Sunday, November 30, 2014

Sun.’s Devo - The Four Beasts

Read Dan. 7:1-28; 1 John 1:1-10; Ps. 119:153-176; Pr. 28:23-24 Daniel’s dream of the four beasts is enough to scare anyone, especially Daniel who actually saw them. In Daniel’s time the lion stood for Nebuchadnezzar’s kingdom, the bear was the Medo-Persians, the leopard was Greece and the fourth beast was Rome. Jesus came when Rome was ruling and brought an everlasting kingdom. These beasts also stand for the major players in the end, but the exciting thing is that no matter how much havoc they wage on Christians and the world in the end the kingdom and dominion will be given to the people who are saints of the most High. Jesus will come again when the fourth beast is in place. He wasn’t afraid to live during the time of the Roman Empire and we shouldn’t be afraid of the future either. If we realized our authority that we have in Christ nothing should make us afraid. We are under the shadow of God’s wing. The New Testament was written during the period of the Roman Empire and every writer encourages us to have joy and walk in the light. We have the privilege of being able to fellowship and know God…something few people in the Old Testament aspired to. We are most blessed. Lord, we pray with the Psalmist: “Let our cry come near you, O Lord: give us understanding according to your word.”

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Sat.’s Devo - The Lion's Den

Read: Dan. 6:1-28; 2 Pet. 3:1-18; Ps. 119:129-152; Pr. 28:21-22 The kingdom was taken over by the Medes and their king, Darius appointed presidents over the land. Daniel was the most powerful because of the favor of God and the excellence of his spirit. The other presidents and leaders were jealous of Daniel and sought to discredit him so they sent a message to the king saying that ALL of the presidents and leaders agreed to put up a statute of the king and order everyone to bow to it for 30 days. Daniel was the number one president and he didn’t even know about it. When Daniel was found praying to God instead of bowing to the statue he was reported to the king. King Darius was sick that he had let these men trick him and sought to find a loophole so he could set Daniel free but couldn’t. When it was time to execute Daniel, the king came and encouraged him that his God would deliver him. This ungodly king couldn’t eat or sleep that night and ran to the lion’s den early the next morning to see if Daniel’s God had been able to save him. Daniel was alive and his accusers were thrown into the den to meet the fate they had planned for Daniel. God was glorified in the kingdom. This is what will happen to us if we allow God to execute vengeance on our enemies. He will do it in a way where He will be glorified the most. Second Peter gives us such insight into the last days. He makes one statement that is so important to understanding end times. It is found in verse 8. “But, beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day.” Verse ten is not talking about the rapture but the day when Jesus will come to judge the earth. They will not know when that day will come. He will come as a thief in the night. The whole earth will burn with fire. Then there will be a new earth and new heavens. These are hard things for us to comprehend now so Peter leaves us with this: grow in grace and in the knowledge of the Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. Lord, to You be the glory both now and for ever. Amen.

Friday, November 28, 2014

Fri.’s Devo - Judgment

Read: Dan. 5:1-31; 2 Pet. 2:1-22; Ps. 119:113-128; Pr. 28:19-20 Once again Daniel is called in to interpret God’s signs. This time it is words written on the wall by the finger of God. Nebuchadnezzer’s son, Belshazzar is king and even though he heard of how God humbled his father, he had not repented and honored God as the Lord. Because of this, the words written sealed his fate. His kingdom would be divided and given to the Medes and Persians. Surprisingly, Belshazzar honored Daniel and promoted him in the kingdom. That night the king was killed by the king of the Chaldeans and the kingdom was taken. Second Peter gives us a description of what it will be like when Jesus comes back. There will be false prophets who speak against God and are a god to themselves. Today we would call them new agers and other cults. God will bring judgment on them just like he did during the day of Noah. Lot was a picture of a man who goes through the days of tribulation in the midst of ungodly men. But God promises to deliver that man just like he did for Lot. Then he warns us to guard our freedom and salvation and continue to walk with God. Lord, may we not be afraid when we face ungodly people but be bold and at peace.

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Thurs.’s Devo - Nebuchadnezzar’s Humbling

Read: Daniel 4:1-37; 2 Peter 1:1-21 ; Ps. 119:97-112 ; Pr. 28:17-18 God went to drastic measures to humble King Nebuchadnezzar of his pride. He, instead of Daniel wrote this chapter to tell how God dealt with him. He dreamed it before it happened and it was decreed by a “watcher”. A watcher was an angel, maybe his own guardian angel or the guardian angel over the country. In Ezekiel 9 and 10, Ezekiel mentions men clothed in linen garments. I wonder if these aren’t heavenly priests. They usually have ink horns in their hands like they are recording what they see. The men in linen and the watcher mentioned here seem to have the job of observing and recording what is happening on earth and reporting it to God. Everything that happens is written in books in heaven and in the end they will be opened and read from. That makes me realize the importance of what we do and how we spend our time…someone’s watching and recording what we do. I wonder if they are ever amused and laugh! It took a season of mental break down for Nebuchadnezzar to humble himself before God, but he did. Sometimes it takes drastic measures to get our attention and the attention of those we love too, but this should encourage us that God has a purpose and it is always to redeem. God wants to be able to say of us what he said of Jesus, “This is my beloved child in whom I am well pleased.” Lord, may you say that of us. Thank you for your long suffering and your chastening because it speaks of your great love for us.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Wed.’s Devo - Daniel’s Humility

