Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Wed.'s Devo - Reveal Your Name

Read John 1: 9-13 (We aren't going very fast-just deep)
Jesus was the true light, which lights every man that comes into the world. God reveals himself in all his creation. God broke the darkness with light on the first day of creation, but it wasn't till the 4th day that light was contained in the sun and and God called the light: day, and darkness: night. God's light was in the world before Jesus came to earth but in the 4,000th year God contained that light in Jesus. Jesus came and called darkness: sin, and himself: the light. The Bible says that a day is as a thousand years so Jesus came on the 4th day.
Jesus's light falls on every man just as the sun shines on all mankind. Rom. 1:20 says that the invisible things of God even from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that were made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that the world is without excuse. So like the psalmist wrote, "the heavens declare the glory of God". There is really no such thing as an untouched people group. They may have never heard the name of Jesus but they can still know him. Many missionaries have found untouched people groups that worshipped Jehovah God but just didn't know his name. They needed someone to come and tell them his name and teach them more about him. God makes himself known to all who diligently seek him.
Even though God has his stamp all over his creation, man didn't know him. He sent Jesus to the Israelites but they didn't recognize him as their messiah. But to anyone who did recognize him as God ,he gave them the privilege and supernatural capacity to be his children. These children were born again, not of blood, nor with a will of flesh, or a will of man, but a will of God. That is us. Our born-again man wills to do God's will. We just need to let him lead our lives. It is possible to do that. It's called 'walking in the spirit'. Gal. 5:16 "Walk in the Spirit, and you will not fulfil the lust of the flesh."
Lord, teach us to walk in your spirit where there is no condemnation so that the righteousness of your law might be fulfilled in us. (Ro 8:1, 4) May we shine your name in a dark world.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Tuesday's Devo - Revealer of Hearts

Read John 1: 4-8
"In Jesus was life, and the life was the light of men." Dwelling in you is that same life and that life is the light of men. We carry life in us because we carry Jesus and we shine like lights even when we don't realize it. But when we recognize it we become dangerous to the realm of darkness.
"And the light shined in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not." "Comprehended" in the Greek means "seize; possess; overtake". So light came to the dark world and the darkness could not overpower it. If you brought a box full of darkness into a lighted room and opened it, it would not make the room dark. But if you took a box with a light in it and opened it in a dark room it would make the room light. Light is more powerful than darkness. Good is more powerful than evil and Jesus in you is more powerful than the devil.
John was sent to be a witness of this light. A witness is evidence of the fact. One of the definitions of witness was martyr which fit John's life. "Light" means "to shine or make manifest by rays; to show or make known one's thoughts." So that is what we do as we walk through this earthly life. Our presence should bring to light the thoughts of people's hearts. If their hearts are heavy they should feel that when they are around us so that we can recognize it and help them. If their hearts are wicked, they will manifest that so they will become aware of how wicked their heart is. Our very presence shakes up the powers of the devil. That is what Jesus did. His presence revealed mens' hearts. He heard their hearts speaking and could answer their hearts instead of their questions. The woman at the well was a great example of that. Jesus never answered her direct question but he answered the question of her heart. (John 4) She was saved and her whole town. Demons also manifested when Jesus was near. It was because they were afraid of him. If we see the devil manifest before us we should do what Jesus did and take authority over them.
John testified of the light, so when John was thrown into prison it said, "The people which sat in darkness saw great light; and to them which sat in the region and shadow of death light is sprung up." The world had been very dark before John came on the scene. He awakened the people to receive Jesus. He was the trumpet to usher in the Messiah.
Lord, may our mouths be used as trumpets to usher in the Messiah into the hearts of the people put in our scope of influence. May our presence reveal the motives of people's hearts so that they can realize they need a Saviour.

Tuesday's Devo - Revealer of Hearts

Read John 1: 4-8
"In Jesus was life, and the life was the light of men." Dwelling in you is that same life and that life is the light of men. We carry life in us because we carry Jesus and we shine like lights even when we don't realize it. But when we recognize it we become dangerous to the realm of darkness.
"And the light shined in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not." "Comprehended" in the Greek means "seize; possess; overtake". So light came to the dark world and the darkness could not overpower it. If you brought a box full of darkness into a lighted room and opened it, it would not make the room dark. But if you took a box with a light in it and opened it in a dark room it would make the room light. Light is more powerful than darkness. Good is more powerful than evil and Jesus in you is more powerful than the devil.
John was sent to be a witness of this light. A witness is evidence of the fact. One of the definitions of witness was martyr which fit John's life. "Light" means "to shine or make manifest by rays; to show or make known one's thoughts." So that is what we do as we walk through this earthly life. Our presence should bring to light the thoughts of people's hearts. If their hearts are heavy they should feel that when they are around us so that we can recognize it and help them. If their hearts are wicked, they will manefest that so they will become aware of how wicked their heart is. Our very presence shakes up the powers of the devil. That is what Jesus did. His presence revealed mens hearts. He heard their hearts speaking and could answer their hearts instead of their questions. The woman at the well was a great example of that. Jesus never answered her direct question but he answered the question of her heart. (John 4) She was saved and her whole town. Demons also manefested when Jesus was near. It was because they were afraid of him. If we see the devil manefest before us we should do what Jesus did and take authority over them.
John testified of the light, so when John was thrown into prison it said, "The people which sat in darkness saw great light; and to them which sat in the region and shadow of death light is sprung up." The world had been very dark before John came on the scene. He awakened the people to receive Jesus. He was the trumpet to usher in the Messiah.
Lord, may our mouths be used as trumpets to usher in the Messiah into the hearts of the people put in our scope of influence. May our presence reveal the motives of people's hearts so that they can realize they need a Saviour.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Monday's Devo - Let there be Light

