Monday, March 31, 2014

Mon.’s Devo - The Cost

Read: Deut. 16:1-17:20, Luke 9:7-27, Ps. 72:1-20, Pr. 12:8-9 The feasts were given as rehearsals for God’s great apearings. Three times a year the children of Israel were to come to Jerusalem. The first was during the feast of passover which included unleavened bread and first fruits. Jesus fulfilled this by coming to earth as a man. The second time they were to come to Jerusalem was during the feast of pentecost or weeks. God fulfilled this by coming in the form of the Holy Spirit. The last time the people were to come to Jerusalem was during the feast of tabernacles which included the feast of trumpets and the day of atonement. This will be fulfilled when Jesus comes back again. The people speculated who Jesus might be. Some thought He was John the Baptist that had risen from the dead, some thought He was Elijah, but Jesus was only concerned with what His disciples thought. They thought he was the son of God. Jesus warned them of the suffering He would have to go through and that they also would have to endure because they called themselves his disciples. Only one of them sold out. Though the others didn’t understand all that Jesus was telling them, God gave them the grace when the time came. God does that for us too. There is nothing that happens to us that He doesn’t first prepare us for then give us the grace to go through it. Lord, you deliver the needy who cry out, and the afflicted who have no one to help. May the whole earth be filled with Your glory.

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Sun.’s Devo - Discernmnt and Power

Read: Deut. 13:1-15:23, Luke 8:40-9:6, Ps. 71:1-24, Pr. 12:5-7 In Deuteronomy 13 we are warned about the false prophet. He can prophesy the future or do supernatural things but if he tries to lead others to worship idols - he is false. They had been deceived by Balaam and God didn’t want a repeat. In chapter 14 we are instructed about the clean and unclean. They were not to eat animals that slept during the day and came out at night or that lived off of dead things. These all describe the demons and their activities. The characteristics of what God told them they could eat will also show us how to discern a true prophet from a false. They were to eat animals that divided the hoof and had two claws and chewed the cud. This is a picture of those that stand on the Word which is a sword that divides soul and spirit. the hoof was a picture of this. If you are standing on the Word then you have a sure foundation to discern good from evil. You won’t fall because you are balanced. These two claws could represent the law and the prophets also. To chew the cud is a picture of eating the Word and being able to bring it back up when needed. Fish were clean if they had scales and fins. Scales are coverings that kept the fish clean and protected. Fins helped the fish with balance and direction. We need to be covered by the blood of Jesus which is our protection and sanctification. It also gives us direction and spiritual balance. Chapter 15 instructed the people in the year of release which was every seventh year. This is a picture of the seventh millennium where all will be restored back to God’s original plan in the garden. All slaves are set free and given provision for their freedom. We will no longer be slaves to sin but set free. We are to live spiritually in this state right now. Jesus spent his ministry showing us how to do what He did. Today, we see him give that authority to his disciples which are also us. We are to do the things He did with His name and authority. Your righteousness, O God, is very high, who have done great things! Who is like you!

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Sat.’s Devo - The Blessings

Read: Deut. 11:1-12:32, Luke 8:22-39, Ps. 70:1-5, Pr. 12:4 God was always calling the children of Israel to remember the things He had done for them in the past. Their ‘Bible’ was oral so they couldn’t read it every year to remember it; they had to say it. He reminded them of the great things God did for them and also His chastisements. If they would just do what the Lord asked, then God would forever bless and take care of them. They were to teach God’s laws to their children and live by them. When they took the land from the inhabitants living there they were to destroy all the evidences of their heathen worship. When they had done all this, they would be able to enter into God’s rest. God promised to show them where to worship Him. They would be allowed to eat unclean and clean meat as long as they drained the blood. The only thing they would not be allowed to eat was the tithe that belonged to the Lord. These were the promises of God’s blessings. In Luke, Jesus calmed the storm and asked the disciples, “Where is your faith?” He is still asking us that question. Where is our faith? Is it in our abilities or our past successes. If it is then it is not going to stand in the next storm. If it is in what God has done in the past and what God can do because of His promises, then our faith will stand. We possess the same authority Jesus did when he calmed the storm. We need to stand up and rebuke the devil ourselves in the name of Jesus and see God move. Their storm was trying to keep them from reaching a demon-possessed man who needed to be set free. What is our storm keeping us from? Our freedom is on the other side. Lord, increase our faith. May we use the authority You have given us to see your freedom.

Friday, March 28, 2014

Fri.’s Devo - The Seed of the Word

Read Deut. 9:1-10:22, Luke 8:4-21, Ps. 69:19-36, Pr. 12:2-3 God made it very clear that He wasn’t giving them this land because of their righteousness for they were very stubborn and rebellious. He was giving them the land because the occupants were so evil. God promised to be a consuming fire to their enemies and destroy and drive them out. Then Moses reminds them of the sin they with the golden calf and how he interceded for them with God and had their lives spared. All God required of them was to fear Him, walk in His ways, to love and serve Him with all their hearts, and to keep the commandments. Lastly He told them to circumcise their heart and stop being stubborn. God shares his love for justice and how he took a family of 40 and made it into a mighty multitude. Jesus gives the parable about the seed. He is talking about the Word of God being spread and what kinds of hearts can hold the seed and produce fruit. Abraham’s seed was the promise of God in the Old Testament like the Word of God was the seed in the New. Abraham’s seed was spread all over the earth and has produced all kinds of seed - some good and some bad. We owe most of our great discoveries to Jewish men and women. They were the living promises of God. The difference between them and the Word is that they were sinners and subject to failure. The Word of God is perfect and never fails. The Word accomplishes what it is set out to do and it is powerful, never losing power. Psalms 19 is a great ode to the Word. Lord, help us to spread your Word like seed wherever we go.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Thurs.’s Devo - Seven Principalities