Read: Daniel 2:24-3:30; 1 Peter 4:7-5:14; Ps. 119:81-96; Pr. 28:15-16 Arioch seemed happy not to have to kill all the magicians by the speed he got Daniel an audience with the king. Daniel was a very humble man which was why God could use him. Daniel made sure that he didn’t take the credit from God who gave him the interpretation. I find it interesting that God would reveal his secrets of the future to a heathen king but God’s ways are past my understanding. Because he did, it was recorded and it stood as a witness to all that God declares the future. Daniel reminded the king once again that it was not because he was special, but because God was special that he received the interpretation. After the king heard it and knew that was what he had dreamed he exalted Daniel, and Daniel had his three friends exalted. Daniel was promoted to a judge who sat in the gate and decided civil matters because of his godly wisdom and God was glorified. But, King Nebuchadnezzar let the interpretation fill him with pride and erected an altar of gold in his image. When evil men who were probably jealous of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego’s position brought it to the kings attention that they were not bowing to his statue they were thrown into the fire. God was able to deliver them and they ended up promoted even higher. God is able to protect us at work or anywhere the devil tries to slander us or falsely accuse us. One day we might have to lay down our lives for the truth and we can remember these three men and take courage. Our God is able to deliver us! 1 Peter follows this thought reminding us that the end is coming and our relationships with God and others is the key to our survival. Trials are a part of life and we need them so it shouldn’t surprise us when they come, but our joy is found in Christ alone who can carry us through our trials victoriously.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Tues.’s Devo - Be Brave and Love

Read: Daniel 1:1-2:23; 1 Peter 3:8-4:6; Ps. 119:65-80; Pr. 28:14 I don’t think we are ever told Daniel’s lineage but he must have been of noble birth since the king took children who were from the king and the princes’ families. Also, the fact that he was so intelligent and educated spoke of royal blood. Daniel had such diplomacy and conviction. He was the one who spoke up about the kind of food they ate and the one who negotiated for time when they were to be killed along with all the other astrologers and magicians. Don’t you know the astrologers and magicians loved Daniel because he saved their lives. God set Daniel up to be noticed and exalted but if Daniel had been afraid to speak up he would have died along with all his friends. Daniel didn’t turn circumstances over to “God’s will” but fought for what he believed and for his own destiny. Life is full of risks and you have to have the spirit of God to know which ones to take. Taking the easy road is not always God’s way. He is not afraid of obstacles or the unknown because nothing is unknown to Him. Peter exhorts us to love one another and treat others with honor and respect. Be imitators of Christ who suffered doing right in order to save us from our sins. When Jesus died he preached salvation to the spirits in the prison houses in the realm of death. (3:19; 4:6) The eight people that were saved from the flood during the days of Noah were a type of us being baptized into life, saving us from the flood of sin and death. Peter ends by exhorting us once again to love one another because love covers a multitude of sins. Lord, you remind us over and over that love is the main thing. Help us to love You and all your creation.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Mon.’s Devo - The Last Millenium

Read: Eze. 47:1-48:35; 1 Pet. 2:11-3:7; Ps. 119:49-64; Pr. 28:12-13 These last two chapters in Ezekiel look like a picture of the new millennium. The waters are a picture of the Spirit cleansing the land. The trees are the people of the land. They bring forth fruit in their season just like Psalms 1 talks about. Joseph shall have two portions. Joseph is the tribes of Manasseh and Ephraim who were Joseph’s two sons. They stand for the Gentile Church. This looks like a picture of what it will be like in the 7th Millennium when we will come back to earth. There will be some unbelievers who will live through the Great Tribulation and they are the strangers mentioned in verses 22-23. We are to welcome them in our towns and let them dwell amongst us. The earth will mainly be filled with God’s people who will divide by their tribes. Everyone is a member of a tribe according to their gifting even if they are not Jewish. We will dwell in these tribes during this thousand years. No one dies and Jesus is King until the end of the thousand years at which time we will have the Great Judgment. I don’t claim to know how all this is going to work but this is my understanding. In reading 1 Peter today I was struck again by how many references he made to our conversation. If our conversation is honest then it will change the conversation of the evil and they will glorify God in the end. It will be the conversation of the godly wife that will win over the unbelieving husband. The power of life and death is in our tongues so let’s issue out life. Lord, thank you for your plan that is already in motion. We can trust in You, knowing that You have this all worked out. Guard our tongues and train us to bring forth life.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Sun.’s Devo - The Feasts Explained

