Friday, May 31, 2013

Fri.’s Devo - On the Road to Emmaus

Read Luke 24:13-32 While the disciples were contemplating the news that Jesus’ tomb was empty, two other men were on their way to Emmaus. Emmaus means “an earnest longing” which is what these two men had. They were having a conversation about what had happened in Jerusalem while they were there for the feast. Jesus appeared and walked with them. The Holy Spirit had closed their eyes to the truth that Jesus was the man walking with them. Jesus asked them what they were talking about. They asked him if he didn’t know what had happened in Jerusalem. He acted dumb and asked them “what things?” The they told him how Jesus of Nazareth, the great prophet was crucified by the chief priest and rulers. They had thought he would be the one to redeem Israel. It was now the third day and when the women went to his grave they didn’t find his body, but an angel who told them that he was alive. Then Jesus began to teach these two men starting at the beginning with Moses and all through the prophets, all the prophecies about Jesus’ first coming. As they approached their village, Jesus acted like he was going on, so they asked him to come in for the night. He did and as he was sitting down to eat with them, he took the bread, blessed it and broke it, then gave it to them and their eyes were opened and they knew who he was. He then vanished into thin air. They said, “Didn’t our heart burn within us, while he talked with us and opened the scriptures?” There earnest longing was satisfied in Jesus. It was not until Jesus took the bread, blessed it, broke it, and gave it to them that the two men could “see”. That is what Jesus does for us. He is the living bread and when he takes the Word of God, blesses it, breaks it and gives it to us, we can see the mysteries in it. Lord, we pray that you would take your Word and bless, break, and give it to us that our eyes would be open to You.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Thur.’s Devo - The Empty Tomb

Read Luke 24:1-12 The women who followed Jesus had prepared spices to anoint his body. They had to wait until the sabbath was complete before they could leave their houses and come to the tomb. It was the first day of the week, which was also the feast of First Fruits. On this day all the men would bring their first fruits from their crops to the temple to give to God. When the women arrived at the tomb they found the stone rolled away and the tomb empty. While they were trying to figure out what had happened, they saw two men appear next to them in shining garments. They were afraid and bowed to the ground. The angels asked them why they were seeking the living among the dead. Then he reminded them of how Jesus told them he would die and on the third day, rise again. Then they remembered this and understood. They went back to the disciples and told them what they had seen and heard. This was too unbelievable for the disciples but Peter decided to go see. He ran to the tomb and when he got there he found the linen clothes and no body. He left amazed. When God set up the feasts they were to be memorials and rehearsals of a set time when God would come down and fulfill them. Jesus died on Passover as our passover lamb. He was buried on Unleavened Bread as the bread of life that had not “risen” yet. Yeast also stands for false doctrine or sin and Jesus had no sin in him. He rose on First fruits to be the first fruit to rise from the dead. If you read the crucifixion story in Matthew it says that when the veil of the temple was torn in two that the earth quaked and the rocks split and the graves were opened; and many bodies of the saints who had fallen asleep were raised; and coming out of the graves after His resurrection, they went into the holy city and appeared to many. (Matt. 27:52-53) Jesus was the first fruit to rise from the dead and enter heaven and with him he took all the believers that had died through the ages. Lord, your plan is amazing to us. Help us to understand your promises and not be surprised at your timing.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Wed.’s Devo - God’s Divine Plan

Read Luke 23:48-56 The people who saw these signs: the darkness in the middle of the day, the lightnings, and the thunderings were overcome with grief. One man who was there was Joseph of Arimathaea. He went to Pilate and begged to have Jesus body. When he received permission he took his body, wrapped it in linen and laid it in a sepulcher that was cut out of rock. No one had ever used this sepulcher before. Why was this significant? In Genesis 50:24 Joseph made his sons Ephraim and Manasseh promise to not leave his bones in Egypt but to take them with them when they left to go to the promised land. Just as Joseph’s tomb was emptied to take his bones to the promised land, Joseph of Arimathaea’s tomb would be emptied to take Jesus’ bones to the promised land of heaven. It was also important that Jesus be in a tomb that none else had been in because Jesus was about to do what had happened in no other tomb, and he needed a new tomb to do a new thing in. It had to be hewn out of rock because Jesus was the rock and he just went back to lie in the center of who he was. He is the Rock of all Ages. He needed to be wrapped in linen because linen is the symbol of righteousness that the priests wore. Jesus was a king and a priest and he was righteousness personified. As it was closing in on the sabbath, so they had to finish the preparation. The women that were followers made a mental note of which tomb his was laid in so they could return after the sabbath. On the sabbath they would be at home inside staying clean. Everything about Jesus death was calculated by God. Lord, you do all things well and in order. I know it didn’t seem that way to those living at the time but we can see it looking back. Help us to realize that that is what you are doing in our lives and one day we will look back and see your divine plan. We are so grateful!