Read: Deut. 7:1-8:20, Luke 7:36-8:3, Ps. 69:1-18, Pr. 12:1 Ever feel like what you are up against is bigger than you? Today will be a great encouragement. There were seven nations that were bigger and more powerful than the Israelites which were standing between them and their land. Evil nations in the Old Testament stand for principalities in the New. They are the things that stand between us and our promises. But like the Israelites, God has promised to deliver them to us and give us their land. These seven principalities are lying, haughtiness, envy, witchcraft, error, slumber, fear and perversity. All other spirits branch off of these seven. In Luke we read that Mary of Magdalene had seven spirits cast out of her. God told the Israelites that He had set the land before them and they were to fear not, nor be discouraged. God would go before them and fight for them. The time before they had sent out 12 spies and only two of them could see past the giants to behold the bountiful land. These two men were allowed to live and go in while all the other people were killed in the wilderness. God warned them to not remember all the things that God had done for them in the wilderness and all the lessons they had learned. They were warned not to forget God when they came into their inheritance and started living the life of ease. God knew that human nature does just that. It clings to Him in time of need, and tends to forget Him when things are going well. Lord, help us to keep you near to our hearts and minds in the good times and the hard.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Wed.’s Devo - The Name of Jesus

Read: Deut. 5:1-6:25, Luke 7:11-35, Ps. 68:19-35, Pr. 11:29-31 God gave them the ten commandments then reiterated for them to love the Lord with all their hearts, soul, and strength. They were to write them upon their hearts and talk about them with their children all the time. Once they got to the promised land they would be given a large flourishing land with houses they didn’t build, good things they didn’t provide, wells they didn’t have to dig, food they didn’t grow, etc. They were to be sure not to forget God. One of the commandments was to not take his name in vain. They were to serve only the Lord God and take their oaths in his name. In Luke, Jesus strengthened His name by raising a man from the dead. Then John the Baptist who was in prison sent a messenger to ask about his name. Was Jesus who he claims to be? Was his name really the Christ? Jesus reminded John that he was living his name. He was doing everything the prophets said he would do. John was probably offended by the fact that one of the things it was said He would do was to open the prison doors and set the captors free. So why was John still in prison? That is when Jesus said, “Blessed are those who are not offended in Me.”(verse 23) Jesus gave us his name to do many miraculous things (Mark 16:17). Let’s be careful not to misuse it or use it vainly. Lord, I pray that we use your name correctly and use its power to glorify You.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Tues.’s Devo - Obedience

Tues.’s Devo - Obedience 3-25-14 Read: Deut. 4:1-49, Luke 6:39-7:10, Ps. 68:1-18, Pr. 11:28 I wonder what it was like to stand at the mountain and see the fire and smoke and hear the voice of God speak. They were told not to forget what they saw and heard and to be sure to tell it to their children so they would know. Then he instructed them to never try to make an image of what they thought might represent God. They were not to let an animal, human form, reptile, bird or any object be worshipped as Him. The reason was that God was going to send them an exact image of himself in the person of Jesus Christ. Hebrews 1:3 says that Jesus was the “brightness of his glory and the express image of his person.” Any other representation would have been so weak and inadequate. God gave them this great display of himself so they would know beyond a shadow of a doubt that He was God and there was no other God like him. If they would just obey his commandments it would go well with them and their families. Luke reiterates this theme of obedience. He describes this righteous man as one who builds his house by first laying a firm foundation. When hard times come his house will stand. The centurion won the respect of Jesus and his servant was healed because the centurion had learned the lesson of obeying authority. Sometimes it is hard to obey authority when we don’t respect their lifestyle, but that is not ours to judge. We are to only judge ourselves and leave them to the Lord. It is God who puts people in authority and He knows just how to discipline them. Lord, may you arise in our lives today and your enemies be scattered.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Mon.’s Devo - Possessing the Land

Read Deut. 2:1-3:29, Luke 6:12-38, Ps. 67:1-7, Pr. 11:27 God was kind to the children of Esau and the children of Lot. He had helped give them their land and told the Israelites to leave it alone. They were even to pay them to pass through their land. I used to wonder where Dr. Suess came up with all his crazy names but I think he read Dueteronomy! We have the Emmins, the Zamzummins and the Avims. The first means “fear” and the next means “intrigue” and the last means “perverters”. These were the names of the giants that had once occupied the land that the Ammonites and Moabites drove out and took. Instead of passing through this land, the Israelites were to pass over the Arnon River and take the land from the Amorites who had refused to let them pass through their land - Sihon the king of Heshbon. The Armon River means a lion of perpetuity. Jesus is the Lion of the tribe of Judah and he is forever our Lion. Heshbon means reasoning which is in opposition to faith. God told Joshua to provoke them to war and possess their land. They did just as God said and didn’t let anyone live. They did the same to Og king of Bashan. They kept the king’s bed to let us know the size of these people. His bed was 13 feet long and 6 feet wide. A normal mattress is 6 feet long and about 3 feet wide if it is a single bed. So these people were over twice our size. In Luke, Jesus went up on a mountain to pray and came down with the names of the twelve apostles the Lord had chosen. He also came down to a crowd of people who had come to hear him teach and see him heal. He gave them the beatitudes which gave them hope. Whatever they were suffering now would be reversed in heaven one day. He spoke to them of how to deal with their enemies which was much different than the way they were to deal with their enemies in the Old Testament. Instead of killing them and possessing their land, they were to love them and turn the other cheek. How confusing that must have seemed. Now their enemies weren’t flesh and blood but principalities and powers in the heavenly places. We praise You O Lord. May Your ways be known on earth and Your salvation among all nations.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Sun.’s Devo - New Wineskins

Read Numbers 36:1- Deut. 1:46, Luke 5:29-6:11, Ps. 66:1-20, Pr. 11:24-26 It was important to God for the tribes to keep their inheritance separated. The daughters of Zelophehad were told to marry within their tribe so their inheritance would stay in the tribe of Manasseh in the year of Jubilee. Every tribe had their distinct gifts and functions pertaining to God and God wanted to keep these separated. I wonder if it was like in the New Testament when God appointed some apostles, some teachers, some preachers…etc. in 1 Co. 12:28. God wanted to keep their gifts separated so they could cultivate and learn their gift and everyone would know where to go to get help. For example, if Israel needed wisdom they would go to the tribe of Issachar since they were given the ability to understand the times to know what Israel ought to do. (1 Chron. 12:32) If they wanted to give God a sacrifice or make an atonement for their sins, they went to the Levites. Today, if we need counsel, we go to the counselors, if we need encouragement we go to the exhorters or preachers, if we need wisdom about the future we seek out a person with the gift of prophecy. Before Joshua set them free to possess their land, he reminded them of their past and how they had continually rebelled against God. He did this in hopes they had learned the lesson. In Luke, Jesus is trying to explain to the Pharisee’s that this was a new season - the bridegroom was among them. But they couldn’t toss their old wineskins so the new wine Jesus brought couldn’t be put in the containers of their hearts. They needed a new heart. Those who got the new heart could contain the new wine. Lord, pour Your wine into our hearts. May we refresh those around us with Your joy.