Read: Eze. 45:13-46:24; 1 Peter 1:13-2:10; Ps. 119:33-48; Pr. 28:11 God’s plan is laid out in his feasts so Ezekiel notes them. The Passover was the first feast which represents our salvation. Jesus fulfilled it by dying on Passover. The Feast of Unleavened Bread represents our sanctification. Jesus was buried on Unleavened Bread. He rose on First Fruits and sent the Holy Spirit on the Feast of Pentecost. In verse 25 Ezekiel eludes to the last three feasts. They are Roshashana, Yom Kippor and Feast of Tabernacles. Jesus will come back on Roshashana. The world will go through The Tribulation during Yom Kippor and the Great Judgement will happen on Feast of Tabernacles. We don’t know when this will happen but God has set up his feasts as markers for what he will do on them. Ezekiel 46 speaks of the eastern court being shut for 6 days but on the 7th it will be open. God says several times that a day in heaven is as a thousand years on earth (2 Peter 3:8) so the first 6 days speak of the first 6 millenniums. We are at the end of the 6th millennium. In the 7th, the earth will rest just as God did on the 7th day. Then the prince, Jesus, will enter through the eastern gate when he comes back. First Peter agrees with James about how important our conversation is and loving one another is. He reminds us that we are chosen, royal, holy and peculiar. “Peculiar” means “purchased” in the Greek which gives it a whole new meaning. Lord, thank you that you chose us and purchased us by your blood.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Sat.’s Devo - Our Inheritance

Read: Eze. 44:1-45:12; 1 Peter 1:1-12; Ps. 119:17-32; Pr. 28:8-10 The Muslims know this scripture and they have walled up the eastern gate in Jerusalem so that the Messiah won’t be able to come in. Little do they know that stones won’t be able to keep Jesus from coming back. In these scriptures about the ministry of the priests we are getting a picture of what it will be like in the 7th millennium when Israel gets control of the temple mount and sacrifices are once again made. Notice that the priests were not to wear any material that would make them sweat. That is a picture of our ministry on earth. If we are working ourselves to death trying to do the work of the gospel then we are sweating. Jesus said to take his yoke upon us and learn of him for his yoke is easy and his burden is light. If you walk by the spirit, it will be easy and everything will unfold before you. If you walk in the flesh you will be always trying to make things happen and it will be stressful and exhausting. First Peter was written to the Gentiles that had come to faith in Jesus and were suffering rejection by their friends. He encourages them of their heavenly inheritance. Inheritance took on a new meaning when my mother passed away. My dad had passed in 2004 and my mother two years ago. When she died we received our inheritance. It was far more than I had ever thought it would be since they lived very frugal lives but the joy was more in thinking of how excited they were to give it to us. I know that that was just a drop in the bucket to what our spiritual inheritance will be. It will be far greater than we could ever imagine and well worth any rejection or persecution we could face on this side. Lord, enlarge our hearts to love you more and our faith to see your ways.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Fri.’s Devo - The Expanding Kingdom

Read: Eze. 42:1-43:27; James 5:1-20; Ps. 119:1-16: Pr. 28:6-7 This temple is symbolic of the temple inside us and the eternal temple God is raising up. Today we read about the chambers of the priests. We are all kings and priests before the Lord. The first floor was smaller than the second and on and on. This represented the first Christians as being the foundation and all the others that came later and built on their fountain. The kingdom is becoming larger and larger with each generation so each level become larger than it’s predecessor. In Israel schools the children learned their alphabet by Psalms 119. So instead of learning “A” is for apple they learned Alpha is for “Blessed are the undefiled in the way…” Today we read Alpha and Beta the first two letters in the Hebrew alphabet. James sounds like one of the old testament prophets in this chapter. He comes out against the rich who oppress the poor and are arrogant in their own eyes. Then he encourages those that have becomes true followers of Christ to be patient and wait for the second coming of Jesus. In the meantime, pray. Prayer brings God’s will to earth. Lord, help us to love everyone and pray Your will to be done on earth. Let Your temple expand on the earth.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Thurs.’s Devo. - The Simplicity of the Gospel

Read: Eze. 40:28-41:26; James 4:1-17; Ps. 118:19-29; Pr. 28:3-5 In reading the description of the new temple that Ezekiel saw there is no mention of the ark of the covenant that represents God’s glory and presence. That is because God’s glory and presence is no longer contained in a room. When Jesus died, the veil was torn allowing all to come in and God’s presence to go out. James asks a viable question: what is the source of our quarrels? They come from the lusts in our hearts. To be a friend of the world and a friend of God is adultery. You can’t love the world and love God because they are in direct conflict of one another. Pride is of the devil but humility is from God. A humble person doesn’t slander his brother, or judge him. He doesn’t judge others or the Word; only God can do either of those. He is the one who knows the future so the only wise thing to do is ask Him to guide us through it. So, to make it simple: just do what is good in God’s eyes. Lord, what You ask of us is very simple and we make it so hard. All we have to do is trust You, follow You and do good to others. This is the day that You have made. We will rejoice and be glad in it.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Wed.’s Devo - The New Temple

Read: Eze. 38:1-40:27; James 2:18-3:18; Ps. 118:1-18; Pr. 28:2 Ezekiel is describing the reign of Antiochus who was a godless anti-christ before the first coming of Christ. He is a picture of the Antichrist that will come to power before Christ’s second coming. Antiochus left Egypt for an expedition against Palestine, and so shall the last great enemy of God be from the north parts. God will cleansing the land from sin and bring Israel to know that Jesus is the Messiah. Chapter 40 begins the description of the new temple. It is so different than any other temple of God and the dimensions won’t even fit on the topography of Israel so I have to believe this is the description of the new Jerusalem that Revelations talks about. God promises to bring a new heaven and a new earth so this temple must be for the new earth. James explains that our faith should become evident by the things we do. Our conversation should reflect what is in our heart. If we fill our hearts with God’s Word and love then our conversation will follow. Lord, truly Your love endures forever.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Mon.’s Devo - The Tribulation