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Tues.’s Devo - From Sixth to Ninth

Read Luke 23:39-47 One of the men hanging beside Jesus mocked him by saying if he was the Christ, then he would be able to save them and himself. The man on the other cross rebuked him and stood up for Jesus saying they deserved their crucifixion but Jesus had done nothing to deserve death. Then he asked Jesus to remember him when he came into his kingdom. Jesus assured him he would be there too because he recognized and believed who Jesus was. It was the 6th hour and it turned totally dark for 3 hours. On Mt. Sinai where God gave the people the law, there was thick darkness for 3 days (Ex. 10:21-22). In Duet 4:12; 5:22 it says that God spoke to all the people out of thick darkness. But the scripture I like the best concerning this is 2 Sam 22 which is word-for-word Psalms 18 - all 50 verses! If God puts that many verses twice it must be important. I believe it is a play-by-play of what happened during those 3 hours. It says that God bent the heavens and came down. Scientists talk about learning how to bend space so we can travel through time. Well God did just that. He rode on the darkness and came clothed in this thick darkness. He was accompanied by lightnings and thunderings. He took Jesus and drew him out of the enemies hands and he strengthened Jesus for the battle and the victory. That is where the spiritual battle was fought and won. The veil that separated man from God was rent. On the earth, they only saw the darkness, the lightnings and heard the thunderings. Mark 15:34 says that at the 9th hour which would have been when the darkness ended, Jesus cried out, O God, why have you forsaken me. The lights had come on and God’s presence was not visible to Jesus. God NEVER left Jesus and he will NEVER leave us. It was that tangible presence that lifted. This is when Jesus gave his body to death and put his spirit in God’s hands. Lord, enlarge our hearts to receive more of you. Thank you for your presence that never leaves us or forsakes us. Thank you for the power of the cross.

Monday, May 27, 2013

Mon.’s Devo - The Crucifixion

Read Luke 23:16-38 Pilate’s plan was to have Jesus disciplined then set free but the crowds had different plans. It was tradition to set free a prisoner at passover so he chose Jesus since his crimes seemed so petty. But the crowds cried out for Barabbus who was a trouble maker and a murderer. Pilate still wanted to release Jesus but the crowd turned to a mob as they shouted to crucify Jesus and release Barabbus. Three times Pilate tries to release Jesus and they cry out for him to be crucified. So Pilate ordered Jesus crucified and released Barabbus. As they led Jesus to be crucified, the grabbed a man called Simon, a Cyrenian who was coming home from being in the count. They made him carry the cross. Many of his disciples mourned and lamented what was happening. Jesus saw a group of his women followers crying and he spoke to them. He told them not to weep for him but for themselves because one day the conditions in the world will be so bad, they will wish they never brought life into it. They will want to end their lives and run for cover anywhere they can find. If they do this when the son of God is here, what will they do when he is gone? Two other men were scheduled to hang that day. They were led away with Jesus and nailed on either side of Jesus at Calvary. Jesus prayed out loud for God to forgive them for they didn’t know what they did. The soldiers ripped up his robe and gambled over who would get it. Some of the Roman rulers teased Jesus saying, “He saved others, let him save himself , if he be Christ, the chosen of God.” Little did they know he was saving others by not saving himself. They wrote a sign over him that said “THIS IS THE KING OF THE JEWS” in Greek, Latin, and Hebrew. Lord, there are no words to express our sorrow for what you did for us. We are so grateful that your death on the cross was not in vain, but it accomplished what it was suppose to - eternal life for all who believe!

