things for others to meet their needs, God will make sure our needs are taken care of too. He will give us the desires of our heart.
Lord, help us to pour out our life as a sacrifice of praise to you.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Wed.’s Devo - From Elijah to Elisha

Read: 2 Kings 1:1-2:25; Acts 13:42-14:7; Psalm 139:1-24; Proverbs 17:19-21
Ahab’s successor, Ahaziah fell through the second story of his house and was badly hurt. He sent his officers to ask Baal-Zebub, the god of Ekron if he would recover. The angel of the Lord told Elijah to go and meet the messengers and ask them why they were going to some fake god in Ekron if there wasn’t a god in Israel. Because the king consulted Baal instead of him, he would not recover but, he would die. They went back and told the king and described the prophet. He knew it was Elijah so he sent an officer with his 50 men to go get Elijah. Elijah called down fire on them. He did it to the next 50. The third group was led by a wise and humble officer. He begged Elijah to save his life so the angel of the Lord told him to go with this man. Elijah went and told the king the same thing he had already said three times before. Ahaziah died according to God’s word and had no son so Joram, his brother, ruled in his stead. Jehoram was made king over Judah.
It was time for Elijah to be taken to God and Elisha and all the prophets knew it. They all followed Elijah around that day but, only Elisha walked with him. Elijah walked from Gilgal which means “a wheel”. Next he went to Bethel which means “the house of God”. Then he went to Jericho “place of fragrance” and lastly to the Jordan which means “their descent”. When he got to the Jordan, he rolled up his coat and struck it and it parted so they could walk across. Elijah walked over 20 miles that day. Right before he left, he asked Elisha, who had been trailing him the whole day, what he wanted from him. Elisha said he wanted a double portion of the spirit that he had. Elijah told him it wasn’t his to give but if he saw him leave, it would be God’s “yes”. A chariot of fire and horses came down from heaven and set down right between Elijah and Elisha and took Elijah up in a whirlwind. Elisha saw it so he praised God and picked up Elijah’s mantle. He struck the water with it and the water parted so he could walk across. He retraced Elijah’s steps bringing life to the land that had been cursed and cursing boys that tried to curse him. He went straight to Mt. Carmel, where Elijah had defeated the prophets of Baal.
In Acts, the Gentiles were so hungry, they asked them to come back the next sabbath and teach them again about Jesus. The apostles explained to the people that the Jews had rejected Jesus, so God was turning his attention to the Gentiles who were hungry for him. Some of the “religious” Jews raised up persecution against Paul and Barnabas and cast them out of their cities. They left there for Iconium and the same thing happened. Their reaction to persecution was commendable: they were filled with joy and with the Holy Spirit. They refused to become victums, but counted it a privilege to suffer for Christ.
Lord, may we be like the early disciples who lived to give you honor.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Tues.’s Devo - Truth or Lies

Read: 1 Kings 22:1-53; Acts 13:16-41; Psalm 138:1-8; Proverbs 17:17-18
It has been three years since Ahab let Ben-hadad out of his clutches. He came back to wage war on Israel so Ahab, went to ask help from the king of Judah. Jehoshaphat was the king of Judah. He wanted to ask the Lord if they would win before he committed. The king of Israel gathered his 400 false prophets together who all prophesied that Israel would win. As the two of the kings sat together on their throne listening and watching the false prophets do their thing, the king of Judah asked the king of Israel if he had any prophet of God in his kingdom. He did, but the king didn’t like him because he never told him anything good. When he called the prophet, Micaiah, to require of the Lord, Micaiah told him what he wanted to hear. The king knew he was being sarcastic so he made him tell him the truth. Micaiah told him that he needed to turn around and go home because they would be defeated and that God had sent a lying spirit to deceived his prophets. The false prophet was so mad he slapped Micaiah in the face. Micaiah told him that he would see he was right when he went into his inner chamber to hide himself. This got Micaiah thrown into prison.
So, the two kings ignored God’s warning and went out to battle. Ahab disguised himself as a regular soldier. The Syrian king had told all his men to only kill the king of Israel. One of the soldiers rode up beside the chariot that the king was in but realized it wasn’t the king so he stopped following him. I’m sure, Ahab thought he had tricked him and was safe, but God’s Word never fails. A Syrian soldier shot a random arrow. God directed that arrow straight to the one chink in Ahab’s armor. He was killed and Israel scattered according to what was prophesied. Ahab was buried in Samaria and his son, Ahaziah took his place. He followed the wickedness of his father.
In Judah, Jehoshaphat finally died and his son, Jehoram took his place. Jehoshaphat had followed the righteousness of his father and both were good kings in God’s eyes.
In Acts, Paul was in Antioch preaching to Gentiles and Jews. He realized that they needed a Jewish history lesson to be able to realize who Jesus was. He plainly spells out the gospel to them.
Lord, help us to listen to what God says and obey.