Read: Daniel 8:1-27; 1 John 2:1-17; Ps. 120:1-7; Pr. 28:25-26 Daniel saw this vision while staying at the palace at Shushan, the very palace that Esther became queen. He sees a vision of what will happen in the end days. Even though he was to see the interpretation partially fulfilled in his lifetime, it was a picture of what will happen in the very end during the Tribulation. The antichrist will arise with occultist powers that mimic the miracles of Jesus. His influence that God gives him will seduce and deceive many. He will defy Christ but Christ will win. The Bible teaches us not to sin where we teach everyone has to sin. I’m going with the Bible. Jesus told the woman at the well to go and sin no more as if it was possible. John thinks it’s possible too. But if we do sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ. Everyone sins before Christ, but after Christ we should be obeying God’s commands. Jesus only gave us two: Love the Lord with all our heart and love one another as we love ourselves. We get caught up in the nit-picky things that the devil loves to accuse us of. Let’s just choose to walk in the light. Lord, shine your light on our hearts and enlarge our hearts to love you more.

Tues.’s Devo - The Valley of Dry Bones

Read: Eze. 37:1-38:23; James 1:19-2:17; PS. 117:1-2; Pr. 28:1 We all know this story from our childhood - the valley of dry bones. It is a picture of what God is going to do with the children of Israel in the last days and how He will bring them together, breathe his spirit in them and raise them up as a mighty army. It is also a picture of what he will do with the church in the last day and what will happen at the very last day when God brings to life every believer who has ever been to fight in the battle of Armageddon. And it is also a picture of what God does every time he saves a person. He causes their dry bones to come together, breathes his eternal life in them and raises them up to fight the good fight of faith in the earth. Chapter 38 is a picture of when the Maccabees with Antiochus came down from the north and attacked Israel, but more importantly of what will happen in the end when God will wage war on his enemies at Aramageddon. One of the verses in James that I repeat to myself often is verse 20, “For the wrath of man worketh not the righteousness of God.” Every time I am tempted to get mad I remind my self that my wrath is not representing God’s righteousness. It helps! I love the way verse 25 is worded. It describes the Word as the perfect law of liberty. We are tempted to see God’s Word as a book of laws that confine us when they are really suppose to be words that free us when we do what it says. Chapter 2 reminds us to honor all people the same no matter what their economic state is. Jesus chose to be poor on this earth and he is the most honored of all. Lord, help us to take courage in this world knowing that You have overcome and to honor all men as You do.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Mon.’s Devo - The Perfect Law of Liberty

Read: Eze. 35:1-36:38; James 1:1-18; Ps. 116:1-19; Pr. 27:23-27 God pronounces judgment on Israel’s greatest enemies. Those that laughed and were glad when Israel fell will be punished with a greater judgment than Israel’s. In the end, God will bring Israel back into her land and cleanse them from the inside out. They will have a new heart to love God and a new spirit. Then God will prosper their land once again. He will remove their poverty and famine and bless them with abundance. The whole earth will see what God has done for his people. I pray this for America as well. I love James! I need to read James weekly because I need to remind myself that trials are my friend. Trials are our tests to promote us to the next level. They are not punishments from God. God is so willing and ready to give us wisdom when we ask in faith. We have to keep our eyes on Jesus and set our rudder in Him or we will weave back and forth between doubt and belief. We have to settle it in our mind that God is for us and working for His best interest for us and our family. Lord, help us to walk in your word, to be thankful in our trials and have faith.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Sun.’s Devo. - The Responsibility of the Watchman

Read: Eze. 33:1-34:31; Heb. 13:1-25; Ps. 115:1-18; Pr. 27:21-22 Another name for a prophet is a watchman. If God shows him what is coming and he doesn’t warn the people then their blood will be on his head. But, if he warns them, it is up to the people to respond rightly and the prophet is free of his responsibility. The only correct response to a warning is to repent and turn to God. When they found out that Jerusalem was completely taken over, God asked them if they thought they could commit all their abominations and still be saved. In Chapter 34, God rebuked the shepherds for not keeping good watch over their flocks. It is the leader’s responsibility to teach the people not to sin, but they had joined in their abominations so they were held accountable. God promised to send the Great Shepherd and He will bring the flock back into the fold. He will take care of Israel; feed them, lead them, bind up the broken and strengthen the sick. Evil will be driven from the land and they will be blessed and become a blessing. Hebrews 13 gives us a hodge podge of nuggets to pay attention to. It encourages us to love our fellow brothers and sisters. Be kind to strangers because they could be angels in disguise. Don’t forget the ones that are being persecuted for the kingdom. Honor your marriage. Be content with the things God has blessed you with. Pray for our leaders. Let the Word of God be your doctrine. May the God of peace make us perfect in every good work to do his will.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Sat.’s Devo.- Satan’s End, Our Glory