Monday's Devo - Let there be Light 9-28-09
Read John 1: 1-3

John 1:1 is one of the deepest verses in the Bible to me. "In the beginning was the Word". Word in the Hebrew means "something said; specifically the Divine Expression that is, Christ." So if the Word is something said in the beginning let's look at the first thing God said. Gen 1:3 "Let there be light." We know that Jesus came and proclaimed he was the light and he was the Word. In Eph. 3:9 it tells us that God created all things by Jesus Christ. It also tells us that it is a mystery so if you are like me I still have questions. But we know that Jesus was there at creation and that he and the father are one. When God created the earth darkness prevailed until he spoke light into existence. Mat. 4:16 says that people which sat in darkness saw great light and to them which sat in the region and shadow of death, light is sprung up. Light coming on the scene was a physical thing in the OT but became a spiritual thing in the NT. When God created the light he divided the light from the darkness. When Jesus came to earth he divided light from darkness.
All things were made by God. Col. 1:16 says that everything in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, thrones, principalities, powers and dominions were all made by him. He created Satan and all his demons for his purposes. We have a hard time seeing God as a destroyer and judge but he is all those things. He hates evil but he had to allow evil so that we would have to overcome it to chose him. He wants a people who desire righteousness and holiness.
I don't know about you but that makes me want to clean up my act. We live in a dirty world and it causes us to get our feet dirty from time to time but I want my walk to be blameless. The only way we can do that is with much grace.
Lord, we cry out "grace, grace". We long to be righteous in your sight and know how weak we are. Pour your grace and mercy on us and help us to walk out our lives pleasing to you.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Sunday's Devo - Give Life to the Dead

Last night was my birthday dinner from Dave so when he asked me where I wanted to eat the only place I could think about was the same restaurant I had eaten at with my friend on Wed., so I said Charlestons. We went and since I couldn't remember the waiter's name we just took pot luck. I saw our waiter and stopped him and introduced him to Dave. Then I told him that I realized he probably didn't have a Bible and I was thinking about getting him one. He said he didn't have a Bible and would like that a lot. So after we ate I came home and thought I should go get him a new one right then while it was still fresh on my heart. I found a really cool leather Men's Bible and took some sticky notes and wrote him some helps. I wrote one at the first of the Bible that invited him and his girl friend to our church and told him the schedule of services. Then I took one and marked the verse in Proverbs 3:5 and told him that Proverbs was a good book about how to live. Then I took a sticky and put it in John and told him that this was a good place to start. I told him that he would find Jesus who held his destiny. Then I took the Bible and put it in a paper bag, taped it up with masking tape and wrote his name on the front and went back to the restaurant. I walked in and looked for him. The hostess asked me if she could help me and I told her who I was looking for. She asked me if I wanted her to go get him and I said, "No, I really just want you to give this to him." So she left to do that and I left and went home. It is sooooo much fun living for God. It really is a reaping good time!
I pray that this young man will meet Jesus and have his life totally changed and find his destiny that he was created for. I also pray that his girlfriend and her two children will be brought into the kingdom.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Saturday's Devo - Be Life to the Dead

It is a wonderful age to witness. People are hungry for some answers and hope. When I was growing up most of the people I ran across were "churched". I remember one boy in my 5th grade class who didn't go to church. We were all appalled and felt sorry for him. Now that is not abnormal. The good side to people not being "churched" is that they don't have a false security of salvation.
The other day I was listening to KXOJ and they had had an "Ask Your Friends to Church Sunday". On that Sunday churches that participated reported a 20-40% increase that Sunday. People that they asked said that they would probably go to church if someone asked them to.
On my birthday I went out to eat with a friend. Our waiter was so attracted to us (and not in the wrong way). I noticed he kept coming back to us so I finally turned to him and started asking him about his life in which he was more than willing to tell us. Then we gave him the scripture in Prov. 3:5 If you trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not to your own understanding and in all your ways acknowledge him, he will direct your path. He was so interested and open. He said he didn't go to church but had studied religion in college and was very interested in it. I told him where we went to church and invited him. We told him to start reading his Bible. Afterwards, I thought he probably doesn't own a Bible. Hopefully he will go out and get one. Or maybe I should get him one. I'll have to pray about that one. Anyway, the reason for my rambling is that the fields are ripe unto harvest. Be a harvester. Shucks, you'll have a reaping good time! All puns intended!

Friday, September 25, 2009

Fri.'s Devo - How Great is Our God

We are finished with Romans and I am asking God where we should go next. I want to wait till Monday and start so I asked God what he might want to tell us today. I immediately started singing
"How great, how great your kindness is to us.
How great, how great your goodness is to us,
How great, how great your mercy is to us,
How great, the love the Father lavishes on us."
Then the song...
"The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases. His mercies never come to an end. They are new every morning. Great is thy faithfulness O Lord, great is thy faithfulness."
So I think God just wants us to declare his attributes.
I have been reading in Jeremiah where God is going to bring destruction and war to punish their wickedness but he always offers them a last chance. (Jer. 26:2-3 "Give them my entire message; include every word. Perhaps they will listen and turn from their evil ways. Then I will change my mind about the disaster I am ready to pour out on them because of their sins.") He always has a plan for saving the people who will obey. God told them to surrender to their enemies and be taken to Egypt and all would go well with them. They refused to listen and refused to surrender so most of them were killed. Even after all this he gives them promise after promise of restoration. He promises to gather them together and bring them back to their own land where they will be fruitful and increase in number. God will appoint responsible shepherds who will care for them, and they will never be afraid again. Not a single one will be lost or missing. (Jer 23:2-3)
God's ways are gracious and kind. He loves to forgive, receive and restore us. Even when our nation is being judged for its wickedness there is always a place of refuge for the people of God and there is always the promise of greater things ahead. Thank you Lord for your great kindness and love that you lavish on your children every day. We love you.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Thurs.'s Devo- Paul's Hall of Fame

