Friday, December 30, 2011

Fri.’s Devo - Living a Holy Life

Read 1 Peter 3:16-17

“Having a good conscience” means that no one can accuse you of wrong doing because you don’t do wrong. We CAN walk a holy walk. In Lev. 20:7, God told the people to sanctify themselves, and be holy; for he is a holy god- the only true ad holy God. Peter instructs the people to be holy in all manner of conversation because it is written, “be ye holy; for I am holy”. So it has been possible to live a holy life in the old and new testaments and there have been those who have: Enoch, Elisha, Daniel, John, Stephen, to name a few. Living a holy life doesn’t mean that you never make a mistake, it just means that you keep your heart pure by reading God’s Word and having an active relationship with the Holy Spirit. If you lead this holy life then you can be blameless of accusations and be free to live. People can accuse us all they want but God knows if it is true. If it isn’t then we don’t have to worry about clearing our names or fighting defensively: God will do that for us. Jesus was falsely accused of so many things that it finally earned him the cross. But God fought for him and through the cross we gained eternal life with God. We all get eternal life, but some will be tormented and some blessed. I’d rather spend my eternity being in the presence of God and ever growing in wisdom and knowledge of God and his ways.

Lord, help us to live a holy life that gives you honor and makes you smile.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Thurs.’s Devo - The Christian Walk

Read 1 Pet. 3:8-15

Peter tells us to be “all of one mind”. We will not always agree on everything but what we do agree with is the standard that Jesus was sent by god to earth to be our Savior. If that is our basic belief then we are one. We are to reach out to each other in compassion, love each other, be sympathetic, and kind. We are to bless those that are mean and speak evil of us. We are all called to blessings. If we want to love life and be blessed ourselves then we need to watch our conversation that we not speak negatively about anyone. We are to speck truth wrapped in compassion and love. We turn from evil and choose to do the right thing and we seek peace with everyone. God looks over his children and hears the prayers of those whose hearts are his. He also sees the wicked and is their enemy. So, if God is on our side, who can be against us and win? No one, not even the devil. If we suffer on this earth because we are God’s children, then we should be happy because God sees everything and writes it all down. It will be our reward in heaven. We should never fear anything because we walk with the Holy Spirit.

Help us to remember that you are our strong defense and ever present to help us when we need it. We honor you, Lord.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Wed.’s Devo - Submission… The 10-letter-word!

Read 1 Peter 3:1-7

I hate to even touch this scripture because of it abuse and bad connotations but we must. Submission sounds like a negative word but it is really suppose to be a positive one. Submission is honor and results in protection. When we submit to our husbands then we free God to work on them to bring about godly changes. When we are stubborn and try to change our husbands ourselves and are rebellious then it closes their hearts to us and to God. They will be won by the “conversation” which means “behavior” in the Greek. Actions do speak louder than words. Our beauty is not how we look outwardly, but how our heart is responding to situations. I have seen some beautiful women whose actions take away from their outward beauty, and I have seen some not-so-beautiful women whose manner makes them beautiful. Sara is our example who submitted to Abraham and allowed herself to be taken into the kings harem. He had made her promise to tell everyone that she was his sister so they wouldn’t try to kill him for her because she was very beautiful. God did deliver her before she could be violated. She submitted to Abraham, but put her trust in the Lord and he protected her.

Husbands are to love and honor their wives the best they know how and are to desire to be one in the Lord. When they do this their prayers will not be hindered. The bottom line is that wives want to be loved and taken care of and the husbands want to be respected.

Lord, help us learn to honor our spouses and submit to our husbands recognizing that we need them because together we are heirs of Jesus. We bless our spouses in Jesus name to be all that God intended them to be.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Tues.’s Devo Righteous Suffering

Read 1 Peter 3:19-25

God is very thankful and gracious toward those who are unjustly treated for standing up for him. But if you are suffering for some wrong you did, then this is your payment for your sin and God is not going to rescue you. It is fulfillment of his Word: you will reap what you sow. We were called to suffer in this world just as Christ, as our example, suffered. He suffered for his righteousness, not his sin. When he was persecuted, he chose not to retaliate. He held his mouth and didn’t speak up for himself. The only one he ever defended was God. He never threatened them with judgment even though it would have been the truth. He came to seek and save the lost, not condemn his enemies. His life did that. He lived a life totally devoted to God his father and when he died he was worthy to take all the sin on himself and be our perfect sacrifice without blemish. Every stripe he took on his back was for our healing. We are like sheep that easily stray away, but Jesus has found us and we are safe in his sheepfold. The sheepfold is the “church” and Jesus is the Bishop of our souls.

Lord, thank you for purchasing our salvation on the cross. Help us to remember when we go through minor persecution here on earth, that you went through major persecution on the cross for us. We are so grateful.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Mon.’s Devo - Christian Guidelines

Read 1 Peter 2:10-18

Every time we join new organizations we become new people groups and bond together because of our common interests. That is what was happening during these times. People who ordinarily wouldn’t have much in common were coming to the revelation that Jesus was the Messiah and they were joining together on this common belief. They became the “early church”. They were once lost in sin and now had received mercy and forgiveness and a new life in Jesus. Peter is now letting them know the guidelines of this new life. First he tells them to refrain from the things that use to hold them captive like lust, deceit, slander, and replace it with righteous living, hones conversation, and good works that glorify God. We still have to obey the laws of the land in which we live so that no one can bring an accusation against us that would mar our witness. We have given our lives to Jesus to have his thoughts and do his will, not our own. There is total freedom in that and peace. We are to value all men and love our Christian brothers and sisters and most of all fear God. We are even to honor those God has placed to rule our nation even if we don’t agree with them. God placed them where they are to draw us to him. We are to honor our bosses and everyone in authority over us, even if they are tyrants.

We watched “Cowboys and Aliens” last night and Harrison Ford played the part of a really mean man who had been hardened by the war. He had a servant who endured his meaness with respect even though his boss was hurtful and tough on him. In the end the servant’s allegiance softened Ford’s heart and changed him. That is what we can see God do through us if we obey his Word.

Lord, help us to follow your guidelines which lead to freedom.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Sun.’s Devo - Merry Christmas!

They may be able to take prayer out of the schools officially, but kids still pray. And they may change the “Christmas” holidays to “Winter “ festivals but all this does is cause Christians to rise up and be heard. I sat and watched video after video on u-tube about flash mobs in malls across America. I was moved to tears to see Christians singing out so beautifully and freely the songs about Jesus in a very public, mixed place. When Jesus was coming into Jerusalem for the last time he traveled the road that the temple lamb had just traveled. The people were still there and when he passed them on his donkey the people laid down their coats and yelled, “Hosannah, blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!” When his disciples told Jesus to stop them, he responded, “if they don’t praise me then the rocks will cry out,” Rocks have metallic principles that hold memory so these same rocks were on the earth when God said, “Let there by light.” The rocks knew this was the son of God and would have responded if the people didn’t. It is always in the place of persecution and trouble that the church rises up and makes a stand about what they believe. Flash mobs are a way these people are making a statement and standing for what they believe in the face of a society that tries to outlaw it. The days are only going to get darker and the children of God are only going to get brighter, so on the day we choose to celebrate the birth of our Messiah, let’s let our light shine! May you have a wonderful day full of all the blessings of believing in the only one who has life.

Thank you, Lord, for sending your son to save us from our sins.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Thurs.’s Devo- The Rock of Jesus

Read 1 Pet. 1:17- 2:8

We have been saved into a spiritual inheritance. Everything we do is being recorded. The confessed sins go under the blood and are remembered no more and our works are judged. Since we weren’t bought with actual money, we won’t be rewarded with money. We were bought with the precious blood of Jesus who was sinless. He was here existed before time and came to earth to die and be raised up to glory that we might believed in him. How can we not love a god like that? Loving God should cause us to love our fellow men. We were born again into an everlasting seed. Our bodies will pass away but our spirits will live on forever.

Knowing this, we have to lay down hatred, deceit, hypocrisy, envy and all backbiting. We are to be as hungry for the Word as a newborn is for her/his milk. The Word is the only way we will grow. If you read the Bible then you will realize that God is very good and kind. He is the living rock that men rejected but God accepted. Jesus is either a stumbling stone that men trip over and reject or a rock that people stand on and live by. Jesus is the chief corner stone which is plum line for us all to measure our lives by. We are the rest of the stones that together make the whole house.