Friday, May 24, 2013

Fri.’s Devo - Examining the Lamb

Read Luke 23:1-14 In the passover tradition, a family is to pick the best lamb from their flock and bring it into their house for 10 days to examine it and make sure it has no defects. When they have determined it is spotless, it becomes their passover lamb that is slain for their family. The priests at the temple do the same thing for the Passover Lamb that will stand for the sins of all the people. Jesus was the passover lamb to be slain for all the people and the for 10 days Jesus was examined to see if he was guilty. First, he is brought before Pilate to be examined. He was accused of perverting the nation and forbidding the people to pay taxes to Caesar, and saying that he was the Christ and a king. None of these were true. Pilate asked him if he was the King of the Jews and Jesus reply was, “Thou sayest it.” After that one question and that one answer, Pilate found him innocent. He said he found no fault in him. So the lamb passed his inspection. Now he will be sent to Herod. Of course, the people are not happy with Pilate’s assumption so when they mentioned Galilee, he sent Jesus to Herod who was over Galilee. Herod just happened to be in Jerusalem at the time so he came immediately because he had always wanted to meet Jesus. He wanted to see him perform a miracle. He questioned Jesus but got no reply. Jesus was the lamb who was dumb before his shearers. He spoke not a word. (Is. 53:7) This made the chief priests and scribes even more mad and vicious. Herod and his men made fun of Jesus by putting a robe on him and mocking him. He sent him back to Pilate and they became friends for the first time. They both agreed and Pilate proclaimed Jesus again to be innocent and spotless. So, by two witnesses he is proclaimed spotless and innocent. Lord, you are the spotless lamb who took away our sins. Thank you!

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Thur.’s Devo - Jesus is Taken

Read Luke 22:63-71 Jesus was taken away by the “religious” people of the day and they treated Jesus with such hatred. They put a blindfold on him then hit him and asked him to prophecy who hit him. He could have done just that but he chose not to. They took him into their inner council and questioned him. “Are you the Christ?” In Jesus ministry he never came right out and said he was the Christ. He once asked his disciples who they thought he was. When Peter said, “You are the Christ,” Jesus blessed him and said that flesh and blood couldn’t reveal this to him, only God. So when these men asked him if he was the Christ he refused to tell them. Instead he told them that they wouldn’t believe him if he said he was. Jesus knew that what he told them wouldn’t make a difference, they had made up their minds already to crucify him. Then he told them that one day they will see the Son of man sitting on the right side of God. This had to irritate them. Jesus always spoke of himself as being the “son of man” so they asked him if he was the “Son of God”. Jesus was reply was “You say that I am”. Jesus kept turning it back to them and their confession. They twisted it to mean that Jesus said he was the son of God and condemned him. He was the son of God and the son of man, and the Christ - all of those. Lord, we know that you are God’s Son, our Messiah, and the Christ! We live to worship you for all you have done.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Wed.’s Devo - Jesus’ Betrayal

Read Luke 22:48-62 Judas kissed Jesus to point out to the soldiers who he was. Jesus turned to Judas and asked, “Judas, do you betray the Son of man with a kiss?” I wonder how many times that question played in Judas’ head before he took his life? Peter cut off a soldier’s ear to fight for Jesus but Jesus just touched the man’s ear and it was healed. (That man had some soul-searching to do after that night.) Jesus turned to the chief priests, captains of the temple, and the elders and asked them why they came at night like a thief when they could have taken him anytime in the temple during the day. Jesus was making a point. The devil steals at night; he is afraid to do his work during the day because the light shines on his work and exposes him. Jesus explained that this was the power of darkness. They took Jesus to the high priest’s house and Peter followed at a distance. Interesting that they would take The High Priest to the high priest’s house. Someone made a fire outside so Peter sat with those waiting a verdict. A young girl saw Peter and recognized him as one of Jesus’ disciples. Peter denied it. A while later another man saw Peter and also recognized him as a disciple of Jesus. Peter denied it a second time. The third denial came an hour later when a man swore Peter was with Jesus because he was a Galilean. This time when Peter denied it the cock crowed. Jesus turned and looked at him and Peter remembered the prophecy Jesus had given him. Before the cock crowed he would deny him 3 times. Peter left and found a place to weep bitterly. I wonder how many times I have denied the Lord with my actions or my words? How many times have I refused compassion because it was just not convenient or I was just not in the mood to reach out? I do know this… I have not wept bitterly over it. Lord, give me a heart of compassion and discernment. I can’t imagine denying knowing You, but I’m sure I have in other ways. Forgive my insensitivity and help me be alive to your heart.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Tues.’s Devo. - Jesus Last Moments With His Disciples

