Monday, January 31, 2011

Mon.'s Devo - Under the Wings

Read Pr. 22:3-5
The crafty and cunning person will smell out danger and hide, but the simple man will just keep going and not see the sign posts of danger along the way. He will end up paying the consequence. The justice of it all is that God sees everything and pays back those who do evil in secret and really, no one gets away free except those who are covered by his grace and he pours out his mercy to. The next verse gives us hope. If we will just humble ourselves before God and man and fear God's law then he will bless us with riches and honor and life. And if we guard our soul from the snares of sin then God will remove all the traps and hindrances from our walk. The devil's goal is to trip us and deceive us from following God's way and having an impact on the world. He will go to any length to do this. Our covering is to stay in the middle of God's will where we are covered and protected. If God could hide Jesus from a mad and jealous King Herod when he was born, he can hide us now.
Lord, hide us under your wings and may we trust in your power to deliver us from all evil.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Fri.'s Devo - The Rich and the Poor

Read Pr. 22:2
The rich and the poor will always be on the earth because God put them both here to challenge us. The rich are here to give and bless the world with their gifts. It is our struggle not to envy them but to rejoice that they keep the economy going and contribute much good to society. They also contribute a lot of bad which is a whole different challenge. The poor are here to remind us of the goodness of God in our lives. They are here to challenge us to give out of our need to help someone in a greater need. Jesus even said that the poor will always be with you. (Mat. 26:11) But he also says to give to the poor and you will have treasure in heaven. He blessed the poor in spirit for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. But when he saw the poor widow give her last 2 mites he didn't run after her and give her money, he commended her for her faith. Sometimes it is not our job to fix someone's financial need but to teach them the rules of the kingdom and let God do that. We can't solve world hunger but we can preach the gospel and solve the hunger of their soul which is much more important. And if God calls us to give to the poor then we do it. Meeting the immediate need of a person will open their hearts to the inner need of their soul. So bottom line, we do what we see the Father doing and leave the rest to him.
Lord, open our hearts to the poor in spirit and the poor in physical need. Show us what our part is and give us the grace to obey.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Thurs.'s Devo - Our Reputation

Read Pr. 22:1
A good reputation is worth more than money can buy. Think of all the men in the Bible who lost their reputation over a sin they committed or act they did. David lost his spotless reputation when he had Uriah killed because he lusted after his wife. Jacob stole his brother's birthright. Samson's weakness with Philistine women cost him his life and his destiny. Solomon and many kings lost their focus when the lust for power led them to lose their position with God. I wonder if they knew that their life would be remembered throughout history. Would they have lived differently and chose differently? We have no idea the scope of our influence but we even if we are not famous, we are all surrounded by a crowd of witnesses in heaven that are watching what we do and are affected by it in some way. I don't understand all that but I do know that we carry the Holy Spirit of God in us and that is a big responsibility. Maybe no one will write a book about us but our lives count in a much larger way than we can imagine. Our good name and God's favor is something we should covet above our personal desires.
Lord, let us take our walk with you seriously and raise up a name for you.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Wed.'s Devo -Hidden in Christ

Read Pr. 21:24-31
What a description of the wicked! They are arrogant and short tempered. They know what they want it and want it yesterday. they spend their days wanting what everyone else has but refusing to work for it. Even what they gives is disgusting and idolatrous to God because their motives are evil and selfish. They harden their face toward people and don't understands the ways of God so they have no wisdom or understanding. They may be strong in the world and have money, power, and prestige but they will not be safe. For the righteous, God promises to give us life, a generous heart, joy in our labor, direction for our path, counsel, and safety. We are hidden in Christ Jesus.
Lord, I thank you that we are called by your name and have escaped the curse of death. Our hope is in you alone

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Tues.'s Devo - Our Tongues

Read Pr. 21:23
Being able to hold your tongue is the sign of maturity. I haven't reached that yet. If we could just realize that keeping our mouths shut can keep our soul from the attack of the enemy. James says that the tongue is a fire, like lightning and that it is full of injustice and wrong. It can stain your whole body and it can set a course in motion that comes straight from Hell. Or, it can also minister grace to the hearer and bring healing and life. That is why it is so important to daily feed on the Word of God. What ever you plant in your spirit, you will produce the outcome. So we must plant the spirit of God's Word so that we will produce the product of those seeds.
Lord, help us to muzzle our mouths and only speak the things that you say to speak. Guard what we say and may it produce life and seeds of righteousness and joy.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Mon.'s Devo - Wisdom

