Saturday, January 31, 2009

Saturday's Devo - Meet Me in the Bathroom

Are you ready for another dream? I dreamed that Dave and I were at a girl's softball game. The team we were supporting were losing horribly. The game was in between innings and I walked across the field and turned around and walked back. I looked at the pitcher and said, "I'm the field walker." I said it jokingly because I didn't know what I was doing out there. When I got back to the stands Dave told me they wanted me to go in next inning. I realized I needed to go to the bathroom first. I looked for a Por-a-John and saw 3 down the street. I started walking that way. Once down there I couldn't find them. I ended up in this ladies' beautiful garden. When I asked her where they were she pointed back the way I came. I started back. I passed an outside cafe and asked the lady if I could use her bathroom. She said that I could but I had to be careful because the bathroom was downstairs and full of toxic waste. She said that as soon as I finished I would need to wash my clothers. I told her I couldn't do that because I was fixing to play in a game. End of dream.
This is the third "bathroom" dream I have had. I had a friend help me with the interpretation. I think that the game of life is being played and I am in the stands watching. I think these are my jr. high girls that I teach on Wed. nights. I am to "walk the land" and claim their ground for Jesus. They are losing the game and need me to help (get involved). I need to go find a prayer closet because there is something I need to be confessing, repenting of, claiming, over them. I search in the garden (the abundance) and in the cesspool of toxic waste (the curse) and couldn't find it. I am not looking in the right places. Last night I asked God to allow me to dream the answer to where the bathroom was or what exactly what I needed it for.
I dreamed I was involved in a heist. I was looking for something valuable that I was going to steal. It was an old Bible. I was hiding it behind a furnace. "Furnaces" have to do with trials and persecution. I think the specific prayers I am looking for are going to come through my trials. I think I am suppose to share my trials that I go through and show them how the Word of God got me through it. Since it was an old Bible, I probably need to tell them my trials as a teen-ager like them.
Lord, I pray for these girls and the trials that they are going through. I pray that you would ground them in your word. Train them to hear your voice, mold them to the image you have created them to conform to, cause them to draw near to you and walk with You in Your garden. Help them to keep their bodies pure from all the toxic waste of the world. Raise up examples for our youth. AMEN!

Friday, January 30, 2009

Friday's Devo. - Let the Weak say I am Strong! or (Selah not Keilah)

Sorry, I'm so corny!!!

Read 1 Sam 23:1 "Then they told David, saying, Behold, the Philistines fight against Keilah, and they rob the threshingfloors."
I couldn't get past this verse because I knew it was packed with insight. The Old Testament has so much to say about spiritual warfare. It fills in all the cracks that are left in the New Testament, only they are hidden and you have to dig them out. I love to dig!
David is told that the little fortified city of Keilah is being attacked. "Philistines" means "migratory" as in "the Devil roams about to and fro seeking whom he may devour". It also means "to roll in dust" and since man is made of dust (death) and will return to dust (death) ; it means Satan is all in the business of bringing death to us. These Philistines are attacking this little town of Keilah. "Keilah" means "let the faint be alienated". They even built walls and gates to keep the enemy out. Great attempt, but iron bars will not deter a spirit. It is like the Muslims putting stones against the Golden Gate so Jesus will not be able to come back. lol. The last thing the faint need to be is alienated. God created us to need each other which is why we are called a "body". We need our body parts intact. Keilah was fearful, so the thing it feared came upon it. The Philistines.
The Phillistines were robbing their threshingfloors. Threshingfloors were open void areas. The devil loves to find void areas in our life to occupy - like our thoughts, our time, our relationships, etc. When an unclean spirit is gone out of a man, he walks through dry places, seeking rest. He found rest in this alienated town. He always picks off the weak that are by themselves. If we are weak, the last thing we need to be is alone. If 2 men walk together when one falls the other will lift him up. Our void areas have to be filled up with the Word of God. It is our only defense.
Lord, surround us with people we can reach out to when we are weak and we can pull up when we are strong. Fill our void places with your Word. Your Word is truth. We will not be afraid of the enemy because the battle is Yours and You always win!

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Thursday's Devo - Kill Doeg before He Kills You!

Read 1 Sam 22
The people that followed David were the same kind of people that followed Jesus: those in distress, those in debt, and everyone that was discontented with their lives. (Just a thought.)
Saul, on the other hand, does not know how to make friends or influence people. He scolds his men because noone told him that his son, Jonathan, and David had made a covenant with one another. He uses intimidation, reminding his men that David wouldn't give them fields and vineyards and make them all captains like he did. So Doeg steps forward to cheer the king and get the kings favor. He tells Saul of seeing David back at Nob and how the priests gave David and his men bread and Goliath's sword. Saul is livid and has all the priests brought to him to interrogate. They plead innocence but Saul will have no mercy. He tells his men to kill all the priests and their families. When his men refuse, Doeg steps forward again and administers the blood bath--85 priests along with their wives, children and animals. Only one of the priests sons escapes to tell David. David feels responsible for letting Doeg live.
"Doeg" means "anxious". Fear can be a very dangerous enemy. It is the opposite of faith. When we let it come and go without killing it, it will cause chaos in our lives like it did for David. When David had a glimpse of "Doeg" he should have gotten rid of him. When we feel the beginings of faith fading, we need to kill the fear before it comes back with its army of "doubt", "intimidation", "discouragement", "illness", etc. It will not only wreck havoc in your life, but in others you are responsible for. It cost the lives of all the priests. Fear is like a contageous cancer that spreads to others quickly.
Lord, show us the first signs of fear so we can silence its whispers before it becomes a shout. We put on the helment of salvation to cover minds and ears.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Wednesday's Devo - High Definition

