Saturday, February 28, 2009

Saturday's devo - Expand Your Borders

I just got a call from Michael, my children's youth pastor who now lives in Kansas City. Dave and I worked with him and his wife, Michelle for about 7 years. We were his only helpers for most of that time. I loved them for many reasons but one of them was because they were intense about getting our kids to follow God. He taught them to love worship. He and his wife were very musical and true worshipers. They have one daughter who is about 10 now. They have had about 3 miscarriages since they had her and now God has led them to desire to adopt a native-American child. They are going to South Dakota tomorrow to an orphanage where they will be told if they can bring one home. How exciting!
God is speaking adoption everyone. We can all adopt. Dave and I don't feel we are to legally adopt a child but every Wed. night our home is filled with up to 20 kids we have "spiritually adopted." I was at a church service in Baton Rouge about 20 years ago. During the "meet and greet" time this lady sitting behind me shook my hand and welcomed us. She turned me back around and said, "Children, children, children, the Lord says you will have many children." I told her that Dave had just had a vasectomy. She told me we might need to have it reversed. We went home and took her word to heart and had his vascectomy reversed. We didn't have any more children, but I know that was a prophetic act. It said to God, we will allow you to bring more children into our lives if you want to.
Since then, literally hundreds of children have come through our doors. I tutored kids from every school in Monroe and poured God's love into their barren hearts. We are all called to take care of the orphan.
Lord, show us how we can fulfill this command in our lives.

Friday, February 27, 2009

Friday's Devo- God is Something to Dance About

Read 2 Sam 6:8-23
God's anger at Uzzah angered David and made him afraid of God. He decided that maybe God needed to stay in his box and not come to his house, so he put God's box in Obed-edom's house. Instead of being a curse, it was a blessing and everything Obed did prospered so much that it was obviously tied to God's prescence. So David decided it would be OK to take the ark to his house. This time he would sacrifice oxen and cattle every 6 steps and offer burnt offerings and peace offerings. He was so elated he danced before the ark only wearing his linen ephod. His wife Michal, Saul's daughter looked down at him through the window and was embarassed and jealous of David's devotion to God. David blessed the people with meat, bread and wine and sent them home. Then he turned to his own household, to bless them. Instead he got rebuke. Michal came out to meet him and scorned him for dancing half-naked before all the young girls. David put her in her place and said that he danced only to God who had put him in the throne instead of her dad. Furthermore, in the future, he planned to be even more humbling than that!
Michal's punishment for her pride would be barreness all the days of her life.
Is your life experiencing barreness? Maybe you have despised other people's form of worship. Maybe it seemed a little "carried away" or eccentric or charismatic. Believe me it wasn't to God. He loves lavish praise and humilty. He hates pride and self-esteem. Lord, may we lavishly pour out our praise and worship on you. May we not care about what others think of our devotion, but only care about what gives you pleasure.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Thurs. Devo - Would You Like My Opinion?....No?

Read 2 Sam 6:1-7
David took 30,000 of his valiant men along with all the people to bring the ark of God from Gibeah to the city of David. Everything was going well: the priests had the ark on a new cart and all Israel was praising and making joyful song until the oxen jostled the ark and Uzzah steadied the ark with his hand. This made God very angry; so he killed Uzzah.
This all seems harsh to us. Why would God kill Uzzah when he was just trying to protect the ark from falling? I can tell you, God does not need any help from us to save him. There is nothing, nothing, nothing that we possess that God needs. He is an all-sufficient God. He desires our fellowship and devotion, but He does not need our protection. We need His.
How many times do I think of ways I can help God...maybe He didn't think about what I'm thinking. Maybe He needs my help. How ludicrous is that? For one thing, he knows all my thoughts, so just thinking it, he hears. He already knows the plan, because it's His plan. He already knows the right way to pull it off, because He is all-knowing and wisdom personified. He has the best idea....all the time. I guess I need to keep my opinion to myself.
Lord, it is really comforting to know that You never need help, that you are always strong, your blood never gets tired, and you are always on top of things. And amazingly you never get tired of getting me in line. Thank you for your patience. Help me to remember not to put forth my hand to touch your work. Let me only touch it with my faith.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Wed. Devo - Please Pass Me the Mulberry Jam

Read 2 Sam 5:9-25
I want to concentrate on verse 24: "Let it be, when you hear the sound of marching in the tops of the mulberry trees, that then you should stir yourself: for then shall the Lord go out before you, to smite the Philistines."
The mulberry tree prophetically speaks of Christ. It is known as the "weeping tree". They produce various colors of fruit. Some produce a red fruit with blood red juice inside. Just as the mulberry trees drop (weep) red juice, our Saviour sweat drops of blood as he sat in the garden of Gethsemane. The shedding of blood represents sacrifice. On the cross, Jesus was the wine that was pressed and his blood brought our salvation. The mulberry tree symbolizes suffering, but also healing as did the Cross. The silkworm eats the leaves of the mulberry tree his whole life. In Rev. the leaves of the trees were for the healing of the nations. Christ "ate the leaves of the mulberry tree" (partook of suffering ) for the healing of the nations.
Silk farmers say that when large numbers of silkworms in a room are munching on leaves, it makes the sound like heavy rain falling on a roof, or like heavy marching. The silkworm is eating to form a cocoon where it will finally sacrifice its life. It's whole life is spent preparing to die.
God is telling David to wait until he hears this sound and it will be his sign that God is with him to defeat his enemy. We need to wait till we have the sign of his blood covering us before we go out and fight Satan.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Tues. Devo - From Jebus to Jerusalem