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Sat.’s Devo - Cities of Refuge

Read: Numbers 33:40-35:34, Luke 5:12-28, Ps. 65:1-13, Pr. 11:23 God made sure we had a detailed map of their journeys. I know there is a reason He had Moses journal all the towns and one day we will understand it. Until then, it makes a good map. Once they started taking the land from the inhabitants, I thought is was interesting that they were to destroy the pictures of their enemies. The Hebrew name for pictures is maskiyth which means a carved figure on stone, the wall, or any object; figuratively it means imagination, conceit, or imagery. This reminds me of what 2 Co. 10:5 says about casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ. God had the people set up 48 cities of refuge for the person who accidentally killed someone. If the slayer had no eye-witness, he was to flee to one of these cities. If he got there before the avenger of blood got him he could present his case at the gate and if they thought his story was legit, they let him in. He would live there until the death of the High Priest then be set free. (The avenger of blood would be a relative of the one who was slain.) This is a picture of what happened to the righteous people when they died. All people in the Old Testament went to a place called Sheol, the place of the dead, or the grave, when they died. They lived there in a gated community to protect them from the evil people in Sheol. When Jesus, our High Priest, died he went to Sheol and defeated death and led captivity captive. Our avenger of blood is also our accuser of the brethren - Satan. Abraham bought the cave at Macpelah in Hebron to bury Sarah. He, Isaac, Rebeccah, Jacob, Rachael and their families were all buried there. Joseph made a big deal about his bones being buried there. Hebron was a city of refuge. The place where Aaron and his family were all buried was in the mountains of Ephraim which was also a city of refuge. Lord, Your ways are past finding out. How marvelous are Your ways! You are our city of refuge.

Friday, March 21, 2014

Fri.’s Devo - Possession and Authority

Read Numbers 32:1-33:39, Luke 4:31-5:11, Ps. 64:1-10, Pr. 11:22 The Israelites have just fought their first fight right before they were about to cross into the promised land. God gave them the victory over the Midianites which should have been a clue to them of how God planned their victory against the enemies in the land. The Reubenites and Gadites and half of the Manassites were farmers and saw the good land right outside the promised land and decided they wanted that land instead of chancing the land God had prepared for them in the promise land. I wonder what God thought of that. They promised to go over and fight for the other tribes and not come back till everyone had their possessions. God warned them that if they didn’t keep their promise He would find out. Yesterday, we read that if we make a vow to the Lord, we are to keep it. We find out later that they didn’t keep their promise. God allowed the two and a half tribes to stay in that land and they captured the towns and renamed them. That is what we do when we take over the devil’s territory. We give it a new name because it has changed ownership. “Depression” gets the name “joy”; “bitterness” gets the name “forgiven”, etc. Aaron died before he could enter the promise land. There had to be a new priesthood to enter the promise land. The New Covenant came with the new priesthood of Jesus’. In Luke we see the people following Jesus because of his authority. He actually knew what He was talking about and could prove it by works. The demons recognized Him and fled, He rebuked sickness, and creation obeyed Him. I’m sure that Peter, James, and John were glad they obeyed Jesus when He told them to put down their net again. It was enough to convince them that this man had authority over all. They left everything and followed Him. Let the righteous rejoice in You and consider what You have done. Let the righteous take refuge in You and praise You.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Thurs.’s Devo - God’s Revenge on the Midianites and Jesus Trip Home

Read Numbers 30:1-31:54, Luke 4:1-30, Ps. 63:1-11. Pr,. 11:2-21 Moses led the children of Israel in their first battle since they left Egypt. It was against the Midianites, the very ones who hired Balaam to curse them. Notice in Numbers 31:8 that Balaam fought with the Midanites against them and was killed. “Balaam” means “swallower of the people”. In verse 16 it says that Balaam was the means of turning the Israelites away from the Lord at Peor that brought the plague. The people had blamed Moses for killing the people. When they went to battle they took the priest and the furniture from the tabernacle which included the ark - the very presence of God. They also took trumpets. One day Jesus as our High Priest will summon us with the sound of a trumpet and we will join Him in the battle of Armageddon. One more very interesting thing about this battle, the only ones who were killed were the Midianites. In verse 49 it says that when they counted the soldiers, not one of them were missing. They all took tremendous plunder from the Midianite camp. When we fight the devil and his evil angels, not one of us will be lost. We will plunder the devil’s camp. In Luke, Jesus entered his fast “full of the Holy Spirit” He came out of His temptations “in the power of the Spirit”. What made His natural body weak by fasting and being tempted, made His spirit strong and resolved. He also came back with His mission defined. He proclaimed it first to His own people of Nazareth when He read from Isaiah about Himself. Then He amazed them by explaining why they couldn’t receive Him. What offended them the most was that He used two examples of non-Jewish people that God had blessed. This was His explanation for not being able to do many miracles there. When the people were about to stone Jesus, He did his disappearing act and walked right through the crowd and went His way. Lord, it is painful to see how misunderstood and ill-treated You were. May we carry Your cross with dignity and thanksgiving.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Wed.’s Devo - The Last Three Feasts Explained

