Thursday, April 30, 2015

Thurs.’s Devo - Our Merciful God!

Read: Ps. 102-104
God loves it when we just don’t pray but we cry out to Him. I was moved to tears as I read that today in Australia they are starting a 7-day period of prayer and fasting for America! They are so grateful for what America did for them in WW2 and they feel that America is hanging in the balance. They have asked that we join them. David was crying out to the Lord in Psalm 102. David spends much time in the outdoors and sees God in all his creation. He learns God’s ways by observing His creatures. In verse 13, David proclaims that God will arise and have mercy on Zion: for the time to favor her, the set time, is come. I pray this over the people on my prayer list today.
I love Psalm 103! I put it to memory many years ago and even though I can’t quote it all now, I continually quote the first verse. We need to bless the Lord and not forget all he has done. God is merciful and he does remember that we are human and frail, and he still chooses us and loves us.
In Psalm 104, God walks us through the first chapter of Genesis. He declares that God, in his wisdom created everything to show us his glory.
Lord, help me to marvel at the wonder of your creation and not take it for granted. You are awesomely creative. We pray for our nation that we would humble ourselves and turn back to You with our whole hearts.

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Wed.'s Devo - God’s People

Read: 1 Chron. 7-10
I have always heard that the son’s of Issachar were the ones who could tell the future and discern the times we were living in. Issachar means “he will bring a reward.” His son’s names mean “a worm”, “a blast”, “he will return”. and “guardianship”. Wasn’t Jesus born a man (a worm) that at the blast of the trumpet, Jesus will return and set up his kingdom - his guardianship?
Benjamin means “son of the right hand”. I see Benjamin as a type of the Gentile church since he was in the picture when Joseph was betrayed by his brothers. He was blessed with 5 times as much in the end in Gen. 43:34.
Naphtali is barely mentioned here but when I looked up other mentions in the Bible I found some interesting comments about Naphtali so her it is. Naphtali is a hind let loose: he giveth goodly words. (Genesis 49:21) And of Naphtali he said, O Naphtali, satisfied with favor, and full with the blessing of the Lord: possess thou the west and the south. (Deuteronomy 33:23) Zebulun and Naphtali were a people that jeopardized their lives unto the death in the high places of the field. (Judges 5:18) I have a new appreciation for this small tribe.
Manasseh was Joseph’s son who even though he was the oldest, Ephraim was blessed as the first born. Manasseh’s tribe split and half of them crossed over the Jordan into their inheritance and half of them remained on the other side. Manasseh means “causing to forget” which is what God does for us when we come into his family. He causes us to forget who we were before and gives us a new beginning.
In chapter 9, all of Israel was recorded and written in a book. This was important to have because when they were carried away to Babylon they would have a record of their genealogy.
The Chronicles are the stories that were written down of the kings. It seems like a repeat of 1 and 2 Kings and it is. For some reason, God wanted it in the Bible twice. In chapter 10 we read again about the death of Saul and his three sons. The last two verses tell us that God killed Saul because he asked a witch for counsel instead of the Lord. God was serious about having a king that would follow him.
Lord, please be serious about giving us a president who will follow You.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Tues.’s Devo - In and Out of the Pit

Read: Ps. 81, 88, 92, 93
Reading Psalm 81 reminds me of raising my boys and wanting to treat them to some special thing if they would just obey. When they chose not to it hurt me more than it did them. This is how God is feeling about Israel. I’m sure he feels this about me when I fail to trust his ways.
David is at his lowest in Psalm 88. I can relate to this Psalm and I am so glad that God doesn’t leave us in this place. David is in a completely different place in Psalm 92. Sometimes we have to remember when we are in the pit that we will not always be there. The truth is that God is faithful and good and we should be thankful and praise his name even in the pit.
What an encouragement Psalm 93 is! The Lord is mightier than the noise of many waters. He is bigger than all the clamor of our lives. Bigger than the storm! His word is true.
Lord, thank you for this reminder. This life is so short and You are so interested in helping us succeed. If you are for us, who can be against us!