Read Luke 22:31-47 Jesus has just told his disciples that one of them would betray him. While the disciples are murmuring over who the betrayer will be and who of them will be the greatest, Jesus singles out Peter and tells him that Satan desires to sift him like wheat. I bet that took the wind out of Peter’s sail. He is probably thinking he should be the greatest because he was so close to Jesus and now Jesus is making him sound like the betrayer. When Peter tries to defend himself saying he was ready to go to prison and even die for him, Jesus tells him that he is going to deny him 3 times before the cock crows. I wonder if Peter remembered the part where Jesus said, “when you are converted, strengthen your brethren.” That was hope that he would return to what was right. Jesus doesn’t stay there, he gives instructions to all of them. He reminds them that when he was here with them he sent them out without money, a plan, shoes, and they didn’t have need of anything. Now that he will be leaving them he tells them to take money, a plan, and a weapon. They would take on his persecution from now on. Then he led them to the mount of Olives where he told them to pray that they wouldn’t be tempted. He left them and went a few yards away to pray. Jesus prayed that if God willed, he would take this death away from him. But, he reminded God that it was God’s will he wanted over his own. God sent him an angel to minister to him and give him strength. He prayed so deeply that he sweat drops of blood. When he went to find his disciples they were all asleep. Jesus woke them just as Judas and Jesus’ assassins were walking up. Judas walked up and kissed Jesus. The disciples are so human. They worry about themselves above everything. They can’t seem to spend any time in prayer without falling asleep and they don’t know what to do when disaster hits. I can identify with all of these things. I wonder how many times God sends us angels to minister strength to us and we don’t even recognize it. Lord, help us to be less concerned about ourselves and our comforts and more concerned about the kingdom and its results. May we recognize angels and your hand in our lives.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Mon.’s Devo - The Passover Supper

Read Luke 22:1-30 The feasts were set up as an ordinance for the people to participate in year after year. They were “dress rehearsals “ for the time that the Messiah would come to earth and be the fulfillment of the feast. Every year the Jewish people celebrated the Passover where they brought their lambs to the temple to atone for their family. There would be one passover lamb that the priests would choose to be the atonement for all the people. This year this passover lamb would be Jesus himself - the fulfillment of all the years of celebrating Passover. God used Satan,and Satan used Judus Iscariot to turn Jesus over to be crucified. Judas betrayed Jesus to the chief priests for money. On the day of unleavened bread, Jesus sent Peter and John to find a place to eat the passover together. Jesus told them that they would enter the city, see a man with a pitcher of water and follow him to his house. They were to ask him if they could use his guest room and get it ready. Of course, it happened just as Jesus had seen it in the spirit. When they met, Jesus told them that this would be the last time he would eat with them before he suffered. The next time he ate it would be in heaven with God. He explained that the bread was his body and the blood represented his blood. Then he told them his betrayer was at the table. When they began to question among themselves who it might be and argue which was the greatest Jesus gave them a parable. He explained to them that the greatest one is the one who does the most to serve. Because they stood by Jesus in all his ministry, they will rule over heavenly kingdoms and sit on thrones judging the 12 tribes of Israel. Of course, this didn’t make much sense to them then, but it was a great promise that they would see after they died. They would receive this great honor because they suffered the humiliation and persecution of walking with Jesus on the earth. It is the same for us, the more we stand with Jesus during adversity and ridicule the more we will be in trusted with spiritually. The riches of the kingdom are truly not silver and gold but worth far more. Lord, we seek to walk with you no matter what comes our way. We choose to be your disciples to the end.

Friday, May 17, 2013

Fri.’s Devo - The Parable of the Last Days

Read Luke 21:29-38 When Jesus teaches a truth he always includes a parable with hidden meaning. Today’s parable explains the teaching he had just given them of the last days. He starts it out with “Behold the fig tree, and all the trees.” The fig tree is Israel and the other trees are the other kingdoms of the world. So he is talking about all the kingdoms of the earth. When they start shooting forth or bearing fruit and growing powerful then you will know the kingdom of God is near. In 1948, Israel became a nation. It has been “shooting forth” ever since. A generation is usually defined by 40 years. I’m not sure when God would determine that Israel is “shooting forth” but I would think it would not be to much longer. I do know this, we are seeing scripture fulfilled before our very eyes and it is exciting and a little alarming at the same time. What Jesus warned them over and over about was to not get tired of waiting, and to not get distracted by the world and all its allurements, but to stay close to God. He also warned them about fear that would cause them to want to revert to drinking or any type of sin that would keep them sedated and not alive and alert. If we stay in tuned to what God is doing he will make a way of escape for us and we will end up standing before the throne of God instead of in the depths of persecution and his wrath. What we see happening around us is not a surprise to God, he has a plan and it has not changed. Jesus will come back to get his bride, the faithful ones, and we will live and reign with him in a new earth that has a new heaven. Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor has it even entered our hearts of how great God’s plans are. Lord, we wait with eyes open and hearts expecting your coming. We will not be disappointed.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Thurs.’s Devo - The Last Days

