Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Tues.’s Devo - Let There Be Light!

Read Gen. 1:2-5

The earth was a wasteland; an undistinguishable ruin; emptiness and void. Darkness, misery, death, destruction, ignorance, wickedness, and sorrow (all definitions of darkness in the Hebrew) was upon the face of the deep. The deep is an abyss of surging water. It was like the whole earth was a black hole of water. When the fallen angels were thrown here they totally changed the nature of the planet. God always brings peace and order to chaos. In verse 3 God spoke to this mass of evil and said let there be light. It wasn’t just a physical light that God proclaimed over the evil it was illumination which includes happiness, clearness, and morning. It didn’t come from a source like the sun because the sun wasn’t created till day 4; it was total light with no shadow. I wonder if it was like turning on the light in a room full of roaches that scatter everywhere looking for a dark place to hide. What did the demons do with this light? But then God did a strange thing: he divided the light from the darkness and clarified the difference. God hates mixture; he clearly defines righteousness and evil and whoever eats the fruit from them will reap the results. He gave a name to light which is Day and he gave a name to darkness which is Night. How interesting that the first thing God did when he started was to proclaim what was good and what was evil. Notice that he created with his words. He spoke, not thought, the world into being. That should help us with our prayers. Sometimes thinking a prayer is not enough. We need to speak it out loud and get the power of God moving through our spoken words. Our words are like trumpets through the gates of hell and the hallways of heaven. Notice, also that the day starts with evening and ends in morning - another principle of God. He starts with a sinner and ends with an enlightened saint. That should encourage us as we move toward the light.

Lord, help us to see the greatness of your power and the power of your words. Let our words ring out salvation and healing to our dark and diseased world.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Mon.’s Devo - The Beginning

Read Gen. 1:1

I have had a request to go through Genesis which just happens to be my favorite book in the Bible. So… here we go!

One thing we have to remember as we read the Bible is that God doesn’t live in time. When it says in the “beginning” it means the first, in place, time order or rank. God created this earth with a plan having a beginning and an end, and the way to get there. God created the heaven and the earth. If you look up heaven in the Hebrew you find that heaven is referring to the sky where the clouds are as well as the higher ether where the celestial bodies move. (I used to think that “ether” was a New Age term till I found it in the Strong’s Concordance.) Webster’s defines ether as an imaginary substance regarded by the ancients as filling all space beyond the sphere of the moon, and making up the stars and planets: the upper regions of space. It serves as a medium for the transmission of light waves and other forms of radiant energy. To me, it is the physical and spiritual realm that God uses to communicate with us. Another term could be the universe. That was a lot to say that God created it all. Many people think, as I, that the earth was created eons ago with people and life on it and between verse 1 and 2 there was a huge pause. During that pause, Satan rebelled against God, along with1/3 of the heavenly creatures. They were cast out hell and thrown down to earth. There they dwelled till God came in verse 2 and breathed life once again on the planet. I know this may seem far-fetched to some because we don’t have much information but we do have fossils that date back over 10,000 years. There are verses that describe a light falling from heaven to the earth and bringing devastating destruction on the earth. Revelations 8:10 calls him “Wormwood”. Revelation is a book about what is to come but it mirrors what has already happened. The first 2 chapters are the history of the churches throughout time. So it gives us a glimpse of the past and the future. Genesis is the deepest book in the Bible next to Job so we are going to trudge through it knowing that we see through a glass darkly.

Lord, open up to us the mysteries of your Word. We long to know you.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Fri.’s Devo - The End

Read 2 Peter 3:9-18

God has promised to come again and wrap all this up but, he has perfect timing. He does not delay in his timing though it looks like it to us. We want everything to happen NOW to US. But God, sees the whole picture; all time as one huge event. He seems like he is slow because his heart is to see all men come to repentance. So, he is not in a hurry. When he does come it will be suddenly and like a thief in the night. 1 Thess. 5:2-4 says that he will also come when everyone is saying they are safe and at peace. But to the ones who know the Lord, he will not come as a thief because we walk in the light of day, not the fear of night. Amos 3:7 says that God will do nothing unless he reveals it to his prophets first. If you want to know what the prophets of our land are saying you can Google the Elijah List and read it. There are some true prophets that write on it.