Read Numbers 28:16-29:40, Luke 3:23-38, Ps. 62:1-12, Pr. 11:18-19 I love the study and meaning of the feasts. Today we have all the feasts mentioned but attention is given to the last three feasts The first is the feast of trumpets on the first day of the seventh month. Jesus will come back at the sound of a trumpet in the end. On the tenth of the same month they were to sacrifice one bull, one ram, and seven lambs in a certain way. This is the day that to afflict your souls. It is a solemn day of atonement. This is known as the Day of Atonement, Yom Kipor or the beginning of the Days of Awe. On the fifteenth they were to sacrifice 13 bulls, 2 rams, and 14 lambs. Then it started counting like it was starting over naming the next day the second day. The sacrifices of that day are 12 bulls, 2 rams, and 14 lambs. The count down continues adding one to the days and subtracting one of bulls till it reached the seventh day which had 7 bull, 2 rams and 14 lambs. The eight day was a solemn assembly where the sacrifice goes back to what it was the tenth day. So here is what all that means: The fifteenth day is the feast of tabernacles which lasts 7 days. (Lev. 23:34) Jesus will come for his bride on the feast of trumpets, During the Days of Awe, there will be tribulation on the earth like never seen before in hopes that more people may come into the kingdom. The feast of tabernacles is the feast of ingathering which is a picture of God harvesting the rest of the world and ruling and reigning during the Millennial reign. The sacrifices got smaller because the people grew less and God is winding everything down to the end. Seven stands for complete so when they got to the 7th day with 7 bulls, 2 rams and 14 (two sevens) lambs it was time to start over. Eight is the number for new beginnings. In Luke we have Joseph’s genealogy which ends in Adam - the son of God. Adam was a type of Jesus who was also the son of God. (Ro. 5:14) Lord, our soul finds rest in You alone for You alone are our rock and salvation and because of You, we will never be shaken.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Tues.’s Devo - God’s Justice

Read: Numbers 26:52-28:15, Luke 3:1-22, Ps. 61:1-8, Pr. 11:16-17 I hear people say that life is not fair, but God is just according to Zeph 3:5 and 1 John 1:9. The dictionary meaning of “just” is fair. In today’s reading He divided the land by the number of people in the tribe - very fair. Then he settled the case for the women who have no men to receive inheritance through. God gave them the inheritance - very fair. Jesus said in Luke 12:48, that to whom much is given, of him shall be much required; and to whom men have committed much, of him they will ask the more. This is God’s justice and it is very fair. Joshua was put in Moses’ place and given some of Moses’ authority because God was going to take Moses for not obeying him at the rock. God may not look fair to us but His ways are higher than ours and He sees the end from the beginning. John the Baptist came leveling the field. He said that every valley would be filled and every mountain would be brought low; the crooked would be made straight and the rough ways would be smoothed. He put everyone at the same level - all flesh would see the salvation of God. It doesn’t matter how big or how small your ministry is, God is looking for fruit unto repentance. This looks different to different people. To the publicans it meant to be honest in their business dealings. To the soldier, it meant not using their position to bully others or be disgruntled over their wages. What is it to you? When John saw the people wondering if he was the Messiah, he was sure not to take that honor. His job was to make their hearts ready to receive the Messiah when he came. John was to open mens eyes to their sin and need for a Saviour. John’s zeal ended up getting him into prison but not before he could baptize Jesus and see the sign of the dove and hear God’s voice confirming Jesus as the Messiah. John understood that God was a just God who had to punish man according to their sins. He also knew there was a Saviour who would save them from the wrath to come. Lord, thank You for Your justice and Your mercy.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Mon.’s Devo - Honoring Others

Read: Numbers 26:1-51, Luke 2:36-52, Ps. 60:1-12, Pr. 11:15 God’s judgment brought the earthquake, the fire and the plague which destroyed so many young men, that it was time to reassess the army. God told Moses to number those who could fight and there were 601,730. Judah had the most warriors which tells us how important it is to have worshippers and praisers when we are doing warfare since Judah means “praise”. In Luke, Anna was a priestess who was widowed after only seven years of marriage then devoted the rest of her life to intercession and fasting for the redemption of Israel. At the age of about 84, God honored her devotion by allowing her to see and prophecy over the Messiah. Twelve years later it was the Feast of Passover and Jesus would be of age to go into the temple and participate in the feast. He was also the age to enter into his father’s business as all Jewish boys did at the age of 12. Jesus’ father was God so when they went to Jerusalem for the feast he assumed his parents knew he would be staying and being about his father’s business. After 3 days of missing Jesus, Mary and Joseph found Jesus in the temple astounding the religious leaders. Jesus was surprised that his parents were so upset, but when they didn’t understand his mission, he submitted to their wishes and honored his parents above his ministry. What a lesson for us. Sometimes it is so easy to put our ministries above our families or the feelings of others. Our greatest ministry is to our family. We are suppose to honor those who are weaker than us and not make them stumble over our freedom in the Lord. That might mean changing our behavior and plans to accommodate their immaturity. Lord, help us to be sensitive to others and honor them.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Sun.’s Devo - From False Worship to True Worship

Read: Numbers 24:1-25, 25:18, Luke 2:1-35, Ps. 59:1-17 Pr. 11:14 2 Pet. 2:15 says that Balaam loved the wages of unrighteousness. Revelations 2:14 says “But I have a few things against thee, because you have there them that hold the doctrine of Balaam, who taught Balac to cast a stumblingblock before the children of Israel, to eat things sacrificed unto idols, and to commit fornication. The unrighteous and the righteous are the Lord’s. He controls them both. Satan could only bring on Job what God allowed and Satan can only bring on us what God allows. The Moabites couldn’t curse them so they led them into their obscene worship of Baal-peor. God brought a plague that killed 24,000 people until a man named Zimri brought one of the Baal worshipers, Cozbi, into their camp. Zimri means “musical” and Cozbi means “false” so together they meant “false worship”. Cozbi was the daughter of the prince of Midian which was Balak, the same man that hired Balaam to curse the Israelites. This was his reward. Eleazar, the priest took a javelin and pierced it through both her abdomen and Zimri’s who brought her into the camp and the plague was stopped. In the Old Testament the demons and enemies came in the form of flesh and blood many times. In the New Testament, our enemies come only through the spirit. Because Eleazar was zealous for God, God promised him His covenant of peace and the covenant of an everlasting priesthood. In Luke, today, we see heaven responding to the birth of the Messiah, God’s son. Hebrews tells us that ALL the angels worshiped him at his birth. (Heb. 1:6) I bet that was a sight to behold. Jesus grew and when he was 12, the age of manhood, he could now enter the temple. His parents found him there and when they asked him why, he responded, “why are you looking for me, didn’t you know I would be about my Father’s business?” That was the custom once you came to manhood, that you would join your father’s business. Jesus’ father was God and His business was the temple. Even though Mary and Joseph didn’t understand, Jesus came home and submitted to them. Lord, may we have that kind of submission to You when we feel wrongfully rebuked or misunderstood.

