Sunday, May 31, 2009

Sunday's Devo - God is Faithful to his Word

Ro. 4:20-21 Abraham never wavered in believing God's promise. In fact, his faith grew stronger, and in this ge brought glory to God. He was fully convinced that God is able to do whatever he promises.
I love to take risks with God. I got an e-mail from Adam Pray who has recently moved his family to Cairo, Egypt. He asked for prayer for his house to lease because they really needed the income. The thought popped into my head: tell him his house will lease this week. I use to always question these thoughts and battle about whether to act on them, but I am learning to just act. If I'm wrong the world will still rotate on its axis and the sun will still rise so I did. I responded: I believe that your house will rent this week. Adam knows me enough to love me even if I'm wrong, but what if I DID hear from God and what if by me proclaiming it, it gave God the permission to act. He has chosen to act through us and we have to speak what he wants spoken for it to manifest. God spoke through his prophets all through the OT to bring about his promises. He still speaks through his people to bring about what He wants to happen.
Well, I waited all week to hear from Adam and went out of town that Wed. When I got back there was an e-mail from Adam. They had leased their house on that Friday!!! Praise the Lord!!! The key is hearing what God says. We can't name it and claim it but we can if God says to. He trumps everything. His name is worthy of all our praise!
Lord, may we be like Abraham who never wavered in believing your promises.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Sat. Devo - Go Ye Therefore

Acts 1:8 But you shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and you shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem. and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.
We were in Shreveport, La. for Memorial Day. My mom is a soul-winner and 2 years ago went to the Veteran's Hospitol on Veteran's Day to witness. Last year she was not healthy enough to go, but this year she wanted to go and asked if I wanted to go with her. I was reluctant at first, tired from the week-end at the lake and said I didn't think I would go. Then the Lord reminded me of the blessing I would miss if I didn't go, so I decided to go. When we got there we decided we would split up and mom would take one side of the hall and I would take the other. The first and only room I went in was Dan's. He had only been there for 3 weeks and was very coherent and friendly. I sat and listened to his story, wrapped in attention. I told him there were 2 types of veterans: those who were saved and those who were about to be. Which one was he? He told me he wasn't saved but he was going to Paradise when he died. I asked him if he knew Jesus and he said yes, then he began to tell me his testamony.
When he was 12 his uncle took him to a carnival. He had never been to one before and didn't even know what a carnival was. On the way they stopped by every beer joint on the way which was about 8. His uncle would order 2 beers and give him one. When he got there he was mezmerized by the ferris wheel so his uncle put him on it. About the 3rd time around he started puking and threw up on everyone. That night he had a dream that he was walking up a hill. Jesus, who was beautiful, was on the hill teaching people. He turned to Dan and said, "Dan, what are YOU doing here?" Dan told him he didn't know and asked him if he was in heaven. Jesus didn't answer his question but told him he was sending Dan back to earth because he had work for him to do." Dan woke up saved and an alcoholic. He drank himself through 7 wives and many beer joints. He would pray that God would take away the desire to drink and one day the Holy Spirit came over him in a very tangible way and he has never desired a drink since.
As I sat there listening to him, I thought I couldn't think of anywhere else I would rather be. I am so grateful that I have a mother that loves God like I do and has given me the desire to walk with him. She got to lead a man to the Lord. I got to pray for Dan and listen to his story. I pray that Dan was as blessed as much as I was.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Friday's Devo - Countdown

Read 1 Chron. 2
More geneologies. I will write about the things that got my attention.
The sons of Israel were not listed in birth order but grouped in a different order. In fact everytime they are listed they seem to be in a random order....only God is not random. He is very intentional. I have no idea the significance of the order. But here is the correct birth order:
Leah had Reuben, Simeon, Levi, and Judah.
Rachels' maid, Bilhah had Dan and Napthtali.
Leah's maid, Zilpah had Gad and Asher.
Leah had Issachar and Zebulun.
Then Rachel had Joseph and Benjamin.
Verse 13 stands out because God starts counting Jesse's sons. Whenever God counts it is for a reason. God is not random. So lets look at Jesse's sons. "Jesse" means "to stand out" so let's see why Jesse stands out. Since the WOrd tells us that a day is as a thousand lets compare these sons to milleniums. His firstborn is Eliab which means " the stregnth of the father". That is what God was in the beginning, the first 1,000 years - the father of all mankind.
The next son is Abinadab which means "father of liberality or generosity". God poured out his generous blessings on his people when they obeyed him.
The 3rd son is Abinadab which means "annunciation". God sent prophets to fortell the future of God's son which would save the world.
The 4th son is Netheneel which means "given of God". In the 4th millenium God sent his son and his Holy Spirit.
The 5th son is Raddai which means "domineering; to have dominion over". Jesus taught the church that they had power over the devil. The war that had been going on for centuries could be fought and won by those who used the name of Jesus and his blood.
The 6th son is Ozem which means "to be strong". This is our generation where we are going to be strong in the spirit and we are going to win and prosper in the face of great demonic attack.
The 7th son is David which means "loving; a love token; a friend." This is what our generation is leading us to...the return of Christ. To his followers we will meet our loving saviour and friend. The love of the father and the son and the Holy Spirit will be revealed in the earth. (Also the wrath of God will be revealed)
Lord make us mindful of the time we are living in and what our goal is which is to bring the glory of God to earth. We love you.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Thurs. Devo - Random Trivia