Read Ro. 16
Paul concludes his letter with commendations for all the people that have labored with him. Some of the phrases he uses to describe them are "servant of the church, my helpers, well beloved, my kinsman, my fellow prisoners, my beloved in the Lord, and approved in Christ". And in the midst of all his accolades he drops some nuggets. First a warning in verse 17-18 to mark people who cause divisions and offenses different from the truth. They don't serve Jesus, but themselves. They deceive the saints.
I remember when Dave and I were first married we would watch this preacher on t.v. who operated in the gift of knowledge and healing. He would call people out of the audience and tell them all about themselves then pray healing. It looked great until we went to see him in action and something just didn't jive in our spirits. We found out later that he was a con. He would interview the people ahead of time and ask them about themselves and set them up to deceive the people. It was very disappointing and damaging to the Body of Christ.
After Paul lists his helpers that have served with him he commends them for their much-spoken about obedience and tells them that he wants them to be wise concerning good and innocent concerning evil. Eph. 5:11, 12 says "and have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them. For it is a shame even to speak of those things which are done of them in secret." That cuts out most of our popular magazines and most television shows. We are a people that love the bad and the ugly of reality. Instead we should be reproving them and resisting them. Because soon we are going to bruise Satan with our heal just like God promised in Gen 3 and like Jesus did on the cross.
Through Christ we are able to see the mystery which was kept secret since the world began. The prophets all told about it but now it is manifested through Jesus and his saints.
"To God only wise, be glory through Jesus Christ for ever. Amen.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Wed.'s Devo - The Fulfillment of Prophecy (my birthday!!!)

Read Ro. 15
Reading the first 3 verses makes me wonder how Jesus did it. How did he put up with our stupidity and ignorance? He was so patient with his disciples and the general public but he wasn't so kind to the scribes and Pharisees. It was because they had no excuse, they had the privilege of the best education in the Word and refused to live it or understand it. I was reading in John 12 this morning about how Jesus rode into Jerusalem on the donkey and it said that his disciples didn't understand at the time that this was a fulfillment of prophecy. But after Jesus entered into his glory, they remembered what had happened and realized that these things had been written about him. I bet they went back and read the scriptures and found many other prophecies about Jesus that had been there all the time but that they had never them seen before. The Old Testament is full of Jesus. Verse 8 says that Jesus confirmed the promises made to the fathers. Then he reminds us of the prophesies that say the Gentiles will come into the knowledge of the truth about God.
Truth is the Gentiles were always exposed to the truth. Everyone on the earth had heard of what the Hebrew God did to Egypt in the days of Moses. All through the Bible there are Gentiles who chose to worship God like Rahab, Ruth, Naaman, and the people of Ninevah. But when Jesus came there was a huge harvest of Gentiles. Paul, one of the most educated Jews was called to the Gentiles. He went to the Jews first but when they didn't want to hear, he went to the Gentiles. It has always been God's plan to save the whole world. He just needed a people to be his example. We are now that people that show the world the glory of God.
Now the God of hope fill us with all joy and peace in believeing, that we may abound in hope, through the power of the Holy Ghost. And I am also persuaded that we are full of goodness, filled with all knowledge, and able to admonish one another.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Tues's Devo - The "Cons" of Christianity

Read Ro. 14
The theme of this chapter is conviction and conscience. It teaches us how to bear with one another when they don't live up to the standard we have set for ourselves. We are to receive the people who are weak in the faith and not hold them to our standards. Every one has their opinion of what the Bible says is the way to live but basically it tells us it is not our business what another Christian does or doesn't do. It all goes back to our heart. If we are seeking God with all our heart he will be faithful to clean us up and we will have love for others who see things differently. One day we will all stand before God and give an account for our lives. He knows everything we do. What we are suppose to do instead is to make sure we are not making our brother stumble by our strict rules or our freedom.
How do you know if something is wrong? You have been given a conscience and it guides you. For a practicing Jew he would never eat leaven on Passover or it would hurt his conscience. But for most Christians not eating leaven on Passover doesn't enter their mind or conscience. So it is not a sin to them. If you are eating with a practicing Jew on Passover it would be hurtful for you to eat leaven in his presence. Love should always trump our decisions.
It all boils down to the kingdom of God not being what you do or don't do but righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Ghost. So our convictions should bring peace and edify others. If our brother is bound up in legalism it is best if we keep our freedom to ourselves. If you indulge is something that others think is a sin and aren't completely convinced in your own heart that it is acceptable to God you will be judged against because you were not able to do it in faith.
Lord, help us to be sensitive to others weak or strong and not lay heavy burdens on them that they are not able to carry. Instead may we be peacemakers and life givers.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Monday's Devo - Honor Authority