Read Pr. 21:20-22
Knowledge can be gotten in books but wisdom is only achieved through experience. That is why wisdom is attributed to the old. They have a depository of wealth to pass down to those who are smart enough to listen. There is "oil in the dwelling of the wise" means that there is richness and anointing in everything they do. The foolish man spends his life taking and destroying the lessons he should have learned. If he had followed after the things of God: righteousness and mercy; he would have found life, strength, justice, and glory. A wise man can outsmart the mightiest power and take away his power. Samson is a great example of this. He was the strongest man ever to live and no one or no people could withstand him. But a wise woman named Delila found the source of his strength and disabled him in a few moments. We are suppose to do that to the enemy. Our battle is not against the evil of this world but the evil spirits behind the evil people. Once we disarm those we will have the strength of the person. Spiritual warfare gets perfected by use and experience which becomes wisdom.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Fri.'s Devo - Angry Women

Read Pr. 21:19
This word, "angry" is used throughout the Bible in correlation with provoking, wrath, slavery, barrenness, grief, complaining, murder, envy, indignation, sorrow, spite, mischief, and bitterness. Who wouldn't want to get away from that even if you had to live in the wilderness. At least there you would have peace. What do we do about anger? We all face it at certain times in our life. Eph. 4:29-32 tells us not to speak about anything that is morally wrong but, instead we are to edify and minister grace to people. When we don't speak kindly we are grieving the Holy Spirit. It goes on to tell us to let all bitterness, and wrath and anger, and outcries, and complaining, be put away with us along with plans of retaliation and meanness. Instead, we are to replace it with kindness, being tenderhearted and forgiving, as Christ has forgiven us. I have found when I am angry it affects everything I do and it totally unsettles me until I picture myself handing it to Jesus and letting him have it. Then I can walk away and when Satan reminds me I am suppose to be mad I just keep reminding myself that I gave that to Jesus.
Lord, we hand you all our "stuff" that we can't deal with and walk away light as a feather. Take our hurts and injustices and heal them. Restore unto us a right spirit. We do not want to be angry women or men.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Thurs.'s Devo - Which Pitch?

Read Pr. 21:18
This is a very interesting verse. This is what it says in the King James: "The wicked shall be a ransom for the righteous, and the transgressor for the upright." I looked up the meaning of the word "ransom" and it is the same meaning as the word "pitch" which was used when Noah made the ark. He was told to put pitch on the outside walls and pitch on the inside walls only the word "pitch" used on the inside walls means "to make atonement, cleanse, forgive, reconcile, pardon, mercy, reconcile". And the word used for "pitch" on the outside means the same as the word "ransom" which is "bribe, satisfaction, sum of money". So for those of us "in the ark" - in Jesus, we are covered with mercy and forgiveness. Those "outside the ark" - outside of Jesus, they are judged by the law. If you live by the law you will be judged by the law and no one is sinless. Those who live by grace will be pardoned by that same grace. It reminds me of the line in "National Treasure" where the FBI officer told Nicholas Cage, "someone's got to go to jail". Well, in this case, someone's got to die eternally for sin.
Lord, once again we are reminded of the marvelous grace we are covered with.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Wed.'s Devo - The True Riches

Read Pr. 21:17
The person who loves pleasure over work will end up poor. The person who loves all the things money can buy will not be rich either. The way to get rich is to work hard and the way to enjoy it is to put God first and give your money to his lordship. In Deut. 8:18 Moses told the children of Israel that it is the Lord that gives them the power to get wealth, that he may establish his covenant which he sware unto their fathers. God can give us the power to get wealth but it is for his purpose. He wants to see the whole world saved so he needs someone he can trust with money to see this done. Being rich means so much more than having an abundance of money. Many a rich man has died poor. They had lots of material assets but no true happiness or joy and no true friend. Many a poor man has died rich. They might not have owned anything of worth but they had true joy and friendships and love. We are living for eternity so we should be storing up riches in heaven more than here on earth. The true riches are eternal life and a relationship with Jesus that no money can buy.
Lord, give us a heart for eternity.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Tues.'s Devo - The Aliens -