Monday, June 19, 2017

Mon.’s Devo - Blind the Enemy, Open Our Eyes

Read: 1 Kings 20:1-21:29; Acts 12:24-13:15; Psalm 137:1-9; Proverbs 17:16
When Ben-hadad came up against Ahab he was coming up against the God of Israel. Ben-hadad means “sharp and noisy” which describes him to a tee. He hurled out threats and boasts against Israel. Ahab warned him, “let not him that girth on his harness boast himself as he that putteth it off.” In our terms that means, “Don’t count your chickens before they hatch.” Ben-hadad is a perfect example of the devil who shouts his threats so loudly and can’t follow through. He evokes fear, but when we fight back in the name of the Lord, we will always win.
Ahab could be very humble when he was up against a wall and this was where he was. He listened to what the prophet told him and ordered the battle led by the princes of the provinces. God proved to Ben-hadad and to Israel that he was the God of the hills and the plains.
Instead of killing Ben-hadad, Ahab made a covenant with him. You can’t strike a deal with the devil; he doesn’t play fair and has no problem with breaking his promise. Satan is the father of lies and deception is his character. This covenant that Ahab made cost him his life.
The story of Naboth’s vineyard is such a sad story of an innocent man who had his inheritance stolen because of Ahab’s greed. Naboth is exalted in heaven because he refused to sell his inheritance and Ahab lost in the end.
Our story in Acts begins with…”but the word of God grew and multiplied.” Acts 13 begins with the names of new converts that had become prophets and teachers. One of them, Manaen, had been brought up with Herod the tetrarch which means he grew up in his courts. Herod the tetrarch was the Herod that had John the Baptist killed for rebuking him for taking his brother’s wife. In the midst of all the idolatry and evil this man was saved and became a powerful believer in God’s kingdom. He left the kingdom of disfunction to join the kingdom of order and truth.
Paul took authority over the wizard who was trying to keep Sergius from seeking the truth. God blinded the false prophet named Bar-jesus which gave Sergius his sight. He believed because he saw what happened. We need to blind the eyes of the sorcerers who try to confuse people who are seeking truth.
Lord, blind the eyes of the watchers of Satan that they not be able to pervert your truth.

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Sun.’s Devo - Changing of the Guards

Read: 1 Kings 19:1-21; Acts 12:1-23; Psalm 136:1-26; Proverbs 17:14-15
It is hard for me to understand what happened to Elijah but I will give you my thoughts. Elijah stood up against all the prophets of Baal then he followed Ahab back to the palace. I don’t know if he thought he would be given a place of honor or what, but, when he heard what Jezebel said about him he fled as if he had no power. Everywhere he went God asked him what he was doing there. All Elijah could do was defend his honor. The angel gave him strength to go do one last assignment. He was to anoint Jehu king over Israel and Elisha to take Elijah’s place. Elijah complained that he was the only one who followed the Lord and God opened his understanding. God had reserved 7,000 people who had not bowed to Baal.
It is easy when we are a lone ranger to think that we are the only one in the situation we are in or even that we are the only ones doing it right. God always has a remnant and it is better if we fellowship with other like-minded believers to let our iron sharpen theirs and vice versa.
Elijah was taken to Mt. Horeb, the mountain of the Lord. In this mountain range is Mt. Sinai the mountain that Moses ascended to receive the law and probably the same one that Jesus stood on when he transfigured and Peter, James and John saw Jesus talking to Elijah and Moses. I wonder if the transfiguration wasn’t a hologram of these two events.
The first person he met was Elisha who was plowing his family oxen. He threw his mantle on him which was a sign that he was putting his office on him. Elisha asked if he could bid his parents good-bye, but when he realized Elijah wasn’t waiting, he made an altar right there using the wood from his plow and two of the oxen as the sacrifice. He gave the food to the people and left with Elijah, to be his apprentice.
When there is a shift of power in the natural, it is a picture of the shift in the spiritual also. Jehu was to kill in the natural with his sword and Elisha was to kill spiritually. God’s word would be his sword.
In Acts, James was killed and Peter was put in prison again. The first time Peter was put in prison was in Acts 5:18 where he was put in the common prison which is an open prison that the public can see. God set him free from that one so this time they put him under the charge of sixteen Roman soldiers and chained him to make sure he didn’t escape. That night as they were sleeping, the angel of the Lord came and woke Peter and told him to stand. The chains fell off his hands. He was told to put his sandals on and get his clothes. He followed the angel out of the prison which just opened before them. Once he was a block from the prison, the angel left. Peter realized it wasn’t a dream and went to Mary’s house, then James’, Jesus’ brother.
There was such a commotion in the jail the next day. They looked everywhere for Peter and when they couldn’t find him, Herod had the soldiers in charge of Peter killed.
That same day, Herod met with the men of Tyre and Sidon. When Herod came out to them they praised him as a god and immediately the angel of the Lord killed him for taking God’s glory to himself.
When God begins to move in manifested power on the earth, his judgment comes also.
Lord, cleanse our hearts and make us ready for what is coming.