Read 1 Chron. 1:28-50
Geneologies hold great mysteries and great discoveries. In verse 28 it gives the sons of Abraham: Isaac and Ishmael as if these were the only sons of importance that Abraham had. In verse 32 it gives the sons of Keturah, Abraham's concubine. Isaac is the son of promise. Ishmael was the result of Abraham trying to fulfill that promise himself. They are set apart from the rest of his children.
Notice that both Ishmael and Isaac had sons. Ishmael's 12 sons became 12 princes and Isaac's 12 grandsons became the 12 patriarchs.
The Edomites were Esau's descendants according to Gen. 36:9. His sons ruled before there were kings in Israel. That is so truthful. The kingdom of satan ruled in this world before the kingdom of God. God took a formless earth that was dark and full of void (that's an oxymoron if I ever heard one), and over that dark deep water God spoke light into it. God separated darkness from light. As Christians, we are slowly waking up to the realization that we can and are suppose to rule over the kingdom of satan. This is our land and we have to take it back.
Ever notice how in the Old Testament when there are 2 sons in a family they are complete opposites: Cain and Abel, Esau and Jacob, Isaac and Ishmael. It is because God is always teaching in everything he does. God uses the tangible to teach the untangible. There will always be good and evil on the earth, the righteous and the unrighteous, the holy and the profane, the darkness and the light. Everyone has a choice and God shows us vividly the result of either one of those choices. God sent the light to divide the light from the darkness. Light always does that which is why some people hate you and don't even know you. If you are walking in the light then your light reveals the darkness. Evil people don't want to be exposed to light because it brings their sin out in the open. But it also draws people like a moth to a flame. Most people in darkness want life and it is our destiny to be that to them. It is also our destiny to be light to the wicked so they will have no excuse when they stand before God.
Lord, be the light in our life today.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Wednesday's Devo - The Chronicles of the Kings

I decided that we should study the chronicles of the kings since there is so much revelant material in them. I have found that many Christians camp out in the New Testament and don't feel the Old Testament has much to offer them. The Old Testament is the basis of our faith and has so much information in the stories, types, shadows, and hidden mysteries. I love the Old Testament because you have to have spiritual eyes to find the gems it holds. So that is what we are going to do in the chronicles: search for hidden jewels.
Read 1 Chronicles 1:1-28
This whole chapter is geneologies. I love geneologies and so does God. It talks of inheritance and children are the greatest inheritance you can have. When I read this a few things jumped out at me. The first one is that it only mentioned Seth as Adam's decendents. Where are Cain and Abel. Well, we know that Cain was wicked from day one and Abel was righteous from day one. Cain hated Abel and finally killed him before he could have children. I also find it interesting that Adam knew Eve twice but had 3 children. (I have more questions than answers.)
Another thing that I find interesting is that Enoch (the one that "walked with God and God took him" was the 7th from Adam. After the 7th day we who walk with God will be lifted from this earth just like Enoch did.
Ham who uncovered his father's nakedness and was cursed has a descendent, Nimrod who "began to be mighty upon the earth". "Nimrod" means "we will rebell". He began his kingdom in Babel which we all know what happened there. Babel is where we get Babelon. The Hittites, David's enemy and friend, the Jebusites and Amarites...all the "ites" that came against Israel came from Ham's line.
Shem's line was different. Aram was an enemy of Israel that God used to turn Israel around many times as we will study in the chronicles. Eber which means "to cross to the other side" had a son named "Peleg" which means "divided". This was also the time that God divided the people by confusing their languages at the tower of Babel. Peleg was 30 years old at the time. His brother's name was "Joktan" which means "he will be made little". As their line got smaller and smaller Terah has a son. He named his son Abraham. God is going to use to show us how he deals with his people.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Tuesday's Devo - Need a Little Wisdom?

