Monday, November 30, 2009

Mon.'s Devo - Let not your heart be troubled.

Read John 14:27-31
Peace. Jesus was always giving this. Sometimes he said, "fear not", but this time he is leaving his peace with us. He walked in complete peace. He never worried about money, just go fishing. Never worried about tomorrow; God held it in his hand, or where he would sleep; the darkness was his blanket and the stars his night lights. He didn't worry about persecution or pain because he knew the result would bring healing, or death because he knew that death would bring life. This peace that he walked in every day is ours... he left it to us. That is a pretty awesome thought if you think about it. Jesus lived in a very hostile world not like the land we live in. He lived without the comforts we have and yet never seemed to need or miss anything. He lived in peace - total confidence in his father who he knew was supreme to anything on earth. He gives us that peace that he had. He was not afraid of death and tried to show us how to die. He said that if we loved him we would rejoice when he left knowing that he has gone to his father.
This is the last time Jesus is going to get to sit and talk with them and even though he tells them they don't quite understand. It is Satan's hour and time for Jesus to hide in God.
Lord, help us to appropriate the peace that you bequeathed to us when you left. What an inheritance you left us.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Fri.'s Devo - Manifest Jesus

Read John 14:22-26
Judas asks Jesus a very good question: "How will you manifest yourself to us and the world not see it also?" When Moses gave the 10 Commandments Josephus wrote that people all over the world heard his voice in their own language. When God manifested his power to Egypt the whole world heard about the plagues he brought. So if Jesus is going to manifest something from God, how is he going to do it personally? Jesus explains that if we follow the things written in the Bible out of love for God then he will come and live in us. If we don't choose to obey God then we really don't love him. Then he eludes to the fact that he is about to leave them but when he is gone the Comforter, the Holy Ghost will be sent to teach them everything and help them to remember everything he said. That is how they were able to write the gospels. I doubt if any of them had kept journals but the Holy Spirit helped them to remember Jesus' words exactly. The Holy Spirit will do the same thing for us. Our part is to read the Word of God and hide it in our hearts. When we need it God will bring it to our remembrance.
Going back to Judas' question God does manifest himself to us personally but the world does see it in us. They see it in our eyes, hear it in our voices, and feel it in our very presence. Use us today to manifest Jesus to the world.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Thurs's Devo - Give Thanks!

Ps. 26:7 - That I may publish with the voice of thanksgiving, and tell of all your wondrous works.
Ps. 50:14 - Offer to God thanksgiving, and pay your vows unto the most High.
Ps. 69:30 - I will praise the name of God with song, and will magnify him with thanksgiving.
Ps. 95:2 - Let us come before his presence with thanksgiving, and make a joyful noise unto him with psalms.
Ps. 100:4 Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise; be thankful unto him. and bless his name.
Ps. 107:22 - Let us sacrifice the sacrifices of thanksgiving, and declare his works with rejoicing.
Ps. 116:17 - I will offer to you the sacrifice of thanksgiving, and will call upon the name of the Lord.
Ps. 147:7 - Sing unto the Lord with thanksgiving; sing praise upon the harp unto our God.

I pray you and your family a very thankful and God-filled Thanksgiving.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Wed.'s Devo - God's Commandments are Good.

Read John 14: 21
Jesus said in verse 21 that whoever possessed God's commandments and guarded them loved him and whoever loved him loved the Father, and Jesus will love that person and exhibit himself to him. We always have a bad connotation to the law when really it was given to protect us. It is life to those who keep it but death to those who don't. Every law had a natural meaning and a spiritual meaning. Jesus explained some of these in the beatitudes but lets take one that he didn't explain and look at it. How about Lev. 11:3. He is explaining which animals they can eat.
They can eat the ones that part the hoof, are clovenfooted, and chew the cud. What does that mean in the spiritual? An animal with a parted hoof is able to balance better than one that doesn't. We are to stand balanced in the Word. Gal. 5:1 says, "stand fast in the liberty wherewith Christ has made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage." Clovenfooted means not only a split hoof but an eagle's claw. This is the eagle's defense against an attacker and also his help in attacking potential food. David wrote in the Psalms 18:34 that God prepares our hands for battle and that our hands will break a bow of steel. If we are walking in the spirit we will tear down the enemies strongholds and built the temple of God in our hearts. Lastly we are to eat that which chews the cud. We are to digest the Word of God then bring it back up and chew on it some more. This process happens more and more as we grow in our hunger for the Word.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Tue's. Devo - In my name...ask!