When Jesus comes back he is ushering in a new millennium. The old heavens will be destroyed by sound and the old earth will be consumed with fire and totally destroyed. Knowing this should make us want to live our lives faithfully walking with God and looking forward to the next thing God is going to do. We surely want to be ready. We do not want to be like those who listen to the ungodly and fall away from what we have been taught to be true. But, let us press on to know God more and more and not worry about what the Mayan Calendar or any other false hope says.

Lord, our desire is to know you more and understand your timing. We commit our times into your hands and trust in your unfailing love.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Thurs.’s Devo - The Promise of His Coming

Read 2 Peter 3:1-8

Before Jesus came to earth the first time, the people had waited for centuries for the prophecies of a Messiah coming to earth, to come to pass. Many had given up of it ever happening. Each generation thought it would happen in their generation and when it didn’t they lost hope. When it DID happen, many missed it because it didn’t happen the way they thought it would. There will always be people the Bible calls, scoffers who will make fun of our faith. They will laugh at our belief that Jesus is coming back again through the skies to fight a battle with men and demons and set up a millennial reign on earth for a thousand years. It sounds like fairy tale foolishness to them. Their minds haven’t been renewed in Jesus so they are blinded to anything but the here and now. They don’t understand or believe that once the earth was destroyed by water because of its wickedness and next it will be destroyed by fire for the same reason. God judged it once and he will judge it again. God doesn’t look at time like we do. He calls a thousand years a day. Time is not measurable in eternity, only on earth. But he created the earth in 6 days and on the 7th, he rested. The earth will endure for 6,000 years and on the 7,000th it will rest in millennium. That is God’s plan. The Jewish calendar says that we are somewhere in the 5,700th year. That leaves a few hundred more years. Who, but God knows if that calendar is right. He has a calendar that is right and he is going by that one. Our job is to be ready when he comes.

Lord, help us to live with eternity on our minds. Give us the big picture and a heart to bring your salvation to a sinful world.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Wed.’s Devo - Born Again

Read 2 Peter 2:17-22

We are still describing the wicked. They are compared to wells without water. The purpose of wells is to hold water to refresh the thirsty and cleanse the dirty. Wicked people have nothing to offer; they are totally void of supply. They are like clouds carrying storms in them, not refreshing rain. They are under the watchful care of darkness and gloom. Everything that comes out of their mouths is about them and the next sinful act they have planned. They are like a negative particle that affects everyone it comes in contact with. They go after those who have escaped the traps of sin and found freedom in Christ. They lure them back with promises of freedom - freedom they have never experienced themselves. For they are prisoners of their own sins. If they do succeed in luring a person back into sin then the state of that person will be worse than it was before, because now they have chosen to sin knowing what if means to be actually free in Christ. I have observed that the worse sinners are usually back-slidden Christians. They are the most miserable because they have had to harden their hearts to rid themselves of the guilt they are fighting. They are fulfilling the proverb that says “the dog is turned to his own vomit again; and the sow that was washed to her wallowing in the mire.” In other words, a dog or a pig cannot change who they are by merely washing the outside; they can only be changed by a renewing of the mind through Jesus. Many people will claim to know God when they haven’t been born again. Being born again means you become a new creature. You are no longer a dog trying to change its ways or a pig trying to stay clean.

Lord, you can change us and you alone. Establish us in you and renew our minds through your Word and by your Holy Spirit.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Tues.’s Devo - The Ungodly

Read 2 Peter: 2:10-16

Peter gives us a vivid description of the ungodly. They walk after all the human frailties and passions in every thing God has forbidden us to do. They despise authority and are audacious and arrogant. They have no fear of God and are not afraid to slander the ones he has put in authority . Even angels understand not talking evil of anyone and refrain from speaking against them to God. But these people are by nature unreasonable animals and born to be destroyed. They blaspheme the things of God and will die in their sin. Then they will receive the punishment they deserve since they spent their lives in sinful indulgences, luxury and debauchery. They are a disgrace, living a life of parties and denial. They live to sin and are slaves to its power. Their desire is to bring others in and make them prisoners to sin. Their hearts are full of wanting what they can’t have. They are truly cursed. They abandoned God to walk in sorcery and the occult because they wanted the rewards of popularity. They are compared to Balaam of Peor. He was a false prophet who was hired by the Philistine leader to curse Israel. He was going to be rewarded richly for doing it. But, when he went to open his mouth to curse Israel, God wouldn’t let him. Instead what came out of his mouth was a blessing. This happened over and over till finally the leader left. Balaam’s heart was evil and he eventually found a way to bring Israel down. He infiltrated Israel and taught them to follow after foreign idols. Balaam is remembered by his donkey that spoke to him to tell him to turn around, but he was so determined to do his will and not God’s. He is a good example of the evil people that Peter is talking about.

