Saturday, January 30, 2010

Sat.'s Devo - Wine, Anyone?

Last night Dave and I watched extreme skiing. We watched in awe as this young generation skied off jumps and did three and a half flips and twists and unbelievable stunts never been done before. Rarely did they fall but when they did they laughed about it. They were all rooting for each other and when one of the guys got a perfect score the other guys were just as excited for him as he was. They were a group of guys united by their love for extreme skiing. What a picture of unity in the body.
I was reading in Matthew 9 the other day about the new wine in old wine skins. I had always wondered what it meant but now I get it. The old wine skins were the old traditions of the religious world. The new wine is the new thing God is doing. The new thing God was doing then was sending his son to earth to do miracles, and signs and wonders to point them to God and save the world. The religious sector who knew the Word backwards and forwards couldn't all receive this new wine. But the ones that allowed themselves to be refreshed and renewed by something new God was doing could receive, like the people in the rest of Matt. 9: the leader of the synagogue whose daughter was dead, the lady with the issue of blood, the two blind men, and the demoniac.
Like those extreme skiers who were doing new things never done before, we are invited to do things never done before in the spirit. Will we be the old wine skins who laugh at the boldness of God's people are will we be the new wine skins who God can pour his new wine into? The choice is ours.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Fri.'s Devo - You are a City on a Hill.

Read Eph. 4:12-21
We have been given these apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors, and teachers for the benefit of the body. They are to completely furnish us with what we need so that the body can do the work of the kingdom and be a strong structure in this world. We will be that structure when we become one in our faith and knowledge of God and the fullness of Christ. That almost seems like an impossible task with all the denominations and isms and schisms in the church but persecution seems to bring us all to the same level. When this happens we will no longer be immature Christians who change our theology like changing our shirt. We will no longer be deceived by men and their trickery. We will speak the truth in love and will be the body that our head Christ can adhere to. We will know how to give and receive from each other and be knitted together in God's love.
So don't walk as the heathen walk who walk in the depravity or their own decisions. Their distance from Christ has made their minds and understanding dark and deceitful. Their hearts have blinded them from being able to receive Christ. They have become apathetic so the devil has taken advantage of their surrender and pulled them deeper and deeper into sin and filth.
We see that pretty blatantly in Hollywood. A person starts out pure and ends up in the most ungodly lifestyles we could imagine. With enough drama in their personal lives to make their own movie. They forgot that they could take Jesus with them into their job and change their world instead of letting it change them. We have to stand strong against the enemy and wear the armor of Christ in Eph. 6. We are to be a city on a hill whose light goes out to the whole world so don't let the devil and this world put out your light. Shine it so all may see your good works and glorify Christ.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Thur.'s Devo - Evangelists, Pastors and Teachers

Read Eph. 4:11
Evangelists, pastors, and teachers: we understand these people. Evangelist in the Greek means "one who announces the good news especially the gospel; to declare, bring the glad tidings." That is exactly what the angel said when they came and told the shepherds about the king being born in Bethlehem. "Fear not; for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people." So the angels were evangelists. They told the shepherds who went to see the baby then told everyone who would listen which made them evangelists also. The heart of the evangelist burns for lost souls. Hopefully, we are all evangelists. Jesus was the Good News and the Evangelist.
The pastor according to the Hebrew is one who tends the flock. He grazes, rules, and associate with as a friend. In the Greek "pastor" means a shepherd. In Jer. 3:15 God says that he will give the pastors his heart to have knowledge and understanding so they can feed the sheep. He is the one that promotes unity among the sheep. He feeds them the Word of God so that they will be healthy. He guides them with his voice and with his rod of discipline. He watches over their soul and takes responsibility for his flock. He is loved by the sheep. Jesus is the Great Shepherd.
The last one is the teacher. In the Hebrew the word "teacher" means "to goad; to teach with the incentive of a rod; diligent instructor; skillful". In the Greek it means "instructor, doctor, master". A teacher meditates on the Word and is able to bring it forth so that others can learn. They called Jesus "Rabbi" which was a title of great honor meaning he was a master and prince of what he taught. They recognized that he was a teacher sent by God.
Lord, we honor you as the culmination of all your gifts. Manifest your gifts through your body.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Thur.'s Devo - Evangelists, astors and teachers - 1-28-10