Lord, help us to not lose sight of this spiritual heritage we have been save into. We want to stand on this rock of Christ and make it our foundation.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Fri.’s Devo - Who We Are in Christ

Read 1 Peter 2:9

If you have asked Jesus to come into your heart and forgive you of all your sins, wash you, and make you his follower, then these scriptures will tell you what you are. You are a chosen generation. In John 15:16 Jesus said, “You have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that you should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain…” God chose us before the foundation of the earth to be his children. We are a royal priesthood which means we are part of a group of people that minister before the Lord. In the Old Testament only the priest could minister to the Lord in the temple. They all had jobs: some would keep the wicks trimmed in the menorah, some would put the shewbread out every week, some would burn incense, some killed the offerings and burnt them, etc. We do the same things, but in a New Testament way. Since Jesus was the final sacrifice that atoned for the whole world forever, there is no more need for a sacrifice. We sacrifice to the Lord by giving our lives, desires, future and plans to him. We keep our wicks trimmed by keeping our lives pure and under the blood. By “under the blood” I mean that we have confessed our sins to God and asked him to forgive us. When we have done this, his blood covers us like the skins covered Adam and Eve after they sinned (Gen 3:21), and we are righteous. Then our lights can shine unhindered. We put out the shewbread by eating God’s Word which is our daily bread. And we burn incense by praying our prayers to God which is a sweet aroma to him. We are a holy nation because we have chosen to live our lives for God and glorify him in what we do rather than ourselves. We are a peculiar people. “Peculiar” in the Greek means “purchased; saved”. God purchased us with the blood of his son who died to save us. He did all this for us so that we would praise him and testify of Him. It is not that God has an ego; he has an incredible love for us and wants us to chose him so he can pour out his love on us.

Lord, thank you for the sacrifice of your son, Jesus, that we might be covered and righteous before you. May we keep ourselves unspotted from the world and open to you.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Wed.’s Devo - Walking in our Season

Read 1 Pet. 1:6-16

Peter agrees with James that the way through trials is by rejoicing. “Rejoicing” in the Greek means to jump for joy and be exceedingly joyful. Trials only last for a season so why waste the time being melancholy when you can rejoice and be glad. Trials are to be treasured above gold that doesn’t last. Gold won’t buy us a place in God’s heart, but the way we go through a trial will. It gives honor and glory to Jesus. Even though we don’t see Jesus we can rejoice and be glad about what he is going to do for us. In the same way, we might not see how our trial is ever going to work out for good but we can rejoice trusting it will. In the end we will gain eternal life and no trial can take that away from us. We live in the season of grace, but the prophets could only prophecy about it. They could only imagine what it would look like and I know they didn’t imagine it like it is. We read about heaven and can only imagine what it will be like, but I know our imaginations are limited and not accurate. Jesus told the disciples about the glory that would come to those who suffer for Christ so that we could benefit from that now. We have been given the Holy Spirit, which they didn’t have until Pentecost. We take for granted the whisper of God in our ears leading us the right way. The men of the Old Testament didn’t know this voice and only had the law and the prophets to be their guide. Because we have been given the Word, the Prophets, the Cross, and the Holy Spirit, we have a greater responsibility to walk with God in truth. We are to be holy as God is holy because we have been given everything we need to do that.

Lord, help us to walk in the full revelation you have given us. Bring back to our hearts the things we have heard and help us to live them.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Tues.’s Devo. The Good News!

Read 1 Peter: 1: 1-5

Now that we are finished with James it just seems right to go on to see what Peter had to say. First Peter was written to the Christians living in various parts of Asia Minor who are suffering rejection in the world because of their walk. Peter calls them “pilgrims of the Dispersion” in verse 1. They were mostly converted Gentiles who were once lewd, drunkards, and idolators. Their friends are now seeing the change in their lives and persecuting them for it. It is now about 60 years since Jesus ascended into heaven and his followers have multiplied in number.

Peter was an apostle which means he was a delegate sent from God to do miraculous deeds. Since he is writing to the converted Gentiles he explains how they are now “in the family”. They were called before the foundation of the earth, made righteous through the Holy Spirit, and believed that the blood of Jesus would cover and take away their sins. He prays grace and peace for them. In verse 3 he explains their condition with God. They are blessed with God’s mercy which gives them hope because he is alive and death could not conquer him. Now they have received the inheritance Jesus died to give them. This inheritance can not decay, be watered down, but is perpetual- it continues to live forever. And the best part is that it is reserved in heaven for all of us who are kept by the power of God in this salvation which will mature at the end of time.

I can’t imagine how this good news of the gospel sounded to the early believers who had never heard of such a promise. It probably sound just as good to the ones who have never heard of it in our day. Let’s get out and share it!

Monday, December 19, 2011

Mon.’s Devo - Elijah’s Prayers

Read James 5:17-20

Yesterday we talked about praying prayers that work and manifest what we say. We are just humans, but if we confess our sins and put them under the blood of Jesus, then we carry the righteousness that Jesus carried, and we can do what Jesus did. Elijah was a great example of that. (1 Kings 18) He was just a man , but a righteous man. Israel was under the leadership of Ahab who led the nation in idol worship. The Lord had closed heaven and there was no rain for 3 and a half years. But when God was ready to rain again he called Elijah to go and show himself to Ahab. Ahab had been looking for Elijah for years to kill him. The people blamed the drought on Elijah. When Elijah met with Ahab it was a showdown between the gods of Baal and the Almighty God. Elijah challenged them to build an altar and see whose God would respond with fire. When the Baal worshippers tried for hours and couldn’t call down fire, Elijah used some of the precious water of the land and doused the altar. When he prayed, fire consumed the altar. Then he took the 400 prophets of Baal down to the Kishon brook and killed them. Once the earth was rid of the deception of the Baal worshippers, heaven could once more be opened. Elijah birthed this rain like a woman births a baby. He laid down in a fetal position and prayed sending his servant over and over to see if there was a cloud. On the 7th time he saw a cloud. When it did rain, the earth responded and the dead seed came to life and produced fruit. His reason for doing this was to bring Israel out of sin and back to the Lord. When it had done this, fruit came forth. We can be as effective as Elijah if we bring one person out of a life of sin and into a life of righteousness in the Lord.

Lord, may we be bold in our walk and learn to pray until we see the results.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Fri.’s Devo - Effectual Prayers

Read James 5:12-16

Have you ever noticed how we exaggerate what we want people to exaggerate in their minds? The truth doesn’t need exaggerated adjectives to make it more believable - it can stand alone. So, instead of trying to coerce people to believe us ,we can just say “yes” or “no” and that is enough. God will back us up with the witness of the Holy Spirit in their hearts. Our explanations sometimes water down the truth anyway. Enough about that… let’s talk about praying for people.

Verse 13 says that if someone comes to us undergoing a hardship we are to pray for him. Notice it didn’t say to meet their physical need. We take the need to God first and if he tells us to help them, then we do. We are not their God, just the conduit for Him to pass through. Ecclesiastes says that there is a time to be happy and a time to be sad. If it is the time to rejoice, then we should sing songs to the Lord. If someone in our church is sick then we are to call the mature believers to pray for the person sick and anoint them with oil. The oil is a picture of the Holy Spirit who is the healer. The faith of the people praying for him will cause him to be healed and if he has any unforgiven sins, they will be forgiven. Sometimes unconfessed sins cause us to stay sick. We need to confess those sins and get them under the blood of Jesus. When we are healed in the inside it can manifest on the outside. The faith-put-into-action prayer of a man who is right before God is very strong. We can pray great prayers but if we don’t step out and act on what we are praying it shows that our faith is small.

Lord, help us to speak only truth and stand righteously as we pray. Let our prayers be active and powerful.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Thurs.’s Devo - God is Faithful to the End!

Read James 5:10-11

Many of the prophets spoke out God’s word to a very hostile audience. They were usually telling a sinful nation to repent and exposing their sins. Many had to live in hiding for fear of their lives. They lived in the wilderness or the mountains away from the modern civilization of their time. They were created to bring God’s word forth and took the challenge against the odds. Their lives were a sacrifice so that we can enjoy their encouragement. We are told to pronounce them fortunate and blessed who undergo trials. Remember Job? If I ever feel persecuted or beat and remember Job, I find my small problem become even smaller. He lost everything: his family, his wealth, his reputation, his looks, and his position in society. The only thing he didn’t lose was his faithful wife and his not-so-faithful friends. He had not been privy to the conversation between God and Satan so he didn’t ever find out why he had to go through what he did, but his sufferings have been known throughout the generations. Even people who don’t follow Jesus have heard of Job. A good lesson. We might think we are going through this life unnoticed but the seeds we have planted will live forever. Most famous people were never famous during their lifetime. I would rather be famous in heaven than on earth anyway. Our encouragement is what happened to Job in the end. In the end, God was merciful and restored everything back to him. Job 42:10 says that the Lord turned his captivity when he prayed for his friends and gave him twice as much wealth as he had before. He even got back a family - 7 boys and 3 girls which was exactly what he had lost. He lived another 140 years and got to see the next 4 generation of grand children. What a reward for allowing God to use his life as an example. Sometimes our reward is here on earth like Job’s, or sometimes it is waiting for us in heaven. We know this: God is faithful.