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Sat.’s Devo - Balaam and Zechariah

Read: Numbers 22:21-23:30, Luke 1:57-80, Ps. 58:1-11, Pr. 11:12-13 The story of Balaam and his donkey has always been a fascinating story to me. God had already told Balaam not to go, but he kept asking God till finally God allowed him to go but he could only say what God told him to say. The part that gets me is the fact that the Balaam has a two-way conversation with his donkey like it was no big deal that his donkey was speaking. The fact that Balaam was a sorcerer makes me think that he had seen other weird things so this was not so mind-blowing to him. Balaam hit his donkey three times and had to bless Israel three times. It must have upset Balaam to have to bless Israel because he finally found a way to get back. He ended up teaching Israel to worship idols and led them into idolatry. This eventually turned God’s blessing into a curse. John the Baptist is born and Zechariah is released from his muteness when he wrote John’s name. When he is able to speak he belts out all the things God has showed him about this baby while he was silent. Zechariah and Balaam were both prophets that had fallen under God’s discipline but their hearts were different. Zechariah was a righteous true prophet and Balaam was a wicked false prophet. Zechariah brought Jesus’ predecessor into the world where Balaam led to Israel’s downfall. Lord, we say like the Psalms: “Surely the righteous are still rewarded; surely there is a God who judges the earth.” You are our righteous judge and our reward.

Friday, March 14, 2014

Fri.’s Devo - God is Faithful to His Promises

Read: Numbers 21:1-22:20, Luke 1:26-56, Ps. 57:1-11 Pr, 11:9-11 God gives the Israelites a total defeat at Hormah and they complained about the food. God sent them snakes as punishment. The snakes caused them to humble themselves and ask God to take them away. God told them to put a bronze snake on a pole and all who were bitten by the snake could look at the snake and be healed. Jesus was the bronze snake, our curse, that when we look to, we are healed. When Israel got to the land of the Amorites, they asked if they could peaceable walk through their land. They promised not to take anything from them. The Amorites refused to let them pass through. I wonder why Joshua wanted to keep peace with them when God had told them to take the land. They did have to fight and won. The king of the Amorites lived in Heshbon which means “reason”. How interesting that the Israelites would try to use reason to keep the peace. The Amorites had taken that land from the Moabites and it was now the Israelite’s. That is the way it is in the demonic world - there is no unity. They fight each other for position. That is why God wanted Israel to take possession. God wanted to take the stronghold of the devil’s. Now they were approaching the Moabites land and the Moabites were afraid. If the Amorites hadn’t been able to hold them, then they would need help. They decided to use spiritual measures against Israel so they hired a sorcerer named Balaam. Balaam’s name means ”a prophet not of the people”. Balaam would be the epitome of a false prophet. He gets his information from the demonic spirit world that is still subject to God. God told Balaam not to go. In Luke, God sends an angel to tell Mary she is going to bear the son of God. It is the sixth month when the Israelites are celebrating Purim, the celebration where the Jews got to rise up and fight their enemies. Mary is promised she will bear a son who will reign over the house of Jacob forever and his kingdom would never end. She runs to tell Elizabeth who is pregnant with John. This was Jesus and John’’s first meeting and it took place in the womb. I love Mary’s song of praise. Lord, may we realize that, like Mary, we bear the son of God in our womb. He is the promise that the world has longed and waited for.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Thurs.’s Devo - God’s Signs Always Point to Jesus

Read: Numbers 19:1-20-20:29, Luke 1:1-25, Ps. 56:1-13, Pr. 11:8 Israel priests of today are still looking for a perfect red heifer. Years ago I remember hearing of a Texan farmer who thought he had a perfect red heifer. Apparently the priests found something wrong with it because they didn’t accept it. The Israel priest believe that when they find the red heifer it will be time to start sacrificing again. Jesus was our perfect red heifer that was sacrificed for our sins forever. Many times the law talks about being cleansed on the third day and the seventh day. These are pictures of our personal salvation being the third day, since Jesus’ work was done on the third day when he rose from the grave. The seventh day is a picture of the end of time. These are both times when our righteousness is judged. If we have accepted Jesus then His blood will cover us and we will not be judged according to our sins but be reckoned as righteous. I’ve often wondered why Moses lost his entrance into the promise land because he struck the rock twice, but I have an idea about it. Everything Moses was asked to do was to be a sign to show the people then and later about God. God wanted the picture to be perfect. In 1 Co. 10:4 it says that the rock that followed them in the wilderness was Christ. Moses was told at the beginning of his journey to strike the rock once and water would come out. (Ex 17:6) This would be a picture of Christ being struck once for our sins. At the end of his journey he was told to speak to the rock, but he struck it twice, thus changing the picture God was trying to give us. (Num. 20:8) After Jesus died once for our sins, we are to use his name in prayer to move our mountains and move God’s hand. When Moses struck the rock twice it weakened that picture. In Luke we see that God sent John as a sign that His son was coming. God sent John to a priest’s family. It was the priest’s job to be the mediator between God and the people. John was the mediator between Jesus and the people. Lord, today help us to know our enemy and also know our weapons. You are our Victorious Saviour!

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Wed.’s Devo - God’s Chosen Priests

Read Numbers 16:41-18:32, Mark 16:1-20, Ps. 55:1-23, Pr. 11:7 God killed about 260 people because they rebelled and the people blamed Moses and Aaron. God always came to their defense. He called the people to the Tabernacle and a plague broke out among the people. Only incense and fire from the altar stopped God’s judgment. Counting the ones who had died before, about 15,000 died. To settle this matter over who was to minister before the Lord once and for all, God told Moses to have every tribal leader to bring a rod with their name on it. It was to be placed in the Tabernacle and God would show them which tribe He had chosen. The next day every rod was the same except Aaron’s. It had sprouted, budded, blossomed and produced almonds. God had chosen Aaron’s family out of the Levites, to be priests. It was God’s gift to them. In Mark, Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of Jesus, and Salome were acting as priests as they took their spices to anoint Jesus’ body. Instead of a dead body, they find two angels who told them that Jesus had preceded them to Galilee. Jesus came out of the place of the dead on the third day and appeared first to Mary Magdalene. No one believed her. He appeared to the two men on the road to Emaus in another form. I wonder what that looked like? No one believed them either. Then Jesus appeared to the disciples and rebuked them for not believing the ones who claimed they had seen Him. Jesus gave them the great commission and was taken up in a cloud to heaven. This was exactly what Jesus had told the high priest He would do in Mark 14:62. We are now God’s chosen priests who have access into the Holy of Holies, the throne of God. We bring our prayers which are as incense before the Lord. We are responsible to pray for our fellow man and our leaders. Lord, may we be holy priests unto You.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Tues.’s Devo - Judgment and Salvation

