Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Tues. Devo - "Counting" the Cost

Read 2 Sam 24
I've always wondered why God got so upset about numbering the people. He told Moses to number the people but got mad when David did. After studying and asking God about it I came to this conclusion. God had said that Israel would be like the sand of the sea - too many to count. Counting had to do with judgement and pride. 2 Co. 10:12 talks about not making ourselves of the number, or comparing ourselves with others. It says that measuring ourselves by ourselves and comparing ourselves amoung ourselves is not wise. For the Israelites, God was mad at their disobedience and wanted to judge their sin, so he moved on David to count them. Joab saw the danger of this in the sense of pride and begged David not to, but David had his mind set.
As soon as the task was accomplished David was sorry. God was going to punish the people because of their sin but he choose to go through David. He gave David the choice for his people. David chose wisely. He put the people in God's hand because he knew how much God loved his people and would perhaps be merciful. God was, and stopped the plague at the threshing floor of Araunah. "Araunah" means "scarlet" which refers to Jesus' blood, which is the only thing standing between us and our rightful judgement. The plague stopped here because all sickness, curses, plague, judgement, etc. stop at the cross. David went to Araunah and tried to buy the threshing floor (which is a place of judgement), Araunah tried to give it to David. David refused to offer God anything that didn't cost him something. The cross is free but it comes with a great price - our lives. Salvation without sacrifice ends in sloppy grace and an immature Christian.
The cost of the field was 50 shekels which what the law requires a person to pay to sanctify his field. (Ex. 30:12) I find that interesting since the land was cursed in the garden of Eden and Jesus blood was poured out on the ground to sanctify it back.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Monday's Devo - David's Mighty Men

Read 2 Sam 23
David is going to die and he pens his last words. He is placing a blessing on those who go after him. His declares that the same passion and salvation he found in God will grow in those who find their refuge in God. But those who reject God will be burned with fire.
Then he goes to honor his mighty men. He starts with his top 3. Adino the Enite (which means skillful with a sharp sword) who killed 800 at one time with his sword, Eleazar (which means our loving helper) who stayed and fought the Philistines when Israel fled in fear. He fought so hard and long that the sword he was using stuck to his hand. The third one was Shammah (which means a waster of God's enemies). He helped defend a field that was full of lentiles for the men to eat and sustain themselves on.
These 3 men met David at harvest time at the cave of Adullam (a testimony to them). The Philistines were in Bethlehem and David was thinking out loud about how nice it would be to drink some of the water from the well in Bethlehem. The 3 mighty men broke through the Philistine line and drew water from the well of Bethlehem and brought it to David. David was so humbled and awed that they would risk their life for his extravagant desire that he poured the water out on the ground. Then it mentions the captain of the 3 mighty men: Abishai (which means Jehovah, father).
So look at who served David: the Word, the Holy Spirit, Jesus who gave us power over the enemy and God himself. They are our defender and our strong tower, our refuge, and our strength. They train our hands for battle and they go before us to beatup all our enemies. They even risk their lives to bless us extravagantly.
The last man they expound about is Benaiah (he is an angel that God gathered for us). He killed 2 lionlike men and a real lion. (Sounds like the beast, the false prophet and the antichrist in the end)
I hate to do this, but I have to go to an appointment. I leave you to draw your own conclusions.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Friday's Devo - Below the Surface

Read 2 Sam 22
I love this. Right in the middle of all this war and drama David stops to pen a beautiful song. You can read it again in Psalms 18 almost word-for-word. This is a Messianic psalms which means Jesus felt these same emotions. This is a glimpse into what happened when Jesus died. The first 7 verses are Jesus' experiences up to the cross and as he hung there. He was afraid and cried out for his father. God came to his rescue. Verse 10-12 says that darkness was under God's feet as he came down to earth. He hid in the dark clouds as he came down to watch. In Matt. 27: 45-46 it says there was darkness from the 6th hour to the 9th hour. During that darkness there must have been lightning and thunder. When it turned light again Jesus knew God's tangible presence had left and he cried out, "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?" (Matt. 27: 46)
On top of the earth there was an earthquake (Matt. 27: 50-54) and the veil of the temple was rent from top to bottom. Now we know that according to vs. 8, that not only the earth experienced this earth shaking, but also heaven. Maybe when the veil was rent on earth, a door was opened in heaven so that we could all enter in. Also in 14-16 it sounds like an earthquake in the midst of a storm.
Jesus died and in vs. 17 it said that God took him and drew him out of many waters. Are those the waters of his lungs filling up? God delivered him from the strong enemy of death and all those demons that hated him (vs. 18). Jesus was the only man on earth that lived without sin. (vs. 20-25). The rest of the song is Jesus' praise to God for all he did for Jesus and how he helped him defeat Satan.
Dyeing on the cross was not an easy thing for Jesus. He needed God's tangible presence to help him endure it to the end. We are so grateful he did. This chapter makes me want to cry. I don't know if I realized how hard it was for him to do this and not just give up. Thank you Jesus for what you did for us on the cross. You are the tower of salvation to David's seed for evermore.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Thurs. Devo - Seasons Change and So Must We.

