Thursday, December 31, 2009

Thur.s' Devo - The Sixth Hour

Read John 19:7-15
It is obvious reading these scriptures that Herod is out of his element. He is supersticious enough to be afraid that Jesus might be the son of God but too afraid of the people to have any strong convictions. He asks Jesus where he came from and when Jesus doesn't answer he tries to threaten him with his life. Jesus puts him in his place by telling Pilate that he has no power over him but what the Lord has given him and the people that delivered him are going to be held more responsible than him. This show of authority scares Pilate even more and he tries one more time to reason with the crowd outside. They tell him that if he lets Jesus go he is no friend of Caesar's because Jesus is making himself the king. So Pilate is cornered and brings Jesus out to judge him. The name of the place is called "the Pavement" which means strewed stone. Jesus is the rock and his blood is about to be strewn. (Strewn means sprinkled.) It is the preparation of the passover and the 6th hour. I looked at all the scriptures that spoke of the 6th hour and it seems the 6th hour is a time of rightful judgment. Pilate came out and proclaimed, "Behold your King!" On the 6th hour Jesus met the woman at the well and proclaimed to her that he was the Messiah (John 4:25). Peter was up on a housetop praying about the sixth hour when the heavens opened and showed him that he should not call the Gentiles common but cleansed.
In Jesus case, they didn't want Jesus to be their king so they rejected their king and chose Caesar instead.
Everyone has a 6th hour so may we make the right declaration.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Wed.'s Devo - The Mock Trial

Read John 19:1-6
Everything about the trial of Jesus was a farce. Rome was know for its justice. One of their main gods was Janus. A replica of him sat on every Roman official's desk. He had two faces one that looked forward and one that looked back. Janus is where we get our word "January" because January looks back over the last year and forward to the next. It was to remind them to look at both sides of the question. They were not honoring Janus in Jesus' case.
Pilate had Jesus scourged, humiliated and beaten and proclaimed him innocent. That does not sound like justice to me. He then presented Jesus to the Jews with a crown of thorns and a royal robe on thinking this would placate them, but they screamed instead, "Crucify him." Pilate told them to take him and do it themselves because, for the third time, he found no fault in Jesus.
The reason the Jews couldn't kill Jesus himself was that their law required them to stone him and the scriptures had prophesied that he would be crucified. They were fulfilling scripture and if they had know it they would have tried to figure out another way of death.
In the story of the passover the lamb was to be brought into the house and examined for days to make sure it was spotless and had no blemish. This is the process Jesus is going through. Pilate could not find a blemish on him but still had to crucify him to fulfill scripture. It makes me wonder who are going to be the players in future prophecy. I wonder if they are already in place. Lord, make us ready for your return.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Tue.'s Devo - The Lamb is Examined by the Gentile King....."Not Guilty!"

Read John 18:28-40
Early the next morning Jesus was taken to the praetorium or governors court room to appear before Pilate. The Jewish accusers couldn't enter the judgment hall or they would be defiled and not able to eat the passover. Little did they realize Jesus was the passover lamb. Pilate came out and asked what he was being charged for. They told him that he was a criminal which was why they were bringing him to Pilate. They explained to him that they couldn't charge him because their law didn't allow them to put a man to death. So Pilate went back into the praetorium and asked Jesus if he was the King of the Jews? Instead of answering his question he asked Pilate one? "Do you want to know the answer or did they tell you to ask me this question?" He is giving Pilate an opportunity to come to the truth. He is really asking Pilate, "Are you hungry for the truth because I am the truth," but Pilate is not looking for the truth. Instead, Pilate is getting exasperated, "Am I a Jew? Your own nation and your priests have delivered you to me; what have you done?" Jesus tells him that his kingdom is not earthly or his servants would have fought for him. So Pilate asks him if he is a king? Jesus tells him that what is about to happen to him is why he came. He is here to bear witness to the truth and every one that can hear him is of that truth.
Pilate says, "what is truth?" and goes back outside. He proclaims to the Jews that delivered Jesus that he can find no fault in him. But to appease them he explains their custom of releasing one of the criminals at passover. Do they want him to release the King of the Jews? Of course not! They want Barabbas, a robber.
Lord, may we never stop seeking the truth which is You!