Read John 14: 7-20
Jesus had spend over 3 years telling and showing his disciples that he is in God and God is in him only to have Philip ask him to show them God. How exasperating to Jesus. It is amazing to me that Jesus didn't lose his temper but he didn't. He tells Philip that if he can't believe what he says at least believe his works. But to those who do believe on Jesus, they will do even greater works than what Jesus did. Wow! I am still waiting to see that in my life. Then he says w-h-a-t-s-o-e-v-e-r you shall ask in my name, that I WILL DO! He says it twice: if you ask any thing in my name, I will do it.
Then he throws in this verse: If you love me, keep my commandments. It is like giving you a visa card with unlimited balance and saying, "use it but if you love me you will use it according to all I have taught you".
Next he gives us the promise of something greater than the visa card; he promises to send us the Holy Spirit. He calls him the Comforter which interprets intercessor, consoler, advocate that will abide with us forever. He is the spirit of everything that is true. He is invisible and can only be accessed by those who know and receive him. He will testify that Jesus and the Father are one and that Jesus is in us and us in him.
Jesus tells us over and over to ask for things. The Devil has tricked us into thinking God is too busy to worry about our little piddling lives or we are being selfish to ask for anything, or who are we that God would give us anything. What a lie. God is never too busy to be involved in our lives. He has written every one of our days in a book. He is intimately involved in us, his creation. It is not selfish. When we are blessed he is glorified. We are God's prized possession. This whole earth is about his plan and it involves us. We are an intrical part. We need to realize that so we will live our lives with purpose and meaning.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Mon.'s Devo - Believe

Read John 14:1-6
"Let not your heart be troubled." What a timely statement. We need to laminate that and put it on our mirrors. The next 2 verses are so comforting: "In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there you may be also." God's house must be pretty big for it to hold mansions. I have read stories of people going to heaven and coming back. They talk of mansions made just for them with jobs suited just for them. I believe we are the same person in heaven that we are here, only there we will be complete. There is a lot of construction going on in heaven. God is building your mansion just like he is building you in him on earth. He is going from room to room in your life and cleaning, constructing, reconstructing, making it beautiful, etc. He is doing the same thing to your mansion in heaven, "on earth as it is in heaven". As we prepare a place for God in our hearts, he prepares a place for us in heaven. And the good news is that we know the way. It is only through Jesus who is the mode and the means, the truly true and the breath of life.
Lord, thank you for your peace and assurance that you prepare only good things for us. Your plan is in motion even when we don't see it.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Sat.'s Devo - We're Marching to Zion

Finally, a Saturday at home. Daniel's football season is over and he is about to graduate. It is all bittersweet but I think more sweet than bitter. It is time to go to the next step in life. I was wondering what that might be. I love how if you delight yourself in the Lord he will give you the desires of your heart. All my life I wanted to travel to Israel and 3 years ago Dave and I got the opportunity to go with our pastor and 9 other people. It was such a blessing but so much to pack in such a little time. I couldn't process or remember everything and have always wondered if I would get to go back. This week I got an e-mail from a friend telling me about a trip that some of our friends from Monroe are getting together. They have been many times and God has led them to host a trip. My interest was immediately peaked and I shot them an e-mail asking for information. I got an immediate response and they asked me if I still had my round calendar. I had taught them about the feasts years ago. She said she was going to pray me there. I know these intercessors and so I know that my going is a done thing. I checked on the dates and it is 3 days after Caleb's wedding so I can just stay in Louisiana and go from there. Dave said it was fine with him if I go so looks like I will be making a pilgrimmage to Jerusalem in March.
I love it!!! The plans of a righteous man are ordered by the Lord. God has many plans for us to walk in all we have to do is rest in Him.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Fri.'s Devo - I Will Tell You.

