Friday, April 29, 2011

Fri.'s Devo - God's Deposit

Read Pr. 27:13
I couldn't understand this verse so I looked it up in a Bible paraphrase and it said this: "Get security from someone who guarantees a stranger's debt. Get a deposit if he does it for foreigners." If that is what it means then it is talking about boundaries and precautions. If you are going to do work with the world who might not have the same ethical practices as you, then you might want to get a deposit first so at least you can break even. I do that in my work. I have learned the hard way that just because people say they want something does not mean that they want it enough to pay for it. If you get a deposit then you can cover your cost and not be out much - just the painful lesson that not everyone is trustworthy.
God took a huge chance when he sent his Son, Jesus to be our deposit. He sacrificed his prize and glory to redeem a small remnant that came to realize the benefit of the trade. We get salvation, hope, peace, joy, fulfillment all in exchange for the painful death of God's son. I have come to the conclusion that God doesn't have "safe" boundaries in our eyes but is a risk-taker. He risked his son for a people that are not worthy of his great offer, but that is where grace comes in. Grace is God's unmerited favor.
Thank you, thank you, thank you Lord. Thank you for the blood of your only begotten son who purchased our salvation.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Thurs.'s Devo - Discern the Times

Read Pr. 27: 12
The wise people can discern the times. That was the blessing of the tribe of Issachar, that they would be able to discern the times they lived in. It doesn't take a prophet to discern the times we are living in, but still some simple people miss it. I have heard many talk about the fact that Jesus must be coming back soon because of how bad it is getting. These times are birth pains which could go on for years. I personally don't think I will live to see the coming of Jesus but we ARE in the "last days". Hebrews 1:2 says that the time of Jesus was the last days too. 2Titus 3 tells us how it will be in the last days: men will be disrespectful, proud, blasphemers, liars, haters of righteousness, traitors, etc. Sounds like today and many other eras. Matt. 24 tells us that there will be wars, earthquakes, famines, plagues, and troubles, BUT, all these are the beginning of sorrows and the end is not yet. Christians will suffer persecutions, false prophets will arise and deceive many, sin will abound, and many will have hardened hearts. The gospel will be preached in all the world and THEN shall the end come. And WHEN you see the abomination of desolation that Daniel talked about in the holy place, it is time to run. If you look in Daniel 9:27 he is talking about a sacrifice made on the temple mount. In Daniel 11:31 it says that they will have to take away the daily sacrifices to do this abominable thing. If you have been to Israel lately you know that on the temple mount stands a Muslim mosque and no holy sacrifices to our God are being made there. There is too much that has to happen before Jesus can come back. BUT, we are experiencing great birth pains. The whole earth is in travail waiting for the sons of God to be made manifest on the earth. These birth pains are for the body of Christ to wake up and be the hand of God extended to the earth. All creation is waiting for this to happen. (Rom. 8)
Lord, help us to be wise virgins who had oil in our lamp because we did not give up on your coming and like the sons of Issachar we know the times we are living in and respond correctly to them. Let us not be like the simple that are punished.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Wed.'s Devo - The Family of God

Wed.'s Devo - The Family of God

Read Pr. 27:10
God loves family and he loves community. Community is suppose to be an extended family. In the Old Testament they lived in tribes and they worked and were dependent on each other. That is not the way it is in America where everyone keeps to themselves and rarely sees their neighbor. It takes disasters to bind us to one another. The snow storm this year was a good example. We helped and met neighbors we didn't even know we had. It was so much fun. When disasters hit we are suppose to stay home and help those around us rather than getting in our cars and going to our family. I know that sounds cruel but God arranges those moments in time where we will reach out to our neighbors. Jesus wouldn't even consider his own mother over the crowd when she was trying to get in to see him. He asked who was his mother and who was his brother. Then he stretched out his hand toward his disciples and said, "Behold my mother and my brethren!" He wasn't trying to disrespect his mother but to tell them that anyone can be as close to him as his mother or his family. Because, in truth, we are the family of God.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Tues.'s Devo - The Sweet Smell of Oil