Read Pr. 21:16
What is the "congregation of the dead"? It seems that they are the people that were not born again on earth so they live in a community in Hades under the earth waiting to be judged. The sad thing is that there are people all around us living in a state of death - spiritual death. I can not remember not knowing Jesus so I don't know what it feels like to not have any hope however I do remember not being sure if I would go to heaven. I didn't have a true understanding of God's grace, but I do now. We are to live in a state of death - death to flesh- here on earth but very much alive in the spirit. So much so that we should shine. Our life should make people refreshed by being around us and cause them to want what we have. I had a dream the other night that I was talking to a guy who told me he was an alien. I knew this was a bad thing. He revealed to me that the people around us were too. I realize now that it meant he was a non-believer. God called the people who were not Israelites: aliens. He told them love the stranger because they were strangers in the land of Egypt. We are aliens; strangers in this world where our home is heaven.
Lord, give us discernment to know the children from the aliens that we might bring life to the aliens and refresh the children.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Mon.'s Devo - What Can We Do?

Read Pr. 21:13-15
God has a lot to say about the poor and helpless. It is our responsibility to respond to the needs of them. We can't stop world hunger or adopt every parent-less child but we can do what God puts on our heart to do. If we purposely try to ignore what is right in front of us then we will be ignored when we need help. If we give what we can with no strings attached then it will pacify God's anger toward injustice. If our gift is a true gift from our hearts and it costs us something then it is even more powerful in pleasing God and causing mercy to flow rather than judgment. Every nation will be judged on this matter: how we dealt with the poor and helpless in our nation. The next verse lets us know the heart of God . It will bring joy to the just at the time of judgment because he will be remembered for what he did. He will see the wicked condemned for all their hatred and malicious evil. It will be a joy to see the devil and his works thrown into the lake of fire. God hates evil but loves righteousness.
Lord, open our eyes to the helpless and needy and show us what seed to sow in their garden.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Fri's Devo - The Wicked

Read Pro. 21:10-12
Have you ever wondered who the wicked are? I do. Why did God tell the children of Israel to kill the inhabitants of the Promise land instead of telling them to tell them about him? Are they descendants of Cain or Lot or the offspring of Gen. 6 when the angels of Satan came and had sex with women on earth and bore children? Jesus had no compassion or mercy for the scribes and Pharisees and even said in his sermon on the Mount: "Don't give that which is holy to the dogs, nor cast your pearls before swine least they trample you under their feet and turn again and rend you." (Matt. 7:6) Research shows that a psychopath is born that way and has not be know to be able to be rehabilitated. But then there is Rahab and Ruth and Son of Sam who have all come out of those categories. I don't understand election but I know that there is a chosen generation and if you want to be one of them you can. Jesus died for the whole world and became sin for us. In order to be able to be pure and righteous we must be born again. The soul of the wicked desires evil but the soul of the righteous desires righteousness. We become wiser by watching how God deals with others and how he teaches us. If we are teachable then we will become wise. We are told not to worry about the tares growing with the wheat because God is the judge who will sift that in the end.
Lord, show us your heart and let us participate with you today.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Thurs.'s Devo -Find Your Space

Read Pr. 21:9
The difference between a corner of a rooftop and a wide house is space. Verse 9 says that it is better to occupy and rule a little space and have peace than to live is a large place and have to deal with contention and strife. Put another way: it is better to be hidden and safe than to want to be famous and have to put up with all the trappings that comes with it. If God wants us to be famous and a platform person then he will enable us and prepare us for it. If we aren't suppose to be that person but try to be it anyway we will end up most unhappy. God made us for where we are to function the best. I just read about the children of Israel and the tribes of Gad and Manasseh that didn't want to live in the Promise Land. They were sheep herders and saw that the land on the other side of the Jordan was good for raising sheep. They promised that if they could build houses for their wives and children on the fertile side of the Jordan then they would send their fighting men over with the other tribes and help them fight and possess their land, then they would go back and live with their families. God let them do it. It takes a mature person to realize their place in the body. Maybe it is to just help someone else's ministry or be an encourager. Not everyone is born to be a leader in the big picture though we are all to lead something and all have very important things to contribute to God and this world.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Wed.'s Devo- Pure Hearts