Lord, thank you for calling us out of darkness and giving us eyes to see you and a heart to want you. Give us discernment in these lasts days to walk undefiled by the world.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Mon.’s Devo - Deliver Us From Temptation

Read 2 Peter 2:9

God led Jesus to be tempted of the devil in Matt. 4, yet he prayed that we be not led into temptation but delivered out of it in the “Lord’s Prayer”. Peter is telling us that God can deliver us out of temptations. I know that we are all tempted by many things. The temptation is not a sin; it is what you do with the temptation. Jesus used the Word of God every time and every time it worked. The devil also used the Word of God only he twisted it to his purpose not God’s. Everything the devil tempted Jesus with was a promise God had given Jesus, the timing was just off. He had to go to the cross first. If the devil had gotten Jesus to accept God’s will early he would have won and the world would be unredeemed. The same goes for us. We might know God’s will for our lives but if we get the timing off and jump ahead then we will totally miss the victory. If there is one thing I have learned about God it is this: he is NEVER in a hurry and never gets stressed out. He has every thing under control and he knows the right time for every thing. That should help us to walk in peace. God will do every thing he has purposed in our lives as long as we submit and cooperate. He also knows how to do the same for the people on our prayer list. He knows how to deliver them from temptation. He also knows how to punish the enemies of God and will. God loves justice and he will make sure it is meted out.

Lord, help us to trust in your unfailing promises and unwavering love. Your timing is perfect and we rest in it.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Fri.’s Devo - False Prophets

Read 2 Peter 2:1-8

A false prophet is person who pretends to be a foreteller; a religious impostor. Jesus said in Matt. 7:15 that false prophets come in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are ravaging wolves. They will be known by their fruits. Acts 13:6 called the false prophet they met a sorcerer. Rev. 16:13 says that out of the mouth of the false prophet came spirits like frogs. The goal of the false prophet is to deceive the people. According to Rev. 19:20 they can do miracles. Peter warns us to watch out for these people because they teach heresy and breed cults. Many people will be deceived by their teachings because they say what they know the people want to hear. They deny the power of God and the blood of Jesus. They are out for monetary gain. They will be judged and punished severely in eternity for what they did. The angels rebelled against God and he threw they into hell where they became demons. So if God punished his own angels, how much more will be punish his own creation. And God did not spare the people before the flood who were eaten up with false teachings. But…. God always has a righteous remnant that is a true prophet whose heart is pure. Before the flood, it was Noah. Now it is the church.

God gives us a picture of judgement and hell in the story of Sodom and Gomorrha. They were so wicked that God destroyed them with fire. All the people were burned in the fire and turned to ashes. That is a picture of what happens to those who go to hell. They will die a second death of fire and pain. Lot was the only one who escaped that ordeal. He had endured a city full of immoral and sexual sins. It had been a huge burden to live under but God rescued him out of it.

Lord, give us discernment to know the truth from the lie. Let us fill our minds with so much

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Thurs.’s Devo- Living Proof

Read 2 Peter 1:8-21

When we have faith, virtue, knowledge, temperance, patience, godliness, brotherly kindness, and charity then we will be fruitful in our knowledge of Jesus and verse 10 says that we will never fail. If we are missing any of them then we are blinded and can’t see the big picture. We have forgotten that God cleansed us from sin through the blood of his son, Jesus. Verse 10 also says that we have been called or invited and elected or selected and that we can make it firm. Everyone is invited into the family of God, but not all will answer the invitation. If you do then you must grow beyond the invitation and press on to know God. When we seek God, then he opens the door so that we can learn more and more about him. Peter reminds them that he will not always be with them so he wants them to mature before he dies so that they will know God for themselves and have their own salvation sure. He didn’t just make all this up but he actually saw God’s glory himself. Our faith needs to be so great that even if we never have a face-to-face encounter with God, we will serve him as if we did. Peter actually saw Jesus turn to heavenly glory at the Mount of Transfiguration , and he heard God speak out of heaven and say, “This is my beloved so, in whom I am well-pleased.” We have a proof in words of the prophets. The prophets were just men who spoke unthinkable, unimaginable things about the future that only God could tell them. Their testimonies are for all mankind, everywhere and to every era and are proof that God is real and all-powerful.

