Thursday, December 31, 2009

Thur.s' Devo - The Sixth Hour

Read John 19:7-15
It is obvious reading these scriptures that Herod is out of his element. He is supersticious enough to be afraid that Jesus might be the son of God but too afraid of the people to have any strong convictions. He asks Jesus where he came from and when Jesus doesn't answer he tries to threaten him with his life. Jesus puts him in his place by telling Pilate that he has no power over him but what the Lord has given him and the people that delivered him are going to be held more responsible than him. This show of authority scares Pilate even more and he tries one more time to reason with the crowd outside. They tell him that if he lets Jesus go he is no friend of Caesar's because Jesus is making himself the king. So Pilate is cornered and brings Jesus out to judge him. The name of the place is called "the Pavement" which means strewed stone. Jesus is the rock and his blood is about to be strewn. (Strewn means sprinkled.) It is the preparation of the passover and the 6th hour. I looked at all the scriptures that spoke of the 6th hour and it seems the 6th hour is a time of rightful judgment. Pilate came out and proclaimed, "Behold your King!" On the 6th hour Jesus met the woman at the well and proclaimed to her that he was the Messiah (John 4:25). Peter was up on a housetop praying about the sixth hour when the heavens opened and showed him that he should not call the Gentiles common but cleansed.
In Jesus case, they didn't want Jesus to be their king so they rejected their king and chose Caesar instead.
Everyone has a 6th hour so may we make the right declaration.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Wed.'s Devo - The Mock Trial

Read John 19:1-6
Everything about the trial of Jesus was a farce. Rome was know for its justice. One of their main gods was Janus. A replica of him sat on every Roman official's desk. He had two faces one that looked forward and one that looked back. Janus is where we get our word "January" because January looks back over the last year and forward to the next. It was to remind them to look at both sides of the question. They were not honoring Janus in Jesus' case.
Pilate had Jesus scourged, humiliated and beaten and proclaimed him innocent. That does not sound like justice to me. He then presented Jesus to the Jews with a crown of thorns and a royal robe on thinking this would placate them, but they screamed instead, "Crucify him." Pilate told them to take him and do it themselves because, for the third time, he found no fault in Jesus.
The reason the Jews couldn't kill Jesus himself was that their law required them to stone him and the scriptures had prophesied that he would be crucified. They were fulfilling scripture and if they had know it they would have tried to figure out another way of death.
In the story of the passover the lamb was to be brought into the house and examined for days to make sure it was spotless and had no blemish. This is the process Jesus is going through. Pilate could not find a blemish on him but still had to crucify him to fulfill scripture. It makes me wonder who are going to be the players in future prophecy. I wonder if they are already in place. Lord, make us ready for your return.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Tue.'s Devo - The Lamb is Examined by the Gentile King....."Not Guilty!"

Read John 18:28-40
Early the next morning Jesus was taken to the praetorium or governors court room to appear before Pilate. The Jewish accusers couldn't enter the judgment hall or they would be defiled and not able to eat the passover. Little did they realize Jesus was the passover lamb. Pilate came out and asked what he was being charged for. They told him that he was a criminal which was why they were bringing him to Pilate. They explained to him that they couldn't charge him because their law didn't allow them to put a man to death. So Pilate went back into the praetorium and asked Jesus if he was the King of the Jews? Instead of answering his question he asked Pilate one? "Do you want to know the answer or did they tell you to ask me this question?" He is giving Pilate an opportunity to come to the truth. He is really asking Pilate, "Are you hungry for the truth because I am the truth," but Pilate is not looking for the truth. Instead, Pilate is getting exasperated, "Am I a Jew? Your own nation and your priests have delivered you to me; what have you done?" Jesus tells him that his kingdom is not earthly or his servants would have fought for him. So Pilate asks him if he is a king? Jesus tells him that what is about to happen to him is why he came. He is here to bear witness to the truth and every one that can hear him is of that truth.
Pilate says, "what is truth?" and goes back outside. He proclaims to the Jews that delivered Jesus that he can find no fault in him. But to appease them he explains their custom of releasing one of the criminals at passover. Do they want him to release the King of the Jews? Of course not! They want Barabbas, a robber.
Lord, may we never stop seeking the truth which is You!

Monday, December 28, 2009

Monday's Devo - The Pain of Denial

Read John 18:25-27
Peter has just denied Jesus and Jesus has just testified to the truth. Peter's denial got him entrance into the yard. Jesus' truth got him a slap in the face. Now as Peter stands by the fire another servant asks him if he was one of Jesus' disciples to which he denies for the second time. He is then approached by a kinsman of the soldier that he cut off the ear of and asked if he was in the garden. He denies Jesus for the third time and the cock immediately crows. Matthew says he went out and wept bitterly. The word used here for wept means to wail and sob aloud. Luke tells us that when Peter denied him the third time Jesus turned and looked at him. Then Peter remembered what he had prophesied about him.
That had to have pained Jesus to hear Peter deny him. How did Peter go from cutting an ear off to defend Jesus to denying him 3 times? Peter who was to stand for the church is wishy-washy just like the church is. James says that an unstable man is unstable in all his ways. But those whose foundation is the Lord's will stand strong till the end. Peter did get it right in the end and learned from his mistakes and the church will too. If there is one thing that God doesn't give up on it is his church. He didn't give up on Peter and he won't give up on you either.
Lord, help us in our weaknesses. We desire to follow you even to death but need your grace to do that. Pour out a great measure of grace on your church for these last days.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Fri.'s Devo - Happy Birthday, Jesus!!!

As a lamb to the slaughterFor unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder; and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, The might God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. Is. 9:6

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Thurs.'s Devo - As a lamb to the slaughter

Read John 18:19-24
The High Priest asks Jesus about his disciples and his doctrine. Jesus explains that he has done nothing in secret and everyday in the temple and in the synagogue he taught his doctrine so if they have any questions they should ask the people who heard him. Apparently he must have been a little too sarcastic because he got a slap in the face for speaking to the high priest that way. Jesus had an answer to that too: "If I have spoken evil, bear witness of the evil; but if well, why smite me?" It is illegal to strike a prisoner who has not yet been proven guilty and they have no witness that he has done evil. Also, under Jewish law no trial is to begin and end on the same day, or to start at night and end at night.
Annas sends Jesus bound to Caiphas, the high priest. History tells us that Annas was one of the most brilliant, one of the most clever, and one of the most satanic of all the high priests. Caiaphas was the one whom the Roman government accepted, but the real leader of the religious group was Annas. He was probably the one who plotted the arrest, the trial, and the crucifixion of Jesus. The entire trial was a mockery.
Is. 53:7 says that he was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth; his brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he openeth not his mouth.
Every time I read about the crusifixion I get some new feeling or revelation. Here is THE High Priest being questioned and harassed by mere mortal high priests. The very ones who were suppose to be representing him, instead are trying to usurp his position. Lord, we are here on this earth as your representatives, may we never use our position to usurp yours.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Wed.'s Devo - The Examination and the Denial

Read John 18:12-18
To be the spotless Passover lamb Jesus had to be examined and found spotless. The first to examine him was the high priest and the religious leaders. The high priest was also the first to examine the lamb that they would sacrifice on Passover for the sins of the people. Both Annas and Caiaphas were high priests because the law says that it takes the witness of two to establish something. Caiaphas had told the people that it was good that one man should die for the people. Little did he know how prophetic these words were.
Peter and another disciple followed them and because the other disciple knew the high priest he was able to gain entrance into the palace. Peter, however, stood at the door and waited there. The young girl who kept the door recognized Peter as one of Jesus' disciples and asked him if he was. Peter answered, "I am not." This was his first denial.
Some of the servants and officers had made a fire to keep warm so Peter went and stood with them.
It seems silly to deny Jesus to a servant girl who had no power to do anything. Maybe, he though she would report him to the officers. He was so bold in the garden and now his faith had dwindled to fear of a little gatekeeper.
We can all relate. We hear God's plan and are off with power and boldness, then when things don't turn out like we think we melt in a puddle of doubt and fear. The good news is that when Peter got filled with the Holy Spirit at Pentecost he was no longer afraid of anyone and stood up in front of thousands and boldly proclaimed Jesus.
Lord, may we not faint or get weary in waiting for your promises because as surely as the morning, they will come.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Tues.'s Devo - I AM

Read John 18: 3-11
Judas knew the power that Jesus possessed so he brought a whole squad of armed soldiers to arrest him. Jesus knew what was ahead for him and that this was all in the plan. But they needed to confess their deed so he asked them point-blank who they were looking for. Their answer would condemn or justify them. They chose to be condemned, and just to let them know that he was more powerful than a multitude of men and all the weapons in the world he spoke his name which blew them off their feet.
Moses had asked God his name and he said I AM. Jesus spoke the same name. Just the fact that they weren't fazed by the demonstration of power shows the depth of their deception. They said they were looking for Jesus of Nazareth. It has always been about his geneology. Was he from Nazareth, Bethlehem, Joseph, or God? He was really from Bethlehem, but few knew this. The religious Jews stumbled over this because they knew the Messiah was suppose to be from Bethlehem. But, ultimately he was from God which he told his disciples countless times.
Then Jesus asked that his disciples be free to leave which was the answer to his prayer in John 17. All was well till Peter took his sword and cut off the soldier's right ear... not just any soldier but the high priest's servant, Malchus. This is recorded in all of the gospels but in Luke it tells us that Jesus touched his ear, and healed him. Another demonstration of power that fell on hard hearts.
Jesus told Peter to put away his sword because this was God's will for him. In other words, this is not the time to fight, this is the time to submit.
Lord, may we always have hearts that are soft and discernment to know when to fight and when to submit to your plan.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Monday's Devo - Sprinkled with Blood