Read Eph. 4:11
Evangelists, pastors, and teachers: we understand these people. Evangelist in the Greek means "one who announces the good news especially the gospel; to declare, bring the glad tidings." That is exactly what the angel said when they came and told the sheperds about the king being born in Bethlehem. "Fear not; for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people." So the angels were evangelists. They told the sheperds who went to see the baby then told everyone who would listen which made them evangelists also. The heart of the evangelist burns for lost souls. Hopefully, we are all evangelists. Jesus was the Good News and the Evangelist.
The pastor according to the Hebrew is one who tends the flock. He grazes, rules, and associate with as a friend. In the Greek "pastor" means a shepherd. In Jer. 3:15 God says that he will give the pastors his heart to have knowledge and understanding so they can feed the sheep. He is the one that promotes unity among the sheep. He feeds them the Word of God so that they will be healthy. He guides them with his voice and with his rod of discipline. He watches over their soul and takes responsibility for his flock. He is loved by the sheep. Jesus is the Great Shepherd.
The last one is the teacher. In the Hebrew the word "teacher" means "to goad; to teach with the incentive of a rod; diligent instructor; skilful". In the Greek it means "instructor, doctor, master". A teacher meditates on the Word and is able to bring it forth so that others can learn. They called Jesus "Rabbi" which was a title of great honor meaning he was a master and prince of what he taught. They recognized that he was a teacher sent by God.
Lord, we honor you as the culmination of all your gifts. Manifest your gifts through your body.

Wed.'s Devo - Apostles and Prophets

Read Eph. 4:11
This is the list of gifts he was talking about in verse 8: apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors, and teachers. So let's look at each of these gifts and how they operate in our culture. Apostles in the Greek means "a delegate, ambassador of the Gospel, a commissioner of Christ with miraculous powers". I have met a few of those who walk in the miraculous. They speak with authority and when they pray they see results. Jesus, Paul, and Peter are the only apostles mentioned in the Bible. They traveled from town to town encouraging, rebuking, healing, and casting out devils. We don't see too many of these in traditional churches but they are present and they are a gift to the body. They are only mentioned in the New Testament but Moses would have been a good example of an apostle in the Old Testament.
The next gift God gave us is prophets. Prophet in the Greek means "a foreteller, inspired speaker, one who shows or make's known one's thoughts, one who brings hidden things to light. There were many prophets in the Bible who foretold the future and revealed mysteries. They are here in our present world also. They can speak your future and it will happen if you believe and act on it. The Bible says that if you receive a prophet in the name of a prophet you will get a prophet's reward. (Matt. 10:41) The reward of a prophet is that you get what he spoke over you. If you do not believe him you might not see his prophecy come to pass. Some prophecy is etched in stone and not conditional but other prophecy is contingent on what you do with it. There are prophets in the world who prophecy in the occult. They have the gift of prophecy and are just using it for the wrong team. The world is always prophecying and so should we. Isaiah says in at least 3 places that God will tell you the future before it happens. We may all prophecy but not all be prophets. A prophet is an office that God places a person in and he uses his gift to edify the body. There were prophets all throughout the Bible. Jesus was all the gifts in one man and so we can have more that one gift. The Apostle has all the gifts and is a prophet, evangelist, teacher, and preacher. The thing about a gift is you have to receive it.
Lord, help us to receive the gifts you have given the body no matter what package it comes in. May we walk in the gifts you have put inside of us and grow in our gifts.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Tues.'s Devo -Love and Unity

Read Eph. 4:1-10
Paul is imploring us to walk deserving and suitable to the invitation and calling God has called us to. We are to do this with modesty, lowliness, gentleness, fortitude, and putting up with one another in love. We are to eagerly guard our oneness in the Holy Spirit in the uniting principle of peace and prosperity. God is the god of one: one body, one spirit, one hope, one supreme Lord, one faith, one baptism, one deity - God, one Father of all living creatures. God is above us in time, place and order and everything channels through him and he is positioned in all of us. But we are all given favor according to the degree of the gift of Christ. When Jesus rose from the dead he led a crowd of captives with him from the grave. Matthew tells us that some of these people actually showed up on the streets of Jerusalem. (Matt. 27:52-53) God gave his gifts to men because we were to carry out what Jesus started. Jesus ascended down to Hades and set free those that had been waiting for the salvation of men to begin.
What really stands out to me in this section is putting up with one another in love and guarding our unity. All of this requires that we humbly give up our rights to our ideas, our agendas, and our time for the sake of those that need us. It is not easy for me to be selfless but that is what we need to be to keep our unity. It also means speaking the truth in love even if it means hurting someone's ego. If we do it in love, they will feel healing instead of judgment. Easier said than done. Lord help us to lay down our lives for the body and yet be bold in our stand against the wiles of the devil. Let us not be deceived into sloppy agape but truly put on love as our clothing.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Monday's Devo -Called out of Darkness into his Marvelous Light