Lord, help us to see the big picture and live a life totally devoted to you and your plan.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Wed.’s Devo - Having Right Hearts

Read James 5:1-9

Wealth is a gift from God and a blessing if received with a humble heart and used for God’s glory. Wealth used for selfish reasons only will become a curse. James is addressing these people. Their riches have become a curse to them. Their abundance has become corrupt and rusted because they have hoarded their wealth so they will have plenty when things get bad. They have lived in luxury while the poor go hungry. They used their position of power to be unjust to those of lesser status. They hurt and killed innocent people. It is God who gives the power to make wealth and he is looking for people he can trust great amounts of money to. I think of the family that owns Hobby Lobby and Mardel’s. They have give millions away to the kingdom of God. They are a great example of people God has trusted to steward his money.

In verse 7 James speaks to the righteous remnant and tells them to be patient about when Jesus is coming back because God is waiting till the earth is full of fruit for the harvest. While we are waiting we should steadfastly set our heart to the Lord. Everything we go through is to establish our relationship with God we that we know whatever comes our way is under his control. Watch how we treat one another. If we have a grade or an offense, we need to settle it quickly. We don’t want to be holding unforgiveness when Jesus comes.

Lord, we want to be a people you can entrust your riches to. Show us how to steward the world’s riches so we can rightly steward the true riches of your Word.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Tues.’s Devo - Let God Be the Judge

Read James 4:11-17

Our tongues are suppose to be instruments of life, but if we slander a person with our conversation then we are judging him and slandering God’s Word which teaches that man is God’s creation. When we judge the Word and don’t follow it then we have put ourselves in the position of a judge. The Bible says that we are not to judge anyone because we will be judged with the same judgement that we give out. So if we speak against someone, we have just opened the door for someone to speak against us. Just because we live in the dispensation of grace does not mean that we won’t reap what we sow. Only God is in the position to judge rightly and not be judged. There is nothing we could judge God about. He alone can save or kill, forgive or judge. We don’t even know what is going to happen tomorrow, but God does. That is why we should plan as he leads us to plan. He does know what tomorrow is going to bring and how to plan for it. Have you ever made plans that deep inside you didn’t think would happen? I have, and they didn’t happen. That is God letting you know his thoughts. Everything we do and all the talents we have are because of Him. We rejoice, not in our own achievements, but in what He has done through us. God will direct our steps and to follow any other way is sin.

Lord, we want you to lead us and judge our lives. Show us what is our plan and what is your plan and may we choose yours.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Mon.’s Devo- Draw Near

Read James 4:1-10

James opens up with this question: “Why is there fighting among you?” This is his answer: Your fighting stems from the lust in your flesh. You want and don’t get because your prayers are selfish. Your motives are strictly self-serving. He calls them adulterers and adulteresses because they have given their heart to the world when it belongs to God. To be a friend of the world is to be an enemy with God. You can’t mix them. So what do we do with our lustful hearts? We humble ourselves before God and ask for his grace. If we resist the devil, he has to flee. We forget that GREATER is he that is in us than he that is in the world. (1 John 4:4) We always have access to the throne of God and when we turn our hearts to God, he comes near. That is an incredible thing to ponder: God draws near to us when we draw near to him. We can have an audience with the king whenever we want. But there is a way we do this. We come with a pure heart and clean hands. In other words, we obtain his presence when we have repented of our sins and purified our hearts. We can’t come with our own opinion or with sin in our hearts. We are approaching a holy God so we must approach him humbly. I have noticed that the prayers that I have seen such miraculous answers in are ones that I prayed in complete humility, knowing that I could not not answer them. Only God could do it.

Lord, we humble ourselves in your presence and believe that you will lift us up and come to our rescue.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Fri.’s Devo - The Tongue is a Flame of Fire

Read James 3:5-18

Another lesson about the tongue. Yesterday we talked about how the tongue is like a rudder that can steer us in our path: good or bad. Today we are comparing the tongue to fire. It starts with a flicker on the tip of a matchstick, but if touched to straw, it can become a forest fire. I know you remember playing “gossip” as a child. What a picture of how the tongue can start a rumor. Even the truth can become a blown-out lie that can destroy many people. The flip side of that is that we are to be a fire that spreads. The group that waited in the upper room for receive the gift of the Holy Spirit were given tongues of fire on their heads and they went out and spoke the gospel in languages they didn’t even know. They started a fire that is still going in us. That is the kind of fire we want to be not the destructive fire. Hell is depicted as a place of fire. Fire can be painful and destructive or healing and cleansing. We can either bless or curse with our tongues. Our tongues are like a fountain spewing forth evil or righteousness. Verse 8 says that no man can tame the tongue, only God can do that. We can’t live righteously apart from the grace and power of the Holy Spirit, but with God anything is possible. Jesus was a man, but showed us that speaking rightly can be done if we submit all of our members to him. If we are a good tree (buried with Christ and walking as a new creature) then we will bear good fruit. Then we can do verse 13: show God’s wisdom through our conversation. If we have strife and bitterness in our hearts then that hatred and bitterness will come out in our speech. God’s speech comes from a heart of wisdom and is pure, peaceable, gentle and compassionate, easy to confront, full of good works, not biased, and truth. It brings about peace.

Lord, help us to walk in your wisdom and your speech.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Thur.s’ Devo - The Power of the Tongue

Read James 3:1-4

This first verse always makes me tremble because I am a teacher. We will be judged harsher because we are in the position to effect so many people’s faith. I pray that I rightly divide the word of truth and not just give my opinion. I want us to be this perfect man in the second verse that doesn’t err in what he says, because if we can control what we say, then we can control our whole body. We all know that feeling we get right before we are about to open our mouths and speak something off the mark. We do have the power to stop before we say it. Our tongues are a small percentage of our body but controls everything about us. With our tongue we can produce life or death, healing or destruction. It is compared to the rudder of a ship which determines which way the ship goes. How powerful: with our tongues we create our destiny. Do you want to be well and prosperous? Then speak it and believe it in your heart. Do you want to have victory over a besetting sin? Then speak deliverance. Look at verse 4 again. It gives the picture of a ship that is being battered by fierce winds. The winds are above the surface (what we see with our eyes as we look on our situations), but the rudder is underneath in the spirit realm where no one can see it. It is the key to keeping the boat from being tossed around the sea. Our words are like that. They can anchor us and keep us on the course. If you don’t know what to say then the best thing to do is find a scripture concerning your situation and read it out loud and keep reading it till it is in your heart. The devil hates the Word and has to flee. The spirit of God in us is strengthened by the Word and rises up to perform it on your behalf. Jesus spoke to the waves that were threatening the disciples’ boat and said, “Peace be still” and the waves obeyed. He has given us that power.

Lord, give us your words to defeat the enemy and let us glorify you in our speech.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Wed.’s Devo - Faith + Works = Life!

Read James 2

We are never to treat one person better than another just because of their social status or financial status. God created us all and we came naked into this world and we will go naked out of this world. When we prefer one person over another then we have become a judge and we have broken the law that says we should love our neighbor as we love ourselves. If we judge then we will be judged by that same judgment, but if we have love and mercy then we will be judged through love and mercy. None of us can keep the whole law so we can’t expect anyone else to either. When we encounter a person who has needs and offer them a prayer, when they need a prayer and a meal then we are giving them faith without works. Verse 20 says that our faith is dead if we do that. Abraham received his salvation when he offered Isaac on the altar to show his trust in God. Believing in God is not enough, we must act on our beliefs. When we do, our faith is made perfect. Abraham’s faith and works gained him the status of God’s friend. Rahab acted on her faith in God when she took care of his servants, Joshua and Caleb and saved their lives. We can’t just believe God without an active response.

Last week I got the opportunity to do just that. I got a call from a friend that is very poor. She needed food and money and prayer. I saw this as an opportunity to put my faith to work and did just that.