Read John 18:1-2
Jesus goes to the garden that will lead to his death. The first Adam was put in a garden where through him sin entered into the world. The second Adam, Jesus, is taken from a garden where through him salvation from sin came into the world. The tempter, deceiver, and betrayer was in both gardens disguised as a serpent in the first and Judas in the last. This garden was a sacred place for both Adams. It was where Adam and God walked in the cool of the day and enjoyed fellowship and it was a place where Jesus went alone and with his disciples to get away and retreat with God.
Judas knew where to find Jesus because he had been a part of this fellowship with God just as Satan had once known intimate fellowship with God. It was jealousy and pride that made Satan fall and the same for Judas.
I've been to this garden and the tour guide, who wasn't a Christian, told us that a certain plant that grows there that has red spots on it. It is not found anywhere else in the world. The garden keepers work hard to preserve the plant and guard it so no one can steal it and replant it anywhere. It looks like someone sprinkled blood over the plant. It reminds me of what the priest did to the people and all the articles in the tabernacle. He would sprinkle everything with the blood of animals to make it holy. We have been sprinkled with the blood of Jesus and made holy.
Heb. 10:22 says, "Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from a evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water." Thank you Jesus, for shedding your blood to give us a clean conscience. Let us walk in that confidence.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Sat.'s Devo - Christmas Bliss

Christmas will be here in 6 days. I hope I'm ready. Every year Christmas becomes less hectic and more enjoyable. I think I have bought all my presents and I finished up the last pillow for a client yesterday so other than a hanging on Tuesday I have no obligations till we leave for Louisiana on Thursday. I feel ecstatic. Maybe I'll have time to study some things in the Bible I haven't had time to study. I also want to reflect on what my goals are for next year. God moves in cycles and he uses the seasons. The Bible is full of things that change with the seasons and so do we. The winter is a good time to reflect, study, and let some things die. Today I was opening this drawer full of jewelry. It fell out and landed upside down on the carpet. I was amazed at myself because I didn't get mad. I sat down and methodically put everything back in its place. It was a great time to recall memories and throw away earrings with no mates, old receipts, and just junk. Maybe that's what I'll do for the next few days: allow God to throw out some things that aren't serving me well like bad self-images or wrong judgments, or incorrect doctrines. A good house cleaning is always good for the soul. I pray we will all have time to do that. "Search us, O God, and know our hearts: try us, and know our thoughts; And see if there be any wicked way in us, and lead us in the way everlasting." Ps. 139:23-24.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Fri.'s Devo - The Kidron Baptism

Read John 18:1
We are going to go on even though we only touched the tip of knowledge in John 17. Jesus leaves after praying this tremendous prayer and crosses the Kidron brook into a garden. In 2 Sam. 15:23 David passed over the brook Kidron weeping and mourning for Absalom had usurped his kingdom and he was fleeing Jerusalem. David was a type of Jesus whose kingdom had been usurped in the garden but Jesus was fixing to get it back in the garden. The word Kidron means "cause to mourn; dusky". It was the place that they threw all their uncleanness. When they wanted to take the idolatrous instruments out of the temple they burned them and threw their ashes into the Kidron. When King Solomon wanted to punish Shimei for cursing David his curse was: "On the day that you leave Jerusalem, and pass over the brook Kidron, you shall know for certain that you shall surely die; and your blood shall be upon your own head." So it was a sort of baptism from sin; a cleansing process like the one in the law where the lady accused of adultery had to drink the bitter water and see if it condemned her or proved her innocence. When you walked through the Kidron Brook and if you were guilty - you faced death; if you were innocent it vindicated you. David and Jesus were vindicated for they were found faultless. Shimei was condemned for he was found guilty. Jesus actually died too because he chose to let our sin be upon his head and be condemned with the guilty.
We will all walk through that brook to enter heaven. It will either condemn us or set us free. Lord, may we enter heaven guiltless.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Thurs.'s Devo - Sanctify Us by your Word

Read John 17 (again!)
I just keep finding nuggets in Jesus' prayer for us. Today's nugget is in verses 14-19. We are not of this world just like Jesus is not of this world. The world hated Jesus and they will hate us too. Jesus prayed that we would stay in the world but be kept from evil. "Evil" translates hurtful, evil influence or effect; calamity, disease, mischief, malice, the devil, or sinners. That is a pretty powerful statement. I think of all the calamity on the earth and wonder how Jesus is saving us from it. But he tells us how in verse 17. We are sanctified which means "made holy" through his word. We know that the weapons of our warfare are mighty to the pulling down of strongholds but do we know how to use this sword called the Word of God? Here is an easy lesson. The Word is alive and will accomplish what it is sent to do but you have to send it. In other words, when you are up against a problem you find a scripture about that specific problem and you pray it out loud. Put it on your mirror, in your refrigerator, across the TV, wherever you look and speak it out as often as you can. The Word will saturate you and build up your faith. Your proclamation will birth it into being. My husband prays the 91st Psalm out loud every day over me and evey one of family by name. I love him for that. I know that has kept us from the enemies' darts many times. The more Word you put in your heart the more soft your heart becomes toward God and the less you are tempted to stray. The more TV and filth you put in your mind, the harder it will be to stay sanctified....impossible. The Bible says to not even want to know what the evil do in secret. That about eliminates most of what you will see on TV.
Lord, give us a burning desire to read, proclaim, and eat your Word. We thirst for living waters.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Wed.'s Devo - The Son of Perdition

Read John 17
How does one that walked with Jesus every day, listened to his teachings, saw his miracles, and was a close friend end up betraying him? The same way Eve was deceived into eating the fruit. So I guess the real question should be how did Jesus keep eleven of the twelve? That is pretty good odds.
In verse 12 Jesus said he kept all that God had given him and none was lost but the son of perdition; that the scripture might be fulfilled. The only other time the son of perdition is mentioned is in 2 Thes. 2:3,4 which says: "Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come; except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition; who opposes and exalts himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sits in the temple of God shewing himself that he is God." The word "perdition" means physical, spiritual, or eternal ruin or loss". It is used 8 times in the Bible and only in the New Testament. Rev. 17:8 says: "the beast that you saw was, and is not; and shall ascend out of the bottomless pit and go into perdition; and the that dwell on the earth shall wonder, whose names were not written in the book of life from the foundations of the world, when they behold the beast that was, and is not and yet is. This son of perdition is the embodiment of all that is evil. There have been sons of perdition all through time. Moses's Pharoah, Nero, Hitler, Herod, the Antichrist are all sons of perdition just as there are many sons of God. They were not written in the book of life from the beginning just as we were written in the book from the beginning. But the key is the last part of John 17:12: "...that the scripture might be fulfilled." It is all part of the plan. Our futures are safe in God's hands. Thank you, father. I am honored to be called your daughter.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Tues.'s Devo - Sin?!?!

Read John 17
In verse 2 Jesus says that God gave him power over all flesh. In the Greek "flesh" means human nature. If Jesus has power over all human nature and didn't sin himself then when we become Christians we have that same power. It is not true that you have to sin every day. It is not true that you have to sin period. We still choose to do it because we haven't allowed the Word of God to saturate our minds and conform us. God's Word has the power to conform us into his image. The war is against the devil who reminds us of our nature and tells us lies like: we can't change. The truth is we can change. Our desires can become his desires and we can hate the things that he hates and love the things he loves.
What exactly is sin? It means to miss the mark and not share in the prize or to err, especially morally; a fault, offense, or trespass. Jesus told the blind man he had healed to go and sin no more. He also said that to the woman caught in adultery. The sin that keeps you from heaven is unbelief. So the big sins to God are those of unbelief. Do you believe God can heal you or your relationships? Do you believe God has a plan and is big enough to bring it to pass in your life. Live in faith and you will not sin in unbelief. Be content with what you have and you won't sin immorally. Sounds easy, but only with the power of the Holy Spirit is it easy. Go and sin no more!

Monday, December 14, 2009

Mon.'s Devo - Jesus' Prayer

Read John 17
This is the last recorded prayer Jesus prayed. We might spend the whole week looking at the different aspects of this prayer. He prays that the world might see God's glory through him in his death. He knows that his work is over and time is nearing an end. He prays for the same glory he and God had before creation.
The phrases that stick out to me in his prayer are in vs. 2: "that he sould give eternal life to as many as thou has given him." and in vs. 6: "I have manifested thy name unto the men which thou gave me out of the world." and in vs. 9 "I pray for them: I pray not for the world, but for them which thou has given me; for they are yours." and last of all in vs. 16: "They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world."
It is hard for me to grasp that I have been chosen out of a vast group of God's creation to know him and be his child and that others havent been chosen. I don't understand election but I trust God who is wise and all-powerful. I know the Word says that "many are called and few are chosen." And that same Word says "For God so loved the world... that whosover that believed in him should have eternal life." The truth is that he lays out his plan for all to see and enter in. It was man that chose darkness over light.
Lord, thank you for revealing your light to us and giving us hearts to receive you. We long for you and your truth.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Sunday's Devo - A Family Week-end

This week-end was Katy's tea in New Orleans and Daniel's graduation in Alexandria. We had been asking Daniel when his graduation would be forever and he kept telling us he didn't know. In the mean time the tea came up and I got a plane ticket to go to New Orleans to meet Katy's family for the first time. I was excited about going to the tea till I found out Daniel would be graduating the same day. I tried to refund my ticket or transfer it to another date and go to another shower later to no avail so I was going to just eat the ticket and go to the graduation till Dave came home. When I told him what I was thinking of doing he would have none of it. He said I was going to the tea and he was going to the graduation. This was not the first time Daniel had waited till the last minute to tell us plans and made us scramble to meet them. So Dave, Josh, Caleb, Granny, and Paw Paw went to the graduation and I went to New Orleans and attended the tea. The graduation lasted one hour and though I hated missing it, God gave me something special to do for Daniel. I sat down and wrote a 2-page letter telling him all the great memories I had of him growing up and all the gifts God had given him like his sense of humor, his faithfulness, and his compassion. Then I sent a CD by Sidewalk Prophets and told him to listent to the song called "These are the words I would say." It is a song saying all the things I would want to say to him like: be strong in the Lord; never give up faith; God's going to do great things, I already know. God's got his hands on you, so don't live life in fear... and don't forget why you're here.
I would have never done that if I was going to the graduation but since I wasn't I wanted to let him know how proud I was of him. I know it was exactly what should have happened.
In New Orleans, I got to meet Katy's family and have the best time bonding with a truly beautiful addition to our family. It was a long week-end for Dave and I but full of family and love.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Fri.'s Devo -In a Little While...

