Friday, October 30, 2009

Fri.'s Devo - Slave or Son?

John 8:31-41
Jesus continues talking to those gathered and tells them that if they actually live what he says then they will be set free. This is puzzling to them since, as Jews, they have never been a slave and thought they were free. But Jesus is talking about being a slave of sin. If you are a slave to sin then you will not always live in the house as a slave and the house will not be your permanent home, but if you are the son then the house will always be your home; the home is your inheritance and so is the slave. The house is the family of God. If the son sets the slave free then he is really free. Then Jesus tells them that he knows they are seeds of Abraham and their seed is trying to kill him because they have refused to accept his words. Jesus is speaking what he has discerned and experienced with his father and they in turn have received the same thing from their father. Jesus is referring to their father, the devil. They tell him that their father is Abraham to which Jesus says if you were Abraham's children you would do the works of Abraham. And Abraham would never try to kill someone who spoke truth. Once again he tells them that they do the deeds of their father. I'm going to stop in the middle of verse 41 because I think there is a profound truth in these verses. We have a choice to be a slave or a son. A slave serves a master out of fear or reverence which is still out of fear. A son loves a father out of gratefulness and freedom. The slave has to work to keep his job; a son freely receives an inheritance just because he is the son. So if we are abiding in the Word and obeying it we are his son. If we worship God out of obligation, fear, and are still a slave to our sins then we are a slave and will have to perform to keep our position. So which one are we? If we are a son we should be doing the works of our Father. He healed, set free, saved, loved, taught, walked in the miraculous and had an amazing relationship with God. That is our inheritance as sons. Lord, teach us to walk as sons and not as slaves to sin.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Thurs.'s Devo - Open the Treasury of Heaven

Read John 8:13-30
The Pharasees loved technicalities. They strain at a knat and swallow a camel. They are accusing Jesus of having only one witness. The law says that by the witness of two or more a thing is decreed so since Jesus is his only witness that he is from God then his witness is false. Jesus knew who he was and that he was sent to earth by God and what other witness do you need? That wasn't good enough for them, they wanted to know where his father was. Jesus tells them that if he knew God they wouldn't have to ask that question because they would recognize God in him. Jesus is teaching them these things in the treasury of the temple. He is giving them the true treasures of God which reveal their hearts. "A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth what is good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart brings forth that which is evil: for of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks." Luke 6:45
Jesus continues to confound them telling them that he is going somewhere they can't come. They wonder if he is going to commit suicide? He tells them they are from below and he is from above; they are from this world and he is not, and if they choose not to believe this, they will die in their sins. This had to tick them off so they ask him point blank, "Who are you?" They want so badly for him to say he is the Messiah, then they can arrest him for blasphemy. Jesus wisely doesn't ever come out and say it, he just implies it. He tells him he is the one from the beginning and he is speaking what God tells him to say. They didn't understand that he was talking about his father, God. Jesus knows this and tells them that when he is lifted up then they will know that he is God. He is talking about the cross.
The more he talked the more people were moved and believed in him.
Lord, thank you that you have given us grace to believe who you are. You are the greatest treasure ever.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Wed.'s Devo - Shine God's Light

Read John 8:12
Jesus throws this profound statement in the middle of two totally different situations so let's pick it out and talk about it. He say's "I am the light of the world: he that follows me will not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life."
The first time God speaks in the Bible he says, "Let there be light." Light flooded the earth that didn't come from a single source but was everywhere. This word light in the Hebrew means illumination; glory; happiness. He separated this light from darkness and called it Day. He called darkness Night. Darkness means misery; destruction; death; ignorance; sorrow; wickedness. Later on the 4th day he created 2 great lights in the sky for light and this light means a luminous body; a chandelier; a menorah. The sun and the moon are pictures of what light means. When Jesus said, I am the light, he was saying I am the manifest presence of all that is light: glory, understanding, happiness, illumination of truth. If you follow his ways you will walk in wisdom and revelation; your spiritual eyes will be illumined. In the OT they were to use pure beaten olive oil for the light in the tabernacle. This oil is a picture of the Holy Spirit that lightens our way to truth. We cannot read the Bible and understand it without the Holy Spirit breathing life on it and opening our eyes to see.
In the times that we are living, darkness is getting darker and light is getting lighter. Is. 30:26 says that "the light of the moon shall be as the light of the sun, and the light of the sun shall be sevenfold, as the light of seven days, in the day that the Lord binds up the breach of his people and heals the stroke of their wound." I have always been fascinated by that verse and memorized it even though I didn't understand it. I still don't totally know what it means but I think it means that in the last days the church will shine forth the glory of God and all the past glory of all the church ages will culminate in the last day's church. In that day God will bring unity in the body and heal our hurts and offenses.
May we shine forth your glory in this dark world.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Tues.'s Devo - Who are you?