Read 2 Sam 5:1-8
David is a type of Jesus. He came to be king at 30 and reigned 33 years over all Israel and Judah. Jesus came to his earthly ministry at 30 and lived on this earth 33 years.
So David comes to take Jerusalem that belonged to the Jebusites who called it Jebus. It was their principal city. "Jebusites" means "trodden; to trample or tread under foot; be polluted". David was going to take a very evil, unclean place that exemplified Satan's stronghold and he make it his holy city. That is redemption. These Jebusites were a people spiritually blind and their walk was crooked. They had eyes but could not see and feet that ran to do evil. But first, David took the stronghold of "Zion" which means a "parched place" and made it the City of David. It was a mountain north of Jerusalem which is synonymous with salvation and a dwelling place of God.
Among the Jebusites were many blind and lame. These are unclean and sinful people. Their infirmities mirrored their heart so they were detestable to God. They were parched because their was a famine of the Word of God which is water to thirsty land. But Jesus, our redeemer, came to seek and save the lost. He came to give the blind man sight, the deaf man hearing, the lame man a new walk, and the leper cleansing. Because we are all blind, deaf, lame, and leprous before we are saved, we are not allowed to come into the house of God (vs. 8).
Romans 11:26 says that a Deliverer shall come out of Zion and turn away ungodliness from Jacob. In Heb. 12:22 the City of David is now called the city of the living God. In Revelation the Lamb will stand on mount Zion with 144,000 followers with God's name written in their foreheads.
God is always in the business of Redemption. If he can do that for land, he can do that in the soil of our hearts. We have land that has been the devil's. We can make it the city of God if we take it by spiritual force. Our prayers and God's Word are powerful to the tearing down of strongholds. Let's do some tearing down.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Monday's Devo - Honor makes You Upright in Heart

Read 2 Sam. 4
How fickle we are. Where is loyalty and honor? Are we only loyal to the one on top? Noone wants to be left on the losers side. That is played out so plainly in today's reading. Ishbosheth, the puppet king of Israel finds out that Abner, the real leader is killed. He is depressed and retreats to his bed (in the middle of the day). The two captains of his army find out Abner is dead and want to be on the winning side. So they go to Ishbosheth and kill him "under the fifth rib", behead him and take his head to David. Surely this will give them a high position with David. All they care about is their own hide.
Thank God, David sees right through them. He explains to them that he killed the man who came and told him Saul was dead thinking he would get an award, so how much more guilty are they to go and kill an innocent man on his bed. So David has them killed and their hands and feet cut off. He hangs their body over the pool in Hebron to show all the people what revenge will get them. He then takes Ishbosheth's head and buries it in the sepulcher of Abner.
The only redemption in this passage is found in verse 4: Jonathan had a son that was lame. He was 5 when news came that Saul and Jonathan were both killed. His nurse had picked him up to flee, but accidently dropped him and he had been crippled ever since. His name was Mephibosheth which means "breathing shame."
Mephibosheth ended up joining David's side out of total loyalty and humility. He knew how to approach a holy king. He lost his ability to walk early in life, but got to live a full life eating at the king's table. Ishbosheth's 2 men became cripple in death and lived a short, cut-off life. I'll take the limp.
Lord, may we stay true to you no matter who seems to be on top and may we always experience the honor of sitting at your table feasting on your food.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Sunday's Devo - Where are You Standing?

Yesterday I met with two of the helpers I work with for the jr. high girls we lead. We talked about why the youth in our church are falling when they get to high school. Teenagers these days and in every generation face a huge wall in high school. The wall is the Standard of God and they have to decide which side they are going to fall on. If they fall on the side of Popular Opinion then their life will seem to sail along for a while, but then they will hit pits that get bigger and bigger and eventually turn into an abyss with no way out; but God. They will come out bruised, battered, and burned. God will bandage up their wounds and they will stumble through life seeking deliverence which few know where to find.
If they fall on the side of God, then they will be much better off but the battle will be tough. When they get through it they will be whole, and they will have developed a walk with God that is solid and sweet. They will be healthy and able to help others from a sense of well-being and wholeness.
God is able to redeem anything we go through, so why do we choose righteousness? Why not work up a juice testmony of sin and God saving our day? Don't we want to be able to relate to others who are going through what we went through? I have to look at the life of Jesus. He lived a sinless, spotless, turn-from-sin life and yet he was able to relate to everyone. He was TEMPTED in everything we are tempted in yet without sin. His testimony is the greatest of all. Lord, may this generation fall desperately in love with you and choose your standard. May they stand for righteousness and seek you ALL the days of their lives.
May they be the trees in Ps. 1 that are planted by the river who prosper in all they do.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Saturday's Devo- Don't Forget Your Appointment Today

Thursday morning at my ladies' Bible study I prayed that we would be someone's divine appointment. I had a colonics appointment later that afternoon. The lady that works there is an older prayer warrior who hears from God and uses her business as a ministry. She was asking me if I would be coming back and I told her that I had only planned to do 3 and this was my 3rd. She seemed disturbed and said that was not what she was hearing and if I would pray about it. I told her I would and she wanted me to do it right then and get an answer. I prayed and God said, "two more times". I told her and she told me that God told her that I was suppose to come back, not for me but for her. She said she didn't understand it, but that was what God said. Then she said, "Every person who walks through my door is a 'divine appointment'." I smiled inside, because I remembered my prayer that morning.
It just goes to underscore my core belief. We are God's 'divine appointments' on earth. We carry the presence of God in us. We are the tabernacle built by God's hands to show the world his glory. The only way this is effective is if we believe it and walk in it.
Yesterday I was pumping gas and noticed the car on the other side of the pump. Her children were washing the windows and having so much fun. She asked me if I knew where some unfamiliar bank was. She was not from here and needed to find it. I told her I had never heard of the bank, but I was not a native either. Then she asked me if she could have 2 gallons of my gas to get her to where she was going because she had gotten hear on fumes. I reached into my car and without any hesitation pulled out a 20 dollar bill and handed it to her. She started to refuse but I insisted and said, "God is so good about helping us when we need help." She teared up and took it. I got in my car and drove away. I was glad to be used but felt empty that I didn't ask her more questions and try to meet her deeper need, the one in her soul. I can only pray that she will end up in a place where someone else will be God's 'divine appointment' for her.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Friday's Devo -Is Revenge Found "Under the 5th Rib?"