Read Ro. 13

We are to honor those placed in leadership because God put them there. If we resist the leader God has placed over us then we are resisting God's institution and we will receive condemnation. Rulers don't come against those that are for them but those that oppose them. So if we do good, we will be praised. If we do evil to our leader he has the right to punish us.
We think because we have a leader that doesn't honor God or Israel that we don't have to follow or respect him but that is dead wrong. God put our president in office and he is an instrument of God. He could be an instrument of good or evil depending on what God is wanting us to have. Paul wrote this in a time ungodly leadership and persecution of Christians. But Paul saw the big picture. He knew that God has all authority over this earth and what happens. Our job is to repent and pray for our nation and its leaders. God is in complete control and we honor God by honoring our leaders.
It goes the same for giving our money and paying our taxes. We are to give them what the law requires. We should not be indebted to anyone with anything but love. If we love then we won't commit adultery, kill, steal, bear false witness, covet or break any of the other commandments. They all hinge on love. Love for our fellow man will bring God's salvation. When we cast off darkness in our own life our light shines brighter and we can put on Christ and be an effective witness. In Gen. 1:5 God called the darkness Night, and in the Hebrew night means "a twist away from the light". The more we allow darkness into our daily life whether it is what we watch on tv or what we read or what we say, the more we are twisting away from the light. The more we read God's word and stay in his presence the more light we are walking in.
Lord we want to walk in the light as you are in the light and have beautiful fellowship with you.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Fri.'s Devo -Christianity in a Nutshell

Read Ro. 12: 3-21
We have no room to boast. Everything we have that is worth having is from God. Even the faith we have has been measured out by God. But we can increase our measure by using what we have been given then we will get more according to Mark 4:24. We use this faith to carry out the giftings God has given us to benefit the body. Paul lists these gifts and tells us how to use them. Whether we have been given prophecy, serving, teaching, exhorting, or leading: use them according to your faith; from the position of rest; with generosity, humility, diligence and cheerfulness. Let your love be sincere. Hate what is evil and hold on to what is good. Love and prefer one another. Work faithfully in your job and let your love for God be alive. Hope joyfully, trust God in your trials and always pray. Give to your Christian family that have needs and entertain strangers. Bless those that cause you to suffer and don't speak evil against them. Be truly happy for those who are happy and sympathize with those who are hurting. Live in unity with the Body no matter what estate they are in. Don't think too highly of yourself. Don't pay back evil for evil done to you. Let God be your avenger. If your enemy is hungry then feed him, if he is thirsty then give him something to drink. This will bring conviction on him and might save him from hell. Instead of letting your enemy rub off on you, you rub off on him with your goodness.
Wow! This is like the NT. law. A little hard to do, in fact, impossible without the power of the Holy Spirit. But with the Holy Spirit nothing is impossible.
Lord, we fall on your altar and ask for grace to do what you have commanded us to do. We know we can do all things through Christ which strengthens us.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Thurs.'s Devo - Be Our Fashion Designer

Read Ro. 12:1-2
Paul begins by begging us to give our bodies to God as a living sacrifice. In the next verse he tells us how to do that. Don't be conformed (fashion yourself according to; be in union with) to the world. Does that mean we can't be up on the latest fashion? No. It means that you don't let the world dictate your beliefs. The world is into secular humanism and exalting man. God's kingdom is into humbling man before a holy God. Everyday we are bombarded with the world's view of everything so how do we combat this barrage of secular ideas? By being transformed by the renewing of our mind. Transform means to fashion; metamorpose; transfigure; change. The only power greater than the world is the Word of God. We dealve into God's Word which has the answer to all life's questions. It has the power to transform our minds. By reading and meditating and eating God's Word we will prove what is the good, acceptable, and perfect will of God. There is the good way and there is the perfect way. God will lead you to the perfect way if you meditate on his words.
In the garden of Eden the tree they weren't suppose to eat of was the tree of the knowledge of GOOD and evil. We get the fact that evil is evil and we need to avoid it, but do we get the 'good' part? There is a knowledge of good that we are not to eat of. The world offers good things too but it does not mean that they are best for us. Sometimes we think if something is not bad for us then it must be good for us. Not true. Our kids can offer us many good reasons why they should be able to do things, but are they what God is saying to do. This is where you need discernment and the full wisdom of the Word and the Holy Spirit. The Word illumines your path. It has the power to produce life. Maybe the question should not be "is it good?" but "will it produce life?"
Lord, help us to present our bodies to you as a living sacrifice and help us not to be conformed to this world but to renew our minds in your Word. We do want your good, acceptable, and perfect will for our lives.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Wed.'s Devo - Roots and Firstfruits

Read Ro. 11:16-36
Yesterday we talked about being chosen and today we're almost contradicting that and putting a little fear of God in us. Verse 16 talks about the firstfruit and the root both being holy. Jesus is the firstfruit. 1 Co. 15:20 says that Christ rose from the dead and became the firstfuits of them that slept. The root is also Jesus. Isa. 11 is a great prophecy about how Jesus will come forth out of the root of Jesse and the spirit of the Lord will rest upon him. This physically happened when he was baptized. Isa. 53 is the famous scripture about the coming of Jesus and it says that he will be a root out of a dry ground. Rev. 5:5 states that the Root of David has prevailed to open the book. So if Jesus is the root then the branches are the Jews. Some of them stayed and some of them were broken off by God so that the Gentiles might be grafted in. The Gentiles are the wild olive tree. We are warned not to get filled with pride because if God would break off the real olive branches because they refused to believe he will break off the wild olive branches if they refuse to believe. 2 Th. 2:3 speaks of a falling away of people in the end. Just like the Jews hardened their hearts, the Gentiles will harden their hearts also. This is a great warning to America.
God has wooed us with his kindness instead of his judgment so we need to continue following him or we will experience his judgment. When the time of the Gentiles is over, God will turn once more to his people, the Jews and bring them back in. They look like God's enemies now, but will be His beloved when that time comes. God has ordained it and his gifts and callings can not be taken away. In conclusion: God is past understanding.
Lord, thank you for grafting us in and making us your children. We pray that the eyes of the Jews and the Gentiles will be opened to see you for who you are.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Tues.'s Devo - Chosen

