Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Tues.'s Devo - Correction or Rebellion

Read Pr. 29:1
We all hate to be corrected even though that is how we learn and the Bible says that it is a sign that God loves us. But, when we keep getting corrected we have a choice of changing or hardening our heart and rebelling. If we do harden our hearts we will be destroyed beyond help. 1 Sam 15:23 says that rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry. I get tired of having to learn the same lesson over and over but I think I have the wrong perspective. When we go through a trial and learn a lesson we have to keep practicing that lesson so we won't forget it. It is like school. You are not taught math only one year and never revisit it and expect to retain it. You are retaught it year after year and more skills are added each year. That is the same way with spiritual lessons. We might think we have learned forgiveness till we are given a much harder situation which will require us to use more of what we have given in the past. Everything we go through is to make us stronger and more perfect in Christ.
"God of grace, who has called us unto his eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after we have suffered a while, make us perfect, establish, strengthen, and settle us." 1Pet. 5:10

Monday, May 30, 2011

Mon.'s Devo - Don't Hide

Read Pr. 28: 27, 28
I remember hearing a pastor on TV talking about disciplining your child. He said we have 3 choices when we see our toddler do something wrong. We can lovingly discipline them, overlook it, or pretend we didn't see it. I will have to say I defaulted to the third one many times when I was just too tired to get up and rebuke my 3 year old one more time. But God doesn't let us get away with that one. We will be cursed if we see the poor and don't do something about it. My husband saw a man picking up cans the other day and drove on by. He was so convicted on his way back he looked for the man. He finally saw him and asked him if he needed some money. The man laughed and said that he had committed to picking up that section of the interstate and he did it every day. We got a laugh out of that one but God loved Dave's heart because he was willing to give. We have many opportunities to give to the poor and to pretend we don't see them will bring a curse on us. If we give we will never be in their place. That is a promise. The next verse talks about leadership. The problem with the verse is that when the wicked rise we need to rise higher and not hide. We need to learn to fight in our prayer closets against the powers of evil, then when we are faced with them in human form we will not be afraid or back down.
Lord, open our eyes to the needs of others and stand firm against the enemy.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Fri.'s Devo - Our Hearts

Read Pr. 28:25, 26
God hates pride. Proverbs 16:5 says that every one that is proud in heart is an abomination to the Lord. Pride makes you think you have power and power in the wrong hands leads to strife and wrongdoing. When you have a proud heart then the end justifies the means and pretty soon your judgment becomes cloudy and you are deceived. But, trusting in God brings his anointing and his blessings. God told Solomon to serve him with a perfect heart and a willing mind: for the Lord searches all hearts, and understands all the imaginations of the thoughts: if you seek him, he will be found of you: but if you forsake him, he will cast you off for ever. Even to trust in our own hearts is not wise because our hearts are evil. That was Paul's dilemma in Romans. The bottom line is we can't trust our hearts, but we can trust the heart of God that is also in us. His heart is pure and undefiled so ours can be too because today scripture says that if we walk wisely, we shall be delivered from ourselves. Amen.
Lord, enlarge our hearts to receive more of yours. May we become small and you become large in us. Deliver us from pride and vainglory.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Thurs.'s Devo - Honoring

Read Pr. 28:24
Our pastor just preached a series on parenting. His first sermon was on honoring our parents. It was so convicting and powerful. We tend to take our parents for granted and especially their stuff. Even when we are adults we still think what they have is ours. It is not true. Now that I am an adult of adult children I know this by experience. I don't want them to take whatever they want or need from my house. That is unhonoring. Today's scripture says that it is stealing and that it is destructive to your relationship. The word "honour" in the Greek means to prize or to fix value upon. If we fix value on our parents we will fix value on their stuff and what is theirs. We will honor their boundaries. I know as a parent the thing that I desire more than time with my new grand daughter, or any gift they could give us; I want them to desire to spend time with me. I know that is how God feels. Jesus stole away to spend time with his father. A man who went to heaven and came back said that there are different levels of heaven and the ones that are closest to the throne are the "friends" of God, the ones who chose to spend time with him. That is where I want to be.
Lord, we desire to be your friends so teach us about honoring our parents here on earth because you say that it is first the natural and then the spiritual.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Wed.'s Devo - The Truth