Lord, help us to look for ways to give life to our faith.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Tues.’s Devo - Pure Religion

Read James 1:19-27

James admonishes us to be quick to listen and slow to speak. I bet if we did those two things then the 3rd thing he tells us to do would be easier: slow to anger. I know when I react and don’t stop and calm myself down first, I say the wrong thing and regret it. It is so easy to take things personally when they weren’t meant that way. The only way we can discern rightly is to listen and pray about what is being said and why. Jesus never reacted but he sometimes acted. He acted when he overthrew the tables of the money changers in the temple. He was acting out of righteous indignation. He was acting for God, not himself. We are suppose to be separated from the filthiness of the world. Eph. 5:12 says that we are not to even talk about what the wicked do in secret. Instead, we are to spend our time in God’s Word learning the secrets of God. Only God’s Word has the power to save our souls. Just reading it and memorizing it is not enough - we must live it and put it’s precepts into practice. We never really learn something till we use it and that is the same way the Word of God is. It is just a book until you let it live in you, then it is alive! If you live by the Bible then you will be blessed in all that you do. Going back to the words we speak… what comes out of our mouth shows what is in our hearts. If we live the Word and do what it says then we will care for those who have no fathers and women who have no husbands and we will keep ourselves unpolluted from the world.

Lord, put a watch over our mouths that we stop and get your perspective before we speak. Give us a heart to reach out to the fatherless and husbandless and help us to keep our hands pure.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Mon.’s Devo - Temptations

Read James 1:12-18

It is a promise: we will be tempted. But if we can turn from the temptation and choose God then we be able to stand in the great judgment and receive the crown of life. Jesus wore a crown of thorns in mockery of their claim that he was the king of the Jews. His crown was a crown of death. Our crown will be a crown of life- everlasting life. God will never tempt us but he will allow the devil to tempt us, in fact, God lead Jesus into the wilderness so he would be tempted and win. The temptation is not the sin; it is what we do with the temptation. If we turn and run immediately then it won’t have time to sink its talons into us and conceive lust which will eventually cause us to sin. Sin leads only one place and that is death. That is the devil’s plan for us ultimately. If we are hidden in God and he can’t take us to hell with him then he will work to destroy our testimony. But God gives us gifts that are perfect and help us to endure the darts of the devil. God is light and there is no darkness in him. The devil is darkness and their is not light in him. The devil tries to mimic God and deceive us as an angel of light. His works are counterfeit and lead to our demise. God is truth and will lead us into all truth if we keep our minds stayed on him.

Lord, be our light and our truth today. May our minds be stayed on you that we not sin against you.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Fri.’s Devo - Above all, get Wisdom!

Read James 1:5-11

Asking for wisdom is like asking for patience because wisdom is the working out of knowledge. First you get knowledge of how to live, then you get understanding in how to do it, then you get wisdom by actually putting it to work in your life. Wisdom only comes through experience. You can not get wisdom from a book. You can get knowledge in a book and some understanding, but wisdom comes through hands-on trying and failing and trying again. After working on the light bulb for years and not coming up with the answer, someone asked Edison if he felt like a failure and he said, “No, I found 253 ways how NOT to make a light bulb.” As we know he finally did find a way that worked. The good thing is: wisdom is something God delights to give us, so all we have to do is ask for it. If we doubt God wants to give us wisdom, then we will doubt everything about God. We have to ask and believe, then we will be stable in all our ways. If we are asking humbly then when the answer comes we will be confident in God. If we are confident in ourselves then when God gives us wisdom it will humble us. When God steps in and reveals his glory through us we realize how small and insignificant our lives are. I think of Steve Jobs, such a loss to the world, yet all his money could not add one day to his life. Our lives are like the grass that is here today and tomorrow it dies and withers away. We can leave an earthly inheritance which can be quickly spent. But we can leave a spiritual inheritance that lives on till Jesus comes back.

Lord, we do ask for wisdom in how to come in and go out with you. Help us to remember that you are just a prayer away. We can have an audience with the king at any given moment.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Thurs.’s Devo - Patience!

Read James 1:1-4

I was trying to figure out where God wanted us to go next when I fell on James. James is always a timely book because we are always either about to go into a trial, or are in the midst of it or we are coming out of one. So lets look at this together. James wrote this to the twelve tribes that were scattered abroad. That is a good description of the body of Christ. We are scattered all over the world. James says to be joyful when you find yourself in a trial. That goes against our ideas of what the abundant Christian life is suppose to look like but life is a process of learning and growing. In school we learn information, then we have a test. We will soon forget that information unless we use it in everyday life. God’s lessons are like that. We learn great wisdom from reading his word, or listening to a great sermon, then we have to take the test (the trial). To make it stick we have to be put in a situation where we have to use that information. James says that trials are to produce patience. I can see that that is true. I don’t get upset like I use to when things go wrong. I can actually laugh at some trials because I recognize them and know why they are here. They say never pray for patience because you will get reasons to have to be patient but I can tell you by much experience… you will get the trials anyway because it is ALL to bring about patience in our lives.

Why is patience so important? Patience is the foundation to the Christian life. If you learn patience you have learned to wait on God for his timing. It takes patience to bring forth fruit (Luke 29:19). Patience helps us win souls (Luke 21:19). Through patience we have hope (Rom. 15:4) and inherit the promises (Heb. 6:12). Revelation 14:12 says, “Here is the patience of the saints, they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus.”

Lord, we all want patience, NOW! but I know that patience comes slowly over time. Help us to joy in our trials knowing that when we pass them we get promoted to the next level, which means our trials will get bigger! Hallelujah! Truthfully, I am grateful that you walk with us and desire that we grow stronger so you can use us in greater capacities. Help us not to be wimps but courageous in You.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Wed.’s Devo - The End!

Read Isa. 66

This is the final message of Isaiah describing true worship in the millennial reign. God is responding to Isaiah’s prayer. He made everything there is so there is nothing that we can give to God that he could inhabit except a contrite spirit who feared him. All our sacrifices mean nothing without the right heart. Because his people refused to listen to his prophets he will cause the things that they feared upon them. He will not listen when they cry out because they chose to sin and turn from his ways. But to those who do fear him and love him God will exalt in front of their enemies.

Jerusalem is pictured as a woman bringing forth a baby. She is to rejoice for she will bring this child forth in joy. She will prosper in peace and many Gentile will call her their home. God will once again bring comfort and blessing to Jerusalem. He will extend his hand and do wonders for his people and turn against their enemies. He will come with fire and judgment. He will kill many of his enemies. The nations shall be gathered to see his glory. People in far away places that haven’t heard of the power of God will hear and glorify God. They will come as an army to the mountain of Jerusalem bringing gifts into the house of the Lord. God will appoint from them new priests and Levites for the temple. The new heavens and the new earth will remain forever. They will look on the judgment of the wicked and be repulsive to everyone who sees them.

Lord, you are God Almighty who is all-knowing, all-seeing, and all wisdom. To your name be the glory! Amen!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Tues.’s Devo - God’s Response

Read Isa. 65:1-25

This is God’s response to Isaiah’s prayer. God has made himself available to those that were not even looking for him. He has reached out to nations that were not called his. He has reached out to people who did not reach back, whose thoughts were only of themselves. He has endured their idol worship, their detestable sins, and their arrogance till his cup of anger is finally full. It is time for judgment. But even though the sins of their fathers have caused most of God’s anger he sees that there is this remnant he refers to as “new wine” that has come forth and for their sake he will save them. From this remnant he will bring forth Jesus from the tribe of Judah. He will inherit the mountains of Jerusalem and my people will live there. But for those who forsook the Lord, they will die in battle. They will die spiritually hungry, thirsty, and ashamed. While my true disciples will be singing and rejoicing, they will be crying for sorrow and affliction. Their name will be remembered as a curse because God will kill them and leave their inheritance to his people. Then God will usher in a new millennium: new heavens and a new earth and we will not even remember the last earth. We can rejoice is what God is going to do because it will cause Jerusalem to rejoice and the people to have joy. They will no longer cry or weep. People of that dispensation will not die before their time. They will live to be 100 and build houses and live in them. We will eat the fruit of our labor and not have loss. They will be a righteous seed so whatever we plant will be blessed of the Lord. They will walk with God like Adam did in the garden. God will hear their thoughts and answer them before they have time to voice their petition. Even the animals will live in peace with one another. There will be no violence in Jerusalem. Whether or not we will be present in this millennium I don’t know but I do know that if will be glorious and God does all things good.

Lord, you always have a happy ending for you children. Thank you, that we can trust you even if we don’t understand it all.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Mon.’s Devo - Deliver us!