Read: Eze. 31:1-32:32; Heb. 12:14-29; Ps. 113:1-114:8; Pr. 27:18-20 Ezekiel keeps us up with where Israel is in its 70 year exile. Today they are in the eleventh year, third month, first day. God declares judgment on proud Egypt. Egypt had been exalted above all the earth, like the devil and is now brought low. He even compares his glory to something the trees in the garden of Eden would envy. He is describing Satan before the fall. But, because Satan tried to exalt himself to be higher than God, he was thrown from heaven to earth. Egypt will be brought low the same way. Satan embodied the serpent but he also embodied the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Once Adam ate of his fruit, death entered his body. To eat of the fruit of the tree of life brought eternal life. In Chapter 32, God describes in a parable how he left Satan on the earth to vex people’s hearts and bring destruction upon the ungodly. Starting at verse 17, God describes the fate of the followers of Satan. They all go down to hell…the pit in shame because they brought fear on earth. In comparison, in Hebrews we have a picture of heaven. It is the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, where there is a innumerable company of angels. There the Judge of all will judge every man and Satan and his angels. God’s kingdom cannot be moved or shaken. In it we will worship God in spirit and in truth. From the rising of the sun unto the going down of the same the Lord’s name is to be praised.

Friday, November 14, 2014

Fri.’s Devo - Running the Race

Read: Eze. 29:1-30:26; Heb. 11:32-12:13; Ps. 112:1-10; Pr. 27:17 Ezekiel prophesies the scattering of Egypt though he promises to bring them back one day. But Egypt will not be the strong powerhouse it once was but one of the weakest, basest of nations. History has proven this true. Psalms 112 would be a great chapter to memorize. Those who obey God’s word will be great upon the earth and his seed be blessed. He will be blessed with wealth because he is compassionate, gracious and lends. This man will not be moved but shall be remembered for his life. He trusts in the Lord even when the news is bad. His righteousness will endure forever. Hebrew mentions four judges, a prophet and a king who lived by faith. None of these men were perfect but they had faith. They endured much hardships on this earth looking forward to a much better place after death. They have become our crowd of witnesses that cheer us on in the faith. They are watching and waiting to see the promises they lived for and endured hardship for be fulfilled in us. That should make us want to do whatever it takes to fulfill the destiny God has put in our hearts to do. The writer encourages us to allow God to do his perfect work of sanctifying us through trials and God’s correction. If we do, we will yield God’s fruit of righteousness. Lord, we want to bear much fruit so help us to fight the good fight and run the race you have set before us with grace.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Thurs.’s Devo - By Faith

Read: Eze. 27:1-28:26; Heb. 11:17-31; Ps. 111:1-10; Pr. 27:15-16; Ezekiel got a word from God for Tyrus. Tyrus means “a rock” and was a trading port by the sea. It had enjoyed the beautiful exports of many nations and was a prosperous place with the best of the best merchandise from slaves to wares. It was well fortified with the best of warriors. But in all its finery, it was destined to fall. Tyrus became proud and arrogant and thought themselves like God so God was going to send evil nations against them to war against them. In the end, God always promises good; He will bring His people back into their land where they will dwell in peace and prosperity. In Hebrews we continue our “Hall of Faith” leaders. Isaac was the next type of Jesus as our lamb that was slain for the sins of the world. Isaac’s role-playing sacrifice was a picture of Jesus’ real sacrifice. God called his seed righteous as all who believe in Jesus are righteous. His blessing of salvation continued to Jacob and Joseph. Joseph spoke of the promised land which we know today is a type of heaven. Moses was a type of “Jesus our deliverer.” He chose to be one of the Hebrews instead of counted as a king in Pharaoh’s court just as Jesus took on him the seed of Abraham. (Heb. 2:16) Moses understood that the true reward was not on this earth. Last but not least Hebrews mentions Rahab, the harlot. She is a picture of the Gentile church. She heard of the power of the god of the Hebrews and believed in him for herself and her household. She was the first convert of the heathen of the promised land. She is our hope. She was saved by faith and so are we. Lord, thank you for those who went before us to be our examples of your goodness and your validity.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Wed.’s Devo - The Hall of Faith

Read: Eze. 24:1-25:17; Heb. 11: 1-16; Ps. 110:1-7; Pr. 27:14 It had been nine years to the day that Babylon took over Jerusalem when God spoke this word to Ezekiel. So for nine years God had tried to purge Israel of her sin but she refused to repent and turn to God. Because their hearts were so hard, God was going to judge them harshly. God told Ezekiel that He was going to take from him what he loved and he forbade Ezekiel to mourn or cry but to dress like any other day. I wonder if Ezekiel knew that God was going to take his wife the next day? When the people asked him what his strange behavior was about he was able to give them God’s word. They would experience the same thing. Everything they loved would be taken from them and they would not have time to mourn. God rebuked the Ammonites for being happy over Israel’s misfortune. The Ammonites were the descendent of Lot. They lived outside of the border of Israel and their relationship with Israel was not friendly most of the time. Because they rejoiced when Israel was being judged, they would experience God’s wrath also. We need a week alone on Hebrews 11… otherwise known as the “Hall of Faith. Abel was a type of Jesus, who offered the perfect sacrifice that still speaks today. Enoch was a picture of the resurrected Jesus and the raptured church. Noah is a picture of Jesus who saves us from the storm and judgment on earth. It is a picture of the church that is left after the rapture to go through tribulation. It is also a picture of end-time judgment on the earth. Abraham is the father of God’s children… a picture of God. His job was to walk out the promised land and start a new family of God. He is a picture of the new kingdom that will come after the earth is destroyed. Sarah is a picture of the risen church that will begin a new generation on the new earth. They were seeing a heavenly country even as they lived here on earth. They never saw it in their earthly bodies but they will see it one day. Lord, prepare us for your heavenly kingdom.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Tues.’s Devo -God’s Judgment