Read Pr. 28:23
People appreciate the truth. Period. I would rather someone be open and honest with me even if it hurt than for them to lie just to save my feelings then complain about me to someone else. There is a godly way to rebuke someone. Just think of how the Holy Spirit rebukes you. He is loving and kind and does it in a way that changes your heart rather than devastate you. It helps to know that God loves me totally. Seminars will tell you that if you need to correct an employee you first build them up and tell them all the things they are doing right then you slip in the one thing that they need to work on. The Bible tells us not to discipline when we are upset but to wait until we are calmed down and can have a better perspective on the situation. The promise today says that if you discipline a person the right way they will eventually come back around and be your friend. I experienced that one day in the grocery store. I ran into an old friend and she was telling me about a guy she had just met and really liked. I told her to run as fast as she could in the opposite direction. I could tell she was offended and wasn't going to take my advise. She didn't and we didn't talk for a year. Then I ran into her again and she came up to me and said, "The next time you tell me to run the other way, I'm going to listen." She appreciated that I would stick my neck out and tell her the truth but I loved her too much to smile and say, "that's great" when I knew it wasn't.
Lord, give us grace to speak the truth in love and know when to do it. Remind us that we can pray and our prayers will be affective.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Tues.'s Devo- God's Principles

Read Pr. 28:18-22
God's way is always the s-l-o-w way. It is not that God is slow; it is because God loves process. There is always a lesson to learn that brings about a growth that makes us mature and wise. The only way to truly learn anything is by experiencing it. Book knowledge is hard to retain but personal experiences are never forgotten. God has some principles to live by that will save us a lot of heart ache. The first one is in verse 18 and it says that if we walk uprightly we will be saved. How true. If we walk in God's steps then he will open up the way for us and his blessing will follow us. To walk contrary will cause us to stumble and fall because God has not removed the obstacles in that path. The second principle is in verse 19: if we work hard we will have enough to eat. God has given each of us talents to use and a job to do and when we stick to our job he blesses it. If we get greedy and try to do other people's jobs just to get their pay also we will transgress God's laws. The third principle in todays scriptures is to treat everyone with the same amount of respect. If you don't then you will find yourself cheating in business and loving money more than God.
Lord, help us to wait on you for everything. Help us to have your heart for people and to realize that you value relationships more than things.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Mon.'s Devo - The Blood Applied

Read Pr. 28:17
Blood is very precious to God. Our life is in our blood. It was Jesus' blood that cleansed our sins and still does. Blood seems to be eternal since God told Cain that Abel's blood cried up from the grave. So to shed another person's blood violently is a great sin against God and will not go unpunished. David was not allowed to build the temple for God because of all the blood he shed on the battlefield. If you killed someone in the Old Testament you were to be stoned. Yet the temple was full of blood. The priests sacrificed so many oxen on feasts days that they were covered with blood. Jesus was so bloody he was unrecognizable. The blood of goats and bulls were suppose to cover their sins just like the blood of Jesus covered our sins once and for all. Last night I attended a Jewish seder which is a Passover dinner. We remembered how God told the Israelites to smear the blood on their doorposts and then enter into their house and be saved from the death angel. Today's verse says that if a person murders another person we are not to get in the way of God's judgment on them. There is only one way to rescue yourself from death and that is the blood of Jesus applied to doorposts of your heart.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Fri.'s Devo - Give it All