Monday, April 27, 2015

Mon.’s Devo - The Land of the Levites

Read: 1 Chronicles 6
Today we read about the tribe of Levi - the priests. Levi had three sons: Gershom, Kohath, and Merari. Gershom means “an stranger there”. Sounds like Gershom knew he was just passing through and earth was not his home. Their job in the wilderness was to carry the tabernacle, tent, coverings, hangings and court and gate. They had over 7,500 males who served with them. They received 13 cities according to Joshua 21:6. Kohath was Levi’s second son and his name means “waiting; obedient”. In the wilderness, they carried the tabernacle furniture and vessels. They numbered 8,600 males who served. They were given 13 cities (Jos. 21:4-5). Merari means “my bitterness or my rebellion”. No wonder Merari’s two son’s names mean “sick” and “sensitive”. Their job in the wilderness was to carry the sockets and frames, pillars, pins and cords. they numbered 6,200. They were given 12 cities in Jos. 21:7. Later, many of these priests became singers in the temple.
Since the Levites were not given land, each of the tribes assigned certain cities for the Levites and they lived amongst all the tribes. There cities were cities of refuge where refugees could run to for justice and safety. These cities are like our churches today where the sinner can run to for salvation. God sets up places of refuge for us to run into. We can be a city of refuge where the poor, lame, blind and sick can come and find hope and healing.
Lord, make us your city of refuge today.

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Sun.’s Devo - Remember What God Has Done

Read: Ps. 73, 77, 78
It is hard not to relate to David in Psalms 73. Everyday we read about people that are anti-god and living the high life with all the power and luxury. It is hard not to be envious or resentful but then we have to remember their end. This life that seems so long to us is really a breath in eternity and our momentary affliction is nothing compared to the eternal reward that is waiting for us that endure until the end.
In Psalms 77, David reminds himself of the miraculous things God did for his people like parting the Red Sea. To live apart from God is to miss out on all the miraculous things He does for his children. Sometimes we just need to remember what God has done for us then we won’t envy the wicked.
We also need to teach our children and the next generation what God has done, not only in the Bible, but in our own lives. This will keep them from turning back in the midst of their battles. God provided for the children of Israel as a reminder to us that he will provide for us. He will lead us by his Holy Spirit and furnish a table for us in our wilderness. He is the God of the impossible if we just have faith.
Psalms 78 also warns us of God’s discipline. His mercy is very strong but he will eventually discipline us because he loves us. We have to teach our children this also.
Lord, remind us today of all the things you have done for us and strengthen our spirits.

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Sat.’s Devo - Who is Jabez?

Read: 1 Chron. 3-5
There is a lot of history in all these genealogies. David reigned seven and a half years in Hebron and 33 in Jerusalem. David was one of the many types of Jesus and his reign in Jerusalem was the span of Jesus life.
Judah was the largest tribe and in 4:9 we have this two verse explanation of a man who is not listed in the genealogy. It is Jabez. I read the “Prayer of Jabez” years ago and memorized his prayer but reading it in context even gives it more power. Who is Jabez’s mother or father? Why is this put in here? If nothing else, it shows us that in the midst of Judah’s apostasy and turning from God, there is always a remnant that refuses to conform to the world but chooses to follow God. Jabez was this man. He wanted God’s blessing, not the blessing of Baal. He wanted God’s promotion, not one he got from his own hand. And he wanted God’s presence; his holiness; and his joy. God gave him what he prayed for.
In 5:18-21 we read that the sons of Reuben, Gad and Manasseh made war with the Hararites. Hagarites means “ensnared”. But, because they cried out to the Lord, He delivered them and their land and they were able to put them in captivity. But as they increased in number the sinned against God and took up foreign gods and God stirred up the spirit of Pul and the spirit of Tilgath-pilneser to carry them away. There names mean to prick and to separate into categories and discriminate. This is a spirit that is rampant in our world.
God, may you renew the prayer of Jabez in our hearts.

