Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Wed.'s Devo - Lay Aside 3-31-10
Read I Pet. 2:1-5
We are to lay aside all malice, guile, hypocrisies, envies and evil speakings which is understandable if we want to grow in the Lord, but what about all the malice, guile, hypocrisies, envies and evil speaking done to us? That is a little harder. Malice means bad, evil, depraved acts, trouble. What if you were abused as a child, or as an adult? What if you partner in business embezzled your profits and left you bankrupt? That's a little harder. Guile means a trick or deceit. What if you've been tricked into marrying the wrong person, buying a car that was a lemon, buying a house with structural problems? Can you lay that aside? Hypocrisy means to play a part. Maybe someone pretended to be your friend for alternative motives. Maybe you trusted a pastor who was a fraud. Envy means jealousy or spite. Maybe a relative was so jealous of your position in the family they tried to ruin your life. Evil speakings is defamation and backbiting. Have you ever made a big mistake and your friends couldn't forgive you, so they spoke behind your back and ruined your reputation. We have all had something like this happen to us and Peter tells us in one sentence to lay all this down. But he tells us how.
We are to desire the pure, deceitful, unadulterated milk of the word so that we can grow beyond all that. The Word is the opposite of malice, guile, etc. Through it we taste the Lord's graciousness and love. Just like Jesus was a living stone, rejected of men yet precious to God; we are living stones which together form an altar that can offer up acceptable spiritual sacrifices.
Lord, help us to lay down our sins and the sins done to us and desire your Word which can be a lamp to our walk and a light to our future.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Tue.'s Devo - The Loins of Your Mind

Read I Pet. 1: 13-25
What is "the loins of your mind"? We are suppose to continually be putting a belt on our mind. Our loins are our procreative power; what produces life. Our minds can produce all kinds of powerful things. We can let our minds hear a little bump in the night and turn it into a murderer coming in to kill us. We are to constantly rope in our imaginations and instead set them on heavenly things. You can read the newspapers and get surrounded by doubt and fear or you can choose to see that God is in control of this universe and it is all going as planned. If we are in the last days, we can expect things to look bad, but we as Christians are under God's wing and nothing can harm us there. We are living for eternity, not the here and now. Now is the time to be holy like never before. We do that by guarding the things that come out of our mouths, conforming our lives to God, not judging others and fearing God alone.
For we were not saved by the material things of the world but by the precious blood of Jesus who came at the set time and has become evident to us. So we who believed in him were born again by a spiritual seed called the Word which is eternal. Everything God made on earth is meant to die except his word which lives on forever.
Help us to gird up the loins of our minds today and put on the belt of truth.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Mon.'s Devo - Eternally Chosen

Read 1 Pet. 1:1-12
Peter is writing to the scattered "strangers". In the next verse he calls them the "elect" which means "select; favorite; chosen". What an honor to be God's favorite. That is us!!! He goes on to say we have been given new birth with an expectation and confidence of faith because Jesus rose from the grave. We have been saved to an undecaying inheritance that is eternally ours. We have been kept by the Holy Spirit and preserved until we will be disclosed at the end of time.
Right now we are in a season of temptations and trials but these trials are worth more than any worldly gold or possession. And our fiery trials will be our praise and our gift to Jesus when he comes back. Our faith is not in what we can see with our eyes but what we believe. When it is all over we will rejoice with great joy and praise.
This salvation that we take for granted was something the prophets of the Old Testament received some revelation about but it was still a mystery they tried to comprehend. They prophesied of Christ's death (Is. 53) and his coming in glory. They knew that what they were seeing was not for them but for us. This mystery of Jesus was hidden even from the angels. Why did God have to hide these things? I think it is because he did not want the enemy to steal his plans. That is why he still hides things like the mysteries in Revelation. He crypts things. If we realize these things we will realize that he still speaks cryptically to us like dreams, numbers on the alarm clock, nature, news, etc.
Lord, help us to gratefully receive what you have given us so freely. Open to us the mysteries of your ways and the way you speak to us.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Fri.'s Devo - Jerusalem