Read 2 Sam. 3
The house of Saul and the house of David are continuing to fight. David has 6 sons by 6 different wives and Saul has a concubine.... who has become Abners' concubine. This is a very disrespectful move on Abners' part and King Ishbosheth, Saul's son, rebukes him. Abner gets very offended and decides to change his allegiance to David. Ishbosheth is afraid of Abner, so he decides he will also be a follower of David. David needs to be told so they can start being one instead of divided. Messengers are sent to David to ask him for a league of peace. David won't meet till he gets his wife, Michal back. She was promised to him for 100 Philistine foreskins and David had done his part, but they hadn't done theirs. They seized Michal from her poor husband and took her to David.
(You would think David had enough wives.) Abner and his 20 men were met by David with a feast. They talked and Abner went away in peace. Abner was going to go back to rally Israel under David. After Abner left, Joab, David's commander-in-chief came back from a battle. When Joab found out Abner had come and gone in peace he was furious. He accused Abner of deceiving David and being a traitor. Then Joab secretly went after Abner and killed him with a spear "under the 5th rib." (there it is again) Joab killed Abner out of revenge for killing his brother Asahel. (remember Abner killed Asahel by back-stabbing him "under the 5th rib".)
Abner was going to bring peace to the nation and was killed on his mission. It reminds me of Abraham Lincoln. We'll never know how the story would have gone if they had lived longer. Revenge is an ugly monster that has no rationale or reason. It is totally out of control.
David is full of sorrow for Abner and curses Joab and his family. He gives Abner an honored burial and leads all Israel in a fast. He turns Joab over to the Lord for him to punish. That's what Joab should have done to Abner. That' what we need to do, too. Lord, forgive us for taking matters into our own hand. You are so able and deserving to take everything that concerns me.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Thurs. devo - Be Significant!

Read 2 Sam. 2: 17-
David's men are fighting Abner's men for the throne. Abner's men are losing so Abner makes a break for it. Three of David's men follow him. Abner recognizes his cousin, Asahel and tries to convince him to go after someone younger so he won't have to kill him. But Asahel and his friends keep following him. Abner finally takes his sword and stabs Asahel with the blunt end of it "under the 5th rib." (Another saying that is used over and over.) I haven't figured its significance out yet, but it is significant. It is also significant that these 3 mens name mean: "God is father (God), the gift (Holy Spirit), and wrought of God (Jesus). Looks like the trinity to me. Also interesting, the one associated with Jesus is the one who gets the spear in the side.
Both captains Joab and Abner have a meeting and decide to end the battle. Joab blows a trumpet and the battle is over.
The battle count comes in and David has lost 20 men, Abner has lost 360. Asahel's body is taken to Bethlehem to be buried.
So what do we learn from this? Life in the Old Testament seems so insignificant (there's that word again). They are born and they are killed. Yet their life is important because it is part of God's big plan. Jesus only lived 33 years, but I would say his life was pretty significant. But his death was the most significant. Asahel's death must have been significant because when the people came to the place where he died they stood still. And when they numbered the slain he was named, not numbered. Lord, may our lives for you be significant to the kingdom of God. May we be a name, not a number.
Wednesday's Devo- Collecting on an Old Debt. 2-17-09
Read 2 Sam. 2:1-16
Saul has been killed and it's David's turn to become king. But how does one go about becoming king? David knows - he asks God where to go. God says: Hebron. Hebron was an enemy stronghold. It was owned by the children of Heth and "Heth" means "terror". It is one of the highest cites in Palestine which meant it was demonically strong. Abraham had sojourned there for most of his life. He bought the cave and burying grounds of Macpelah to bury his wife, Sarah. Isaac, Rebekah, Jacob and Leah were buried there also. And this is the land that the 12 spies explored, so it is part of the Promise Land. Isn't that the way it always goes. God promises us something that we have to get back from the enemy, and "fear" is usually the owner. Also, it usually costs us our lives. But that's OK because God is trying to kill our old man.... to resurrect a new one. The Devil is trying to kill us to deem us unoperable.
Of course, David can't become king without opposition, because the devil has worked too hard to keep this from happening to give up now. So he uses Abner, Saul's right- hand-man as his tool to oppose David's kingship. Abner takes Saul's son, Ish-bosheth (which means "man of shame") and crowns him king over Israel and David is king over Judah.
Both kings meet for a battle. They offer up 12 men apiece to fight each other. They match up man-for-man and each kill each other - stalemate. So David's army have to fight Abner's.
What has God promised you that is now in the enemies' camp? Your child, your husband, your dream. You can "buy it back". It's costly, and won't come without a fight; but it's so worth it and Jesus has already paid the bill, you just need to collect.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Wednesday's Devo- Collecting on an Old Debt