Friday, April 24, 2015

Fri.’s Devo - David’s Meditations

Read: Ps. 43-45, 49, 84-85, 87
I love how David commands his soul to rise up and not be depressed in chapter 43.
In chapter 44 David reminds himself of how God fought the enemies of the Israelites not in their own strength or sword. God did it for them and he will do that for us also. Whatever overwhelms us…God can defeat and overcome.
Chapter 45 is such a beautiful allegory of Christ and the bride of Christ.
David speaks of resurrection of his soul in chapter 49 which was not understood back then. They believed they would spend their afterlife under the earth. David could see that there would one day be a resurrection. So he encouraged them not to be consumed with this life and its injustices because something greater was in the future.
In chapter 84, David has a glimpse of what heaven is going to be like and he is so hungry to be there.
David’s heart is heavy for his nation to turn back to the Lord so they can be blessed in chapter 85.
David praises spiritual Jerusalem and proclaims, “all my springs are in you.”
Lord, though we can’t talk to David, help us to see what he saw and have a heart after You.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Thur.’s Devo - The Significance of Names

Read: 1 Chr. 1-2
Today’s reading may seem dry and unimportant but it is very important or God wouldn’t have wasted the space. I think if we could spend the time to decipher the meaning of each name we would find a story. What I do find interesting is the little tidbits of information the Bible does give us about a few of them. Of Nimrod it tells us that he began to be mighty upon the earth. Nimrod was the person who began to build the tower of Babel so what it is really telling us is that rebellion began to become mighty in the earth since Nimrod’s name means “to rebel”.
In verse 19 it says that Eber had two sons: the name of the one was Peleg; because in his days the earth was divided. Peleg means “earthquake” so we know that there was an earthquake during his days.
Reading verse 32 reminds me that Abraham had more sons than Ishmael and Isaac. If you look up the meaning of the names of the sons Abraham had through his concubine Keturah it reads, “Their song was insidious, strife and contention. They will leave a cry for salvation.” Everyone is looking for salvation.
The meanings of the cities the Edomites built were “judgement” and “ruin”.
How would you like to be so evil that God had to kill you? (2:3)
It doesn’t tell us here but his brother Onan was killed by the Lord also. Judah’s daughter-in-law had to trick him into an inheritance. In verse 7 we are told that Carmi had a son named Achar who was a troubler of Israel. In 1 Chron. 4:1 we see that Carmi was a son of Judah. Achar (Achan) was guilty of keeping back some of the loot in the battle of Jericho that cost Israel a defeat in the next town of Ai. Achar was stoned.
I’m going to stop here but we can see that these insignificant chapters are packed with information. Names are so important because they become your destiny.
Lord, you give each of us a new name when we come into the family of God. Help us to live up to the destiny of our name.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Weds.’ Devo - David’s Heart

Read: Ps. 6, 8-10, 14, 16, 19, 21
I wonder if David wrote Psalms 6 when he found out Saul had died and he was waiting on God to know what to do. David has a humble heart and has been broken by his circumstances.
Psalms 8 is a declaration of the excellency of God and the frailty of man. He states that man is made a little lower than the angels, and God has crowned him with glory and honor. Hebrews 2:6 says the same thing about Jesus. Jesus was truly a man like us with the spirit of God in him…like us.
David praises God in Ps. 9 for what he has done for him. Before, David was proclaiming what God will do, but now, he is seeing the fruit of his prayers.
I have to wonder if in Psalms 10, 11,14 David isn’t referring to the reign of Ishbosheth and Abner. He speaks of the pride of those who don’t seek God and think of him. David asks God to remember the humble and reward and protect them. In Chapter 16, David vows that he is standing upon God and he will not be moved. He is glad and hopeful of God’s promises because he knows God is true.
I love Psalms 19! I put it to memory years ago and still quote it to myself often. I got a real revelation of the heavens declaring God’s glory a couple of years ago when I went on a cruise. I woke up early to watch the sun rise over the ocean. When that bright orange orb crested the top of the ocean it made me gasp it was so awe-inspiring. God’s creation is talking to us if we will just watch it and listen with our spirits.
Psalms 21 seems to have come when David felt fully established in his kingdom and is reflecting on all God has done for him. God did the impossible for him and David is so thankful.
Lord, in our climb to the throne, help us to encourage ourselves in you like David did. Thank you for his songs that are strength and life to us.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Tues.’s Devo - David’s Rise to King