Read Pr. 28:11-16
Jesus said that it was hard for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God. He didn't say it was impossible, just hard. Sadly, most rich people don't realize they have been entrusted with wealth to give to the kingdom of God, not for their own pleasure. When they do realize that, they are great givers. Godly leaders bless a nation, a business, or wherever they lead, but ungodly leaders usually oppress their workers. But, verse 13 gives them hope. It says that he that confesses his sins and forsakes them will have mercy. It is never too late to ask for forgiveness and mercy. Verse 16 gives us a great promise: if we give freely and don't covet our stuff then God will prolong our days. He gives us more time because we are producing what he wants produced and we are not holding on to what he has given us. I have found that the more I give, the easier it is the next time. This stuff we have is so temporal and will not follow us to heaven so why do we always want more?
Lord, help us to give you everything and not covet anything. Give us a vision of eternity.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Thurs.'s Devo - Good Things

Read Pr. 28:9-10
Sometimes it appears that the ungodly are getting away with their ungodly deeds, but they really aren't. Today's scripture says that the man who refuses to hear the Word will not be heard by God when he prays. That is pretty scary. I would hate to think that God refused to hear from me. The next verse is equally scary. The man who makes a brother stumble and sin will be the one to fall. He will reap what he has sown. Jesus said that it would be better for that man that a milestone be tied around his neck and he be cast into the sea. He went on to explain that trouble will come into your life but it will not go well for the man who brings it. But listen to the promise for those who walk in righteousness: they shall possess good things! God has great blessing for us to enjoy. He loves to shower us with them. His blessings are righteousness, peace, and joy. Something the world spends millions to get but can't. It can only be found in Jesus. Pr. 10:22 says that the blessin of the Lord, it makes rich, and he adds no sorrow with it.
Lord, thank you that we can have peace and joy no matter what our financial or physical state is. Your blessings go way beyond the tangible and feed our soul.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Wed.'s Devo - The Plans of the Lord Will Stand

Read Pr. 28:8
When we see the wicked prosper by oppressing people, we do not need to despair because this verse says that their money is going to one day end up in the hands of someone who will use it to help the poor. I just finished reading Esther which is a great picture of this. Evil Haman couldn't stand the Jews because Mortecai was a Jew and he refused to honor him. So he came up with a plot to annihilate all the Jews. His plan looked like it was going to work until God turned everything back on him. He ended up being hung on the gallows he had prepared for Mortecai, and the Jews were aided in fighting and killing their enemies. Instead of a day of mourning, it became a day of feasting and great joy. God turned the evil plan of the enemy around and got great victory. All the people prospered. That is what God wants to do for us. What the enemy has planned for evil, he has planned for good.
Lord, lift up our heads and show us the salvation of the Lord. You are our mighty defender and you are bigger than cancer, unemployment, evil leaders, and any plot the enemy can devise against us. Put the revenues of the wicked into the hands of the righteous to further your kingdom.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Tues.'s Devo - Walk in the Word

Read Pr. 28:4-7
What type of people are attracted to you? Have you ever stopped and thought about that? I have, and I have come to the conclusion that you attract like-minded people or people who want to be like you. Evil people attract evil and righteous people attract righteousness. People who are evil are deceived and do not understand that one day they will be judged eternally, or they wouldn't do what they do. They honor wickedness. They believe they can hide behind their riches or their power and intimidation and they won't be made accountable but they are sorrowfully wrong. The humble man who seeks God has understanding; even if he is poor, he will still walk in purity and integrity because he understands judgment. He understands that it is not a race to see how much you can accumulate here on earth, it is really a race to see how much you can give away. Jesus gave it all on the cross for us to be an example to us about how we should live our lives. To walk in the Word that God has given us makes him very blessed. To walk with violent men shames God.
Lord, help us to walk out the Word just as you did every day you walked on this earth. Help us to keep eternity in mind.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Mon.'s Devo- God's Will