Read Pr. 27:9
Ointment in scripture is a picture of the anointing of the Holy Spirit to sanctify a person for service. David was anointed to be king of Israel by Samuel and from that time the Spirit of the Lord came upon David. Mary anointed Jesus before his death. It was said of Jesus that he was anointed with the Holy Ghost and with power: who went about doing good, and healing all that were oppressed of the devil, for God was with him. (Acts 10:38)
Perfume is a symbol of intercession. In Revelations the angel was given a censer of incense that he offered with the prayer of the saints. I saw this picture in a dream. I was looking down into a very ancient cathedral like room. All around the room were different oil-burning lamps and they gave off this smoke. I could hear different languages being spoken all at the same time. I knew that I was in the intercession room in heaven. It was a very holy place. The Bible says that our prayers go up to heaven like incense. In Luke 1:10 Elizabeth's husband, Zacharias was doing his term of offering incense. The people were outside praying and he had a visitation from an angel that stood by the altar of incense. The angel told him that his prayers had been heard and his wife, Elizabeth would have a child. Nine months later John the Baptist was born.
Our verse for today says that the anointing of God and our prayers make our hearts rejoice. It is like a having sweet fellowship with a great friend. I understand this because yesterday my closest friend called me and we had a great visit for over an hour. Afterward I felt so joyful and empowered.
Lord, teach us your mysteries. Better is one day in your court than a thousand elsewhere. Anoint us for service and pray through us.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Mon.'s Devo - Seek and You Will Find

Read Pr. 27:8
It is not natural for a bird to forget where his nest is and be lost. They have a natural God-given GPS built in their DNA. We also have a God-given GPS built into our DNA. You would think it would be hard to venture away from the plan so far that we are lost, but people do it often. What is hard is to lose your way when you are looking for it. God makes his ways easy for us to find. We are born with a destiny and we have been assigned to angels whose job is to see that we fulfill this destiny. God puts breadcrumbs all along our path to get us to go in the right way. He wants us to fulfill our destiny. He gave it to us. He said that if we seek him we will find him but it might take us seeking with all our hearts. He also said to seek first the kingdom of God then all the other things will be added. God has a big picture in his mind where we only see ourselves and our own pleasure. God doesn't care as much about our pleasure as he does his plan for us. If he has to deal out some unpleasantness, then he will, in order to get his plan manifested. Our light afflictions may hurt for the moment but they do a measurable amount of maturity in us. It is well worth the pain.
Lord, help us to be strong in our afflictions and ready to fight the enemy. Let us walk according to the plan you have drawn for us.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Fri.'s Devo - Truth or Consequences

Read Pr. 27: 5-7
These are verses of opposites and comparisons. First it is comparing open rebuke to secret love. If God chastens those he loves then we can understand that a rebuke can be a good thing if we take it to heart and not get offended. On the other hand, secret love is suppose to be worse. If you love someone you should let it out. We were made to be creatures of love and emotion. The greatest commandment is to love God and people the same. So it is wrong to love someone and keep it hidden. (Of course, we are talking about agape love, God's love not romantic love. Sometimes that needs to be squelched or hidden.)
The second verse says that the wounds a true friend gives you can help you become the person you are suppose to be. They are given to you from a heart of love and are for your benefit. But the kisses and flattery of an enemy is deceitful and not for your benefit. It is interesting how if God rebukes you for something, the Devil will always come to console you with his deceptive show of love and concern.
The last verse says that if you have just eaten a huge supper you won't have room for your favorite dessert. But if you are starved you'll eat anything. The same is true in the spirit. If you feast from God's word and are filled with the truth, then the lies, no matter how good they look will not deceive you because you are filled with the truth. But if you are searching for truth and look for it in places other than the Bible you will fall for their lies because you have no knowledge of the truth to compare it with.
Lord, thank you for the fulness of your Word. It satisfies our soul and gives us discernment against the lies of the enemy.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Thur.s' Devo - Anger and Envy