Read John 13:31-38
Isaiah 42:9b says,"I will tell you the future before it happens." Is. 45:11 says, "Ask me of things to come concerning my sons, and concerning the work of my hands..." That is what Jesus did, he told them over and over what was going to happen. But they didn't get it till after he died. Nothing in our life should broadside us if we are listening and staying in Christ. We might not understand it at the time but God is always purposeful in everything he does and we can trust him. If we look back we will see that he was warning us and preparing us for what was ahead.
Jesus starts out telling his disciples that it is time for him to be glorified and when this happens God will be glorified also and visa versa. That works with us too: when we are glorified, God is glorified; when God is glorified, we are glorified. This is Jesus last farewell to his disciples and he is so tender. He calls them his little children and tells him that he is going somewhere they won't be able to go to yet. He leaves them with a new commandment to love one another as he has loved them. This would be the testimony that they know him. Peter doesn't like what Jesus is saying. He wants to know where he is going and why he can't follow Jesus. He vows to give his life to save Jesus'. That is a brave statement and Jesus calls him on it. He tells him that before the rooster crows he will deny him 3 times.
In my life I often look back and see that God was trying to get my attention so I wouldn't have to make that mistake but I missed it. Mainly because I get in a hurry. I think if I took life more slowly and intently I wouldn't miss the nudges he gives me. Lord, help us to walk in peace and single-minded. Guard our minds in you and keep them from straying in so many different directions. May the peace of God, which passes all understanding, keep our hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Thurs.'s Devo - So close, yet so far away.

Read John 13:21-
Jesus comes out and says it, "One of you will betray me." The disciples were at a loss of who it was so Jesus says the one I give the sop that I dip is he. Then he dips the sop and gives it to Judas. He waits till the sop enters him and tells him to do what he is about to do quickly. Amazing. Judas was a pawn that God used to bring about his plan. Jesus led Judas right to the end. As soon as he swallows the sop Satan enters him. It is like the sop was the OK to the devil that the time is come.
In those days they all ate from one plate with their fingers so the food was cooked so it could be easily separated with their fingers. When the food is in a semi-fluid state, or so soft that it is hard to pick up with the fingers, a piece of bread is dipped into the dish and made the vehicle to get the soft food to the mouth. Judas must have been sitting on his left because he was within hands reach and we know that John was on his right. It was like the thief on the cross. Jesus was in the middle and the one on the right believed and the other one didn't. It was almost like Jesus was handing Judas the grace to do what he had to do. Judas means celebrated and Iscariot means the flooring of man. So he was the very foundation of man, the baseness of man celebrated in one act of betrayal. He was the one that carried the bag. Bag in the Greek translates a case like a casket and implies the world. This worldly death he took possession of him and led to his demise.
Jesus is the bread that made the law easy to swallow. We can either eat it and be his followers and obey it, or like Judas choose not to do either. Lord, may we humbly read your Word and follow it. May this world not have any hold on us.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Wed.'s Devo - Wash us.

Read John 13:1-20
Jesus knew that this was the Passover he would fulfill. For years the Jewish people had rehearsed this feast and now it was the real production. Jesus was going to be the passover lamb that would not only cover their sin but take it away. He had just ate the seder with his disciples and the devil had convinced Judas to betray him. Jesus washes the feet of all the disciples, even Judas'. He was doing this as a picture of how they needed to purify their walk. When Peter protested Jesus told him, You may not understand this now but some day you will. Peter still protested and Jesus told him if he didn't let him wash his feet Peter would have no part with him. Peter then wanted his hands and head washed. Jesus explained that if his feet were clean then the rest of the body will be clean. If our walk is touched and purified by Jesus then others our thoughts and the things we do will follow.
Jesus, the perfect teacher asked them if they knew why he did this. Then he explained that he did it as an example of how they should treat each other when he left. It is the greater one that should humble himself because he is the most mature and in a position to influence others to serve. Then Jesus spoke of Judas, the one that would betray him even though they ate together. He reminds them of prophecy. He knows that they don't know what he is talking about but one day will. Then he starts talking about someone he is going to send. He always talked about God who sent him and if the people would believe in him they would also believe in the one who sent him, God. Now he is talking about the one he is going to send and if we receive him then we are receiving Jesus and the one who sent him which is God. It seems a little complicated but, he is talking about the Holy Spirit.
Lord, I know there are things you have told us about the last days that we, like the disciples won't understand until it happens. Prepare us for what is ahead so that it can build our faith when it happens. Wash our walk and may it be blameless before you.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Tues.'s Devo - Jesus Rejection... Our Acceptance