Read Ro. 11: 1-15
For some reason this chapter is a controversial chapter. He starts out defending the Jew and saying that God is not through with the Jew and that there are always going to be a remnant of Jews that believe in Jesus as the Messiah. Elijah complained to God that he was the only prophet who served him and God informed him that he had 7,000 other prophets hidden away. God always has a remnant because he created them. He creates some people for good and some for bad, but all are for his purpose. I guess this bothers us because we still want to think that we had something to do with our salvation. No, it is a gift of grace. We can't even come to Jesus unless he draws us. Jesus said not to give holy things to dogs, and not to cast your pearls before swine, or they will trample these pearls under their feet and turn and shatter you. So what are we suppose to do? The next thing Jesus said was to ask, and it would be given to us; seek, and we will find; and knock and the door would be opened to us. So we ask for discernment to know who are the sheep and who are the swine. Then we are to seek God's will and direction. Once we get that then we can knock on the doors of their heart and they will be opened. If we walk in the spirit God will bring across our paths the ones we are to pour into. It is not up to us to get anyone 'saved'. We are a link in the chain and we just need to play our part. There is a "selection of grace". Hitler was right about a supreme race he just had it a little twisted.
Verse 7 tells us that not all Jews received Jesus as the Messiah. Some did, but some were blinded. Notice who blinded them: God. He put them to sleep spiritually so that they wouldn't be able to see him or hear him. David added the curse that they would be snared, trapped and caused to stumble and have their eyes darkened. But God works everything to good so their falling away led to the Gentiles coming in. God always has a remnant. Jews have always had the ability to get rich so when they fell under God's wrath their wealth went to the world and their spiritual wealth went to the Gentiles. If this happened when they fell, what will happen when they return? God set them aside to reconcile the world to him but when he receives back his chosen people it will be like bringing the dead back to life.
Lord, we pray for your children yet to come in. Help us to be longsuffering and patient with our friend who have not yet come in to your grace. May we walk by the spirit and not try to force your plan.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Monday's devo - God So Loves

Read Ro. 10:12-21
God's call has always been to everyone; Jew or Gentile but the only way the good news is going to be spread is if we spread it. If faith comes by hearing and the hearing by the word of God, then Paul is saying all have heard. They heard God's sound that went out into all the world. He is quoting from Ps 19. This "sound" he is referring to is nature. All day God is uttering speech through the wind, thunder, lightning, birds, insects, etc. "The heavens declare the glory of God." Nature was created to teach us about God and it can convert a soul, make the simple wise, rejoice the heart, and enlighten our eyes according to Ps. 19. So like Ro. 1:20 says, by studying our surroundings we can see the Godhead so we are without excuse.
The problem was that the Israelites go so caught up in following the law that they lost sight of the one they were following it for. So God said he would use the Gentile to provoke them to jealousy. Our love for God and understanding of him is a mystery to the Jew. Why would we love their God? Why would God visit us and not them? We have been given this wonderful gift to draw back the children of Israel.
This does't make us second choice. It just gives us purpose. God's plan has always been for the whole world. "For God so loved the WORLD..." He used Israel to show us how he deals with his children. We are his children so we can look at how he loves Israel and get a taste of how he loves us. The last verse says that "all day long I have stretched fort my hands unto a disobedient and gainsaying people." Gainsaying means a people that kept refusing God and spoke against him instead. How great is God's love that he would be that longsuffering toward his wayward children. How encouraging to us who have been that child or know people like that. There is always hope.
Lord, give us your heart toward people we don't understand and people who seem to hate you and your laws. Let your glory be shown throughout the earth that they might turn and worship you. Turn the heart of our nation back to you.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Sunday's Devo - Suddenly

This week my middle son, Caleb, proposed to his girlfriend, Katy. He had been waiting to ask her dad's permission and finally got to ask him last week-end. He wanted to make it special so he decided to cook her her favorite meal. It was red beans and rice. He called me that morning to ask me how to do it. I asked him if he had soaked the beans. He said, "What?" He had never heard of such a thing since cooking beans was not something I ever did when he was growing up. So he wanted to know how he was suppose to know that. Since I was way too complicated he decided to call Katy's mom who had the right recipe. She is from New Orleans and had a 45 minute version. I think that is cheating but if that's what Katy likes then what can I say. He managed to cook it without anymore of my great advice. He got to the last ingredient and realized he didn't have any sausage. He knew she liked Eckridge so he went to the store to get it. He came home with Eckridge hot dogs. By this time Katy was helping him and had had the worse day ever. She got laid off of her new job. When he walked in with the hot dogs she burst out laughing and it saved the day.
They sat down to eat and after one delicious bite of beans and weinies over rice he popped the question. She loved the one bite but was too excited to eat anymore. She called us and everyone else she knew. Her bad day turned around in one minute.
My word for this year was "suddenly". When God comes on the scene he changes everything suddenly just like Caleb's proposal did for Katy. God will suddenly save Israel and he suddenly saves lives everyday. If you are waiting for God to do something impossible for you hold tight because He is the god of the "sudden". He will suddenly move on your behalf. God bless.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Fri.'s Devo - Never Disappointed