Monday, December 28, 2009

Monday's Devo - The Pain of Denial

Read John 18:25-27
Peter has just denied Jesus and Jesus has just testified to the truth. Peter's denial got him entrance into the yard. Jesus' truth got him a slap in the face. Now as Peter stands by the fire another servant asks him if he was one of Jesus' disciples to which he denies for the second time. He is then approached by a kinsman of the soldier that he cut off the ear of and asked if he was in the garden. He denies Jesus for the third time and the cock immediately crows. Matthew says he went out and wept bitterly. The word used here for wept means to wail and sob aloud. Luke tells us that when Peter denied him the third time Jesus turned and looked at him. Then Peter remembered what he had prophesied about him.
That had to have pained Jesus to hear Peter deny him. How did Peter go from cutting an ear off to defend Jesus to denying him 3 times? Peter who was to stand for the church is wishy-washy just like the church is. James says that an unstable man is unstable in all his ways. But those whose foundation is the Lord's will stand strong till the end. Peter did get it right in the end and learned from his mistakes and the church will too. If there is one thing that God doesn't give up on it is his church. He didn't give up on Peter and he won't give up on you either.
Lord, help us in our weaknesses. We desire to follow you even to death but need your grace to do that. Pour out a great measure of grace on your church for these last days.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Fri.'s Devo - Happy Birthday, Jesus!!!

As a lamb to the slaughterFor unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder; and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, The might God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. Is. 9:6

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Thurs.'s Devo - As a lamb to the slaughter

Read John 18:19-24
The High Priest asks Jesus about his disciples and his doctrine. Jesus explains that he has done nothing in secret and everyday in the temple and in the synagogue he taught his doctrine so if they have any questions they should ask the people who heard him. Apparently he must have been a little too sarcastic because he got a slap in the face for speaking to the high priest that way. Jesus had an answer to that too: "If I have spoken evil, bear witness of the evil; but if well, why smite me?" It is illegal to strike a prisoner who has not yet been proven guilty and they have no witness that he has done evil. Also, under Jewish law no trial is to begin and end on the same day, or to start at night and end at night.
Annas sends Jesus bound to Caiphas, the high priest. History tells us that Annas was one of the most brilliant, one of the most clever, and one of the most satanic of all the high priests. Caiaphas was the one whom the Roman government accepted, but the real leader of the religious group was Annas. He was probably the one who plotted the arrest, the trial, and the crucifixion of Jesus. The entire trial was a mockery.
Is. 53:7 says that he was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth; his brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he openeth not his mouth.
Every time I read about the crusifixion I get some new feeling or revelation. Here is THE High Priest being questioned and harassed by mere mortal high priests. The very ones who were suppose to be representing him, instead are trying to usurp his position. Lord, we are here on this earth as your representatives, may we never use our position to usurp yours.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Wed.'s Devo - The Examination and the Denial

Read John 18:12-18
To be the spotless Passover lamb Jesus had to be examined and found spotless. The first to examine him was the high priest and the religious leaders. The high priest was also the first to examine the lamb that they would sacrifice on Passover for the sins of the people. Both Annas and Caiaphas were high priests because the law says that it takes the witness of two to establish something. Caiaphas had told the people that it was good that one man should die for the people. Little did he know how prophetic these words were.
Peter and another disciple followed them and because the other disciple knew the high priest he was able to gain entrance into the palace. Peter, however, stood at the door and waited there. The young girl who kept the door recognized Peter as one of Jesus' disciples and asked him if he was. Peter answered, "I am not." This was his first denial.
Some of the servants and officers had made a fire to keep warm so Peter went and stood with them.
It seems silly to deny Jesus to a servant girl who had no power to do anything. Maybe, he though she would report him to the officers. He was so bold in the garden and now his faith had dwindled to fear of a little gatekeeper.
We can all relate. We hear God's plan and are off with power and boldness, then when things don't turn out like we think we melt in a puddle of doubt and fear. The good news is that when Peter got filled with the Holy Spirit at Pentecost he was no longer afraid of anyone and stood up in front of thousands and boldly proclaimed Jesus.
Lord, may we not faint or get weary in waiting for your promises because as surely as the morning, they will come.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Tues.'s Devo - I AM