Read Eph. 3:13-21
Sorry about Friday's post. I got my chapters mixed up. I thought it seemed familiar. Today's reading is another one of my favorite prayers in Ephesians.
Paul is praying for the ones God has given him to shepherd. He prays that God would give us out of the treasury of heaven his strength and miraculous power. And that our roots would be deep in his love so that we would be able to grasp its form, its greatness, its profoundness, and its beyondness (if that is a word). This great love of Christ which passes our human knowledge, will lead us be filled with the finished and complete work of God. God is totally able and ready to do so much more than we can even think to ask because of the undisputed power that he has given to us. If we will let him he will display his powerful works through us, his church.
The word church in the Greek means the ones "called out"; a Christian community of members on earth or saints in heaven or both. So when Jesus prayed, "let your will be done on earth as it is in heaven", that included the church that has gone on ahead of us to heaven and mirrors our meetings. I'm betting they meet and pray for us because they are the cloud of witnesses that surround us. So may we lay aside every burden and sin that hinders our race, and let us run with cheerful hope what is set before us, looking to Jesus the chief and completer of our faith.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Sun.'s Devo - The Tragedy was Reversed!

This week-end is D-Now week-end only we are calling it dnekeew won-d which is D-Now backwards because the theme is reversing the tragedy. To me the tragedy was that ever since I have heard about D-Now at our church I have heard about how bad the 6th grade girls were. Since I teach them in rcg's they gave them my house. I have a gameroom that is small especially when you want to put 14 sleeping bags with 14 girls in them in it. My limit had been 8-10 but when it came down to the night there were 14. I explained to them the tragedy and that we needed to reverse the curse over the 6th grade girls. They took the challenge and were the best group I have kept yet. Of course I know that it helped that I went into the room before they came and cast out every evil spirit I could think of and invited the Holy Spirit to occupy every space. They all slept well, had no drama, got along great and seemed to get filled up with God's Spirit. Dave and I went to bed every night and didn't hear a peep out of them. Their two leaders were fabulous. God bless Alex and Adrianne.
In the book of Esther, the king had written an edict that the Jews would be destroyed on a certain day. Esther went before the king on behalf of all the Jews and asked that the king reverse his edict. In Esther 8:5 her words were,"If it please the king, and if I have found favour in his sight, and the thing seem right before the king, and I be pleasing in his eyes, let it be written to reverse the letters devised by haman, which he wrote to destroy the Jews which are in all the king's provinces." This week-end we reversed the letters of D-Now in the natural to signify a greater reversal in the spirit. I know God went much further in this process than just giving me a peaceful week-end: many curses over these young lives were reversed and their curses have turned to blessings. Lord, like in Esther, write your name on these youth's heart and seal it with your ring; for the writing which is written in the king's name, and sealed with the king's ring, may no man reverse. (Esther 8:8)

Friday, January 22, 2010

Fri.'s Devo - Don't Take the Lord's Name in Vain

Read Eph. 1:13-23
Verse 13 starts with the truth that after we believed, we were sealed with the holy Spirit of promise. This promise is that we are secure in our inheritance until Jesus delivers us from this world. Paul has heard of the Ephesian's faith in Jesus and in their love for the family of God so he lets them know that he is praying for them all the time. Paul is such a picture of the Holy Spirit who ever lives to intercede for us. His prayer is the Spirit's prayer for us. He prays that we would be given the spirit of wisdom and revelation of God and that our spiritual eyes would be opened so that we can grasp the greatness of our calling and the abundance He has given us. And the magnitude of his miracle working power which has been bestowed upon us through Christ. This was given to us the moment Christ rose from the grave and sat on God's right hand. God's throne is far above all other power, capacity, control, chief of the air, principle rule, force, mastery, or government that has any authority or assignment, not only on the earth now but in the future. God made Jesus the head power over all this and we are invited to be under his leadership. What an honor and privilege we have been given. Because we have been made partakers of his righteousness and been given his name we have this same power over our enemies in heavenly places. All we have to do is get this into our hearts and act on it. All hell has to bow when we speak the name of Jesus with authority. Don't let the devil beat you down or steal your rights as citizens of the supernatural race of God. Lord, let not what you have done for us on Calvary be in vain.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Thurs.'s Devo - Open our Spiritual Eyes

Read Eph. 3:1-12
How like God is it to save Paul, the chief persecutor of Gentiles, and call him to preach to the Gentiles. I wonder how long it took him to overcome the guilt he must have experienced when he came to Christ and realized that the very people he murdered were God's children. He had to receive healing every time he saw a Gentile come to Jesus and trade eternal damnation for eternal life.
In this chapter Paul teaches them about the dispensation of grace, a special time in history where God chose to pour this out on the earth. This had remained a mystery that no one had foreseen even though it had been written in the Old Testament. They just hadn't been able to understand it because God hid it from them. This great mystery was that the Gentile would be brought into the same inheritance with God that the Jew had. This was new revelation. Now we can know the wisdom of God and about the principalities and powers in heavenly places. To me that means that we have access to heavenly beings that can help us fulfill God's plan. We can now see into spiritual realms that have been hidden before Christ came. We now have access into spiritual things if we boldly access them.
Lord, teach us how to do this. Show us heavenly beings who are waiting for us to give them something to do to further God's work on earth. Open our spiritual eyes to see into the spiritual realm.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Wed.'s Devo - You are the Temple of the Holy Spirit