Read Ro. 10:1-11
Paul is writting about the Jews about his desire for them to be saved. The Jews are a type of people who think because they are good, they will go to heaven. They, like the Jews know about God, but have no spiritual discernment; just knowledge. They are ignorant of God's righteousness or they would never think they themselves were "good". If we were to actually see God's goodness, our righteousness would look like filth. People who try to work their way to heaven are not measuring themselves by God or they would see there is no comparison.
Verse 4 says that Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone that believes. He is the new covenant, the fulfillment of the law. There is no longer a need for the law. God writes his laws on our hearts. Moses tells us that to live you have to do the things in the law. Faith says we don't have to go to heaven or hell to look for Jesus, he is near. All we have to do is believe in our hearts and confess him with our mouth. He is the word of faith that we preach.
Verse 11 says that whoever believes on him will not be ashamed. That word, ashamed, means "disappointed; or delayed". We will never be disappointed in God's plan. We may misunderstand God and be wrongfully disappointed, but if we could see his plan we would never be disappointed. God is never late concerning his promises, as men count late. He sometimes seems late and never in a hurry but he comes through at just the right time. I just had this thought: God is never in a hurry. Hurry speaks of stress and anxiousness, not peace and rest. God is the designer of the plan for our lives so his timing is perfect.
Well, today was a hodge-podge of thoughts. So, Lord, speak wisdom to our knowledge and show us your ways that we might walk in them. Write your thoughts in our hearts and may we trust in your perfect timing. May we fulfill the destiny you have designed for us.

Thurs.'s Devo - Jesus Rocks

Read Ro. 9: 25-32
Paul quotes from Hosea in verse 26. God told Hosea to go marry a prostitute to show how his bride, Israel had become a prostitute. He prophesies Israel's fall then her return. When she returns he will once again call her "my people". When we see God's people, the Jews, coming to know Jesus as their Messiah, we know the end will soon be here. There has always been a remnant of Jews that have believed in Jesus, but most of them have stumbled over the law. God placed a stumbling stone, Jesus, and made him offensive to our natural man. He offended his followers when he said, "You have to eat my body and drink my blood if you want to be part of me". He lost a big group then. He offended the religious leaders when he called them blind guides and hypocrites. Jesus always offends our mind to speak to our spirit. He tells us to befriend a person that we wouldn't enjoy being around naturally. He disquises himself as homeless people, hard-to-deal-with children, and strangers in the check-out line. He is seeing if we will stumble over the rock or stand on it.
There was a rock that followed the children of Israel through the wilderness and the New Testament says that that rock was Jesus. I wonder if that was the same rock that Moses hit when he should have spoken to it. I bet so. It cost Moses the promised land. We all have our rock that follows us around seeing if we will get mad and hit it, or just speak to it and see the salvation of the Lord. That rock is truth. It offends religious people when their truth is challenged. We dress the truth up and call it doctrine but I wonder if it is the real rock or just a rolling stone that needs to keep on rolling out of sight.
Jesus asked Peter who he was and Peter answered, "Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God." Jesus blessed Peter because he understood that revelation and upon that rock of truth Jesus was going to build His church and the gates of hell would not be able to prevail against it.
Lord, give us a revelation of who you are and help us to stand upon your truth and not be offended by you.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Wed.'s Devo - Selection and Rejection

Read Ro. 9: 1-24
Paul starts out mourning for his fellow Jews that chose to remain living in their flesh and not in God's spirit. God showed us from the very beginning that he had a holy seed and a fleshly seed. Abraham was to be the the father of God's children. When the promised didn't come Abraham tried in the flesh to make it happen. He had Ishmael. But God said that he would call those of Isaac's seed. Isaac grew up and married Rebecca. They had twins and before they were born God called the younger to himself and rejected the older. We are all formed for a reason which is not really our choice. We are the clay- he is the potter. Pharoah was born, a vessel of wrath fit to destruction so that God could show his power through him. We are born vessels of mercy so that God can show his glory through us. I can't explain why some are chosen for glory and some are chosen for wrath, but I know that it happens before they are born. Our finite minds cannot comprehend it but it is all according to his plan. God is Just.
I have a thought about why so many second-born sons were blessed and how many first-born sons were cursed. It is a picture God is trying to convey. We are born first of the flesh condemned to sin and hell. We that are born a second time are blessed and receive the inheritance God promises to those who believe in Jesus. The Jews were the first born of God but the Gentiles were the ones that took the birthright from them and received the salvation promised to the Jew. True, many Jews came to Jesus, but as a people, they rejected Jesus. Many Gentiles rejected Jesus, but as a people, they accepted him.
Lord, your ways and your thoughts are so much higher than ours. We cannot comprehend them. Teach us your ways that we might follow you all the days of our lives.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Tues.'s Devo - More Than Conquerors

Read Ro. 8:29-39
I'm looking at verses 29 and 30 at what God did for us. He foreknew us, predestined us, called us, justified us, and glorified us. Not once does it say we did a thing. So the next verse is our response: if God be for us who can be against us? He has hasn't held back anything from us. He gave us what meant the very most to him, his son, so everything else is lagnaippe. And, if God justifies us who can accuse us?
God's love is amazing. We will be surrounded by it in our trials, in our times of stress, when we receive bad news, when we are being persecuted for our faith, when we are starving, when we are stripped bare, when we are in danger, and when we are in war. The best thing you can teach your children to do is call out to God when they are in trouble. He promises to rescue them. Last week the papers ran the story about the young girl who was abducted and spent years in a backyard tent with a child molester who fathered 2 of her children. That sounds totally awful for her mother to go through but look at the result. She and her two daughters were healthy and seemingly happy. God's love was with her through the whole ordeal and they were reunited with her family at just the right time.
When I read the story it immediately reminded me of Joseph. He was abducted, put in prison, abused, wrongly accused, and left with little hope of escaping till God rescued him at just the right time. We don't understand God's ways because they are higher than ours but I know that God will work something good out of this latest news.
In all things we are more than conquerors. Let me try to give you a picture of a person who is "more than a conqueror". A boxer fights in a ring and wins $4,000 which makes him a conqueror. We goes home to his wife and hands her his check. She is more than a conqueror. She didn't do anything to get it and neither did we. Nothing, nothing, nothing can separate us from his love.
Thank you Lord that we can trust in your love to keep us from evil.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Monday's Devo - Our Glorious Intercessor