Read Numbers 15:17-16:40, Mark 15:1-47, Ps. 54:1-7, Pr. 11:5-6 When I read the judgment on the man who carried the wood on the Sabbath, it seemed a little extreme to me at first. God ordained the Sabbath to be the seventh day when no one was suppose to work. It was to be a picture of Millennium, the seven thousandth year - a time when no one works. To profane the Sabbath was to profane God’s picture of Millennium. This man had to die for distorting God’s plan. If you are called to be a leader, you might change your mind after reading about Moses and the rebellious people he had to lead. The sons of Korah rose up in rebellion against Moses because they thought they were just as anointed as Moses and they felt Moses was setting himself above them. Moses was furious and called Dathan and Abiram to help him and they refused to come because they agreed with Korah . Moses had 250 of them bring censers of incense and present them to the Lord. God would choose who was holy and who wasn’t. Moses told the rest of the people to get away from the dwellings of Korah, Dathan and Abiram and the ground opened up and swallowed them and their families. A fire consumed the 250 that had brought censors. In Mark, Jesus is getting wrongly judged for living a sinless life. They let a murderer free in His place. They scourged and crucified Jesus. Darkness covered the earth for three hours. If you read Ps. 18 and 2 Sam. 22 you will read that God made darkness his tabernacle and came down and ministered to Jesus. When the light shone again Jesus cried out “My God, why have you forsaken me.” He was quoting from Ps. 22. In the Old Testament the Psalms weren’t numbered like they are now so the name of a Psalms was its first line. If you read the rest of the Psalms you will see it is the picture of Jesus on the cross. Jesus wasn’t saying that God had abandoned him, He was quoting a Psalms that would explain what was going on. God never abandoned Jesus. God is Omnipresent which means there is never a place He is not already there. God and Jesus are one which make it impossible to leave one another. Lord, we are so grateful again for the sacrifice you made for us to go free. Surely You are our help; the one who sustains us.

Monday, March 10, 2014

Mon.’s Devo - The Truth Will Endure

Read: Numbers 14:1-15:16, Mark 14:53-72, Ps. 53:1-6, Pr. 11:4 The people chose to listen to the stories of the enemies in the land and were so angry with Moses they wanted to stone Moses. The Lord intervened and his glory came down upon the tabernacle which was always their sign that He had something to say. God was so provoked with these people that complained about everything, so He was ready to destroy all of them. Moses reminded God of how it would look to the rest of the world. God instead sentenced them to forty years in the wilderness in which all the complainers would die and never enter the promised land. Joshua and Caleb would live because they believed God. When the people heard this they decided they would try to enter the land without the ark of God. They were greatly defeated. In Mark, Jesus is put on trial for his ‘sins’. They can’t find a reason to kill him so the high priest asked Jesus out right if he was the Christ, the Son of God. Jesus answered, “I am.” The same answer God gave Moses when he asked him who He was. Then Jesus prophesied something He knew they would never get. He said, “and you shall see the Son of man sitting on the right hand of power, and coming in the clouds of heaven.” This sealed Jesus fate. Jesus knew who he was and was willing to die for the truth. Peter was having trouble with that as he denied Jesus three times. Sometimes the truth causes persecution and misunderstanding, but in the end the truth will stand. The truth caused Joshua and Caleb to out live all their piers and gained them entrance into the promised land. Jesus was the truth and He returned to His promised land of heaven. Peter knew the truth and later stood in front of 3,000 and proclaimed it. Lord, may we know the truth of who You are in our hearts and never deny it.

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Sun.’s Devo - The Promised Land

Read: Numbers 11:24-13:33, Mark 14:22-52, Ps. 52:1-9, Pro. 11:1-3 Moses selected 70 God-fearing men to be elders and God came down and filled them with His spirit. They went around prophesying in the tabernacle. Two of the men went out to the people and shared what God was telling them. One young man thought they were doing wrong since he thought only Moses should prophesy. Moses told him not to worry because God would love to have all his people prophesy. This reminds me of the time in Luke 9:49 when John went to Jesus because he had seen a man casting out devils in Jesus name. John had forbad the man to do that but Jesus told him not to stop the man because ‘he that is not against us is for us.’ This is a great reminder that we are laborers together for the kingdom, not for our own reputation. God did send the quail and a plague to go with it. It killed those who had lusted. They were on the edge of the promised land so they sent out spies. They traveled the length and width of it and brought back its fruits which were huge. But….they concentrated on the giants in the land which replaced faith with fear. Caleb stood up with the spirit of God and wanted to go up at once and possess it. He said they were well able to overcome it. Everyone but Joshua and Moses couldn’t see the fruit for the giants. The disciples were having the same trouble in Mark. They couldn’t understand the gravity of their decisions. They didn’t realize this was their last time to spend with Jesus and instead of praying for Him, they slept. Jesus was about to enter the promised land of heaven but He had to face the giant of death first. Notice the man in linen. He’s one of those heavenly priestly watchers that are found throughout the Bible. Lord, may we be like a green olive tree that flourishes in Your house.