Read John 12:37-50

Even after all the miracles they saw Jesus perform many didn't believe. This was the fulfillment of Is. 53. Looking at that chapter I noted all the rejection Jesus received:
"there is no beauty that we should desire him"
"he is despised and rejected of men"
"we hid as it were our faces from him"
"we esteemed him not"
"we esteemed him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted"
"he was oppressed, and he was afflicted"
"brought as a lamb to the slaughter"
"taken from prison and from judgment"
"cut off out of the land of the living"
"made his grave with the wicked"
This is one of the most powerful chapters in the Old Testament. "Yet it pleased the Lord to bruise him; he put him to grief: when you make his soul an offering for sin, he shall see his seed, he shall prolong his days, and the pleasure of the Lords shall prosper in his hand."
In Isaiah 6 it says that God hardened their hearts and made them blind so that they would not be converted. He told Isaiah to go and make the heart of the people fat, their ears heavy, and shut their eyes. He did this by telling them God's warnings over and over till they became calloused because they refused to obey. Jesus did this by doing miracle after miracle. They had to harden their hearts not to believe. John says that many high officials believed in Jesus but because they loved the praises of men more than the praises of God they kept their mouths shut.
Jesus gives one more plea to them. If you believe on me then you believe on God because we are one and the same. In me alone will you have everlasting life.
Lord, forgive us for rejecting you and your word. Give us open hearts, eyes that see and ears that hear. We gratefully accept all that you did for us on Calvary.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Mon.'s Devo -Thunder or Angels?

Read John 12:27-36
The visiting Greeks had sought Jesus out and this was Jesus response to them. He starts explaining that this is the hour that culminates his coming to earth. He came to die so that God might be glorified through him. God then speaks from heaven and said, "I have glorified my name and will do it again." The people who stood nearby heard it differently: to some it sounded like thunder and to others the voice of an angel. Every time God thunders it is a sign of judgment. But angels are different. They came with messages usually of good things like announcements of babies to barren women, or to explain visions but their messages were always understandable. Thunder isn't. That tells me of the different ears of the people who were standing there. Some had ears to hear and others didn't. If you have ears to hear you will get clear messages out of sounds like thunder. If you don't have ears to hear clear messages will sound like thunder. That is why some people can sit through a sermon and get nothing out of it while others get their whole life changed. It depends on the fertileness of your soul. If you think you know it all, then you will not learn anything else. If you are meek and teachable you will always be increasing in knowledge.
Jesus then told them that this voice they heard came for their sakes. It was time for Satan to be judged and cast out of the earth. And when Jesus is elevated (rises from the dead) he will draw all men to him. I looked up "draw" and it means to literally drag.
Lord, give us ears to hear you plainly. Thank you that though we have never seen you we have been given the grace to believe.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Sat.'s Devo - Freedom

Gal. 5:1 Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ has made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage.
I have this great freedom to be human which is great because if you know me you know that I am more human than most. What I mean is that I make weird mistakes that make me laugh and somehow God chooses to use them to set others free who find it hard to laugh at themselves. I do it so often that I am known for my Ginnyisms. This week was a prime example.
I volunteered to decorate a table for the Holiday Gathering that our church has every Christmas. Over 2,000 ladies will attend so it's a bid deal. I am not a natural at table decorating so I was praying for something unique. God has blessed me with a creative gift so we came up with this idea. I painted 4 white tree balls with a different letter on each ball: N-O-E-L. Then I hung them so they would spell Noel. I just forgot when I painted the other side that the back side would spell L-E-O-N. Well, when I hung them it was too late. I have painted and sprayed them with varnish so it's a done deal. I just pray that the ladies that sit at my table on Saturday will receive some freedom in their life from my little mistake. I thought about putting a sign that reads: "This table is reserved for Noel and Leon." I probably will do it then sign my name. Maybe it will actually give someone a laugh that needs a dose of medicine and freedom. I know my ladies on Thursday night will laugh because they know me and they know anything is possible with me.
If I could give advise to anyone who is a perfectionist it would be to stop being so hard on themselves and learn to laugh at their mistakes. It makes life so much more fun! Thank you Lord, that you love to laugh with me.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Fri.'s Devo - Hosanna!