Read John 8:2-11
I have to go back to yesterdays scripture because I think there is so much to the story of the woman caught in adultery. The reading for that day in the temple was Jer. 17:13 which says," O Lord, the hope of Israel, all that forsake thee shall be ashamed, and they that depart from me shall be written in the earth, because they have forsaken the Lord, the fountain of living waters." I wonder if Jesus was writing their names in the dirt and the fact that Jesus had no way of knowing their name brought conviction and unarmed them. He must have started with the names of the oldest ones first.
In the OT if a woman was caught in adultery she would have to drink bitter water made of the dirt. If she was innocent nothing would happen, if she was guilty her abdomen would swell and her thigh would rot.
In the NT story the very dirt that would have condemned her, set her free.
How does that relate to our lives? If we are the Pharisee wanting justice to be served then Jesus writes our name on that sin and convicts us of the very thing we are judging. If we are the one being judged for our sin, Jesus delivers us from the condemning voices in our head and tells us to go and sin no more. Maybe we can be Jesus in the story and silence the accusers and say to the one who is in sin, "your sins are forgiven, go and sin no more."
Lord, I find myself in the place of the Pharisees most of the time and I'm pretty sure that is the worse place to be. Humble my heart to see my sin and repent. Help me to go and sin no more.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Monday's Devo - Dust Writers

Read John 8:1-11
Jesus would spend his nights in the mountain with God. I wonder if he got his marching orders for the day and wisdom about how to handle the situations he would face that day. The next morning he went to the temple and started teaching the people when the Pharasees showed up with a lady caught in the act of adultery. They wanted to know if Jesus had the guts to pronounce death on this woman like the law commanded. When they asked him whether they should stone her or not Jesus was silent and instead stooped down and started writting in the dirt. When they demanded an answer he stood up and said, "He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her." Then he stooped back down and wrote in the ground. Conviction sifted through the crowd of accusers till they left, the oldest to the youngest. When only Jesus and the woman were left, Jesus stood up and asked the woman where are your accusers? has no man condemned you? she answered, "No man". So Jesus said, neither do I, go and sin no more.
So why did Jesus write in the dirt with his finger? I studied other times the finger of God wrote things in dust and what they wrote.
1. The finger of God wrote the law on tablets of stone. Etching produces dust. The law brought judgment and death.
2. In the 3rd plague Moses struck the dust and the dust became lice that attacked men and beast. When the Egyptian enchanters tried to mimic this act they couldn't and told Pharaoh, "This is the finger of God".
3. When Belshazzar was king of Babylon the finger of God wrote on the plaster wall (made of dust). It was a warning of coming judgment.
4. Jesus told the crowd that he cast out devils with the finger of God.
God's finger always brought judgment on the sinner. I think he was trying to teach a lesson. The judgments of God are not to harm us but to set us free. In this story his writing in the dust set a sinner free and gave her a second chance. Only God can judge because we are all mere mortals made from dust. God judges the self-righteous and sets the humble free.
May we remember this when we are tempted to judge.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Fri.'s Devo - Thirsty?

Read John 7:37-53
It is the last day of the feast of Tabernacles and the priests are carrying these golden pitchers of water down the mountain from the Pool of Siloam to pour on the altar. The Pool of Siloam means living water which gets its water from the Gihon Springs which means bursting forth. So it is a picture of God sending the living water bursting forth from heaven down to earth and pouring it out on the altar for the people. The priest would read Is. 44 which says, "I will pour water upon him that is thirsty, and floods upon the dry ground: I will pour my spirit upon your seed, and my blessing upon your offspring; And they shall spring up as among the grass, as willows by the water courses." It is on that day that Jesus stood up and cried, "If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink. He that believes on me, as the scripture said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water."
The next verse tells us what this living water is: it is the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit had not been given to the people because Jesus hadn't died yet. Many people believed in him when he said this but many still tripped over the fact that they thought he was from Galilee. They knew that the scriptures said the Messiah would come out of Bethlehem. I often wonder why noone asked Jesus where he was born. He could have cleared it up for them but noone asked him. So some believed, some didn't and some wanted to kill him.
This reminds me of times I have bargained with God and said 'If you just do this then I'll do that'. When really all God wants me to do is blindly believe - follow my spirit, even when I don't understand, it doesn't make sense, and I don't want to. Everything about Jesus was a mystery: he spoke with authority and demons were afraid of him, but he was a commoner. He did miracles and unraveled the Law with such wisdom but he came from Galilee. Face it, it took courage and faith to believe Jesus was the Messiah.
Jesus carried the anointing of the Holy Spirit. That is what he came to give us. John the Baptist ushered in Jesus and Jesus ushered in the Holy Spirit. Lord, fill us with your Holy Spirit so that out of our bellies will flow this living water.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Thurs.'s Devo - We Live By Faith

Read John 7: 30-34
I love how there seemed to be a magnetic force around Jesus. Noone could penetrated it till God said they could. They tried to take Jesus but couldn't because it was not his time yet. I bet that was interesting to watch. Many of the people believed on him because they saw the miraculous power Jesus possessed. The Jews got jealous over all the popularity Jesus seems to be getting and once again tried to take him but Jesus' words stopped them. "I'll be with you a little while longer, then I'm going back to the one who sent men and though you look for me, you won't find me, and further more you can't come where I am going." That stumped the Jews. Where could he possible hide that they wouldn't be able to find him? Maybe with the Gentiles. And where could he go that they wouldn't be able to come. Jesus always taught in riddles but he wasn't just speaking to them, he was speaking to us right now. He speaks to eternity. This is the message he gives to the unbelieving but to the believing he says, "I'll be with you forever, I will never leave you. You may come where I am going and when you seek me I will be found of you. I have gone ahead of you to prepare a place for you so that you can be where I am forever." It is still puzzling to us how all this is going to happen but we have learned that putting faith in a God we can't see gives hope that carries us through whatever this life has to offer or throw at us.
Yesterday I was at Wal-mart and a man in line was telling me about how bad his life was: broken relationship, returning cancer, etc. He finally said, "You know, life just happens." And I responded, "Yes, but God is bigger than life." He stopped and thought about that for a second and said, "Yes, I guess he is."
Lord, thank you that you are the answer to all life's problems. You really have gone before us and you will be forever with us.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Wed.'s Devo - Religious Spirits

