Friday, September 28, 2012

Fri.’s Devo - Laws of Murder

Read Ex. 21:12-16 If a man murders a man; he will be put to death, but if a man accidentally kills another man he can run to a city of refuge and be safe until the death of the high priest, then he will be free to leave pardoned. Cities of refuge are explained in full in Numbers 35. This was how God dealt with things in the Old Testament but it is symbolic of what he does in the New. The first statement has to do with spiritual death. If your heart is full of murder, and your actions follow your heart, then you die in your guilt and you are guilty of crucifying Christ. If you are repentant and don’t have murder in your heart, then your city of refuge is the cross. The high priest is Jesus who died to set you free. Verse 15 says that if you smite your father or mother you will be put to death. Your father and mother have to do with your roots and your inheritance. It would be the epitome of disrespect for God and his plan which will cause that person to lose his life. Verse 16 says that if you steal a man and sell him, or be found holding him against his will you will die. To steal another’s destiny or messing up God’s plan for another person is punishable by death. There are many ways God punishes by death. Sometimes, it is literal hell and other times it is hell on earth that will cause him to die to himself. Then he can live eternally in heaven. It is ultimately being given over to the judgments of God. Lord, thank you for making a way that we as sinners can repent and come under the shadow of your wing and find salvation. Your grace and mercy knows no end!

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Thur.’s Devo - Daughters Sold into Slavery

Read Ex. 21:7-11 If a man sells his daughter, Hebrew girls might be redeemed for a reasonable sum. But in the event of her parents or friends being unable to pay the redemption money, her owner was not at liberty to sell her elsewhere. Should she have been betrothed to him or his son, and either change their minds, a maintenance must be provided for her suitable to her condition as his intended wife, or her freedom instantly granted. When a person is sold to slavery, they are sold to the slavery of sin. When they are set free they are redeemed by the power of God because they have chosen to have faith in God. Although I admit I don’t understand this completely, I think it is comforting to know that even the devil is confined to God’s laws. Even in our lost conditions, God is looking after us. This daughter didn’t have a choice which is the way it is in families that don’t follow God. They sell their children into slavery by teaching them ungodly wisdom. Verse 8 says that if she doesn’t choose to follow the way of death then God will redeem her and she can’t be sold deeper into sin. If she is married to the son, again against her will, and he finds someone else, he is obligated to provide the first wife food, clothing, and sex. If he doesn’t, then she is free to leave. I’d say this is a strong case for those looking for an out for divorce. The thing you have to remember is that she didn’t have a choice to marry this man. So, I think it is saying that if a person is born into sin, married into sin God has provided her a way out. Lord, help those who have never been taught the way of freedom and give them the heart to seek truth and life.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Wed.’s Devo - The Hebrew Servant

Ex. 21:1-6 These are the judgments that God set down. Let’s examine them one-by-one and see if we can learn anything from them. The first judgments have to do with Hebrew slaves. Every Israelite was born free; but slavery was permitted under certain restrictions. An Hebrew might be made a slave through poverty, debt, or crime; but at the end of six years he was set free. If he was married when he became a slave, then the wife was released when he was. But, if his master gave him a wife and they had children then when it came time for him to be released he could go, but the children and wife had to remain the property of the master. But, if the slave wanted to stay with his family, the master would bring him to the door and pierce his ear to the door. This meant he would serve his master for ever. A slave who chooses to stay loyal to his family and his master is treated like a son… many were adopted into the family. They are given great privileges and great responsibility. Everything that the master owns is at his disposal. Now let’s look at the picture God was giving us. This is about salvation. Man was born free. Adam was free of sin till he chose to eat of the forbidden fruit which brought sin into the world. We then became a slave to sin. We became poor, indebted, breakers of the law - criminals to God. We will remain in this state for God’s 6,000 years (six days) till the seventh day of Millennium and we will be forever set free. But, if we work for the master and produce fruit here on earth we can choose to serve our master forever. To do this we place our ear to the door (Jesus) and we allow God (the master) to pierce our ear to the Door. This brands us to him and we belong to him forever. We are given the rights of sonship and all the Father has is ours. We are given great privileges and great responsibility. Lord, we choose to bear your mark and remain loyal to you. You are worthy of all of our life.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Tues.’s Devo - The Altar