Read John 12:9-26
Lazareth caused no small commotion and many believed because of this one miracle. The chief priests want to try to kill Lazareth...again. The feast of Passover is approaching so all Jewish men are coming to Jerusalem to celebrate. Jesus rides in on a donkey and the people spread palm branches on the ground and cry out Hosanna: "Blessed is the King of Israel that comes in the name of the Lord." This was the fulfillment of prophecy in Zec. 9:9 "Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion; shout, O daughter of Jerusalem: behold, that King comes to you: he is just, and having salvation; lowly, and riding upon an ass, and upon a colt the foal of an ass." It says that he would have salvation. Hosannah means "Oh, save!"
Jesus walked the same path that the temple lamb had taken that was to be sacrificed for the people. When it passed by the people did the same thing to it: they praised with palm trees and cried out, "Hosanna". The lamb was the picture of Jesus the Passover lamb that came to save the world.
Note there were Greeks that traveled to attend the feast. There has always been a remnant of non-Jews that have been grafted in to God's family. God's plan has always been for the whole world, he just used the Jewish nation to reveal his nature through. These Greeks found some of the disciples and told them they wanted to see Jesus. When Jesus found out he went deeper. He told them the only way they could really see him was to die. And only by dying could they serve him.
We like Jesus bring God's salvation. We carry the presence of God with us everywhere we go. May we hear the cry of the people around us crying "Hosanna, Save us!"

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Thurs.'s Devo - The Expedient

Read John 12:1-8
So I was wrong on Tues. Mary anointed Jesus feet after Lazareth was raised from the dead. Sorry.
Mary was not the first to anoint Jesus with oil. There was a woman in Luke 7 that anointed Jesus head with expensive ointment and washed his feet with her tears and wiped them with her hair. He was in Simon's house who was a Pharisee. He was pondering in his heart why Jesus couldn't discern that she was a sinner since he claimed to be a prophet. While he was thinking this, Jesus told him the parable about the two debtors who owed different amounts of money. Their creditor forgave them both. Jesus asked Simon which one of them loved him the most and he replied the one that was forgiven the most. Jesus commended him on choosing the right answer then turned it on him and rebuked him for not doing what this woman was doing: washing his feet, kissing him, and anointing his head with oil. About the woman and said, "Her sins which were many, are forgiven; for she loved much; but to who little is forgiven the same loves little."
Verse 4 says that Simon was Judas Iscariot's father and Judas is also thinking only of himself. Neither of them honored Jesus or his worthiness. Judas was a vessel of destruction, a tool of the devil's. He was a thief like his father, the devil. The devil comes to kill, steal, and destroy. Judas turned Jesus over to be killed, he stole from Jesus and he was out to destroy God's plan. His end was not so good.
Notice the devil's tactic. He uses condemnation. Why are you wasting such expensive oil when you could give it to the poor? The devil always tries to condemn us with works. I love Jesus' response. It was not time to give money to the is time to anoint me for burial. My death will benefit every person rich and poor. God always sees the bigger picture. Lord, help us to see that not all things that look good are expedient. Teach us obedience in all we do.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Wed.'s Devo - Resurrection 11-11-09

Read John 11:19-45
This is the account of Jesus raising Lazareth from the grave. Jesus spoke to Martha about being the resurrection and the life. The word resurrection was not mentioned in the Old Testament but it was alluded to in Ps. 16:10 "For thou wilt not leave my soul in hell." And in Ps. 49:15, "But God will redeem my soul from the power of the grave; for he shall receive me." Also in Is. 26:19. So we see the concept was accepted and many believed in a resurrection, except the Sadducees which was sad-you-see.
Jesus raised people from the dead: the son of the widow of Nain, the daughter of Jairus, and now Lazareth. The only difference is that they are not changed but just resuscitated. When Jesus resurrected he was changed and had a new body that could walk through walls, appear and disappear. He was the first fruit to rise from the dead. This event with Lazareth is just days from when Jesus will fulfill this very moment.
When Jesus saw the people grieving he groaned in the spirit. The word groaning means to snort with anger and to have indignation on. Death is the last enemy to be defeated. Jesus is the exact opposite of death. I wonder if it was really difficult to see people grieving over his greatest enemy. He groaned again when he walked up to the grave. The grave was in a cavern and a great millstone was placed in front of it. Remember yesterday how we said that Lazareth was a picture of the Holy Spirit. He was hidden away behind the curse of the law (the millstone). No longer were men going to have to work their way to God. The Holy Spirit was going to lead them to God. The Holy Spirit came forth from death, bound in grave clothes but Jesus said to loose him and let him go. When Jesus had died and was placed in his cavern, the next day all they found were his grave clothes. He came back to earth a spiritual being. He died to set his spirit free and his spirit is the Holy Spirit.
Lord, Thank you for the cruel death you died to bring us your Holy Spirit.