How can you write about Jerusalem in a few paragraphs? It is mentioned 767 times in the Bible.
The wise men went to Jerusalem to find the new king whose star they had followed. They had to be astrologers because if this star was so obvious how come they were the only one who saw it. They believed that the appearance of a new star meant the birth of a new king so they followed it to Jerusalem where it was prophesied "the city of the great King." It was once known as Salem which is the same Salem that Melchizadek was king of. It has also been called Zion or the city of David.
By the law the men of Israel were to go to Jerusalem 3 times a year for the feast of unleavened bread, Pentecost, and feast of tabernacles. Jesus did this and attended every feast. His parents took him there as a child of 12.
It is the holy city for Jews, Christians, and Islams and all 3 want control of the Temple Mount. The Temple Mount is believed to be the Mount Moriah which is where Abraham took Isaac to be sacrificed. God provided a sacrifice and Isaac was spared. Later in history David bought this piece of land from Ornan for Solomon to build a house for God. Right now the Muslims have control of it and have built a mosque on it called the Dome of the Rock.
Jerusalem is where Jesus cast out the merchants that had set up tables outside the temple. He preached many a sermon from the steps of the temple. And finally he was betrayed and crucified in Jerusalem. But it is not over. He will come back and set up a new Jerusalem which will be splendid and holy.
Lord, may we say like David, "Our feet shall stand within thy gates, O Jerusalem." And may we pray for the peace of Jerusalem.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Thur.'s Devo - The Salt Sea

Read Gen 14
Another name for the Salt Sea is also known as the sea of Arabah or the Dead Sea because it is so salty nothing can live in it. I remember well swimming in this sea the last time I was in Israel. You can't drown because of the salt content. Everything floats. It is the lowest spot on the earth (above water).
It is first mentioned in Gen 14 where nine evil kings came together to fight. Five of the kings had served Chedorlaomer, a Persian king and they rebelled after 14 years. Two of the kings that rebelled were the kings of Sodom and Gomorrah. They took Lot captive since he was living in Sodom. One of the men escaped and told Abraham. The king of Chedorlaomer had been unstoppable till they met Abraham and his 318 men. Abraham attacked at night and got back everything they had taken including Lot. When they got back to Sodom the king of Salem, Melchizedek came and brought Abraham bread and wine and blessed him. Abraham gave Melchizedek a tithe of all he had but when the King of Sodom tried to pay him for helping them Abraham would not take anything. These kings were evil kings and the only reason Abraham got involved was to rescue his nephew Lot. His King was the King of Salem -(Peace), not the King of Sodom (to scorch, bituminous) The Dead Sea is a picture of Hell's waters.
Lord, give us discernment to know good from evil and truth from lies.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Wed.'s Devo - Parables by the Sea

Read Matt. 13
By the Sea of Galilee was the setting for Jesus' parables. Matt. 13 was preached from a ship in the sea. Jesus always spoke to the people about the kingdom of God in parables. When his disciples asked him why he spoke to the people in parables but told them the meaning; he told them it was only for the masses to know the mysteries of the kingdom because God had chosen to give this to them. The people had natural eyes but they couldn't see spiritually. But when he gives you eyes to see spiritually and you use them then he multiplies that ability. In his parables he explains the kinds of people he is talking about. The first one hears the truth but has no understanding so he looses what he heard. The second one hears it and is excited till the trials of life happen and he gets bitter toward God and gives up. The third hears the Word and he is so distracted by life and getting ahead down here that he loses it also. But the forth is the good soil, the hungry heart, that receives the Word and he lets it become his food. He lives it and shares it with others. He produces much fruit.
Every parable is about the Word going forth and producing disciples which was a mystery to them. This meant that the Jews weren't just in the kingdom because they were Jews and it also meant that the Gentiles had the same rights to the kingdom. This was pretty blasphemous to the Scribes and Pharisees.
The Devil has the same plan and throws his seed into the lot, but in the end his seed will be burned in the fire of Hell.
Lord, I am always praying this but I believe it is your heart: Give us eyes to see and a heart to understand your mysteries and may we produce much fruit.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Tue.'s Devo - Sea of Galilee