Read John 18: 3-11
Judas knew the power that Jesus possessed so he brought a whole squad of armed soldiers to arrest him. Jesus knew what was ahead for him and that this was all in the plan. But they needed to confess their deed so he asked them point-blank who they were looking for. Their answer would condemn or justify them. They chose to be condemned, and just to let them know that he was more powerful than a multitude of men and all the weapons in the world he spoke his name which blew them off their feet.
Moses had asked God his name and he said I AM. Jesus spoke the same name. Just the fact that they weren't fazed by the demonstration of power shows the depth of their deception. They said they were looking for Jesus of Nazareth. It has always been about his geneology. Was he from Nazareth, Bethlehem, Joseph, or God? He was really from Bethlehem, but few knew this. The religious Jews stumbled over this because they knew the Messiah was suppose to be from Bethlehem. But, ultimately he was from God which he told his disciples countless times.
Then Jesus asked that his disciples be free to leave which was the answer to his prayer in John 17. All was well till Peter took his sword and cut off the soldier's right ear... not just any soldier but the high priest's servant, Malchus. This is recorded in all of the gospels but in Luke it tells us that Jesus touched his ear, and healed him. Another demonstration of power that fell on hard hearts.
Jesus told Peter to put away his sword because this was God's will for him. In other words, this is not the time to fight, this is the time to submit.
Lord, may we always have hearts that are soft and discernment to know when to fight and when to submit to your plan.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Monday's Devo - Sprinkled with Blood

Read John 18:1-2
Jesus goes to the garden that will lead to his death. The first Adam was put in a garden where through him sin entered into the world. The second Adam, Jesus, is taken from a garden where through him salvation from sin came into the world. The tempter, deceiver, and betrayer was in both gardens disguised as a serpent in the first and Judas in the last. This garden was a sacred place for both Adams. It was where Adam and God walked in the cool of the day and enjoyed fellowship and it was a place where Jesus went alone and with his disciples to get away and retreat with God.
Judas knew where to find Jesus because he had been a part of this fellowship with God just as Satan had once known intimate fellowship with God. It was jealousy and pride that made Satan fall and the same for Judas.
I've been to this garden and the tour guide, who wasn't a Christian, told us that a certain plant that grows there that has red spots on it. It is not found anywhere else in the world. The garden keepers work hard to preserve the plant and guard it so no one can steal it and replant it anywhere. It looks like someone sprinkled blood over the plant. It reminds me of what the priest did to the people and all the articles in the tabernacle. He would sprinkle everything with the blood of animals to make it holy. We have been sprinkled with the blood of Jesus and made holy.
Heb. 10:22 says, "Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from a evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water." Thank you Jesus, for shedding your blood to give us a clean conscience. Let us walk in that confidence.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Sat.'s Devo - Christmas Bliss

Christmas will be here in 6 days. I hope I'm ready. Every year Christmas becomes less hectic and more enjoyable. I think I have bought all my presents and I finished up the last pillow for a client yesterday so other than a hanging on Tuesday I have no obligations till we leave for Louisiana on Thursday. I feel ecstatic. Maybe I'll have time to study some things in the Bible I haven't had time to study. I also want to reflect on what my goals are for next year. God moves in cycles and he uses the seasons. The Bible is full of things that change with the seasons and so do we. The winter is a good time to reflect, study, and let some things die. Today I was opening this drawer full of jewelry. It fell out and landed upside down on the carpet. I was amazed at myself because I didn't get mad. I sat down and methodically put everything back in its place. It was a great time to recall memories and throw away earrings with no mates, old receipts, and just junk. Maybe that's what I'll do for the next few days: allow God to throw out some things that aren't serving me well like bad self-images or wrong judgments, or incorrect doctrines. A good house cleaning is always good for the soul. I pray we will all have time to do that. "Search us, O God, and know our hearts: try us, and know our thoughts; And see if there be any wicked way in us, and lead us in the way everlasting." Ps. 139:23-24.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Fri.'s Devo - The Kidron Baptism