Read 1 Sam. 21
I have always found that the truth is the best policy when dealing with the household of God. I wonder if David had told Ahimelech the truth; would it have saved his life in the end? David probably thought by not telling him the truth, he was saving it. We'll never know. Anyway, David was fleeing the wrath of Saul and came to Nob hungry and without a weapon. He lied to the priest and was given holy bread for his men and Goliath's sword. The only hitch was Doeg, Saul's head shephard was there and overheard what was going on.
David then took his men to Gath. David was afraid of the king of Achish, king of Gath so he acted insane. It worked and the king didn't want anything to do with him.
David made a lot of decisions off the cuff. I wonder if he prayed for wisdom that morning or he just decided to do this all on his own. It sounds more like he reacted rather than acted. He was out to save his skin; period.
I find that my snap decisions are usually wrong. If I will just take a minute and ask God for his guidance and calm my anxious heart to hear, I will get a much better picture and not miss the little details that will come back and bite me later. Acting out of fear distorts right thinking. David should have told the priest the truth and let the priest pray for him. The priest probably still would have given him the bread and the sword, but he would have been better prepared for Saul's questions later. He also could have warned David about Doeg so David could have killed him then.
I will have to say the plea for insanity was a pretty ingenious trick. It just goes to show, the enemy isn't "all knowing" or very discerning.
Lord, we do not want to see through our own distorted thinking. We want your eyes that see in HD. Give us wisdom to wait on You and let you show us the little details that are paramount in our walk.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Tuesday's Devo - We are Living Epistles

Read 1 Sam 20
The Bible is full of prophetic acts. They seem like a waste of time and a little foolish for the carnal mind, but are powerful acts that bring about results. Today's reading is an example of this. David is discussing with Jonathan about Saul's great hatred toward David. Jonathan has a hard time believing that Saul would want to kill David and not tell him. So David comes up with a plan to settle the issue once and for all. He decides not to show up for his monthly dinners with Saul. He knows that this is going to strike a very deep chord with Saul and Jonathan will be a witness. They pick out a time and place to meet, only they will do this prophetic act. Jonathan will shoot 3 arrows - close if it is OK for David to come close to the king again. If Saul is mad then Jonathan will shoot the arrows far to show David to depart away from Saul. Then they renew their covenant of friendship and loyalty to each other and their heritage.
Jonathan goes to the new-moon dinners and on the 2nd night Saul inquires about David. When Jonathan tells him he has gone home to be with his family, Saul looses any restraint he has had with Jonathan and he reveals the evil in his heart. He curses Jonathan and tells him that David is a direct threat to Jonathan's future as the king. He gets so out of control he throws his own javelin at Jonathan. Jonathan now has the picture. He leaves the table and the next morning he goes out to give David the news. He shoots the arrows beyond the boy, then tells the boy to leave. David comes out of his hiding place and he and Jonathan hugged and cried on each others shoulders. They parted with Jonathan's blessing.
So I ask, why did they have to go through the whole arrow scene? Why couldn't Jonathan just tell David. I think that our actions, like our prayers set things in motion. First the natural, then the spiritual. Truth is, David would go farther than Jonathan. David was going to be the next king and Jonathan knew this in his heart. This arrow was a departing for David, he would now go be Saul's enemy and join the Philistines.
I know that we live prophetic acts without realizing it. God allowed a circumstance to come into my life - being rear-ended by the truck to get me to go to a chiropractor and get realigned. I feel like that is what he is doing in my spiritual life. He is realigning me and my thoughts which sometimes comes with a jolt! Lord, open our eyes to see that we are living epistles living out your Word.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Monday's Devo - Blessed are the Peacemakers for They Shall be Called the Children of God.

Read 1 Sam 19
Saul has tried to kill David, first with his own spear, then the spear of the Philistines and both times David has prevailed. Now he tries to tell Jonathan and all his servants that they should kill David. Jonathan comes to David's defense and tries to change Saul's heart toward David. He changes his mind for a short time, but not his heart. David gets to come back to the palace until he has to leave for another battle against the Philistines. He is, of course successful and comes back to the palace with even more honor. Saul's evil spirit comes back on him and he tries once again to kill David. David manages to avoid Saul's javelin and runs home. His wife, Michal knows her father and tells David he is not safe here. She sends him away and buys some time with a goat-haired idol she puts in his bed to trick Saul's messengers. It gives him enough time to get to Samuel in Ramah. Samuel had a school where he trained prophets to hear the Word of the Lord and speak it. When Saul found David's where-abouts he sent messengers to Ramah. When they arrived, the Spirit of God fell on them and they prophesied. So Saul sent some more messengers and the spirit of prophesy fell on them and they prophesied. He decided to go himself and when he got there, he stripped off his clothes and prophesied naked all that day and all that night.
So what does this mean to us? If you are in David's shoes and you are being attacked unmeritedly (is that a word?) then flee when it gets too dangerous and let God take care of your enemy. He is great at revenge. If you are Saul and envy has caused you to murder people with your words, then repent. If you refuse to repent on your own, God will humiliate you in front of the very ones you want destroyed. Believe me, you don't want that senario. Hopefully, we are Jonathan, who is the peacemaker. He sees the conflict and chooses to stand up for righteousness, even if it means possible rejection from the one he most needs his blessing from --- his father.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Sunday Afternoon - Black Holes Part 2