Read Ps. 1
Well, we have finished Ruth and I don't know where to go next. I am leaving for Louisiana for a week and won't be back on-line till next Wed. By then I will know where we will be studying from. So today I just felt drawn to Ps. 1. I love this Psalms and memorized it years ago. It is a great one to put to memory and it is not too long. Maybe you will want to memorize it while I am gone:)
The very first line says "blessed is the man that doesn't walk in the counsel of the ungodly." Today in my regular reading I was reading in 2 Kings 1 where Israel's king, Ahaziah fell through the roof and was seriously injured. He wanted to know if he would live so he sent messengers to Baal-zebub, the god of Ekron, to ask if he would recover or not. God told Elijah to send a message to the king asking him why he is asking this faulse god instead of the God of Israel. He said that because Ahaziah did this he would die. Pretty stiff penalty for seeking ungodly counsel.
Where do we go to for counsel? Our best friend? Sometimes they have the word of the Lord for us, but sometimes they don't. Our husband? Good choice, but still not the best. Oprah? She is not even in our camp. Doctors, lawyers, counselors? These are all possibilities, but not until you have gone to The Counselor - The Holy Spirit. He will lead us into all truth. James asks: "Does anyone lack wisdom? Let him ask God, who gives it liberally.
The second verse says that this blessed man delights in the law of the Lord and meditates on it day and night. Because he does that he is firmly planted like a tree. He is also watered and bears fruit.
That is our prayer today Lord, that we would go to you first for counsel and that we would receive the wisdom we need. And we pray that we would go out watered by your spirit and bringing forth fruit for you kingdom.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Monday's Devo - Our Kinsman Redeemer

Read Ruth 4
Boaz does not waist any time. He goes straight to the gate where legal transactions take place. The closest of kin just happened to pass by and Boaz stopped him. Boaz gathered 10 elders to hear his proposal. It take 10 men to make a minyan, which is a quorum required to publicly discuss the law. (Sort of like "this phone call may be recorded for .....") The man was ready to redeem the land but when the string attached was Ruth, he fishtailed. He was not willing to ruin his line of inheritance with a Moabite woman. He took off his shoe and gave it to Boaz to seal the deal. Boaz got his prayer answered. He bought the land of Ruth's inheritance and Ruth. He promised to raise up the name of the dead, or in other words, to carry on Mahlon's inheritance.
Ruth and Boaz do have a son and the people name him Obed which means "serving". I find that strange that Naomi nursed the baby and the neighbors named him. From this line came David and Jesus. It is like the baby was a community baby. He was a symbol for all to see. This union between the Jew and the Gentile was prophetic and so was the off-spring.
If Ruth stands for the church then what we should reproduce should be servanthood. Serving one another is self-sacrificing, humbling, and rewarding.
Jesus broke Jewish protocol when he grafted in the Gentiles but he also completed the plan of God by doing it. His plan all along was to bring "all men" to repentence and the knowledge of Christ.
Boaz was Ruth's kinsman redeemer. He married her and gave her life (a son). That is what Jesus is to us: a husband who reproduces life through us. To Naomi, the Jew, Jesus will be a retorer of life and their nourisher.
How vast and how wide is your love and power. You span from generation to generation and from Jew to Gentile.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Saturday's Devo - Godly Authority

Last night Dave and I went to hear Joyce Meyers. She spoke on obedience and rebellion. It reminded me of when my kids were young and God had just led me to stop home schooling (which I loved) and start teaching at our church school. I was used to being my own boss and doing what I thought was best, especially for my kids. The principal was my best friend who quickly became my enemy. She was bound and determined to do things her way. I didn't realize how rebellious I was being till years later. I endured 2 years of being under her and hating it. When the 3rd year was beginning to start I had a heart-to-heart with God. I told him my side of the story then I listened for a while. He gently helped me see that she was not the problem--- I was! That was a blow! So, I decided I needed to change. I was lost on how to do this so I asked God to help me honor her. I could tell immediately that I had prayed his heart and the change was quick. I soon realized God had given me a new perspective and a new heart to love this woman.
It wasn't until one Monday at Sonic that I realized the impact my rebellion had on my kids. Every Monday from 3-5 was Happy Hour at Sonic so we went every Monday after school. One of my boys said something dishonoring toward the principal and I took up for her. They were so shocked they said, "Mom, you're not suppose to be on her side." Now I was shocked. I realized that my rebellion had spread to them. I had taught them to disrespect authority and now I needed to reteach them. Rebellion against authority is a deep dark sin because we cannot obey God if we disobey the authority He has set up. God custom orders our authority. Sometimes it is godly and easy to follow and sometimes it is ungodly and hard to respect. But, it is always governed by God. Our reaction and respect is a choice we have to make. Choosing to obey this authority is choosing to obey God.
By the way, I not only gained God's favor but I regained the friendship I had thrown away. Today she continues to be one of my very best friends.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Friday's Devo - At Midnight