Read: Eze. 23:1-49; Heb. 10:18-39; Ps. 109:1-31; Pr. 27:13 Ezekiel prophesied against Samaria and Jerusalem calling them Aholah and Aholibah. Samaria was Israel’s capital and Jerusalem was Judah’s capital. They were guilty of lusting after the military of Egypt and Assyria. God was supposed to be their defender but he doesn’t wear handsome uniforms and ride on horses. They not only lusted after their military but the gods they served, the way they dressed and their customs. They forgot God’s ways. They used the holy oil and incense that was supposed to be used to worship God to worship their idols. To punish them, God was going to send a company of people against them who would kill them and burn their houses with fire. They would rid the land of its sin. In Hebrews we read that we are to provoke one another to love and good deeds which is why we need to meet often with believers and encourage one another. If we choose to live a lifestyle of sin after receiving grace we will be judged for our disobedience. Only those who do the will of God receive the promise. Lord, give us grace to understand You ways and please You with our lives.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Mon.’s Devo - Standing in the Gap

Read: Eze. 21:1-22:31; Heb. 10:1-17; Ps. 108:1-13; Pr. 27:12 God’s fury was prophesied against Jerusalem. He used Babylon to bring his wrath through. Nebuchadnezzar came down to conquer and came to a fork in the road. One fork led to the land of the Ammonites and the other to Judah. He used his divination and it led him to go to Jerusalem. God promises to come back and judge the Ammonites later. God called Judah to repentance for their sexual perversion, bribery and murdering. The priests violated the law, profaned the holy, made the clean unclean and didn’t keep the sabbaths. They took bribes and killed innocent people for money. There was no righteous person found to stand in the gap for the nation and intercede for their sins. The priests of the Old Testament had to daily and yearly offer up sacrifices to atone for the sins of the people and the priests. In the New Testament Jesus died once for our sins and that was it. There is no more sacrifice to be made. Now Jesus sits waiting for all his enemies to be put under his feet. Lord, may we stand in the gap between Your judgment and Your blessing for our nation and pray that she return to you. Wake up your church to pray.

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Sun.’s Devo - The Plan of Salvation

Read: Eze. 20:1-49; Heb. 9:11-29; Ps. 107:1-43; Pr. 27:11 God reminded Israel of their history of rebellion. They were a nation bent on doing their own thing and following the gods of the nations that were their enemies instead of following their own God who was the only one who could deliver and save them. It seems like a no-brainer to us when we read about Israel, but we live in that same state where people worship people and things and other religions that are opposed to the one true God. In Psalms we read that when God would punish them for their sin they would cry out to the Lord and he would save them out of their distresses. God would send his word, and heal them. “Oh that men would praise the Lord for his goodness, and for his wonderful works to the children of men!” Christ as our High Priest doesn’t enter into the man-made Holy of Holies which is a type of the throne room of heaven. But Christ enters into the very presence of God with our prayers and prayers for us. One day, we will all stand before God and watch the judgment of the wicked. We will be saved from judgment because of Jesus’ blood. Lord, thank you for your great plan to save those who want to be saved. We deserve death, but You brought us life through Jesus. We are eternally grateful.

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Sat.’s Devo - We May Enter In

Read: Eze. 18:1-19:14; Heb. 9:1-10; Ps. 106:32-48; Pr. 27:10 The children of Israel were blaming their fathers for the mess they were in but God sent Ezekiel to set them straight. God judges everyone fairly according to their heart, not the heart of their fathers. If they had the worse parents in the world they can’t blame them for their own decisions; they have to make their own path. Israel is judged as a nation according to the decisions of their leaders, but they are also judged individually which is the most important. The same is true of us in America. That is why we walk out our salvation in the fear of the Lord and we pray for our nations and vote for godly men to be put in office. Hebrews explains that the first tabernacle had three parts: the outer court, the inner court and the Holy of Holies. The people were invited into the outer court where there was the brazen altar and the laver which was a huge bowl filled with water. The sacrifices were made on the brazen altar to atone for the sins of the priests and the people. The laver was where the priest washed himself to represent the cleansing power of the sacrifice. In the inner court stood the candlestick, the table of incense and the table of shewbread. Only the priests could go there. It represents the illumination of the Holy Spirit, the prayers of the saints and the Word of God that we eat daily. The third part was the Holy Place where only the High Priest could go once a year on the Day of Atonement. In that room behind the veil was the ark of the covenant, the manna, and Aaron’s rod. On the top of the ark sat the angels. Now that Jesus has come and died, we are invited as priests of God into all of those rooms. The blood of Jesus covers us so that we can come in. When Jesus died the veil was torn from heaven to earth inviting us all in. It is our decision to enter; we are always welcome. Lord, help us to set aside time daily to enter into your throne room and enjoy the beauty of Your presence.