Lord, may we live for you today meditating on your prophesies. Give us understanding to your Word.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Wed.’s Devo - Charity

Read 2 Peter 1:7c

We are at our last characteristic which is charity. This is the word agape in the Greek which means God’s kind of love. It implies a love feast, which to me looks like a celebration of love. Websters defines it as the love of God for man ,or of man for his fellow men; an act of good will or affection; costliness. I love that last word - costliness. God’s love for us was so costly for him. He has had his heart broken over and over as he watches generations of people reject his love and kindness to us. He gave us his only begotten son and watched as we flayed him on the cross. He has reached out to a rebellious and wicked people only to have a remnant love him back and they many times did it half-heartedly. But, somehow he knew all this before he made us and still chose to love us because of a love so deep we can only touch. He knew that out of the multitude of people that would walk the earth a few would endure to the end to become the spotless bride that he made the world for. He loves us with an undying, forgiving, compassionate love that we can not totally comprehend. We are commanded to take that love and give it out to our fellow men. Love always displays itself in action so let’s pray that God will give us a way to display his love. And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love!

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Tues.’s Devo - Brotherly Kindness

Read 2 Peter 1:7b

The divine nature of God is a progression. We start with faith, then we add virtue, then knowledge, then temperance, next godliness and the next is brotherly kindness. This is the only time the term “brotherly kindness” is used in the Bible. In the Greek it means fraternal affection; brotherly love; love of the brethren. It means that we look at all other Christians as our family. It is having a kingdom perspective on the body of Christ. It goes far beyond small acts of kindness although I think that is a part of it. Jesus taught us that we are to be one as he and the father are one. We have a long way to go on this one but I see a little progress. We are divided into sects and denominations but I see those walls coming down. They have to before Jesus can come back. Not that we don’t have them anymore but that they aren’t built in our heart. We should see all other churches as our fellow ministers and support their cause. The disciples came to Jesus and complained that their was a group of people who were casting out demons. Jesus told them that if they aren’t against us then they are for us. We need to have Jesus’ perspective.

Brotherly kindness also has to do with compassion - not only to our own brothers and sisters but to the world that don’t know God. Just a little act of kindness can break a hard heart. Jesus reached out with compassion to the lady at the well. She was not a Jew but Jesus saw the hunger in her heart. And Jesus came to save the world.

Lord, teach us to have brotherly kindness for our Christian family and the world.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Mon.’s Devo- Adding Godliness

Read 2 Peter 1:6b

To patience we are to add godliness. Godliness is holiness. It incorporates all God is in one word so it is hard to wrap your head around. It comes from a reverence of God which sanctifies us and separates us from evil. Godliness is the absence of sin and the presence of God. When holiness is mentioned in the Bible it explains this principle. Heb. 12:14 says that we are to try to have peace with all men and we are to have holiness because without these things no one can see God. This is how people see God through us - they see it in our walk. This is further elaborated in Titus 2:3-5. It says that older women are to be sober, love their husbands, love their children, and teach the younger women to do the same so that God’s word will not be spoken evil of. We are to be examples to the world as living epistles. In other words: we are to be the Bible to those who don’t read it. This not only means living a life of purity, but carrying the presence of God in a way that they are drawn to Him. If we just live a righteous life and have no God in us we are good for nothing, but if we live a righteous life and do it with God’s grace then we are a weapon against the enemy and our godliness will be great gain to the kingdom.

Lord, may your godliness rest on us that others might see you in us.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Fri.’s Devo - Temperance and Patience