After I wrote "Black Holes" I laid down on the sofa and took a nap. I had been thinking about what that hole represented and if it was vain imaginations. I had repented of everything I could think of. I dreamed I was in a house that was suppose to be a house Dave and I had just moved into. (We still had our new house.) It was an older house that needed repairs. I went into the bathroom and the commode was making a lot of noise. It was full of toilet paper and the water was overflowing the tank. I called out to Dave to come see and noticed a water spiket high on the wall that water was gushing out of onto the carpet. I turned it off. Then I looked for something to soak the water up with. I ended up going out the back door. Charm was there and jokingly said, "Her bathroom is full of water and she goes out to get the mail."
I tried to explain why I was going to get mail, even though that didn't make sense to me either, and that I was also going to get something to clean the water up with, but words were not coming out right so I abandoned the explanation. I went out to look in the storeroom. There were 3 of them and they all had boxed picture frames with cool 3-d things inside them. I remember one was black with mostly black things in it. They were like the ones outside the Cinemark that have posters in them of coming movies. These were new and didn't go with the run-down appearance of the house. Charm and I heard some noise and looked on the roof. Dave was on top of the roof with a shovel. He was knocking off these dark green, rotted sheets of plywood. I realized that he was working on the 3rd floor. I didn't know there was a 3rd floor and thought it must be the attic. As he worked the front side of the attic fell off also. Charm and I were going to go around to look at it when Dave woke me up to tell me I had 20 minutes till church started. Thanks Dave!
As I have meditated on this dream I realized that this was the answer to my prayer. I had asked God if my hole in the other dream was vain imaginations. The answer is "yes". This dream has to do with my "old man" since I was in an old house. It started in the bathroom to relate the two. I am being called attention to the toilet where waste is put and it is overflowing on to the ground. I have needed to repent of some things for quite a while since it is now a problem. The water coming out of the wall was another source of destruction, but I immediately turned it off. (Maybe because I repented before the dream.) I did to go get mail (God's revelation on the subject). I saw Dave (God) on the roof casting down the old rotted boards of the attic. The attic has to do with your mind. God was doing a complete renovation of my mind and thoughts. Praise God!!!
Now I need to discover what the boxed pictures were about. Usually pictures have to do with memories. The storehouses were locked so I need to figure out the memories to open the storehouses and recover my things. That is my new prayer. Lord, show me the memories of what I need to forgive or cast down in my life.

Sunday's Devo - Black Holes

I had a dream a few nights ago. I was in my bathroom with a can of Comet. I was sparingly sprinkling Comet in the sinks, tub, shower and commode. I only had a small amount in my can. Dave walked in with a new can of Comet and liberally sprinkled it in one of the sinks. Then I noticed a huge hole in the floor of our bathroom. The tile people had left a sample board concreted in the ground. It was a mess. I just kept wondering how the builders didn't catch such a flaw and why we had never gotten them to fix it in our first year of warranty.
As I have meditated this dream, I picked up the book I am going to be teaching for Women's Bible Study. It is called Reclaiming Surrendered Ground. I picked it up and started reading the Introduction about how we as Christians allow Satan to take some of our ground. Once in the door, Satan will reek all kind of havoc in our lives and the lives of our family.
So now I am praying for discernment about what this hole is in my life. Your bathroom signifies your prayer closet. I think the Comet is God's grace. I think I have a limited amount but God has an abundant amount. I have a huge hole in my prayer life where the devil has stolen some ground. God has left me a "sample" of every kind of prayer in the Bible. It is in the foundation. I know this is a picture to prepare me for what I am going to be teaching. I am being given a personal testimony to work on in my own life so I can share it with my class.
Lord, show me the foundational prayers I should be claiming for my family and myself. Help me name this ground that has been stolen and get it back.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Saturday's Devo - Image...Imagine...Imagination

2 Co. 10:5 "Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ..."
I have to "cast down imaginations" a lot!. Around Christmas I was asked by my biggest client to make curtains for his mom. So I did. I even bought the rod and hung them myself. They turned out just what she wanted and everyone was happy. But I was left with the dilimma of how to charge them. I owe 75% of my business to this person and love him dearly. I prayed about the price and felt good about it till I told him. I had left the ticket at home which showed how much discount I gave him so instead I just gave him the bottom line. I couldn't quite read his face, but he seemed distant instead of his jovial self. I felt a little devastated and tried to think of all the ways I could "redeem" the situation, like: giving him a new ticket with the price and his discount, not cashing the check and giving it all back, or nothing. After losing sleep over it, going over and over the cost, and basically feeling lousy, I decided to bundle the whole thing up and throw it in God's lap. I guess this was my way of "bringing it into captivity". God reminded me that He helped me come up with the price, it was very fair, the devil loves condemnation, and I should rest in peace. Well, I felt fine untill I had to go face this person this week for the first time since I had gotten his payment. I said a quick prayer about letting me act normal and walked into the store. The first thing out of his mouth was, "my mom is ready for some more curtains!" I was sooooooooooo relieved. "Tis So Sweet to Trust in Jesus". What had I been so afraid of? That imagination was a waist of worry. Most of them are.
So what makes us always think the worst of ourselves. It is our lack of faith in God. He made us for success, not failure and he is working in us to bring us to success, not failure. The devil, on the other hand wants us to fail, not succeed and he is working in us to bring about failure. His greatest weapon is intimidation. Didn't he do that to Jesus in the wilderness: "If... if.... if... you are the son of God." He WAS the son of God and WE are his children sent to do his work so we need to use the Word of God on the devil and cast down his imaginations.
Thank you Lord, for teaching us everyday to walk closer to you. When we draw near to you, You are tangibly close to us. Help us to cast down our imaginations and chose yours.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Friday's devo - Be a Blessing