Read John 7:1-29
After Jesus gave his controversial lesson on eating his flesh and drinking his blood he had to avoid Judea where the religious Jews wanted to kill him. Instead he hung out in Galilee which means "heathen circle". Interesting that he was safer in the heathen circle than in the religious circle. But the feast of tabernacles was coming and all Jewish men were to go to Jerusalem to celebrate it so Jesus' "brothers" wanted him to go and do his miracles in front of the crowd so he could be famous. It says that they didn't believe in him so they must have been trying to set him up to be arrested. Jesus' response was insightful. He knew their hearts and told them it was not time for him to die. Then he explained that the world didn't hate them because they were friends of the world. It hated him because he exposed it for the evil it was. So he told them to go to the feast without him. He knew he would never miss a feast but he wanted to go incognito.
People were looking for him and discussing his validity when Jesus appeared in the middle of the feast and went up to the temple and started teaching. The Jews were awed by his knowledge of the scriptures. Jesus explained that his wisdom didn't come from man's teaching but from God's and he didn't seek his own glory but God's. Then he stuck the knife in with: "Didn't Moses give you that law, and yet none of you keep it and by the way, why are you trying to kill me? (Isn't murder one of the 10 Commandments?)" There he goes again offending the religious. They accuse him of being demon possessed and innocently ask "who is trying to kill you?" Jesus must have just healed a man because he defends his actions by asking them a question. If it is OK to circumcise a man on the sabbath why is it a sin to heal a man on the sabbath? Aren't your judgments a little off?
The people start figuring out that Jesus is the one everyone is so upset about. If the Jews want to kill him so bad, why aren't they arresting him. Maybe they think he is the Messiah. But wait, they knew where Jesus was born and the scriptures say that they won't know where the Messiah will come from. Jesus, knowing what they were mumbling addresses it with his typical heavenly answer that no one can interpret without having a spiritual mind. You can read it in verses 28 and 29. One thing about Jesus, he knows the truth and is sticking to it: I am from God and God sent me.
I wonder if we stumble over little things in the word and let our fleshly mind try to figure it out? God cannot be figured out in our reasonable mind; only in our spirit. Lord, renew our minds and forgive us of religious spirits that offend your spirit.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Tues.'s Devo - Can You Handle the Truth?

Read John 6:28-71
Verse 28 is the question of the ages: How do we do the works of God? Jesus said the work of God is to believe on him. This wasn't enough for the people, they wanted a tangible sign that what he was saying was true. Jesus reminded them of the miracle of God giving the children of Israel manna every morning. This was truly a miracle and a picture of God sending heavenly bread down to feed the people. Jesus was the fulfillment of this picture. He was the bread sent down from heaven to give nourishment and life to the people. Jesus came down to earth to save all that would come to him and raise them up at the last day.
The Jews didn't like Jesus saying he was the bread that came down from heaven... they knew he was Joseph and Mary's son so how could he say he came down from heaven? Jesus knew what they were saying so he cut to the chase: no one can come to me unless the Father draws him. So there! Then he explained again that he was the bread of life. The manna in the wilderness didn't give them eternal life but he could. All you had to do is to eat his flesh and drink his blood. I'm afraid that he might have lost me there. He certainly lost some. He said 3 times that he came down from heaven which was enough to try to swallow but to eat his flesh was cannibalistic and absurd! So Jesus gets even more complicated and says EXCEPT you eat my flesh and drink my blood you have no life in you. And when you will be in me and I will be in you. This was indeed a hard saying. Even the disciples had a hard time with it. Jesus doesn't mind offending people with truth and he seems to try to weed people out with hard sayings that they can only believe if they are yielded to the spirit. The spirit knows truth and can embrace it even when the mind can't understand it. Jesus said in verse 63: "The words that I speak to you, they are spirit, and they are life." The ones that couldn't accept this bit of truth left from following him. Jesus looked at his 12 and asked them if they were going to leave and Peter answered him, "Lord, to whom shall we go? you have the words of eternal life. And we believe and are sure that you are that Christ, the Son of the living God." So Jesus laid an even harder thing on them: "Have I not chosen you and one of you is a devil?" What a way to break up a party? Jesus never danced around truth. He was the truth and the more they believed the more truth he dished out to them. I bet they weren't expecting that one.
Lord, expand our minds to embrace the things you want to speak to our spirits. Give us hearts that long for truth and faith to believe it when it comes.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Monday's Devo - Wait on Jesus

Read John 6:16-26
Jesus had slipped into the hills to hide from the mob so they wouldn't crown him king. The disciples were at the shore waiting for him but when it got dark and he still hadn't come they decided to leave. They rowed about 3 miles out when a very hard gale swept down and the waves got very rough. All of a sudden they saw Jesus walking towards them on the water! They were scared until Jesus called out to them to not be afraid. They helped him into the boat and immediately they were on the other side. (Jesus did this quantum physics thing a lot.)
We can draw so many analogies to this story. Matthew talks about Peter walking on water to meet Jesus. But what I want to know is why did they launch out on their own without Jesus. I wonder if the storm wouldn't have happened if they had gone up on the mountain and prayed and waited for Jesus. I can think of so many times I have impulsively jumped into something and then had to cry out to Jesus to come rescue me. I should have waited on Jesus to get in the boat with me and take me to where he wanted me to go. God is never in a hurry, but his will is always the safest. It may not look like the safest: like go to an unreached tribe in Africa, but there is safety in God's will.
The next morning the people saw that Jesus and the disciples were on the other side of the sea. They knew that the disciples had left without Jesus so they went across the sea and asked Jesus about it. He didn't answer their question but he did confront their heart. He told them that they followed them because he fed them. He explained to them that there was a meat that would endure forever and that is what they should be seeking. Only Jesus could give them that.
Lord, may we learn to patiently wait till you are with us before we launch out in our boat and may we seek the meat that never perishes. Our hearts burn for you.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Friday's Devo - Preparation for Passover