Read John 18:1
We are going to go on even though we only touched the tip of knowledge in John 17. Jesus leaves after praying this tremendous prayer and crosses the Kidron brook into a garden. In 2 Sam. 15:23 David passed over the brook Kidron weeping and mourning for Absalom had usurped his kingdom and he was fleeing Jerusalem. David was a type of Jesus whose kingdom had been usurped in the garden but Jesus was fixing to get it back in the garden. The word Kidron means "cause to mourn; dusky". It was the place that they threw all their uncleanness. When they wanted to take the idolatrous instruments out of the temple they burned them and threw their ashes into the Kidron. When King Solomon wanted to punish Shimei for cursing David his curse was: "On the day that you leave Jerusalem, and pass over the brook Kidron, you shall know for certain that you shall surely die; and your blood shall be upon your own head." So it was a sort of baptism from sin; a cleansing process like the one in the law where the lady accused of adultery had to drink the bitter water and see if it condemned her or proved her innocence. When you walked through the Kidron Brook and if you were guilty - you faced death; if you were innocent it vindicated you. David and Jesus were vindicated for they were found faultless. Shimei was condemned for he was found guilty. Jesus actually died too because he chose to let our sin be upon his head and be condemned with the guilty.
We will all walk through that brook to enter heaven. It will either condemn us or set us free. Lord, may we enter heaven guiltless.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Thurs.'s Devo - Sanctify Us by your Word

Read John 17 (again!)
I just keep finding nuggets in Jesus' prayer for us. Today's nugget is in verses 14-19. We are not of this world just like Jesus is not of this world. The world hated Jesus and they will hate us too. Jesus prayed that we would stay in the world but be kept from evil. "Evil" translates hurtful, evil influence or effect; calamity, disease, mischief, malice, the devil, or sinners. That is a pretty powerful statement. I think of all the calamity on the earth and wonder how Jesus is saving us from it. But he tells us how in verse 17. We are sanctified which means "made holy" through his word. We know that the weapons of our warfare are mighty to the pulling down of strongholds but do we know how to use this sword called the Word of God? Here is an easy lesson. The Word is alive and will accomplish what it is sent to do but you have to send it. In other words, when you are up against a problem you find a scripture about that specific problem and you pray it out loud. Put it on your mirror, in your refrigerator, across the TV, wherever you look and speak it out as often as you can. The Word will saturate you and build up your faith. Your proclamation will birth it into being. My husband prays the 91st Psalm out loud every day over me and evey one of family by name. I love him for that. I know that has kept us from the enemies' darts many times. The more Word you put in your heart the more soft your heart becomes toward God and the less you are tempted to stray. The more TV and filth you put in your mind, the harder it will be to stay sanctified....impossible. The Bible says to not even want to know what the evil do in secret. That about eliminates most of what you will see on TV.
Lord, give us a burning desire to read, proclaim, and eat your Word. We thirst for living waters.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Wed.'s Devo - The Son of Perdition

Read John 17
How does one that walked with Jesus every day, listened to his teachings, saw his miracles, and was a close friend end up betraying him? The same way Eve was deceived into eating the fruit. So I guess the real question should be how did Jesus keep eleven of the twelve? That is pretty good odds.
In verse 12 Jesus said he kept all that God had given him and none was lost but the son of perdition; that the scripture might be fulfilled. The only other time the son of perdition is mentioned is in 2 Thes. 2:3,4 which says: "Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come; except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition; who opposes and exalts himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sits in the temple of God shewing himself that he is God." The word "perdition" means physical, spiritual, or eternal ruin or loss". It is used 8 times in the Bible and only in the New Testament. Rev. 17:8 says: "the beast that you saw was, and is not; and shall ascend out of the bottomless pit and go into perdition; and the that dwell on the earth shall wonder, whose names were not written in the book of life from the foundations of the world, when they behold the beast that was, and is not and yet is. This son of perdition is the embodiment of all that is evil. There have been sons of perdition all through time. Moses's Pharoah, Nero, Hitler, Herod, the Antichrist are all sons of perdition just as there are many sons of God. They were not written in the book of life from the beginning just as we were written in the book from the beginning. But the key is the last part of John 17:12: "...that the scripture might be fulfilled." It is all part of the plan. Our futures are safe in God's hands. Thank you, father. I am honored to be called your daughter.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Tues.'s Devo - Sin?!?!