Read 1 Sam. 18:5-30
When God's hand of blessing is on a person, everyone eventually notices. God's hand of blessing was definitely on David and everyone saw it. Saul certainly saw it and put David in charge of his soldiers and honored him in front of the people and in his private palace. But when he returned from war and the new song of the day was about how he killed thousands and David ten thousands, he started throwing spears. When he couldn't kill David he started fearing for his kingdom. He knew God's presence had left him and was with David.
So Saul came up with a plan. He would promise his oldest daughter to David and for return David had to defeat Saul's enemies. Surely he would get over- zealous and be killed in battle. (Hadn't Saul learned with Goliath? How quickly we forget God's power.) Being married to the king's eldest daughter would make him a shoe-in for a place of importance in the kingdom. But instead of siezing the opportunity, David went low. He couldn't accept such an honor because he unworthy. So Saul gave his daughter to someone else. But wait! Saul has another daughter, Michal; and Michal loved David. Poor Saul, he lives in a family of David-lovers. So Saul finds an angle...he will let Michal be a distraction to David so when he is out fighting, he will be thinking of love not war. And to motivate him to fight more dangerously, his dowry would be 100 Philistine foreskins. (I can't even let my imagination go there!)
When God's hand of blessing is on a person, there is nothing he can't do. So he gave Saul his foreskins and Saul was obligated to give him Michal.
If we are a child of God then His blessings are on us and should be visible for all to see. It will either draw them to us to be blessed or repulse them to jealousy. God is dealing with both sets of people in His own way and our response should be prayer not stones.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Thurs. Devo - Jonathan - My Hero!

Read 1 Sam. 18: 1-4
Jonathan is one of my favorite people in the Bible. He was rightfully in line to be the next king, yet he was always deferring to David. He loved David as he loved himself. Who is this king's son, Jonathan, that would make a covenant with a lowly shepherd boy, strip himself of his robe and give it to David along with his clothes, sword, bow, and belt? What is Jonathan a type of? The Holy Spirit? Jesus? Us? The Bride? I can see all of them working, so I think I'll ask myself who Jonathan is to me. Jonathan is my mentor and example, he sees potential in the most unlikely and strips himself of his pride, position, and resources to elevate them to the place God has ordained for them. He is willing to give them his rightful place and ride off into the sunset, so questions asked. He sees the big picture...and he's not in it. What humility! What faith in God's plan.
Isn't that what Jesus did when he humbled himself to come down to earth, be made a little lower than the angels; strip himself of all that was heavenly and all that was earthly, to die that we might live eternally? Did Jesus understand that if he laid it all down, some of us, a remnant, might pick it back up and through the power of the Holy Spirit, let Jesus live through them? He multiplied himself over and over in us. What an awesome priviledge and responsibility!
Lord, raise us up to have the spirit of Jonathan that would see the anointing you have placed on others and be more interested in their promotion than ours. It is you and you only that gives promotion so please humble us.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Wed. Devo - Hidden in a Rock

Read 1 Sam. 17
We have all heard the story of David and Goliath. It is a childhood favorite. When I read it this time, I realized that David tried to encourage the warriors to go up against Goliath because God would be with them. When he couldn't rouse any of them, his fearless words were told to Saul. When Saul questioned his sanity, David told of his experience of fighting enemies - lions and bears, Oh My! David's experience was with God, not with his own strength. He knew that if God spared his life these two times against all odds, He could do it again. God never gets tired, sore, out-of-shape, or weak. He is always strong!
When Saul had David wear his armor, David tried it on out of respect, but soon realized this was not for him. It worked for Saul because it "fit" him. It did not "fit" David. Instead, David used the everyday things he had always used - his staff and his sling. He chose 5 smooth stones and went after Goliath. I don't imagine a strapling teenager without any armor and no sword was very intimidating. Goliath was sure fooled. He was even offended that they would send out such a feeble opponent. But God always hides greatness in humility. David knew how to fight with God. God was his weapon; He was his sword, spear, and shield, hidden in a rock. It only took one rock to knock Goliath out, but it took being struck by his own sword to kill him.
How about you and me? We all want to fight our Goliath's and win but are we hidden in the rock. We can be God's greatest weapon but we have to have on the shield of faith, the breastplate of righteousness, the helment of salvation, the belt of truth, and our feet have to be prepared for the gospel of peace. Our weapons are not flesh and blood but mighty through God to the pulling down of strongholds. With God, we can use the enemies weapons against him.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Tues. Devo - "Working His Way to First Chair"