Read John 6:1-15
We all know this miracle as "Feeding the 5,000". I know there is a reason for every miracle that is recorded so let's look at this one. We get our clue in vs. 4: "and the passover was nigh". Passover was a commemoration of the Jews being mightily delivered from Egyptian bondage. On passover night every Jewish father was to take a spotless lamb and sacrifice it. The blood of the lamb was to be smeared on the sides of the door posts and the top. The death angel was to pass over each house and kill the first born of every household that wasn't protected by the blood. This was a picture of salvation that Jesus would give us. This miracle was to prepare them for that feast. Jesus told them that he was the bread that would be broken for their salvation. By breaking the bread and distributing it to all the people he was signifying that his death on Passover would be the bread broken and salvation would be given freely to everyone that wanted it. Salvation would come from one man and never run out. The little boy gave 5 barley loaves and two small fishes. Five is the number of grace and barley was the grain harvested at Passover. The feasts were always associated with a harvest. Barley was grain and Jesus explained later that unless a seed falls into the ground and dies, it will abide alone; but if it dies, it will bring forth much fruit. He is preparing them for his death. One day he would die and his salvation would be dispersed to anyone who wanted it and there would be bread left over for the generations yet to come.
I am still meditating on the 2 fish. I know that we are to be fishers of men so men are fish. Fish in the Hebrew means prolific so it is like Jesus is not only giving them the bread which is himself, but he is also giving them the fish which enables them to go out and make more disciples themselves.
The people were so amazed at this miracle that Jesus had to leave secretly so they wouldn't try to make him a king.
Lord, feed us from your abundant supply of bread and fish that we might be filled with your miracle-giving life and disperse it to those around us.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Thurs' Devo - But you shall receive Power to be Witnesses...

Read John 5:21-47
We'll see if we can get a little further today than yesterday:) God put judgment and salvation in the power of Jesus. In verse 25 Jesus said the time is coming when the dead will hear my voice and they that understand will live. He was talking about when he died and went down to the grave and preached to those that had died. They would get a chance to choose him. He explains in verses 28-29 what will eventually happen at the end of the ages at the Great White Throne Judgment.
Jesus starts a discourse about his witnesses that he is the son of God. The law states that a matter is established at the mouth of two or three witnesses. (Deu. 19:15) Jesus is giving his 3 witnesses and one more. The first one was John. (vs. 33) John was a burning and shining light which brought joy for a season. The second one was the works Jesus was doing on earth which was greater than John's witness because it was more than words; it was tangible miracles (vs. 36). The third one was God himself (vs. 37). Then he gives them a forth witness which is the scriptures (Vs. 39). The first 2 were temporal and visible. The next two were eternal and invisible.
Jesus is making it very clear to them that they are not making the right choice to not believe in him. If they knew as much as they thought they did about the scriptures, they would have realized that all the Old Testament testified of Jesus. And if they couldn't find it in the writings, how were they suppose to believe his teaching?
They were blinded by unbelief. Lord open our spiritual eyes that we wouldn't be blind to what you are saying to us. Let us be your tangible witness to the invisible witness of Jesus.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Wed.'s Devo - Lord of the Sabbath

Read John 5:17-20
Jesus told the Jews that he did miracles on the Sabbath because when God works he works. He went on to explain that he only does what he sees God doing. The Jews didn't understand the Sabbath. They saw it as a day to rigidly follow the law of the Torah and all the jots and tittles they had added to it. When God rested on the 7th day he rested because his work of creation was complete. He didn't stop working because he is always at work on this earth; he just does it from the position of rest. God's rest is the opposite of striving and he has invited us into this rest. Everything God set up in the law was to point to something spiritual. It is all word pictures to teach us God's ways and the Sabbath was a picture of Millennium which is the 7th day or year 7000. We will not work but spend 1000 years with God in heaven. It is hallowed and holy and a Jubilee high Sabbath.
Lev. 23:11 says that the people will wave their sheaf before the Lord but after the sabbath the priest shall wave it. We are responsible for doing the work of Jesus on earth, but when we get to heaven our high priest will do it.
Sabbath begins at night and the gates of Jerusalem were shut and guarded so that noone could come in or out and no burden should be brought in. (Neh. 13:19) But the gate of the inner court that is shut during the week will be opened on the Sabbath. So what I understand him to say is that once God calls his people to heaven in the end he will shut the gates of heaven and no one will be able to come in or bring any burdens in because there is no worry or hardship in heaven. Then God will open access to his inner throne room and we will be invited in. (Eze. 46:1)
I don't know all of what will happen on that millennial sabbath but by looking at what Jesus did on the sabbath it looks like he is going to heal everyone of us, loose those that have been bound by Satan, teach us, and feed us bread and corn. After all, he is the Lord of the Sabbath.
Even the land was suppose to observe the sabbath every 7th year. No sowing or pruning was to be done that year. During millennium the earth will lie dormant. After the 1000 years we will come back to this earth and clean it up and redeem it. According to Isaiah (Is. 65:17; 66:22) and Peter (2 Pe. 3:13) we will see new heavens and a new earth where righteousness dwells. (Rev. 21:1,2) We have a lot to look forward to.
Lord, we cannot conceive of all you have prepared us for but we put our trust and faith in you to complete your work in us and in the world.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Tue.'s Devo -Move Upon Our Waters