Read Pr. 28:3
A poor man that oppresses the poor is a great example of the devil. Satan has no friends and doesn't even get along with his demons. There is no unity in his camp which is to our advantage. The devil has no compassion or mercy and takes no prisoners. He has one motive and that is to kill, steal, and destroy. Just like a sweeping rain leaves no food, that is the devil's plan. He will use any tactic he can to make us stumble and lose our influence and our confidence. His demons study us and find our weaknesses then they use them against us. God, on the other hand, sees our weaknesses and makes us strong there so we will not fall to the enemies strategies. John says that if we abide in the vine and he abides in us then we will produce much fruit. We are to prosper in hard times and fly above our situations. That is God's plan for us which is a whole lot better than the devil's.
Lord, help us to choose to soar with you instead of graveling in the rubble of our mistakes. We give you all our weaknesses so that you can be strong in us. We wage war against the enemy's strategies and we proclaim your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Fri.'s Devo - Save Our Land

Read Pr. 28:2
Sin contaminates the land. When Adam and Eve were cursed, so was the land. When a country turns from God the land is affected. Lev. 26 gives a vivid description of what happens to the land. Basically it goes into desolation. Unrighteous leaders lead a nation into idolatry and sin. The Old Testament is full of unrighteous leaders who lead their nation into sin. Eventually, the people suffered war, famine, homelessness, and poverty. But, one man who turns his heart to seek the Lord and rises up to lead a nation can drastically change the environment. Nehemiah came back to Jerusalem and built the wall so that the people could once again return and start living there. David rose up in the midst of idolatry and sin and was a man after God's own heart. He fought the enemies brought on by Saul's unrighteous reign so that Solomon could enjoy years of peace and prosperity. It only takes one man to prolong the sentence of judgment on a nation. Hezekiah repented and prayed that God would not judge them and God prolonged his judgment till after his death.
Lord, we need you to be the Lord of our nation. Raise up Godly leaders to lead our nation back to you. Forgive us for the sin of our land.

Lord, thank you for endurance. Help us to be bold as lions and not run from adversity but to stand, or fight if we need to.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Thurs.'s Devo - Enduring to the End

Read Pr. 28:1
There is an old adage: "when the going gets tough then the tough get going". That is the meaning behind today's scripture. It is easy to quit when things get difficult and even think that God must not be in it because it is not going smooth. And, that could be right but maybe God is trying to teach us endurance or how to triumph in a bad situation. We will never learn maturity till we stick it out till the end. I think Peter said it well in 1 Pet. 2:19 "For this is thank-worthy, if a man for conscience toward God endure grief, suffering wrongfully. For what glory is it, if, when you are buffeted for your faults, you shall take it patiently? but if, when your do well, and suffer for it, you take it patiently, this is acceptable with God." The New Testament always takes it a step further. Peter was talking about submitting to your boss, not only if he is good but especially if he is cruel. Anyone can endure and be a good worker if the boss is nice and easy to work for, but God says he accepts you and is pleased when you are respectful and work hard for an evil boss. That is something that only God can do through us. What a testimony that will be to those around you. We are not to run when things get bad but be bold as a lion and stay and stand our ground. Our enemy is not man but the spirits of Satan.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Wed.'s Devo - Prosperity

Read Pr. 27:23-27
The rest of the chapter has to do with our finances. We are to know the state of our affairs and be wise in our spending and saving. We can't assume that we will always be prospering and that we are always going to be living in the blessings we are living in now. We CAN assume that God is faithful and will take care of us. Babylon and Rome were once great empires but they fell through mismanagement and sin. God has promised to give us our daily needs and what ever is above that is lagniappe. God loves us and would love to lavish us with blessings but we live in a world of sin and nations are judged by the sin of their land. Ezekiel was a righteous prophet who followed God in every way yet when his nation went into exile so did he. The greatest thing we can do for our financial security is to intercede and pray for our land and use our resources to further the kingdom. Then like the last 2 verses we will clothes, land, food and drink and enough to provide for our families. But, true prosperity is when your soul prospers.
Lord, your provisions are sufficient for us. You meet our physical and spiritual. You are the All-Sufficient One!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Tues.'s Devo - All Things New