Read 2 Peter 1:6a

We are in the process of building the perfect man with God’s divine nature. Yesterday, we talked about faith, virtue,and knowledge. Today we are going to talk about temperance, and patience. Temperance is defined by Webster as practicing moderation; not indulging the appetites; abstaining from alcohol; moderate in one’s speech and actions; self-restraining. Temperance in the Greek means self-control. That is another reason why we should practice fasting. It is a discipline that teaches us that we can buffet our body and do without things we enjoy. There are so many ways we need to do this to grow in the Lord. The Devil will attack your time, your body, and your thoughts. If you want to win over his attacks then you practice discipline. You make a schedule and only let the Holy Spirit change it. Believe me, he will and that will be another lesson in temperance. We want to control our lives which is God’s dilemma because he wants to do that, but, if we practice temperance then at least we can get the Devil out of the equation. Which leads to the next characteristic which is patience. Webster defines it as the ability to wait or endure without complaint; steadiness, endurance or perseverance in performing a task. It implies the bearing of suffering, provocation, delay, tediousness, etc.with calmness and self-control. I might add that it means being able to navigate on a computer without wanting to hit the keys with more than a touch and say some words that you know you shouldn’t. Do we all need more of this? I know I do! The Greek for patience is cheerful or hopeful endurance, constancy; patient waiting. That is what God was teaching Joseph while he waited in the dungeon on an innocent charge. He learned all these attributes which would be necessary for God’s next challenge of ruling a heathen nation. Everything we go through is to prepare us for the next step. If we procrastinate through the process then we prolong the promotion. We are learning patience as we get through these verses because we will have to finish this one Monday!

Lord, we want whatever it takes in our lives to grow us up into your divine nature. If it means going through suffering and buffeting to get there then so be it. I just thank you that your kindness brings us to repentence.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Thurs.’s Devo - The Nature of God

Read 2 Peter 1:4-5

If we appropriate the promises in the Bible, then we can share in God’s nature. The world will have no draw on us. The true riches of this world are not the riches we can buy with money but the riches found in His Word. Before we become aware that we are children of God, we are a product of our parents and share their nature. Once we surrender our lives to Jesus we can have his nature and eventually be more like him than our parents. Paul told the Romans in Acts 17:26-29 that God made everyone from one blood and predetermined their appointments and their scope of influence. He strategically planned their lives so that when they sought for Him they could find Him. Since we are the offspring of God, we can have the nature of God which comes from Him and not our own making. We do not have to carry the curses of our parents or their sins. Besides this, we have been given faith which is moral conviction of the truthfulness of God. Faith is the reliance on Christ for salvation and the assurance of everything the Bible teaches. Once we have settled it in our mind that the Bible is the truth and we stand on everything it says, then we will go on to virtue which is excellence. This will exhibit itself in what all that we do and say. Next comes knowledge. This is not just man’s knowledge, but God’s knowledge. Solomon became the most wise king because God gave him that ability. With his wisdom he started observing the world around him and saw that everything on the earth exemplified an attribute of God and there was much to know about God through what we have come to call “science”. The closer we get to God the more we will be aware of a spiritual world paralleling ours. It will become more obvious as this world becomes less “blingy” in our eyes.

Lord, open our spiritual eyes to your nature and your world. Let us press in to know you and to take on your nature.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Wed.’s Devo - Pertaining to Life and Godliness

Read 2 Peter 1:1-3

Peter was a servant and apostle of Jesus. So, what is an apostle? The definition in the Greek is a messenger from God who does miracles. Hebrews 3:1 says that Jesus was an apostle. In 1 Co. 12:12 Paul says that as an apostle he did signs and wonders and miracles. The disciples were called apostles. Jesus sent them out to cast our demons, heal the sick, raise the dead, and preach the Gospel. He tells us to do the same thing. So are we an apostle? I think we can be. 1 Co. 14 tells us to desire spiritual gifts so that we may edify the body.

Verse 3 says that God’s divine power has given us all things that pertain to life and godliness. You can meditate on that one a life time. We get this through the rest of the verse… the knowledge of him. If you want to grow in your walk then you need to want to know God - what he loves and how he thinks. I know we will not know this wholly until we have a totally renewed mind, but we can die trying. Going back to what God has given us… everything that has to do with life and how to live it for him. That is powerful. There is nothing we need to fulfill in our mission on earth that God won’t provide. If you are suppose to adopt a child. He has provided what you need. If you are suppose to go out on the mission field; God has provided everything you will need. If you are to be a full-time mom and raise godly children; everything you need will be yours. The end of verse 3 says that we are called to glory and virtue. Glory means honor, dignity, praise, and worship. Virtue means manliness, valor, excellence (intrinsic or attributed). So, we are called to live a life of excellence that reflects the nature of God.