Read: 2 Sam. 1-4
David’s rise to the kingdom was not a smooth transition. He had an adversary, Abner who had been Saul’s right hand man. David respected and honored Abner even though Abner was conniving and made Saul’s son, Ishbosheth, the king over Israel. David became king over Judah. When Ishbosheth questioned Abner’s authority over a concubine of Saul’s that Abner was seeing, Abner’s response made Ishbosheth afraid of him.
Abner killed young Asheal in battle which was the brother of Joab. Joab was the leader of David’s army who he sought revenge and killed Abner. David, who was innocent in the matter, mourned and honored Abner in his death. Two zealous Judites killed Ishbosheth thinking they would be honored by David. Instead they were rewarded with death. Saul had one more son who was still living, Meshibosheth who was lame. We will read more about him in the next few days.
In a nutshell: David got his kingdom and didn’t have to fight for it. He asked God what to do after Saul’s death and God told him to move to Hebron. Hebron is the place where kings are anointed. There the people set him up as king. The people killed his adversaries: Abner and Ishbosheth. David just trusted in God. What a great lesson for us. When God is ready to promote us, we don’t have to help him. He can do it all by himself. Our job is to abide in the vine.
Lord, help us to abide in You today.

Monday, April 20, 2015

Mon.’s Devo - Hope for Tomorrow

Read: Ps. 121, 123-125, 128-130
When I read Ps. 121 I can’t help but think of what is going on in the world today especially in the Middle East. God is not asleep. He is Israel’s keeper and He is our keeper. Nothing happens that He isn’t aware of and watching over.
Psalms 123 reminds us to look up when everything is going south. God will have mercy on us and will come to our rescue in time.
In Psalms 124, David proclaims that God is on our side! How can we fail? He will not give us up to the enemy but will give us a way of escape.
In Psalms 125 we find peace when we trust in the Lord. We will be rewarded.
Psalms 128 is such a good promise for our posterity. They shall be blessed and see good and experience peace if they fear the Lord.
No matter how bad our past has been, Psalms 129 reminds us that there is a judgment one day on the wicked, but we will be blessed.
We feel the anguish of David’s heart as he looks at his nation and the sin he sees in Psalms 130. He knows that in God there is forgiveness and redemption. We pray this for America.
Lord, thank you for the encouragement of today’s Psalms. We know that if we trust in You everything will be alright.

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Sun.’s Devo -The End of Saul

Read: 1 Sam. 28-31: Ps. 18
Saul had lost his godly anointing so he went to the occult to learn secrets of the spirit world. What amazes me is that even when he was told the Philistines would kill him and his son the next day, he went to the battlefield the next day. I think I would have sat that one out. I think that to Saul, death was better than being alive to see David given his throne. Saul was suffering from insanity and depression because God had left him, so death would be an escape. The woman fixed Saul his last meal before he left to face his doom.
God will help us maintain our integrity. David was faced with helping Achish against his own men and God got him out of it. It was perfect because God needed David to go get back what had been stolen from him. God left a suffering servant to guide them to their families. He was able to restore everything. God really can take care of us and guide us. His “no’s” are for a reason. His suffering servant led us to the cross.
Saul and his three sons died in the battle the next day and their heads were chopped off and their armor stripped. Their bodies were disgracefully displayed on the wall of Beth-shan until some brave men stole them and burned them and buried the ashes. What a sad ending to Israel’s first king. Saul was man’s choice. David was God’s.

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Sat.’s Devo - Choose to Rejoice

Read: Ps. 17, 35, 54, 63
It is more meaningful reading these Psalms and knowing what stage of life David is in. David cries out to God for justice because he is the innocent being hunted down by his own people, living in a heathen land surrounded by enemies. He knows God has said he will be the next king but nothing about his life proves this will happen. He prays to be delivered from the wicked who seek to kill him. He finds his satisfaction in knowing that when this is all over he will be conformed to God’s likeness.
In Psalms 35, David is weary and wonders when God is going to come to his rescue. We can all relate to this. God is never early but always on time….his time.
In Psalms 54 David proclaims that God will defeat his enemies. His faith is growing.
In Psalms 63 it seems that David is longing to worship God in his own land in the sanctuary. David’s sanctuary has always been the open field where he watched his sheep as a boy. But now his sanctuary is a lookout hill where he is constantly having to watch his back. His sheep have been replaced by warriors and his harp by a sword. But in the shadow of the Lord’s wings he chooses to rejoice.
What a great example for us. When we are wrongfully accused and in a place of hiddenness and everything seems to be going wrong we can choose to rejoice in the Lord. I think those are the most powerful times to rejoice. Those are the times we have the attention of heaven and God is so pleased.
Lord, help us to choose to rejoice today, no matter what comes our way.