Friday, November 7, 2014

Fri.’s Devo - The Promised Covenant

Read: Eze. 16:43-17:24; Heb. 8:1-13; Ps. 106:13-31; Pr.27:7-9 Sodom’s sin was pride and haughtiness, prosperity yet not helping the poor, and being idle. Samaria’s sin was idolatry but Israel surpassed them both. By the time God gets through humbling them they will return to Him. In chapter 17, God gives Judah a parable of two great eagles. This prophecy was given in the 6th year of Zedekiah’s reign five years before the carrying away of Jehoichin and the destruction of Jerusalem. The great eagle is the symbol of Babylon’s supreme god, Nisroch so in the parable it stands for Nebuchadnezzer, the king of Babylon. Lebanon was the chief city for the Hebrews and King Jeconiah was the king. Zedekiah was the “seed of the land” spoken of in verse 5. He was from the seed of David. Judah had sworn allegiance to Babylon’s allegiance which had given it peace. Zedekiah was the vassal of Judah and he wanted to stop giving money to Babylon because he was selfishly ambitious, prideful and ungrateful so he revolted. He was not only rebelling against Babylon, but against God. The king of Egypt was the second eagle. Zedekiah asked Egypt to help him against Babylon. Three times the writer asks if Israel will prosper. The answer to the question is “yes”. The Messiah came when Israel looked hopeless and He brought hope and salvation. He will come again when there seems to be no hope for Israel and he will bring everlasting hope and deliverance. God made a covenant with Moses about the children of Israel, but Christ has made an even better covenant with us that is perfect. With this covenant we can KNOW God. Jesus, thank you for the better covenant you brought us. We joyfully await your return.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Thurs.’s Devo - Noah, Daniel and Job

Read: Eze. 14:12-16:42; Heb. 7:18-28; Ps. 106:1-12; Pr. 27:4-6 The sins of the people were so great that even Noah, Daniel, or Job could save them. Why did he name these three? Noah was righteous when the rest of the world sinned. He preserved man’s seed to repopulate the world after the flood. Daniel stood firm in his convictions as a captive in a foreign kingdom. Job lived righteously as a wealthy leader who faced humility and slander. The world was restored because of Noah; a kingdom was restored because of Daniel; and a family was restored because of Job. These men had great authority and favor with God yet their righteousness would not be able to change God’s judgment on the land. Chapter 15 says that God will send one disaster right after another on the land…sound familiar? Chapter 16 describes the rising of the Israel nation but it is also a perfect description of the rising of America. We rose to be the most powerful nation on the earth but we have trusted in our own beauty and played the harlot. We’ve killed our own children through abortion and abuse and trusted in our own success and glory and forgotten God. God will judge until his fury is past then He will stop and heal us. God’s judgment always ends with hope and restoration. His cleansing is for our good, not our harm. Hebrews reminds us that all the priest’s before Jesus died in sin, but Jesus lives forever in righteousness. Jesus’ priesthood is eternal without end. Lord, we pray for our nation to be spared Your judgment. Help us as your people to soften our hearts toward you and repent of our sins and stand in the gap for our nation.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Wed.’s Devo - Jesus - Our Priest Forever

Read: Eze. 12:1-14:11:Heb. 7:1-17; Ps. 105:37-45; Pr. 27:3 Ezekiel is speaking to the remnant that stayed in Jerusalem after the first siege that Jeremiah prophesied. They didn’t learn from God’s discipline so he warns them of a second siege that would be coming to Jerusalem. Ezekiel was told to act out having to leave and go into captivity. In chapter 13 he was to prophesy against the false prophets that lied to the people saying there would be peace when God was not saying that. They had built a wall with cheap supplies that would not stand. It personified their vain prophesies that were without substance and God’s backing. They would not stand either. These prophets would be punished for deceiving the people. Hebrews 7 reminds me that what I do influences the next generation. When Abraham paid tithes to Melchisedek, his seed also received the benefit. Levi was a descendent of Abraham and he would be the tribe of the priests of God and one day the people would bring their tithes to him. He also paid tithes through Abraham. Jesus didn’t come from Aaron or Levi’s loins but Judah’s so there has to be a change in the law since the law pertained to the Levites being priests. Jesus was a priest like Melchisedek who rose out of obscurity and no one knew his ancestry. Melchisedek was a type of the priest of heaven - a type of Jesus our High Priest. There was no record of Melchisedek’s death and Jesus didn’t die either. Thank you for being our High Priest forever.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Tues.’s Devo - The Day of Atonement