Lord, increase our knowledge of you and our desire to live a life of glory and virtue that you may be glorified on the earth.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Tues.’s Devo - Run Towards the Roar

Read 1 Peter 5:8-14

We are to be aware of our enemy, the devil. His goal is to seek out people that have their guard down and completely swallow them up. He masquerades like a roaring lion who has power when really he is a defeated foe. His power comes in our fear of him. He is a deceiver and if he can convince us of his power then he can control us. If we know who we are in Christ and that Jesus defeated him on the cross then his deceptions have no power over us. God’s grace is there to perfect us, establish us, strengthen us and help us stand. Our Lord is worthy of our praise and worship. He will reign for ever.

The devil is compared to a roaring lion which is the job of the older lions who are too old to fight. Their job is to sit in front of the den and roar when and enemy comes. This gives the younger lions, who can fight, the opportunity to sneak around behind their enemy and attack as they run from the roar. So, if we run towards the roar we can win. If we turn in fear and run then we will be swallowed up. God has not given us the spirit of fear and intimidation but of love, power, and a sound mind.

Lord, remind us daily whose we are and what you purchased for us on Calvary. Let us never fear but wholly trust in you.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Mon.’s Devo - A Good Leader

Read 1 Peter 5:1-7

Peter had watched as Jesus was whipped, beaten unmercifully, and finally nailed to the cross to suffer a painful death. He also saw the transfiguration where Elijah and Moses appeared with Jesus and spoke of the future. He spent time with Jesus when he came back after the cross and taught them what to do. And, finally, he saw Jesus ascend into the clouds to return to his rightful place at the right hand of God. All of this changed Peter’s heart from an impulsive, prideful control-freak to a servant of God and the people. He gives instructions to the other men who will help him pastor the new converts. He admonishes them to teach them the meat of God’s Word willingly with pure motives not for the gain of profit. They are not to lord over them but to live their lives as examples of all they teach. Their reward will be a crown of glory that Jesus will give them when he comes back. The younger leaders are to honor and take advice from the older leaders and everyone is to submit to one another. If they want God’s presence and grace then they need to stay humble. God will exalt the humble; but he will bring down the haughty. Every burden and trial they encounter they need to learn to cast it on the Lord. Doing this shows that they trust God in everything. They will need God for everything they do and a good leader knows this.

Lord, let us live our life as if we had literally seen your suffering and your glory. May our lives be an example of who you are.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Fri.’s Devo - God’s Judgments are Right

Read 1 Peter 4:12-18

When we minister to people we are to use the gifts God has given us. Our goal in all that we do is to further the kingdom of God. Just like Jesus, we will be persecuted for our walk with God. But, instead of trying to defend ourselves and feeling sorry for ourselves we should rejoice that we are counted worthy to suffer with Christ. Jesus was greatly rewarded for his suffering and we will be too. If we get in trouble for doing something evil we rightfully deserve punishment and God is not glorified, but, if we suffer for Christ then God is glorified. God is a righteous judge and he starts his judgment in his own house. His judgment to us is good and merciful. It will turn us around. But his judgment to the sinner will be much worse. They will be judged to eternal punishment.

Nobody likes to get caught for something they did. It is embarrassing and painful. But, it is God’s mercy to expose us here on earth so that we can be punished here instead of allowing us to take our sin with us to death. Then our punishment will be eternal and more devastating. God judges us here on earth so that we can repent and be washed of it once and for all. It is his kindness that leads us to repentance and sometimes his kindness is to expose our sins and discipline us. His discipline is uncomfortable for a short time but his lovingkindness is forever.

Lord, thank you that you are a good and faithful Father and that you deal with our sins as a loving father. We welcome your discipline in our lives so that we can repent and be spotless when we approach your throne.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Thurs.’s Devo - Above All - Love

Read 1 Peter 4:8-11

Jesus said that the most important law was to love God and the second most important law was to love one another. Peter reminds us again that love for one another is so powerful that it will cover sins. Jesus blood covered our sins and took away our shame; so the way we do that for others is to love them. One of the ways we can love others is to invite them into our homes. We are to love having guests, without complaining. As God has blessed us we are to bless one another. The greatest thing we have been given is salvation; so we are to give that away freely. When we talk, we should be glorifying God in our conversation. I experienced this yesterday in zumba class. Our instructor was from Latin America and had the friendliest face and smile. Between songs she explained the words to the songs we had just danced to. They all had to do with amore` (love). She asked us to raise our hands if we were in love. Then she asked us to raise our hands if we knew somebody loved us. I raised my hands on both. Then she said that we all should raise our hands because we are all loved by Jesus. Later on she told us the words of a Spanish song that said, if we have the faith of a mustard seed we can say to this mountain, be gone and cast into the sea. I loved her boldness to witness and it made me glad that I came. I told her when it was over that she did a good job of letting her light shine. She used the talents that God had given her (to dance) and her platform to speak truth and life into a class of people that she didn’t know. It was a blessing to hear.