Read Luke 21:7-28 Jesus has just prophesied that the temple will one day be destroyed. This is not something the people want to hear so they ask him when it will happen. Jesus does what he does best: not answer the question of their minds but the question of their heart. They are really wanting to know when the end will come. So Jesus gives them a description of what it will be like in the last days. There will be false Messiahs, wars and battles, nations against nations and kingdoms against kingdoms, earthquakes, famines, plagues, fearful things, and signs in the skies. This is what will be happening all over the world. To the believer there will be persecution and many will be brought before the leaders of the nations. When this happens they are to know that this is an opportunity set up for them by God to witness. They will be given wisdom what to say just like Jesus was, so they don’t need to worry. They will be betrayed by their parents, family, and friends. Some will be martyred. All men will hate them but they needn’t fear because if God wants them to live they will be divinely protected. Their patience will uphold them. In the last days Jerusalem will be surrounded by armies. Everyone in and around Jerusalem will need to flee to the mountains if they want to live. These are the days of vengeance that have been prophesied. It will be hard for those with infants because of the conditions they will be living in. Satan’s wrath will be released on God’s people in great magnitude. Many will be killed in battle and others will be taken captive to foreign lands. Jerusalem will be destroyed by enemies until God is ready to restore it. There will be strange phenomenon in the skies and abnormal weather patterns. These weather disturbances will affect the stress on the people and the tides and waters in the oceans. Men will die of heart attacks from fear. THEN they will see Jesus coming in a cloud in shekinah glory. He will bring redemption! Oh, glorious day!!! Lord, none wants to live through all the hard times before you come but I know that they will worth the reward. Strengthen your people for what is ahead and let us stand tall for you.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Wed.’s Devo - The Riches of the Kingdom

Read Luke 20:41 - 21:6 After the scribes and Pharisees had asked him questions to trap him and couldn’t, Jesus asked them a question: “How can you say that Christ is David’s son?” (Apparently they believed that the Christ would be David’s son.) Jesus explained that David wrote in his Psalms, “The Lord said unto my Lord, sit upon my right hand, till I make your enemies your footstool.” So, if David called him Lord how can he be his son too? Of course Jesus wasn’t asking this question for an answer but only to get them to reexamine what they were teaching. Then Jesus turned to the crowd and told them to beware of the scribes that love their authority and symbols of authority because they want to look religious on the outside when their hearts are far from God and justice. All their righteous acts will only get them a greater damnation. He rebuked them for wanting to be esteemed important in the eyes of man but robbing widows of their inheritance and praying long repetitive prayers. Then Jesus illustrated how God looks at all these things. There was a rich man bringing his gift to the synagogue. He gave his gift so all could see is generosity and his wealth. After him came a poor widow who only had 2 mites to give. Jesus explains to them that she gave more in the sight of God than the rich man because she gave all she had and he had all and gave a little of it. The Bible tells us over and over that the true riches are the gifts of the spirit but we can’t seem to believe it because we still pursue riches. Lord, help us to go hard after the true riches of the kingdom which are righteousness, peace and joy.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Tues.’s Devo - Trying to Trick the Truth Doesn’t Work

Read Luke 20:21-40 We learned in verse 20 that the religious leaders were now watching and listening to every word Jesus spoke to get him tangled in his own doctrine. So they asked him whether it was lawful in God’s eyes to pay an unrighteous tyrant like Caesar taxes. Jesus knew they were trying to trick him and asked them to give him a penny which held the answer. He asked them whose picture and signature was on the coin. They answered, “Caesar’s”. So the told them to give to Caesar the things that were Caesar’s and to God the things that were his. They were totally unarmed and marveled at his wisdom. Since that didn’t work, a Sadducee come to him with a question. The Sadducees didn’t believe in the resurrection so one of them asked Jesus a question about that. (Read vs. 28-33). Jesus told them that for those who make it to heaven will find that there is no marriage in heaven. In heaven all are equal and all are the children of God. Then he answered their real question of what he believed about the resurrection of the dead. He told them that the dead are resurrected. When Moses met God at the burning bush he told Moses that he was the God of Abraham, Issac, and Jacob who were dead at the time. To God they were alive because to God - all are alive. The scribes agreed with Jesus because they believed in the resurrection and had always debated this with the Sadducees. The scribes left satisfied. Sometimes I try to picture what I think my parents who have died are doing in heaven. I picture my dad working with God in his workroom creating new things. I imagine my mother visiting with everyone in heaven because she was such a people person. It is so freeing to know that there is no death in the eyes of God concerning his children. We live eternally and that is something to be happy about. Lord, help us live today with eternity in mind.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Mon.’s Devo - The Parable of the Vineyard