Read 2 Sam 21
Blessings or curses: we have our choice. The only condition is obeying God's word. There is a famine in the land because Saul killed the Gibeonites. Israel had a covenant with them that they would never go against them and the Israelites would fight any of the Gibeonite's enemies that attacked them. They were the people who tricked Joshua dressing up in old clothes and saying they were from a far away land. So now David has to go and offer an to get atonement for breaking the covenant. They decide they want 7 of Saul's sons hanged to pay for the debt.
Verse 9 and 10 are packed with significance...I just don't know if I can understand it. Rizpah lost 2 sons to this agreement. She took sackcloth and spread it on the rock from the beginning of harvest until the water dropped on them from heaven, and she kept the wild animals from feasting on their bodies. This is the seasonal time from Passover to Pentecost. Passover was when Jesus died, was buried and rose again. During the next 50 days the priest would count out one omer a day of barley seeds till he had counted 50 which would be Pentecost. So if Jesus died on Passover, was buried on Unleavened Bread, and rose on First Fruits, then could this lady be the angel who watched over Jesus' body (his disciples) till Pentecost when God rained down the Holy Spirit from heaven? Jesus had told his disciples to go hide out in Jerusalem until he sent them the Holy Spirit. David went and gathered bones of Saul's household from all over the countryside and brought them together and buried them in the country of Benjamin. On the day of Pentecost Israelites from all over the country came together to worship together. When the Holy Spirit fell on the 120 in the upper room. They went out and proclaimed Jesus and the Church was birthed. "Benjamin" stands for the church.
Interestingly right after this there are major fights with giants with new swords. After Pentecost there was one of the largest persecutions the church has ever seen. Many demonic giants came out with new weapons but they defeated everyone of them. If you read the book of Acts you will see blindness, sickness, disease, possesion, deafness, etc defeated. The devil came out with new swords, but God's children were equipped with new weapons given to them at Pentecost. May your church come together in unity and take the provisions you gave us at Pentecost and use them to defeat the enemy.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Wed. Devo - Off With Your Head, Devil!

Read 2 Sam 20: 4-26
Sheba, another type of Satan, is trying to usurp the kingdom from David. David sends Amasa to rally the men of Judah and be back in 3 days. When he doesn't return David has to take matters into his own hands and gathers Joab's men, the Cherethites, and the Pelethites. The Cherethites and the Pelethites were life guardsmen and messengers. They sound like angels to me. (When flesh and blood can't be found, angels are always at our disposal.) David knew that Sheba was more harmful than Absalom. (New levels; new devils.) I don't understand what happened next. Joab kills Amasa. Aren't they on the same side? I guess tardiness is punishable by death in Joab's army. (A little scarry). Then Joab takes the men Amasa gathered and pursues Sheba. He had gone to a city called Abel. Joab's men surround the wall and start battering it to tear it down. One of the women of the city sought out Joab to ask him why he was tearing down their wall. She declares that she is a faithful follower of God and does not deserve to be killed. She finds out that he only wants Sheba so she promises to throw his head over the wall. She gets the whole town on her side and they cut off Sheba's head and throw it over the wall. Whalla! The war is over and everyone goes home happy. Well everyone but Sheba. So what does this have to do with us? We will never be through fighting the enemy until Jesus comes and sets up his realm of peace (Solomon's rule). Until then, we have to be armed to fight. As far as we are concerned the devil has already been beheaded by the resurrection of Jesus. This wise woman knew who she was and what to do. She not only saved herself, but the whole town and she defeated God's enemy. May we be shrewd like this woman...wise as a serpent, but harmless as a dove.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Tues. Devo - Don't be Foolish.

Read 2 Sam 20: 1-3
Sheba a man of Belial stood up and blew a trumpet to get the children of Israel to rebel against David and follow him. All through the Bible the term "son of Belial" or "of Belial" is used. It is not talking about a real man or a location. "Belial" means "without profit, worthless, destruction, wickedness; and is synonymous with Satan." "Sheba" means "seven" which means he was completely wicked. He was instrumental in splitting Israel and Judah. Israel followed Sheba and Judah followed David.
In verse 3 we have the 10 concubines who were left to protect the house. Since I know that everything in the Bible is there for a reason, I know this is important. The king left these women in charge of the house and left. When he was gone Absalom went in and defiled them in the eyes of all Israel to prove his authority. Now that David is back he takes them and puts them in a "ward" which is a "watch; a place of dutiful charge." They stayed there forsaken till their death. I wonder if these were the New Testament virgins Jesus talked about in Matt 25:1. When Jesus left this earthly kingdom he left us in charge of his earthly house. We played the harlot just like these concubines did. Some of us repented and became virgins. We are waiting Jesus' return but the question is: Do we have plenty of oil? When Jesus came back to earth to spend some time with his disciples he told them that he was leaving again and that they were to go to Jerusalem and receive the gift he had died to give them. That gift was the Holy Spirit. It meant that Jesus's spirit would be in them and guide them and give them the power to be witnesses. This is the oil the virgins needed. Have you asked God to baptize you in his Holy Spirit. It is not an experience it is a life-style.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Monday's Devo - On the Way to the Throne...