Read Ephesians 2:1-22
We were once dead in our sins and walked led by Satan. All of our business was centered around our selves and our selfish desires. But, our merciful Father chose to send us life through Christ's salvation so that we are now raised up with him and sitting with him in heavenly places. This is God's gift to us. We didn't do anything to deserve it or earn it so that we wouldn't be able to take any credit for God's amazing grace.
Verse 10 says that we are his workmanship which translates "product, fabric." We are the culmination of Christ's work on the cross. Christ's death means that now he is duplicated in us and spread all over the world. We are the very fabric of God's creation. We are the product of what Jesus did.
We who were Gentiles were not in the family of God till Jesus came. We didn't know the covenants of Moses or the promises of God. But now, because of the blood that Jesus shed we are brought in to this family and made heirs to all his promises to the Jews. Jesus is the mediator between us and the Jews. He has made us one new race in him. So the Jew and the Gentile are both brought into God's family and made to be one body putting to death the division that existed between the Jew and the Gentile. Now we both have access to God through the Holy Spirit. Our foundation now is the apostles and prophets and Jesus who is our chief cornerstone. We are the building blocks which make the temple that God can dwell in.
Lord, inhabit your people. Place the Holy Spirit as a seal over our hearts that we might know our inheritance in You.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Tue.'s Devo - Our Inheritance

Read Ephesians 1:13-23
After we were saved we were stamped with a secret mark by the Holy Spirit which is our proof that one day we will inherit eternal life. In the Old Testament it was the blood over the door posts, or the circumcision of the flesh. In Revelation the devil has his counterfeit mark which will be imposed on everyone if they want to be able to buy or sell. It means that you belong to him. His will be obvious and blatant. God's mark is secret and ours for the choosing. It enables us to buy gold and silver in the kingdom which is better than all the gold and silver in the world. The devil's mark will lead to eternal damnation; the mark of the Holy Spirit will lead to eternal life.
Then Paul prays one of my favorite prayers in the Bible in verses 17-23. The first thing he prays for is the spirit of wisdom and revelation in our knowledge of him. We have to have this to be able to understand this glorious book. The Bible is alive but filled with hidden meaning, types and shadows, secrets and mysteries that we need help understanding. The Holy Spirit is the teacher and can lead us into all truth. He opens the eyes to our understanding so that we can know why we were chosen and all the glorious things we have available to enable us to do our calling. When Jesus rose from the grave to receive his inheritance he was given a place higher than all the demonic powers of evil and of heaven. He is now our leader and we are now his body. Is there anything impossible to him? Is there anything impossible to us? We are one.
Lord, help us to fathom this and use it for your glory. Open the eyes of our understanding to be able to comprehend this great inheritance we have been given.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Mon.'s Devo - Called from the Beginning

Read Ephesians 1:1-12
Ephesians was written to us: the faithful in Christ Jesus so let's read it like a personal letter to us. Paul prays God's grace and peace to be ours. That is worth meditating till it works itself deep into our hearts. Because of Jesus, we have been blessed with all spiritual blessings that Jesus is experiencing in heaven. That is pretty amazing and what is even more amazing is that he chose us to know him and be adopted into his family before the foundation of the earth was laid. He chose us from the beginning to be the ones who would say yes to his calling and come into his love. In order to do this we had to be redeemed, or bought back from our state of sin brought on by the fall. Now that we are part of this supernatural race we have all spiritual and worldly wisdom and insight so that we are able to understand his mysteries about what he has determined to do. In the end of time God is going to sum up all things in Christ and every prophecy will be fulfilled on earth and in heaven. Then we will receive our assigned allotment or inheritance that has been predetermined for his purpose. It will all bring glory to God.
This is the gospel in a nutshell but it is a little heavy also. It is hard to imagine that God has always known us from the beginning of time. He is very patient and abounds in merciful kindness. Lord, pour out you grace and wisdom on us. May our wills be yours and our hearts be totally turned to you.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Sat.'s Devo - What's Coming