Wed.'s Devo - Resurrection

Read John 11:19-45
This is the account of Jesus raising Lazareth from the grave. Jesus spoke to Martha about being the resurrection and the life. The word resurrection was not mentioned in the Old Testament but it Sadducees which was sad-you-see.
Jesus raised people from the dead: the son of the widow of Nain, the daughter of Jairus, and now Lazareth. The only difference is that they are not changed but just resuscitated. When Jesus resurrected he was changed and had a new body that could walk through walls, appear and disappear. He was the first fruit to rise from the dead. This event with Lazareth is just days from when Jesus will fulfill this very moment.
When Jesus saw the people grieving he groaned in the spirit. The word groaning means to snort with anger and to have indignation on. Death is the last enemy to be defeated. Jesus is the exact opposite of death. I wonder if it was really difficult to see people grieving over his greatest enemy. He groaned again when he walked up to the grave. The grave was in a cavern and a great millstone was placed in front of it. Remember yesterday how we said that Lazareth was a picture of the Holy Spirit. He was hidden away behind the curse of the law (the millstone). No longer were men going to have to work their way to God. The Holy Spirit was going to lead them to God. The Holy Spirit came forth from death, bound in grave clothes but Jesus said to loose him and let him go. When Jesus had died and was placed in his cavern, the next day all they found were his grave clothes. He came back to earth a spiritual being. He died to set his spirit free and his spirit is the Holy Spirit.
Lord, Thank you for the cruel death you died to bring us your Holy Spirit.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Tues's Devo - Our Helper

Read John 11:1-18
Lazareth is sick. He is the brother of the Mary that anointed Jesus' feet with oils for his burial. How ironic that she prepared Jesus for burial and her brother is going to actually be buried first. The minute Jesus heard the news he prophesied Lazareth's fate: this sickness would not end in death. Through what Lazareth endures, Jesus is going to be glorified. So Jesus waits 2 days then announces to his disciples that they are going into Judea again. Wasn't this the place they kept trying to stone Jesus? Jesus response to that was vs. 9-11. In essence if you walk in the spirit there is no way the dark evil can touch you because the spirit is the light. But if you walk in fear and darkness then you need to be afraid. Then he threw in the part about Lazareth being asleep and him needing to go wake him up. Needless to say the disciples didn't understand he was talking about death. So Jesus comes out and plainly tells them that Lazareth is dead.
I love Thomas. He is so real and honest. He says, "Let's go so that we can die with him." I guess Thomas didn't understand about walking in the light because he was sure that they weren't going to get out of this one alive.
They got to Bethany and found that Lazareth had been dead for 4 days. Lazareth means helper and its root is the same one we get for the Holy Spirit who is our helper. Lazareth was a type of the Holy Spirit who had been hidden for 4,000 years. (Remember a thousand years is as a day to the Lord). Man has been on the earth for 4,000 years and the Holy Spirit is fixing to be resurrected when Jesus dies. This is a picture of that very thing. Verse 18 says that Bethany is only 15 furlongs from Jerusalem. Is that saying that this event is only 15 days from Jesus' crucifixion in Jerusalem? I bet so.
God, I am continually amazed at how calculating and planned your plan is. You have this thing orchestrated and we get to be a small part of the music you are making. Thank you for your wisdom and your great love for us. Thank you for sending Jesus down to us. May we be instruments of your glory.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Monday's Devo- Your Kingdom Come