Read Ex. 20:22-26 God adds an addendum to the first commandment which was not to make any image of anything earthly or heavenly to worship. Now he adds that they are not to make any likeness of what they think he looks like out of silver or gold. They can make an altar out of soil to offer burnt offerings on. If they decide to make one out of stone, they can’t carve the stone, it has to be natural. God didn’t want his altar to be ornamented by man or the work of man’s toil. The altar had to be made of earth to show that Jesus was going to be totally human. Man was made of the dust of the earth and so Jesus would be. They could make one out of rough stones because Jesus was the rock that followed them in the wilderness. But to make an altar out of gold or silver would be to make God unapproachable and God knew man would start worshipping the altar instead of the God of the altar. Everything about what God wants has to do with his grace and his way. He didn’t want the priest to have to climb steps either lest any of his flesh be seen. He needed to be totally covered. God’s altar for us, which is the cross was a total work of God’s grace and the only way we can approach God is totally covered in the blood of Jesus. Lord, we humbly come before you and worship your holiness and your great love for us. What is man that you think of him? Yet, you do and we are so grateful. Cover us with your blood that we might come boldly before your throne.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Mon.’s Devo - God’s Darkness

Read Ex. 20:18-21 The people saw this great display of God’s power and were afraid and retreated. They didn’t realize God had brought his throne to earth. In Revelations 4:5 John is describing the throne and here is what he says: “5 And out of the throne proceeded lightnings and thunderings and voices: and there were seven lamps of fire burning before the throne, which are the seven Spirits of God.” They actually heard God speak these commandments and it scared them so much they told Moses to tell God not to do that again. They wanted God to speak to Moses and let him tell them what God wanted to say. Moses tried to explain that God did this so that they would have a healthy fear of him and what he said so they wouldn’t sin. So the people stood far off and Moses entered into the thick darkness where God was. What a great illustration of the different kinds of men. The people stood for the masses of Christianity. They want to follow God but not close enough to where it gets uncomfortable or supernatural. Moses stood for the remnant that will follow God into the darkness of his presence, not knowing if they will return or not. This same thick darkness of God’s presence is talked about in other places. 2 Sam. 22:8-10 says “ 8 Then the earth shook and trembled; the foundations of heaven moved and shook, because he was wroth. 9 There went up a smoke out of his nostrils, and fire out of his mouth devoured: coals were kindled by it. 10 He bowed the heavens also, and came down; and darkness was under his feet.” This whole chapter is repeated word for word in Ps. 18. I studied this when I was asking God what happened on the cross during that darkness. I think God was showing me that God clothed himself in darkness and came down and comforted Jesus on the cross. It was when it turned light that Jesus said, “my God, my God, why have you forsaken me.” I don’t think God ever forsook Jesus, I do think that his tangible presence was lifted and Jesus felt it and responded to it. Lord, we want to be the ones who walk through the darkness of your presence even when it is scary.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Fri.’s Devo - Coveting

Read Ex. 20:17 This is the 10th Commandment: thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s house, wife, servants, ox, ass, or anything else. Coveting is to envy someone else’s stuff. Cain coveted God’s response to Abel’s sacrifice. Instead of asking why God rejected his gift and changing, he let it fester in him for years till it finally led him to murder. Coveting is wrong in so many ways. First of all, it means that your priorities are fixed on this earth and not on eternal things. These worldly things perish and wear out but eternal things are…eternal. Secondly, it means that you don’t look to God to give you the food that is convenient to you. (Pro. 30:8 “Remove far from me vanity and lies: give me neither poverty nor riches; feed me with food convenient for me.”) God knows just what we need and when we need it. Ps. 37 says that if we delight in the Lord, he will give us the desires of our heart. We tend to look at the blessings of other people and think that it is the result of their righteousness which is many times true. But, with riches comes great responsibility. Some of the richest people are hidden in mid-size homes, driving insignificant vehicles and giving great amounts of money to the kingdom of God while other middle-incomers are maxed out in their credit trying to look rich and keep ahead of everyone else. The way to fight the urge to impress and covet someone else’s stuff is to find your delight in God. We don’t have to impress him, he loves us just the way we are - naked and sinful. When He becomes our heart’s desire, then he can trust us with anything the earth has to offer and it won’t destroy us. Despite the saying it is NOT the one who dies with the most toys that wins, it is the one who dies first then lives for Jesus that wins.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Thurs.’s Devo - Thou Shalt Not Bear False Witness