It's Saturday and I am praying about what book to start on Monday. I thought I would share some things that I believe God has shown me about what is about to happen. I see God being stirred by Jesus to come to earth and reveal himself. When this happens people are going to flock to places that are allowing Jesus to manifest his power; where He is lifted up. There is going to be an explosion of power when the church meets Jesus face to face. I don't know what this is going to look like, only that it is going to happen. The barrier between the spiritual world and the natural world is going to get thinner and thinner and we are going to see colors of people. God's people are going to literally shine with God's glory and the people that are seeking are going to want to be around us because they feel peaceful when they are near us. The time of the Gentiles is coming to a close which means a great harvest first. Then the Jew is going to be awakened to truth. We are truly living in the most exciting times yet. What God is doing he has never done before. We have no model or precedence. We need to be open and easily moved by God. He is changing our values and we need to change with him. So do justly, love mercy and walk humbly with your God and you will be right where you can be used.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Fri.'s Devo - Come and Dine

Read John 21:7-25
Peter was the impulsive one. He can't wait till the boat gets to land: he jumps out and swims. Forget the fact that they needed help with all the fish they were dragging in. Jesus was on land waiting with a spread of fish and bread cooking on the warm fire. He asked them to give some of their fish too. God always requires something of us. He is always willing to feed us but we have to do our part too. This time it meant giving fish. So Peter goes out to the boat and drags the nets to the land and even though there were 153 fish, the net didn't break. If every fish weighed 5 pounds that would be 765 lbs!
Jesus said, "Come and dine." So this was the third time he had appeared to them and he broke bread and fed them. Then he turned to Peter and asked him three times if he loved him more than he loved the disciples and three times Peter answered him yes. Each time Jesus told him to feed his sheep. Jesus was doing what he wanted the church to do: feed the sheep.
Then Jesus went on to prophesy the death that Peter would die and when Peter asks about John's prophecy, Jesus tells him to mind his own business.
The last verse tells us that Jesus did so many other miracles that they couldn't write them all down. That is a word to the church. We are to feed God's people the Word of God and watch God do so many miracles that we can't write them down. So respond to his invitation to come and feast on his words.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Thur.'s Devo - Let's Get on God's Side

Read: John 21:1-6
The next time Jesus showed himself to his disciples they were out fishing. It makes me wonder who else he was appearing to when he wasn't with the disciples. I know he walked with the two men on the way to Emaeus. I wish we knew who else got to spend time with him during this earthly stay. Back to the story... The disciples had been fishing all night without catching a thing. Morning is dawning and Jesus calls out to them from the shore asking them if they had caught anything. When they say, "No", he tells them to cast their net on the right side of the ship and they will find fish. I've been to the sea of Galilee and I've been in one of those boats like the one they were in and the distance between one side of the boat and the other is only about 15 feet. Jesus was trying to teach them a principle. "Right" in the Greek means "receive". He wanted them to have faith to receive. It was a picture he was painting them of their future. Right now disciples (fish) were hard to find. Everyone had scattered and lost faith when Jesus was crucified. But now they needed to be ready to receive because God was going to give them so many fish that they wouldn't know what to do with them. The difference between the left side of the boat and the right was the Holy Spirit that he was about to give them. It was going to make the difference in their fishing for men. It did because on the day of Pentecost when God did send his Holy Spirit, three thousand were saved in one day. That was a pretty good haul!
God is about to do that same multiplication in our lifetime. I have never seen hearts so hungry and ready to receive hope and good news. We carry that good news so open your mouth and share it. Throw your nets on the right side of the boat and get ready to receive the harvest of souls because it is surely coming.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Wed.'s Devo - Unseen Belief

Read: John 20:24-31
Thomas joins the disciples and hears that Jesus appeared to them and he missed it. They tell him that Jesus showed them his hands and his side and Thomas makes his bold statement about how he won't believe till he sees his hands and puts the hands in the prints on his side. It has been eight days since they saw Jesus and he suddenly appears in the room and says, "Thomas, because you have seen me, you believe: blessed are they that have not seen and yet have believed." I don't know how Thomas felt, but I can only imagine. Thomas' name means "twin" or "double". I think it is because we are his twin and his double. We have all asked to see before we would believe. A person receives a miracle healing and we immediately think of some way it could have happened naturally. Everything we receive from God requires unseen faith. Without faith it is impossible to please God. The whole spiritual world is invisible to our natural eyes but open to our spiritual eyes if we would just learn to open them. We all need encounters of our own and God knows that. That is why he will come to us if we ask. It might not be the way we were expecting, but it will be an encounter none the less.
I pray that we will get to the place where we don't have to see to believe then we will be truly blessed like Jesus said. Lord, open our spiritual eyes and speak to our spiritual ears. Reveal yourself to us.