Read 2 Sam 19
Today we read of David's journey back to the throne. He is so sad about Absalom's death that he almost sabatoged his future. He somehow forgot all the people who risked their lives to save him and his kingdom. He was shortsighted and selfish. But, he listened to his leaders and followed their wise advice and woke up. Now was not the time to mourn but the time to lead. The people needed unity because they were very divided in their opinions and loyalty. David's speech brought the unity they needed and they all wanted the king to return. So David crosses the Jordan and comes home. He meets 4 people. The first was Shimei who had cursed him and thrown stones at him when he was leaving. Shimei begged for forgiveness and his life and got it. Then he meets Ziba who was Mephibosheth's servant who lied to David about Mephibosheth's loyalty. Next he meets Mephibosheth who has been waiting and mourning since David left. He clears his name and gets back half of his land. The last man is Barzillai. Barzillai had fed David and his men when he escaped. He tells David he is too old and wants to go back and die in his own city where his father and mother are buried. But instead he sends Chimham his young servant. I think these represent the 4 types of people that God will deal with when he comes back to set up his kingdom. Shimei stands for the one who openly cursed God. David says he can live because this is not a day of judgement. Shimei gets to live for now but is judged in Solomon's reign (See 1 Ki 2:44) The next type is Ziba who tried to win the kings loyalty by good deeds and trickery. He gets a divided portion. David saw some good in him. Mephibosheth gets to present his case and get cleared of all his guilt. He was the faithful one. Barzillai stood for the old tradition. It worked in the past but could not pass over to the new. Instead it sent a new version of itself to the other side in Chimham.
I am always reminded that God does not see men as I see them. Nothing is hid from him. He knows how to shape hearts to Him and he knows how to judge; although his judgements are very slow and he gives us multitudes of times to repent. I pray we take them.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Friday's Devo - Fear Not!

Luke 2:10 And the angel said unto them,Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.
Dave and I are going to Shreveport today to visit my mom and the kids. Josh and Charm just finished redoing a house and have been moving in all week. I can't wait to see it. It will be good to all be together again.
I talked to a friend of mine today who just had her first child. She is full of all the fears of a new mom; a single one at that. This is the greatest time to be bringing a child into the world. I hear Mordecia telling Esther: "who knows but that you were brought to the kingdom for such a time as this." I remember my mom saying that she would hate to be bringing children into the world when I was having my family. Not very encouraging and though she meant well, it was not true. God had his son sent to this world in a time when crazy kings ruled, religious hypocrites ran the synagogue and false teaching abounded. The streets were not safe at night and to travel was very scarry. But God wasn't afraid for his son; even when they murdered and humiliated him. Why are we so driven by fear? Jesus was always saying, "fear not." It wasn't a suggestion, it was a command.
I told my friend that this was a great time to be bringing her son into the world, and I meant it. We are living in exciting times for the church. The world is getting less and less sure of themselves and everyone is looking for an answer. We have it!!! Jesus is hope and life and joy and everything we need. We are going to shine like the stars because the night is getting darker. People are not complacent and satisfied anymore; they are actively afraid and searching. The fields are ripe for harvest. Let's put on our harvest clothes and go bring them in. It just takes God's love.
Luke12:32 Fear not, little flock: for it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Thurs. Devo - Who's Afraid of the Big Bad Wolf?

Read 2 Sam 18
David divides his men in 3 companies and sends them out to fight Absalom's men. The people convince David not to fight because his life is too important. He submits and stays at the gate.
They fought the battle in thick woods. The conditions of the woods killed more men than the actual battle. Absalom comes riding on a mule to his hanging. Didn't Jesus ride a mule to his hanging? The difference is that Absalom is the counterfeit trying to usurp the kingdom. His life was taken from him. Jesus was the real king who willingly laid down his life. David, as a type of Jesus totally gave his fate over to God, he didn't even go out and fight. He believed God would administer justice even if it was to him. Joab finished Absalom off with 3 darts. How fitting, the Devil is always throwing darts at us. He puts him in a pit and covers him in huge rocks. Retribution is served. The Devil is sent back to the pit and buried under the very words (stones) he threw at us.
Joab has to get word to David what has happened so he sends a runner: Cushi. Ahimaaz asked to run too. Joab didn't understand because he had no message to give but he let him run. "Ahimaaz" means "brother of counsel". He wanted to prepare David for the blow Cushi was bringing because he knew it would upset David. The Bible also says that at the word of 2 witnesses a thing is established. If this is the picture of the end then there must be 2 witnesses.
David mourns for Absalom. Will God actually mourn the devil's death? I think he will in a way. The Devil was once a leader in heaven; one of God's beloved creations. I think he will mourn what he did with his power and what he could have been if he hadn't turned from God. This must be how David mourned for Absalom.
Lord, reveal your plans to your children so that we will not be caught unaware. Expose the devil's schemes and exalt your power in us.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Wednesday's Devo - So This is Why We Pray!?!