Read Isa. 63:15-64:12

We are in the middle of Isaiah’s prayer to the Lord for deliverance. He is crying out for mercy. He reminds God that they are his children even though they have never met Abraham. Since God has redeemed his people in the past, he is asking God to do it again. He is asking God the age-old question: Why did you make man to sin? He reminds God that they are his inheritance. They had once worshiped Him in the Temple in Jerusalem until the Babylonians destroyed it. He pleads with God to rip open the heavens and come down and let his fire burn up his enemies. If God did what he did on Mt. Sinai then the people would tremble. God has done great things on the earth, so great, that we could not have imagined them. In the same way, God has prepared some great things for his people to walk in, so great, that we could not have imagined them either. We can identify with their prayer in that we are all sinners who have fallen short of God’s righteousness but we acknowledge that God made us and we are the work of his hand sent to this earth to display his glory and works. We can join Israel in crying out for the Lord to visit us and deliver us from the oppression we are in.

Lord, bring salvation to the world and let us be a part of it. Let our lives shine forth your light to a dark and dying world.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Fri.’s Devo - Mighty to Deliver

Read Isa. 63:1-14

This chapter is a description of the “day of vengeance when Jesus comes back”. He is depicted as a warrior coming back from battle stained with the blood of the enemies of the Israelites from Edom and Bosrah. When Jesus returns he will avenge Israel in the battle of Armageddon. In verses 7-12 the righteous remnant cry out to the Lord for help. They are in captivity in Babylon. Isaiah is praying for the nation, looking back to what God has done for them in the past. He delivered them from the bondage of the Egyptians and became their Savior. But Israel rebelled against the Lord, so He disciplined them . then the Lord sent Moses to deliver them from Egypt., bringing them safely through the Red Sea by miraculously dividing the waters. The Lord brought them safely into the promised land and gave them rest. This is God’s whole plan. He wants us to realize the bondage of the devil that we live in and cry to him for salvation. Once saved then He goes with us through out lives giving us peace from our enemies and teaching us to fight that he might bring us into a place of rest in Him. We can experience this rest right here on earth or we can wait to get it in heaven but God’s desire is that we experience it here on earth. It gives him more glory that way. What ever we are going through it is good to know that God is not lost and he has already planned our deliverance. We just need to trust in Him.

Lord, you are the mighty deliverer; great in battle. Thank you that you fight for us and you bring victory. We give you our failures and our weaknesses and we trust in you power to deliver.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Thurs.’s Devo - Redemption for Israel

Read Isa. 62:1-12

Most commentators put this chapter in the Millennium but I am not sure. It is too easy to put everything in the Millennium that we don’t understand. I believe that Israel is going to be the head and not the tail here on earth before this whole thing comes to an end. So whether this is pre or post-millennium it still means the same. God’s righteousness is going to shine forth as a lamp. I think we are living in verse 2 where the Gentiles see this righteousness and receive a new name. We have come to the truth and are waiting for Israel to have their eyes opened to the truth of Jesus, the Messiah. When they do God is going to redeem their land and marry them once again. Prophets will prophecy once again in the streets of Jerusalem the word of the Lord. Jerusalem will be exalted in all the earth. They will harvest what they plant and get to keep it for themselves. They will once again do everything for God’s glory and he will set his blessing upon Jerusalem once again. Everyone will understand that Israel is God’s people and He did not forsake them.

Lord, you are the hope of your people and you never disappoint. Open the eyes of your people to see your loving hand extended to them.

I dreamed last night that I was in a strange place. An old Asian man asked me if I knew how to live forever. I told him I did and he listened intently as I told him God’s plan of salvation. We both teared up when I talked about Jesus. I asked him if he had ever heard of the name Jesus and he said “No”. He asked me why I didn’t tell everybody about this. Good question!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Wed.’s Devo - Why He Came

Read Isa. 61:1-11

This is another favorite chapter in Isaiah. It is a Messianic prophecy. Jesus quoted the first 2 verses in Luke 4:18 only he stopped before he got to the place that said ”the day of vengeance of our God”. He then closed the book and said, “today this Scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.” He stopped there because it was not the time of vengeance but of salvation. When he comes back he will be able to fulfill the last part. Jesus came with a mission which was to preach the good news, heal the broken hearts, speak freedom to those who were in bondage, to set free those who were in prison and to proclaim that this was the day of salvation. He came to give comfort to all who were mourning and to turn their failures to something beautiful and to give them joy instead of sadness, joy instead of depression, and that they may be firmly planted in God. He came to build back things that had been torn down in their lives and repair things that had been destroyed. He was speaking of bloodline curses and old prophesies that they hadn’t seen come to pass. He came to give them hope and faith. He came to make them the head and not the tail - the ruler and not the slave. He came to let them know who they were in him: Priests of the Lord, Ministers of the Lord. He came to give them a double portion of inheritance. He came to clothe us in the robes of righteousness so that we could bloom on the earth.

Lord, may we live out everything you came for. May our lives make you glad you came and make you smile.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Tues.’s Devo- Jerusalem in the Millenium

Read Isa. 60:1-22

These verses describe the what will happen on the earth in Jerusalem during the Millennium . The glory of the Lord will shine over the earth and dispel the darkness. The Gentiles and all the leaders of the earth will come to the light and knowledge of the Lord. God’s people from all over the earth will stream to Jerusalem bringing wealth and praise. They will all come with one purpose in mind: to worship God and the place will be full of the glory of God. The gates of Jerusalem will stay open day and night because of the great influx of people streaming to Jerusalem. Israel’s enemies will humbly come and acknowledge that Jerusalem is the city of the Lord, the Holy One of Israel. Jerusalem that was once a desolate land will become excellent and full of joy. Wisdom, knowledge, understanding, peace and righteousness will reign. The natural sun will be replaced with the light of God just like it was at the beginning of time. Israel will be their inheritance forever and its inhabitant will be righteous because God’s promises are true. He will do what he has promised he will do.

Lord, what a day this will be. Thank you that you are true to your promises.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Mon.’s Devo - Jesus, Our Intercessor

Read Is. 59:9-21

Isaiah was a true prophet and intercessor for the people of Israel. He identified himself in their sins. He uses personal pronouns like “us” and “we”which is the mark of a true intercessor. He took responsibility for the sins of his people. Sin totally blinds us to the truth and Isaiah describes this blindness well. Verse 10 says that they were in such darkness that it was like a person feeling for the wall in the dark. Even in the middle of the day they were operating in total darkness because of the darkness of their heart. There was none who could administer justice or right judgment which displeased the Lord. There was none who was qualified to bring salvation for Israel so God promised to do this. He will do this in his son, Jesus Christ who will put on righteousness as his vest, salvation as his hat, and vengeance as his clothing. His overcoat will be passion. He will administer right judgment because he will be sinless and the only one who can judge rightly. He will punish the enemies of God and God’s own people. Then the fear of the Lord will fall upon the earth and when Satan rises up, Jesus will defeat him. Jesus will be a redeemer to those who put their trust in the Lord. This is God’s promise.

Lord, this is such a picture of our nation. Right has become wrong and vice versa. Raise up your standard and defeat your enemies. Restore the fear of you to our nation and our hearts. Forgive us of our trespasses.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Fri.’s Devo - Spiders and Snakes

Read Isa. 59:1-8

God is always ready to save us and his ear is listening for our cries, but sin is what keeps God back from being able to move on our behalf. The Israelites were enslaved in Babylon and wondered why God didn’t deliver them. God sent Isaiah to let them know why he wasn’t coming to their rescue. They had killed, lied, and spoken wrongly. Their judgments were not fair, they had forsaken truth for lies, they premeditated sin and were reaping its rewards. Their evil ways were like snake eggs and spider’s webs. When the snake eggs burst open the viper comes out. Evil always multiplies. Sin is like a spider’s web that gets more and more complicated and traps innocent people in its strings. They had become so accustom to a lifestyle of sin that they were driven to sin and it just got worse and more destructive. They had forgotten what the peace of God even felt like. They had lost conviction, and wrong had become right.

How many times do we see this happen in our own lives. We do something and feel convicted but if we don’t turn from it and repent, then we start rationalizing and start comparing sins. We can always find some way to justify sin but if we do, then we blind ourselves to God’s righteousness and soon we have become totally blinded to truth and fallen for the lie.