Read Ro. 8: 17-28
Good news - no amount of suffering we can experience here on earth is comparable to the glory that is going to be in us one day. All creation is waiting for the sons of God to be revealed. All creation was made to obey the effects of sin and is waiting to be released from its bondage when we are released from our bondage of sin. All creation is travailing in pain waiting to be released from the pain of aging and dying. Our bodies are the same. Even though we are surrounded with suffering, pain, disease, and death we live with the confident expectation that one day we will be saved from all this.
When I study the Bible I try to read whatever I am studying like I have never read it before. I try not to bring my doctrines or preconceived ideas about a verse with me. So that is what I am doing with vs. 26. I have heard this taught so many times but as I try to blank that out I see something different. The Holy Spirit is the Intercessor; he is OUR intercessor. He prays prayers that words cannot express. He knows a dimension that goes beyond words and he prays in that language of sighs, groans, inaudible prayers that prays what we would have no knowledge of. I believe that we can join him and allow him to pray through us but it will not come out in words we can understand. It might come out as a sigh, groans, or a language we cannot understand. These prayers are the will of God who causes all things to work together for good. The Holy Spirit might pray for us to lose our job. We would never pray for that. But he knows the mind of God and knows what is best for us. If we didn't lose our job, we wouldn't press into God and find what is the best plan for us. He is praying out our future.
Thank you Holy Spirit for praying for us and working everything for our good. We are so grateful to walk with you and never alone.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Sat.'s Devo - God's Fountain Never Runs Dry

I have been contemplating God's economy. I wonder why we can receive the free gift of God's grace and yet not understand grace when it comes to finances. A friend of mine was talking about her friend who was reusing her water bottles because of a Bible Study she was doing on finances. If we live our lives trusting God and obeying God's will when it comes to giving, why can't we believe that God will follow through on his promises. God promises us are found in Deu. 28. They are for those who hear God's voice, obey it and walk in his ways. I don't read anywhere about penny pinching or conserving anything. God is the god of more than enough. I always think about if I was the daughter of a rich sheik who had more than he knew what to do with, how would I live? I think I would live without worry or concern. I wouldn't want for anything but I wouldn't want much either. Things would not be an idol because I could have anything I wanted whenever I wanted. I would give without ever worrying about running out. Overabundance in the Lord gives you freedom. God's abundance should not make you stingy, arrogant or fearful. It should make you grateful, giving and faithful. Money is not the value, what you can do with the money is the value. What we do with our money also determines how much God can trust us with more. He loves to give us more than enough. Money is a number that God can change anytime he wants to. He never runs out. The freedom comes in believing that God will never leave you or forsake you and his goodness is for a lifetime.
I'm not saying that you should never use wisdom in your finances. I actually do reuse my water bottles but it's not a bondage it's a choice. It's not what we do or don't do, it's the attitude we have in what we do.
God told David to build a very opulent temple covered with gold and jewels. There were plenty of poor people that could have used some of that gold, but God built the temple to show us his glory. It was to be a shining example of how extravagant God's glory is. It was to remind the people that God would always take care of them and make them abound if they kept their eyes on him. When they took their eyes off God he allowed the Temple to be stolen piece by piece. God wants us to display his glory in everything we do and own.
I pray that this devotion will be received in the heart that I am writing it. I believe that there is a level of giving and receiving that we have yet to understand, me included. But I do know this, they don't reuse water bottles in heaven :)

Friday, September 4, 2009

Fri.'s Devo - The Spirit of Adoption

Read Ro. 8: 1-16
I think this first verse is one of the most quoted verses in the Bible by Christians. Condemnation means an adverse sentence. So it means that those who walk in the Spirit will not receive an adverse sentence. The emphasis is on "those who walk in the Spirit", not "no more condemnation". The next verse talks about 2 laws: the law of the Spirit of life in Jesus and the law of sin and death. The first law was given on stone tablets and showed us our weak flesh. This is the law of sin and death. The second law came in the form of Jesus. He was the law embodied. He fulfilled the law to the letter but did it by the spirit of God. Jesus had to come in sinful flesh and have his flesh torn from him to show that no good thing comes from the flesh. Jesus couldn't even live this life through his flesh, he depended on the spirit of God. That is why he said, "I only do what I see the Father doing." He could not trust his flesh to do anything. On the cross Jesus said, "the flesh is weak but the sprit is strong."
If Jesus couldn't live this life through his flesh, why do we even try? Our flesh cannot please God. Our righteousness is filthy rags, but the spirit IS God, so it does what He would do. God's spirit raised Christ from the dead and it will also vitalize our bodies. The spirit helps us kill our old habits and desires. When we decide to live by the spirit he exchanges the spirit of bondage for the spirit of adoption. He becomes our daddy. This is one of the hardest things for some Christians to get: this spirit of adoption. Mostly because many are born into a world of rejection so until they can receive this spirit of adoption they have a hard time with people and life.
Lord, return us to the Father's love and pour out your spirit of adoption on a rejected generation.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Thurs.'s Devo - Victory in Death