Read 2 Sam 17
God is in control of this whole mess the world has gotten itself in and can turn the tables whenever he wants to. Look at what He did in today's reading. Absalom decides to take the advise of Hushai, (David's plant) instead of his own advisor, Ahithophel. This one event changed history. David now has time to escape, refuel, and get God's strategy. God turns the hearts of men any way he wants to. He turned Absalom's heart to take Hushai's advice and wait to form an army, then go after David. Poor Ahithophel couldn't take the rejection and killed himself. How powerful pride is.
Two spies left to tell David what Absalom was going to do and he was seen by a young boy. This boy went and told Absalom. God had a place of hiding for the spies, Jonathan and Ahimaaz, and they were able to get their message to David.
I wonder if this is a glimpse into the spirit realm. When God is trying to get wisdom or warning to us he sends angels into the enemy camp to gain information of their plans. Then the angels need our prayers to get them through the powers of the air to give us the answers and wisdom we need. I think that is why we are called to fast and pray in the spirit. We cannot conceive what is happening in the spirit realm, but God knows. We have to join in the mission and do our part. Not only did David get the info he needed to be safe, but God spread a table for him and fed him. (Like manna in the wilderness.)
Whatever trial we are going through we need to be praying and asking God for wisdom and direction. Sometimes getting the answer takes a fight in the heavenlies. Remember, we don't fight against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. (Eph. 6:12)
Put on your armor and fight.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Tues. Devo - Who's running your Show?

Read 2 Sam 16
Why is there so much jealosy in the Body of Christ? Satan's lure is to make us want to be seen, important, heard, honored, even if we have to belittle someone else to get there. That is what Ziba did. David had made him Mephibosheth's servant. Ziba's name means "appointed". He was appointed to serve Mephibosheth. The only problem was Mephibosheth was lame and the lame were not held in high esteem so neither was the servant. Ziba saw his opportunity to put Mephibosheth down and exalt himself and he took it. He came out and "saved the day" with bread, fruit, and wine for David and his men. David appreciated it, but when he asked about where Mephibosheth was, Ziba lied. Do we ever get away with our lies no matter how white? No. He got a temporary reward....Mephibosheth's land.
Next David meets a very honest man named Shimei. There is no pretense in this man. He hates David and lets him know why and why he thinks this is happening to David. None of it is good or true. One of David's men, Abishai wants to take his head off but David stops him. David has had a lifetime of lessons on not taking matters into his own hands. He is not about to throw them away on this fool.
Meanwhile, back at the palace, Absalom and his followers enter Jerusalem to reign. God slips Hushai into Absalom's trust so David has inside intelligence set up. Absalom's counselor advises him to go into his father's concubine to show the world who is in control. I hate to tell Absalom but God is in control! It all boils down to this thing called "control". We want it but God wants it too and since He knows the future and the plan it would behoove us to give it to him. But, it is always a struggle, more like a death. May we all lie down and die today.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Sunday's Devo - Dieing to Live

Once we agreed God was sending me to Yemen we both agreed I shouldn't go alone, since I can't make it to Tulsa without getting lost. But, I realize not too many people can just pick up and go to Yemen. The other night we were listening to a man speak and he told the story about a 15 year old girl who told her pastor-dad that she felt God was telling her to go to an unreached tribe in Africa. She didn't know the language and would be going alone. Her dad and mom, of course said no. Then God spoke to the father and said, "She is safer in Africa, in the middle of my will, than in your house, out of my will." She has been there for 4 years now doing a tremendous work for God. Dave looked at me and said, "Yemen". So he decided I should go....by myself. I'm not scared, which is the problem. I'm never scared, but I still get lost, turned around, and in places I never intended to be. So, we'll see. When I e-mailed Robynn she said we would sight-see, shop, and hit the streets witnessing. I am very excited to see what God has in store.
The other night Dave had a dream. He was standing over a dying Muslim. The man said, "It's all a lie." He was talking about Islam. I pray God's laborers will get the message to these dying-without-hope people so they can live with hope.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Saturday's Devo- Go Ye Therefore...

I'm going to Yemen in July. I still don't know exactly how it happened, but I'm going by myself to visit a person I am only a little familiar with. Actually, my husband met Robynn Pollard one Sunday afternoon when he had to stay after church for a meeting. Dave HATES meetings. Robynn was out in the parking lot and her car wouldn't start. Dave ended up taking her to her house clear across town. He came home telling me that I needed to meet her. She and her husband had been missionaries in Yemen and had come home for a while. I did finally meet Robynn one day at church. What I noticed about her was her great smile and the beautiful necklace she was wearing. She said she got it over seas and it was made by Aya Barr, a Jewish woman. After that, I noticed Aya's jewelry in various nice stores with nice price tags on them. When I went to Israel I got some of her earrings.
I saw Robynn occasionally in the next year, but only for a minute. She and her husband, Greg, went back to Yemen. Since then, I have heard about them everywhere. I get their newletter and we pray for them and sometimes support them.
I have this dream where I am substituting in a classroom and I decided to do a talk on my earrings. (How educational!) I have selected a few of my earrings to talk about. I pick up the one by Aya Barr and am telling them about my trip to Israel and the woman who made it. And like in dreams, the earring doesn't look anything like mine. It is much larger and has white crystals on it. One of the boys who is not interested in spiritual things turns to look at this earring. It is like it is a bridge for him to God. I wake up. I always associate these earrings with Robynn since she is the one who introduced me to the designer.
Wellll, my dear husband kept telling me that he thinks I should go visit Robynn. He is bound to make me an evangelist to the nations. He sends me everywhere and just stays home and works to support my journeys. One of these days he is going to go with me. I'll continue this tomorrow. You're tired of reading and I'm tired of writting. Blessings!!!