Boaz wakes up at midnight which was when he normally woke up to study the Torah as all devout Jewish observers. Midnight throughout scripture has to do with judgment. God smote the first-born at midnight, Samson took the place of judgement of the town (the gates) and put them up on a hill. The woman woke up at midnight to find her baby had been switched which brought them before Solomon. His wise judgment was know to all. The bridegroom will come at midnight and finally, Paul and Silas were singing praises to God at midnight when the angel of the Lord appeared and set them free.
Judgment is a frightful thing which is why Boaz woke up afraid. Right away he sees who he is to judge- Ruth. He finds her righteous and declares he will do all he can to redeem her.
He sends her home with 6 measures of barley which will be enought for her and Naomi for one day. He meant by this that he will have this done in a day. Prophetically, Ruth went on to have 6 men of God: David Chananiah, Mishael, Azsariah, Daniel and the Messiah. Six also stands for the 6,000 years man will live on this earth before millinium which it the 7th day or the 7,000th year. Maybe this is TMI. Chew on it for a while. I gotta go pick up my husband at the car place.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Thurs. Devo - Ruth Takes the Risk

Read Ruth 3:1-7
Naomi realizes she will not always be there to watch over Ruth and wants to make sure Ruth is taken care of. She wants to find a husband for Ruth and who better than Boaz? She knew Boaz would be at the threshing floor because that was the custom. Winnowing happened at night because the wind was the strongest at night and was needed to blow the chaff away. This was also the time of celebrating and thanking God for the harvest. Many workers would be there for the party. Ruth would not be out of place here since she had been a part of the harvest. After much celebrating there would be a meal, then everyone would sleep on the threshing floor.
Naomi instructed Ruth to wash and anoint herself and put on clothes. This is a spiritual cleansing and change of garments as well as a physical one. Naomi wanted Ruth to be of a pure heart and totally submitted to God. She wanted her to have the aroma of a king's daughter. (It reminds me of how Joseph did the same thing when he came out of prison and was going to present himself to the pharoah.)
Ruth was to watch where Boaz laid down and when he had gone to sleep, she was to go over and uncover his feet and lay down and wait till he told her what to do. This was a Jewish marriage law. If a man refuses to marry a widow in his family, he is to take off his shoe which symbolizes his refusal to his right of possession of her. Ruth is reminding him that by not trying to redeem her, that is what he is saying.
Ruth asks no questions but simply gives her total trust in Naomi and replies, "All that you say to me I will do. And she did.
Boaz has 3 choices: he can reject her and rebuke her for her forwardness, he can send her to the closer kinsman, or he can accept her proposal and marry her. Talk about putting yourself on the line. Ruth kept walking the path and never wavered. She had decided a long time back to follow Naomi wherever she went and that her God would be her God. I wonder if she knew she was going to be asked to lay down under some man's feet?
Once we make the commitment to follow God there is no end to the seemingly-ridiculous-things God will have you do only to result in supernatural-wonderful-fulfillments. God loves those who take risks. I dare you to take some!

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Wed. Devo - Come to the Table

Read Ruth 2:13-23
Ruth always takes the low road: "Let me find favor in your sight, my Lord, for you have comforted me, and you have spoken friendly unto your handmaid, though I be not like one of your handmaidens." Boaz invites her to eat with him, the owner of the field. He offers her bread and vinegar to dip her bread into. The vinegar is a sweet refreshing wine that was and is still served in the field in Italy during harvest. So, in essence, he is inviting her to the Lord's table where bread and wine is served. We are invited every day to this table. The Lord's supper is not to make us sad and sober but to refresh us for service. Boaz wanted Ruth to feel like a part of the family, not like the foreigner she was. Jesus is showing us how to treat new converts. Then Boaz told his servants to drop some grain on purpose for her. This reminds me of how God treats new believers: He makes it easy for them. Ever notice how new Christians seem to get all their prayers answered. Well, here is the prototype. God is trying to encourage them and welcome them into the kingdom. Their time of fighting and contending will come later when they are mature.
Ruth gleans a whole ephaph which is about 4 gallons of barley! Naomi is pleasantly surprised and asked about how she could glean so much in a day and whose field did she glean in. Ruth tells her about Boaz and the events of the day. Naomi gets excited because Boaz is a close relative. What fate! She gleans in Boaz's field through the barley harvest and through the wheat harvest.
This is a picture of what we are to be doing until Jesus comes back. We are to be busy in God's field. Sometimes that field looks like our family and sometimes it looks like random people we come in contact with during the day. Wherever we are we are to be feasting in the presence of God and gleaning enough from our time with God to feed ourselves and enough to give out to those God puts under our care. If we don't follow close to the source we will not get the things God drops down for us. Lord, we receive out of your bounty that never runs empty.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Tuesday's Devo - Our Story