Read John 16:14-
God shares everything with Jesus and when he left earth he sent the Holy Spirit to share everything with us. The disciples could not understand "in a little while you will not see me." That phrase "a little while" means a small degree of time. That small degree of time lasted 3 days. Jesus died and 3 days later appeared to them and taught them even more. How many times do we pray for God to do something and he just wants us to wait a little while,while he is arranging everything to bring the answer. Jesus was busy during those 3 days. He was preaching to those in captivity that had died before. He was taking the keys of the kingdom back from the devil. He was ascending on high with his followers; he just wasn't idly watching the disciples mourn. God has a strategic plan that is set to his time table and his time table is perfect. His plan turns our sorrow to joy.
Jesus gives them the example of a woman in labor. It is painful at the time but the reward is so worth the pain. Jesus knew the next few days would be extremely hard for the disciples but he promised them that their sorrow would be turned to rejoicing when they see him again. When all this happens they will have access to God themselves just by using his name. They had never used the name of Jesus in prayer but now he is telling them to use it to receive what they wanted. Jesus' name is the key. Jesus basically explained to them again that he was from the Father and would return to the Father, and they got it this time. Now Jesus could tell them the hard part: they will be scattered and leave Jesus by himself but they were not to worry because God will be with him. He leaves them with the blessing of peace and one of my favorite verses: "In the world you shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world."
That is our promise. Thank you Lord for your precious promises to us. In Jesus name, we ask you to prepare us for your coming.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Thurs.'s Devo- The Spirit of Truth

Read: John 16:8-13
Jesus said that when the Holy Spirit comes he will:
1. convict the world of sin
2. convict the world of righteousness
3. convict the world of judgment
Then he tells why the Holy Spirit will do this:
1. He will convict the world of sin because they didn't believe Jesus. They had hardened their hearts to the miracles that Jesus did so now the Holy Spirit is going to bring back to their minds the things that Jesus did and speak truth to their hearts. They will be given another chance to believe.
2. He will convict the world of righteousness because Jesus is going to the Father. The Holy Spirit manifests righteousness through us, God's people. Ro. 3:22 says that The righteousness of Jesus is given to all who by faith believe. We are the righteousness of God on the earth. (2 Co. 5:21)
3. He will convict the world of judgment because the prince of this world is judged. In the end God will judge the devil and all who chose to be his followers. God has to do that because he is just. Jesus said in John 9:39 that he came to the world to judge it. Ro. 3:25-26 says that God presented Christ as a sacrifice of atonement, to be received by faith. He did this to demonstrate his justice, because in his forbearance he had left the sins committed beforehand unpunished - He did it to demonstrate his justice at the present time, so as to be just and the one who justifies those who have faith in Jesus. This is all a little confusing to me. I just know that when Jesus came he was the totally righteous and through his testimony we have no excuse for our sins. We have a perfect way to avoid judgment. If we chose not to follow Jesus then we choose judgment. Jesus sent us the Holy Spirit of truth to guide us into all truth because he gets his truth straight from the father. The Holy Spirit glorifies Jesus and tells us what is coming next.
Lord, may your Holy Spirit be manifested on the earth; the spirit of truth and prophecy.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Wed.'s Devo -Activate God's Power

Read John 16:1-7
Jesus doesn't want his disciples to get tripped up so he tells them ahead of time what is going to happen. They will get thrown out of the synagoge, and they will be killed in the name of God. Their enemies do this because they don't know God. Jesus tells them these things so that when they happen they will know God is still in control. This is hard for us to relate to since we have never gone under serious persecution, but I think our nation is headed for this very thing.
Jesus then tells them he is going to be leaving which always makes them sad. He explains that it is for their betterment if he leaves because the Comforter won't come till he leaves. He knows that the Comforter will be better for them than him being with them. How many times have we thought that it would be better to have a living God than an invisible one. But the Holy Spirit is better because he is not just with us, he is in us. The Holy Spirit is the spirit of Jesus and God. We now have access to the power of God in us. Sadly, we don't use it often.
One of the good products of persecution is that we start accessing the power of God within us. When they take away our rights to go to the doctor, we'll have to go to God to be our healer. We've had it backwards. We go to the doctor first then call on God if the doctor tells us he can't do anything more. God promised to be our healer and our provider. Let's not wait till we have to do that. Let's practice it now.
Lord, forgive us for not honoring you and the power you have to protect us and keep us. Show us how to totally depend on you.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Tue.'s Devo - Jesus was Good...from the beginning.

Read John 15: 21-27
Jesus is explaining to us the heart of man and preparing us for persecution. The reason the people hated Jesus was that he uncovered their sin by the works he did. He manifested God to them and raised the standard. They had been sailing through life thinking they were good, but Jesus was the embodiment of good and made their good look not-so-good. They couldn't compete and hated him for that. If we walk with God with the help of the Holy Spirit we will do the same thing. Some will be drawn to us and want what we have and others will be jealous and hate us. They hated Jesus for no good reason and they will hate us for the same. When the Holy Spirit, the Comforter came he was the breath of truth and he breathed that truth into us that we might testify of Jesus in truth.
The last verse says that we will be his witnesses because we have been with him from the beginning. "From the beginning" is used 4 times in John. He is talking about from the beginning of time. John 6:64 says that Jesus knew who would betray him and who would believe him from the beginning of time. John 8:44 says that Satan was a murderer from the beginning. But of us in today's reading it says we have been with him from the beginning. Hard to wrap your head around that one because we live in time and God doesn't. But what a comfort. Nothing can take us out of his hand. His hand is mighty to save. Lord, I pray for the ones that have not yet come to know you. Send us out to spread your message of peace, hope, and salvation. Prepare us to endure persecution and hardships for your name sake.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Mon.'s Devo - Love that Redeems

Read John 15:17-20
This is the 4th time in John that Jesus is commanding us to love one another. Have you ever met people that were so mean and hard that it made you wonder how even God could love them? I did until I read "Redeeming Love" by Francine Rivers. That book helped me to see the sinners point of view. There is always a reason why a person is hard and hurts other: they have been abused and hurt and it is the only defense they know. But we carry the love of Jesus that can love them and break down the defenses and walls they have built around their heart. Underneath we will find that they are beautiful, and that's redemption!
Jesus goes on to tell us that the world is not going to like us because they didn't like him. In other words, you can't be a people pleaser and look like Jesus. It won't happen. Jesus chose us out of the world to be set apart for his glory. So since we are not greater than Jesus we will be persecuted just as he was. On the other hand, those that followed Jesus will follow us if we are leaders of righteousness.
Lord, help us to love as you love and go beyond ourselves. Help us to be leaders of righteousness.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Fri.'s Devo - We have been chosed to be God's friend.

Read: John 15:14-16
Jesus calls us his friends instead of his servants if we are willing to do whatever he asks of us. Being his friend means he shares with us everything he has been told by God. We are not like slaves who never know the intimacies of the kingdom but are just called to obey; we have been invited to know the secrets of the king. We have been chosen and ordained to produce lasting fruit and whatever we need to do that with is ours for the asking. It is our destiny. He said we did not choose him but he chose us. Wow, that will challenge your theology. We claim that God is in control until we talk about our salvation then we still want to own it. We think that we had the power to will ourselves into the kingdom. We didn't. He chose us before the foundation of the earth. He already knows our whole life and what we will do. In Duet. 10:15 Moses is telling the people what God told him up on the mountain: "the Lord delighted in your fathers to love them, and he chose their seed after them, even you above all people." Jesus chose 12 disciples. Does God not seem fair? He isn't, not in the sense that we know fair; he is just. When the word fair is mentioned in the Bible it has to do with beauty or goodness and is never used to describe God. Just, on the other hand, is mentioned over and over to describe God. It means lawful and righteous.
God has a plan and he is the potter. Who are we, the clay, to ask why did he make us this way? But the bottom line is that God is in control. So God chose us and we have the opportunity to draw near or stay at a distance. Let's draw near.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Thurs.'s Devo - Love and Joy Come to You

Read: John 15:8-14
God is glorified when we bear fruit and it is what constitutes us being God's disciples. God loves us with the same love he loves his son. At the end of verse 9 he tells us to continue in his love. That translates abide, dwell, endure, be present, remain, stand, tarry in God's love. In the next verse Jesus is praying that his joy, his calm delight and cheerfulness might remain in us and that our joy might be satisfied. If there was anything that the world cannot copy it is joy. It is almost out of place in the world we live in. When we display God's joy, everyone wants to be around us. It is a real strength and power. Jesus left us his joy. I think Jesus was a lot of fun. I think he laughed a lot and playfully teased his disciples because he sure plays with me and makes me laugh.
He again gives us the commandment to love one another just as he loved us. The greatest love we can have is to lay down our lives for our friends. That is what he did for us. Many people have been martyrs for Lord and many people have laid down their lives for a family member but it would be a little harder to do it for a friend. It would take great love and this is what Jesus wants us to have... great love for one another.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Wed.'s Devo - Bearing the Fruit