The Sea of Galilee is where Jesus did most of his ministry. He called Simon Peter and Andrew who were fishermen to put down their nets and follow him. Then he walked on down the shore and saw brothers James and John and called them, They too left their nets, their ship, and their father, and followed Jesus immediately. Does that sound strange to you, too? What made them just drop everything and follow Jesus?
I'll give you a little history that might help. In the Jewish culture all Jewish boys went to school and memorized the Torah. If they proved to be excellent students they were asked to stay and study further. They memorized the Talmud as well. If they were the top of their class they were given the privilege of reading from the Torah on the Sabbath and when they graduated they were called a Rabbi. They were able to add to the Talmud their "yoke" which was their interpretation of the law. Upon graduation they would go out and choose men to follow them and be their disciples. This was a great privilege to be asked to follow a Rabbi and the goal of every mother. Jesus was called a Rabbi and he was allowed to read from the Torah in the synagogue on the Sabbath. He spoke of his yoke being easy, instead of more rules. He chose disciples, but instead of choosing the top in the class, he went to the seashore and picked fishermen, and tax-collectors. He didn't see men by their great learning but by their teachability. These men were teachable and that was what he was looking for - hearts that would turn.
So maybe that is why they were so quick to leave everything and follow Jesus or maybe, like in the movies, there was just something magical about him that drew them. I guess we'll never know till we get to heaven.
Lord, thank you that you don't choose looking on the outward appearance, but you look at the heart and you look for hearts that are teachable and easy to turn toward you. May we stay that way.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Mon.'s Devo- Nazareth Pt.2

Read Luke 4:23-31
Jesus is in his hometown and has just read his mission statement and sat down at the attention of everyone in the synagogue. He then prophesies that in the future they are going to hear about the miracles he is going to be doing in Capernaum and ask why he didn't do any here. But his reply is going to be, "No prophet is accepted in his own country." Then he goes on to offend them even more when he uses 2 examples of people being singled out by God to be healed. The offensive thing is that they are both Gentiles. What? Who was this ordinary man they knew as a kid coming in here telling them that God was going to pass them up and go after Gentiles? This was blasphemous! That is why they rose up and threw him out of the city and would have pushed him over the hill if God hadn't transported him to Capernaum where he was going to do those miracles he told them he would do.
When he got there he taught in the synagogue and a man with a demon started manifesting. He recognized Jesus as the son of God and Jesus shut him up and delivered the guy. The people were so amazed they told everyone so that the fame of him went out into every place of the country round about - that would include Nazareth.
Lord, may we, like Jesus not let the rejection of one group stop us from being bold with the next. If we follow you we will face persecution and rejection. May it make us stronger.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Fri.'s Devo - Nazareth

Read Luke 4:16-22
Mary and Joseph had left Bethlehem and hid out in Egypt for Jesus' safety. When the danger was over they came back and lived in Nazareth. The prophets had said that he would be called a Nazarene which confused the religious people who knew the Messiah should come from Bethlehem. It didn't compute in their land of study. God in his wisdom always hides his truths from the wise and reveals them to babes.
Jesus emerges at the age of 30 and goes first to be baptized, then be led into the dessert to be tempted then comes back to his hometown. He has something to say to them so he entered the synagogue and stood to read. Every Sabbath they would have 7 people read: a priest, a Levite and 5 ordinary Israelites. Everyone who read was handed the scroll and they had to open it, read, then roll it back up and give it to the temple aide. I'm sure they read more than a part of a verse. Jesus found the place they had left off and read it. He stopped just before he got to the part that talked about the vengeance of God because it was not time for that to be fulfilled. He sat down and proclaimed that today that scripture was fulfilled in their ears. The people were shocked - wasn't this Mary and Joseph's son? What happened to him? Tomorrow we will continue this.
Lord, may we be as bold as you were in dealing with our family and our friends that have known us all our lives. May we boldly proclaim who you are in us because we too have the Spirit of the Lord on us and have been anointed to preach the gospel to the poor; heal the brokenhearted, preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised, and to preach the acceptable year of the Lord.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Thurs.'s Devo. Cana of Galilee