Read John 17
In verse 2 Jesus says that God gave him power over all flesh. In the Greek "flesh" means human nature. If Jesus has power over all human nature and didn't sin himself then when we become Christians we have that same power. It is not true that you have to sin every day. It is not true that you have to sin period. We still choose to do it because we haven't allowed the Word of God to saturate our minds and conform us. God's Word has the power to conform us into his image. The war is against the devil who reminds us of our nature and tells us lies like: we can't change. The truth is we can change. Our desires can become his desires and we can hate the things that he hates and love the things he loves.
What exactly is sin? It means to miss the mark and not share in the prize or to err, especially morally; a fault, offense, or trespass. Jesus told the blind man he had healed to go and sin no more. He also said that to the woman caught in adultery. The sin that keeps you from heaven is unbelief. So the big sins to God are those of unbelief. Do you believe God can heal you or your relationships? Do you believe God has a plan and is big enough to bring it to pass in your life. Live in faith and you will not sin in unbelief. Be content with what you have and you won't sin immorally. Sounds easy, but only with the power of the Holy Spirit is it easy. Go and sin no more!

Monday, December 14, 2009

Mon.'s Devo - Jesus' Prayer

Read John 17
This is the last recorded prayer Jesus prayed. We might spend the whole week looking at the different aspects of this prayer. He prays that the world might see God's glory through him in his death. He knows that his work is over and time is nearing an end. He prays for the same glory he and God had before creation.
The phrases that stick out to me in his prayer are in vs. 2: "that he sould give eternal life to as many as thou has given him." and in vs. 6: "I have manifested thy name unto the men which thou gave me out of the world." and in vs. 9 "I pray for them: I pray not for the world, but for them which thou has given me; for they are yours." and last of all in vs. 16: "They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world."
It is hard for me to grasp that I have been chosen out of a vast group of God's creation to know him and be his child and that others havent been chosen. I don't understand election but I trust God who is wise and all-powerful. I know the Word says that "many are called and few are chosen." And that same Word says "For God so loved the world... that whosover that believed in him should have eternal life." The truth is that he lays out his plan for all to see and enter in. It was man that chose darkness over light.
Lord, thank you for revealing your light to us and giving us hearts to receive you. We long for you and your truth.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Sunday's Devo - A Family Week-end

This week-end was Katy's tea in New Orleans and Daniel's graduation in Alexandria. We had been asking Daniel when his graduation would be forever and he kept telling us he didn't know. In the mean time the tea came up and I got a plane ticket to go to New Orleans to meet Katy's family for the first time. I was excited about going to the tea till I found out Daniel would be graduating the same day. I tried to refund my ticket or transfer it to another date and go to another shower later to no avail so I was going to just eat the ticket and go to the graduation till Dave came home. When I told him what I was thinking of doing he would have none of it. He said I was going to the tea and he was going to the graduation. This was not the first time Daniel had waited till the last minute to tell us plans and made us scramble to meet them. So Dave, Josh, Caleb, Granny, and Paw Paw went to the graduation and I went to New Orleans and attended the tea. The graduation lasted one hour and though I hated missing it, God gave me something special to do for Daniel. I sat down and wrote a 2-page letter telling him all the great memories I had of him growing up and all the gifts God had given him like his sense of humor, his faithfulness, and his compassion. Then I sent a CD by Sidewalk Prophets and told him to listent to the song called "These are the words I would say." It is a song saying all the things I would want to say to him like: be strong in the Lord; never give up faith; God's going to do great things, I already know. God's got his hands on you, so don't live life in fear... and don't forget why you're here.
I would have never done that if I was going to the graduation but since I wasn't I wanted to let him know how proud I was of him. I know it was exactly what should have happened.
In New Orleans, I got to meet Katy's family and have the best time bonding with a truly beautiful addition to our family. It was a long week-end for Dave and I but full of family and love.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Fri.'s Devo -In a Little While...