Read John 15:3-7
Reading the Word washes us and renews us. Do you want to stay young? Then read the word and let it renew your spirit and your body will manifest it. We are to abide in Jesus; stay in Him. It IS possible to abide in him- he wouldn't have told us to do it if it wasn't possible. It is God's job to prune us of what is not life-giving. The only way we can produce life is through him because we are a branch of him. If we choose not to abide in him we will be cut off. There are many scriptures about how righteous living will cause you to live a long life and if you don't, your life will be cut short. In the end all our works will be cast into the fire. What we have done for God will remain but all else will be burned up.
Verse 7 is a great verse to encourage a righteous life: "If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, you shall ask what you will, and it shall be done to you." If we are abiding in him then our prayers will be according to his will and they will be answered.
God talks a lot about fruit. Fruit is the gift that a tree gives to us. We enjoy looking at the majesty and splendor of a tree and sitting under its shade, but the fruit is a tangible gift we can enjoy. It brings nourishment, pleasure, satisfaction and supplies a basic need we have. Every fruit has its purpose. Oranges provide vitamin C which helps our immune system, and a whole lot of other things. The fruit we produce has certain functions also. Maybe our fruit is wisdom or prophecy, or prayer. Fruit can also be people that we are instrumental in winning to the kingdom. Gal. 5:9 says that the fruit of the spirit is love, joy, peace, long suffering, gentleness, goodness, and faith. We are to produce this fruit both in season and out of season. Jesus cursed the fig tree because it was not bearing fruit when he came to it, even though it was not fruit-bearing season.
Lord, help us to abide in you so that we will bear much fruit for you.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Tues.'s Devo - Washing the fruit

Read John 15:1-2
"I am the true vine" translates: "I am the hidden truth that is found on the threshing floor." And God is the world's farmer. "Every branch IN ME that doesn't bear fruit God takes away: and every branch that bears fruit, he purges it, that it may bring forth more fruit." I have more questions about this verse than answers. If we don't bear fruit will God take us away from this earth permanently? I have definitely seen this happen - lives cut short because they were too weak to walk in God. God rescued them early. But to the people that are doing the works of Jesus and bearing fruit, he sanctifies. He calls it purging which is a cleansing. Cleansing can sometimes be painful and sometimes not. I remember as a child whenever we got a scratch or a cut we would go to Mother to put medicine on it. If she put mecuricome on our bobos it would sting like crazy. If she put methialade on it, it wouldn't hurt. For some reason she felt like the one that stung the most was the better cure and the kicker was that they were both this awful reddish yellow medicine that was put on with a glass stick so until I learned to read I never knew which one she was going to use. After I got wiser I started insisting on the methialade. Now they have neosporin which is clear and doesn't burn at all. That is how God's cleansing is: sometimes it's painful and sometimes it's just healing but it is always needed to help us bear more fruit. God doesn't use methialade or mecuricome, he uses his Word. When we read it it cleanses our soul.
Lord, thank you for the Word that is alive and active in our lives. Cleanse us from secret faults and don't let them have dominion over us. Ps. 18.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Mon.'s Devo - Let not your heart be troubled.

Read John 14:27-31
Peace. Jesus was always giving this. Sometimes he said, "fear not", but this time he is leaving his peace with us. He walked in complete peace. He never worried about money, just go fishing. Never worried about tomorrow; God held it in his hand, or where he would sleep; the darkness was his blanket and the stars his night lights. He didn't worry about persecution or pain because he knew the result would bring healing, or death because he knew that death would bring life. This peace that he walked in every day is ours... he left it to us. That is a pretty awesome thought if you think about it. Jesus lived in a very hostile world not like the land we live in. He lived without the comforts we have and yet never seemed to need or miss anything. He lived in peace - total confidence in his father who he knew was supreme to anything on earth. He gives us that peace that he had. He was not afraid of death and tried to show us how to die. He said that if we loved him we would rejoice when he left knowing that he has gone to his father.
This is the last time Jesus is going to get to sit and talk with them and even though he tells them they don't quite understand. It is Satan's hour and time for Jesus to hide in God.
Lord, help us to appropriate the peace that you bequeathed to us when you left. What an inheritance you left us.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Fri.'s Devo - Manifest Jesus

Read John 14:22-26
Judas asks Jesus a very good question: "How will you manifest yourself to us and the world not see it also?" When Moses gave the 10 Commandments Josephus wrote that people all over the world heard his voice in their own language. When God manifested his power to Egypt the whole world heard about the plagues he brought. So if Jesus is going to manifest something from God, how is he going to do it personally? Jesus explains that if we follow the things written in the Bible out of love for God then he will come and live in us. If we don't choose to obey God then we really don't love him. Then he eludes to the fact that he is about to leave them but when he is gone the Comforter, the Holy Ghost will be sent to teach them everything and help them to remember everything he said. That is how they were able to write the gospels. I doubt if any of them had kept journals but the Holy Spirit helped them to remember Jesus' words exactly. The Holy Spirit will do the same thing for us. Our part is to read the Word of God and hide it in our hearts. When we need it God will bring it to our remembrance.
Going back to Judas' question God does manifest himself to us personally but the world does see it in us. They see it in our eyes, hear it in our voices, and feel it in our very presence. Use us today to manifest Jesus to the world.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Thurs's Devo - Give Thanks!

Ps. 26:7 - That I may publish with the voice of thanksgiving, and tell of all your wondrous works.
Ps. 50:14 - Offer to God thanksgiving, and pay your vows unto the most High.
Ps. 69:30 - I will praise the name of God with song, and will magnify him with thanksgiving.
Ps. 95:2 - Let us come before his presence with thanksgiving, and make a joyful noise unto him with psalms.
Ps. 100:4 Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise; be thankful unto him. and bless his name.
Ps. 107:22 - Let us sacrifice the sacrifices of thanksgiving, and declare his works with rejoicing.
Ps. 116:17 - I will offer to you the sacrifice of thanksgiving, and will call upon the name of the Lord.
Ps. 147:7 - Sing unto the Lord with thanksgiving; sing praise upon the harp unto our God.

I pray you and your family a very thankful and God-filled Thanksgiving.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Wed.'s Devo - God's Commandments are Good.

Read John 14: 21
Jesus said in verse 21 that whoever possessed God's commandments and guarded them loved him and whoever loved him loved the Father, and Jesus will love that person and exhibit himself to him. We always have a bad connotation to the law when really it was given to protect us. It is life to those who keep it but death to those who don't. Every law had a natural meaning and a spiritual meaning. Jesus explained some of these in the beatitudes but lets take one that he didn't explain and look at it. How about Lev. 11:3. He is explaining which animals they can eat.
They can eat the ones that part the hoof, are clovenfooted, and chew the cud. What does that mean in the spiritual? An animal with a parted hoof is able to balance better than one that doesn't. We are to stand balanced in the Word. Gal. 5:1 says, "stand fast in the liberty wherewith Christ has made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage." Clovenfooted means not only a split hoof but an eagle's claw. This is the eagle's defense against an attacker and also his help in attacking potential food. David wrote in the Psalms 18:34 that God prepares our hands for battle and that our hands will break a bow of steel. If we are walking in the spirit we will tear down the enemies strongholds and built the temple of God in our hearts. Lastly we are to eat that which chews the cud. We are to digest the Word of God then bring it back up and chew on it some more. This process happens more and more as we grow in our hunger for the Word.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Tue's. Devo - In my name...ask!

Read John 14: 7-20
Jesus had spend over 3 years telling and showing his disciples that he is in God and God is in him only to have Philip ask him to show them God. How exasperating to Jesus. It is amazing to me that Jesus didn't lose his temper but he didn't. He tells Philip that if he can't believe what he says at least believe his works. But to those who do believe on Jesus, they will do even greater works than what Jesus did. Wow! I am still waiting to see that in my life. Then he says w-h-a-t-s-o-e-v-e-r you shall ask in my name, that I WILL DO! He says it twice: if you ask any thing in my name, I will do it.
Then he throws in this verse: If you love me, keep my commandments. It is like giving you a visa card with unlimited balance and saying, "use it but if you love me you will use it according to all I have taught you".
Next he gives us the promise of something greater than the visa card; he promises to send us the Holy Spirit. He calls him the Comforter which interprets intercessor, consoler, advocate that will abide with us forever. He is the spirit of everything that is true. He is invisible and can only be accessed by those who know and receive him. He will testify that Jesus and the Father are one and that Jesus is in us and us in him.
Jesus tells us over and over to ask for things. The Devil has tricked us into thinking God is too busy to worry about our little piddling lives or we are being selfish to ask for anything, or who are we that God would give us anything. What a lie. God is never too busy to be involved in our lives. He has written every one of our days in a book. He is intimately involved in us, his creation. It is not selfish. When we are blessed he is glorified. We are God's prized possession. This whole earth is about his plan and it involves us. We are an intrical part. We need to realize that so we will live our lives with purpose and meaning.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Mon.'s Devo - Believe

Read John 14:1-6
"Let not your heart be troubled." What a timely statement. We need to laminate that and put it on our mirrors. The next 2 verses are so comforting: "In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there you may be also." God's house must be pretty big for it to hold mansions. I have read stories of people going to heaven and coming back. They talk of mansions made just for them with jobs suited just for them. I believe we are the same person in heaven that we are here, only there we will be complete. There is a lot of construction going on in heaven. God is building your mansion just like he is building you in him on earth. He is going from room to room in your life and cleaning, constructing, reconstructing, making it beautiful, etc. He is doing the same thing to your mansion in heaven, "on earth as it is in heaven". As we prepare a place for God in our hearts, he prepares a place for us in heaven. And the good news is that we know the way. It is only through Jesus who is the mode and the means, the truly true and the breath of life.
Lord, thank you for your peace and assurance that you prepare only good things for us. Your plan is in motion even when we don't see it.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Sat.'s Devo - We're Marching to Zion

Finally, a Saturday at home. Daniel's football season is over and he is about to graduate. It is all bittersweet but I think more sweet than bitter. It is time to go to the next step in life. I was wondering what that might be. I love how if you delight yourself in the Lord he will give you the desires of your heart. All my life I wanted to travel to Israel and 3 years ago Dave and I got the opportunity to go with our pastor and 9 other people. It was such a blessing but so much to pack in such a little time. I couldn't process or remember everything and have always wondered if I would get to go back. This week I got an e-mail from a friend telling me about a trip that some of our friends from Monroe are getting together. They have been many times and God has led them to host a trip. My interest was immediately peaked and I shot them an e-mail asking for information. I got an immediate response and they asked me if I still had my round calendar. I had taught them about the feasts years ago. She said she was going to pray me there. I know these intercessors and so I know that my going is a done thing. I checked on the dates and it is 3 days after Caleb's wedding so I can just stay in Louisiana and go from there. Dave said it was fine with him if I go so looks like I will be making a pilgrimmage to Jerusalem in March.
I love it!!! The plans of a righteous man are ordered by the Lord. God has many plans for us to walk in all we have to do is rest in Him.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Fri.'s Devo - I Will Tell You.