Read Pr. 27:3-4
Stones are carried in your hands in front of you and are heavy but sand is usually carried in a bag over your back and is a burden, but even heavier and more of a burden is anger and spite. Being angry is both weighty and a burden. Think of how you feel when you let go of your anger....light and free. Col. 3:8 says, "But now you also put off all these; anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy communication our of your mouth." The next verse describes anger as cruel, fierce, terrible, and harsh. It is an overflowing flood of emotions that is hard to stop. Once a person starts venting his feelings he can't stop. That's why Ephesians says to be angry and sin not. Jesus was angry at their hard hearts but instead of doing harm he healed someone's arm. It is OK to be angry at the right things but you have to control what you do with it. The end of the verse is the kicker; anger doesn't even compare to envy. Envy drove them to crucify Jesus and it drove Joseph's brothers to sell him into Egypt. Envy will cause people to do the most unlikely things. Phil. 1:15 says that some people preached Jesus out of envy and strife. I wonder what good that did anyone. When we envy the gifts of others or the grace of God on their lives then we are working against God and his plan. We are all part of the same body and when God works through one person he is working through us.
Lord, we confess that we need you. Help us to look to you when we are angry and let you control us. Forgive us when we envy one another. Let us replace that with your perfect love.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Wed.'s Devo - Humility Before Honor

Read Pr. 27:1-2
Humility is a difficult walk. Peter said for the young person to submit to the older and for everyone to be subject to one another. Then he said to be clothed with humility: for God resists the proud, and gives grace to the humble. Another name for humility is modesty. We love to talk about ourselves and all our accomplishments. Who wants to listen to how great we are? Noone but our mother and I bet she gets tired after a while. Proverb tells us twice that to be honored we first have to be humbled. Today's Proverb warns us not to boast about what we are going to do in the future because we don't know the future and anything can happen. If we want praise it should not come from us. Our walk should so look like Jesus that people would praise us and we shouldn't have to seek it ourselves.
Lord, help us to walk in humility knowing that there is nothing good in us except you and there is nothing praisworthy about ourselves except what you do through us. Thank you for the gifts you give us to bring glory to you.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Tues.'s Devo - The Mouth... Again

Read Pr. 26:22-28
Proverbs speaks so much about out words because our speech is so important. It can cause a curse and be our worse enemy or it can bless and be our powerful advocate. Whispered slander will hurt a person down to their womb where they reproduce life. When we hear some slander spoken against us it can cause us to stop moving in our destiny. When we hate someone we won't speak truth because hate is of Satan and he is the author of lies. He distorts things in our mind so that we say things out of the distortion that are not true. Love believes all things and covers a multitude of sins. A person of hate cannot love and even his mercy is deceptive because his heart is full of idolatry. He will be exposed before his accusers and brought down. It's the promise of God that we will reap what we sow. A person who lies really hates the person he is trying to deceive even if he does it by flattery. Flattery is just a lie in a prettier package. Jesus said to let your "yes" be "yes" and your "no" be "no" and whatever is more than that comes from evil. In other words, we don't have to add a lot of adjectives to our yeses. If we are a person of integrity then people will believe our simple "yes" and we won't be tempted to exaggerate.
Lord, let your love flow from our mouths and let us be simple and truthful in all we say. May our speech edify you.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Mon.'s Devo - Stomping out the Fire

Read Pr. 26-21
It takes coal to make burning coals and it takes wood to make a fire. In the same way, it takes a contentious man to make a fight. If you have one piece of coal then it won't stay burning long and if you only light one piece of wood it will soon go out. That is the same way it is with a person bent on picking a fight. If they can't find anyone to fight with they will be forced to cool down. When I encounter a situation that is ripe for contention I have to remind myself that if I don't play their game then there is no game. If I return kindness for strife and love for hate then I have disarmed the enemy. It also helps to realize that we don't fight people but principalities and things unseen. Our enemy is the devil and all his demons. Jesus put it this way, "Love your enemies, do good to them which hate you, bless them that curse you, and pray for them which despitefully use you."
Lord, remind us of this when we encounter strife and debate. Let us bring a cup of cool water to our enemies.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Fri.'s Devo - The Rewards of Deceit