Read John 5:1-17
In the Old Testament God gave the Jews 7 feasts that they were suppose to observe every year. They happened at the 3 different harvest times. Every Jewish man was to come to Jerusalem with his sacrifice and celebrate the feast together. Jesus never missed a feast. This feast was the fall feasts of Roshashana, Yom Kippor, and Tabernacles. These feast have to do with the final harvest, repentance, and the 2nd coming of Jesus just to name a few. So Jesus goes to the place the sheep are kept to a pool of water that is believed to have healing powers when the angel comes down and stirs the water. There is a whole multitude of people that are crippled, blind, withered, and dying waiting for the moving of the water.
One day Jesus is going to come back with the angels for those who are waiting. These that are waiting realize the state of their humanity: that they are crippled, blind, withered, and dying and need the spirit it move on their behalf. And Jesus is going to ask them "Do you want to be made whole?" We, like this impotent man will answer that we can't do this by ourself and Jesus will say to us, "Rise, take up your bed, and walk" and we will walk right out of this world into the next.
This man was a type of what is going to happen but he was still on this earth so he got questioned about carrying his bed on the Sabbath. He told them that the man who healed him told him to take up his bed and walk. He just wasn't sure who he was. So Jesus found him later and proclaimed over him again that he was whole and that he shouldn't sin anymore or something worse would happen to him.
By this one statement he knew it was Jesus and he went back to the Jews and told them that it was Jesus that healed him. So the Jews went to find Jesus to persecute and kill him because he had done this on the Sabbath. When they did find him and asked him about it his reply was, "My Father works, so I work." Sabbath in the Greek means "a day of weekly repose from secular avocations" so what better day to do spiritual work. We'll talk more about this response tomorrow.
I find it interesting that Jesus didn't get them saved first then heal them, he just healed everyone he met. Grace is a free gift and healing is too. Jesus never judged anyone except the religious that taught false doctrine. He is jealous over his word.
Lord, may we freely give out what you have given us to everyone we meet saved or not saved.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Monday's Devo - Let's Work Together

Read John 4: 31-54
The disciples come back and try to get Jesus to eat something. Jesus tries to make a point that there are more important things than doing God's will. Jesus points out that you harvest your crops every 4 months, but you can harvest souls all year round. Just like in farming you have reapers and sowers. They are both responsible for the harvest and both receive payment for their work. That is how it works in the kingdom. You may be the sower and only plant seed into people's hearts and never see the result. Or you may the reaper who comes along and says just the right thing that evokes a response to God. The seed in that person had grown to the stage where it was ready to be harvested. The harvest could not have happened if the seed had not been planted.
Jesus ended up staying in Samaria for 3 days because the people were so hungry then he went to Cana. Cana was where Jesus did his first miracle which was to turn the water to wine. He is fixing to do his second one there. This time it was raising a young boy from his death bed. The father came to Jesus to ask him to come and heal his son. Jesus just told him to go home because his son was alive and healed. The man believed Jesus' word and when he went home he found his son had been healed at the exact hour Jesus proclaimed it.
Jesus made the statement that he couldn't do much in that city because a prophet doesn't have honour in his own country or his own house. Jesus country was Cana and his house was the house of Abraham. In Matthew it says that they were offended by him because they knew he was the carpenter's and Mary's son so he couldn't do many mighty works because of their unbelief.
We do that too. We get familiar with people and don't respect the spirit of God in them. It comes down to jealousy which leads to murder. In Jesus case it was a physical murder, but with us it is usually a death by mouth. We tear down with our tongues. When will we realize we are on the same team fighting for the same cause? When one of us is exalted, we all win.
The fields are white and ready for harvest. May we work together to scatter the seed and reap the harvest.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Sunday's Devo- Questions without the Answers

Yesterday Dave and I got up and left the house before 4 am to drive to the big city of Belton, Tx. to watch Daniel play football. It was cold and gloomy and so was the score. We lost 54 to 20 to the undefeated team of Mary-Hardin Baylor. We got home last night at 11:30 exhausted. But when you are on the road for hours you have time to figure out life's hard questions like who wrote the part of the Bible when Hagar went out in the wilderness with Ishmael to die? Who recorded the conversation between Cain and God when God asked Cain who killed Abel? I don't have the answer but I will offer a stab. I have noticed these men in linen all through the Bible. It's like they are God's priesthood that come down to earth and do God's bidding. They are watchers in Jeremiah and Daniel and in Jeremiah they have inkhorns and are writers. Sometimes they even got caught watching like the one in Mark 14:52. He fled naked leaving his linen cloth behind. Did these Godly priests write down all those intimate moments where noone was around? I don't know, but its an option. But then, who did they give these journals to? I don't know that either. So I guess long trips bring out the questions only, not the answers. Have fun thinking about this one and if you get it figured out let us all know.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Saturday's Devo - Words of Knowledge

I Co. 12:8 For to one is given by the Spirit the word of wisdom; to another the word of knowledge by the same Spirit;
I have made mention several times this week about a word of knowledge and realized that that may not be something you have been taught much about so I decided to explain what it is and how it works. A word of knowledge is a piece of information that someone tells you about yourself that there is no way they would have access to that unless God had given it to them. Isaiah 11:2 prophesies about Jesus and it says, "and the spirit of the Lord shall rest upon him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the Lord." These are the 7 spirits of God: the Lord himself, wisdom, understanding, counsel, might, knowledge, and the fear of the Lord. They work in pairs so the sprit of knowledge brings the fear of the Lord. If someone walked up to you that you didn't know and told you something about yourself that only you and God knew wouldn't you have the fear of God? When Jesus spoke to Nathanael and told him he saw him under the fig tree that was a word of knowledge. Jesus didn't actually see him under the fig tree, he saw that in his spirit. But the gift of knowledge that he used totally changed Nathanael's heart. Think of how powerful that gift can be to bring people to salvation. It is the "power of God to salvation". All of God's gifts are to be used to bring God glory and to draw people to salvation.
I have seen the word of knowledge all through my life but the most powerful one was about 28 years ago. I went to hear a man speak who had a prophetic gift. When he finished speaking he walked straight up to me and read the book of my life. I had never seen him before and he was right on. I was amazed and totally convinced that God uses it today.
Lord, I pray that you would give us the gift of knowledge that we can speak into people's lives that need a sign that you are a God who is intimately aquainted with them and cares for them.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Fri.'s Devo - Jacob's Well...Your Well