Read John 2:1-11
Next we will travel to the city where Jesus performed his first public miracle. It makes me wonder how many non-public miracles he did. Was Mary used to seeing Jesus do extraordinary things? Is that why she told the waiters to do exactly what he said? Let's look at that miracle.
It begins on the 3rd day which is a clue something big is about to happen because something big always manifests on the 3rd day. Jesus goes to a marriage which is the perfect place to start his ministry which right away he gives us this clue. That is why God created the world - to find a bride suitable for his son. So it is fitting that he start here. At the wedding there is no wine so Mary tells Jesus. Jesus says, "Woman, what have I to do with thee? mine hour is not yet come." Did she realize that he was talking about his death? I think this was one of the many things Jesus said for later. They didn't understand it then but they would need it and get it later. I think this was one of those lines. So there were these 6 waterpots that they used to clean their hands before they ate and Jesus tells them to fill them up with water. These 6 waterpots stood for people since 6 is the number of man. We are empty clay pots that he fills up with his spirit then what is drawn out of us is wine: joy, life, and the fruit of God. The thing that always gets my attention is the faith of these servants. They filled the dirty waterpots with water and they were told to take this dirty water and give it to the governor of the feast. Their lives were on the line. Yet they did it risking his temper when he would taste the dirty water expecting wine. But that is not what happened. He tasted the best wine he had ever tasted because it was God's wine. Jesus came to die and give us this "new wine".
Lord, may we remember that you are always at work in our lives turning our water to wine.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Wed.'s Devo - Mt. Carmel

Mt. Carmel overlooks the western side of the Jezreel Valley. It is called the Rosh Kadesh which means "Holy Cape". It is described in the Bible as being both majestic and fertile. This is where Nebal, the evil husband of Abigail lived, who refused to let David's men pass through his land. Abigail risked her life to save her husband's and bless the people God blessed. In return, God rewarded her with a release from her evil husband and a new kingly husband.
Elijah challenged 450 prophets of Baal and won on this mountain.
This was also the place Elisha was when the Shunamite woman found him to come bring her son back to life.
On this mountain holy men went to be with God. You get the bigger picture when you are on a mountain overlooking cities where people look like ants. It will give you a glimpse at God's perspective and how magnificent God is. They received the power they were going to need to go down and fight the enemy whether it be an evil landowner, 450 false prophets, or death itself. It is in our prayer closet that the battle is won. When we come out it is just a matter of manifesting that power.
Lord, may we receive from you what we need to route demons and set people free.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Tues. Devo - The Jezreel Valley

The first place we will go to is the Jezreel Valley. The Jezreel Valley is north of Jerusalem in Lower Galilee. It is between Nazareth and Megiddo and flanked by Mount Tabor and Mount Carmel. It is known as the "rich valley" which always produced fine crops of wheat and barley but is remembered more for its road that crossed it in every direction. At one of its entrances is Megiddo, which was where many battles were fought and where the last battle will be fought.
The Kishon River used to flow through this valley until 1930. In Deborah's battle with Sisera God caused the Kishon River to sweep Sisera's army away. (Jud. 5:21)
Jesus probably passed through the Jezreel Valley many times on his family visits from Nazareth to Jerusalem. During Jesus ministry he came into a city in the Jezreel Valley called Nain. There was a funeral service talking place of the only son of a widow. Jesus had compassion on her and told her not to weep. They he raised the boy from the dead.
So this valley is a place of spiritual warfare. There is a battle over our fertile hearts and our fertile ministry. It is fought in the valley of Jezreel. The word Jezreel means "God will sow". There is a battle over our seed. Deborah's seed was the children of Israel. The widows seed was her only son and God raised them both up. In the end nations will gather her for the final battle of Armageddon where death is destroyed once and for all.
Lord, let us fight to protect the seed you have placed inside us and may we scatter it on fertile ground.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Monday's Devo - Let's Go Up to Zion!