Read Ex. 20:16 I always thought that this was addressed to the person who was bringing the wrong report about someone but when I looked up the word “bear” in the Hebrew also means “to heed or pay attention” to false witness. So you can be the person who says it or listens and believes it and still be breaking this commandment. I am guilty of trying to figure out why a person did something which is speculation. I’m pretty sure this is wrong too. There are many times when God lets me know what is in a person’s heart about a matter and I’m pretty sure I’m suppose to keep that to myself even if it is the truth. God will share secrets with his friends but he does this because he trusts them to keep it to themselves. God gave us 10 commandments; the first four have to do with how we relate to him and the other 6 have to do with how we relate to one another. To lie about another person is pretty serious in God’s eyes. He hates injustice and when we talk about people when they are not there they cannot stand up for themselves. This is how Dueteronomy 19 puts it: “16 If a false witness rise up against any man to testify against him that which is wrong; 17 Then both the men, between whom the controversy is, shall stand before the Lord, before the priests and the judges, which shall be in those days; 18 And the judges shall make diligent inquisition: and, behold, if the witness be a false witness, and hath testified falsely against his brother; 19 Then shall ye do unto him, as he had thought to have done unto his brother: so shalt thou put the evil away from among you.” So whatever judgment you wish to happen to your brother, if he is innocent, will come upon you. It’s another version of “you reap what you sow”. That is enough to scare the truth into us! Remember, God doesn’t judge as we do… he judges the intent of the heart, not necessarily the act. Lord, put a guard over our mouths and hearts that we only see the truth in others and only speak what is good.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Wed.’s Devo - Thou Shalt Not Steal

Read Ex. 20:15 The word “steal” means “to thieve; to deceive; to secretly bring or get by stealth”. Satan’s job is to steal, kill and destroy us. He is the great deceiver. He deceived Eve into eating the apple. Laban deceived Jacob and changed his wages 10 times. Saul deceived the witch at Endor and tried to hide the fact that he was the king. To deceive someone is the steal the truth from them. We might not steal some possession from someone, but we might rob them of the whole truth. James said in his 5th chapter: “12 But above all things, my brethren, swear not, neither by heaven, neither by the earth, neither by any other oath: but let your yea be yea; and your nay, nay; lest ye fall into condemnation.12 But above all things, my brethren, swear not, neither by heaven, neither by the earth, neither by any other oath: but let your yea be yea; and your nay, nay; lest ye fall into condemnation.” I wonder what things we might steal and not realize it is stealing … like stealing the show from someone who is suppose to be getting the attention, or stealing someone’s time with our petty problems that we should be sharing with God. How about stealing the pens at work and bringing them home. Or, stealing from Uncle Sam, when we justify by saying he isn’t spending it right anyway. Jesus paid his taxes to Rome when Rome was as crooked and evil as ever. He did it because it was the right thing to do. We can always justify our weaknesses or we can give them to God and allow him to make them our strengths. Lord, most of all, help us not to steal from you but to give cheerfully what your desire.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Tues.’s Devo - Thou Shalt Not Commit Adultery