Read 2 Sam. 2:1-16
Saul has been killed and it's David's turn to become king. But how does one go about becoming king? David knows - he asks God where to go. God says: Hebron. Hebron was an enemy stronghold. It was owned by the children of Heth and "Heth" means "terror". It is one of the highest cites in Palestine which meant it was demonically strong. Abraham had sojourned there for most of his life. He bought the cave and burying grounds of Macpelah to bury his wife, Sarah. Isaac, Rebekah, Jacob and Leah were buried there also. And this is the land that the 12 spies explored, so it is part of the Promise Land. Isn't that the way it always goes. God promises us something that we have to get back from the enemy, and "fear" is usually the owner. Also, it usually costs us our lives. But that's OK because God is trying to kill our old man.... to resurrect a new one. The Devil is trying to kill us to deem us unoperable.
Of course, David can't become king without opposition, because the devil has worked too hard to keep this from happening to give up now. So he uses Abner, Saul's right- hand-man as his tool to oppose David's kingship. Abner takes Saul's son, Ish-bosheth (which means "man of shame") and crowns him king over Israel and David is king over Judah.
Both kings meet for a battle. They offer up 12 men apiece to fight each other. They match up man-for-man and each kill each other - stalemate. So David's army have to fight Abner's.
What has God promised you that is now in the enemies' camp? Your child, your husband, your dream. You can "buy it back". It's costly, and won't come without a fight; but it's so worth it and Jesus has already paid the bill, you just need to collect.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Tuesday's Devo - Save it till Judgement Day

Read 2 Sam. 1:3-27
I often wonder if people like Saul will be in heaven. He started out as God's anointed leader of his people and ended up being an adversary to God and David. I guess we will find out when we get to heaven, but for now, David is our example of how we should respond to people like Saul. People like Saul...pastors who have started out with power and ended up with a prostitute; Christian leaders who chucked it all for an affair; friends we knew that loved Jesus but are not walking with him now; the beat goes on. How do we respond to them? Like David. He never judged Saul, always loved him, stayed out of the way of his spears, but refused to touch the anointing God had placed on him(even though the oil seemed a little thinned).
Saul has been fatally wounded on the battlefield so he called out to a young Amelekite soldier. He told the soldier to kill him, so he did. Then the soldier took Saul's crown and bracelet and brought them to David. He didn't quite get the response he was expecting. David rent his clothes, mourned, wept, and fasted. David asked the soldier why he was not afraid to stretch his hand and destroy the Lord's anointed. Then he ordered the death of this boy.
That was a costly lesson on judging. It is not our job description as a Christian to judge others. We are to judge ourselves, which should take a lifetime. Jesus said that he didn't come to the world to judge it, but save it. We are told in the Word to judge nothing until the Lord comes, who will bring to light the hidden things of darkness, and will make manifest the counsels of the hearts and then every man shall praise God. And best of all: if we judge ourselves, we should not be judged.
Lord in this dispension of grace may we be distributors of grace to others and allow you to judge the motives of our hearts. Make us clean to be a worship you.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Monday's Devo - "On the 3rd Day"

Read 2 Sam 1:1-2
Have you ever noticed how many "on the 3rd day"s there are? Around 40. So here is the condensed version:
Moses saw the place he was to meet God from afar off
Laban found out that Jacob had fled
Simeon and Levi slew all the circumcised enemies
God appeared on the mountain with the sound of the trumpet, and thunder and lightning
The remainder of the flesh of the sacrifice is burnt with fire
The children of Zebulun offered their sacrifice
The unclean person shall purify himself and his captives
The clean shall sprinkle upon the unclean
The children of Israel came to their cities
The children of Israel went up against the children of Benjamin
David and his men found the south and Ziklag invaded by the Amelekites and burned with fire.
A man came out of the camp of Saul with his clothes rent and earth upon his head.
The Lord will wipe away your tears and heal you; and you, Hezekiah, will go up to the house of the Lord.
The people came to see the king
The temple was finished
Esther put on her royal robe and stood in the inner court of the king's house
The Jews were given a decree that they could kill their enemies.
Jesus and Lazarus were raised from the dead.
Jesus will be perfected.
There was a marriage
The disciples cast out with their own hands the furniture of ship because of the storm.
What a perfect description of what Jesus did when he rose from the dead. . Jesus went to hell, the enemies' camp and set captives free (not without a battle); sin no longer had power over us; the veil was rent that we may appear before God ourselves; healing, deliverance, miracles were put in our hands to do; the kingdom had come!!! Moses only saw this from afar, but we get to live in it!
Lord, may we appropriate everything that was done on the 3rd day for your glory!

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Sunday's Devo - Bobbin for Apples of Gold in Pictures of Silver (Pro. 25:11)

I sew for my business, so Dave bought me this expensive sewing machine a year ago. I love it when it works. The problem is I have had it in the shop 4 times since I got it...all for the same problem. The bobbin would stop bringing the thread up. Well, if you know anything about sewing you know that you can't sew without the bobbin thread. This is such a nuisance and I was getting exasperous. What good is a great machine when it goes out on you in the middle of sewing. I though about all the things I could say as I took the machine back all the way across town and told them AGAIN that the bobbin-thingy wasn't working. The last time they forgot to call me when they were through and I didn't get it back for 3 weeks! Then, I calmed down and thought about the fact that it could be something I was doing wrong. So I decided to pray that when I took it in, I would get to talk to the man fixing the machine and ask him how I could keep this from happening again.
So I took my machine in and the lady at the counter was on the phone. When she got off she said she would have to call someone else to help me because she needed to call a person back. I thought that was strange. She left, and out of the maintenance room came the man who worked on machines. I told him my problem and told him he could probably fix it right here. He looked at the problem and showed me what was wrong. I work with heavy material with lots of lint and the lint was filling the bobbin case so much that it was making the case lift keeping the thread from being able to come through. He not only fixed it, but taught me how to do it. Thank you Lord for answering my prayer and giving me the wisdom and knowledge to fix my machine. Wisdom really is like gold and knowledge like silver. Bless that man who took the time to share his knowledge with me.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Sat. Devo - I Don't Have Time to Read This!!!