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Sat.’s Devo - Ready for Battle

Sat.’s Devo - Ready for Battle 3-8-14 Read Numbers 10-11:23, Mark 14:1-21, Ps. 51:1-19, Pr. 10:31-32 When the Israelites went to war they sounded the trumpet first. Then they marched in their order. Nahshon was the leader. His name means “prophet”. God never does something he doesn’t tell his prophets first. The other names associated with Judah mean “praise” and “people of liberality”. It is important that we praise God and realize we are people that have been liberated from the devil. No way do we want to lose a battle with the devil and go back into bondage. The next leader’s name is Nethaneel. His name means “given by God”. The victory is the Lord’s: He will give us victory. The third tribe’s names mean that God has prepared a place for us in him where he is our Father who gives us strength to fight. Next came the tabernacle itself, the presence of God. After that came Rueben’s tribe whose names announce Jesus as the rock and the spreader of light. The men’s names mentioned in the tribe of Issachar mean hearkening, peace, and rock of Almighty. If we are going to battle against the enemy we need to hear what God is saying so we can have peace that He is our foundation. The name’s of the tribe of Gad mean that if we know our God, he will add to us fortune; he will prosper our endeavor. Next came the priests who carried the holy things that went into the tabernacle. They were followed by Ephraim’s tribe. His names meant that God would hear his people and bless them doubly. Manasseh’s names meant that God would cause them to forget their past affliction because he ransomed them and has rewarded them. I’m going to stop and let you do the rest. The names are important because they give us insight into what God is saying. Sadly the people started complaining. God sent fire which devoured some of them. They continued to complain because they were tired of eating manna. They lusted for meat. God told Moses that he would give them meat for a month until they were sick of it. God also told him to select 70 mature men to be elders and that He would anoint them with His spirit to help Moses in leading the people. In Mark we have the feast of passover and unleavened bread. The feast of unleavened bread was a time they removed all the yeast from their houses. This represented sin. Jesus had to cleanse the yeast out of his disciples so he had to separate Judas out of the twelve. Lord, cleanse us and make us ready to do battle for You.

Friday, March 7, 2014

Fri.’s Devo - The Second Coming of Christ

Read Numbers 8:1-9:23, Mark 13:14-37, Ps. 50:1-23, Pr. 10:29-30 The priests and their garments were sanctified and purified with water and sacrifices. They were to represent the first born sons that were taken out for the Lord. The first born represents our fleshly life before our rebirth with Christ. The priests were to be a representation of the sin of man just as Christ as our High Priest became sin for us. The priest was a sinful man chosen by God and because of the sacrifice of blood, they were cleansed to do service to the Lord. We are now priests to God. We have been chosen, saved by the Blood, and cleansed by his Spirit to do service to God. The Passover was one of the most important feasts. They were to practice killing this lamb not breaking its bones, to be eaten with unleavened bread every year. This was the dress rehearsal, because one day, they would see the real drama play out and they needed to know the details so they wouldn’t miss it. They got the details down, but missed the main point. The main point was that Jesus would be the passover lamb that would take away all their sins once and for all. In Mark we read about the abomination that causes desolation standing where it doesn’t belong. This happened when Antiapas Epiphanes entered into the Temple and slaughtered a pig on the altar. It was the most abominable thing he could have done. He wasn’t a priest, he was a heathen, and a pig was considered unclean. What followed was great persecution to the Christians. It will happen again before Jesus comes back. What will follow will be great tribulation. Jesus will gather those who have come to Him during the tribulation. (Our Psalms speaks of this in verse 5.) This is God’s last harvest of the earth. When he said in verse 30 that this generation would not pass away until all this thing have happened he was not speaking of a generation being 40 years. The word used for ‘generation’ is the Greek work ‘genea’ which means ‘the age of time.’ So, time itself will not end until all that Jesus spoke of happens. Lord, we watch for your appearing.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Thurs.’s Devo - The Nazarite Vow

Read Numbers 6:1-7:89, Mark 12:38-13:13, Ps. 49:1-20, Pr. 10:27-28 A Nazarite was a vow anyone could choose to make for a certain amount of time to devote themselves to God. They were promising to abstain from: wine or anything that came from the vine, cutting their hair, and contact with the dead. Samson and John the Baptist were both Nazarites for life. Samson broke his vow causing him to be imprisoned and made blind. John the Baptist kept his and was Jesus’ predecessor. Wine was associated with indulgence which leads to sin in the natural. Cutting the hair was considered a part of cleansing yourself. Contact with the dead made you unable to do spiritual service. So a person who is set apart to the Lord seems to be a person who has given up the things that would entice them to sin (drinking wine). They would also be a person who easily recognized their weaknesses (long hair) yet willing to do whatever it took to stay away from them (staying away from dead things). The tribes brought their offering to the Lord in the same order in which they marched. In Mark Jesus warned his disciples of the teachers of the law that loved to be noticed for their outward appearance and self-righteous living. They are honored on earth, but will be condemned later. He also compared the wealthy givers to the poor widow who gave less than a penny in the offering plate. He said that they give from their abundance, but she of her poverty. She gave everything she owned. Lord, help us to have the heart of the poor widow and give you all of us.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Wed.’s Devo - The Law of Jealousy

Read: Numbers 4:1-5:31, Mark 23:18-37, Ps. 48:1-14, Pr. 10:26 The Kohathite Clan had the job of taking down the Tabernacle, carrying it and setting it back up every time they moved. Every piece of furniture was first covered with a blue cloth except the brazen altar. It was covered in a purple cloth. I wonder if it was because blue is the color associated with heaven and all the pieces covered with blue are actually replica’s of the pieces in heaven except the brazen altar. It stands for the cross and it will not be in heaven. Then God gave them instructions for different things but the one I find most interesting is the one about the jealous husband. If the husband suspects his wife has been unfaithful to him she is be brought to the priest. She is to let down her hair and hold her reminder offering. The priest then proclaims a curse over her if she is guilty - her belly will swell and her thigh will rot. The priests writes the curse on a piece of paper, washes it in water adds some of the dust from the floor and makes her drink the water. This seems so embarrassing and cruel, but it could be a great blessing. If you were the wife and you were innocent then this would prove your innocence and your reward for going through this is a baby. If you are guilty you are not only in great pain, but you become a curse to your people. What does this mean to us? The woman is the Church and if we have left our first husband, Jesus, and gone after riches, personal recognition, etc., then we are brought before God and have to go through this process. God says time and time again that He is a jealous God. When the woman had to unloose her hair it was a symbol of taking her out of the covering of her husband so her sin and nakedness could be exposed. God will do that with us if we go after another love. Her belly swelling is like being pregnant without a baby. To us that would look like having plans with no substance or life. The thigh rotting was a symbol of the curse alighting on the person. Abraham told his servant to put his hand under Abraham’s thigh and make a vow. It was like the holy place where promises were sworn. Lord, may we be a faithful wife who brings you pleasure.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Tues.’s Devo -Examining the Lamb