Read John 4:1-30
Jesus was always trying to duck the poparotzi of his days which were the Pharisees. They were noticing his popularity and were always trying to cause trouble for him. So Jesus left for Samaria. Samaria was an Israelite capital which had been a place of idol worship under Ahab and Jezebel's reign. It had been besieged a number of times but God always preserved it. Samaria means a watch station. It was considered a "high place" as far as worship so Jesus must go there and preach the truth. The city he was going to in Samaria was Sychar which means an intense intoxicanting drink which is probably why Jesus went to a well to talk about drink. When she came Jesus asked her for something to drink. This well was Jacob's well and it was the 6th hour (man's hour- or woman's hour in this case). In Jacob's story Rachel and the other shepherds couldn't get water from the well till someone came and rolled the huge stone off so they could water their sheep. Jacob came and rolled the stone off and she was able to water her sheep. Then Jacob kissed her and wept. I'm sure she wondered what this stranger was doing being so kind to her. When Jacob told Rachel who he was Rachel ran home to tell her father. His father went to meet Jacob and welcomed him into his house. In today's reading we have a woman who Jesus asks for some water. She like Rachel wondered why this man was being so kind to her since she was a Samaritan. Then Jesus starts talking about this living water. Sounded greater than the intoxicant the city was known for. What type of alcohol could make you not thirst again and give you everlasting life? She wanted this water so Jesus told her to go get her husband. She responded that she didn't have one. This was a test to see if she would be transparent. Jesus commended her on her honesty then gave her a word of wisdom - she has had 5 husbands and the one she was with right now she was not married to. This put the fear of God in her and she knew he was a prophet so she turned religious and asked him a religious question. Where are we really suppose to worship: on this mountain or in Jerusalem?
Jesus cuts to the chase and talks about the real issue: worship. Worship is not where you do it but how you do it. You do it in Spirit and in truth - who cares where you are?
Next, the woman asks him about a more intimate question that reveals her hungry heart. She believes that a Messiah is coming and wants to know if when he comes he can answer all her questions. Jesus perceives that she is ready to be kissed with the truth and he comes right out and tells her that he is the Messiah. Then she, like Rachel went home and told the people who she had met at the well and the whole city came out to meet Jesus.
People of the world are dry land with no water. Those that are thirsty hang out near wells. We are to be those wells that spring forth living water. Just being around us should evoke thirst in them for the truth so go make someone thirsty.
Lord, let your living water spring up in us so that we smell like water to the thirsty people that cross our path.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Thurs.'s Devo - Bridal Truths

Read John 3:22-36
Jesus and his disciples leave for Judaea where they are baptizing people. John was close baptizing people also. One of John's followers came to John and complained that more people were going to be baptized by Jesus. John reminded him that he was not the Christ but the one sent to usher him in. Then he said, "He that has the bride is the bridegroom; but the friend of the bridegroom, which stands and hears him, rejoices greatly because of the bridegroom's voice: by this my joy is fulfilled." Jesus was the bridegroom and the people that were coming to him were the bride. John was the friend of the bridegroom and just hearing Jesus voice gave him reason to rejoice in his spirit. There was no jealousy in John when it came to Jesus. I wonder if we can say the same thing. Are we jealous when we see God use someone else. It is like saying we are jealous of Jesus because it is him that is doing the work. If we want to be effective for God we have to decrease so He can increase through us or whoever he chooses to use. God doesn't share his glory with anyone.
Jesus was the only one who God said he gave the Spirit without measure to. There was no way Jesus was going to abuse God's power. God trusted everything to Jesus. Even in a humanity Jesus could be trusted with the things of God. And if we believe in him we will have everlasting life and miss the wrath of God. That's a pretty good trade.
When I looked up other scriptures about the bride and the bridegroom it always talked about their voice. Sound carries power and creates life. When God was pronouncing judgment he took away the voice of the bride and the bridegroom; when he was returning back to his people he was restoring the voice of the bride and the bridegroom. What does that mean to us. When we are walking in the blessings of God we hear his voice and he hears our prayers. When we are walking in disobedience he takes away his voice to us and he closes our ears to our requests.
Lord, we long to hear the voice of our bridegroom. Speak, for your bride is listening.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Wed.'s Devo - Rock Our World