Read Ruth 2: 1-12
Naomi had a kinsman who was wealthy. His name was Boaz. Ever noticed that when the Bible spoke of a godly man it says: "his name was____________" and when it speaks of an ungodly man it says "and __________ was his name". So we know that Boaz was a godly man. He was a scholar of the Torah and one of the judges appointed over Bethlehem.
In verse 2 it says that Ruth offered to go glean in the fields after the reapers. In Lev. 19:9-10 it is a law that when you reap the harvest of your field, you should not reap the corners of the field nor gather what falls on the ground after the gleaners; leave them for the poor and stranger. Every law has a spiritual truth. What God was saying is that the field is the world and the reapers are the angels. One day they will reap to the four corners of the earth and every man will give an account. Until that day, they reap only in part and they leave what falls out. It reminds me of the great disasters that happen today. They are only in isolated places and there are always those who survive. It is God's mercy to let some fall and not be reaped yet.
Ruth just happened to glean on Boaz's field. And Boaz just happened to have just gotten in town and decided to go check on his fields. And he just happened to notice Ruth and ask about her. (There are no "just happens" with God. God strategically orchestrates our lives.) When Boaz asks his workers about her and they tell him her whole story and how she is kin to Naomi. He asks Ruth to come back and always glean in his fields. I wonder if he fell in love with her at first sight? He promises her safety from harm and water to drink.
Boaz is a type of Jesus and Ruth is a type of the Gentile church. She feels unworthy to receive such grace being a stranger. The early church felt the same way. They accepted a Jewish saviour and a Jewish law to become a believer. Ruth was the stranger coming into a Jewish culture and accepting its God. In verse 12 Boaz seals her salvation when he says: "The Lord recompense your work, and may the Lord God of Israel, under whose wings you have come to trust give you a full reward."
Ruth is our book. The book of the redeemed!!!

Monday, May 11, 2009

Monday's Devo - The Best is Yet to Come

Read Ruth 1
Verse 1 begins, "in the days when the judges ruled in Israel, a sever famine came upon the land." which tells me two things: they were doing "whatever seemed good to them" and they were not pleasing God or there would not be a famine. A famine always means God's judgement because the people are dying for a lack of truth (bread). "Bethlehem" means "house of bread" and they have to leave there and go to the land of Moab because there is no bread. The Moabites were the ancestors of Lot's incestruous relationship with one of his daughters. Elimelech and Naomi have 2 sons: Mahlon (which means "sick") and Chilion (which means "pining and destruction") What a picture of the state of Israel. Elimelech dies and the two sons marry Moabite women Ruth and Orpah. "Ruth" means "friend" where "Orpah" means "stiff-necked". Ten years later both Mahlon and Chilion die. The number 10 means a test or a judgement. The time of testing for God's children is over and now there is bread in Judah.
Naomi decides to go back. He daughters-in-law decide to go with her. On the way Naomi tries to discourage them from going with her. They are faced with the decision every person is faced with... try God and the unknown or go back to the world and the familiar. And true to human nature one decides to follow and one decides to go back. Orpah turns and Ruth remains. Ruth goes into her most quoted speech. She vows to go where Naomi goes, to become one of her people, follow her God and die where she dies.
When they get to Naomi's home town everyone welcomes her with great joy. She changes her name from "Ruth" meaning "pleasant, grace, beauty" to "Mara" which means "sorrow" because she has lost everything. She feels much like the disciples did after Jesus had died....lost and alone. In fact, it is the same season of the year. Passover has passed. The hope is in the last verse: "They arrived in Bethlehem in late spring, at the beginning of the barley harvest." The barley harvest means Pentecost which is the birth of the church. This whole book is a book to the church fortelling its story. If only Naomi knew the best was yet to come!

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Sunday's Devo - Grace is Magical

I love when God sends random people into my life to pour something into me. That happened Friday. I had gone to work out and it was cardio day so I was on the treadmill doing my 5 miles. My ankle started hurting and I thought I could just run through it and it would stop but instead it got worse. I finally had to give it up and stop. I remembered I had my bathing suit with me so I decided to go sit in the whirlpool to help my ankle. A man was swimming in the swimming pool and came to the whirlpool. We were the only people in the area. He started talking to me and ended up giving me his testimony. He was a traveling magician named "Al". He had been in drugs and all kind of sin in the 70's and got saved. This caused his wife to divorce him. When she lost everything she called him. She was so amazed at what God had done in him she decided to remarry him and accept Jesus. So they have walked with God since then. They attended Rhema in the 90's and have been in ministry for years. He has been on David Letterman, worked in Branson and opened for many famous people. Now he goes around to schools doing assemblies. He makes the principal disappear and if you want to see her come back you have to go back that night. At the nightly meeting he and his team present the gospel.
I sat in the whirlpool turning into a prune and about to pass out of heat wraptly listening to his story. He told about how God met his needs along the way and the line he kept using was, "Your provision is at the place of your assignment." I knew that was the word for me. He was talking about money but what about grace and ability? I make window treatments and other things and I am always being challenged to do something new. I am constantly calling on God's grace and creative ability. It is always there when I need it.
I remember in college the professors would show us art work done by the seniors and I would think I could never do that, but when the time came I could and did. Looking too far ahead is not good. Grace comes at the time of the need and is always on time. It is "magical" appears out of nowhere!