Read 1 Sam. 16: 14-23
David did the same thing Saul did when he got told he would be then next king...nothing. He went back to statis quo and waited on God to bring it about. Only God could take a shepherd boy and make him a king. It is amazing how when we let God take over, He does just that. He brings everything to pass. It is, after all, His Word He is bringing about.
God takes his spirit of peace from Saul and gives him an evil spirit that troubles him. His servants know just the right cure - soft music. And they know just the right musician - David. There must have been thousands of harp-playing shepherd boys in Israel, but the servants recommended David. God knows how to orchestrate his plan! (No pun intended.) This David was not only a good harpest but a good warrior, an intelligent man, and good-looking.
Saul sends for David and when David meets Saul he immediately loves Saul. Saul likes him too and makes him his armour-bearer. David's music calms Saul's anxious soul.
Has God spoken things to you and you haven't seen the fruition? Don't lose heart, He is orchestrating things for your behalf. He is not doing it just for you, He is working for the whole so that many people will be blessed by what He is doing. Your job is to faithfully wait. While your waiting, you can work on your instrument of praise, your sword, your knowledge of God's Word and His ways, and your holy appearance. These are all important too. Let everything we do magnify You, Lord.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Monday's Devo - A New King; A New Heart

Read 1 Sam. 16:1-13
Samuel is lamenting over Saul. Did he annoint the wrong man? Why won't Saul follow God's commands and be a godly king? As he is pondering these things God comes to Samuel and tells him to stop mourning over Saul; God has gone on to his next plan....David. He tells him to go to Jesse and choose one of his sons to be the next king. (Isn't the kingship suppose to be handed down from one generation to the next? That would mean that Jonathan, Saul's son would be up for kingship after Saul.) Jonathan would have been a good pick. He didn't follow after his father and had a different spirit... but God didn't pick him. He chose David, the man after God's heart. God always looks at the heart. Look at the way he chose David. God told Samuel to have Jesse bring all his sons and he would tell Samuel which one to pick. Well, after 7 of his sons pass before Samuel and God says no to all of them Samuel starts to wonder.
"Are these all your sons?"
" No, there is the youngest who is out tending the sheep."
"Go get him."
Jesse sends for David and God says, "Arise, anoint him; for this is the one."
With the anointing came the spirit of God on David.
To me the key verse in this whole reading is in vs. 7: "The Lord doesn't see as man sees, for man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart."
We are all guilty of looking at the outward appearance, after all, it is obvious. God always goes for the hidden, the things that these natural eyes can't see. He said he would give us eyes to see if we asked for them. Better yet, let's ask for a heart after God. He can give us eyes to see what He sees if we have His heart. So, that is what we pray for Lord, a heart after you.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Saturday's Thoughts - The Snake is Slowly Leaving

Since it's Saturday I thought I would just blog....whatever that means. On our ski trip we had many injuries and sicknesses. We had planned and prayed about this trip for this for so long that it came as a surprise when we were attacked so heavily. I don't know why we were surprised since our enemy HATES us. (The feeling is very mutual.) So, Dave and I determined not to let him get us down. We prayed and layed hands on Daniel, and Dave's knee and that night I had a dream. I was laying on my side and my lower body was curled up in a box. I looked down and there was a huge snake curled on top of my knees. As I watched it slowly uncoiled and left. It never bit me and I was only a little afraid. After all, he was leaving.
I told everyone my dream the next day. Daniel, Josh, Dave, Charm, and I had all had knee problems on the trip. How appropriate was the dream since the snake was on my knees. I felt like the Lord was slowly delivering us from this curse.
Yesterday, Dave went to the Dr. to see about his knee since he was in pain when he turned his knee a certain way. We just knew he would have to have surgery. The Dr. said he tore his ekgh9islenkcme9j and it would heal itself in about 6 weeks!!! I call that "the snake slowly leaving"! We were ecstatic! I went to the Chiropractor because we were rear-ended the day before we left for Colorado and he is working on my neck and back. I feel better than before I had the wreck. God is putting everything back in its place. I am so grateful. What the Devil plans for bad, God turns for good, everytime....if you have eyes to see.
Lord, thankyou for your loving care and kindness. You never cease to amaze and captivate me with your love.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Friday's Devo - Just Obey

We're back!!! We had a great family time. We love being together. It was not exactly as we had planned. Charm came sick and was feeling well enough to ski the first day. We all skied the first day. The second day, Daniel got a stomach virus, or altitude sickness and was in bed all day. That was the day Dave fell and hurt his knee. Josh also did something to his knee. The third day, only Caleb and I skied until Josh came and joined us for a few runs. The forth day I got the virus and Daniel, Josh, Caleb, and Charm skied. What a vacation! In spite of it all, it was a blast and we all came home glad we had gone. We played Charades at night, went to a movie, ate at some really unique restaurants, met some interesting people, and laughed a lot. What else can you ask for in a family vacation? It reminds me of the scripture: "How good and how pleasant is it for brethren to dwell together in unity!" Ps. 133:1