Tues.'s Devo - Breathe on Us

Read John 20:19-23
It is the first day of the week and the disciples are hiding from the Jews when Jesus appears in the room. His first words are: "Peace be to you." Then he shows them his hands and his side to prove to them that he is in fact Jesus. Then he commissions them out just as God had commissioned him to come to earth. He breathes on them and says, "Receive the Holy Ghost." Then he gives them the power to forgive sins or to retain them. I understand him breathing on them and telling them to receive the Holy Spirit because that is what he died to release to us. But what did he mean by whoever's sins you remit will be remitted and whoever's sins you retain, they are retained? That is a lot of power given to us. So why aren't we going around telling people their sins are forgiven? And why would we retain someone's sins? I don't know the answers but I do know that forgiveness is a powerful force. To give forgiveness to people can cause bodily healing and mental healing. Unforgiveness can cause cancer, arthritis, and migraines to name a few. If you hold a person in unforgiveness you keep them and yourself in a prison, but if you release them through forgiveness you release both.
I wonder if we as a church have learned either of those things: how to receive the Holy Spirit or how to remit or retain sins. I know I haven't touched the surface. That is the great thing about God: he is a bottomless well of living water and there is always more. Teach us, Lord how to honor your teachings and implement them into our lives.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Mon.'s Devo - Call us by Name

Read John 20:11-18
They had all seen the empty tomb and left - that is, all but Mary. She stood beside the tomb crying and once more looked into the sepulchre. Much to her surprise, there were 2 angels sitting where Jesus had been laid. One at the head and one at the feet. They asked her why she was crying and she told them that they had taken Jesus' body somewhere and she didn't know where they had taken it. When she turned around she was face to face with Jesus. He asked her the same questions, Why are you weeping? and Who are you looking for? Her eyes must have been foggy with tears because she didn't recognize him and thought him to be the gardner. She asked where he had taken Jesus' body because she wanted it. Then he said her name. I can't imagine what she felt when she heard, really heard his voice calling her name like he had done so many times when he walked on earth. She immediately knew who he was. She must have made a move to hug him because he stopped her and told her not to touch him because he had not gone to heaven yet. He instructed her to go tell the disciples that he is going to ascend to his Father, God. So she ran and told them what had just happened.
This passage makes me see what a personal God Jesus is. Mary couldn't see till he called her name. I think of people I witness to that just can't see Jesus. The good news is that he will call them personally by name when he knows they are seeking him. Mary was seeking him so he came to her and called her by name. The disciples had given up and gone home. They missed it. But Jesus is going to come to them personally too. He promised he would give everyone an opportunity to hear their call. Lord, I pray that people everywhere would seek you and that you would come and call them out of darkness into your marvelous light.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Sat.'s Devo - God's Appointments

This week was a week of reunions with old friends. My close friend Anna came to visit Monday through Wed. We ended up at the church where I showed her the new sanctuary. We went up on the stage and ended up at the piano. She asked me if I wanted to sing and though it was very dark but we figured out how to turn the little lights on over the music sheets. We went out to her car and got her stack of worship songs and came back and started singing and worshiping together. Gloria came through and asked us if we wanted light which was a welcome blessing. Then after about an hour, Monte came through and started talking to us. We talked for another hour and he asked Anna to come back that night and share with the worship team during their meeting. We had just enough time to go home, eat, and come back. It was one of those divine appointments.
The whole time she was here I felt like she needed to talk to Lonita and the pastor. It is not a hard thing to talk to Lonita, except that she was sick, but getting to talk to the pastor is almost impossible. Finally on Wed. I told her we needed to go see Lonita. I knew in my spirit that we would see Alex too. Sure enough Lonita was back and after meeting with her for a while, Alex, our pastor walked in. He stayed and visited for about 30 minutes and it was another divine appointment. I love to walk by the spirit. I have come to realize that no relationships are for nought, they all serve a reason if you are walking in the steps God has prepared for you. After Anna left an old friend, Salley, from Wisconsin came through to see me. We had the best talks about the Lord and she went away with a lighter load and joy in her heart. I am so grateful to God for the friends he has put in my life. Today I will teach my first Bible study about God's appointments in his feasts. He has made an appointment to meet with us today, and everyday. It is just up to us to come.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Fri.'s Devo - O Death Where is Thy Sting?

Read John 20:1-10
It is the first day of a new week in the disciple's lives and also in the life of the world. Everything had changed with Jesus' death. A new day was about to dawn. Mary probably didn't get much, if any sleep the night before, so she comes to the grave while it is still night. When she arrives at the grave the stone has been taken away. Matthew 28 says that the angel of the Lord was sitting on the stone. He told them that Jesus was not there but risen. Then he told them to go and tell the disciples that he was risen from the dead and had gone to Galilee to meet them.
When Mary saw the empty tomb she ran to get Peter and John. They arrived and looked into the tomb, seeing the linen clothes lying on the place where Jesus had been. They saw that the napkin that had been on his head was folded and placed in a place alone. His other linen garments were there also.
My pastor in Louisiana told us that in the days of Jesus the carpenter would always have a napkin with him that he used to wipe the sweat from his face or wipe his hands while he was working. When he would finish a piece he was working on he would fold his napkin and place it beside his work to say that it was finished to the best of his ability and he was pleased. This is what Jesus did. He folded his napkin that was on his face and placed it on his empty slab to say that he had finished the work he was sent to do on earth and he was pleased.
When Peter and John saw this they believed and went home. It said that they didn't yet know the scripture that said he would rise again. I'm sure there was much prophecy that they hadn't understood before that was going to become life to them now.
Lord, may we, at the end of our life here on earth, be able to fold our napkins and say, we have fought the fight and we have finished our course.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Thurs.'s Devo - O Grave Where is Your Power?