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Saturday's Devo - The Rest of the Story

Read Ps 91
Psalms 91:1 is the "911" for God's children: "Those who live in the shelter of the Most High will find rest in the shadow of the Almighty."
Last week-end I told you about our temites and our IRS ordeal. The termites were going to cost $1,200 to treat. We were visiting our next-door neighbors and they told us that we should check our contract on our house because they were pretty sure we were covered for 5 years. Since our house is only 3 years we should be covered. We did and we were. We called them and they treated our termites for free! The IRS told us we owed $14,000 back taxes from 2007. We are still looking into it but it looks like it will only be $500 and I'm still praying for the penalty being waived and the $500 being lessened. We didn't do it on purpose. Needless to say $500 is much, much, better than $14,000! Our God is good. We should find out the final figure this week. My husband is thrilled! He said next year we are going to pay someone to do our taxes. I say, "Amen".
Today's Psalm from me was Ps. 91. I read it out loud to Dave in the New Living Bible and we both rejoiced. God defeats the enemy for us. He is our strong deliverer. He rescues us from every trap. His faithful promises are our armor and protection. We do not have to be afraid of the arrows of the enemy or the disater that strikes. Even though people are falling all around us, these evils will not touch us (Swine flu). If we make the Lord our refuge and our shelter, no evil will conquer us. God's angels will protect us wherever we go and hold us up in their hands.
"The Lord says: I will rescue those who love me. I will protect those who trust in my name. When they call on me, I will answer: I will be with them in trouble. I will rescue and honor them. I will reward them with a long life and give them my salvation." Ps. 91:14-16
Have a blessed Saturday!

Friday, May 8, 2009

Friday's Devo - You are a Seed.

Read Acts 28
Paul and his shipmates find themselves shipwrecked on the island of Melita which means "of honey: escaping". The people are barbarious but friendly. They are also very superstituous. When a snake bites Paul they think it is payback from the gods because he has done some henious crime. But Paul doesn't die so now they now think he is a god. They were housed by the wealthy leader, Publius. His father was sick with disentery so Paul prayed, laid hands on him and healed him. This started a whole healing line of all who were sick in the village. They stayed 3 months there and left. (I'd say they left the place better than they found it.)
I love verse 14 because you can tell by the fact that they found fellow believers there and decided to stay longer that Paul is no longer a prisoner being ordered around, but he is a leader making the decisions. He has gained respect of leaders and people all along his journey because signs and wonders follow what he preaches. Even when Paul arrives in Rome he is treated differently. He is not put in jail with the others but gets to stay with a soldier by himself.
Paul finally gets to speak. This time he has no accusers and is given total freedom to teach his doctrine out of his own home. What a set-up by God!
I couldn't help seeing that the number 3 came up 4 times in this chapter. God has a purpose for everything under heaven and God has a purpose for numbers. The number 3 means "conformed into the image of". On the 3rd day of creation God created seeds and plants and he said that whatever seed you plant will yeild that plant. Paul has been planting the seeds of salvation all along the way. Now is it time for the plant to look like the seed. Paul is in his last years of ministry. He spends them watering the seeds he has planted. They will look like him.
What seeds are we planting? Will we be pleased when we see the grown plant? I pray so.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Thursday's Devo - Triumph Through Your Storm

Read: Acts 27
We see how Paul gains respect as a prophet of God. He tries to warn the centurion in vs 10 of what God has showed him would happen but the centurion decided to take the advise of the head sailor. I imagine the weather was fair without a cloud in the sky but God was setting the centurion up to do His purpose, which was to save Paul's life. Sure enough, the storm hits and try as they might, they could not land the ship on any of the islands they passed. Finally they are driven out to sea. After many days they start throwing things over the ship. Isn't that what we do when we are in a trial. The trivial things or of no use or importance. We only hold on to the things that give us life. Time goes by in darkness and everyone has time to contemplate life and death and the future....if there is one. Paul waits till then, when they are totally humbled, to speak. He reminds them of his warning that this would happen.
And since he was right about that, they figure he might be right about the next thing he is about to tell them. He tells them to not worry he has good news. Who doesn't want to hear that at a time like this. An angel had appeared to Paul that night and told him that Paul and all the men with him would make it to Rome, but first they would be cast upon an island. On the 14th night they realized they were getting closer and closer to land. There were huge rocks in the water and the shipmen started to get into a life boat and go ashore to save their own lives until Paul saw them and told the centurion that if they didn't get back into the boat the people left would not be saved. By this time the centurion believed Paul's words and commanded them back into the boat. (Sometimes what looks like the quick answer to get out of your trial is the very thing that will make your trial longer. The only way through is to ask God's guidance.)
Finally the ship broke in half and those who could swim, swam ashore and the others floated on boards from the ship. All were saved and all Paul's words had come true. May we, like Paul, triumph in our trials through God's word to us.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Wed.'s Devo - No Regrets!