Lord, show us the ways we have compromised your Word and help us to turn to you in spirit and in truth.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Thur.’s Devo - The Sabbath

Read Isa. 58:13-14

The last verses in this chapter talks about the Sabbath and making it holy. When I was a little girl there were no stores open on Sunday. The nation honored Sunday as a day for God. Now it is uncommon for a major store to be closed on Sunday. There are a few stores who refuse to open on Sundays like Hobby Lobby and Chick-fil-a. These are known as Christian businesses and are thriving because of their stand on Sunday. But, the reason stores are open on Sunday is because we shop on Sunday. I know I am guilty. Verse 13 says that we are not to do what we want on the Sabbath but to honor him and not work. The rewards are in the next verse. Our heart will be turned toward the Lord. He will cause us to be exalted in the earth and inherit the promises in this Bible. That is hard to pass up.

Lord, help us to choose you first, and honor you on Sundays and not do our own thing but set it aside for you.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Wed.’s Devo - Letting our Light Shine

Read Isa. 58: 10-12

Fasting should remind us of those who are hungry every day. When we reach out to the poor, we re spreading light into the darkness. As a result, our light will become brighter and we will be able to see spiritually. God’s will for our life becomes plainer. Even in times of spiritual drought, we will be fed and our sprits will prosper. We will be full of God’s spirit so that others will be blessed. God’s liven water will refresh us and those around and never run dry. We will restore things that have been ravished by the devil. We will be instrumental in bringing salvation to families and hanging their spiritual bloodline. W will be known as those that bring restoration and healing in relationships that seemed torn apart and unrepairable. We will establish God’s kingdom on the earth.

Lord, may it be. May our fasts break the devil’s strongholds and restore godly paths for Gods’s people.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Tues.’s Devo - God’s Fast

Read Isa. 58:6-9

The right reason for fasting is to rid ourselves of bondages, release the burdens we carry and break out of oppression. It is not only for ourselves but for those we are praying for. Since we as a nation worship food, evident by all the different kinds of foods and restaurants we have, as fast helps us get back to eating more healthily. When you fast food and feel how being hungry affects you, you will be more compassionate to give to the poor. You will know how it feels to not be able to eat what you want, when you want it. Fasting takes your mind off yourself and tenderizes your heart. It gives you eyes to see the sufferings of others even in your won family. Your spiritual eyes will be opened and you will see with God’s eyes. You will know how to pray his will and you will see results. God will draw near because he raws near to those that have a broken and contrite heart.

Lord, break our hearts to the needs of those around us and let us see with your eyes.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Mon.'s Devo - Fasting

Read Isa. 58: 1-5
Isaiah 58 is the "fasting chapter". Our church is on a 20-day Daniel fast at the moment so this is very timely. Isaiah is instructing the children of Israel about what is an appropriate fast and what is not. They were fasting but weren't seeing the results they wanted and wondered why. First of all, they were fasting for the wrong reasons. They didn't fast with the right heart. Their fasting was a showy act of piety while their lifestyles were full of selfishness and self-pleasure. They mistreat those who were weak. This type of spirit will not turn God's heart or move God's hand. God is not interested in the outward signs of piety and self-denial. He is always looking for a humble and contrite heart.
Lord, examine our motives as we fast and in everything we do. Let us have a heart that moves yours. Move our hearts to yours.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Fri.'s Devo -Have No Other Gods Before Me

Read Isa. 57:1-13
This is a continuation of yesterday. The rulers were so perverted and unjust that they persecuted and killed the righteous, but in their death they found peace. In verse 3 he addresses the wicked. They practiced sorcery, magic, casting spells, and some practiced prostitution which was a part of the worship of Baal and Asherah. They sacrificed their own children as a pagan ritual. God invites Isaiah behind the doors of the wicked. He also took Ezekiel there in Eze. 8:8-12. God told Ezekiel to dig into the wall and when he did he found a door. God told him to go in and when he did he saw pictures of all the idols that Israel had embraced. He described them as creeping things, and abominable beasts which symbolized what the elders of Israel do in the dark, in the chambers of their imagination. Interesting that they were the things they imagined in their minds, not just their deeds. Their idolotry had taken them so far from God and since they hadn't heard from God they stopped fearing him. They would face judgment, but the righteous would inherit the Promised Land.
Lord, I read today in Ex. 23:13 that you tell us to be circumspect and not to mention the name of other gods, or let it be heard from our mouth. Watch over our mouths and let us speak of You and your greatness and not of the gods around us.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Thur.'s Devo - The Gentiles and Eunuchs

Read Isa. 56:1-12
The next 10 chapters are explaining the details of the Millenial kingdom that Jesus is going to set up in the last of days. In the first two verses the people are being encouraged to live righteously. He is speaking of his coming salvation and specifically to the Gentiles and the eunuchs. The Gentiles and the unuchs represent the non-Jews and the servants. In Mosaic law they were not allowed to worship with the Jews but not so in the New Testament. In verse 5 they are given a place in heaven that is better than the Jews. Thoses that loved the Lord, served him and kept his Word, God is going to exalt them and bring them to exalted places in his kingdom. They will be able to enter into God's temple and worship the Lord. To those who chose not to worship the Lord, he will gather to be devoured by the beasts of the world. The wicked leaders that caused Israel to sin are called blind watchmen. They were only after fame and power but they will be judged.
Lord, your judgments are right and perfect.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Wed.'s Devo - Grace and Joy

Read Isa. 55:6-13
We are living in the days of grace but one day grace will be no more. That is why we need to seek the Lord now, before it is too late. We are to turn to the Lord in deed and in our thought life. God promises to save us and pardon our sins. Our ways and our thoughts are not like God's because his are so much higher. He sees the big picture and knows what is ahead so we have to constantly choose his ways and his thoughts to stay on his path. He gives us the picture of the rain and snow coming down and watering the earth. It is God's way of watering his garden on earth just like the Word of God that comes down from heaven waters our spiritual garden of our hearts. His Word causes our spirits to leap for joy and peace to well up in our hearts. It also causes the hills to sing and the trees to clap their hands. All curses will be gone and in their place will be new growth. This is not only a word picture of what happens in our hearts but an actual picture of what will happen in millenium.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Tues.'s Devo - Thirsty?

Read Isa 55:1-5
It is said that we only come to God when we are in need. Actually, we are always in need of God, it is just that some people have found a panacea in the world. The rest of us are thirsty for God. Verse one says that whoever is thirsty must come and purchase wine and milk without money or price. God's living water and wine is free and available to all. The world offers many things for us to spend our money on that does not satisfy, but God's Word will make us fat in a good way. God's Word gives us promises that are sure and good. God sent us David as a type of Jesus. He would lead his armies to victory and remain a worshipper of God. Whenever he was afraid or needed help he always called on the Lord and has left us his psalms to use in similar situations. God's covenant with David was that the Messiah would rule on the Davidic throne in an everlasting kingdom (Luke 1:31-33). That will be fulfilled at Christ's Second Coming (Matt. 25:31). Verse 5 talks of the Gentile nations coming to Jesus and making him their king. (Mic. 4:1-5; Zech. 14:16-21)
Lord, we are thirsty for your revelation and your word. Teach us the times we are living in and how to move in You.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Mon.'s Devo. God's Plan

Read Isa. 53:10-12
This verse is hard to comprehend with our natural minds. It pleased God to bruise Jesus. "Bruise" in the Hebrew means "to beat to pieces; crush". God orchestrated everything Jesus went through his whole life up to the moment he breathed his last breath. And when we spiritually understand that and let his sacrifice be our sacrifice then it makes God very happy. He allowed all that to happen to his only son so that he could multiply him on the earth through us. When we appropriate his blood in our lives and let him take our sins, then Jesus is compensated for all the suffering he went through. In the end, God will give Jesus the reward for what he did and he will share it with us. Verse 12 says what Jesus did in a nutshell: he emptied himself in death, called a rebel, bore our sins, and prayed for all the sinners that would come after him.
Lord, we are so grateful for what you have done for us. May we live our lives to honor you.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Fri.'s Devo From Prison to the Grave

Read Isa. 53:8-9
Jesus had to be judged by the religious before he could die. Since the Jews don't crucify their guilty, they had to convince the Romans that he was worthy of death because the Romans do crucify. When Jesus was brought before the high priest he rent his clothes and said Jesus was speaking blasphemy and was guilty of death. (Mat. 26:65-66) When he was brought before Pilate he spoke with him and could find no fault in him and tried to set him free (John 18:38-39). After much intimidation by the Jews he finally agreed to crucify him. But, just as Jesus said, they had no power but what his father had given them, so he submitted to the judgment and the punishment because he knew that he was purchasing our salvation with every blow. He was condemned a guilty man and placed in a Joseph's tomb, who was a rich man who believed he was the son of God. All this was done to an innocent man who had never sinned in deed or thought.
Lord, it is incomprehensible how you must have felt during this time. I am so sorry that you had to go through this, yet so thankful. I love you, Lord.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Thurs.'s Devo - When to Talk and When to be Silent