Read Luke 20:9-20 The Pharisees have just challenged Jesus’ authority so Jesus gives them a parable. It is of a man who planted a vineyard and hired husbandmen to work it while he went on an extended trip to a far away place. After a while, the owner sent a servant to get its fruit. The husbandmen beat the servant and refused to give him anything. The owner sent two more who received the same treatment. Finally, he decided to sent his beloved son for surely they will reverence him. When the husbandmen saw the son they plotted to kill him so that then they would be the owners. Jesus then asked them what they thought the owner would do? He answered himself that would destroy the husbandmen and give the vineyard to others. When the people heard it they were appalled. Then Jesus went on to say that the stone which the builders rejected had become the corner stone and if you rely on it, you will be broken in a good way, but if it falls on you, you will be completely destroyed. The chief priests and scribes perceived that he was referring to them so they decided it was time to secretly get rid of him for good. Back to the first parable: the owner is God and the vineyard is the Jewish people. The servants were the priests, judges and the prophets that God sent through the years to bring Israel back to him. Finally, God was sending his son to gather fruit from his vineyard - to see if there were any believing Jews. They, like the husbandmen in the parable would take Jesus and kill him. The ones who recognized Jesus as the Messiah would be the ones that the stone broke. The ones who killed him would be the ones that the stone ground to powder. Lord, help us to recognize you in whatever form you show up in today.

Friday, May 10, 2013

Fri.’s Devo - The Wisdom of Jesus

Read Luke 19:45- 20:8 Jesus had to cleanse the temple before he died. It was not suppose to be a place where people could buy their sacrifices and pay God off. Neither was it to be a place where people made huge deceitful profits. In my years I have seen many big ministries “cleansed” as God revealed their deceitful ways before all the world. It is very humbling and hard to watch but it is God’s job to reveal things in darkness and expose the truth. Jesus said that his house was to be a house of prayer. We are the temple of God and our temples are to be a place of prayer and total surrender to God. It is not to be filled with intents of getting rich by deceit or where we try to manipulate God. Our secret places are completely open to God. There is no hiding from him our actions or thoughts. Jesus could now teach in the temple and the chief priests and the scribes grew to hate him more and more while the people came to love him more and more. So one day the “haters” came to trick him and asked him who gave him the authority to speak as he did and do the things he did since it did not come from them. Jesus knew their scheme so he answered with a question: “I will also ask you one thing; and answer me; The baptism of John, was it from heaven , or of men?” They were caught in their own game. When they couldn’t answer without incriminating themselves he told them that since they wouldn’t answer his question, then he didn’t have to answer theirs. What a good answer. I sometimes forget that I don’t have to answer to the enemies taunts. I can play his game and win if I rely on the Holy Spirit instead of my own emotions. Lord, help us to remember that we have the Holy Spirit inside us that can give us the wisdom of Jesus. We can know how to fight the devil effectively instead of mechanically. Lord, give us ears to hear.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Thurs.’s Devo - Jesus’ Triumphal Entry

Read Luke 19:36-44 Jesus is entering Jerusalem on a donkey and the people are spreading their garments on the path for him to walk on and praising them as their king. Have you ever wondered why the people were on the mountain along that path? They were there as a part of the celebration of Passover. Every year the priests would lead the passover lamb that was going to be slain for the people’s sin down that path. The people would praise the lamb and celebrate. The lamb would be led to the temple to be prepared to be sacrificed. All day long the priests would sacrifice lambs that the people brought and the last lamb to be slain would be this passover lamb. It was slain at the same time Jesus died on the cross. Jesus walked down the same path right behind the passover lamb because he was the Passover Lamb in the flesh. So the people were still there and they responded to their spirit inside that had to praise Jesus. When the Pharisees saw this they were upset and told Jesus to make them stop saying these praises to him. Jesus replied that if he told them to stop then the stones would immediately cry out. Scientists have come to discover that rocks hold memories and recordings of all they have heard. Sounds funny but they have been able to hook rocks up to certain machines and they play back what they have heard. These rocks had been there since God said, “Let there be” and they knew the truth. If the people hadn’t have praised God the rocks would have done it. The Bible says that all creation groans in expectation for the sons of God to be revealed. (Ro. 8:18-20) Then Jesus prophesied the destruction of Jerusalem because they didn’t know the time of God’s visitation to them. Lord, you are about to invade earth with heaven. May we be looking for your visitation and not be guilty of missing you.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Wed.’s Devo - The Colt