Read Ex. 20:14 Naturally this verse is easy to understand but maybe not so easy spiritually. Committing adultery is about usurping someone else’s place in their most intimate part of their life. Committing spiritual adultery is to substitute something else for the affection and love we should have for the Lord. When you have an affair you have to sneak around and find some way to spend time with this person. You lie, break moral laws, anything… just to have some time with them. I would liken an affair to an addiction. Addictions take our judgement away and replace them with an insatiable desire to pursue them. Whatever drives you and saps your time the most can be an addiction and if it takes you away from your first love, it is adultery. The Hebrew meaning of adultery is “apostatize; one who breaks wedlock”. When Jesus was talking about this in the sermon on the mount he went a step further and said that if you lusted after a woman in your heart it was considered adultery. So to really want something that is not in God’s kingdom is considered adultery. Apostatize means to leave what you have once believed in and believe something else. It would be like believing in witchcraft which is the craft of manipulation. If we truly have faith in God to be all-powerful, and in control, we won’t need to offer him our opinion about how he orchestrates our lives, we will just walk in faith. God had to divorce Israel for committing spiritual adultery with the gods of other lands. Lord, forgive us for putting anything in your place in our heart. Rid us of our addictions and let our addiction be to follow you. Thank you for the blood of Jesus that covers us.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Mon.’s Devo - Thou Shalt Not Kill. 9-17-12

Read Ex. 20:13 This is the commandment that we all feel relieved about because we are not murderers... but aren’t we? The New Testament says that life and death are in the power of the tongue. Have we not all killed with our mouths and talked negatively about another person? I sure have. With our mouths we are either speaking life or death. I’d say venture to say that we break this commandment the most. James said it so well in James 3:5-10 “Even so the tongue is a little member, and boasts great things. Behold, how great a matter a little fire kindles! 6 And the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity: so is the tongue among our members, that it defiles the whole body, and sets on fire the course of nature; and it is set on fire of hell. 7 For every kind of beasts, and of birds, and of serpents, and of things in the sea, is tamed, and has been tamed of mankind: 8 But the tongue can no man tame; it is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison. 9 Therewith bless we God, even the Father; and therewith curse we men, which are made after the similitude of God. 10 Out of the same mouth proceeds blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not so to be.” Jesus, in the Beatitudes gave us a lesson on how to do this. He told us to love not only our neighbors, but our enemies and to bless those who hate you, pray for those who spitefully use you, and persecute you. Before that he talked about turning the other cheek to someone who slaps you. The Old Testament was about obeying a written set of rules set up by God. The New Testament was about a change of heart that would manifest a changed life. It took a born-again believer past the law into the spirit. Lord, put a watch over our mouths and may we speak life with our tongues - always.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Fri.’s Devo - Honoring Parents

Read Ex. 20:12 Eph. 6:1 says it this way: “Children, obey your parents in the Lord: for this is right. 2 Honour your father and mother; (which is the first commandment with promise;) 3 That it may be well with you, and you may live long on the earth.” Having just lost a parent I understand better what this commandment means. My mother and father went from being normal Christians in the late 60’s to sold-out, on-fire Christians. Their whole lives from that point and until they died, was about promoting the kingdom of God and honoring Jesus. They underwent a lot of persecution from their church and best friends to live so radically for the Lord, but the sacrifice was not close to comparing to the joy of knowing God and serving him. When we did the memorial for my mother, my husband, my three sons, one of my daughter-in-laws, and I spoke. It was such a joy to give her honor for her life. I had the perfect senario, but what if your parents don’t follow God and you are told to honor them? As parents they are a picture of God to us. They have been given this position by God and we are to honor that. They are not perfect just as so many of the kings who were to represent God were imperfect. We are to honor everyone God places in authority over us, even and especially our parents and our president. God placed them in that position and maybe, possibly, probably it is for our good. (:-D) When we obey this commandment to honor our parents we live long on this earth. Long life is our reward, especially if it is a hard thing to do. Lord, I pray for all my readers who struggle with this commandment. Show them things that their parents possess that are honorable to you, but most of all, change their hearts towards their parents and give them gracious hearts.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Thurs.’s Devo - The Sabbath Day Extended

Now that we have established that the Sabbath Day is not only the day of the week we set apart to worship God but also a day we are looking forward to in the future. It stands for a whole millennium where the lion will lay down with the lamb, where we will reign with Christ and where peace will inhabit the earth. Ever notice how on the Sabbath Jesus chose to do his greatest miracles. He would heal everybody in the town on the Sabbath, which totally irked the religious leaders since they lived by the letter of the law. Jesus was showing us a picture of a day when all would be healed and live free of demons and chains. For us today, to honor the Sabbath means to honor and understand God’s total plan. We are to be kingdom-minded people who live for God’s whole plan on the earth, not just our little lives and what we need or want. We are privileged to be invited to be a small part of a huge story that is being written throughout the history of time. When we live this way it honors the Sabbath - what we are living for. The Sabbath is a holy rest God has planned for those who chose to walk with him. We are to experience this rest during our walk. Honoring the Sabbath is choosing to walk in peace, no matter what we are going through, knowing that God is ultimately in charge and knows what he is doing. Shalom! Jerusalem means, “foundation of peace” where Jesus is prince. Lord, help us to walk in peace where everyday is a Sabbath rest to us.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Wed.’s Devo - The Sabbath Day