Read Pr. 27:22
Pro. 22:15 says that foolishness is bound in the heart of a child; but the rod of correction shall drive it far from him. But today's scripture is talking about what happens if that child is not corrected by the rod. No amount of beating or physical pain is going to work on changing his behavior once he grows to be a man; he is going to need a heart change. That is where salvation comes in; it makes a new person out of the man. 2 Co. 5:17 says,"therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature; old things are passed away; behold all things are become new." It is a scientific fact that psychopaths do not have the ability to feel human emotions that we feel like remorse or compassion so they can easily kill and torture their victims. But, they can be saved. Son of Sam was one of New York's worse serial killers. He was finally caught and came to repentance and salvation in jail. He has totally changed and now has a ministry to help people. Only the blood of Jesus can do that.
This verse also means that loving discipline is not always the way to change a person. Sometimes the only thing that will work is love and understanding. Some people are scarred too deeply and they need to heal before they can be shown the right way to live. Jesus said to clean the inside of the cup first then the outside will be clean.
Lord, show us how to relate to each person we meet individually. Grant us discernment.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Mon.'s Devo - Refined by Fire

Read Pr. 27:21
I had to read this verse over and over before I finally got what it was saying. It gives us 3 word pictures that are comparable. The first is the fining pot for silver. The second is the furnace for gold. The fining pot and the furnace are both processes of removing impurities from the silver and gold so that it will be pure and shine brighter. That is what man is to God's glory. We are made in the image of God and everything about our human bodies glorifies God. Even an ungodly man gives God glory in his created body because God created it wondrously, but just think of what a godly man does to glorify God. If we are made in his image and give ourselves to walk in his ways and use the things he has given us for his glory, then how much more do we glorify God. We can submit ourselves to the fining pot and the furnace of God to let him burn away our impurities and let his glory shine brighter and brighter through us. Pro. 17:3 says, "the fining pot is for silver, and the furnace for gold; but the Lord tries the hearts."
So Lord, try our hearts in the furnace of your love. Burn away the chaff and make us pure vessels that are usable in your service.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Fri.'s Devo - Hungry

Read Pr. 27:20
People will always be dieing and choosing to be separated from God. Hell is enlarging just as heaven is enlarging. It will never be full. In the same way our appetite for more will never decrease. If we are separated from God and living in the world we will lust for more evil. It will never satisfy us till we sink deeper and deeper into the mire. If we are hungry for God we will thirst and thirst for more and never say it is enough. God promised to give the hungry food but that food just makes us hungrier for more. Luke 1:53 says. "He has filled the hungry with good things, and the rich he has sent away empty. He only gives good things to those who are not satisfied with what this earth gives. The rich have what they need and don't have to lean on God for their every meal. The poor are humbled and need God to survive. We don't have to be physically poor to hunger after God. We just have to understand our spiritual need.
Lord, increase our dependency and hunger for you. You alone can satisfy the need of our soul.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Thur.s' Devo -Face to face

Read Pr. 27:19
Before everyone had a mirror they used water to see their reflection. I can't imagine putting on my eye liner looking into a bowl of water. There is one thing to say about the mirror: it doesn't lie. It reveals your face. Our heart is the same way; it reveals to us what is in it. Yesterday I had my heart revealed to me. I was in Hobby Lobby and there was an older lady checking out ahead of me. She had a tupperware container with coins in it and had given the cashier some bills and was counting out some coins to her. She asked the lady if she had enough and she said, no. I was about to ask how much she needed and help out but first I looked at the cash register to see how much the total was. It was over $20 and all I saw her give the cashier was $5 so I kept my mouth shut. She left without getting what she wanted, what ever that was. When she left I asked the cashier how much she needed and she said over $5. I felt horrible. I would have been glad to give her $5 but missed my opportunity. Then I realized the test that I had failed was not that I didn't pay the $5 but that I wasn't willing to pay the $15. When I got to my car I couldn't get over my pettiness and repented, so I went back into the store with my money in hand to give it to her because I thought she had stayed shopping. I went down every aisle looking for her. I couldn't find her but I know God is going to give me another opportunity. I saw my heart face to face yesterday and was not proud of what I saw. But I saw my repentence and am grateful that God's mercies are new every morning. I'm going to be ready next time.
Lord, reveal to us our hearts that we may align our hearts with yours.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Wed.'s Devo - Producing Figs