Read John 13:31-38
Isaiah 42:9b says,"I will tell you the future before it happens." Is. 45:11 says, "Ask me of things to come concerning my sons, and concerning the work of my hands..." That is what Jesus did, he told them over and over what was going to happen. But they didn't get it till after he died. Nothing in our life should broadside us if we are listening and staying in Christ. We might not understand it at the time but God is always purposeful in everything he does and we can trust him. If we look back we will see that he was warning us and preparing us for what was ahead.
Jesus starts out telling his disciples that it is time for him to be glorified and when this happens God will be glorified also and visa versa. That works with us too: when we are glorified, God is glorified; when God is glorified, we are glorified. This is Jesus last farewell to his disciples and he is so tender. He calls them his little children and tells him that he is going somewhere they won't be able to go to yet. He leaves them with a new commandment to love one another as he has loved them. This would be the testimony that they know him. Peter doesn't like what Jesus is saying. He wants to know where he is going and why he can't follow Jesus. He vows to give his life to save Jesus'. That is a brave statement and Jesus calls him on it. He tells him that before the rooster crows he will deny him 3 times.
In my life I often look back and see that God was trying to get my attention so I wouldn't have to make that mistake but I missed it. Mainly because I get in a hurry. I think if I took life more slowly and intently I wouldn't miss the nudges he gives me. Lord, help us to walk in peace and single-minded. Guard our minds in you and keep them from straying in so many different directions. May the peace of God, which passes all understanding, keep our hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Thurs.'s Devo - So close, yet so far away.

Read John 13:21-
Jesus comes out and says it, "One of you will betray me." The disciples were at a loss of who it was so Jesus says the one I give the sop that I dip is he. Then he dips the sop and gives it to Judas. He waits till the sop enters him and tells him to do what he is about to do quickly. Amazing. Judas was a pawn that God used to bring about his plan. Jesus led Judas right to the end. As soon as he swallows the sop Satan enters him. It is like the sop was the OK to the devil that the time is come.
In those days they all ate from one plate with their fingers so the food was cooked so it could be easily separated with their fingers. When the food is in a semi-fluid state, or so soft that it is hard to pick up with the fingers, a piece of bread is dipped into the dish and made the vehicle to get the soft food to the mouth. Judas must have been sitting on his left because he was within hands reach and we know that John was on his right. It was like the thief on the cross. Jesus was in the middle and the one on the right believed and the other one didn't. It was almost like Jesus was handing Judas the grace to do what he had to do. Judas means celebrated and Iscariot means the flooring of man. So he was the very foundation of man, the baseness of man celebrated in one act of betrayal. He was the one that carried the bag. Bag in the Greek translates a case like a casket and implies the world. This worldly death he took possession of him and led to his demise.
Jesus is the bread that made the law easy to swallow. We can either eat it and be his followers and obey it, or like Judas choose not to do either. Lord, may we humbly read your Word and follow it. May this world not have any hold on us.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Wed.'s Devo - Wash us.

Read John 13:1-20
Jesus knew that this was the Passover he would fulfill. For years the Jewish people had rehearsed this feast and now it was the real production. Jesus was going to be the passover lamb that would not only cover their sin but take it away. He had just ate the seder with his disciples and the devil had convinced Judas to betray him. Jesus washes the feet of all the disciples, even Judas'. He was doing this as a picture of how they needed to purify their walk. When Peter protested Jesus told him, You may not understand this now but some day you will. Peter still protested and Jesus told him if he didn't let him wash his feet Peter would have no part with him. Peter then wanted his hands and head washed. Jesus explained that if his feet were clean then the rest of the body will be clean. If our walk is touched and purified by Jesus then others our thoughts and the things we do will follow.
Jesus, the perfect teacher asked them if they knew why he did this. Then he explained that he did it as an example of how they should treat each other when he left. It is the greater one that should humble himself because he is the most mature and in a position to influence others to serve. Then Jesus spoke of Judas, the one that would betray him even though they ate together. He reminds them of prophecy. He knows that they don't know what he is talking about but one day will. Then he starts talking about someone he is going to send. He always talked about God who sent him and if the people would believe in him they would also believe in the one who sent him, God. Now he is talking about the one he is going to send and if we receive him then we are receiving Jesus and the one who sent him which is God. It seems a little complicated but, he is talking about the Holy Spirit.
Lord, I know there are things you have told us about the last days that we, like the disciples won't understand until it happens. Prepare us for what is ahead so that it can build our faith when it happens. Wash our walk and may it be blameless before you.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Tues.'s Devo - Jesus Rejection... Our Acceptance

Read John 12:37-50

Even after all the miracles they saw Jesus perform many didn't believe. This was the fulfillment of Is. 53. Looking at that chapter I noted all the rejection Jesus received:
"there is no beauty that we should desire him"
"he is despised and rejected of men"
"we hid as it were our faces from him"
"we esteemed him not"
"we esteemed him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted"
"he was oppressed, and he was afflicted"
"brought as a lamb to the slaughter"
"taken from prison and from judgment"
"cut off out of the land of the living"
"made his grave with the wicked"
This is one of the most powerful chapters in the Old Testament. "Yet it pleased the Lord to bruise him; he put him to grief: when you make his soul an offering for sin, he shall see his seed, he shall prolong his days, and the pleasure of the Lords shall prosper in his hand."
In Isaiah 6 it says that God hardened their hearts and made them blind so that they would not be converted. He told Isaiah to go and make the heart of the people fat, their ears heavy, and shut their eyes. He did this by telling them God's warnings over and over till they became calloused because they refused to obey. Jesus did this by doing miracle after miracle. They had to harden their hearts not to believe. John says that many high officials believed in Jesus but because they loved the praises of men more than the praises of God they kept their mouths shut.
Jesus gives one more plea to them. If you believe on me then you believe on God because we are one and the same. In me alone will you have everlasting life.
Lord, forgive us for rejecting you and your word. Give us open hearts, eyes that see and ears that hear. We gratefully accept all that you did for us on Calvary.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Mon.'s Devo -Thunder or Angels?

Read John 12:27-36
The visiting Greeks had sought Jesus out and this was Jesus response to them. He starts explaining that this is the hour that culminates his coming to earth. He came to die so that God might be glorified through him. God then speaks from heaven and said, "I have glorified my name and will do it again." The people who stood nearby heard it differently: to some it sounded like thunder and to others the voice of an angel. Every time God thunders it is a sign of judgment. But angels are different. They came with messages usually of good things like announcements of babies to barren women, or to explain visions but their messages were always understandable. Thunder isn't. That tells me of the different ears of the people who were standing there. Some had ears to hear and others didn't. If you have ears to hear you will get clear messages out of sounds like thunder. If you don't have ears to hear clear messages will sound like thunder. That is why some people can sit through a sermon and get nothing out of it while others get their whole life changed. It depends on the fertileness of your soul. If you think you know it all, then you will not learn anything else. If you are meek and teachable you will always be increasing in knowledge.
Jesus then told them that this voice they heard came for their sakes. It was time for Satan to be judged and cast out of the earth. And when Jesus is elevated (rises from the dead) he will draw all men to him. I looked up "draw" and it means to literally drag.
Lord, give us ears to hear you plainly. Thank you that though we have never seen you we have been given the grace to believe.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Sat.'s Devo - Freedom

Gal. 5:1 Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ has made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage.
I have this great freedom to be human which is great because if you know me you know that I am more human than most. What I mean is that I make weird mistakes that make me laugh and somehow God chooses to use them to set others free who find it hard to laugh at themselves. I do it so often that I am known for my Ginnyisms. This week was a prime example.
I volunteered to decorate a table for the Holiday Gathering that our church has every Christmas. Over 2,000 ladies will attend so it's a bid deal. I am not a natural at table decorating so I was praying for something unique. God has blessed me with a creative gift so we came up with this idea. I painted 4 white tree balls with a different letter on each ball: N-O-E-L. Then I hung them so they would spell Noel. I just forgot when I painted the other side that the back side would spell L-E-O-N. Well, when I hung them it was too late. I have painted and sprayed them with varnish so it's a done deal. I just pray that the ladies that sit at my table on Saturday will receive some freedom in their life from my little mistake. I thought about putting a sign that reads: "This table is reserved for Noel and Leon." I probably will do it then sign my name. Maybe it will actually give someone a laugh that needs a dose of medicine and freedom. I know my ladies on Thursday night will laugh because they know me and they know anything is possible with me.
If I could give advise to anyone who is a perfectionist it would be to stop being so hard on themselves and learn to laugh at their mistakes. It makes life so much more fun! Thank you Lord, that you love to laugh with me.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Fri.'s Devo - Hosanna!

Read John 12:9-26
Lazareth caused no small commotion and many believed because of this one miracle. The chief priests want to try to kill Lazareth...again. The feast of Passover is approaching so all Jewish men are coming to Jerusalem to celebrate. Jesus rides in on a donkey and the people spread palm branches on the ground and cry out Hosanna: "Blessed is the King of Israel that comes in the name of the Lord." This was the fulfillment of prophecy in Zec. 9:9 "Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion; shout, O daughter of Jerusalem: behold, that King comes to you: he is just, and having salvation; lowly, and riding upon an ass, and upon a colt the foal of an ass." It says that he would have salvation. Hosannah means "Oh, save!"
Jesus walked the same path that the temple lamb had taken that was to be sacrificed for the people. When it passed by the people did the same thing to it: they praised with palm trees and cried out, "Hosanna". The lamb was the picture of Jesus the Passover lamb that came to save the world.
Note there were Greeks that traveled to attend the feast. There has always been a remnant of non-Jews that have been grafted in to God's family. God's plan has always been for the whole world, he just used the Jewish nation to reveal his nature through. These Greeks found some of the disciples and told them they wanted to see Jesus. When Jesus found out he went deeper. He told them the only way they could really see him was to die. And only by dying could they serve him.
We like Jesus bring God's salvation. We carry the presence of God with us everywhere we go. May we hear the cry of the people around us crying "Hosanna, Save us!"