Today I threw my sheets into the washer, went to the gym, met a friend for breakfast, ran a few errands and came home to sew. I went to put the sheets into the dryer to find that my washer had filled up with water and quit!. After trying everything I knew to do I called Dave. I don't have time for this! I had to wring the clothes out and bail out all the water. After the 30th time to the sink with my pitcher of soapy water I started thinking of Rachael. She had to water her camels every day; then when the stranger came up she offered to water his camels too. How much time did that take? Life it full of surprises and time doesn't wait for anyone. If we waste time there is no way to get it back. At least not naturally. I'm glad I serve a God who is supernatural and isn't confined to time. He redeems the time (Eph. 5:16) and our times are in his hand. One of the fruits right up there with patience is longsuffering. Both of them have to do with our time and both are not very in vogue in our society. Funny how God doesn't care about what's IN...He's interested in what's in us. Is it anxiousness? Then he will give you opportunities to slow down or stop all together. These are great times to reflect instead of react. I have had so many dreams lately about abundance of water in my house. I also dreamed about a front-loading washer and dryer hanging from the ceiling in my garage. I wonder if God isn't dangling a new washer and dryer for me to have. I'd love that. We'll see. In the meantime I'm going to give my times to God maybe there will be someone else's camels I'm suppose to water.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Fri. devo - Don't "Hang" in the House of Ease

Read 1 Sam. 31
We could just sum this whole chapter up with "the witch was right." She said that tomorrow Saul and all his sons would be killed and that is exactly what happened. The Philistines took the bodies of Saul and his three sons and beheaded them, place their armor in the house of Ashtaroth, and fastened their bodies to the wall of "Beth-shan" (house of ease). When the people of Jabesh-gilead found out, they went and took the bodies and came back to Jabesh and cremated them. Then they fasted 7days. What an ending to a life. Saul's head had been his trouble all his life and now finally, he is free of it. His armor, his covering and protection, had not been the Lord for a long time. He had not obeyed Samuel and set himself up to be their priest when Samuel was a little late; he had been given an evil spirit from God to vex him, he had tried over and over to kill God's annointed: David, and finally, he had sought a witch when God wasn't blessing him with victories. I'd say, things did not end well for Saul. And he took his sons with him- even Jonathan. You do reap what you sow and Saul had done a lot of sowing. It reminds me of the verse in Ps. 90:12 "So teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom." If we live our days with eternity in mind we will be wise.
Lord, show us how we can keep the frailty of life in our hearts and not get so wrapped up in the present. (pun intended) May we end our lives "hanging" out in your courts.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Thurs. devo - Let's divide the Spoils!

Read 1 Sam. 30
David is returning home to Ziklag after being restrained from fighting with the Philistines against Saul. (FYI: the place they met to fight was "Aphek", means "restrained".) They found Ziklag ravaged, burned down and all their wives and children taken. ("Ziklag" means "enveloped in grief".) All of David's men wept in distress, but David encouraged himself in the Lord. (David was good at that.) Instead of wallowing in self-pity he turned to the only one who could help - God. He called forth Abiathar the priest to use the ephod to inquire of God whether to go after their families. Most men would have assumed they should do this and run blindly, out of rage. But David quieted himself to hear from God. God alone had the answer and the solution. He said, "Go, you'll get it all back." So they did, and got it all back and more.
David's men had trouble with sharing their spoils with the men that were too weary to fight. David made a proclamation that the ones fighting and the ones "staying with the stuff" got the same thing. Thank God for that. Think of all our forefathers have done for us that we enjoy for free. Isn't that what grace is all about? We sure didn't do anything to receive eternal life. Jesus fought that battle all by himself and we live daily enjoying his spoils. David even went a step further and shared his personal spoil with over 13 towns that had been a help to him. What an example of leadership!
I am going to try to remember this the next time I get a letter from a teen-ager going on a mission trip or when I get an offer to give to a worthy cause or the next time I am tempted to think anything is mine. Will I share my spoils with God? They are His anyway.
Another interesting observation: when we get back from the devil what he has stollen from us, we need to get all of it back and more.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Wed. devo - Rescue Us from Ourselves

Read 1 Sam 29
I often get myself into situations where I need God to rescue me. Sometimes I volunteer myself for things I shouldn't or let someone talk me into doing something I am not gifted to do, or I overextend myself (which is usually my dilemma). It is then that I cry out to God to come down and rescue me. I love that song by Casting Crowns that says "I would have thought by now; You would have come down and wiped our tears away; reached down and saved the day..." He IS great at rescuing me and in today's reading He IS great at rescuing David.
David is living with the Philistines but goes on covert operations to fight against them. Today he is fighting with the Philistines against Saul. What will he do? I can imagine the prayers he sent up to God. God heard and came down and rescued him. The other Philistine armies didn't trust David and refused to let David fight with them. They were smart. Achish, David's Philistine friend/king tells David the bad news. He won't be fighting with them today. David acts appalled but bows out and takes his men back home. Actually, God has another mission for David (but that is tomorrow's reading).
Sometimes it seems like God is slow in rescuing us, but he is really right on time. God doesn't live in our time and space; he lives in eternity and spirit. So he isn't seeing what we see, the way we see it, and we aren't seeing what He sees, the way He sees it. I wonder who has the best view?!?
Lord, rescue us from ourselves. Help us to make wise decisions where we don't need rescuing so often, but thank you that you never tire of handing us a rope.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Tues. devo - Sing a Song of Freedom