Now back to our study...
Read 1 Sam. 15
Saul has been king for a while and has shown himself to be impulsive, controlling, and egotistic. He meets Samuel who reminds him that he, Samuel, was the one that annointed him as king. Then he gives him an assignment, as if to say, let's see if you can do this right. He tells him to go and settle God's account with the nation of Amalek for opposing Israel when they came out of Egypt. The account is in Ex. 17. The children of Israel had just tempted God at the rock in Horeb. They had just come out of the wilderness and had no water. They blamed Moses, and Moses cried out to God. God told Moses to strike the rock and when he did, water came out. Their punishment for not trusting in God and blaming Moses came through the Amakekites. They came and attacked the children of Israel. Moses stood on the hill and watched. As long as he lifted his rod, the Israelites won. When he got tired and lowered it, the Israelites lost. It was so obvious that they took a stone and let Moses sit down and Aaron and Hur held his arms up. They overthrew the Amalekites and God said, 'write this down, one day, I will utterly blot out the name of the Amalekites from the earth.'
God has decided that this would be that day, so Saul gathers 210,000 men to fight them. When they came to the city of Amalek there are Kenites living with the Amalekites. The Kenites were Moses' father-in-law's people. They had helped the Israelites when they were in the wilderness. They even came and dwelt among the Israelites. Saul knows this and tells the Kenites his plan so they can leave and not get killed along with the Amalekites. The Kenites opt to leave. (Good choice.) Saul kills all the Amalekites except for the king, Agag. (Why can't Saul get this right?) He also spared the best of their sheep, oxen, lambs and all that he thought was good. All the detestable things, he destroyed.
So where's that mirror? This is a great picture of me compromising on what God has said. Me, thinking my wisdom is better than God's. Wait, God, I have a better way! When God tells us to get rid of something in our lives, he isn't kidding. He doesn't receive half-hearted attempts. We want the promises of God, but not the sacrifice of laying down our own wills. He sees the big picture and if we don't come up to the plate, he will find someone who will. Lord, help us to utterly destroy the things in our lives that you have told us to put away. We want to fight in your army and we want the victory to go to you!

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Saturday's Devo - We Will Follow

We leave today for skiing!!! I thought I would deviate from 1 Samuel and talk about Isaac. Genesis is my favorite book in the Bible. God lays down the whole plan for the rest of existance in Genesis. Today I was reading Gen. 24 where Abraham sends his servant to go find a wife for Isaac. This is a type of the Holy Spirit finding a wife for Jesus. When the servant asks Abraham if he should take Isaac with him, Abraham gives an emphatic, "NO!" I think he didn't want Isaac to see how easy life was back home and want to stay. He had left there to follow God and he wanted his son to follow this nomadic life walking the land he had been given by God. This wife had to have the same sense of adventure and faith. She had to be willing to leave everything to follow him. Before she even knew she had been chosen, she was given a test: would she served this man and his animals? Was she humble, gracious, giving, and not tied to her past? Would she lay it all down by faith and take a man's word for truth? She was all these things. She watered his cattle and invited him to her house to stay. After hearing the servant's intentions, Rebekah's father wanted the servant to stay in his house for 10 days so he could get to know him and trust him before he released his daughter to go marry a distant relative, but the servant needed an answer THEN. They asked Rebekah if she would go THEN and she she said, yes.
How about us? Are we willing to "water" the least, step out in faith and abandon all to follow the Holy Spirit? I wonder what she thought the whole way back to meet Isaac. Was she afraid of what he might look like or treat her? It doesn't say, but when she saw Isaac from a distance she got off the camel to meet him. It was not a disappointment. Isaac brought her into the household and loved her deeply and she was a great comfort to him. God is calling us to a "new land" this year and do something we have never had the faith to do. Test God's Word because it doesn't return void, but it accomplishes all it is sent to accomplish.
Lord, we want to be brought into the deep intimacy with you where you love us deeply and we are a great comfort to you. Give us faith to reach out into the unknown and trust Your Word.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Friday's Devo - Don't Trip Over the Trip

Pro. 13:12 - Hope deferred makes the heart sick; but when the desire comes, it is a tree of life.
We leave tomorrow for Colorado. We are flying with our boys and Charm to go skiing. We will stay in a plush 3 bedroom condo, ski in-ski out, and eat in the restaurant of our choice. What a trip!!! I say all this to say this is all such a gift from God.
When the boys were young we rarely had the money to go on vacations. While all our friends were going to Disney World, skiing, etc. every year we were going to Toledo Bend for family reunions. Every now and then we took big trips but certainly not like those around us. It always bothered Dave that he couldn't take us on big vacations. A couple of years ago our niece was getting married in Hawaii. God blessed us with a large amount of unaccounted for money so we took the boys and Charm and went. It was so much fun and we decided to try to do it more often. Now our kids are at a great age to travel with. No one is asking, "Are we there yet?" It is just pure fun!
Last year I told Dave that we should take the family skiing this year. He looked a little apprehensive. He said it might take him more than a year to save for this. I told him not to worry, God was going to pay for it. He was relieved. Well, right after that we received some unexpected money and we knew this was for our trip.
I know this is a hard time in our economy, but we who know our God will prosper in hard times and do great things. Going to Colorado might not seem very spiritual to those who don't have eyes to see, but to those who do; it is! To us it is a tree of life!

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Thurs. Devo - "Vanity of Vanites, Saith the Preacher"