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Thurs.'s Devo - The Expedient

Read John 12:1-8
So I was wrong on Tues. Mary anointed Jesus feet after Lazareth was raised from the dead. Sorry.
Mary was not the first to anoint Jesus with oil. There was a woman in Luke 7 that anointed Jesus head with expensive ointment and washed his feet with her tears and wiped them with her hair. He was in Simon's house who was a Pharisee. He was pondering in his heart why Jesus couldn't discern that she was a sinner since he claimed to be a prophet. While he was thinking this, Jesus told him the parable about the two debtors who owed different amounts of money. Their creditor forgave them both. Jesus asked Simon which one of them loved him the most and he replied the one that was forgiven the most. Jesus commended him on choosing the right answer then turned it on him and rebuked him for not doing what this woman was doing: washing his feet, kissing him, and anointing his head with oil. About the woman and said, "Her sins which were many, are forgiven; for she loved much; but to who little is forgiven the same loves little."
Verse 4 says that Simon was Judas Iscariot's father and Judas is also thinking only of himself. Neither of them honored Jesus or his worthiness. Judas was a vessel of destruction, a tool of the devil's. He was a thief like his father, the devil. The devil comes to kill, steal, and destroy. Judas turned Jesus over to be killed, he stole from Jesus and he was out to destroy God's plan. His end was not so good.
Notice the devil's tactic. He uses condemnation. Why are you wasting such expensive oil when you could give it to the poor? The devil always tries to condemn us with works. I love Jesus' response. It was not time to give money to the is time to anoint me for burial. My death will benefit every person rich and poor. God always sees the bigger picture. Lord, help us to see that not all things that look good are expedient. Teach us obedience in all we do.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Wed.'s Devo - Resurrection 11-11-09

Read John 11:19-45
This is the account of Jesus raising Lazareth from the grave. Jesus spoke to Martha about being the resurrection and the life. The word resurrection was not mentioned in the Old Testament but it was alluded to in Ps. 16:10 "For thou wilt not leave my soul in hell." And in Ps. 49:15, "But God will redeem my soul from the power of the grave; for he shall receive me." Also in Is. 26:19. So we see the concept was accepted and many believed in a resurrection, except the Sadducees which was sad-you-see.
Jesus raised people from the dead: the son of the widow of Nain, the daughter of Jairus, and now Lazareth. The only difference is that they are not changed but just resuscitated. When Jesus resurrected he was changed and had a new body that could walk through walls, appear and disappear. He was the first fruit to rise from the dead. This event with Lazareth is just days from when Jesus will fulfill this very moment.
When Jesus saw the people grieving he groaned in the spirit. The word groaning means to snort with anger and to have indignation on. Death is the last enemy to be defeated. Jesus is the exact opposite of death. I wonder if it was really difficult to see people grieving over his greatest enemy. He groaned again when he walked up to the grave. The grave was in a cavern and a great millstone was placed in front of it. Remember yesterday how we said that Lazareth was a picture of the Holy Spirit. He was hidden away behind the curse of the law (the millstone). No longer were men going to have to work their way to God. The Holy Spirit was going to lead them to God. The Holy Spirit came forth from death, bound in grave clothes but Jesus said to loose him and let him go. When Jesus had died and was placed in his cavern, the next day all they found were his grave clothes. He came back to earth a spiritual being. He died to set his spirit free and his spirit is the Holy Spirit.
Lord, Thank you for the cruel death you died to bring us your Holy Spirit.

Wed.'s Devo - Resurrection

Read John 11:19-45
This is the account of Jesus raising Lazareth from the grave. Jesus spoke to Martha about being the resurrection and the life. The word resurrection was not mentioned in the Old Testament but it Sadducees which was sad-you-see.
Jesus raised people from the dead: the son of the widow of Nain, the daughter of Jairus, and now Lazareth. The only difference is that they are not changed but just resuscitated. When Jesus resurrected he was changed and had a new body that could walk through walls, appear and disappear. He was the first fruit to rise from the dead. This event with Lazareth is just days from when Jesus will fulfill this very moment.
When Jesus saw the people grieving he groaned in the spirit. The word groaning means to snort with anger and to have indignation on. Death is the last enemy to be defeated. Jesus is the exact opposite of death. I wonder if it was really difficult to see people grieving over his greatest enemy. He groaned again when he walked up to the grave. The grave was in a cavern and a great millstone was placed in front of it. Remember yesterday how we said that Lazareth was a picture of the Holy Spirit. He was hidden away behind the curse of the law (the millstone). No longer were men going to have to work their way to God. The Holy Spirit was going to lead them to God. The Holy Spirit came forth from death, bound in grave clothes but Jesus said to loose him and let him go. When Jesus had died and was placed in his cavern, the next day all they found were his grave clothes. He came back to earth a spiritual being. He died to set his spirit free and his spirit is the Holy Spirit.
Lord, Thank you for the cruel death you died to bring us your Holy Spirit.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Tues's Devo - Our Helper

Read John 11:1-18
Lazareth is sick. He is the brother of the Mary that anointed Jesus' feet with oils for his burial. How ironic that she prepared Jesus for burial and her brother is going to actually be buried first. The minute Jesus heard the news he prophesied Lazareth's fate: this sickness would not end in death. Through what Lazareth endures, Jesus is going to be glorified. So Jesus waits 2 days then announces to his disciples that they are going into Judea again. Wasn't this the place they kept trying to stone Jesus? Jesus response to that was vs. 9-11. In essence if you walk in the spirit there is no way the dark evil can touch you because the spirit is the light. But if you walk in fear and darkness then you need to be afraid. Then he threw in the part about Lazareth being asleep and him needing to go wake him up. Needless to say the disciples didn't understand he was talking about death. So Jesus comes out and plainly tells them that Lazareth is dead.
I love Thomas. He is so real and honest. He says, "Let's go so that we can die with him." I guess Thomas didn't understand about walking in the light because he was sure that they weren't going to get out of this one alive.
They got to Bethany and found that Lazareth had been dead for 4 days. Lazareth means helper and its root is the same one we get for the Holy Spirit who is our helper. Lazareth was a type of the Holy Spirit who had been hidden for 4,000 years. (Remember a thousand years is as a day to the Lord). Man has been on the earth for 4,000 years and the Holy Spirit is fixing to be resurrected when Jesus dies. This is a picture of that very thing. Verse 18 says that Bethany is only 15 furlongs from Jerusalem. Is that saying that this event is only 15 days from Jesus' crucifixion in Jerusalem? I bet so.
God, I am continually amazed at how calculating and planned your plan is. You have this thing orchestrated and we get to be a small part of the music you are making. Thank you for your wisdom and your great love for us. Thank you for sending Jesus down to us. May we be instruments of your glory.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Monday's Devo- Your Kingdom Come

Read John 10: 23-42
The Jews are still trying to make Jesus come out and say that he is the Messiah so they can arrest him on charges of blasphemy. He wants them to come to the conclusion themselves so he points to the evidence to prove the point. His works are his proof but because they refused to believe them then they are not his sheep. This goes against all they believe. Since they are Jews then they are God's children; how dare he insinuate that they are not. But when he said that he and the Father are one that was the last straw. They picked up stones to throw at him. He asked them what good work were they stoning him for. They said they weren't stoning him for his works but for his blasphemy.
They try to get Jesus on semantics but Jesus always has an answer. He is the word come to life so they can't beat him on technicalities. What amazes me is the hardness of their hearts and how they couldn't see the miracles and the evidence. All they could see was the jot and tittle of the law. Jesus tried to open their hearts by saying if you can't believe me at least believe my works. But they couldn't even do that.
Once again he did the Jesus slip and disappeared and showed up at the place that John baptized him into his ministry and John pronounced him the Passover Lamb that takes away the sins of the world. People here were hungry. They had walked miles to come out to find John the Baptist, a man wearing nothing but camel's hair and listen to his words of promise. The people recognized that Jesus was this promise and many believed on him.
Reading this I have to ask myself: Do I have any good work that someone would want to stone me for? Have I upset the spiritual kingdom enough to be persecuted like Jesus did? I have to say a big NO. Do I want to? That's a tricky one. I want to see Satan's kingdom fall but it won't do that without a fight. I don't know if I'm ready for the fight. I want to be. Lord, train my hands for war. I want to see your kingdom come and the kingdom of darkness fall.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Fri.'s Devo - God's Got the Power.... all of it.