Read: Ez. 10:1-11:25; Heb. 6:1-20; Ps. 105:16-36; Pr. 27:1-2 Exekiel is taken by the spirit to God’s throne. It is the day of Atonement when the High Priest enters the Holy Place. It is showing us what happens in heaven since the earthly temple was a replica of heaven’s temple and the priesthood a replica of heaven’s priesthood. As “the man” - the heavenly High Priest went into the house the glory of the Lord filled the temple. He took the coal from the altar of incense with him. This represented prayer and intercession for the people. The cherubims were sent forth to carry out God’s will on the earth. Next, Ezekiel was taken to the princes of the land and told to prophesy against them since they were not carrying out God’s will and were wicked. They would be killed by the sword because that was their greatest fear. When he said this, one of the leaders fell dead. Ezekiel cried out to the Lord on behalf of the rest of the people. God promised to bring them back and preserve a remnant. This remnant would have a new spirit and a heart of flesh. They will follow the Lord and be God’s people. God took Ezekiel back to the people so he could tell them what he had seen and warn them. Hebrews six is a much misunderstood passage. I have read several commentaries on these verses and I’m not sure I agree with any of them so I’m going to leave you to your own interpretation. I’m going to continue to pray for clarity. He sums it up in verses 7 and 8: rain falls on the earth and the land that is prepared to receive it brings forth herbs. The land that is not prepared to receive it bears thorns and briers and is cursed. The rain stands for the spirit of God that rains down upon all flesh. Those that prepare their hearts to receive it bear fruit, those that don’t will be judged and condemned. He also reminds us that it is through faith that we receive His promises. Lord, give us faith to receive Your rain.

Monday, November 3, 2014

Mon.’s Devo - Jesus Our High Priest

Read: Eze. 7:1-9:11; Heb. 5:1-14; Ps. 105:1-15; Pr. 26:28 When God brings judgment there is a complete exchange of wealth. The once wealthy are brought to poverty and the holy places are defiled. The worst of the heathen take over and the land is devastated; its people turned to desolation. Six years after Jerusalem was besieged, God gave Ezekiel a vision showing him the abominations of the people. It was acts they did in secret that God saw openly. God sent angels to mark the people who didn’t participate in idol worship and were true to Him. Like the death angel in the days of Moses they were sent to kill all who didn’t have the mark of God on their foreheads. In Hebrews we learn that the High Priest has to be a man who knows the weaknesses of man so he can have compassion. That is why Jesus had to become a man. Jesus was a priest in the manner of Melchisedec. He was an intercessor for the people who prayed with great fervency and power for the sins of the people. God heard him because he understood the holiness of God. Jesus was that kind of intercessor too. Thank you for being our intercessor and High Priest.

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Sun.’s Devo - Ezekiel - The Living Parable

Read: Eze. 3:16-6:14; Heb. 4:1-16; Ps. 104:24-35; Pr. 26:27 God took Ezekiel in the spirit to the people he would be speaking to. God told him that if he didn’t warn them of their sin and rebellion then their sin would be on him. God knew they wouldn’t repent but He has to warn people first before he judges them. Ezekiel was a living parable of what God was saying so he was asked to do some pretty strange things. He was to draw the city of Jerusalem on a slate and portray the besieging of their city. Then he was to lie on his left side for 390 days to stand for 390 years that Israel would be punished for their sins and then on his right side 40 days to stand for the number of years Judah would be punished. Then he was to make bread out of wheat, barley, beans, lentils, millet, and fitches and eat it 390 days. It was to be measured out and cooked over his own dung. He talked God into letting him use cow’s dung. It was to represent the unclean food that would be meted out to them in the land of their captors. He was to do another sign with his hair to show that a third of them would die with a plague and famine, a third by war and a third would be scattered across the world. Then they would know that the Lord is God. In Hebrews, the author speaks of a rest that God’s people who have faith can enter into. It is rest of mind knowing that God’s promises are sure and good. We can trust in our High Priest who has walked this earth as a man and knows the mercy and grace we need to enter into God’s rest. We always have access to our high priest.

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Sat.’s Devo - God Will Stregnthen

Read: Ezekiel 1:1-3:15; Heb. 3:1-19; Ps. 104:1-23; Pr. 26:24-26 Israel had been sentenced to 70 years out of the land. It is now the 30th year, the fifth day of the fourth month when God showed Ezekiel an open vision. Ezekiel is a priest who is with the captives by the river Chebar. Ezekiel’s name means, “God will strengthen” so he is raised up to strengthen the captives. In his vision he sees four creatures each having four faces and four wings. They stood on their feet like a man and their faces were a man, a lion, an ox and an eagle. They flew wherever the spirit led them. They were accompanied by a wheel that had eyes and rings which embodied the spirit of the creatures. Above them was the throne and God sitting on it. There was fire and colors and glory everywhere. In the midst of it, God spoke to Ezekiel and told him to go speak to the rebellious house of Israel. He told Ezekiel not to be afraid of the people and their reaction to his words. He was given a scroll of all the lamentations and woes of his nation and told to eat it. We see in Hebrews that the children of Israel that followed Moses out of Egypt were the same way. Hebrews talks of a rest that they were not able to enter into because of unbelief. I think that will be the dividing line in our future. To those who believe in God who can provide, protect and defend, they will be safe and blessed. Those who through fear and intimidation lose that confidence in God will suffer lack and oppression. Gird up your loins and be strong in the Lord! Lord, You are our hiding place, whom do we have to fear?