Read Isa. 53:7
Jesus was driven like an animal and browbeat, yet he refused to complain or defend himself. He is compared to a lamb being brought to the slaughter and not making a sound. The Bible has much to say about our mouths - over 500 verses. It is the same Hebrew meaning for the word "edge" as in the "edge of the sword". We know that our sword is the Word of God so when we read that Joshua killed the Philistines by the edge of the sword it could read Joshua killed the Philistines by the word of his testimony. That is how we defeat our enemies. But Jesus knew when to wield his sword as he did against the Pharasees and Sadusees and he knew when to be silent when it was time to be the slain lamb. There are times to speak up and defend the gospel and times to be quiet and not defend ourselves. God has promised to do that. He did that for Jesus. He proclaimed out of the clouds, "this is my beloved son, in whom I am well pleased." (Mat. 3:17) At his crucifixion he spoke out of the sky and brought thunder, lightning and darkness in the middle of the day.
Lord, help us to fight for you and let you fight for us.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Wed.'s Devo - Jesus, the Bearer of Our Transgressions

Read Isa. 53: 1-6
This is my favorite chapter in Isaiah. It is like the angels in heaven are having this conversation with God. They are sent to tell of Jesus coming and they are asking God, "Who is going to believe this news?" And, "who in history is God going to send this incredible gift to?" Then God describes to them what it is going to look like. Jesus is going to be sent during a time when the spiritual climate is very dry and dead. He is going to be life springing from the dead. There will not be anything particularly beautiful about him like there was in Moses. He will be hated and rejected by the very ones he is sent to save. He will not be recognized for who he is. But he will carry all the griefs that man can encounter and it will look to man as if he is cursed of God. All his wounds will be because of our sins and perversity. Because of his afflictions we will be given well-being and healing. Mankind is like sheep that leave the flock and stray away yet our rebellion will be placed on Jesus and he will bear our consequences. It doesn't seem fair but it is called grace.
Thank you, Lord, for grace. Thank you for what Jesus bore for us that we might come boldly into your presence and obtain grace.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Tues.'s Devo - Awake and See the Salvation of the Lord

Read Isa. 52:1-15
Whenever the Bible says something twice in one verse it means it will happen soon. Isaiah admonishes them to awake twice. "Awake" in the Hebrew means "open your eyes". Isaiah wants them to open their spiritual eyes and know that God is going to deliver them soon from the Assyrians. It is time to take off their sack cloth and put on beautiful garments because God is going to do something beautiful and he wants them dressed for the occasion. He tells them to rid themselves of all the Babylonian influence they have slipped into and return with their whole heart to the Lord. They have lived with a people who blaspheme God but... "no more". God is about to bring Jesus on the scene who will bring salvation and peace and comfort to his people. Their job is to cleanse their selves of sin and the unclean things of their captors. When they leave Babylon they will not be fleeing in a hurry but God will go before them and lead them out like he did with Moses. This great deliverer will amaze the people because his physical appearance will be disfigured worse than any they had ever seen. But with his speech he will amaze kings that don't even know about him.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Mon's Devo - God's Faithfulness

Read Isa. 51:9-23
This is the cry of Isaiah and the remnant for God to act in the future as He has in the past. Just as God redeemed Israel at the Red Sea and brought the Israelites out of Egypt, so they are calling him to act on their behalf. When he does they will return to Jerusalem with singing and joy. Then Isaiah comforts the people and encourages them not to be afraid of the Babylonian government or any man because God is their maker and he can turn the hearts of kings. He promises them that they will not die in Babylon but God will bring them out and the Babylonians will be destroyed by the Medo-Persians. God is raising up Cyrus to come against the Babylonians like a roaring wave, but God will protect his people. God's discipline lasts for a season but his faithfulness is forever.
Lord, help us to remember your faithfulness to your remnant and may we never be afraid.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Fri.'s Devo - God is in Control

Read Isa. 51:1-8
To all those who run after what is right and look to God: we were taken from the pit of Satan and carved from the rock of Jesus. What a transformation! We were put in a family with an inheritance and blessed. In the midst of desolation and destruction God will comfort us. He will cause us to bloom in the most unfruitful places and give us gladness and joy and a song to sing. God brought about judgment on the earth and a light to us in the salvation he brought through Jesus. People will live and die until time is over and then God will do away with both heaven and earth, but his salvation will last for ever. So for us now, we should not be afraid of what is happening on the earth or of man, because his days are short and God is forever in control. I love how God communicates his watch over us. I was concerned because I have a deadline for some curtains and my material hadn't come yet. I was expecting it to be there during the day and now it was after 7 at night. I was fighting being anxious. Dave and I had just sat down on the couch to pray. Dave said, "Lord thank you for your peace..." As soon as he said the word "peace" the door bell rung and I knew that the ups man had brought my fabric! Peace was manifested in my heart. Thank you, Lord. Thank you that your timing is right on time and your plan for the earth is perfect and right.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Thurs.'s Devo -Strange Fire

Read Isa. 50:10-11
In verse 10 God is speaking to those who walk in misery and darkness and have no light. Job 29:3 says that he walked through darkness by the light of the Lord. Those are two different things. We will walk through darkness on this earth but if we know Jesus his light will be there to guide us through it. But to those who don't have Jesus as their Lord, they must trust in the name of the Lord and lean on him to help them in dark times. In verse 11 God is talking to those who not only walk in darkness but try to make their own light out of their own fire. Pro_26:21 says, " As coals are to burning coals, and wood to fire; so is a contentious man to kindle strife." The fire that they make will be what Lev. 10:1 calls "strange fire" - fire that God doesn't approve of because he didn't order it. That kind of fire brings contention, strife, and sorrow. God's fire is a consuming fire that burns away sin and leaves us pure.
Lord, help us to trust in your name alone and not in our own devises.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Wed.'s Devo - Jesus, Our Hope of Restoration

Read Isa. 50: 1-9
Just like a man who writes a divorce paper and sends his wife away, so their sins have divorced them from God. When they did this they cut themselves off from God's blessings and instead they got his rebuke. All heaven mourned Israel's rebellion and separation. But Jesus will spring forth out a dry ground and his words will pierce the heart. When Jesus came and his words left everyone speechless, even the religious leaders. The officers said that "never has a man spoke like this man." If you listen to Jesus you will gain wisdom even if you are unlearned. Knowledge can be taught but wisdom must be revealed and that is what Jesus came and did. He opened the eyes and ears of the spirit in man. He willing let himself be beaten and spit upon. He fully gave himself to God's will and set his heart to fulfill his destiny for us. God will vindicate everything that Jesus had to go through.
Lord, help us to walk the walk that Jesus walked.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Tue's Devo -The Road Back

Read Isa. 49:8-13
This is our word for today! In an acceptable time God has heard us. In these verses we learn that God hears us, helps us, keeps us, and gives us a spiritual inheritance. God promises to restore the earth. We as Christians are going to one day get back what the devil has stolen from us. Verse 8 calls them "desolate heritages". Those who are locked in sin and oppression will come out of their tombs just like Lazareth did when Jesus said, "Come forth". Everyone who has hidden in darkness will come out. God is going to call his people back to the land and will provide for all their needs on the way. It will be like the days of Moses when he led the children of Israel through the wilderness and fed them manna from heaven. All obstacles, or mountains will be taken away as God leads them safely back to Israel. He will bring them from the land of Sinim which means "thorns". Thorns are a symbol of curses. So God will bring them from curses into the blessings. When this happens all the earth will rejoice and be glad. God will once again have mercy on his children.
Even though this is talking about future events the Bible is alive and speaks to us all the time. To me, these verses tell me that God is bringing people right now out of tremendous bondage and affliction. Salvation is free to anyone who asks and many are on their way home.
Lord, help us to be ready to receive your prodigal sons back into the fold of your flock.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Mon's Devo - Our Labor is Not in Vain