Read Pr. 21:3-8
God is not looking for a payoff - he wants our heart. He would rather us live rightly and fairly than to fast and sacrifice our time. The priests of the Old Testament went to great lengths to fulfill the written law but did their lives and hearts didn't reflect the heart of God? Some did and some didn't. We can go to great lengths to clean the outside of our lives but it is the inside that God is interested in. The scribes and Pharisees looked good on the outside but inside they were full of extortion and excess. Jesus told them to cleanse the inside first and then the outside would be clean also.
God hates pride and arrogance. Even the hard work of those that are wicked is sin. A bad tree cannot produce good fruit. But the work of the person who plans and puts time and prayer into their endeavors will be prosperous and successful. You must have patience and wait on God's timing. Those who are in a hurry to get rich or try to sham people end up in want and eventually eternal death. It is our nature to sin but when God rebirths us through the blood of Jesus he changes our nature to be pure.
Lord, help us to have pure hearts before you so that it is reflected in all that we do.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Tues.'s Devo - Matters of the Heart

Read Pr. 21:1-2
This first verse always gives me comfort. No matter who is in control of our country, your company, or your family their heart is in God's hand. He will direct their heart even if they don't know God. Our president's heart is in God's hand and He can cause him to make decisions he wouldn't normally make because God controls his heart. Remember the Pharoah of Moses's time; God chose to harden his heart. It doesn't seem fair but how can the clay say to the potter 'why did you make me this way?' God creates people for evil and people for good all for the purpose of bringing his elect to the place he wants them. The word "heart" used in this verse means the feelings, will and even the intellect; the center of anything. The next verse says that man judges his actions right in his own estimation but God will study his heart. God will measure out why we do what we do and consider our motives. Why we do what we do is more important than what we do. We may give all our money to the poor but if God reads our heart and we are only doing it to be approved of man then man's approval is our reward. But if we give our of a pure heart really wanting to help the people he has created then we will be rewarded by God here and in heaven. The older I get the more I realize that what I do now will effect my eternity. I find that I want to do more things in secret unto him than I used to. Life is a really short time compared to eternity. Ecc. says that God has written eternity in the hearts of every man.
Lord, help us live today for eternity. Turn our hearts toward you and what you want.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Mon.'s Devo - Faithful Wounds

Read Pr. 20:29-30
Every season in our lives is purposeful. God even measured the worth of a man in money in the Old Testament. If he could go to war he was worth more than those who couldn't fight because they were either too young or too old. So the pride of a young person is their strength but the pride of the old man is the fact that he has knowledge and wisdom. That is what gray hair represents - years of learning and growing. Speaking of colors: our next verse has to do with blue bruises. When a wound is healing it turns blue which means the body is cleansing the wound of germs so it can heal. That is what emotional wounds do to our inner person. This verse says that wounds to our inward parts of our belly cleanse away evil. Have you ever noticed that when you get your feelings hurt you feel it in the pit of your stomach. Now we know that God is using this pain to heal something deep inside. It hurts for the moment but there is a higher purpose for the hurt. Isn't that comforting? We need those blows to our ego to bring us down to earth and draw us in to God. He is the healer who knows just what we really need although it may not look good at the time.
Lord, help us to trust your wounds because you say, "faithful are the wounds of a friend" and you are the closest friend we have.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Fri.'s Devo - Dare to Dream

Read Pr. 20:27-28
I woke up today and asked God what he wanted to say to me and he said, "Call unto me, and I will answer you, and show you great and mighty things, which you knowest not." Jer. 33:3 I'd say that is a loaded canon. I looked up other "call unto me's" in scripture and found these: In Ps. 102:2 David prayed "Hide not your face from me in the day when I am in trouble, incline your ear unto me; in the day when I call answer me speedily." Ps. 116:2 "Because he has inclined his ear to me, therefore will I call upon him as long as I live." Jer. 29:12 "then shall you call upon me, and you shall go and pray unto me, and I will hearken unto you." If God searches us and knows everything about our bodies inside and out then he knows all our weaknesses and secrets and all our strengths. He has chosen to have mercy on our sins and cover us with the blood of Jesus. To think anything less is to not honor God. He is a God of love and tender mercies. He wants us to call out to him about EVERYTHING... even the smallest details. He is a detail God and loves when we come to him about the simplest things and the big things. I would not trouble a stranger with my trivial thoughts but I would tell my closest friends. God wants to be our closest friend, so don't think you are boring him or taking up his time: He lives in eternity.
Lord, today, I am going to call out to you about everything. Expand my imagination to pray for things that I would normally think impossible because I know that nothing is impossible with you.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Thurs.'s Devo - A Consuming Fire