Read John 10: 23-42
The Jews are still trying to make Jesus come out and say that he is the Messiah so they can arrest him on charges of blasphemy. He wants them to come to the conclusion themselves so he points to the evidence to prove the point. His works are his proof but because they refused to believe them then they are not his sheep. This goes against all they believe. Since they are Jews then they are God's children; how dare he insinuate that they are not. But when he said that he and the Father are one that was the last straw. They picked up stones to throw at him. He asked them what good work were they stoning him for. They said they weren't stoning him for his works but for his blasphemy.
They try to get Jesus on semantics but Jesus always has an answer. He is the word come to life so they can't beat him on technicalities. What amazes me is the hardness of their hearts and how they couldn't see the miracles and the evidence. All they could see was the jot and tittle of the law. Jesus tried to open their hearts by saying if you can't believe me at least believe my works. But they couldn't even do that.
Once again he did the Jesus slip and disappeared and showed up at the place that John baptized him into his ministry and John pronounced him the Passover Lamb that takes away the sins of the world. People here were hungry. They had walked miles to come out to find John the Baptist, a man wearing nothing but camel's hair and listen to his words of promise. The people recognized that Jesus was this promise and many believed on him.
Reading this I have to ask myself: Do I have any good work that someone would want to stone me for? Have I upset the spiritual kingdom enough to be persecuted like Jesus did? I have to say a big NO. Do I want to? That's a tricky one. I want to see Satan's kingdom fall but it won't do that without a fight. I don't know if I'm ready for the fight. I want to be. Lord, train my hands for war. I want to see your kingdom come and the kingdom of darkness fall.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Fri.'s Devo - God's Got the Power.... all of it.

Read John 10:19-22
After Jesus gives the exhortation about the good shepherd and the hireling the Jews are once again divided and upset. I'm sure they are wondering where they fit into the story. Is Jesus referring to them as the sheep, the hireling, the wolf, or the thief? Good question. Some of them accused Jesus of being crazy and having a devil. Others said there was no way a devil could open the eyes of the blind. Good call. The devil can only deceive and counterfeit what God does. Only God can create good; the devil can only try to copy it.
In the Exodus plagues the Egyptians could turn their rods to snakes, turn the water to blood, and bring up frogs from the rivers but they couldn't reverse the curse. They couldn't turn the blood back to water or send the frogs back to the rivers, or try to turn their rods back into snakes mainly because Moses' rod had swallowed their rods. Only God could reverse the curse. The devil's power is limited. He couldn't turn the dust to lice, bring flies, bring boils, rain down hail, bring locusts, fill one small section of the earth with darkness for 3 days and kill the firstborn of every household. God's judgments are just and fair and God's power is omnipotent.
I read something yesterday that tried to put fear in me about our country until I realized the unlimited power of our God. He is so able to keep me safe or receive me up to heaven. To live is Christ and to die is gain. It's a win-win situation. Our president is not our all-powerful leader... God is our all-powerful God in total control of the world. Lord, we put our trust in the God who is.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Thurs.'s Devo - The Good Shepherd

Read John 10:1-18
I've read this parable of the sheepfold over and over and keep thinking I'm missing something. In the last chapter the Jews have accused Jesus of calling them blind and now he is implying that they are also deaf and not God's. Jesus gives us the analogy of a sheepfold. Interestingly sheep means one who walks forward. You can only enter the sheepfold legally through the door which is Jesus, but you can enter illegally by climbing up some other way. Some say there are many ways to God but if you don't come through Jesus you are the thief and the robber. This is where I get confused: you enter in by the door but the shepherd leads you out. That tells me that we get saved to go out. It is when we are "out" that we need to follow the sheperd and know his voice.
Jesus is the good shepherd but there is one that will try to lead us called the hireling. He will try to gather people to himself but when the wolf comes the heirling will only fend for himself. If we stay with Jesus, the good shepherd, he will lay down his life to save us. The thief's job is to steal, kill and destroy. Jesus came to give us abundant life. The wolf's job is to seize us and scatter us. Jesus' job is to bring us all into one fold.
Just like the godhead is a three-part entity: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, the enemy has three parts also: the devil, the false prophet, and the beast. (Rev. 20:10) I would think that in this parable the devil would be the thief and the robber, the false prophet would be the hireling that tries to deceive and the beast would be the wolf. The good news is that we are under the protection of the good shepherd and all we have to do is stay with him and do what he says and go where he says to go and we are totally safe.
Lord, may we never fear the enemy because you are our good shepherd.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Wed.'s Devo - I Once Was Blind...