Read 1 Sam 28
"Philistines" means "wallow in the dust" which means "self-pity" - the perfect enemy to keep attacking David. He has followed God all his life and was very happy playing his harp and keeping sheep. It was God that called him off his mountaintop and annointed him king. God just forgot to tell him that he would be hunted for years by an insane king who loved him...loved him not....loved him...loved him not; and that his followers would be the outcast of society. Not exactly the kingdom he had imagined. To top it off, he is now hiding out with the enemy pretending to be on their side. They are fixing to attack Israel. Their king, Achish, has given David the honor of being his personal bodyguard. What a place to find yourself in!
Saul sees the host of Philistines and is terrified. He calls on God and God doesn't seem to be answering. He tries every way he knows of to get God to respond and to no avail, so he decides to see what the occult may be able to tell him. Since he has ordered all witches and wizards out of the land he has to go "underground". He finds a witch hidden away in Endor and makes his men take him there. He asks her to bring up Samuel so he can ask him about the future. As soon as Samuel comes up she knows this is Saul and is afraid for her life. Saul calms her down and makes her describe what she sees. She describes Samuel to a tee, so he asks Samuel what he should do. Samuel gives him the truth: Saul has disobeyed God and now God has become Saul's enemy. He will not win tomorrow and he and his sons will die on the battlefield and the kingdom will be given to David. Saul is weak with fear. The witch prepares his last meal. What an unhappy ending. I'd say that one of Saul's greatest enemy was self-pity also. The only difference was that Saul brought his self-pity upon himself and had no reprieve or escape. David's was put upon him and he fought it day and night with praise and worship. When everyone deserted David, he would take his harp and encourage himself in the Lord. I wonder if he wrote 146 during this time.
Lord, when I am tempted by self-pity, remind me of my weapon: praise and worship. Praise and worship bring joy, and joy brings strength. May we be strong in You today!

Monday, February 9, 2009

Mon. devo - Worship Makes You a Warship

Read 1 Sam 27
David is seemingly a man without a country. He can't go back to his own or Saul will kill him, so he joins the enemies' camp. But in his heart he is still an Israelite. He takes his men and deflects to the Philitines in the royal city of Gath. When Saul hears where David has fled he gives up finding him. David asks the king for a place all his own for he and his men to live and Achish gives him Ziklag. "Ziklag" means "an envelope of grief" which is exactly what David was to them. He was hidden grief to the Philistines. He would take his men and go kill off whole towns of enemies and when the Philistines asked him where they had gone to fight he would lie and tell them he had gone south instead. He wisely killed everyone in the towns he plundered so that noone could live to tell Achish where he had really gone.
Achish fell for it and David was safe - a spy for God.
David could have chosen bitterness and joined the other side to spite Saul; instead, he chose forgiveness and kept his loyalties. He never forsook God. I think the secret to David's victory was that he was such a worshipper. Whenever he couldn't understand what was going on he would write about it (or sing about it) and it always brought him back to: God is greater than me and my trial.
Worship builds up our inmost being, the warrior in us. Lord, we choose to worship you and build our spiritual muscles to fight in your army. Help us to see the real enemy: the devil and the real hero: Jehovah God.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Sunday's devo - Search Our Inmost Parts

I am reading in Leviticus and yesterday I read about the peace offering and the burnt offering. The priest had to prepare the offering by laying his hand upon the head of his offering and killing it at the door of the tabernacle of the congregation. Aaron's sons were to sprinkle the blood on and around the altar. Then he was to cut off the fat and the two kidneys and the caul above the liver, and take these parts away and burn the rest.
Yesterday I talked about being anxious and how fear hinders us from entering in to God's rest. Somehow I knew this sacrifice was related to so I started digging and asking God. Picture Jesus, as our High priest, preparing us to be a perfect sacrifice that will please God. We all want that. The "sacrifice" part is a little scary, but necessary, to be pleasing to God. So Jesus lays his power (hand) on our head (our weakness - the part that is most easily shaken or deceived). He holds it tightly so he can start cuting off the things in our life that aren't pleasing to God. He starts with the fat - the most choice part; the things closest to our heart like pride, selfishness, self-pity, fear, lust. Those are the ones most visible. Then he goes to the kidneys and the caul above the liver. These are the inner parts that are hidden and secret. "Kidneys" in the Hebrew means the "mind (as the interior self)" or what you think of yourself. He starts cutting that away. He doesn't want you to have YOUR opinion of yourself. He wants you to have HIS opinion of yourself. He NEEDS you to have his opinion of yourself or you will never be able to do all he has planned for you to do. The "caul above the liver" means the things that flap or hang outside the liver. If the liver is an essential part that we need then these outhangings must be the little foxes that eat up our fruit. These are the things that we hang on to like "I can't do that because...", "I'm not good enough..." They are whatever lie the devil can throw at you or whatever excuse you hold on to, or whatever crutch you use to render yourself inoperable. Anyway, the priest cuts them off.
I think it is interesting that the sons of the Priest sprinkle the blood on and around the altar at the beginning. And they also burn the sacrifice on the altar at the end;. So we have to initiate this work by applying the blood of Jesus to our lives then after every trial (cutting away) we have to allow the trial to burn up all the chaff in our lives. Otherwise the trial was in vain. What a waste of a bad thing.
Lord, may we salvage every trial for your glory.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Saturday's devo - The rest of the story...RIP