Friday, April 17, 2015

Fri.’s Devo - David’s Trials

Read: 1 Sam. 25-27
The last judge, Samuel has died. Samuel was also a prophet who was much loved by the people. After mourning his death, David went down to the wilderness. He needed food for his men so he asked a very rich man named Nabal to help him out. Nabal could afford to feed David’s whole army and God would have blessed him even more. Instead, Nabal was greedy and refused to help David and his men. If you are not generous when you have nothing, you will not be generous when you have much. David was about to seek revenge when Abigail stopped him. It is not our place to get revenge, it is the Lord’s. “Abigail” means “father of joy”. David had lost his and so had Nabal. Abigail brought peace to the situation and God stepped in and brought retribution on Nabal and rewarded Abigail with a new husband. I can’t help but think that Abigail’s act influenced David’s next encounter with Saul. Once again, Saul is put in David’s hand to kill and he doesn’t. He wants God to give him the kingdom in the His timing, His way.
Everything David encountered was a test to get him ready to be a king. God was trying his heart to see what was in it. If we would look at our trials that way, it would make them seem beneficial instead of a pain.
David left his encounter with Saul and went to dwell with the Philistines. They gave him the city of Ziklag to live in. “Ziklag” means “enveloped in grief”. There he lived in the midst of his enemies wondering if the words of a dead prophet would ever come to fruition. But, David continued to fight his enemies. He would go on stealth missions and kill the enemies’ cities and not leave anyone alive to tell it was him who had attacked. When the Philistines asked him what he did that day he would lie and tell them he went somewhere else. God kept his secret safe.
Lord, thank you for David’s example. He had a destiny that only You could bring about and You did. We also have a destiny that only You can bring about so we wait upon You.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Thurs.’s Devo - Fight for God

Read: Psalms 56. 120, 140-142
David talks much about the violent man. Even though David was a man of war he wasn’t a violent man. David fought the Lord’s enemies, the Philistines, but refused to fight God’s anointed - Saul. Saul fought against the Lord and the Lord’s anointed - David. David believed that God would rescue the righteous and that the wicked would be caught in their own devises. He was so right. If we just wait, the wicked will slay themselves with their own sword…we just need to wait. That is where we tend to want to take matters into our own hands. When we see evil people prosper or get the raise we should have or lie about their affairs. They will have to pay for their sin but it does seem sometimes that they get away with their sins and live high on our misfortune. We have to remember that we don’t fight flesh and blood but powers and principalities in the spirit. Our weapons are mighty through God to the pulling down of strongholds. Like David, we can cry to the Lord and ask him to deal bountifully with us.
Lord, remind us again that this is not our home. We are living for eternity and that is what really matters. You are our fortress and high tower. In You we will put our trust.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Wed.’s Devo - David’s Journal

Read: Ps. 7, 27, 31, 34, and 59
These were David’s journal entries as he ran from Saul. David had been anointed by Samuel to be the next king and he couldn’t even live in his own country for fear of his life. I’m sure he wondered how God was going to pull this off but he kept encouraging himself in what he knew about God. He trusted him God as his judge and the only one who could defend him against Saul. We see David’s growth as his entries continue. He starts by wanting God to punish Saul for his wickedness in Psalms 7. In Psalms 27, David puts the emphasis on the Lord and His salvation. He sings to the Lord and rejoices over God as God defeats his enemies. He longs to know God better and more intimately He proclaims that he will see better days in his lifetime and encourages himself to wait on God.
David renews his trust in the Lord in Psalms 31 and understands that God sees his trouble and will hide him in His secret place. David proclaims that God is both good and kind even though he is still in reproach and great trouble.
Psams 34 is one of my favorite Psalms. David proclaims that the angel of the Lord camps around those that fear Him and delivers them. He is near the broken heart and those that have a contrite spirit. In Psalms 59 David prays the defeat of his enemies and the victory of the Lord.
Lord, You are our defense and the God of our mercy!