Read Acts 25 & 26
I know this is a lot of reading for one day but it's a complete thought. Paul testifies in Jerusalem and is pressing on to Rome. Remember God told him that he would be his witness in Jerusalem and in Rome. Paul is on the home stretch. Everywhere he goes his accusers are right behind him. They tell there side with lots of lies and Paul tells the truth with lots of power. Paul stands before the leaders of the nations and gets to tell his salvation experience. Every one of them realizes Paul has done nothing worthy of death so they just send him on to the next leader. Little do they know they are playing right into God's will. They were Paul's personal body guards that made sure he got to where God was sending him unharmed. What the enemy meant for harm, God meant for good.
When Paul stands before King Agrippa he recounts his whole life story and what Jesus has done for him. When he gets to the part about Jesus dieing and rising from the dead, Festus tells him he is crazy. Paul respectfully tells him he is not crazy but totally sober. Paul keeps speaking life over him. He says things like: I know you understand this, none of this is hidden from you, and I know you believe the prophets. Finally Agrippa said to him, "Paul, almost you persuade me to be a Christian." After the trial, the judges meet and discusse what to do. They come to the same conclusion: Paul has done nothing worthy of imprisonment or death. We could have set him free if he had not appealed to Caesar.
So Paul is on his way to stand before Caesar.
What does all this mean to us? We have a destiny. We can check out anytime we want or we can boldly march in the face of the enemy doing God's will without fear. It is definitely the exciting life and the one with no regrets. Lord, may we live our lives boldly for You with no regrets.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Tuesday's Devo -What is Your Platform?

Read Acts 24
Paul is brought before Felix, the governor and his accuser, Tetullus is speaking his beef against Paul. He accuses him of being a pest, a leader of a rebellion, a ringleader of the Nazarenes and profaning the temple. Paul was a pest to the religious community but it was the Word he preached that divided the people. The only rebellion he was a part of was the rebellion against the truth. He had vowed one vow which, I guess in their eyes, made him a leader of the whole sect. Profaning the temple would not fall in the governor's interest since he is not a Jew.
Now it's time for Paul's defense. He declares his innocence once more and then confesses his faith. After all, that is why he came. He keeps talking about resurrection because that is the power of the cross.
Nothing that Paul is accused of is worthy of arrest or imprisonment but Felix is a weak leader and he wants to wait and ask Felix (another Felix), the chief captain who is coming soon. He puts Paul in house arrest and allows him to have company.
When Felix #2 comes he brings his Jewish wife Drusilla. They listen to Paul and send him back to prison so they can think about it. He was hoping Paul would try to bribe him so he kept asking to meet with him. This went on for 2 years till he needed to make a decision. He decided to keep the Jews happy and left him bound. By the way, "Felix" means "happy". I guess it was his destiny to please man and keep them happy.
The great thing about all these false accusations was that it kept giving Paul a platform to proclaim the truth to those who would have never came to hear him speak. It got the message out of the church building. If we don't go to the world the Lord will find a way for us to have a platform. Jail anyone?

Monday, May 4, 2009

Monday's Devo - Paul...Satan's Greatest Nightmare

Read Acts 23
Paul loves confrontation and is intimidated by no one. He claimed not guilty and was slapped on the mouth. He smarts off to the one who slapped him only to find out it was the high priest. Paul actually apologizes to him because he honors God's Word and the office he held.
It was revealed to him that the court was divided between Saducees and Pharasees. So he uses that to divide them. He was once a Pharasee and they believe in angels and the resurrection; the Sadducees don't believe in either. He has experienced both so that is his platform. It works well since "a house divided against itself cannot stand". They finally had to rescue Paul from being torn apart by the council and put him back at the castle. That night God stood before him and told him not to fear, he was going to testify also in Rome. That had to be comforting a little. At least he wasn't going to die tomorrow.
The devil hated Paul. He was always trying to kill him because Paul's testimony was so loud and powerful. God knows the enemies plans and gets them to God's people. The people who vowed to kill Paul were overheard by Paul's nephew so they ordered 200 soldiers and 200 spearsmen to accompany Paul out of the city. They left that night instead of the next day when they had planned. When God wants something accomplished he will use the enemy to do his will. So Paul is delivered safely to the governor of Caesarea.
We need Paul's in this age: men and women who are willing to lay down their lives for the kingdom. I want to be that kind of warrior; dangerous to the enemy.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Sunday's Devo - In the Midst of Trials