Read John 10:19-22
After Jesus gives the exhortation about the good shepherd and the hireling the Jews are once again divided and upset. I'm sure they are wondering where they fit into the story. Is Jesus referring to them as the sheep, the hireling, the wolf, or the thief? Good question. Some of them accused Jesus of being crazy and having a devil. Others said there was no way a devil could open the eyes of the blind. Good call. The devil can only deceive and counterfeit what God does. Only God can create good; the devil can only try to copy it.
In the Exodus plagues the Egyptians could turn their rods to snakes, turn the water to blood, and bring up frogs from the rivers but they couldn't reverse the curse. They couldn't turn the blood back to water or send the frogs back to the rivers, or try to turn their rods back into snakes mainly because Moses' rod had swallowed their rods. Only God could reverse the curse. The devil's power is limited. He couldn't turn the dust to lice, bring flies, bring boils, rain down hail, bring locusts, fill one small section of the earth with darkness for 3 days and kill the firstborn of every household. God's judgments are just and fair and God's power is omnipotent.
I read something yesterday that tried to put fear in me about our country until I realized the unlimited power of our God. He is so able to keep me safe or receive me up to heaven. To live is Christ and to die is gain. It's a win-win situation. Our president is not our all-powerful leader... God is our all-powerful God in total control of the world. Lord, we put our trust in the God who is.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Thurs.'s Devo - The Good Shepherd

Read John 10:1-18
I've read this parable of the sheepfold over and over and keep thinking I'm missing something. In the last chapter the Jews have accused Jesus of calling them blind and now he is implying that they are also deaf and not God's. Jesus gives us the analogy of a sheepfold. Interestingly sheep means one who walks forward. You can only enter the sheepfold legally through the door which is Jesus, but you can enter illegally by climbing up some other way. Some say there are many ways to God but if you don't come through Jesus you are the thief and the robber. This is where I get confused: you enter in by the door but the shepherd leads you out. That tells me that we get saved to go out. It is when we are "out" that we need to follow the sheperd and know his voice.
Jesus is the good shepherd but there is one that will try to lead us called the hireling. He will try to gather people to himself but when the wolf comes the heirling will only fend for himself. If we stay with Jesus, the good shepherd, he will lay down his life to save us. The thief's job is to steal, kill and destroy. Jesus came to give us abundant life. The wolf's job is to seize us and scatter us. Jesus' job is to bring us all into one fold.
Just like the godhead is a three-part entity: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, the enemy has three parts also: the devil, the false prophet, and the beast. (Rev. 20:10) I would think that in this parable the devil would be the thief and the robber, the false prophet would be the hireling that tries to deceive and the beast would be the wolf. The good news is that we are under the protection of the good shepherd and all we have to do is stay with him and do what he says and go where he says to go and we are totally safe.
Lord, may we never fear the enemy because you are our good shepherd.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Wed.'s Devo - I Once Was Blind...

Read John 9: 17-41
We are still discussing the blind man that Jesus healed. When asked by the Jews who the healed man thought that Jesus was he said, a prophet. Amazing that the man didn't know who Jesus was. The Jews didn't believe the man was really blind so they call in his parents. The parents testified of the healing but were afraid when asked who healed him. They didn't want to be thrown out of the synagogue for believing in Jesus so they told them to ask their son because he was old enough to speak for himself. (I guess people have sold out for smaller things than that.)
So they go back to the blind-now-seeing man and tell him to give God the praise and not Jesus because he is a sinner. He gives them a great answer, "Whether he is a sinner or not, I don't know, but one thing I know, that I was blind, and now I see." The Jews can't stand it; they want to know HOW he opened his eyes. Maybe they can get him on a technicality of how he administered the miracle. The blind-now-seeing man is getting exasperated and wants to go home so he answers, "I've already told you and you didn't listen: why do you want to hear it again? Do you want to be his disciples also?" I bet that burned their chaps. Then they continue to explain that they are Moses' disciples, and they know that God spoke to Moses, but they didn't know about this Jesus. So the man replies, "How could this man do this miracle and you not know who he is? Noone since creation has ever opened the eyes of a man born blind. He couldn't do this except through God."
This shamed the Jews who were suppose to be the teachers not the ones being taught so they threw the man out of the synagogue (the very thing the parents feared).
Jesus found him and led him to salvation. Jesus told him that he came to bring sight to those who couldn't see and blindness to those who could. The Pharisees asked him if he was talking about them. Jesus told them that because they claimed they could see their sin remains.
If our spiritual eyes are opened then we are constantly aware of our sin and our need for God. If we are blinded we think we are OK and don't need God.
Lord, help us not to be blind to our need for a Savior every moment. And help us not to fear man who can only take our life not the life inside us.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Tues.'s Devo - Open Our Eyes

Read John 9:1-16
Jesus passes by a man who is blind from death and his disciples want to know if he is blind because he sinned or his parents. They attributed sickness with sin. Jesus said he was born this way so that God's works might be shown in him. Then he throws in that nugget about working in the day because when the night comes, no one can work. And as long as Jesus is in the world there is light in the world. It is still light now because Jesus is in us, but when we are taken out of the world it will be dark and no one will be able to see whether they have eyes or not.
Then Jesus recreated the scene in Genesis where God formed man out of the dust of the earth only he only made the eyes this time. When I meditated on this seemingly gross act I saw something profound. Water is a picture of spirit. So the spirit of Jesus came out of his mouth and created sight for a person who couldn't see. Then he told the man to go baptize his eyes in the pool that meant "set apart". When he did this he came back with the ability to see natural and spiritual things for the first time. He was so changed some people had a hard time believing it was him.
The Pharisees came and asked him how he could see. They argued about Jesus "working" on the Sabbath and whether a sinner could do such miraculous deeds. Once again they are divided among themselves.
The truth comes with a sword that divides soul from spirit, joints from marrow, and divides our thoughts from our intentions. It even divides families and friends. Lord, apply your sword to our hearts. Cut out what needs to be taken out and give us eyes to see.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Monday's Devo - Stumbling Over the Rock

Read John 8: 42-59
The Jews were totally deceived. They thought God was their father but Jesus told them that the devil was their father because they obeyed him rather than God. The proof was in how they accepted the son sent by the father. The son looks, talks, feels, and acts like the father so much that they are one in every way. You can't have one without the other.
They don't like that so they tell Jesus that HE is demon-possessed. Jesus tells them that he is not demon-possessed but he honors God and they don't. He continues to explain that he doesn't seek his own glory but there is one that will seek them out and judge them one day. If they will believe in what Jesus says they will not see death. (I think he throws hard things at them just to get them mad.) Not see death....hard to swallow. Of course the Jews stumble over this one. Who wouldn't without God's help. Now they are convinced he is demon possessed. How can he say a man will never die. Their great father and hero Abraham is dead along with all the great prophets.
Jesus answered by explaining that it is God that honors him - the same God they are claiming to have. Then he claimed to know God and Abraham who looked ahead and saw his day coming and was excited about it. That was another hard thing to swallow. How did he know Abraham? He gives them the punch line: Before Abraham was, I am. That was the same answer Abraham got when he asked God who he was: I am. They couldn't take it anymore and picked up stones to kill him but Jesus did the Holy Ghost slip and disappeared.
It is amazing to me that Jesus spent so much time with the Jews whose spiritual eyes were so closed. I guess it was so that they would one day look back and see how blind they were and all the chances they had to accept the truth. We get to read it with our spiritual eyes opened and it is not hard for us to see the truth. But looking through their clouded eyes I can see how stupid the things that Jesus said must have looked to them.
I am so thankful that God has given me eyes to see and ears to hear. Let's be good stewards of these eyes and ears we have been so graciously given.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Fri.'s Devo - Slave or Son?

John 8:31-41
Jesus continues talking to those gathered and tells them that if they actually live what he says then they will be set free. This is puzzling to them since, as Jews, they have never been a slave and thought they were free. But Jesus is talking about being a slave of sin. If you are a slave to sin then you will not always live in the house as a slave and the house will not be your permanent home, but if you are the son then the house will always be your home; the home is your inheritance and so is the slave. The house is the family of God. If the son sets the slave free then he is really free. Then Jesus tells them that he knows they are seeds of Abraham and their seed is trying to kill him because they have refused to accept his words. Jesus is speaking what he has discerned and experienced with his father and they in turn have received the same thing from their father. Jesus is referring to their father, the devil. They tell him that their father is Abraham to which Jesus says if you were Abraham's children you would do the works of Abraham. And Abraham would never try to kill someone who spoke truth. Once again he tells them that they do the deeds of their father. I'm going to stop in the middle of verse 41 because I think there is a profound truth in these verses. We have a choice to be a slave or a son. A slave serves a master out of fear or reverence which is still out of fear. A son loves a father out of gratefulness and freedom. The slave has to work to keep his job; a son freely receives an inheritance just because he is the son. So if we are abiding in the Word and obeying it we are his son. If we worship God out of obligation, fear, and are still a slave to our sins then we are a slave and will have to perform to keep our position. So which one are we? If we are a son we should be doing the works of our Father. He healed, set free, saved, loved, taught, walked in the miraculous and had an amazing relationship with God. That is our inheritance as sons. Lord, teach us to walk as sons and not as slaves to sin.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Thurs.'s Devo - Open the Treasury of Heaven

Read John 8:13-30
The Pharasees loved technicalities. They strain at a knat and swallow a camel. They are accusing Jesus of having only one witness. The law says that by the witness of two or more a thing is decreed so since Jesus is his only witness that he is from God then his witness is false. Jesus knew who he was and that he was sent to earth by God and what other witness do you need? That wasn't good enough for them, they wanted to know where his father was. Jesus tells them that if he knew God they wouldn't have to ask that question because they would recognize God in him. Jesus is teaching them these things in the treasury of the temple. He is giving them the true treasures of God which reveal their hearts. "A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth what is good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart brings forth that which is evil: for of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks." Luke 6:45
Jesus continues to confound them telling them that he is going somewhere they can't come. They wonder if he is going to commit suicide? He tells them they are from below and he is from above; they are from this world and he is not, and if they choose not to believe this, they will die in their sins. This had to tick them off so they ask him point blank, "Who are you?" They want so badly for him to say he is the Messiah, then they can arrest him for blasphemy. Jesus wisely doesn't ever come out and say it, he just implies it. He tells him he is the one from the beginning and he is speaking what God tells him to say. They didn't understand that he was talking about his father, God. Jesus knows this and tells them that when he is lifted up then they will know that he is God. He is talking about the cross.
The more he talked the more people were moved and believed in him.
Lord, thank you that you have given us grace to believe who you are. You are the greatest treasure ever.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Wed.'s Devo - Shine God's Light