Read John 9: 17-41
We are still discussing the blind man that Jesus healed. When asked by the Jews who the healed man thought that Jesus was he said, a prophet. Amazing that the man didn't know who Jesus was. The Jews didn't believe the man was really blind so they call in his parents. The parents testified of the healing but were afraid when asked who healed him. They didn't want to be thrown out of the synagogue for believing in Jesus so they told them to ask their son because he was old enough to speak for himself. (I guess people have sold out for smaller things than that.)
So they go back to the blind-now-seeing man and tell him to give God the praise and not Jesus because he is a sinner. He gives them a great answer, "Whether he is a sinner or not, I don't know, but one thing I know, that I was blind, and now I see." The Jews can't stand it; they want to know HOW he opened his eyes. Maybe they can get him on a technicality of how he administered the miracle. The blind-now-seeing man is getting exasperated and wants to go home so he answers, "I've already told you and you didn't listen: why do you want to hear it again? Do you want to be his disciples also?" I bet that burned their chaps. Then they continue to explain that they are Moses' disciples, and they know that God spoke to Moses, but they didn't know about this Jesus. So the man replies, "How could this man do this miracle and you not know who he is? Noone since creation has ever opened the eyes of a man born blind. He couldn't do this except through God."
This shamed the Jews who were suppose to be the teachers not the ones being taught so they threw the man out of the synagogue (the very thing the parents feared).
Jesus found him and led him to salvation. Jesus told him that he came to bring sight to those who couldn't see and blindness to those who could. The Pharisees asked him if he was talking about them. Jesus told them that because they claimed they could see their sin remains.
If our spiritual eyes are opened then we are constantly aware of our sin and our need for God. If we are blinded we think we are OK and don't need God.
Lord, help us not to be blind to our need for a Savior every moment. And help us not to fear man who can only take our life not the life inside us.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Tues.'s Devo - Open Our Eyes

Read John 9:1-16
Jesus passes by a man who is blind from death and his disciples want to know if he is blind because he sinned or his parents. They attributed sickness with sin. Jesus said he was born this way so that God's works might be shown in him. Then he throws in that nugget about working in the day because when the night comes, no one can work. And as long as Jesus is in the world there is light in the world. It is still light now because Jesus is in us, but when we are taken out of the world it will be dark and no one will be able to see whether they have eyes or not.
Then Jesus recreated the scene in Genesis where God formed man out of the dust of the earth only he only made the eyes this time. When I meditated on this seemingly gross act I saw something profound. Water is a picture of spirit. So the spirit of Jesus came out of his mouth and created sight for a person who couldn't see. Then he told the man to go baptize his eyes in the pool that meant "set apart". When he did this he came back with the ability to see natural and spiritual things for the first time. He was so changed some people had a hard time believing it was him.
The Pharisees came and asked him how he could see. They argued about Jesus "working" on the Sabbath and whether a sinner could do such miraculous deeds. Once again they are divided among themselves.
The truth comes with a sword that divides soul from spirit, joints from marrow, and divides our thoughts from our intentions. It even divides families and friends. Lord, apply your sword to our hearts. Cut out what needs to be taken out and give us eyes to see.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Monday's Devo - Stumbling Over the Rock

Read John 8: 42-59
The Jews were totally deceived. They thought God was their father but Jesus told them that the devil was their father because they obeyed him rather than God. The proof was in how they accepted the son sent by the father. The son looks, talks, feels, and acts like the father so much that they are one in every way. You can't have one without the other.
They don't like that so they tell Jesus that HE is demon-possessed. Jesus tells them that he is not demon-possessed but he honors God and they don't. He continues to explain that he doesn't seek his own glory but there is one that will seek them out and judge them one day. If they will believe in what Jesus says they will not see death. (I think he throws hard things at them just to get them mad.) Not see death....hard to swallow. Of course the Jews stumble over this one. Who wouldn't without God's help. Now they are convinced he is demon possessed. How can he say a man will never die. Their great father and hero Abraham is dead along with all the great prophets.
Jesus answered by explaining that it is God that honors him - the same God they are claiming to have. Then he claimed to know God and Abraham who looked ahead and saw his day coming and was excited about it. That was another hard thing to swallow. How did he know Abraham? He gives them the punch line: Before Abraham was, I am. That was the same answer Abraham got when he asked God who he was: I am. They couldn't take it anymore and picked up stones to kill him but Jesus did the Holy Ghost slip and disappeared.
It is amazing to me that Jesus spent so much time with the Jews whose spiritual eyes were so closed. I guess it was so that they would one day look back and see how blind they were and all the chances they had to accept the truth. We get to read it with our spiritual eyes opened and it is not hard for us to see the truth. But looking through their clouded eyes I can see how stupid the things that Jesus said must have looked to them.
I am so thankful that God has given me eyes to see and ears to hear. Let's be good stewards of these eyes and ears we have been so graciously given.