Read John 19:38-42
Joseph of Arimathaea, an underground believer begged Pilate for the body of Jesus so he could put it in his tomb. In the Old Testament Joseph made the Israelites promise that they would take his bones into the promise land, a land full of milk and honey- God's garden. So they put Josephs bones in a container and carried them into the Promise Land and buried him there. Jesus is carried by another Joseph into a stone container where he will ascend to his promise land. This tomb was in a garden which was where Jesus' earthly life started - the garden of Eden. It says of this sepulcre (which means "a remembrance") was where never man yet laid. That is because man had never been here before. This was a new kind of death: it paid for the sin of mankind and this death defeated death. The grave would never be the same. It had lost it's power and death had lost its sting.
Nicodemus which means "victorious" brought spices to anoint Jesus' body. In the Old Testament spices were used to make anointing oil to anoint people and things for God's service. Everything that was anointed with this oil was considered holy. Jesus was wrapped in linen cloths to signify his priestly office. This was to be his new ministry - our High Priest. He now intercedes for us at the right hand of the father.
Jesus, thank you for the cruel death you endured so that we might enter into this promised land by grace. You are our victorious warrior!

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Wed.'s Devo - The Blood that Flowed

Read John 19:31-37
The Jews needed the crucifixion to be over so they could prepare for the high sabbath that was coming. To be able to participate in the passover a person couldn't be contaminated by touching a dead person and there was much to do to prepare for the sabbath. To the Jews the Sabbath was a day when the Gates of Hell are closed, and evil has no power. On that day Jesus was going down to the depths of hell and taking away the keys from the Devil. He was also rescuing the believers from death to be resurrected with him. On the Sabbath they couldn't work or buy food so all that had to be taken care of the day before. Their houses had to be clean so they could entertain on the Sabbath and all food had to be prepared ahead so they wouldn't work on that day.
To hurry the death of those on the cross they would break the bones in their legs so they would not be able to push up to breathe. They broke the bones of the other two men but when they came to Jesus, he was already dead so they didn't have to break his bones. This was also a fulfillment of the ordinances of the passover: the lamb was not to have any of its bones broken. The soldier pierced Jesus side and water and blood flowed out of it. This is the picture of the brazen altar in the tabernacle in the wilderness. The priest would pour water in the spout where the blood was so that the blood would flow. This blood and water would flow out of the side of the altar and when the person who offered the lamb saw the blood flow he knew that his sacrifice had been accepted by God. This was also the fulfillment of Zec. 12:10 that says they will look upon the one they have pierced, and they shall mourn for him.
Lord, thankyou for being the Passover Lamb that saves all repentant people from their sins.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Tues.'s Devo - The Hyssop

Read John 19:25-30
Jesus is on the cross and three Mary's are below: his mother, his aunt, and the prostitute who anointed him for burial. Jesus, who came to save the whole earth made sure his earthly mother was taken care of before he left this earth. That was his way of honoring her for allowing herself to be used by God to bring him forth. She loved him and raised him undergoing persecution and misunderstanding. She had stood by him till the end and he did not forget her. And then, to fulfill scripture he said, "I thirst." It was like he was following a script. What he said was not prophesy but what they did next was. They brought a vessel full of vinegar, filled a sponge with the vinegar, put it upon a hyssop and put it to his mouth. When he had received the vinegar he said, "It is finished:" and bowed his head and gave up the ghost.
In Exodus, the man of the house was to apply the blood with the hyssop and strike the lintel and two side posts with the blood of the lamb. The door was a picture of Jesus and the blood was applied to every place Jesus would be pierced.
The hyssop was also used in cleansing a person from leprosy. This time they used a bird to represent Jesus. It was also used by the priest to proclaim a house free of leprosy and a person clean from touching the dead. Hebrews tells us that the priest used hyssop to sprinkle the book and all the people to cleanse them.
Jesus, on the cross tasted the bitterness of sin in that vinegar. It was raised on a hyssop because that was the instrument God used to represent his hand. Jesus received from God's hand the bitterness of sin to cleanse us from the sin we were saturated in. His blood cleansed us from our sins.
How do we say thanks?