Read Luke 19:28-35 Jesus continues his climb to Jerusalem. He is approaching Bethphage and Bethany at the mount of Olives. Bethphage means “green fig house”. The Jews were truly a green fig house. They were the house of God that had no clue what God was doing and had drifted so far from him that they couldn’t recognize him when he came in human form. They were like unripe fruit. Bethany means “house of affliction” which was what Jesus was going to receive. After his death many of his disciples would know this affliction. While he was on this mountain overlooking these towns, Jesus sent two of his disciples to find a colt that was tied and not ridden. They were to untie the colt and bring it to him. If the owner asked them what they were doing they were to tell them that the Lord needed him. It happened just as Jesus said: they found the colt, loosed him, answered the man’s question and brought it back. I often wonder about the insignificant people in the Bible like this man who owned the colt. Did he know by revelation that someone was going to come for his colt? He was created for that moment in time. I wonder if he ever knew the significance of that colt and who was going to be sitting on it. Also, why did Jesus need a colt that had never been ridden? I think it is because Jesus’ mission was to loose people who were tied up and do something supernatural in their life. To ride a colt that had never been ridden was supernatural. Lord, when we feel insignificant help us to remember this man who raised the colt that Jesus would ride into Jerusalem to become our Passover lamb. We truly are significant to God and his plan if we choose to walk in it. May we do that today.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Tues’s Devo - Preparing a Kingdom for Us

Read Luke 19:11-27 Jesus is approaching Jerusalem where he will die so he gives them a parable to explain the kingdom of God since they though it was coming soon. In his parable there is a man who went to a far away country to establish a kingdom and then return. He called in his 10 servants and gave them each a pound and told them to use these to trade until he came back. The townspeople hated him and sent word to him that they didn’t want him to rule them anymore. When he returned he called his servants in for an account of how well they had used his money. The first man had gained 10 more pounds and he gave him 10 cities in his new kingdom. The next servant had gained 5 so he gave him 5 cities. But, one man came and gave him back his pound because he said he was a tough master who reaped where he didn’t sow so he had kept it in a napkin so he wouldn’t lose it. The master was furious and told him he could have at least put it in the bank to gain interest. He took his pound and gave it to the man who had gained 10. When the people complained he said if you have then you shall be given more, but if you don’t have then what you do have will be taken from you. Then he had the townspeople who hated him killed. In this parable the master is Jesus who is leaving to set up his kingdom for them to come to later. While he is gone he had given his followers the gift of salvation to share and multiply on the earth. The townspeople are the enemies of God who hate God and don’t want him to be their king. If we take this gift of salvation and share it then we will be rewarded later according to our works. If we don’t then it might be taken from us. In the end their will be a judgment. Jesus told them to let them know that there is a time period of waiting for the master to build his kingdom and our job is to occupy doing the works of Jesus till he comes back. He will come back and ask for a reckoning. Lord, show us how to “occupy” till you come back.

Monday, May 6, 2013

Mon.s’ Devo - Zacchaeus

Read Luke 19:1-10 Jesus is passing through Jericho and the crowds were filling the streets to see him. A rich man named Zacchaeus wanted to see him but he was very short and couldn’t see above everyone’s heads. He decided to climb a sycamore treed to be able to see. The Holy Spirit told Jesus about him and when he got to the tree he looked up and called him by name. He told him he was coming to his house to stay. The people complained that he was choosing to go eat with a sinner when they should have been awed that he knew he was in the tree and called him by name. By Jesus singling out Zacchaeus and giving him notice, it changed his heart. He wanted to totally change his life and give to the poor and right all his wrongs. Jesus saw this for what it was - repentance. He told him that salvation had come to his house. Jesus told the people that this was his mission. He came to search out the sinner and save them. True repentance is not just asking Jesus to come into your heart it is allowing the Holy Spirit to take over your heart and cleanse it. Salvation begins a process of sanctification where you truly become a new creature. Old things and old desires are passed away and new desires replace them. The test of true repentance is the desire to want to change. Our new man hates sin and loves righteousness so we have to train ourselves to walk in the new man’s desires instead of the old man’s. Lord, may we always be glad when a sinner comes into the kingdom and may we choose today to walk in our new man. Jesus gave them a parable to explain God’s timing about his kingdom coming to earth.