I have found myself being anxious this week. Several people I have talked to have mentioned lost sleep, anxiousness, busyness, stress, need I go on? One of the things God promised the children of Israel was a Promised Land where they would enter into God's rest. It would be a land of milk and honey. According to Heb. 3:10, they didn't enter into God's rest because the did not know God's ways. The next verse says that if we fear, (reverence, revere and are in awe of) God we will not miss this rest. Heb. 4:9 speaks of a rest that is left behind for the people of God. Maybe we need to go back and get it. Verse 10 goes on to say that we won't be able to enter into this "God rest" until we have ceased from our own works. And if you're not confused enough, the next verse says to "labor to enter that rest". Now that's an oxymoron if I ever heard one. That word "labor" means "to use speed, (not the drug); make an effort; be earnest and give diligence to." So "resting" is "work". It is the struggle we have between the flesh and the spirit. God's world is upside down to this worlds or visa versa. So faith is the "door" to "rest". Do we really believe God is working everything to our good? Do we really believe that God is who he said he is, and will do what he said he will do....for us. That's the kicker..... But the truth is ---He absolutely will! Here are some scriptures to help us enter God's rest.
Isa 57:2 We shall enter into peace: we shall rest in our beds, each one walking in his uprightness.
Mat 11:29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. -Jesus
Psa 4:8 I will both lay me down in peace, and sleep: for you, LORD, only make me dwell in safety.
Psa 37:11 But the meek shall inherit the earth; and shall delight themselves in the abundance of peace.
Php 4:6-7 Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.
Php 4:8 Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.
May we rest in peace today.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Friday's Devo - Make us Davids

Read 1 Sam 26
These Ziphites are the most unloyal lot. David delivers them from the Philistines and they turn him over to Saul every chance they get. David wrote Ps. 54 about them.
Once again, Saul chases David into the wilderness. David finds out where he is and takes Abishai with him. They reach Saul's camp at night and find Saul asleep in a trench with his water bottle and spear at hand. Abishai tries to convince David that since God has delivered Saul into his hand again, he should kill him this time. God has delivered Saul into David's hands again, to test him. Will he give into his desire to get rid of him once and for all or will he once again turn it over to God? He decides to steal the water jug and the spear instead. Good choice!
David has gotten Saul's robe- his authority; his water - the Spirit of God that used to be on Saul; and his spear - his defense. The next thing is the throne. But David leaves the promotion to God. David is tested severly because God is looking for a man after His heart that will depend on Him and led the people to depend on God. Everytime he passes, he gets to go to the next level. David refuses to take the advise of his trusted men to kill Saul and chooses to trust God. He refuses to touch God's annointed.
I wonder what the church would look like if we refused to judge holy men who have fallen -if we refused to touch God's annointed. I wonder what God's judgement would look like. Probably a lot like mercy. So do we want to be a Ziphite or a David. I pray we will be a David.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Thurs. Devo - Who's paying for lunch?

Read 1 Sam 25
1Sa 25:1 And Samuel died; and all the Israelites were gathered together, and lamented him, and buried him in his house at Ramah. And David arose, and went down to the wilderness of Paran.
Samuel died and David arose. One of God's greatest prophets leaves and one of God's greatest kings is exalted. It is all part of the plan.
Now back to the narative: Maon is a rich man who owns many sheep. David and his men were a protective shield for Maon's shepherds as they grazed their sheep. David finds out where Maon is and asks for some help...his men are very hungry and Maon is very rich. Maon gets mad and refuses to help them. This tics David off enough to want to go kill Maon and all his household. Did I mention David was very hungry?
Maon has a beautiful and wise wife. (It had to be an arranged marriage.) She finds out about how foolish her husband has been and steps in to save their lives. She secretly packs a wallop of a picnic dinner and heads out to meet David and beg for mercy. David accepts her gifts and promises not to harm them. David and his men eat, and Abigail goes back to Maon. Maon is having a drunken party with all his opulence, so Abigail waits till the next day to tell him what she had done. Maon's already hardened heart became like a stone and he died 10 days later. David's mercy brought God's judgement. That's what happens when we give our anger and griefs to the Lord - he fights for us.
David sends for Abigail and she leaves all that money can buy to become the wife of a poor outlaw-soon-to-be king. Her name means "source of joy" which is what she was to David. Then David takes Ahinoam of Jezreel as his wife also. Her name means "God will sow grace and delight." What a great trio.
1Sa 25:44 But Saul had given Michal his daughter, David's wife, to Phalti the son of Laish, which was of Gallim. (We'll leave this for another study.)
Lord, may we, like Abigail, be tenacious in protecting our families from harm. May we abandon all to follow You.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Wed. Devo - Don't Abort!

Read 1 Sam 24
Has God ever promised you something that took forever to manifest? God loves to give us glimpses into the future that we have to birth. Birthing, as you remember takes f-o-r-e-v-e-r! Nine months seems like eternity and is full of nausia, emotional upheaval, changes, back ache, anticipation...(you get the picture). David birthed his kingship with great labor pains. Once again he is running from Saul and ends up in the back of a cave hiding. Saul just happens to pick this cave as his toilet and is relieving himself in the privacy of all David's men, unbeknownst to him. David is encouraged to kill Saul in his vulnerable position, but instead, David cuts off the hem of his robe. David could have seized the kingdom right then, but that would not have been God's timing. So David resisted. By waiting on God he was getting another piece closer to the throne.
David immediately feels convicted about cutting Saul's robe so he runs after Saul and confesses. He uses the piece of robe as evidence of how easy it would have been to kill Saul. But he didn't. Saul feels bad down to his core and asks David for mercy. He knows David will be the next king, but will David be merciful to Saul's family? David swears he will. End of birth pain.
The last verse says Saul went home (back to the palace), and David and his men went back to their stronghold. David knew things were not over until the baby was birthed, or the king was killed. He goes back to strengthen himself for the next birthpain.
God's promises have to be birthed but they are always worth it. We have a real enemy that is always trying to kill life and make us abort early. Don't do it. Nine months seems like a long time, but not really!
Lord, give us the fortitude to wait on You and your timing. Set our clocks to yours.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Tues. Devo - Let's Play Hide-and-Seek God