Read: 1 Sam 14:23-
God saved Israel on one day, but the next day they had a new battle. This time the battle was in Beth-aven. Beth-aven means "house of vanity" so I looked up "vanity" in the dictionary. (Vanity - any thing or act that is vain, futile, idle, or worthless.) That about sums up what we read next. Saul goes on a power trip and decides no one can eat anything till he is avenged of his enemies. (When did they become his enemies and not their enemies?) They had to pass through woods that were dripping from honey. Notice how everytime you decide to go on a fast you get invited out to your favorite restaurant, or your mom invites you over for your favorite meal? So we feel their pain. Saul probably felt a little weakness in the ranks, so he puts a death curse on anyone who eats anything. Boy did that backfire. Jonathan, his son, wasn't around when Saul made this vow so when he saw the honey, he ate some and was immediately strengthined. Someone got up the nerve to tell Jonathan about the curse. Jonathan gave his opinion about his father's snap decision. He said they all would have fought better if they had eaten.
They did fight well that day, even though they were very weak. At the end of the day the people were famished and attacked the spoil, eating the meat uncooked; a total no-no in God's law. Saul attempts to right their wrong and brings over a rock for an altar and tells the people to bring their oxes for a huge sacrifice. At the bar-b-que Saul comes up with another vain plan. He wants to sneak down to the Philistine camp and slay the rest of them that night. His men have just fought all day on an empty stomach, gorged themselves on uncooked meat and now, he wants them to finish off the night with more war. This time the priests come to the rescue and suggest they ask God what to do. God is not speaking so they decide to find out why. It goes back to the vain vow Saul made about eating. Jonathan is chosen as the culprit and admits he ate honey since he didn't know about the foolish vow. His father has to keep his word, after all he is the king who has all the power so why should he repent. The people take up for Jonathan and get his life spared. God must have been pleased because he sent the Philistines home for a while.
The opposite of 'vanity' is purpose which translates to "God's will". If we walk in God's purpose for us evey moment we won't be making those vain decisions. Sounds good, but we all find ourselfs in the House of Vanity at some time. Next time instead of going to the next room hoping it will get better, I'm going to look for the door I came in and go out! There are no back doors in the house of vanity; Saul surely didn't find one.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Wed Devo - Today, We Fight!

Read 1 Sam 14: 7-22
Jonathan and his armorbearer are having this great discussion: The armorbearer pledges his life to Jonathan and then Jonathan reveals his ridiculously dangerous plan. (paraphrased) "We are going to go expose our position to the Philistines. If they say, 'stay there, we're coming down to get you', then we'll just stand here and wait for them. If they say, 'Come up here to us', then we will go up to them. It doesn't matter what they say because God has delivered them into our hands." Now that's a plan!
The Philistines call them up, so up they go on hands and feet. I bet it tired them out just getting there. But, since the battle was the Lord's, he never gets tired. They slaughtered 20 men. The rest of the army started trembling with fear. This supernatural fear spread throughout the garrison and then, even the ground started trembling. Saul's watchmen watched from afar as the Philistines ran away fighting themselves. When they reported this to Saul, he called a meeting to find out who might have instigated this. The roll-call showed that only Jonathan and his armorbearer were missing. Saul was fixing to bring in the ark, but was distracted by the sound of the battle. Instead, he told his men to go fight. Not only did they fight, but Israelites that had joined the Philistines turned to fight with the Israelites. The Lord saved Israel that day.
Saul almost missed his opportunity. Had he brought in the ark and had the priests sacrifice, he would have missed the salvation God wanted to bring about that day. God was moving in the battlefield so they needed to get where God was moving and join God. "There is a way that seems right unto a man, but the end are the ways of death." Pro. 16:25. There are many good things to do, but where is God and what is he doing? It is always best to be with him.
Lord, show us where you are today and invite us to join you!

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Tuesday's Devo - Get off your Booty!

Read 1 Sam 14:1-6
The Bible is full of dualities and contrasts. Today's reading is no different. We have Jonathan sneaking over with his armor bearer to the Philistine camp while Saul is sitting down on a precipice resting under a pomegranite tree with his 600 men. The grandson Ahiah is the priest now. His name means "worshipper". His dad's name means "brother of goodness" because his dad's brother's name means "where did the glory go?" (Sounds like Cain and Abel all over again). Jonathan has to pass through this narrow place on his way to the Philistine camp. On one side of the pass is a huge sharp rock that has been named Bozez which means "surpassing white; glistening". It is pointing northward to Michmash. "Northward" means "hidden" which always has to do with the spiritual, and "Michmash" means "hidden in the memory". The other rock is "Seneh" which means "thorns", pointing southward to Gibeah. "Southward" has to do with the natural and means "parched" (without spirit). Gibeah means a "hill".

What does all this mean? We can be "safe" and sit where we can see what's coming and be shaded and comfortable. That seems like the practical way and the best one but we aren't going to kick any booty from there. Jonathan chose the "unsafe" way; undermanned, and walking straight toward the enemy. He is going to confront danger face to face. He takes his faithful armor bearer who is just as dangerous and impulsive as he is. Good choice of friends if you want to do damage to Satan's realm. They come to a place where they are faced with the Word of Blessing (Bozez) and the Word of Curses (Seneh). The blessing is holy and hidden in the memory of what God has said in his Word. The curse is set up high and leaves you dry. It is at this juncture that Jonathan makes his proclamation: "God is All Powerful so it doesn't matter if we are a few or many."

God, we want to be dangerous and do exploits! May we never use incompetent excuses but remember Jonathan and his armor bearer as our examples.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Monday's Devo - Bring on the Blacksmiths

Read 1 Sam. 13 -
The key to me to this whole chapter is at the end in verses 19-22. No wonder they are shaking in their boots. They have no swords or spears. Only Saul and Jonathan had weapons. The reason they didn't have weapons was that they had been under the rule of the Philistines who hadn't allowed them to have a blacksmith to make weapons. The Philistines had swords, spears, shields, chariots, and horses. What the Israelites forgot was that they had God, whose weapons were fire, thunder, rain, lightning, bees, hornets, and a few more ideas they hadn't seen yet.
So the Philistines came in multitude with all their weapons and Israel ran and hid. Samuel had told Saul to meet him in 7 days to offer a burnt offering. Saul got there, but Samuel was late. All the people were panicking and leaving so Saul decided to take manners in his own hands. He offered the burnt offering. As soon as he had finished Samuel appeared. When he saw what had happened he told Saul he had acted foolishly; now the kingdom would be taken from him and given to man whose heart would be after God's.
Saul goes back and numbers his men. The 3,000 has now become 600. Meanwhile the multitude of Philistines are dividing their troops into 3 groups to surround the Israelites.
The interesting thing about the "no weapons" thing is that God's Word is our sword and shield. It is not enough for the pastor or leader to have the sword because they don't always make the right decision. The people needed their own sword. We are responsible for our own growth in God. When we don't sharpen our swords with use, we are terrified when the devil attacks us. We hide wherever we can find a place just like the Israelites did.
Lord, your Word is a 2-edged sword that pierces and divides the soul from the spirit, the bone from the marrow, and the thoughts from the intents of our hearts. We put our trust in your Word.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Saturday's Devo - Pentecost is Costly