Wed.'s Devo - Rock Our World 10-7-09
Read John 3:1-21
This is the account of Nicodemus, the Pharisee. Pharisees numbered around 6,000 at the time and Nic was one of their rulers. They believed in the immortality of the soul and reincarnation. They were staunch keepers of the law and the written law which was all the jots and tittles added by different rabbis over the ages. They determined that the Torah contained 613 commandments, 248 positive, 365 negative. Their job was to keep all of them and make sure everyone else did too.
Nicodemus came to Jesus in secret at night to talk to him. He knew Jesus was from God because of the miracles he did. Since he was a Pharisee he believed in eternal life he just didn't know how to get it. Jesus said, "You must be born again." That was a new concept. Nicodemus didn't understand being born again. So Jesus explained you don't get born again in your natural body but in you spirit. Just like the wind, the spirit is invisible you can just see it's results. In verse 13 Jesus is prophesying his death. "No man has ascended up to heaven, but he that came down from heaven." He is saying when you see me ascend up into heaven you will know for sure that I came down from heaven.
Then Jesus gave him the picture of the serpent that Moses put on a pole and lifted up so all the people who had been bitten by the fiery serpents could look on it and live. Jesus was saying I am that serpent on the pole and if you lift me up and look upon me in belief I will give you life. Then we have the famous John 3:16 verse that had to have rocked his world. What do you mean God so loved the WORLD. He knew that God so loved the Jews but not the infidels out there who don't know the torah and don't have Jewish blood. God didn't send Jesus down here to condemn the world. That had to be revolutionary to Nicodemus also since the Pharisee lived to condemn everyone who was not a Pharasee. Verse 18 was "in his face". If you don't believe in me you are condemned. Nicodemus spent his life living not to be condemned and now Jesus is showing him a new way to be condemned that didn't have anything to do with keeping a law. By the time Jesus finished speaking I'm sure Nicodemus had some thinking to do.
The good news is that Nicodemus defended Jesus in his death (John 7:50) and came to the grave and annointed his body after his death. (John 19:39) Nicodemus must have figured out how to be born again!
Lord, let us not look at anyone as "unsaveable". Remind us that you came to save the world. Give us your boldness to speak the truth in love. We long to see your kingdom come.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Tues.'s Devo - Jesus' Passovers

Read John 2:12-25
It is Passover. The first Passover mentioned in Jesus' ministry was when he was 12. (Luke 2) He came with his parents to Jerusalem to celebrate the feast. Jesus was also the age to become a man. At 12 every Jewish male would enter into his father's business. Jesus' father was God so Jesus stayed in the temple astounding the doctors with his wisdom and understanding of the word. When Mary and Joseph found him and he made this remark "why are you coming to get me? Didn't you know I would be about my Father's business". They pondered what he said in their heart but didn't understand it so they brought him back home with them.
On this Passover Jesus went to the temple and cleansed it of men making money off the sacrifices. People were suppose to bring sacrifices of their own flock, not wait till they got to Jerusalem and buy them. That was like buying indulgences in Martin Luther's day. The merchants wanted to know how he had the authority to do this and Jesus replied, "Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up." Jesus never answered their questions with the answer they were looking for; he choose his words for eternity. It was like they were going by two different scripts. The people asked questions from their heart of flesh and Jesus answered from God's heart. Later they would understand what Jesus said. Later they did. Jesus was talking about himself and his body that would be raised up in 3 days. He inserts these random words of prophesy so that later they can pick them out and make meaning to build their faith.
The next Passover Jesus was teaching the people and they were getting hungry so Jesus took a boys lunch of 2 fish and 5 loaves and fed the multitude with fish and bread left over.
The last Passover Jesus gave himself as the living bread to be a sacrifice for us all.
So Jesus' Passovers were a succession of preparation. First we choose to "be about our Father's business"; we choose to follow God. Next we cleanse our earthly temple and ask God to forgive us. Then we feed our spirit with the bread and meat of the word which multiplies within us so we can give it out to feed the multitude. Then we finish this life on earth and are raised to live with God in heaven.
Lord, we want to be about your business. Take our day and fill it with your plans. Fill us with your word that we might distribute it to all we meet. We love being your kids.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Monday's Devo- Remain in Us -

Read John 2:1-11

"And the 3rd day..." Fruit always manifests on the 3rd day. Notice they never tell you what happened on the 1st and 2nd. This is the story of Jesus' first miracle. It is no mistake he does his first miracle at a wedding. Genesis starts with a wedding and it will all end in a wedding. God loves romance and love. At this wedding they have run out of wine. When Mary tells Jesus he makes the comment that his hour has not come yet. Jesus was referring to his death. Wine is a symbol of the Holy Spirit and the Holy Spirit couldn't come till Jesus died. But God always sends a foretaste of what is coming and this was the foretaste. Jesus takes 6 stone waterpots. Six is the number of men and empty vessels is what we are before Christ. These pots were used in Jewish purification ceremonies. What man's laws could not do, Jesus could. "With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible." Jesus had them filled to the brim. He didn't even tell them to wash them out first or pour the dirty water out first. He just told them to fill them up with water. Then he told them to draw out a cup and give it to the governor of the feast. These servants had to have great faith to obey. The governor's comment was prophetic. He said, "Every man at the beginning sets forth good wine; and when men have well drunk, then that which: but you have kept the good wine until now." God always saves the best for last. The Holy Spirit was held back till after Jesus died. Men in the Old Testament had the Holy Spirit come and work through them in the past but it never stayed with them. That is why God had told John that when you see the Holy Spirit come down from heaven and REMAIN on a man he will be the one you have been looking for. The Holy Spirit remained on Jesus. On Pentecost the Holy Spirit was made available for anyone to have inside them too.
Lord, thank you for your Holy Spirit that leads us into all truth, that is our comforter, our intercessor, our annointing and the very presence of God in our lives. Thank you for living inside us. We welcome you to come and remain.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Saturday's Devo - Uncap Your Water Bottle