Read Pr. 20:22-26
I was reading in Numbers today about a man that gathered sticks on the Sabbath and since that was work God told Moses to bring the man outside the camp and stone him. In the very next chapter God severely judged Kohath and his family for challenging the authority of Moses. God caused the first earthquake and it swallowed them up with their homes and fire came out of the earth and burned up the 250 men that offered unholy incense. If that wasn't enough God had Moses call all the people together and told him to take a censor of fire and incense to stop the plague and make atonement for the people because he wanted to destroy all of them. That day 14,700 people died of the plague. So that brings some light to the scriptures today. God hates sin and knows how to deal with it. It is not our job to even the score or get revenge, God is really good at that. He knows when you are getting cheated and when you are being the one who is cheating and nothing gets by him. He also rewards those who give secretly and don't expect anything in return. Verse 26 says that a wise king will scatter the wicked and crush them. We are to scatter and crush our enemies but our enemies are not flesh and blood but principalities and powers. Our job is to pray and obey. God may have us tell someone a hard thing but it will be his words and God's words break yokes and set people free, they don't damage them.
Lord, thank you for reminding us that you are a holy God who hates sin. You defend us and cover us with the blood of Jesus that we can live righteously and escape your wrath. Help us in our dealings with people that we recognize who our real enemy is.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Wed.'s Devo - Our Lamp

Read Pr. 20:16-21
Our mouths can get us into serious trouble or they can set us free. If we use our mouths to deceive to get what we want, or to slander people and ruin their reputation to make ourselves look good, or to curse our parents because we didn't believe they were good parents, then we are using our mouths to curse and the curse will fall on us. I we use our mouths to speak truth, to counsel others using the Bible, or bless others then the blessing will fall back on us. We all carry a lamp which can light a broad area and influence many people that will come behind us, or our light can be put out and our influence stopped. If your light is to remain then it must be the light of the glory of God full of the oil of the Holy Spirit. The world can give you instant success but in the end it will not be blessed, but God can give you a light that will shine into eternity. That is the light we want. Then we can say like Samuel: "For you are my lamp, O Lord; and the Lord will lighten my darkness." 2 Sam. 22:29. Pr. 13:9 says, "The light of the righteous rejoiceth: but the lamp of the wicked shall be put out."
Lord, may the light of your presence shine through us today.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Tues.'s Devo - Let us Boast in You

Read Pr. 20:14,15
If you have ever been to Mexico or any country where they have vendors you have witnessed this. The person wanting to buy will look at the item he wants and bring out all the faults of the piece to make the seller drop his price. He will bargain back and forth till he gets the price where he wants it then after the transaction he will boast about what a deal he got. I don't know if this is deception or not since most of these countries love to banter over a cost. It is a game to them. The next verse brings perspective to money. For all the money in the world there is nothing compared to being able to speak knowledgeably. Wisdom, understanding, and knowledge are always compared to precious gold, silver and jewels. This verse compares knowledge to a precious jewel. In the Hebrew "jewel" means "something prepared for armour, artillery, a weapon, etc." So knowledge is a weapon that if used wisely will accomplish great exploits.
Lord, help us to prioritize our possessions and realize the greatest treasures are not tangible. May our boast not be in what a good deal we got but in the wonderful saviour we have been freely given.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Mon.'s Devo - Happy 2011!

Every year I ask God for a word for the year. Last year's word was "contend" and it was a true word. I had to contend for my house, my family, and many other things. This year God told me to look up what the number 11 meant. It means "the end". So that is my word. It is the end of vain imaginations, striving, contending, unforgiveness, bitterness, etc. God led me to Esther 7 where Esther is finally getting to expose Haman for who he is and Haman is getting his reward for his deception. Mordecai is getting promoted for his righteousness and faithfulness. He was clothed in royal robes with a golden crown and garments of linen. They whole city rejoiced and were glad. The Jews were filled with gladness, and joy and honor and instead of being attacked by their enemies, the Jews are allowed to fight their enemies and they are totally victorious. And many of the people of the land became Jews because the fear of the Lord fell on them. Esther asked that all of Haman's 10 sons be hung and the king granted her request. Mordecai sent out a decree that the Jews celebrate for two days because God had given them rest from their enemies, he turned their sorrow to joy and their mourning into a good day. They called this Purim. So that is our word for 2011. You may be in a tight spot now but God is going to avenge your enemies and turn everything for your good. In Esther, it didn't happen till the last month of the year which for them was in Aug. or Sept. so even if you have to wait know that God is at work for your good. I also think God is going to do a great victory for the Jews so keep your eye on the news.
Lord, thank you that you still deliver your people and your Word becomes more and more powerful through the ages.