Read 1 Sam 23:15-29
I find it interesting that while Saul searched and searched for David and couldn't find him, Jonathan could find him at will. A true friend knows just where to find you. Jonathan encourages David in the Lord and tells him one day David will be king and he will be 2nd in command. Once again they make a covenant.
The Ziphites want some leverage with Saul and come tell him where David is hiding. They even offer to catch him for Saul. How perfect. Another thing I find interesting is that Saul thinks God is on his side and will help him kill David. How deceived he is. Saul tells the Zips to spy on David and learn all his hiding places. David finds out and goes to this rock. I wonder if this is the rock that followed the Israelites through the wilderness. (Jesus). Probably so. Saul found out and he came after David. David avoided him by staying on the other side of the same mountain. How do you get two huge armies on the same mountain and keep it a secret. God can do that. He can do anything! He can even send a rumor so Saul will go home, which is exactly what he did. So Saul went home to take care of the Philistines and David went to Engedi which means "fountain of a kid" which sounds like refreshing straight from Jesus.
We all want to be noticed, but God loves to hide us. He hides us under the shadow of his wings, in his pavilion, in the secret of his tabernacle, in the secret of his presence, from the pride of man and the strife of tongues, from the secret counsel of the wicked, from the insurrection of the workers of iniquity, from our enemies and IN a rock. And those are only the "hides" in Psalms. It is safe to be hidden from God even if it means lack of honor from man. God also knows when to exalt us and it is not until we are ready for it. Then we will wish we were still hidden.
Hide us today in the Rock and may we dwell in your house forever.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Monday's Devo - "Go, You'll Win!"

Read 1 Sam 23: 2-14
I love how real David is. He asks God whether to go against the Philistines and God says "go, you'll win". He tells his men but they don't want to go because they are not only afraid of their own people but this is the ENEMY. So David goes back to the Lord for confirmation. God says again, "go, you'll win". So David goes and takes his men, afraid or not, and they deliver Keilah from the hands of the Philistines with a great victory. David and his men are heros and they hang out in Keilah till they hear that Saul knows they are there and is on his way to destoy him and the town. Now the question is, "will the men of Keilah turn David over to King Saul to save their town?"
Jjust in the nick of time, God sends a priest with an ephod. (I tried to study the ephod, but my Temple book has vanished). All I know is, it is the shoulder piece that has two onyx stones that have 6 of the tribes inscribed on one stone and the other 6 tribes on the other stone. The priest carries these names on his shoulder; which means he bears their burdens always. This Abiathar was a remnant God rescued from death, sent to them for encouragement. David calls Abiathar to bring the ephod and inquires of the Lord what to do. God said, "Run, they will turn you over to Saul." So David took his men and ran to the mountains where God hid him from Saul.
God is longsuffering. He will encourage us over and over. He keeps giving me dreams about my ministry. They all seem to be saying the same thing and adding new encouragement. He wants us to win and he never tires of encouraging us. He gives us water in the desert, food in the wilderness, and places of escape in the mountains. He is our High Priest. He bears our names on his shoulders because he has a plan that includes us. His love for us is amazing. Thank you, Lord.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Sunday's Devo Hang Mercy on the Windows of Your Life

I have been reading in Exodus about the tabernacle. Today's reading was about the curtains. God was very meticulous about them. I understand all that since making curtains is my business. I remember when I first started out I was mainly doing model homes for a builder. That was a great place to start because I made my mistakes there and not in someone's actual home. I use to take my best friend, Anna with me to help me hang them. One time we were out-of-town hanging curtains in a model and we had been there for 5 hours!!! Some of that time was spent at Wal-mart getting stuff to patch up our mistakes, some at Sonic getting refreshments, and some being locked out and trying to get someone to let us in. Everything that could go wrong did. I had to sit on the floor and sew by hand one curtain that I had messed up on. Finally when I was drilling the last hole into the wall I heard Anna's voice saying, "Did you measure that first?" Of course I did. When I went to put the rod up my hole was not 1 inch off but 6!!! I just knew I was going to turn around and see Anna's livid face. This had to be the last straw. But, when I slowly turned around to see her reaction she was on the floor cracking up laughing. I knew mercy had met frustration. I couldn't believe that she was not mad. Now we had to patch up that hole and drill another. She was a single mom with kids who had been home alone since 4. It was now 6:30 at night and we still had a 30 minute ride home. I will never forget her mercy.
God's mercy is so like that. I wonder if when we mess up and are filled with condemnation if He isn't rolling on the floor laughing with us. We take ourselves so serious and blame ourselves for being human. Mistakes are such great opportunities. Think of all the discoveries that were discovered through mistakes. (Sorry, I can't think of one right now) Oh! My third child was a "mistake". What a great mistake!!! The Bible says that goodness and mercy shall follow us all the days of our lives: and we will dwell in the house of the Lord forever. Those are a pretty awesome duo to have your back.
Thank you Lord, for your infinite mercy and grace. We need it every day.