Friday, March 13, 2009

Friday's Devo - Promises, Promises, So Many Promises

Read 2 Sam 14
I see over and over how if someone wants to get the king to see something, they concoct a hypothetical situation that will get the point across. It is a word picture. The Bible is full of them. Well, Joab wanted the king to bring Absalom back to the city and the king didn't want to. So Joab pays this actress to go and tell the king a similar story about a son that was in danger of being killed. If he died there would be no one to carry on the line and she would have no inheritance. There it is again, the inheritance thing. It was so strong in the OT, I think we are missing something. What is God trying to tell us about inheritance?
"Inheritance" in the Hebrew means "occupancy" or possession; something that is passed down". It is mentioned 239 times in the Bible so it must be important. In the OT the inheritance from God was the Promise Land and a future. The times "inheritance" is mentioned in the New Testament it always refers to the promises in the OT. It is like he has already given them, but he is telling us we can still have them. Deuteronomy 28 is full of promises and blessings: It covers everything we could possible think of. You can claim them for you and your household. 2 Pet. 1:4 says that these promises are given to us so that by them we might be partakers of the divine nature and escape the corruption that is in the world through lust. Now that's a promise!!!

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Thurs. Devo - Water to a Dry and Thirsty Land

Read John 4: 7-42
I know I'm deviating from our study, but I want to keep chasing this rabbit till I have it in some type of closure.
So what would Jesus say to a woman who has used her body for all the wrong reasons and found herself drowning in shame and no way to get out? He would say, "give me what you have". That is what he told the woman at the well. The only thing she had was a pail to gather water in and that is what Jesus asked of her. She is surprised that a Jew would have anything to do with her a woman and a Samarian at that. She feels shame and unworthiness and has to address that before she can even think of what he asked her. Jesus doesn't even comment on her question, he goes straight to the point. If she knew that he was God and that he could give her salvation - "living water", she would be asking him for it. She wants to know IF he can produce this "living water" what is he going to put it in and who is HE to produce this magical "living water"? Is he greater than Jacob? (I think so!)
Jesus, of course, by-passes her question and speaks to her soul. He knows that she is a dry soul, thirsting for love and life. He explains that this "living water" will not come from an outside source, but be a well INSIDE her which will give her eternal life. She is thirsty enough to believe him.
I wonder why Jesus told her to go get her husband. Was this a test to see what she would say. He obviously knew she had been with 6 men, at least. I think he was using this to build her faith in him. Now she thinks he's a prophet and asks him a religious question. (Like: "what church do you go to?" - we get that all the time) Jesus used this religious question to tell her that you must worship God in spirit and truth, not in the right location. He finally came right out and told her that he was the Messiah. She goes and gets the city to come hear him and many believe.
Jesus went against the protocol of the times and spoke alone, eyeball to eyeball to a Samaritan lady who was living in sin. He came to save the lost, all of them. He never saw her through her sin he saw her thirsty heart. If your heart has been broken and left dry, Jesus offers you "living water" which will forever quench that thirst for love and acceptance. Let his salvation heal you. Then go tell someone - or go tell your whole city!

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Wed. Devo - Let us be Slaves to Christ Alone

I can’t get off of this matter of sexual strongholds. In the Old Testament, it seems like the women only wanted to have sex for children. The amount of children they could have determined their worth. I remember how Leah bought one night of sex with her own husband for some mandrakes. She would never have the Jacob‘s love, but she never gave up having children to try to get it. Rachael had Jacob’s love and all she wanted was children. Are we never satisfied?
Tamar played the harlot to have sex with her father-in-law to carry on her line.
Lot’s daughters got their father drunk to have sex with him to carry on their line.
Esther spend years preparing to please a king. Because she found favor with this king she saved the whole Jewish line.
Rahab, the harlot, betrayed her people to save her family and become an Israelite.
Sex was the tool to get what they wanted. The curse put on Eve was that she would desire her husband, and that he will rule over her. In the New Testament God tells the husband to love and honor his wife so that his prayers will be heard. It tells the wives to be submissive to the husbands as it is proper in the Lord. I wonder if buying sex would be proper to God. I don’t think so.
Women who use sex to manipulate become “love slaves”. They will do anything, ANYTHING, for the attention of a male. And they don’t even realize what is behind it. We as women are under a curse to desire men. We are all “love slaves” until we break every soul tie we have made with a man and ask God to loose us and bind our hearts to Christ. We need to put sex in the proper place. It is the will of God that a man and woman enjoy each other intimately in the perimeters of marriage. The marriage bed should be undefiled (pure, and unsoiled). We as Christians have some repenting to do. We fill our eyes with illicit sex on TV and the movies and wonder why we are having marriage problems. Lord, forgive us. The devil hates God’s plan and will do anything to distort and sabotage them. We as God’s people have to purify our hearts and fight the attacks that come to our minds and our hearts.
We pray that our husbands may have pure hearts and minds. Turn our hearts back to our own marriage bed and help us to keep it undefiled. May the helmet of salvation guard every thought that comes into our head. May all wrong thoughts be turned over to the obedience of Christ and may we think on whatsoever things are pure, kind, undefiled, of good report and lovely.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Tues. Devo - Restore Tamar