Tomorrow I will be on my way to Israel and I wanted to take yall with me so I decided to blog ahead about the places I would see. First I want to tell a little about this fascinating land. When God appeared to Moses at the burning bush he told him that he had come to deliver them out of the hands of the Egyptians, and to bring them up out of that land to a land flowing with milk and honey. Which meant that the land was fruitful; full of wheat, barley, vines, fig trees, and pomegranates, a land of olive trees and honey where you will eat bread without scarcity, and you will lack nothing, a land whose stones are iron, and out of the hills you can dig copper. (Deut. 8:7-9) These promises were conditional on their obedience. The Promise Land wasn't like the flat land of Egypt but it had hills and valleys so they could have water continually. There was one problem and that was that there were inhabitants in the land and they would have to drive them out. God promised to do this for them if they obeyed his commands.
We have been given a promise from God called our destiny. It is a land of plenty and the only thing that is keeping us from conquering it is the occupants in our land. Our land is in our own body and our enemies are fear, rejection, our past, our family curses, etc. God told the children of Israel that he would drive them out little by little until they were large enough to occupy the land. That is what God does for us. As we allow him to drive out our enemies inside ourselves he occupies our land until he has totally taken over. Tomorrow we will go to the Jezreel Valley which was known as the "battlefield of empires" and "the prey and pasture of Arabs".
Lord, help us to occupy our land and take our destiny.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Fri.'s Devo - Hodge Podge

Read: James 5:12-20
"Let your nay be nay." That is a hard one. How much more interesting to put some expletives to emphasize our decision. If we realized that sometimes just a "No" is more powerful than a "_______ No". I don't have trouble not cussing but I do like to embellish my decisions sometimes which is wrong according to James.
Then James completely leaves this topic and starts talking about the sick. If you have anyone sick you are suppose to call the elders of the church and let them anoint him with oil and pray over him. This act of faith will save him and his sins will be forgiven. Many times sickness is the result of sin and can be healed by confessing your faults to someone and have them pray for you that you may be healed. When you are clean your prayer will have power because it will be coming from a righteous vessel.
Elijah was just a man with the same temptations we have, but he kept himself clean so when he prayed for it not to rain it didn't for 3 and a half years! Then he prayed for it to rain and it rained.
James jumps again. If you know of someone who has strayed from the truth and convince them to come back you have saved them from death and have hid their sins. That is what Jesus does for us.
Thank you Lord for your Word that convicts us of sin and draws us back to your fellowship.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Thur.'s Devo - Endure to the End

Read James 5:1-11

In this chapter James really comes down on the rich. Apparently they had forgotten the law that says to lend to the poor and give freely to those that need it. James tells these people that their riches are corrupted. These people were being rebuked for having great savings and neglecting the poor. They had also cheated their workers. They lived a life of pleasure at the expense of the needy, but their is a payday coming. Jesus is coming back to justify all injustices. If you happen to be one of the ones that have been cheated don't hold grudges because your father, the judge will handle everything. If you don't forgive then you will be condemned. Remember how the prophets suffered patiently, not taking up for themselves? Remember Job? He suffered so much in the beginning, but he endured and in the end God blessed him double. God is extremely compassionate and merciful.
Lord, help us to endure to the end so that your patience might be worked in us.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Wed.'s Devo- Live!