Read John 16:14-
God shares everything with Jesus and when he left earth he sent the Holy Spirit to share everything with us. The disciples could not understand "in a little while you will not see me." That phrase "a little while" means a small degree of time. That small degree of time lasted 3 days. Jesus died and 3 days later appeared to them and taught them even more. How many times do we pray for God to do something and he just wants us to wait a little while,while he is arranging everything to bring the answer. Jesus was busy during those 3 days. He was preaching to those in captivity that had died before. He was taking the keys of the kingdom back from the devil. He was ascending on high with his followers; he just wasn't idly watching the disciples mourn. God has a strategic plan that is set to his time table and his time table is perfect. His plan turns our sorrow to joy.
Jesus gives them the example of a woman in labor. It is painful at the time but the reward is so worth the pain. Jesus knew the next few days would be extremely hard for the disciples but he promised them that their sorrow would be turned to rejoicing when they see him again. When all this happens they will have access to God themselves just by using his name. They had never used the name of Jesus in prayer but now he is telling them to use it to receive what they wanted. Jesus' name is the key. Jesus basically explained to them again that he was from the Father and would return to the Father, and they got it this time. Now Jesus could tell them the hard part: they will be scattered and leave Jesus by himself but they were not to worry because God will be with him. He leaves them with the blessing of peace and one of my favorite verses: "In the world you shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world."
That is our promise. Thank you Lord for your precious promises to us. In Jesus name, we ask you to prepare us for your coming.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Thurs.'s Devo- The Spirit of Truth

Read: John 16:8-13
Jesus said that when the Holy Spirit comes he will:
1. convict the world of sin
2. convict the world of righteousness
3. convict the world of judgment
Then he tells why the Holy Spirit will do this:
1. He will convict the world of sin because they didn't believe Jesus. They had hardened their hearts to the miracles that Jesus did so now the Holy Spirit is going to bring back to their minds the things that Jesus did and speak truth to their hearts. They will be given another chance to believe.
2. He will convict the world of righteousness because Jesus is going to the Father. The Holy Spirit manifests righteousness through us, God's people. Ro. 3:22 says that The righteousness of Jesus is given to all who by faith believe. We are the righteousness of God on the earth. (2 Co. 5:21)
3. He will convict the world of judgment because the prince of this world is judged. In the end God will judge the devil and all who chose to be his followers. God has to do that because he is just. Jesus said in John 9:39 that he came to the world to judge it. Ro. 3:25-26 says that God presented Christ as a sacrifice of atonement, to be received by faith. He did this to demonstrate his justice, because in his forbearance he had left the sins committed beforehand unpunished - He did it to demonstrate his justice at the present time, so as to be just and the one who justifies those who have faith in Jesus. This is all a little confusing to me. I just know that when Jesus came he was the totally righteous and through his testimony we have no excuse for our sins. We have a perfect way to avoid judgment. If we chose not to follow Jesus then we choose judgment. Jesus sent us the Holy Spirit of truth to guide us into all truth because he gets his truth straight from the father. The Holy Spirit glorifies Jesus and tells us what is coming next.
Lord, may your Holy Spirit be manifested on the earth; the spirit of truth and prophecy.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Wed.'s Devo -Activate God's Power

Read John 16:1-7
Jesus doesn't want his disciples to get tripped up so he tells them ahead of time what is going to happen. They will get thrown out of the synagoge, and they will be killed in the name of God. Their enemies do this because they don't know God. Jesus tells them these things so that when they happen they will know God is still in control. This is hard for us to relate to since we have never gone under serious persecution, but I think our nation is headed for this very thing.
Jesus then tells them he is going to be leaving which always makes them sad. He explains that it is for their betterment if he leaves because the Comforter won't come till he leaves. He knows that the Comforter will be better for them than him being with them. How many times have we thought that it would be better to have a living God than an invisible one. But the Holy Spirit is better because he is not just with us, he is in us. The Holy Spirit is the spirit of Jesus and God. We now have access to the power of God in us. Sadly, we don't use it often.
One of the good products of persecution is that we start accessing the power of God within us. When they take away our rights to go to the doctor, we'll have to go to God to be our healer. We've had it backwards. We go to the doctor first then call on God if the doctor tells us he can't do anything more. God promised to be our healer and our provider. Let's not wait till we have to do that. Let's practice it now.
Lord, forgive us for not honoring you and the power you have to protect us and keep us. Show us how to totally depend on you.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Tue.'s Devo - Jesus was Good...from the beginning.