Read Romans 6: 17-23
Verse 19 causes me to ponder. Our flesh has this disease called sin because we have used it for that purpose. Sin leads to bigger sin. Proverbs says that "Hell and destruction are never full; so the eyes of man are never satisfied." (Pro. 27:20) So if sin leads you down the path to destruction, then righteous living will lead you down the path to holiness. It is not our own efforts that make us righteous, but our abiding in the vine that make us righteous. You act like those you hang out with. If you hang out with God you start looking like him and thinking like him. Verse 22 says that if you are free from sin and a servant to God then what you produce will be pure which will end in everlasting life. If the wages of sin is death and the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus, then why do we have to die?
Death is mentioned 342 times in the Bible. It talks about the gates of death, the shadow of death, waves of death, snares of death, the firstborn of death, the sleep of death, and the second death. Death is a real entity in Revelation that rides on a pale horse. Hell is right behind him.
Enoch was translated so that he would not see death. (Heb. 11:5) Melchisedec was saved from death (Heb. 5:7) Elijah left earth in a firey chariot. (2 Ki. 2:11)
So why do we have to die? The answer is found in Heb. 2. Verse 8 says that he put all things under the feet of Jesus but right now we don't see everything put under his feet. (Vs 9) But we see Jesus who was brought low so that he would suffer death for us all. Death is our door into everlasting life just as it was for Jesus. We will never experience the second death that the unbelieving will suffer. 1 Co. 15:26 says that the last enemy that will be destroyed is death. Death will be swallowed up in victory so we will be able to say, "O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?"

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Wed.'s Devo - Walk in Resurrected Life

Read Romans 6:1-16
The question Paul asks is: "Should we keep on sinning so that God can show us more and more of his wonderful grace?" He quickly answers, "NO". When we get saved we die to sin so we shouldn't live there anymore. That is the picture of baptism. We are baptized into his death so our going under the water symbolizes our death and burial of sin. When we come out of the water it symbolizes our resurrection to new life. Jesus was resurrected into a heavenly kingdom and so are we. The only difference is we are still on this earth. We are truly 'new creatures' so the things that entertained our old man should not be entertaining to our new man.
Jesus died once to sin so since he could only die once, death has no more power over him. We have died to sin, so sin should have no more power over us. We now have a new life in heavenly places with him. So we should live that way. We don't have to obey our natural lusty desires and if we yeild our members to God sin will have no power over us.
Next question: Should we sin because we are not under the law, but under grace? A resounding NO. Vs. 16 is a powerful verse: "Don't you realize that you become the slave of whatever you choose to obey? You can be a slave to sin, which leads to death, or you can choose to obey God, which leads to righteous living."
In the Old Testament (Ex. 21) it gives the laws of a slave which is the picture that Paul is trying to explain. If a slave has served a master for 6 years, in the 7th year he is to be set free. But if he chooses to stay because he loves his master, then the master is to bring him in front of the judges to witness his decision. He will then take an aul which is like a nail and hammer it through his ear to the door of his house. Then he will serve his master forever. This is a picture of salvation. We choose to have God as our master so he nails us to Jesus who is the door. In other words we become partakers of his sufferings. But it doesn't stop there. It says that he is a slave forever. We are God's forever and he has some great plans for our future and one day we will be partakers of his glory which is our inheritance.
Lord, Hebrews 2:18 says that you suffered being tempted so you are able to aid and relieve those that are tempted. Help us in our weaknesses to be strong and triumph over them. He choose you as our master.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Tues.'s Devo - The Plan from the Beginning

Read Romans 5:12-21
When man sinned it brought sin into the world which produced death. Since all men sin then all men experience death. Up until the law was given to Moses there was no account or charge made of man's sin but man still experienced death. In fact, everyone, whether they were a really evil person or a good person still experienced death.
I love how (vs. 14) "who is the figure of him that was to come" is slipped in. It is a great truth that most Christians don't understand. Adam was a type of Jesus- the one that was to come. If you understand that Adam was a type of Jesus then Genesis will take on a whole new meaning. Luke 3:38 lists the geneology of Joseph the earthly father of Jesus and it says: "Adam, which was the son of God." In 1Co. 15:45 it says that the first Adam was made a living soul but the last Adam was made a quickening spirit. In 1 Tim. 2:14 it says that Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived was in the transgression. What does all this mean? Let's go back to the garden. Adam met and talked to God everyday. God had told Adam not to eat of the tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil and he told Eve. Eve didn't like being told 'no' so she went to look at this tree to see why they couldn't eat it. The devil was there and he deceived her. Adam was right there with him (Gen 3:6) and he ate it too. Why did he eat it? Why did he let Eve eat it? It is because God has given us free will. Jesus can't stand next to us and tell us we can't do anything. He can warn us by his spirit but the decision is ours to make. Adam had to let Eve make her own decision. Because she ate it, he had to or he would be eternally separated from her. Eve was deceived but Adam chose to eat it. Since Adam's sin was intentional and he was the one given the commandment not to eat it sin entered through him. That is why Jesus had to come back as the second Adam and as a quickening spirit become sin again. This time instead of his death bringing death to the earth it brought life. So in the very beginning of time we see the whole plan being shown us. God's plan has always been to reconcile us back to him. He is looking for a bride without spot or blemish and the only way she can be that way is to covered in the blood of Jesus.
God knew the beginning from the end because God is not confined to time. He has already seen the end which is why he can put it in the mouths of the prophets.
The good news is that even though Adam's sin brought death, Jesus' death was much more powerful than death and defeated both sin and death. Many more will come to grace than all that died in sin. God sent the law to show man his sin so he would want to be free of it. The law drives us to the cross because we find out really quickly that we are bent to sin and need a saviour.
Lord, thank you for your plan to reconcile us back to you through your son's blood. We are grateful.