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Tues.’s Devo - David’s Escape

Read: 1 Sam. 21-24
David has begun his run from Saul. His first place to run is Nob which means “fruit”. There he receives bread and the sword of Goliath. How fitting that he would be given the very weapon used against him to fight his enemies. Now he will use it to defend himself against the one he was fighting for the first time. Many times jealousy will come between best friends and make them bitter enemies.
Abimelech was the priest who acted in complete innocence. It cost him his life to do the right thing. Doeg was the rat who told on David. His name means “anxious”. He was so anxious to make himself a good name he killed 85 priests. Fear is a powerful enemy. It will cause us to do irrational things. Killing priests and their families when everyone else refuses to do so is irrational to say the least. Especially since he had been to Nob just to hear from God himself.
Abiathar escaped with the ephod to David and told him all that had happened back at Nob. I can’t imagine David’s pain knowing that it was his fault. Amazingly, Abiathar didn’t blame David but was faithful to help him and inquire of God for him. So David gained a personal priest. He also gained everyone that was in distress, in debt, and discontented with the government… sounds like the very people Jesus came to save.
Saul is feeling his unpopularity not only with people but with God. He knows that David is going to be the next king and it is killing him. To make matters worse, he knows that his son is supportive of David who should be his opponent. Poor Saul, it’s hard not to have pity for him. He is a tormented man. Even when David proves in the cave that he is not out to kill Saul, Saul can’t let it go.
Lord, let this be a reminder to us of what not trusting You looks like. We want to have a heart like David’s not like Saul’s.

Monday, April 13, 2015

Mon.’s Devo - David Trusted in the Lord

Read: 1 Sam. 18-20; Ps.11; Ps.56
Saul didn’t have a kingdom mentality. He only thought of himself and his better good, not the good of the kingdom. So he was jealous of David’s gifts and talents. Sound familiar? It reeks of a good church split. If we truly put the kingdom first and appreciated the gifts others had we would be able to put them in positions to aid the body of Christ. Saul treated David with such injustice yet David behaved himself wisely and didn’t fight back. David knew he was to be the next king because Samuel had anointed him to be and everything Samuel said came to pass, so David waited on the Lord. Saul envied the spirit of God in David and the love his son, Jonathan had for David and the love the people had for David. It was obvious to Saul that his popularity was shrinking while David’s was growing. Jealousy eventually leads to murder and Saul tried, but God wouldn’t let him succeed. David still refused to fight back. We see in the Psalms how David poured his soul to the Lord and what he was thinking. He talks about how the wicked shoot at the upright in heart. Yet he proclaims that God is in his holy temple and he is seeing everything that is going on. The wicked will be judged and God loves his righteous ones.
David knew that God was for him and if that was so then He would save him.
Lord, when we are afraid, we will trust in You like David did.

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Sun.’s Devo - David’s Assent to the Throne

Read: 1 Sam. 15-17
God never forgets a kind deed done for his children. Everything we do for the kingdom is recorded in a book and we will be rewarded for it. Even non-Christians will be rewarded for their kindness to God’s people. The Kenites had aided the Israelites when they came out of Egypt. All of them are probably dead by now, but their blessing went to their grandchildren and they were spared. The Amelekites had not aided the children of Israel and it was their judgment day. Saul was to kill and destroy everything the Amelekites owned. Instead, he kept their best and used the excuse to Samuel that he saved them to sacrifice to the Lord. He also saved their king. That is like casting out demons and leaving the principality to rule. Agag means “flame”. Sin is like a flame that spreads. No doubt if Samuel had allowed Agag to live his evil would have spread to the people of Israel. Samuel gave Saul his famous speech about the fact that to obey God was better than any sacrifice man can come up with.
Soon after that, Samuel was sent to the family of Jesse to anoint the next king. This king would not be the one that looked like a king. He would not satisfy the people as much as he would satisfy God’s pick for a king. He would be a man after God’s own heart. David was chosen. He was also chosen to play his harp before Saul to chase off the evil spirits that haunted him. And he was chosen to take cheese and bread to his brothers on the battle field. He volunteered to go fight Goliath. “Goliath” means “striped as a captive” even though on the outside he was covered with chains and iron. What a picture of a person in bondage. He was also very mad. David took him down with one stone from his arsenal. It only takes one scripture to make the meanest demon fall. David understood the power of God.
Lord, help us to see who we are in the spirit and what we carry. There is no demon in hell that is more powerful than the spirit in us.