John 1:32-33
Last night I had a dream. There were ladies sitting around with water bottles. They were trying to get the top off them and couldn't so I told them I was going to show them how to take the tops off their water bottle. Then I woke up. I immediately got the interpretation. Yesterday we read about how John baptized with the baptism of repentance and said that one was coming that would baptize in the Holy Spirit. When Jesus was about to die he told his disciples to go to Jerusalem and wait for the gift he was going to give them. According to Luke 24:49 and Acts 1:4,5 they were supposed to wait till they received power from on high. In Acts 1:8 it tells us why we will need this power - to be witnesses throughout the earth.
From Passover to Pentecost there are 50 days. Jesus was the fulfillment of every feast. Here's the skinny on that: Jesus died on Passover as the passover lamb. He was buried on Unleavened Bread because it was not time for him to rise yet. And he rose of First Fruits to be the first fruit risen from the dead. Fifty days later is Pentecost. Every male Jew was to be in Jerusalem for the feasts which is why Jerusalem was teeming with people who were from other countries and spoke different languages. In the Old Testament they were to offer a new meat offering to the Lord and bring 2 loaves of bread and the priest would wave them before the Lord. When the priest waves this offering he waves it north, south, east, and west which makes the sign of the cross. Pentecost was a sign of the birth of the church. The disciples were baptized in the Holy Spirit and given power to go out and witness to all the men from all over the world in their languages so they could go back and spread the good news north, south, east, and west. The 2 loaves represent the Jew and the Gentile now both receiving the bread of life.
Now back to my dream. The water bottle represents the Holy Spirit inside each believer. They just needed help getting him out and spreading him. We are to be an overflowing river of life that infects those around us. God gave us the baptism of the Holy Spirit to do that. Don't get tripped by what you have heard about the Holy Spirit; fall on the Rock of his Word and read what the Bible says about it. It is the power to be witnesses on this earth. We need God's gift.
Lord, we pray to receive the Holy Spirit into our lives. Baptize us with the Holy Spirit and with fire to be your witnesses.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Friday's Devo - Prepare Your Heart to Draw Near

Read John 1:28-40
John baptized in Bethabara beyond the Jordan. Bethabara is not mentioned anywhere else in the Bible. "Bethabara" means "a place of preparation" which is just what John the Baptist came to do....prepare them for the Messiah. He was baptising them with the baptism of repentance to prepare their hearts for the baptism of salvation Jesus would bring.
Every year at Passover the Jewish father was to set aside a perfect lamb to be offered for a sin offering for his family. All the sacrifices and feasts were rehearsals for the real performance that God would fulfill through Christ. When John saw Jesus he proclaimed, "Behold the Lamb of God, which takes away the sin of the world." Man's lamb could only take away the sin of that family for the year, but God's lamb could take away the sin of the whole world for eternity. John instantly knew that Jesus was the one he had been called to usher in. John could only baptize with water which is a type of spirit, but Jesus was going to baptize with the real thing. God had told John that the person he saw the Spirit coming down and remaining on was the Son of God which is what he saw when he baptized Jesus. So when Jesus got baptized be got baptized in the Holy Spirit. This prepared Jesus for his ministry. (Remember in Acts 1:4-5 Jesus told his disciples to wait till they received the Holy Spirit before they went out and ministered.)
The next day John pointed Jesus out to two of his followers and said it again, "Behold the Lamb of God!" Once they heard Jesus speak they started to follow him. When Jesus saw them following him he asked them what they wanted from him. They answered him with, "We want to know where you stay." So Jesus took them where he was staying and they stayed with him all day.
So I have a question. Why did they want to know where Jesus stayed? I don't have the answer, but I guess it was so they could have a more intimate conversation with him. So I'll ask myself. Where do I stay? Where does my mind dwell? Am I heavenly minded? If someone came and stayed with me and saw how I lived would they want to follow me and go tell others that I had something worth coming to see? I pray so. That is what Andrew did.
Lord, we want to dwell in the secret place with you and have intimate conversation with you. You say if we draw near to you, You will draw near to us so we draw near.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Thurs.'s Devo -Are You a Forerunner?

Read John 1:14-27
Jesus was the divine expression of God who came to earth in a the flesh and resided with man. His glory was apparent to those who saw him and he acted graciously and spoke truth. John was his forerunner who testified of Jesus' coming. He said, "he that comes after me is above me; for he was before me." I wonder if the people got that. Jesus came on the scene after John but has always been so he was before him also. Jesus came to give us grace. In the Hebrew the word grace means: gratifying; the divine influence upon the heart, and its reflection in the life; acceptable, benefit, favor, gift, joy liberality, pleasure, thankworthy. Moses gave us the Law but Jesus gave us truth and a divine influence of joy and acceptance in our hearts. Jesus came down to reveal God to us.
The gospel of John is written to the church, those who would accept Jesus. When the Jews sent priests and Levites from Jerusalem to ask him who he was claiming to be he quickly told them he was not the Messiah or Elijah. Then he quoted Is. 40:3 saying "I am a voice shouting in the wilderness, "clear the way for the Lord's coming!'" They knew by the scripture that Elijah had to come back before Jesus came back again; they just got it confused. They thought the 1st and 2nd coming were all the same so if John was anyone legitimate he either needed to be the Messiah or Elijah. So since John wasn't claiming to be either of these men what right did he have to baptize they wanted to know.
Baptism was symbolic of ceremonial washing. A priest was suppose to do that so John is in trouble. He explains that his baptism is only water but there was a man coming who he was not worthy to be his slave and untie the straps of his sandal. John took the humble road which probably saved his life. The Pharisees were not known for humility so John's humble answer unarmed them and they left him alone for then.
John was a forerunner and forerunners always get misunderstood and persecuted because they bring much needed but much resisted change. It takes godly fortitude to be a forerunner but that is what God has called some of us to be. It is not the popular road but if you are called to it, it is the right road. Give us grace to be your forerunners and to do it with steadfast humility.