Read Pr. 26:19,20
Wow, this is a scary promise! If a person betrays or deceives another associate then he is like a demon who hurls fiery arrows of ruin at him. I wonder what his reward will be. Unfortunately this kind of thing happens daily. People embezzle from the business they work for, corporations lie to their competitors to sell the most, people defame their coworker so they will get the promotion, husbands and wives deceive each other with other relationships. God sees it all and he has this rule: you reap what you sow. The thing is he is not in a hurry to punish you because he is hoping you will repent and lighten your sentence. The trouble with that is, we as humans think that time means we have gotten away with it. Nothing could be further from the truth. We WILL reap what we sow here on this earth. That is the mercy of God that we reap here on earth and not in heaven. We want to be judged here so we can repent and enter into God's rest when we die.
Lord, show us any deceit in us so that we can repent and be restored. We forgive those that have betrayed us. Have mercy on them.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Thurs's. Devo - In the Waiting Room

Read Pr. 27:18
The fig tree is symbolic in the Bible for Israel. If we protect it with our loyalty and prayers then we will eat the fruit of all the promises God gave to Israel. After all, we are spiritual Israel and our roots spring from Abraham. In the same way if we wait for God to fulfill his promises then we will be loaded down with the fulfillment of the promise. Waiting on God is a fundamental requirement of Christians. God is never, never, never in a hurry but never late. We just don't understand the process. God plants us as a seed on this earth and it takes much watering of His Word, and much walking out of the Word before we can carry the weight of the promises. The scripture says that he that waits on his master will be honored. In the Hebrew it reads, "He that guards and protects and attends to his sovereign controller or master will be heavy with riches. Ps. 37:9 says that those that wait upon the Lord shall inherit the earth. Is. 30:18 says that those who wait will receive mercy and blessings from God. Is. 40:31 says that those the wait on God will renew their strength and mount up with wings as eagles. They will run, and not be weary, and walk and not faint. Good things come to them that wait. Israel has had to wait for God's promises to come but God has always come through just as he promised and he will for you too.
Lord, teach us how to wait and what to do while we are in the waiting room. Show us the principle of watering the words you have given us with the word and the word of our testimony. May our words and yours align together.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Wed.'s Devo - Boundaries

Read Pr. 26:17
God gave the tribes of Israel boundaries that they were suppose to live in. They were purposed by God for a reason. We have been given boundaries that we are to possess. We are safe inside our boundaries but we get in trouble when we go beyond them. Today's verse talks about what happens when we get beyond our boundaries and meddle with someone elses contentions. It is like taking a dog by the ears. "Taking" means to attack. This dog is not the pet but more like a male prostitute or someone who is extremely base. It would not be wise to attack the most evil man in prison. That is the picture. In the Old Testament many countries would hire soldiers from other nations to fight with them. It rarely turned out to be a good thing. We are trained the fight our own battles but not the battles of others. God has given us authority over our family, our state, our nation, but not others families, etc. We can advise them in the Word but they need to put on their armor and fight.
Lord, show us our boundaries and help us to stay in the safety of our land.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Tues.'s Devo - The Lazy Person

Read Pr. 26:13-16
In these 4 verses we see the personality of the lazy person.
(1) The lazy person only sees the obstacles. He lives his life out of fear which keeps him from doing anything or taking any risks. The Christian life is full of risks. You must lay down your life for Jesus and walk in total trust and faith in Him.
(2) The lazy man is like a door turning on hinges. The door never leaves its place and goes anywhere. Neither does a man who sleeps his life away. Depressed people spend a lot of time in bed because they have no hope. They just turn over and over like the door. We are called to go out to the world and influence them with the gospel.
(3) The lazy person thinks he knows more than those who are out there in the midst of what is happening and seeing it face to face. These lazy people love to sit back and complain about what is going on yet don't want to "get involved".
(4) The lazy man hides his gifts and tries to shirk his responsibilities. Jesus said that the greatest commandment is to love God with all our hearts and others the same way. We can't shirk our responsibilities if we love others with all our heart.
Lord, help us to be diligent and always about your business of the kingdom.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Mon.'s Devo - Man's Wisdom vs. God's Wisdom