James 4:13-17
We are to plan like we are going to be here a forever and live like we are leaving tomorrow. It is sort of tricky but if we live knowing that God holds our times in his hands then we can be at peace. Our days are numbered and we don't know that number but God is the one that numbered them so he has already planned everything for our lives. We just have to walk in that plan. We are to live as Jesus did. He went about doing good. I looked up "live" and this is what I found:
We are to live by every word that proceeds from God's mouth.
Because Jesus' lived after he died, we will too.
In Jesus we live, and move, and have our being.
The just shall live by faith.
If we life through the Spirit and mortify the deeds of the body, we shall live.
If possible, we should live peaceably with all men.
If we preach the gospel, we should live by it.
For us to live is Christ, and to die is gain.
And last of all I pray that we would live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world; looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ. Lord, teach us to live.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Tues.'s Devo - Draw Near

James 4:1-12
James asks, "Where does war and fighting originate?" Is it not from the lusts within us. We desire things that aren't ours so we kill to get them. We don't have what we desire because we don't ask to fill it. When we do ask we are asking for the wrong things with the wrong motives. God calls this friendship with the world spiritual adultery. We can't be friends of the world and be God's friend too. It makes us his enemy. Our own spirit is completely vile but God's grace covers us if we resist our pride and humble ourselves before him. If we give ourselves totally to God and turn from the devil he will have to leave us alone. If we want to approach God he will meet us. He loves for us to draw near.
How do we approach a holy God? We cleanse our motives and our strengths and become single minded. We are ashamed and sorrowful about our state of sin because if we humble ourselves, he will lift us up and receive us. We stop doing God's job and let him judge people.
James gives us quite a list of do's and don'ts but it all boils down to laying down our lives and taking up the cross. No way we can do that except by his grace which he so freely gives us.
In a few days I will be going to Israel where I will see this lust and envy that leads to strife and murder play out. The sad thing is that murder is passed down from one generation to another and no one seems to see the obvious - turn back to God.
Lord, let us be examples to our Jewish brothers of love and unity. I pray for the peace of Jerusalem.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Mon.'s Devo -Rooted in Jesus

Read James 3:14-18
In yesterday's reading we talked about how deadly our tongues can be. It gave the example of how a fig tree can't bear olive berries, and a fountain can't yield salt and fresh water. So if we are truly walking with God and have committed ourselves to him we shouldn't speak curses and hateful things. It all stems from our heart. If we have envy and hate in our hearts we shouldn't lie about it. We should face it, repent, and do some house cleaning. The wisdom that makes us want to get back at someone, or want what they have is not God's wisdom but the Devil's. We know because envy and strife leads to confusion and sin. God's wisdom is pure, peaceable, gentle, compliant, merciful, and full of the fruit of the Spirit. It is impartial and sincere. If we scatter seeds of peace we will reap righteousness and peace. That is so much better than bitterness and strife.
Lord, let us walk in humility and forgiveness.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Fri.'s Devo -Tongues and Rudders and Bits, Oh My!

Read James 3:1-13
Verse 1 makes me want to quit. He says that we should not have many teachers because they will receive the greater judgment. We all get tripped up at some time, but if we are able to bridle our tongues we are able to bridle our whole body. I guess that is why he told us to be cautious if we are teachers since teachers use their mouths. Then he uses the examples of bits in horses' mouths and rudders on ships. These bits and rudders are our tongues. They may be small but they have great power to move and change things. They can say one small rumor about someone that can escalate into ruining one's reputation, or teach one wrong doctrine that can explode into starting a cult. With our tongue we can bring down a curse on the rest of our body or bring healing to the same part. The tongue is untamable by human means but anything is possible with God. The true test of whether a person is wise and knowledgeable is that his conversation is good. That word "conversation" means "behavior" which goes beyond your speech. Your speech reveals your heart and your behavior acts out your heart so they go hand in hand. It also says that a wise person's wisdom is humble. In other words they know when to speak and when to stay quiet. I think I'll shut up now.
Lord, help us!