Read 1 Sam. 12 -
Samuel is old and gives one last warning to the people about the king they asked for. He reminds them that as their prophet, he never once cheated them or received a bribe. Then he takes the people through the history lesson of their past. He reminds them of all the times they sinned, were given over to their enemies, called out to God, and God delivered them from their enemies. The OT cycle. Even though they have asked for a king, if they obey the voice of the Lord, then, they and the king will follow the Lord.
He reminds them of the season they are in: wheat harvest, which means Pentecost. On the first Pentecost God spoke to his people from Mt. Sinai with thunderings and lightnings and thick smoke and a loud trumpet. All the people were afraid. On this first Pentecost God betrothed himself to the Jewish nation.
In the New Testament on the day of Pentecost, God sent a sound from heaven like a mighty wind. Cloves of fire were on their heads. God rained down his Holy Spirit and every man's mouth became a trumpet, as he proclaimed God in the people's languages. On this Pentecost, God betrothed himself to the Church.
On the day Samuel called out to God, he sent thunder and rain so that they could perceive and see how great their wickeness was for asking for a king. All the people were afraid. The reason why God was so upset with them was that He was their king. Was He not enough? He was allowing them to willfully disobey and it was going to cost them dearly. This thunder and rain was judgment not blessing.
Once again, I am glad I am living in the New Testament. But, with the blessing of the New comes the responsibility of honoring it. God is going to do new things through those who are reaching out and daring to do something new. We have the responsibility of stewarding what God has given us. Lord, do something "new" in our hearts. Give us holy boldness to do something "new" in our lives.

Friday, January 2, 2009

Fridays' Devo - Go Low!

Read 1 Sam 11
Saul has been anointed king by Samuel and gone home where business is usual, until the Ammonites come to challenge Jabesh-gilead. It seems like we always need confrontation to get us to take that next step toward our calling. We are much too comfortable with status-quo. Ever notice how God hates status-quo? So Nahash, the Ammonite (which by the way, Nahash means "snake") tells them the only way he won't kill them is if they cut our all their right eyes. He is doing this as a sign to all Israel that he is greater than them. The people ask for 7 days reprieve to see if anyone will come to their aid. The threat went out to all Israel and when Saul heard it the Spirit of God came upon him and he got very ticked. He took a pair of oxen and cut them into pieces (at least it wasn't a concubine) and sent the pieces throughout Israel with this message: If you don't come out and fight with me this is what is going to happen to your oxen. The fear of the Lord fell on the people and they came to help; 330,000 of them to be exact! On the 7th day Saul divided the troops into 3 parts and attacked the Ammonites until they were all scattered. Well, this solidified Saul's kingship. Everyone was behind him and wanted to go kill those men who had not wanted him to become king. Saul wouldn't let them harm them and instead gave the credit to the Lord. (Saul started out humble....they all do.) The people take Saul to Gilgal and made Saul king.
It seems to be a pattern: God gives man a promotion, then he gives him a situation where his promotion is tested and put on display, then man promotes him. True promotion must start with God, and He confirms it through man. My friend and I have a saying we always use, "Go low". Which just means when you think you have a reason to be proud, don't take it. Choose humility. It is a conscious choice.
Lord, let your promotions lead us back to humility not to pride.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Thurs. devo - Now is the Time

Happy New Year!!!
Every year I ask God for a word. This year's word is "suddenly". After looking up all the "suddenly's" in the Bible I realized they had to do with warfare. Either Satan was attacking suddenly or God was moving suddenly. Last year's word was "arise". It looks like this year the church of God will arise and fight and get back some things the enemy has stollen.
Suddenly Hezekiah sanctified the temple to sacrifice to God. God will suddenly come to his temple. At the mount of transfiguration they looked around suddenly and just saw Jesus. Jesus is coming back suddenly. The angels came suddenly to pronounce Jesus's birth. The man that was demon possessed suddenly cried out and was delivered. The Holy Spirit came suddenly on the day of Pentecost. Paul was stopped by a light from heaven suddenly. Suddenly an earthquake released Paul and Silas from prison.
So Satan attacks suddenly, but God brings deliverance suddenly. Jesus comes on the scene to rescue us suddenly. He can stop us in our tracks and turn us around suddenly.
In today's reading Saul is suddenly brought out to be the king. Even though he tried to hide, God knew where he was. It wasn't Saul's fault the people had rebelled and wanted a king. He was chosen with a destiny. God gave him a group of men to support him and walk with him. God never calls us to do something alone. We need each other.
Lord, in this year of great harvest, suddenly deliver your people from habits, generational curses, oppression, depression, fear, intimidation, hopelessness, and sin. Suddenly fill them with your Holy Spirit of fire and power. Suddenly come to your temples. (1 Co. 6:19)