Read John 15: 21-27
Jesus is explaining to us the heart of man and preparing us for persecution. The reason the people hated Jesus was that he uncovered their sin by the works he did. He manifested God to them and raised the standard. They had been sailing through life thinking they were good, but Jesus was the embodiment of good and made their good look not-so-good. They couldn't compete and hated him for that. If we walk with God with the help of the Holy Spirit we will do the same thing. Some will be drawn to us and want what we have and others will be jealous and hate us. They hated Jesus for no good reason and they will hate us for the same. When the Holy Spirit, the Comforter came he was the breath of truth and he breathed that truth into us that we might testify of Jesus in truth.
The last verse says that we will be his witnesses because we have been with him from the beginning. "From the beginning" is used 4 times in John. He is talking about from the beginning of time. John 6:64 says that Jesus knew who would betray him and who would believe him from the beginning of time. John 8:44 says that Satan was a murderer from the beginning. But of us in today's reading it says we have been with him from the beginning. Hard to wrap your head around that one because we live in time and God doesn't. But what a comfort. Nothing can take us out of his hand. His hand is mighty to save. Lord, I pray for the ones that have not yet come to know you. Send us out to spread your message of peace, hope, and salvation. Prepare us to endure persecution and hardships for your name sake.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Mon.'s Devo - Love that Redeems

Read John 15:17-20
This is the 4th time in John that Jesus is commanding us to love one another. Have you ever met people that were so mean and hard that it made you wonder how even God could love them? I did until I read "Redeeming Love" by Francine Rivers. That book helped me to see the sinners point of view. There is always a reason why a person is hard and hurts other: they have been abused and hurt and it is the only defense they know. But we carry the love of Jesus that can love them and break down the defenses and walls they have built around their heart. Underneath we will find that they are beautiful, and that's redemption!
Jesus goes on to tell us that the world is not going to like us because they didn't like him. In other words, you can't be a people pleaser and look like Jesus. It won't happen. Jesus chose us out of the world to be set apart for his glory. So since we are not greater than Jesus we will be persecuted just as he was. On the other hand, those that followed Jesus will follow us if we are leaders of righteousness.
Lord, help us to love as you love and go beyond ourselves. Help us to be leaders of righteousness.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Fri.'s Devo - We have been chosed to be God's friend.

Read: John 15:14-16
Jesus calls us his friends instead of his servants if we are willing to do whatever he asks of us. Being his friend means he shares with us everything he has been told by God. We are not like slaves who never know the intimacies of the kingdom but are just called to obey; we have been invited to know the secrets of the king. We have been chosen and ordained to produce lasting fruit and whatever we need to do that with is ours for the asking. It is our destiny. He said we did not choose him but he chose us. Wow, that will challenge your theology. We claim that God is in control until we talk about our salvation then we still want to own it. We think that we had the power to will ourselves into the kingdom. We didn't. He chose us before the foundation of the earth. He already knows our whole life and what we will do. In Duet. 10:15 Moses is telling the people what God told him up on the mountain: "the Lord delighted in your fathers to love them, and he chose their seed after them, even you above all people." Jesus chose 12 disciples. Does God not seem fair? He isn't, not in the sense that we know fair; he is just. When the word fair is mentioned in the Bible it has to do with beauty or goodness and is never used to describe God. Just, on the other hand, is mentioned over and over to describe God. It means lawful and righteous.
God has a plan and he is the potter. Who are we, the clay, to ask why did he make us this way? But the bottom line is that God is in control. So God chose us and we have the opportunity to draw near or stay at a distance. Let's draw near.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Thurs.'s Devo - Love and Joy Come to You