Read 2 Sam 13: 15
Continuing from yesterday... notice what happens to Tamar. She is thrown out and the door bolted after her. She can never return to virginity. It has been stolen from her. She puts ashes on her head as a sign of mourning and tears her robe that indicated that she was a king's daughter and that she was a virgin. She mourns the loss of both. I can imagine that is the way a woman would feel who has been raped. She feels she has lost her position with her father and her covering. She remains desolate in her brother Absalom's house. Since Absalom is a type of the Antichrist he keeps her in bondage till he can revenge her. His revenge brings death. Only God can bring justice and vengeance which leads to life. So true to Absalom's promise, after 2 years, he deceives David and Amnon and draws Amnon away from any protection and kills him.
David mourns both sons. Just like Jesus, he loved them both. Jesus loves the sinner just like he loves the victim. His mercy and love is boundless. It goes beyond my understanding. We never hear anymore about this Tamar, but Absalom named his daughter Tamar. “Tamar” means a palm tree. A palm tree is tall and erect but can take strong wind. It can bend almost to the ground and snap back without breaking. The palm native to that area is the date palm. It grows up to 60 ft. and lives up to 100 years. It may yield up to 600 lb. of dates yearly. The dates are full of sugar, protein and minerals. It is the main wealth of the people and a chief article of food. The leaf stalks are used for basketry and wickerwork, and are woven into bags and mats. The fiber is used for cordage. This all says to me that every bit of this woman, or any woman who has been sexually abused is profitable. With Jesus help, she can bend but not break. She can make it through the storms of life and still produce much fruit that can be a source of nutrition and use for many.
Lord, protect your daughters from the enemy. If they have fallen victim to sexual assaults, may they be Tamars who weather the storms and come out victorious. Expose the enemy and let us be discerning of his plans and not fall prey to his schemes. I pray this for us and our daughters and grand-daughters to come.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Monday's Devo - Sexual Breaches

Read 2 Sam 13:1-14
Absalom has a sister named Tamar. If you can recall there was another Tamar who tricked he father-in-law, Judah, into having sex with her to get the promise he had not fulfilled. That promise was to give her his son to carry on her line of inheritance. In today's reading we have another Tamar who is tricked and raped by her brother, Amnon. Through this act she lost her hope for an inheritance. Both have to do with incest, trickery, and inheritance. I have been asking God to give me a picture of what happens to the female who enters into sexual promiscuity or is raped. In Leviticus 24:19-20 it says that if a man causes a blemish (a stain: physical or moral) then as he has done to them, it will be done to him. Breach for breach.
Amnon got deceived by Absalom and killed for what he did to Tamar. So if the law says breach for breach then Tamar's rape was like a death. It ended her inheritance and something inside her died. Amnon had been so in love with her before he raped her he was physically sick. Having sex did not make him love her more, in fact, it made him hate her even more than he had loved her. If we could just get our teenagers to get that. Having sex makes you lose the guy, not keep him.
With Judah's Tamar, she actually got pregnant which was her only goal. She had twins- doubly blessed. They fought for being first-born and Pharez won. His name means a "breach". His brother came out with the scarlet thread around his wrist and was named Zerah which means "the rising of the sun". Pharez was the "breach for breach". He was Tamar's payment for the breach of contract that Judah had done to her. David and Jesus came from this line. Pharez went on to have 5 sons himself. Her line of inheritance went on.
Although neither of theTamars lived God's plan for sex. It is not suppose to be a manipulative toy to get what you want and it is not to be forced on you for someone else's pleasure. It is for 2 people who are under the covenant of marriage to enjoy and produce off-spring. It is one of Satan's favorite things to distort and steal because it mirrors God's resurrection power and love. Lord, may we hold on to purity and innocence in everything and especially in sex. May this generation rise up and declare purity and innocence over their bodies.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Sunday's Devo - Throw Your Seed Upon the Waters

I have been contemplating the law of reaping and sowing or I should say, sowing and reaping. Most people talk about it in a negative sense like if your child is considering doing something wrong you remind them that they will reap what the sow. The phrase hangs over your conscience and follows you everywhere you go. Well, what about the other side of the coin? If you walk uprightly, it only has great benefits. Last June out church did a project called "Clean Slate". We totally redid a house of a family that had great needs. I was a part of that ministry and gave my decorating talents freely. It was such a blessing to everyone involved. After that my business exploded. I planted my seed in fertile ground and it produced a hundred fold and more.
We also think of reaping and sowing in terms of ministry. If we plant seeds of love and salvation, we will expect to reap a harvest of souls. In the last days God said that the reaper will overtake the sower. (Amos 9:13). That is what I call salvation. All I know is that we are living in times where everyone is uncertain about their future and we hold the answer, and the hope, and the peace they need. May we be bold in planting our seed because the fields are ripe, but the laborers are few. It only takes a little seed to go a long way. Start scattering seed!

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Saturday's Devo - Jesus Loves Me This I Know...