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Sat.’s Devo - God is Always on Time

Read: 1 Sam. 13-14
Saul has only reigned two years when he disobeyed enough to have his kingdom taken from him. All he did was to offer the sacrifice before Samuel got there which doesn’t seem fair on the surface. But what Saul did was so much more. He was the king appointed by the priest, but in offering the sacrifice himself he was acting as the priest. Saul had mustered 3,000 men to fight a small garrison of Philistines in Geba and had won. He blew his trumpet and proclaimed his victory. His small victory had stirred up a hornets nest because the Philistines came back with 30,000 chariots and 6,000 horsemen. They camped waiting to strike Saul’s army and under this stress, Saul is waiting for Samuel to come offer the sacrifice. The people had gathered for the sacrifice but when they saw the Philistines descending like the sand of the sea they ran and hid and many left completely. Saul had waited seven days and feared he was losing control of the people so he offered the sacrifice so they would have a false sense of security.
God is never afraid of our enemies and he is never in a hurry. He waits till it looks like there is no answer and comes in with an unexpected victory. He doesn’t care about the crowd and many times will thin the crowds just to minister to the truly hungry and the remnant. We just need to hold on till the end and not lose hope. God never disappoints for those who wait for him.
Lord, you are always on time and your answer is the best!

Friday, April 10, 2015

Fri.’s Devo - The Humble will be Exalted

Read: 1 Sam. 9-12
God will often give us what we ask for even if it is not what He wants for us. “Saul” means “asked”. The people asked for a king and God gave them Saul. Saul looked like a king. He was tall, good-looking, strong, etc. The only down fall was he was from the little tribe of Benjamin - the one that almost got wiped off the map when they didn’t come to the rescue of Gibeah. (Judges 19-21) I’m sure Saul didn’t feel much like a king or that anyone from the other tribes would think of him as one so he hid on the day of his promotion. Samuel presented him anyway and there were people who didn’t honor this decision. Saul chose the right thing. He went home and did what he always did and waited for God to exalt him.
The occasion came when the people of Jabesh-gilead were threatened by Nahash (serpent) and they are wondering if anyone will help them since they didn’t help Gibeah. This is a great lesson. Sometimes we don’t want to get involved in helping people we might not know, but we never know if we might need help from strangers ourselves one day. You do reap what you sow.
Israel did come to their rescue through Saul - their newly appointed king. Even Saul had hidden from his new position because of insecurity but when the occasion came, what God had placed inside him couldn’t stay hidden. He just rose up and it was natural for him. We are all anointed and gifted to do our part and we won’t have to make it happen, we won’t have to prove to anyone what our gifting is - it will just rise up. That is God’s way of doing things.
Lord, help us to be content to grow in silent till you raise us up. Help us to reach out to everyone you place in front of us.

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Thurs.’s Devo -The Last Judge

Read: 1 Sam. 4-8
One of Israel’s enemies were the Philistines. Philistine means “to wallow” so I looked up “wallow” in the dictionary and one of the definitions was “to live or indulge oneself fully with immoderate enjoyment.” So these people had no restraints on their means of entertainment and no self-control. They had taken 5 cities from the Israelites and the ark of the Lord. On the day the ark was taken, Eli, his two sons: Phinehas and Hophni, and Phinehas’ pregnant wife died. As she was dying she named her son Ichabod which means “no glory” because the glory of God was taken. In their ignorance, the Philistines took the ark and put it in their house of Dagon thinking they would add it to their gods They didn’t realize that God is the only god and all other gods have to bow before him. So the next morning Dagon had fallen on his face and his head and hands were severed. The the people began to get tumors in their anus! They called it “emrods in their secret parts”. God was showing them that they thought their sin was hidden from him but it wasn’t. That is what the glory of God does. When His presence draws near, sin is exposed. The punishment makes me think they were involved in homosexual acts.
The ark stayed there 7 months till they were either dead or sick. They asked their own priests and diviners how to take the ark back and they told them they had to send a trespass offering with the ark. To appease for their sin they had to have a piece of gold fashioned in the shape of their tumors and five golden mice - one for each city they had taken and infiltrated with their sinful behavior. They put the ark and the offerings on a cart driven by cows that had never had a harness on them who had just had calves. I think the reason they did this was so that the cow wouldn’t be trained to go a certain path he was used to going. And if you take a mother away from her calf she will kill to get back to her calf. They wanted to see the power of God lead these cows and it did. God defied nature and led those untrained cows straight to Beth-shemesh. Beth-shemesh means “house of the sun”. Israel was where the Sun (God) chose to make his house. Joshua which is another name for Jesus was waiting for it. They took the wood from the cart, and sacrificed the cows as a burnt offering. Jesus’ sacrifice made a way for the glory of God to into our lives.
Samuel called the people to return to the Lord and they did. They then went up and took the five cities that the five mice represented.
As Samuel was growing old the people didn’t want his sons to be a judge since they didn’t follow God so they asked samruil for a king like the other nations had. This grieved God and he had Samuel warn them what this king would do. They still wanted one. God will give us what we want sometimes even if it is not His best.
Lord, we want your best for us even if we don’t understand what that is. Help us not to want to be like the world. You are our king.