Read Ex. 20:8-11 This is another commandment that we don’t fully understand. The sabbath day is referring to a day when all work will cease. We know it as millennium. God created the world in 7 days. Each of these days represents a thousand year period of the earth. If you study what God did on the first day it was to move on a dark formless place and bring forth light. He named the light Day and the darkness Night. In the first 1000 years of man walking the earth God taught his children what good and bad was. (ex.: Cain and Abel) On the second day of creation God separated the waters that were above from the waters that were beneath. Waters is symbolic of spirits. So he separated evil spirits and sent them below and heavenly angels were sent to heaven. On earth, in the 2nd millennium, God sent the law to separate the holy from the profane. On the third day God created the seed and the fruit of that see conformed to the kind of seed it came rom. In the 3rd millennium, God called Abraham out and told him he would be a father to his people and his seed would conform to his image. On the forth day God created the Sun, Moon, and stars. The Sun refers to the trinity, the Moon is the church and the stars are the individual saints. They were to rule the heavens and effect the earth. In the 4th millennium Jesus Christ was sent to earth and he was to set up his rule over mankind. He died and gave his authority to the church. We are to rule over the earth and set God’s dominion over it. Whatever we bind on earth is bound in heaven. We are to affect both heaven and earth. On the fifth day God created things that would fly and things that would swim. Once again there is a division of those that choose to fly with the Holy Spirit and those who choose to swim in the deep with the demons of hell. Jesus brought a sword that divided and it has been a spiritual battle ever since. On the sixth day God brought forth the animals and the beasts and God’s finale: man. We are living in this day when man is elevated as gods and animals are worshipped as well. This is also the Christians finest hour. This is the time when we will do the greater works that John 14:12 -14 talks about (“12 Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father. 13 And whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. 14 If ye shall ask any thing in my name, I will do it.”) The seventh day was the Sabbath and God rested. The 7th day for us will be Millennium and we are to remember this as a holy time. Lord, our day has come to arise as your church and be your hands extended. Give us boldness and power to move in your spirit to accomplish your will.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Tues.’s Devo - In Vain

Read Ex. 20:7 I think this is the most misunderstood commandment. Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord your God in vain. We have been taught that it is not to cuss using God’s name but it is much deeper than that. In the Old Testament they were afraid they would misuse God’s name and be held guilty so they wouldn’t say his name or write it. God gave them many names to call him: Jehovah Jireh, El Shaddai, etc. which all had meanings that had to do with God’s character and what he was doing for them at the time. In the New Testament, God sent Jesus and gave us a name above all names. In this name we were to be saved, cast out demons, be healed, speak with new tongues, prophecy, do wonders, work miracles, aid the poor, gather together, go to the nations, baptize, ask anything, take up serpents, drink poison, and reach out to the sinner. If we take this name, Jesus, that has power to save and set free and we don’t live all these things above, then we have taken the Lord’s name “in vain”. God gave us this name so we would use it to bring life and healing. To withhold our testimony is to take the Lord’s name in vain. If demons tremble at that name then we should use it. In Acts 8:12 it says that Phillip preached the things concerning the kingdom of God, and the name of Jesus Christ. We could use a sermon on the name of Jesus Christ. I think we would use it more. His name is a gift for us to use to further the kingdom. Today we celebrate 9-11 and I pray that the name of Jesus will be lifted up in our nation to bring peace, salvation, deliverance, and protection.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Mon.’s Devo - The Second Commandment