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Thurs.'s Devo- You Can't Have One Without The Other

Read James 2:19-26
There are many people who believe in God but have never lived that faith. The demons know that God is the only God and fear him but fools know that and don't. If you don't live your faith then it is voided. Abraham is the prime example. Because he believed God was who he said he was he was willing to sacrifice his only son for him. His great faith which he demonstrated by his works made him righteous with God. God even called Abraham his friend. And that was the Old Testament. Just think of how much easier we have it in the New.
Rahab the harlot hid the Hebrew spies when they came to her city of Jericho to spy out the land. She believed in God so deeply that she risked her own life to save the spies. God rewarded her and her family and from her line came the Messiah. To have faith and not live it in works is as impossible as having a body without a spirit.
So this should answer some questions about people who claim to be saved. Are they living out their faith in works? If not then their faith is dead and they need new life.
Lord, may our faith be evident in our works. Let us be a catalysis to pump new life into dead faith.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Wed.'s Devo - Faith and Works

Read James 2:11-18
In the Old Testament if you broke one commandment, then it was the same judgment as if you broke them all. Because you got the same penalty - death. In the New Testament we are under the law of grace that we might be forgiven of our sins. But we will be judged with the same measure we judge so if we want mercy, we better give it.
Our righteousness cannot save us and never could. We have to have mercy. In the same way our faith cannot save us if we do nothing with it. It has to be exercised in works. Good works are the things that God puts before you. For example: you run into a person who is needy and you have the ability to help him physically so you do what you can. To send him away with just a prayer is not going to help him unless that is what God specifically told you to do. Faith that is never tested by good works is not valid and won't save you. Our works validate our faith and visa versa, you just can't have one without the other.
Lord, show us the good works that we are to walk in. May our works give glory to you.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Tues's Devo -Blessed are the Poor in Spirit

Read James 2:1-10
God hates injustice. He created all men, the poor and the rich. To some he placed in poor families and some he placed in rich. Jesus, himself said, You will always have the poor among you and that is true. What he is warning us against is treating a rich person with more honor than a poor. They are both people God loves and we should have his heart about them too. It is the poor that Jesus chose to be great in the kingdom because they are meek and humble. He said of the rich that it was hard for them to enter into the kingdom because you must become like a little child. But it is not impossible because with God all things are possible.
It all boils down to one commandment: "Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself." If we do this we will reach out to the rich and the poor and not even notice if they are rich or poor. Our neighbor means he lives close by. If we see everyone as someone who lives close by then we will feel comfortable and on the same plane because in Christ, we are on the same plane. We are all sinners.
Lord, examine our hearts and convict us of injustice and favorites. Help us to see ourselves and everyone around us as your children.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Mon.'s Devo - Experiential Knowledge

Read James 1:22-27
They say that the only way to really learn something is to experience it. That is what James is saying. You can read the Bible you whole life but if you don't apply it to you life it is not beneficial to you. It is as crazy as looking in a mirror and forgetting what you look like the minute you walk away. But if you look deeply into the Word of God and apply what you find then you will be blessed by God.
The proof of a changed life is one that can control his mouth. If you can't then your mouth cancels your worship. And to take it one step further.... pure religion is to visit the fatherless and the widows and to remain unspotted from the world. So we can stay unspotted from the world? Yes, we can.
I teach 6th and 7th grade girls and one of my girls said her teacher said that we all sin an average of 3 times a day. I told her that was dead wrong. Why do we think we have to sin? 2 Pet. 1:3-9 says that God has given us everything we need to live a godly life so that we may participate in the divine nature of God, having escaped the corruption in the world. I know I am talking about a mature Christian but it saddens me to hear Christians talk like they are doomed to sin. We have a sin nature but we are new creatures in Christ with a will to choose right from wrong. Experiencing God's presence and his Word keeps our desires from wanting to stray.