Read Pr. 26:12
There is a difference in having God's wisdom and having your own. Those who have their own think they know more than God which is foolishness. I Co. 2:13 explains that there is a difference between man's wisdom and God's. Man's wisdom is carnal and speaks of natural things. God's wisdom is taught by the Holy Spirit and compares spiritual things with spiritual things. Job said that the wisdom of God is the fear of God and to depart from evil is understanding. God condemned the king of Assyria because he though that by his own wisdom he had freed his people and won victory. Because he thought this God brought judgment down on his nation. Paul said that his teachings were not enticing words of man's wisdom but a demonstration of the Spirit and power. That is what is coming to the church. Paul prayed and it happened. We are going to enter into a time where what we decree will come to pass. That is a demonstration of power - God's power. We will need God's wisdom to know when and where to use this power but it will be given to us. The time is coming where we will see God's glory on earth.
Lord, prepare us to steward your power and your Word's. Fill us with your wisdom.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Fri.'s Devo - Change

Read Pr. 26:11
I've always heard that a criminal will return to the scene of his crime and here it is in scripture: as a dog will return to his vomit, a fool will return to his folly. Only God can change a man. Man can go through rehabilitation to change his actions and patterns of behavior but if his heart is not changed then all the rehabilitation in the world will not change his mode of operation. I just talked to a woman the other day who told me of her acquaintance that got caught embezzling thousands of dollars from her employer. She spend a year in jail only to get out and do the same thing. Lust is a condition of the heart, not a bad pattern. It will never be fixed in behavior modification programs. Jesus said, "except a man be born again, he cannot enter the kingdom of heaven". To change, a person must be born again. Paul said in Romans that our old man was crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves of sin. We have the power over sin only if we are born again. Then our members are instruments of righteousness.
Lord, may we walk in all the power of our salvation.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Thurs.'s Devo - Three Parables

Read Pr. 26:7-9
All three of these verses talk about giving wisdom to people that are not mature enough to handle it or use it wisely. First he compares it to the legs of a lame person. Their legs are not even so their walk will not be straight. In the Hebrew "lame" means to hop or skip over. It reminds me of the show Home Improvements when the neighbor, Wilson would give Tim wise advise only to have Tim totally miss the point and end up with something silly. Spiritually it would be like someone who takes a part of the scripture but doesn't line it up with other scripture so the meaning is false. The next simile is a stone bound in a sling. The stone stands for the Word that someone binds. The fool is someone who knows the Word but denies the power of it. He has no faith to activate the Word so it is bound by their unbelief. Jesus encountered that in his own country and could not do many mighty works there because of their unbelief. The third one was the drunkard with the thorn in his hand. A person who is drunk feels no pain so he wouldn't even know he had a thorn in it. It would not be wise to tell this man the secrets of the kingdom. This drunk person with the thorn in his hand is a person who is blind to the things of God. He is under a curse of sin but instead of letting Jesus's thorns attone for him he carries them unknowingly. Verse 10 tells us their end. They will be rewarded for all they have done. If a workman is a bad worker his reward will not be very much and may even be punishment. The same is true of the fool. Luke 23:41 Says: "...for we receive the due reward of our deeds..."
Lord, give your word to the wise and proclaim your glory to the earth.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Wed.'s Devo- Wise Messengers

Read Pr. 26:6
These next few verses are great in showing us how not to get burned. God wants us to discern good and evil and wise and foolish. To send an important message by a 1st grader is silly and so is it to send something by a fool. They will not only get your message mixed up but it will be damaging to you. When Saul was killed in battle the one who brought David the news was a fool. He made up this story of how he by chance came upon Saul in his chariot. Saul called out and asked him to kill him because Saul had been stabbed. So he killed him and took his crown and his head, and his bracelet so he could give them to David. He thought he would get a fat reward. If he had been wise and followed the story of David and Saul he would have known that David honored Saul and would never reward anyone for killing him. This foolish man was rebuked by David for destroying God's anointed and killed. Then we have the story of the wise messenger. He had seen Absalom killed by Joab and wanted to run and tell the king that his enemies had been avenged. His father, the priest knew that this would not be good news to David so he forbade him to go. Instead they sent Cushi to tell the king. After Cushi had left Ahimaaz begged to go even if he couldn't give the news. He was allowed to go and he took the short cut and beat Cushi. When he got to David and David specifically asked him about Absalom, he told him that he had seen a skirmish in the woods but didn't know what it was all about. Then Cushi arrived and gave him the news. Ahimaaz wanted to soften the blow for David. He knew he was fixing to be hit with bad news so he wanted to prepare him for it. That is compassion. He was a wise messenger. God is only going to trust the wise to carry his word. We are all to be messengers of the cross.
Lord, teach us to be wise that we might carry your word to those who need it.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Tues.'s Devo - Answering a Fool