That is where we are right the midst of a trial. We got a letter this week from the IRS saying that in 2007 we under paid our taxes $14,000!!! Not the kind of mail you want to get. That year we got back over that amount and the IRS sent us a second check saying they owed us even more. Now they want it all back. Well, needless to say, my dear husband was devastated. We have investments that we don't know that much about it but we had gotten advise from his accountant/ brother as to how to fill out that part on the tax return. Now they are saying we did it wrong. Well, I'm not taking that sitting down. I told the devil what he can do with that and I told him he was not stealing that money from us. We try to use our money for God's kingdom and see our money as God's money. Just a couple of weeks I stood before a group of people and said, "God is looking for a people that will give extravagantly to the Lord and his kingdom. And for those people, He is going to pour more and more money into their hands so they can use it for God." And now, this happens. It is obvious it is the enemy's doings. I love a challenge from the enemy. It is like Goliath coming out and taunting God's army. All it takes is a David with the stone flung in the right direction. In other words all it takes is someone who sees what is going on and has faith in God. He can take the Word of God and send it right into the devil's forehead. As I was typing this, Dave stopped me to read to me a passage in Jeramiah. I think this is our rock! It is Jer. 32:40-42 "And I will make an everlasting covenant with them: I will never stop doing good for them. I will put a desire in their hearts to worship me. and they will never leave me. I will find joy doing good for them and will faithfully and wholeheartedly replant them in this land. This is what the Lord says: Just as I have brought all these calamities on them, so I will do all the good I have promised them." God promised in Deuteronmy 28 that the blessings of God will come on us and overtake us.
What trial are you going through? Find your stone and aim it right at the devil's forehead.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Saturday's Devo - Tongues Anyone?

It seems like everywhere I turn I am having people ask me about the Holy Spirit and speaking in tongues. It reminds me of the early 70's when the Charismatic movement swept across the nation and people everywhere were experiencing "glossolalia". That was the term the newspapers gave to speaking in tongues. It was written about in Times, Newsweek, and newspapers all across the nation. I was in high school at the time and had been raised in a Southern Baptist church. My mother had been going to a prayer group where the lady that led it had received the baptism in the Holy Spirit and spoke in tongues. It wasn't long before my mom did, then my dad. Speaking in tongues had been one of those things that only Pentecostals did and rated right up there with handling snakes. So my parents new-found gift was not well received in our Baptist church. We finally had to leave the Baptist church for a Full Gospell Church. It was very hard to do but necessary at the time. My parents became "God chasers" and we drove all over the south to hear good speakers. I was privaledged to sit under some of the patriots of the faith like: Katherine Kullman, Rex Humbard, Derek Prince, Bob Mumford, and many many others. I finally received the Holy Spirit's baptism and began speaking in tongues when I was in the 11th grade. I had been praying for it for over a year and thought it was only for the "super spiritual" of which I was certainly not. I finally realized it was for everyone, and given unconditionally to all who asked. So why do we want this gift? Jesus thought it was a must-have. He told his disciples to wait in the upper room and hide until the Holy Spirit came. They did and when they received it they had power to go out and witness to every Jew in town. Three thousand were won to the Lord in a day.
I was thinking today about the power of tongues and what it accomplishes and this thought came to me. God created the world by the power of his voice. It was not until he "spoke it" that it acctually happened. Creative life is in the power of the tongue. So since the Holy Spirit is the intercessor he needs a mouth to speak out his purposes. We cannot know the mind of the spirit.
Ro. 8: 26-27 says, "The Spirit helps our infirmities; for we do not know what we should pray for as we should; but the Spirit itself makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. And he that searches the hearts knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because he makes intercession for the saints according to the will of God." So it is like the Holy Spirit is roaming the earth looking for a mouth he can create his purposes through. We have been given this incredible opportunity to be used by the Holy Spirit to intercede in his behalf and birth his plans. We may never know what great thing we have accomplished by praying in tongues, but one day we will. If you are seeking this gift, ask and you will receive.
"If you, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children;p how much more shall the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him?" Luke 11:11

Friday, May 1, 2009

Friday's Devo - Driven to the Very End

Read Acts 21 & 22
Sometimes we have the wrong attitude about death and suffering. In today's reading everyone is trying to discourage Paul from going to Jerusalem because they have been given a glimpse into the future and see what is awaiting Paul. Paul also knew what was ahead. He had already told his converts along the way that he would not see their face again. I noticed the number 7 was used twice in this chapter. "7" means "complete". His ministry was complete and nearing the end. We have been appointed a time to be born and a time to die. It's what we do with the in-between that counts. Paul made his life count and he is nearing the end. He is marching boldly and fearlessly into his final days.
He uses every opportunity to set up a platform to preach the good news. Even in the case of mistaken identity he sees this as a chance to witness. In Chapter 22 he stands before the mob that wants him dead and gives them his testimony. They listened intently till he got to the part about taking the message of Jesus to the Gentiles, then they went balistic. The chief captain maintained order by bringing Paul into the castle so he could question him and have him scourged. But as they are tying Paul up he asked about his Roman rights. A Roman is not to be bound or scourged.
I love Paul's answer to the guard who had bought his Roman citizenship. Paul responded, "I was born free." What a true statement. Before he was born God destined him to be his son. (Eph. 1:5) So Paul uses his Roman citizen card to get another chance to share his testimony before the council tomorrow.
I want to be that driven to tell the gospell. Paul saw every opportunity as an opportunity for Jesus. He was driven to tell the Good News. May we be that driven.