Read John 8:12
Jesus throws this profound statement in the middle of two totally different situations so let's pick it out and talk about it. He say's "I am the light of the world: he that follows me will not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life."
The first time God speaks in the Bible he says, "Let there be light." Light flooded the earth that didn't come from a single source but was everywhere. This word light in the Hebrew means illumination; glory; happiness. He separated this light from darkness and called it Day. He called darkness Night. Darkness means misery; destruction; death; ignorance; sorrow; wickedness. Later on the 4th day he created 2 great lights in the sky for light and this light means a luminous body; a chandelier; a menorah. The sun and the moon are pictures of what light means. When Jesus said, I am the light, he was saying I am the manifest presence of all that is light: glory, understanding, happiness, illumination of truth. If you follow his ways you will walk in wisdom and revelation; your spiritual eyes will be illumined. In the OT they were to use pure beaten olive oil for the light in the tabernacle. This oil is a picture of the Holy Spirit that lightens our way to truth. We cannot read the Bible and understand it without the Holy Spirit breathing life on it and opening our eyes to see.
In the times that we are living, darkness is getting darker and light is getting lighter. Is. 30:26 says that "the light of the moon shall be as the light of the sun, and the light of the sun shall be sevenfold, as the light of seven days, in the day that the Lord binds up the breach of his people and heals the stroke of their wound." I have always been fascinated by that verse and memorized it even though I didn't understand it. I still don't totally know what it means but I think it means that in the last days the church will shine forth the glory of God and all the past glory of all the church ages will culminate in the last day's church. In that day God will bring unity in the body and heal our hurts and offenses.
May we shine forth your glory in this dark world.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Tues.'s Devo - Who are you?

Read John 8:2-11
I have to go back to yesterdays scripture because I think there is so much to the story of the woman caught in adultery. The reading for that day in the temple was Jer. 17:13 which says," O Lord, the hope of Israel, all that forsake thee shall be ashamed, and they that depart from me shall be written in the earth, because they have forsaken the Lord, the fountain of living waters." I wonder if Jesus was writing their names in the dirt and the fact that Jesus had no way of knowing their name brought conviction and unarmed them. He must have started with the names of the oldest ones first.
In the OT if a woman was caught in adultery she would have to drink bitter water made of the dirt. If she was innocent nothing would happen, if she was guilty her abdomen would swell and her thigh would rot.
In the NT story the very dirt that would have condemned her, set her free.
How does that relate to our lives? If we are the Pharisee wanting justice to be served then Jesus writes our name on that sin and convicts us of the very thing we are judging. If we are the one being judged for our sin, Jesus delivers us from the condemning voices in our head and tells us to go and sin no more. Maybe we can be Jesus in the story and silence the accusers and say to the one who is in sin, "your sins are forgiven, go and sin no more."
Lord, I find myself in the place of the Pharisees most of the time and I'm pretty sure that is the worse place to be. Humble my heart to see my sin and repent. Help me to go and sin no more.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Monday's Devo - Dust Writers

Read John 8:1-11
Jesus would spend his nights in the mountain with God. I wonder if he got his marching orders for the day and wisdom about how to handle the situations he would face that day. The next morning he went to the temple and started teaching the people when the Pharasees showed up with a lady caught in the act of adultery. They wanted to know if Jesus had the guts to pronounce death on this woman like the law commanded. When they asked him whether they should stone her or not Jesus was silent and instead stooped down and started writting in the dirt. When they demanded an answer he stood up and said, "He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her." Then he stooped back down and wrote in the ground. Conviction sifted through the crowd of accusers till they left, the oldest to the youngest. When only Jesus and the woman were left, Jesus stood up and asked the woman where are your accusers? has no man condemned you? she answered, "No man". So Jesus said, neither do I, go and sin no more.
So why did Jesus write in the dirt with his finger? I studied other times the finger of God wrote things in dust and what they wrote.
1. The finger of God wrote the law on tablets of stone. Etching produces dust. The law brought judgment and death.
2. In the 3rd plague Moses struck the dust and the dust became lice that attacked men and beast. When the Egyptian enchanters tried to mimic this act they couldn't and told Pharaoh, "This is the finger of God".
3. When Belshazzar was king of Babylon the finger of God wrote on the plaster wall (made of dust). It was a warning of coming judgment.
4. Jesus told the crowd that he cast out devils with the finger of God.
God's finger always brought judgment on the sinner. I think he was trying to teach a lesson. The judgments of God are not to harm us but to set us free. In this story his writing in the dust set a sinner free and gave her a second chance. Only God can judge because we are all mere mortals made from dust. God judges the self-righteous and sets the humble free.
May we remember this when we are tempted to judge.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Fri.'s Devo - Thirsty?

Read John 7:37-53
It is the last day of the feast of Tabernacles and the priests are carrying these golden pitchers of water down the mountain from the Pool of Siloam to pour on the altar. The Pool of Siloam means living water which gets its water from the Gihon Springs which means bursting forth. So it is a picture of God sending the living water bursting forth from heaven down to earth and pouring it out on the altar for the people. The priest would read Is. 44 which says, "I will pour water upon him that is thirsty, and floods upon the dry ground: I will pour my spirit upon your seed, and my blessing upon your offspring; And they shall spring up as among the grass, as willows by the water courses." It is on that day that Jesus stood up and cried, "If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink. He that believes on me, as the scripture said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water."
The next verse tells us what this living water is: it is the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit had not been given to the people because Jesus hadn't died yet. Many people believed in him when he said this but many still tripped over the fact that they thought he was from Galilee. They knew that the scriptures said the Messiah would come out of Bethlehem. I often wonder why noone asked Jesus where he was born. He could have cleared it up for them but noone asked him. So some believed, some didn't and some wanted to kill him.
This reminds me of times I have bargained with God and said 'If you just do this then I'll do that'. When really all God wants me to do is blindly believe - follow my spirit, even when I don't understand, it doesn't make sense, and I don't want to. Everything about Jesus was a mystery: he spoke with authority and demons were afraid of him, but he was a commoner. He did miracles and unraveled the Law with such wisdom but he came from Galilee. Face it, it took courage and faith to believe Jesus was the Messiah.
Jesus carried the anointing of the Holy Spirit. That is what he came to give us. John the Baptist ushered in Jesus and Jesus ushered in the Holy Spirit. Lord, fill us with your Holy Spirit so that out of our bellies will flow this living water.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Thurs.'s Devo - We Live By Faith

Read John 7: 30-34
I love how there seemed to be a magnetic force around Jesus. Noone could penetrated it till God said they could. They tried to take Jesus but couldn't because it was not his time yet. I bet that was interesting to watch. Many of the people believed on him because they saw the miraculous power Jesus possessed. The Jews got jealous over all the popularity Jesus seems to be getting and once again tried to take him but Jesus' words stopped them. "I'll be with you a little while longer, then I'm going back to the one who sent men and though you look for me, you won't find me, and further more you can't come where I am going." That stumped the Jews. Where could he possible hide that they wouldn't be able to find him? Maybe with the Gentiles. And where could he go that they wouldn't be able to come. Jesus always taught in riddles but he wasn't just speaking to them, he was speaking to us right now. He speaks to eternity. This is the message he gives to the unbelieving but to the believing he says, "I'll be with you forever, I will never leave you. You may come where I am going and when you seek me I will be found of you. I have gone ahead of you to prepare a place for you so that you can be where I am forever." It is still puzzling to us how all this is going to happen but we have learned that putting faith in a God we can't see gives hope that carries us through whatever this life has to offer or throw at us.
Yesterday I was at Wal-mart and a man in line was telling me about how bad his life was: broken relationship, returning cancer, etc. He finally said, "You know, life just happens." And I responded, "Yes, but God is bigger than life." He stopped and thought about that for a second and said, "Yes, I guess he is."
Lord, thank you that you are the answer to all life's problems. You really have gone before us and you will be forever with us.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Wed.'s Devo - Religious Spirits

Read John 7:1-29
After Jesus gave his controversial lesson on eating his flesh and drinking his blood he had to avoid Judea where the religious Jews wanted to kill him. Instead he hung out in Galilee which means "heathen circle". Interesting that he was safer in the heathen circle than in the religious circle. But the feast of tabernacles was coming and all Jewish men were to go to Jerusalem to celebrate it so Jesus' "brothers" wanted him to go and do his miracles in front of the crowd so he could be famous. It says that they didn't believe in him so they must have been trying to set him up to be arrested. Jesus' response was insightful. He knew their hearts and told them it was not time for him to die. Then he explained that the world didn't hate them because they were friends of the world. It hated him because he exposed it for the evil it was. So he told them to go to the feast without him. He knew he would never miss a feast but he wanted to go incognito.
People were looking for him and discussing his validity when Jesus appeared in the middle of the feast and went up to the temple and started teaching. The Jews were awed by his knowledge of the scriptures. Jesus explained that his wisdom didn't come from man's teaching but from God's and he didn't seek his own glory but God's. Then he stuck the knife in with: "Didn't Moses give you that law, and yet none of you keep it and by the way, why are you trying to kill me? (Isn't murder one of the 10 Commandments?)" There he goes again offending the religious. They accuse him of being demon possessed and innocently ask "who is trying to kill you?" Jesus must have just healed a man because he defends his actions by asking them a question. If it is OK to circumcise a man on the sabbath why is it a sin to heal a man on the sabbath? Aren't your judgments a little off?
The people start figuring out that Jesus is the one everyone is so upset about. If the Jews want to kill him so bad, why aren't they arresting him. Maybe they think he is the Messiah. But wait, they knew where Jesus was born and the scriptures say that they won't know where the Messiah will come from. Jesus, knowing what they were mumbling addresses it with his typical heavenly answer that no one can interpret without having a spiritual mind. You can read it in verses 28 and 29. One thing about Jesus, he knows the truth and is sticking to it: I am from God and God sent me.
I wonder if we stumble over little things in the word and let our fleshly mind try to figure it out? God cannot be figured out in our reasonable mind; only in our spirit. Lord, renew our minds and forgive us of religious spirits that offend your spirit.