Lord, help us to cover one another with love. Let our conversations give glory to you in order to win a soul to the kingdom.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Wed.’s Devo - Walking in the Spirit and not in the Flesh

Read 1 Peter 4:1-7

When the Bible says “in the flesh” it is talking about our human nature with all its frailties both physically and morally. Jesus had the same “fleshly” temptations that we do, he just didn’t succumb to them. He didn’t have a special power, because he was God’s son that we don’t have. Romans 8 says that the same power that was in Jesus is in us to help us win over sin. We just need to change our minds…. how we think. Our minds need renewing so we can think like Jesus thought. If we do that then sin is not even a temptation. Before Christ in our lives we lived according to the world and did what they did. Now that we have become a child of God we no longer live that way so our past friends find us strange and gossip about us. They don’t realize that one day they will have to give an account to God for how they lived their life. Everyone will have to stand before God and explained why they did not choose to serve him when they were given the opportunity. That is why Jesus had to go to the place of the dead when he died and preach salvation to those who had never been given the opportunity to choose him. One day everything that we know on earth will pass away and God will create a new heaven and a new earth. (Isa. 65:17; Rev. 21:1) In the meantime we are to walk in sober worship of God.

Lord, renew our minds in you that we won’t walk according to our flesh but alive to you.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Tues.’s Devo - Resurrection Life

Read 1 Peter 3:18-22

Jesus, the man, died for us so that Jesus, the son of God, could bring us to God. Jesus, who was perfect and never sinned, died for us who are full of sin so that he might cleanse us once and for all of our sin. When Jesus died he was given eternal life which makes life as we know it seem like death in comparison. When Jesus died he went down to hell, the place of the dead (also known as Hades) and preached to the spirits of them that had died before the flood. It took Noah 120 years to build the ark and the whole time Noah preached repentance to the people. No one listened to the word of the Lord then and few are listening now. The ark was a figure of resurrection. When the ark went under the water came back up it was a picture of baptism. When it went under the earth was full of sin but when it came back up all sin had been wiped out and everything had changed. 2 Co. 5:17 says, “If anyone is in Christ he is a new creature; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.” That is what salvation is: rebirth. When we leave this world and go to heaven our life here is going to look like death compared to the feeling of life we are going to receive.

Lord, help us to live a life of resurrection life so that those who are dead can see that they are dead and seek the life you have given us.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Mon.’s Devo - Forever

Happy New Year! Every year I ask God to give me a word for the year. Last year’s word was “end”. I was aware all year of God bringing things to an end in my life and starting a new page. It was exciting to see. This year’s word is “forever”. It is mentioned more than 300 times in the Bible and I scanned all of them. I found that these are the things God says are forever:

His reign

his law

we are to fear him

David’s throne

He will be praised

his love for Israel

we will be free from judgment

the wicked are destroyed

God is king

God is clean and enduring

we are blessed

his disciple will dwell in God’s house

his tender mercies and loving kindness

we will thank and praise him

his counsels will stand

his saints are preserved

our souls will live

his glory

He is our priest

He will dwell in our midst

Jesus will dwell in us

God’s plan

Satan will be tormented

God’s people will reign

In Ecclesiastes it says that God has written eternity on our hearts. So, somehow we instinctively know that we are eternal beings. But when that becomes a reality to us, then we live with a freedom and purpose that allows us to be affective in the here and now. This life is a portal to the next. If we believe that Jesus is the son of God and ask him into our hearts to rule and reign then we enter into God’s kingdom that is above the earth and we reign and rule with God. If we do not put our trust in God and choose to live for ourselves, we are actually choosing to enter Satan’s rule. We will walk out of this realm into the rule of Satan’s which is under the earth and there we will be eternally punished for denying God. It doesn’t seem like a hard choice to make.

Lord, help us to live with eternity in our hearts and in the forefront of our minds. May it influence our walk day by day.