Read Pr. 27:18
The fig tree in the Bible is symbolic of Israel. If we guard and befriend Israel it will go well with us. As a nation we have always done that until this presidential term. Turning against Israel is the most dangerous thing we could do. This verse compares watching over the fig tree to guarding the master. So, to love Israel is to love Jesus and to turn on Israel is to turn on Jesus. Honor and blessing come to those who guard the truth. Keeping a fig tree takes patience and time. There are months where there is no fruit and no benefit but if you take care of it in its off season it will bear much when it is in season. Jesus cursed the fig tree because it had no figs. It was not the season for figs but because Jesus was there it should have produced fruit. It was a picture of a person who has the seed of God in them but they missed their visitation with God because it wasn't a Sunday or they weren't looking for it. We are to be ready in and out of season. The fig tree should have produced out of season for the Messiah. The Jews as a nation didn't know the time of their visitation even though they had been waiting for a Messiah for years. They missed it because the soil in their hearts had not been prepared to receive the seed of salvation.
Lord, may our hearts be fertile soil for the seed of your word.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Tues.'s Devo - Your Countenance

Read Pr. 27:17
Countenance means a whole lot more than just the front of your face. When they talked about countenance in the Bible it had to do with your whole outlook on life and your character. It was the emotional indicator of what we going on inside. People mold our countenance. When Cain's offering was not accepted of God his countenance fell. Jacob could tell by Laban's countenance that he had lost his favor. David and Abigail both had beautiful countenances which spoke of their heart also. God uses men to sharpen our countenances. They can rebuke us and give us wisdom. They can love us and make us tender. They can hate us and give us patience. Most of our trials involve other people and make us stronger if we choose to follow God through it. In a negative sense men can cause your countenance to be sad, bitter, hard, or angry to name a few. Only with the Holy Spirit and a heart to forgive and cover can we maintain a godly countenance. Everything is revealed on our faces. We can get caught in a lie by our countenance. That is why most professional poker players wear sun glasses or hats to hide their emotions about their cards. If we allow the Holy Spirit to cleanse us and give us his spirit then our countenances with reveal God's glory. Moses's did. So much so that he had to hide it.
Lord, may our countenance shine your glory and sharpen our fellow men for the good.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Mon.'s Devo -Drip, Drip, Drip

Read Pr. 27:14-16
There are some things that irritate us so much we lose any good that was suppose to come from them. One of them is given in verse 14. A blessing given early in the morning with a loud voice becomes a curse. That could be said of other things we do out of their timing. To witness to a person that is not ready is like that. Sometimes our best intentions can be mistrewd as bad if given in the wrong timing or setting. God has entrusted us with the greatest treasure on earth but we are to be wise when and where to share it. But a word spoken in the right season is like apples of gold in pictures of silver.
The next two verses talk about the contentious woman. A contentious woman is anyone who is always picking a fight or correcting what you say. They are like the continual dropping of water that drives you crazy. They are predictable but irritating. To try to change her would be like trying to stop the wind or hide anointing oil on your hand. They both are stronger and obvious. I have found that people who have a contentious spirit don't even realize what they are doing. They think they are helping when they are really destroying.
Lord, show us when we are being pretentious and out of your timing. Let us be as the sons of Issachar who could discern the times.