Read Ex. 20:4-6 This commandment says that they are not to make any carved idol that resembles anything on earth, heaven or the seas and bow down and worship it. Today I was reading in Hebrews 8 about the High Priest we have in Jesus. In verses 4-6 it says that the people of the Old Covenant served the copy and shadow of the heavenly things. He was talking about the tabernacle that Moses was shown on the mountain. He got a glimpse of the heavenly tabernacle and was told to copy it. The people were not to worship the tabernacle and the furniture in it, but the tabernacle was suppose to draw the people and assist the people in their worship to God. Once they were established in the land, Solomon built a temple to house these instruments of worship. The tabernacle and the temple both represent Jesus. Jesus carried the spirit and power of God because he was God that put on flesh and came to dwell with us. Now, we are the tabernacle and we are to be a place that draws people to God and a place where worship of God exists. (2 Co. 5:1-4) We are never to promote our own worship, but turn any praise we would get to the one who fills the tabernacle. God IS a jealous god. He punishes the wicked and there next 4 generations but he pardons and gives mercy to those who love him and follow him. Lord, we worship the true tabernacle that came out of heave to dwell with us. May you tabernacle with us today.

Friday, September 7, 2012

Fri.’s Devo - The First Commandment

Read Ex. 20:1-3 These are the commandments God spoke audibly to the people. They have been named “The Ten Commandments”. Before he gave them to the people he reminded them of who he was just in case they forgot later. He is the god who miraculously brought them out of Egypt - the house of bondage. We have all been in this house and these commandments are how to stay out of it. Number One: have no other gods. Every culture of their day had multiple gods - one for every different need they had. The children of Israel were to be the first nation that just had one, all-sufficient god. In our culture we are still the only religion that has only one god. It sounds easy, but if we are truthful, it is hard not to worship wealth, youth, beauty, intellect, our spouse, our children, celebrities, spiritual leaders, politicians. When we look to anything other than God to meet our needs, we are putting another god before God. We idolize healthy bodies, olympians, musicians, etc. and wish we were like them. God creatively crafted our bodies, our DNA, and our days to fulfill our destiny. Simon of Cyrene was the man who carried the cross for Jesus. Everything in his life was orchestrated for that one moment in time when he would be at the right place at the right time to fulfill that task of carrying the Lord’s cross. It is a privilege that we all can do- carry Jesus’ cross. The thing about having no gods other than Jehovah God is that it is not always the most appealing or self-serving. It requires a death. Lord, show us the gods that we put before you and help us to get rid of them.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Thurs.’s Devo - The Invitation

Read Ex. 19:1-25 God has shown the children of Israel how he can deliver them, lead them, provide for them, fight for them. and govern them. Now he gives the invitation to stay in this relationship. All he asks for is their obedience. He promises them that they will be his peculiar treasure above all the people on the earth and will be a kingdom of priests; a holy nation. Moses tells the people this and they all agree that they want to obey God and have this relationship. When Moses tells this to God he wants to draw near to them and let them tear his voice like Moses was privy to. To do this they have 3 days to get ready because God wass going to manifest his glory in front of Mt. Sinai. They were to make a fence around the mountain so that no one could touch it. This was for their protection, because if they touched it they would die. On that day a trumpet will sound to let them know to assemble. So the people prepared to meet God and on the third day there were thunders and lightning and a thick cloud. God came as fire on the mountain top and billows of smoke poured out. The mountain shook with God’s power. Then a trumpet sounded and got louder and louder. It was blown by an unseen force. If a human blew the trumpet it would get softer and softer as the person lost breath and strength, but this one got louder and louder because it was blown by the breath of heaven. Moses spoke to God and he answered Moses and called him up to the top of the mountain. All the people heard this. Moses went up but God sent him back down to make sure the people didn’t try to do the same thing. If they did, he would have to kill them. This is the invitation God is still issuing: draw near to me and I will draw near to you. Lord, may we sanctify ourselves that we may hear your voice and obey you and live as a holy nation, a kingdom of priests.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Wed.’s Devo - Wisdom