I am meeting today with a friend who wants to pick my brain, or spirit, about healing and faith. So I have been meditating on the two and I think that it boils down to one question. Do you believe God loves you? If you have been a Christian for a while you have heard or read the stories of healing in the Bible. If you asked any Christian if he believed God can heal, he would probably say "yes". But, if you asked that same person if he believed God wants to heal him, he would probably hesitate, and if he was truthful, say "no". Why do we have such a problem with thinking God will heal us. I think, we think we are not worthy. Well, let me let you in on a secret....you aren't. That's the whole reason for the cross. We get grace, mercy, salvation, healing, deliverance, and so much more FREE! We have a wrong idea about God's love for us. This friend has a son that suffers physically. I am reminded of Moses. God chose Moses to lead his people because he knew these people were obstinant, stubborn, sinful, and would complain about everything. He knew that Moses would not judge them or give up on them, but he would stand in the gap for them. When God got tired of hearing their complaints and wanted to wipe them off the earth, Moses interceded for the people and saved them. This pleased God and he let them live. God has given us our children, the people we work with, the people in our circle of influence to us for a reason. He trusted that we would not judge them or give up on them, but we would stand in the gap for them. This little boy was given to my friend so that she would pray for him and God could deliver him from this infirmity. We serve a great God who is mighty to save!!!

Friday, March 6, 2009

Friday's Devo - Mirror, Mirror, On the Wall...

Read 2 Sam 12
Nathan was a type of the Holy Spirit in David's life. He held the mirror up for David to see his sin. He showed him how the sin looked in someone else's life. It seems to be easier to see the darkness of our sin when it is mirrored in someone elses life instead of through our defenses. Nathan goes on to tell David how God has blessed him, and everything he has is because of God's favor. God would have kept on giving him blessings, but his sin stopped God's flow. He pointed out that David "despised the commandment of God". (Thou shalt not kill, and Thou shalt not commit adultery) - those commandments. Ouch! And because he did these things there will always be war in his house and God will raise up someone out of his own house to be against him. They will lie with his wives before everyone.
You reap what you sow. David destroyed a family and his family would be destroyed. Seed always brings a greater harvest.
David responded wisely : he repented and confessed his sin. He didn't try to rationalize or belittle it or justify it. He called it sin and repented.
Verse 14 is key: "by this deed you have given great occasion to the enemies of the Lord to blaspheme." Our sin, no matter how hidden, gives the enemy ammunition to flourish. It opens a door to let in all kind of death in our lives. We then need to battle to keep him out and close the door. David's sin would have been carried on to their child, but God in his mercy killed the child on the 7th day. On the 7th day, when Jesus comes back everything our sin has birthed will be put to death. It is the mercy of God. On that day we will rise from the earth, be washed and anointed, we will be given a new body and we will come into the mansion God has prepared for us and we will sit and dine with God. (vs. 20) We will be holy and produce holiness (Solomon). It will be a time of peace.
Lord, we confess that we are sinners that need your salvation. May we be slow to sin and quick to repent. May we drive out the enemy and shut the door. We desire to reproduce life, not death.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Thurs. Devo - Bathsheba's Bath Did Not Make Her Clean Read

Read: 2 Sam 11
How many sermons have been preached about this chapter? I've heard my share so I decided to look at it from another angle: Bathsheba's. Did she know that David could see her from there? Did she entise and seduce him on purpose? If she did, she got more than she bargained for. Let's say she meant to entise David and wanted to sleep with him. He enjoyed her for a night, then forgot about her till she tells him she is pregnant. Then she has to wait forever to find out what David is going to do. Is he going to act like he's not responsible? - not his usual pattern. Is he going to admit his sin to all Israel? How embarrasing. Instead, he does the cover-up plan that is sure to backfire everytime. God loves to expose lies and proclaim truth. So David has Uriah come home so he can have sex with his wife and he will think it is his baby. I'm sure they had talked about one day having their own children. I'm sure this was not the way it was suppose to happen. I bet Bathsheba regretted that little tryst with David everytime she looked at her swollen abdomen.
Well, as you know, Uriah refuses to go home and David resorts to killing him. Why not kill the guilt?... Only guilt has a way of resurrecting. So Uriah is put in a place where he is sure to get killed, and he does. Well, all is fair in love and war. Except if God is watching, which he always is. God sees right through our smoke screens and right through to the truth. He sees us naked!!!...all the time!!! He saw Bathsheba naked and he knows if she was party to David's lust or innocent. I'm betting she is like you and me....guilty. Thank God we have a redeemer, Jesus Christ, who makes our scarlet sins pale to white. Thank you Jesus for your blood, your salvation, your truth, your...