Read Isa. 49:1-7
In these verses we get to see the heart of Jesus, the son, and God the Father. Jesus was called from the womb and given a sword as a mouth so that everything that proceeded from his mouth was God's words. God hid him from the devil's schemes to kill him . Verse 4 shows how Jesus viewed his own ministry. "I have labored in vain." He knew that he was sent to earth to bring God's people back to him so he went to the Jews first. But God's plan extended to the Gentiles and to the ends of the earth. Halleluiah! God says in verse 7 that even though he was despised and abhorred by the ones he came to save many will be saved because of his life and death on earth.
How many of us can relate to the way Jesus felt? Sometimes the Christian walk can be disappointing and discouraging but when we see seeds that don't sprout in our time, God sees seeds that sprout in his time. God sees the end from the beginning. Our job is to just keep planting and walking in Him. The results are always up to him.
Lord, may we be diligent to plant seeds of salvation, hope, and love and leave the result to you.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Fri.'s Devo - Pilgrimage Back to Israel

Read Isa. 48:1-22
God is telling them what is to happen in their future. One day they will again be captive in Babylon because of their obstinacy and hypocrisy. They said that they called on God's name but the truth is they were very comfortable in Babylon and didn't want to return to Israel. God promises to give them new prophecies since they refused to believe the last ones and tell them secrets he had previously kept from them. They have been through the furnace of affliction but it had not produced a humble people. But God is true to his promises and it is time for them to go back to Israel. God promises to lead them out and punish Babylon. He will use Cyrus of Persia to destroy the Babylonians. If they had only trusted in the Lord and followed his commands, they would have had peace like a river and lived in righteousness. They would have prospered and grew to be a mighty nation. Just as the Israelites had to flee Egypt in the days of Moses, they were called to flee the Babylonians. And just as the Lord provided for the Israelites in the wilderness, he would provide for them as they leave Babylon and go back to Israel. For the wicked among them, there will be no peace.
Lord, have mercy on us for trusting in idols of the world. Show us places in our hearts where we have not allowed you to reign.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Thurs.'s Devo - Babylon's Last Stand

Read Isa. 47:1-15
God had sent Israel to Babylon to be disciplined. The Babylonians had been cruel and merciless to them and they never considered the consequence. Babylon, once the lady of kingdoms is about to be totally humiliated and disgraced by the Persians (539 B.C.) Babylon is compared to a half-naked slave girl working as a slave. This was new to Babylon since she had never been conquered before. She will no longer be the queen of kingdoms and her pride will be brought down to the ground. Once a wife and mother she will be reduced to a widow and childless. All her witchcraft and demonic power will not be able to help her. She trusted in her wickedness and her perverted wisdom and knowledge, but it cannot help her against God who is all wisdom. Everything that Babylon trusted in will not be of any help against God's judgment on her. None will be able to save her.
I pray that this doesn't happen to our nation. Lord may you see the righteous remnant and may it be enough to save us.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Wed.'s Devo Lighten Your Burden

Read Isa. 46:1-13
What a picture of what bondage will do to you. Bel and Nebo are names of Babylonian gods. To worship them caused the people to become bent over with burdens too heavy for them to carry. Even the animals were stooped over from carrying them. Jesus told the people to take his yoke upon them and to learn of him because his yoke was easy and his burden light. Why do we choose to carry burdens when God has told us to roll them on him and he will carry them for us. In verse 3 God makes an appeal to his children who he carried in his womb and birthed them himself. How can they compare him to their gods that they make out of silver and gold who cannot live or answer their prayers? Don't they remember him who created the earth and told them what was to come in the end. He sent them prophets who rightly spoke for him and told them things to come that only God would be able to know. Even though it looks like to them that God is never going to deliver them.... he will. Everything that he has purposed will come to pass. Everything.
Lord, help us to not be like the Israelites in this chapter that went after other gods because they didn't want to wait on the Lord's salvation. Help us to roll all our concerns and fears on you because you want them. You want us to walk unencumbered to do your work.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Tues.'s Devo - The Kingdoms of This World...

Read Isa. 45:12-25
God is speaking of the last days but it applies in our lives. He is saying that He who made man and earth has raised us up to build him a city of righteousness. When we set get set free of all our demons and become the body of Christ we were meant to be then even our enemies will come and bow at our feet. The world doesn't have the answers for the world's problems but God's people do. When we realize that God is the only answer we will shine like stars. Those that refuse to come to the Lord will be disgraced and their wisdom will look foolish compared to God's. Israel (God's people) will be free and safe during this time and forever more. God, who created this world, did not create it to be destroyed but for it to be inhabited.
So God is calling his people out of the bondage of the world to come together as one. In the end everyone will bow before God and those who have called the Lord their God will be justified and glorified and those who have been against God will burn.
God is raising up his people to places of authority in the earth and when the world runs out of answers they are going to see the wisdom of God's people and they are going to run to hear what they have to say. The kingdoms of this world will become the kingdoms of our God. (Rev. 11:15)
Lord, help us to run after your wisdom and have an answer from you.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Mon.'s Devo Things to Come

Read Isa. 45:4-11
I don't think I have ever seen this: God "surnamed" us (vs. 1). "Surnamed" in the Hebrew means to address by an additional name; to give flattering titles; to eulogize. It is like God is giving his people a nickname because he is so endeared to them. He surrounds them with his love and all to a people that don't even know him. Once again he is trying to draw them near to him. He wants them to be always aware of his loving presence. He is the one who creates light and dark, good and evil. Sometimes it is hard for us to realize that God actually causes affliction, adversity, and harm (all meanings of the word "evil"). He does and he does it for his purposes. His ways are higher than our ways (Isa. 55:9). He wants the heavens to drip righteousness and for salvation to spring up from the ground. Who are we to argue with the one who made us and fashioned us for a specific purpose? God welcomes us to ask him questions about himself and about the future so we will be prepared. It is God's great plan that he created this earth and man as his prized possession. He loves to share his plan with us.
Lord, cause us to hear your voice and the name that you have given to us. Show us things to come that we might learn to trust in you.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Fri.'s Devo - The Secrets of God

Read Isa. 45:1-3
I absolutely love this chapter. It is full of wisdom about God. When God opens gates it is for us to come into a place we have never been before. There are places we can achieve in the spirit that are new but only God can reveal. If we are hungry and want to grow in our walk with God he will take us down roads that have been hard before. He will make the road straight which means prosperous, pleasant and right. It will fit us and our gifts. Things that have been a hindrance to us will be demolished by God. He will reveal secrets to us that have not been revealed before. I love those times. I have asked God questions that I didn't think were answerable to man and God has told me the answers because I asked. He longs for a people that want to know him and his ways. We wrongly think that we are not suppose to know the mysteries of God but he loves to share them with people that love and honor him. So ask him a hard question and see what he says.
Lord, help us to grow in our relationship with you. Thank you for your willingness to share with us your secrets.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Thurs.'s Devo - God Alone

Read Isa. 44:1-28
God loves to call things that aren't as if they were. God sees the end from the beginning so he never sees us in sin; he sees us in righteousness. God called Jacob and Israel to be his own possession and all of their offspring. He calls them "Jesurun" which means "upright". God speaks to the day that he will come to Israel and pour out his spirit so that all that are desiring him will be satisfied. He promises to not only pour his spirit but to bless them with many descendents. They may separate themselves by family saying "I am of Israel, or I am from Jacob", but God says they are all his and that He alone is their father. All other gods are good for nothing and when they die they will be ashamed to find out they were worshiping gods that were empty and man-made. They went to great pains to have the best idols made of the best wood and iron all for naught. The same wood that they made an idol and worshiped was the same wood they used to burn and make themselves warm. God made the tree that the wood came from and the earth that it is planted in. How stupid it is to worship things when you can worship the creator of the things. God decides who will be exalted and who will be abased. He alone is in control and He alone deserves our worship.
Lord, forgive us for thinking you can not help. You hold the future of the universe in your hand. You alone are God.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Wed.'s Devo. - Glorify Yourself on the Earth

Read Isa. 43:20-28
The rest of this chapter is a picture of millennial reign when Israel is in their land reigning over the earth. He mentions that the beasts of the field and the dragons and the owls will honor the Lord. These are three unclean animals that are associated with darkness and the occult. They are animals that feasts on dead things. But one day they will be set free of their curse and become holy. Even the land will become holy and the desert will have rivers running through it and the wilderness will be watered. Whatever happens naturally will also happen spiritually. The actual deserts will have rivers and the people that have lived in a state of thirst for God with no spiritual refreshing will be taught and showered with healing and anointing power. Humanity was created to honor God but they didn't do that. Even his chosen people Israel and Judah didn't honor God by following his covenant. They didn't bring him the sacrifices that he asked. Instead they wearied the Lord with their sins but how merciful is God! He chose to blot out our transgressions and to forget our sins. But, because of his nature, he has to discipline them first. Then he can bless them.
Lord, send us streams in the desert that we might be filled with your spirit.