Read Ex. 18:1-27 After all this time, Moses is finally reunited with his wife and children. What a sacrifice to do God’s will, but such a journey! I bet they had a lot to catch up on. We are only privy to his conversation with his father-in-law who was a priest in his hometown. After hearing what God did for Moses and his people, Jethro became a believer in the one true God. He offered the sacrifice for Moses which was a sign of his belief. Then Jethro watched as Moses sat as the judge over the million-plus people that had come out of Egypt. Jethro saw that Moses’ job was going to kill him physically, so he told him to find some good leaders and disciple them in how to govern the people. These men were to fear God, love the truth, and hate covetousness. They would be broken down into those that would be over a thousand, those that would be over a hundred, those that would be over fifty and those that would be over ten. They will judge the smaller things and Moses would only take the large problems. Being a part of a church that used to be small and is now a multitude, I see the need for a pastor to have to give up the closeness he had with his body for his own health. This takes a maturing of the body. Decades ago, the pastor was suppose to visit you in the hospital, know all the names of your kids, and be there whenever you needed him. Today, God is trying to mature the body where we don’t look to a pastor to meet our needs but we depend on Him first, then if we need council, we go to the person over us… not necessarily the pastor. I see God moving pastors of big churches into a different role than they were in the past. Bottom line, God is getting us into battle formation for what is up ahead. Lord, help us to find our position in this strategy and submit to those you have put over us and teach and be an example to those you have placed under us.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Tues.’s Devo - War with Amalek

Read Ex. 17:8-16 The children of Israel meet their first opposer: the people of Amalek. Amalek comes from a root word meaning perverse. Perverse means to deviate from what is considered right or good: persisting in sin; stubborn. I wonder if that is the first spirit we face when we become Christians. It was certainly Eve’s. And obviously the early Christians had the same problem which Paul addressed extensively in Romans 7. The only way to win over it was to lift up God’s standard higher. Moses did but as he tired it took the help of Aaron and Hur. Aaron means “light-bringer” so he is a picture of the Holy Spirit who sheds light and illumines our way. Hur means “white” which stands for the holiness and righteousness of God. The Holy Spirit is our helper to enable us to walk in purity. When we lift up God’s standard we are enabled to win over perversity and our stubborn will. Moses named the place Jehvah-nissi which means: God, my banner. In the last verse God tells us that he will always be at war with this spirit of perverseness. Thinking back over this picture, Aaron was also Moses’ blood brother and sometimes we need a friend to help us in our walk. Ecc. 4:9-12 says “Two are better than one; because they have a good reward for their labour. 10 For if they fall, the one will lift up his fellow: but woe to him that is alone when he falls; for he has no one to help him up. 11 Again, if two lie together, then they have heat; but how can one be warm alone? 12 And if one prevail against him, two shall withstand him, and a threefold cord is not quickly broken.” Jesus sent the disciples out in twos because he made us to need one another. Lord, give us a friend who will motivate us to love and good works.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Mon.’s Devo - Water from the Rock

Read Ex. 17:1-7 They left the wilderness of Sin and camped at Rephidim which means “supports”. There was no water so the people complained to Moses. When will they learn to just ask God and wait for his answer? They blamed their leader for everything that went wrong, or everything that didn’t go their way. So Moses prayed to God for them and he told him what to do. He told Moses to gather the elders and take them to this rock in Horeb (desolate). He was to strike the rock with his rod and water will come out of it. This is the first time we see this rock but it will follow them throughout their journey. 1 Co 10:1-5 says, “ Moreover, brethren, I would not that ye should be ignorant, how that all our fathers were under the cloud, and all passed through the sea; And were all baptized unto Moses in the cloud and in the sea; And did all eat the same spiritual meat; And did all drink the same spiritual drink: for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them: and that Rock was Christ. But with many of them God was not well pleased: for they were overthrown in the wilderness.” God told Moses to stand on the rock called Horeb which means “a waster” and smite the rock so God could bring water out of it for the people to drink. He did and changed the name of that rock to Massah which means “enduring” which is the opposite of wasting. He also named it Meribah which means “strife” because of the controversy among the people. This rock was a picture of Jesus who when struck in his side on the cross, water poured forth. His death brought eternal life and strife: strife from the religious leaders, and the unbelieving crowd and life to all who chose to drink of the living waters he was offering. Lord, give us living waters from your eternal fountain.