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Wed. Devo - Shoot Your Own Gun in Your Own Field

Read 2 Sam 10: 6-19
The children of Ammon hired the Syrians to fight with them...33,000 to be exact. (I wonder what their wages were...oh, yea, the wages of sin are death. They got paid in full.) David sent all his mighty men. The children of Ammon lined up before the gate of the city and the Syrians spread out in the fields. Joab, David's leader, chose the best men to fight the Syrians and sent the rest of them to fight the Ammonites with Abishai, his brother. The battle started and before long the Syrians were running from the Israelites. When the Ammonites saw this, they ran also. The king of the Syrians met David's men on the other side of the Jordan river and the battled again. David slew 700 chariots, 40,000 horsemen, and killed their leader. When the Syrian king saw that there was no hope, he surrendered and they became Israel's servants. The Syrians were very foolish. They fought in a battle that wasn't theirs for a fee they never got. They started our free men and ended up slaves. Proverbs says that if you meddle with strife that doesn't belong to you, it's like taking a dog by the ears.
My pastor use to always say that sin will take you farther than you meant to go, keep you longer than you meant to stay and cost you more than you meant to pay. How true for the Syrians. They ended up making peace with the Israelites and vowing never to help the Ammonites again. At least they learned their lesson. It would be ashamed to go through all that and not come our learning anything. Are you fighting someone else's battle? If you are: STOP! You only have enough ammo and energy for your battles. And the good thing about your battles is that you don't have to fight them; God will for you. He just requires you to give him the battle and become His servant. Why does that sound so easy yet is so hard to do?
Lord, we can't do anything in our own strength. Help us to stay in our formation in your army. It's the safest place to be.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Tues. Devo - Facial Hair and Mini Skirts

Read 2 Sam 10:1-4
Nahash was the king of the Ammonites and had been a bitter enemy to Israel. Apparently, Nahash had been kind to David when he was running from Saul so when Nahash died David wanted to pay his respects. To do this David sent ambassadors to Nahash's son, Hanun. Hanun's princes were very suspicious of David's motives and convinced Hanun that David's men were spies. He took David's men and shaved off half of their beards and cut off their garments half-way up, then sent them home. When David found out, he went out to meet his men and had them stay in Jericho till their beards grew because it was a shame for a man not to have a beard. That is what I call picking a fight, and a fight is what they got.
Every story in the OT teaches a truth. I think the lesson here is that demons cannot give or receive kindness or truth. The name "Nahash" means "a snake or a serpent". He did David a favor only to benefit himself because Satin is totally selfish. David was deceived into thinking his intentions might have been honorable. Nahash's son's name - "Hanun" means "favored". He sure didn't favor David, so he must have favored his father. He couldn't perceive David's kindness because kindness is foreign to him. He put shame on David's men which is Satan's #1 dart. Shame will keep us from accepting grace, mercy and forgiveness. Shame will cripple our walk and steal our confidence in God working through us. Hanun shamed the men in public so God shamed Hanun in public when he was defeated by David. Satan wants to shame our countenance (beard) which is the mirror to our spirit and he wants to uncover our nakedness (cut off our garments). Bottom line: he wants to steal our testimony and bring our sin before us all the time so we will be stiffled in our walk with God and be unaffective.
Lord, give us discernment to see the tactics of the enemy in our lives. May our countenance always shine your glory and our nakedness be always under the covering of your blood.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Monday's devo - From Lame to Fame

Read 2 Sam 9
God's lovingkindness goes far beyond his law.
David want's to find any relative of Saul's to bless so he calls Saul's personal servant, Ziba. Ziba tells him that there is one - Mephibosheth. Mephibosheth was made lame when he was dropped by his nurse while fleeing death. So David calls him in and gives him all the land of Saul's inheritance and tells him he will eat bread at David's table till he dies. He puts Ziba and his family (and he had a huge family) in charge of keeping up Mephibosheth's inheritance. Everyone wins. Mephibosheth is honored and provided for and Ziba and his family have a place to stay and a well-paying job.
The best part of this is that the law states that if a man has a blemish, such as being lame he could not come near the temple to offer his bread to God. (Lev. 21:18-21) So God is bringing Mephibosheth to the king's table and offering it to him. What a twist! That is what the Bible is all about. We don't have anything worth offering to God; He has everything. But, when we realize our state, he can lavish stuff on us, because He knows we will give Him the credit. Mephibosheth remained a humble and faithful servant of David's till he died. May we remain humble and faithful to God till we die. Thank you for your lovingkindness; it is better than life!

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Sunday's Devo - The Golden Egg is Visable, but not Seen.

My favorite question I like to ask people is "Why does God hide things?" He talks about mysteries, riddles, secrets, and hidden things all through the Bible. If he wants to give us wisdom, knowledge, and understanding why does he hide it in parables, types, shadows, and word pictures? Why did Jesus tell the disciples that he spoke to the people in parables because it was not given to them to know the mysteries of the kingdom; only to the disciples?
I think He hides things because Prov. 25:2 says: "it is the glory of God to conceal a matter, but the glory of kings to search it out." He wants us to search it out. He wants us to ask, dig, seek, knock. He never withholds good things from those who ask. You just have to ask. Jesus explained the parables to the disciples only because they asked. Asking and digging show you really want to know. In the digging, you share a relationship with God. It is like hunting Easter eggs. The parent wants the child to find the egg so he hides it just below the surface. That is where God hides things; just below the natural...in the spirit.
God loves the process. He loves to watch us hunt for hidden treasure in His Word. He loves to play hide-and-seek with us. And when we find the hidden treasures they are such "aha" moments of revelation. They lighten up our heart and make God bigger in our "eyes". I love those moments of intimacy, and so does God.
One morning Dave gave me a scripture God had given him that morning for me. It is Isaiah 48:6-7. It blew my mind and my theology. Go find out why!