Read Numbers 2:1-3:51, Mark 11:27-12:17, Ps. 47:1-9, Pro. 10:24-25 The tribes of Israel were told to camp and march with three tribes on the east, three on the west, three on the south, and three on the north making the form of a cross. The Levites were in the middle and they were divided into four parts and they marched in the form of a cross. The ark of God’s presence was to be in the very middle. Everything flows forth from God’s presence. The tribe of Judah was to march first into war and since Judah means praise, we are to first turn to praise when we are attacked and need to fight. Praise makes us focus on God and His mighty power. It dispels fear. In Mark, the chief priests, the teachers of the law and the elders all come to Jesus to start their process of examining Him to see if he is a spotless lamb. They first question his authority to do the miracles and teach the things he teaches. Jesus doesn’t answer them outright. He tricks them with a question. When they refuse to answer His, He refuses to answer theirs. He gives them a parable instead. It was about a man who planted a vineyard, put a wall around it, dug a pit for the winepress and built a watchtower. He rented out his vineyard to farmers and went away. When it was time to harvest the field the owner sent servants to collect the fruit, but the farmers kept killing the servants. Finally, the owner sent his son, thinking surely they would respect him. But, they did the same to him. The owner has no other choice but to come and kill the farmers and give the vineyard to others (the common Jews and the Gentiles). The vineyard was the kingdom of God that God established in Abraham. The farmers were the Jewish leaders and priests. The servants were the prophets and judges. The son was Jesus and the owner was God. The temple leaders realized this parable was against them and determined to catch Jesus in his words so they thought of another tricky question. Jesus nailed them on that one also. Jesus is the Word and is never without the right answer. Lord, may we hide Your word in our hearts. You are the spotless Lamb of God.

Monday, March 3, 2014

Mon.’s Devo - God is Calling Forth an Army

Read Lev. 27:14 - Numbers 1:54, Mark 11:1-25, Ps. 46:1-11, Pr. 10:23 Everything in the Old Testament was valued in terms of Jubilee. Jubilee happened every 50th year at the Feast of Roshashanna which was the first day of the year in the Jewish civil year. All property returns to the original owner. Jesus will come back on a Jubilee and redeem His property on the earth. How appropriate that while he is talking about Jubilee, God calls out an army. When Jesus comes back, He will call forth an army to fight the Battle of Armageddon. In Mark, Jesus is about to make his triumphant entry into Jerusalem. Jesus came down the same path that the temple lamb had just walked. The people would gather to praise the temple lamb with palm branches and shouts. They were still gathered when Jesus came down. I don’t doubt that they acted out of emotion and probably didn’t understand why they did what they did, but they fulfilled prophecy. Jesus followed the temple lamb and went through the same things it did. It was on its way to the priests so they could examine it to make sure this lamb had no defects. Jesus was on his way to be examined by the priests and worldly leaders who found no defect in Him either. Before they took Jesus, he cleansed the temple. The fig tree was a symbol of the Jewish people. Jesus had come to them and found no fruit so he cursed them just as he did the tree. Lord, may we be found ready to fight in Your army when You come back.

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Sun.’s Devo - Choose the Promises

Read Lev. 25:47-27:13, Mark 10:32-52, Ps. 45:1-17, Pr. 10:22 Today’s reading was so full of promises for following after God and curses for not. How could they chose not to follow God? The greatest promise God gave them was to make his dwelling place among them. He was talking about in the Tabernacle, but our promise is that he will put dwell inside of us. The other promises were continual abundance and confidence in the face of their enemies. The curse was removing His presence, poverty and fear. We see the lovingkindness of the Lord in Lev. 26:40-42. If they humbly turned back to God, he would restore his promises to them. The key to being great in the kingdom of God in the New Testament is also humility. Jesus explained that He didn’t come to the world to be served, so neither should we seek this. The key to seeing God move in power is faith. Psalms 45 is a wedding song that represents the bride of Christ. She is honored by God, majestic and beautiful. She is told to forget her people and her father’s house because the king finds her beautiful. He is to be her lord, now. God would say that same thing to us. We have to forget our past and where we came from. God has has a much better future for us. Lord, help us to chose to walk in your promises and become your bride.

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Sat.’s Devo - The Law and Jesus

Read Lev. 24:1-25:46, Mark 10:13-31, Ps. 44:9-26, Pr. 10:20-21 Today we have the story of the son of an Egyptian father and an Israelite mother. The son blasphemes God and God commands that he be stoned. This is the answer to a son who has been raised in a Christian household, yet he chooses to have the devil as his father. He must be put to death. His flesh must die and all the church must stone him. In other words, the stone is the Word of God. So the church must proclaim the Word of salvation over him and pray for him to die of his sinful nature. This will save him. The next few verses have to do with the law of reaping what you sow. For example : an eye for an eye, etc. Jesus addressed this in the sermon on the mount. His law went much further. Jesus said that if someone slaps you on one cheek, you don’t slap him back, but, you turn the other to him. Grace is all about forgiveness, not retribution or retaliation. The seventh year was to be a sabbath rest to the land. This was the year that the earth would rejuvenate itself. This year speaks of millennium when the earth will have a thousand years to rest. Then we will come back and eat the fruit of its rest. Every fiftieth year is a Jubilee. There will be 120 Jubilees in the 6,000 years that the earth will be in existence as we know it Remember what God told Moses in Genesis 6:3? He told Moses that His spirit would not always strive with man, yet his days would be a hundred and twenty years. He was referring to one hundred and twenty Jubilees. God hides his wisdom in mysteries and this is one of them. God was telling us the length of the earth’s age, not the age of man. In Mark a rich man came to Jesus wanting to know how to receive eternal life. He assured Jesus that he had followed the law to the letter. Then Jesus spoke to his heart. His heart and his works were not the same. He went through the motions but his heart was full of self. Jesus explained to the people that the only way to come to Him in sincerity was to have a need for salvation. This man had no need, so he couldn’t find the door. Jesus said that only God can bring a person to salvation. Lord, Your ways are so much higher than ours. Lead us in Your wisdom.