Read: John 15:8-14
God is glorified when we bear fruit and it is what constitutes us being God's disciples. God loves us with the same love he loves his son. At the end of verse 9 he tells us to continue in his love. That translates abide, dwell, endure, be present, remain, stand, tarry in God's love. In the next verse Jesus is praying that his joy, his calm delight and cheerfulness might remain in us and that our joy might be satisfied. If there was anything that the world cannot copy it is joy. It is almost out of place in the world we live in. When we display God's joy, everyone wants to be around us. It is a real strength and power. Jesus left us his joy. I think Jesus was a lot of fun. I think he laughed a lot and playfully teased his disciples because he sure plays with me and makes me laugh.
He again gives us the commandment to love one another just as he loved us. The greatest love we can have is to lay down our lives for our friends. That is what he did for us. Many people have been martyrs for Lord and many people have laid down their lives for a family member but it would be a little harder to do it for a friend. It would take great love and this is what Jesus wants us to have... great love for one another.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Wed.'s Devo - Bearing the Fruit

Read John 15:3-7
Reading the Word washes us and renews us. Do you want to stay young? Then read the word and let it renew your spirit and your body will manifest it. We are to abide in Jesus; stay in Him. It IS possible to abide in him- he wouldn't have told us to do it if it wasn't possible. It is God's job to prune us of what is not life-giving. The only way we can produce life is through him because we are a branch of him. If we choose not to abide in him we will be cut off. There are many scriptures about how righteous living will cause you to live a long life and if you don't, your life will be cut short. In the end all our works will be cast into the fire. What we have done for God will remain but all else will be burned up.
Verse 7 is a great verse to encourage a righteous life: "If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, you shall ask what you will, and it shall be done to you." If we are abiding in him then our prayers will be according to his will and they will be answered.
God talks a lot about fruit. Fruit is the gift that a tree gives to us. We enjoy looking at the majesty and splendor of a tree and sitting under its shade, but the fruit is a tangible gift we can enjoy. It brings nourishment, pleasure, satisfaction and supplies a basic need we have. Every fruit has its purpose. Oranges provide vitamin C which helps our immune system, and a whole lot of other things. The fruit we produce has certain functions also. Maybe our fruit is wisdom or prophecy, or prayer. Fruit can also be people that we are instrumental in winning to the kingdom. Gal. 5:9 says that the fruit of the spirit is love, joy, peace, long suffering, gentleness, goodness, and faith. We are to produce this fruit both in season and out of season. Jesus cursed the fig tree because it was not bearing fruit when he came to it, even though it was not fruit-bearing season.
Lord, help us to abide in you so that we will bear much fruit for you.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Tues.'s Devo - Washing the fruit

Read John 15:1-2
"I am the true vine" translates: "I am the hidden truth that is found on the threshing floor." And God is the world's farmer. "Every branch IN ME that doesn't bear fruit God takes away: and every branch that bears fruit, he purges it, that it may bring forth more fruit." I have more questions about this verse than answers. If we don't bear fruit will God take us away from this earth permanently? I have definitely seen this happen - lives cut short because they were too weak to walk in God. God rescued them early. But to the people that are doing the works of Jesus and bearing fruit, he sanctifies. He calls it purging which is a cleansing. Cleansing can sometimes be painful and sometimes not. I remember as a child whenever we got a scratch or a cut we would go to Mother to put medicine on it. If she put mecuricome on our bobos it would sting like crazy. If she put methialade on it, it wouldn't hurt. For some reason she felt like the one that stung the most was the better cure and the kicker was that they were both this awful reddish yellow medicine that was put on with a glass stick so until I learned to read I never knew which one she was going to use. After I got wiser I started insisting on the methialade. Now they have neosporin which is clear and doesn't burn at all. That is how God's cleansing is: sometimes it's painful and sometimes it's just healing but it is always needed to help us bear more fruit. God doesn't use methialade or mecuricome, he uses his Word. When we read it it cleanses our soul.
Lord, thank you for the Word that is alive and active in our lives. Cleanse us from secret faults and don't let them have dominion over us. Ps. 18.