Friday, May 3, 2013

Fri.’s Devo - From Darkness to Light

Read Luke 18:31-43 Have you ever felt like you were throwing your pearls before swine? You pour out truth to people that don’t seem to understand or hear. That is what Jesus did day after day. Today we see him telling the disciples what is about to happen in Jerusalem to him and they don’t comprehend it at all. He tells them he is going to be delivered to the Gentiles, mocked, hated, spit on, scourged, killed and raised on the third day. That was the whole plan in a nutshell and they didn’t understand any of it and to it was hidden from them. Yet Jesus told them because he knew that the Holy Spirit would be able to bring it back to them if he just spoke it. Sometimes we need to just put things out into the atmosphere for a time ahead. On his way to Jerusalem he passed through Jericho, the first city the children of Israel had to conquer when they crossed into the promised land. Jesus was about to cross over into his promised land but first he needed to do something symbolic here. There was a blind man begging by the side of the road. When he found out that Jesus was passing by he cried out for Jesus to have mercy on him and heal him. The disciples tried to get him to be quiet but he cried even louder. Jesus commanded him to be brought to him and asked him what he wanted. He said he wanted to see and Jesus healed his blindness and he glorified God. This was a precursor of what Jesus’ death would do. It would open blind eyes of those who God had chosen and they would praise God. When they defeated Jericho the first time they went at night with lights under earthen vessels. They broke the vessels and blew trumpets and the walls came down. This blind man was the broken vessel living in darkness that Jesus broke to let light come into his eyes. His mouth became the trumpet to proclaim praise to God. Through his conversion the walls of Satan’s kingdom were breached. Lord, break our earthen vessels that your light and praise may break forth.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Thurs.’s Devo - How to Enter the Kingdom of God

Read Luke 18:18-30 A rich ruler came to Jesus to ask how to be saved. He first tried flattery calling Jesus “good”. Jesus rejected the flattery and gave God the glory. When Jesus told him to follow the commandment,s the man said he did. So now we see he is self-righteous. So Jesus gave him one more opportunity to humble himself and told him to sell everything he had and give it to the poor. Then God would give him his treasures and he could follow Jesus. Finally the man’s heart has been exposed. He can’t do it and leaves sad. When Jesus sees his reaction he says that it is hard for a man with riches to understand the true riches and enter into the kingdom of God. He compared it to a camel trying to go through the eye of a needle. There is an actual “eye of the needle” that is a narrow low gate that the camels couldn’t get through unless they got down on their knees and crawled. He wasn’t saying it was impossible for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God but just that he would have to come in on his knees - humbly. When the disciples heard Jesus’ response to the rich man they asked him the same question: “who can be saved?” Jesus responded that what was impossible with man was possible with God. So his answer was anyone who humbled himself could be saved. Peter reminded Jesus that they had given up everything to follow him and Jesus said that because they did, they would receive much more in this life and in the next. Lord, may we come to you on bended hearts and knees.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Wed.’s Devo - The Humble

Read Luke 18:9-17 Today we have a parable about people who trust in their own righteousness - the Pharisee, and judged others - the tax collector. The Pharisee was thanking God that he was not like other people and especially this tax collector. He went on to list his religious acts of piety he practiced. At the same time the tax collector was praying humbly for mercy from God. He knew he was a sinner. Jesus said that God heard his prayer and forgave him but the Pharisee was not justified. If we exalt ourselves before God then he will have to humble us, but if we are humble before God then God will exalt us. In the next story, the disciples do the same thing the Pharisees did. People were bringing their babies for Jesus to bless and touch. The disciples thought this was a waste of Jesus’ time. Jesus rebuked them and told them that the kingdom of God was made for the humble and helpless. They needed to be as humble and helpless as these little babies to be able to enter God’s kingdom. It is hard not to compare ourselves to others we see who seem to be making mistakes and not following God the way we think they should. But God sees the end of that person. I think of Paul who was so self-righteous and hated and killed Christians because his eyes were blinded to the truth. Jesus took the blinders off and God humbled Paul to become one of the greatest apostles of all time. It is hardest to see that happening to one of the members of our own family but with God all things are possible! Lord, humble us to see ourselves and others through your eyes.