Read Pr. 36:4, 5
These two verses seem to contradict each other but they really don't. Proverbs is the book of wisdom so there is wisdom to be gotten from both verses. If you know a person is not living according to God's word then they are a fool. To argue with them is to play their game which makes you just like them. If you want to disarm a person who is attacking you then you just don't fight back. They don't know what to do with that. If you refuse to fight back then you will take away their ammunition. But, there are times when remaining silent is wrong. If you see a person doing something that will harm another person then you have to speak up. Or, if you hear someone speak untruth about God or man then there are times to stand up and say something or they will think they are right. The bottom line is, you must be led by the Holy Spirit. He will tell you when to speak up and when to be silent. He promised to give us what to say so we don't have to worry about it beforehand. I love how Jesus stood up to the Sadducees when they were trying to trick him. He told them they were wrong and didn't know the Scriptures or the power of God. What a rebuke to men who spent their lives studying the Scripture.
Lord, let your Holy Spirit teach us and guide us into all truth.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Mon.'s Devo God's Discipline

Read Pr. 26:3
We all respond to discipline in a different way so God uses different techniques on us because he knows what will work. Horses respond to whips, donkeys respond to a bridle and a fool responds to a beating. If you have children you know that what works with one will not work with the other. We are so different and unique. This past week-end I drove to New Orleans and back. I drive just a little over the speed limit but not enough to get a ticket. On my way home I had almost arrived when I went through a little town. The speed limit went down to 25 mph and I "thought" I had slowed to that. The trouble is I started accelerating just as I turned a corner and met a police man. He didn't immediately turn around and come after me so I thought I was safe. About 10 minutes later I saw these bright lights behind me and pulled over. He took all my I.D.'s and I waited for what seemed forever. As I was sitting there I starting thinking about why it was so scary to get a ticket. I felt like I was a little girl getting a spanking. I hardly ever speed but I was speeding this time and I was wrong. I know that the more you mature the less you get by with because you know better so I was ready to accept my ticket as a lesson. Much to my surprise the police man came back and said, "Looks like nobody wants you." I told him that was a good thing. Then he told me he wasn't giving me a ticket, just a warning. I thanked him and told him I really didn't usually speed. He said, "I know, that is what your record shows." I drove off in grateful tears. God reminded me that his grace is all about getting what we don't deserve, but that it was also a warning. Next time I'll get the ticket. So what ever your age, you still have to be able to respond correctly to discipline. God only disciplines those he loves.
Thank you Lord for your discipline because it is always good. Help us to be teachable and repentent.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Fri.'s Devo - The Blessing and the Curse

Read Pr. 26:1,2
There are some things that just aren't suppose to happen: it is not suppose to snow in the summer or rain in the harvest time and a fool is not suppose to be honored. Most importantly a curse is not suppose to come to a person without a cause. In other words, a door has to be opened for there to be a way a curse can be on a person. Believe it or not, the word "curse" is found 92 times in the Bible. The end of Duet. 11 is full of the curses that will fall on Israel if they turn away from the Lord. That is how a curse comes: you disobey God. The world is full of curses. Cancer, disease, premature death, sin, etc. It can be passed down from generation to generation unless someone applies the blood of Jesus to the curse to stop it. Gal. 3:13 says, "Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us; for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangs on a tree." Jesus died on the cross and became the curse for us so that we could enter into the blessings in the first part of Duet 11. After God gave the blessings and the curses he gave them the choice of which one they would take. "Behold, I set before you this day a blessing and a curse; A blessing, if you obey the commandments of the Lord your God. which I command you this day; And a curse, if you will not obey the commandments of the Lord your God, but turn aside out of the way which I command you this day, to go after other gods, which you have not known."
Lord, we choose to walk in your blessings and obey you. Show us the curses in our lives and in our families that we need to apply the blood to.