Monday, January 4, 2010

Monday's Devo - The God of Detail

Read John 19:23-24
When I read the part about Jesus clothes it makes me once again realize how minutely intricate God is. He had prophesied that seemingly insignificant part which wasn't insignificant to God. It makes me realize how detailed God is. The other day, I had had breakfast with a friend and started driving home. It hit me that I shouldn't go home but I didn't know where I was suppose to go; I just knew I needed to turn around. So I pulled over into a parking lot to listen. I went over my mental list of all the things I wanted to do that day and realized I should could go to Hobby Lobby and get something I knew I would need. After that, I remembered I needed to go to my bank and it was right across the street. As I was coming out of the ATM drive I looked up and realized that Ellis Pottery was going out of business. I didn't know what I could get there but just knew I needed to go. Once there, I looked around for something to put my fabric books on like a shelf. All of a sudden I saw it: a purse rack that was free-standing and perfect to hang my sample books on. I asked about it and they said it wasn't for sale. Then he said, "I'll go ask." He came back and said he would sell it for $20. I said, "Sold!" What a deal! And I would have missed it if I hadn't have stopped to listen. God is so interested in what interests us, but more important he loves for us to allow him to speak to us and hear him. It is all a lesson in hearing his voice.
So, back to our reading, Ps. 22:18 says, "they part my garments amoung them, and cast lots upon my vesture." I wonder if that annointed cloth brought them a curse of a blessing.
Lord, I am always amazed at how personal and kind you are. You are a God of detail because you love every detail about us and we love every detail about you.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Sat.'s Devo - Word for the Year

Every year I ask God for a word and my word for 2010 is "contend". I looked up the word in the dictionary and it means to stretch out, strive after, to strive in combat or opposition; fight, struggle; to strive in competition; compete; (to contend for a prize); to hold to be a fact; assert(we contend that he is guilty). In this world of chaos and fear we are going to have to contend for peace. In a business where I am dependent on people wanting to beautify their house and have custom-made accessories I am going to have to contend to believe God is able to complete what he started in me.
The word "contend" is mentioned 14 times in the Bible. It's first mention is in Deu. 2:9 where God is telling Moses NOT to contend with the Moabites because he has not given them their land, nor the Ammonites (vs. 19). All the way they walked God had gone before them and killed their enemies till they got to the river Arnon where God said, "Rise up, take your journey, and pass over the river Arnon: behold, I have given into thine hand Sihon the Amorite, king of Heshbon, and his land: begin to possess it, and contend with him in battle. This day I will begin to put the dread of you and the fear of you upon the nations that are under the whole heaven, who shall hear report of you, and shall tremble, and be in anguish because of you."
That is what we as God's children are to do this year: contend with the devil over what God has given us. God has given us everything that pertains to life and godliness and we need to appropriate our rights as children of the king. We need to say as Jesus did when tempted by the devil: "It is written...." In Isa. 49:25 God says, "I will contend with him that contends with me, and I will save your children."
Jude exhorts us to earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints.
So what are we going to contend for? Peace, rest, joy, faith, love, forgiveness, hope, truth, perseverance, healing, deliverance, salvation, wholeness, provision, blessing, and a more intimate walk with our Lord and Saviour knowing that our God has given us all authority and power over everything he has created, esp. the devil. May we use this power to further your kingdom here on earth as it is in heaven

Friday, January 1, 2010

Fri.'s Devo -Happy New Year!

Read: John 19:16-22
What a great time to be living! Could we be the generation that sees Jesus come through the clouds? I hope so. In our study we are at the time when Jesus is going to be crucified on a cross. Pilate put a placard on his cross that said, JESUS OF NAZARETH THE KING OF THE JEWS. When he comes back he will wear the words KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS. He will not just be the king of the Jews but he will be everyone's king and lord. Pilate wouldn't change the sign when the Jews asked him to. His answer was, "What I have written, I have written." What a statement. God has written everything that is going to happen in the Word from the beginning to the end and it will come to pass at the exact moment he said it would.
Jesus bore his cross into a place called the place of the skull. This place means a horn. In Revelation horns stood for kingdoms. So Jesus went down into the kingdom of the dead - Satan's kingdom. There he was crucified between two other men. One man choose to leave this earthly kingdom and join Jesus in his kingdom in heaven. The other man chose to leave this earthly kingdom and join an even worse kingdom in Hell. I think this was a picture of what Jesus was about to do. He was going to leave this earthly kingdom and descend down into the devil's lair and preach to those in underground cities of refuge. They, like the men on the crosses would choose whose kingdom they would join.
Lord, help us to declare your kingdom to those in the kingdom of death.
I want to encourage you to ask God for a word for this next year. I have and will tell you about it tomorrow. I would love to hear your word.