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Wed.’s Devo - God's Ways Are Higher

Read: 1 Sam. 1-3
God’s ways are so higher than our ways. I think of this when I read today’s reading. Hannah’s name means “favored” and she was the favored wife of Elkanah but God had closed her womb and she couldn’t bear children. Was God waiting for her to give the child to him before he would give her one. I don’t know but that is what happened. After Hannah finally conceived and had Samuel, she gave him to the Lord and had five more. Hannah gave Samuel to the Lord…or to Eli when he was two years old. I wonder what Eli did with a two year old! I bet Samuel rocked his quiet world.
The day Hannah gave her baby to Eli, she prayed the most wonderful prayer. I can imagine it was through tears and anguish of heart. It was more of a declaration of who God was and a prophecy of what the Messiah would do. He would raise up the poor out of the dust and lift the beggar and set them among princes and make them inherit the throne of glory. Jesus does that every time a person comes to salvation.
Eli’s sons were very wicked and didn’t fear the Lord or respect the sacrifices to Him. They made a mockery of the holiness of God by having sex with the women that came to the tabernacle to worship. Eli talked to them but continued to allow them to minister as priests. God sent Eli a prophet to rebuke him and told him that no one in his family would grow old but die in their prime. But, Samuel feared God and worshipped Him with purity of heart. God began to speak to Samuel at an early age and established his ministry in Israel.
Lord, may we be like Samuel and be trusted to know Your secrets.

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Tues.’s Devo - Redemption

Read: Ruth 1-4
Ruth is such a story of redemption. The first verse of Ruth tells it all: “in the days when the judges ruled, there was a famine in the land.” Famines were a sign of God’s punishment on a nation that turned away from him. During the time of the judges we learned that men did what was right in their own eyes. Naomi and Elimelech tried to escape God’s judgment and went to Egypt. You can’t escape God’s discipline. Elimelech died along with both of Naomi’s sons who had married Moabite women. Ruth was left with nothing and heard that there is bread back home. She decided to take what was left of her life and move home. Ruth which means “friend” insisted on going with her. Ruth was Moabite but she has seen something in Naomi that was better than anything she has ever had at her house. Together they went to Bethlehem. Naomi enters the town in shame but is restored as God starts blessing her and Ruth.
Boaz was a wealthy land owner and a distant relative. Ruth “just happened” to end up in gleaning in his field and Boaz was immediately drawn to Ruth. He had heard of her story and could relate to her because his mother was Rahab (the harlot), who was a Canaanite. She was the one who hid the two spies when they came to spy out the land. So Boaz empathized with Ruth’s bravery to leave a Gentile lifestyle to acclimate to a Hebrew one. Through their union came David and the Messiah and all the earth was blessed!
God is always trying to redeem us. He can fix any mess we get ourselves in if we humble ourselves and ask him to.
Lord thank you for this beautiful picture of redemption and love. What you did for Ruth is what you did for all of us who have chosen to follow You. You took us in and gave us a new name and a Godly heritage. Through us all the earth will be blessed!

Monday, April 6, 2015

Mon.’s Devo - The Depravity of Man

Read: Judges 19-21
Reading Judges 19 grieves me every time. I find myself so mad at the man who owned the concubine that I want to cut him up in little pieces and mail him out. I know we are only given a thumbnail of what happened but the injustice is beyond my comprehension. I want to know why the girl left her husband the first time but then I read the story and know why. He didn’t love her. He gave her up for the town of wicked men to rape and pillage her then told her to get up and get on her horse when he found her on the ground the next morning. The only way to make sense to any of these three chapters can be summed up in the last verse of chapter 21. “In those days there was no king in Israel: every man did that which was right in his own eyes.”
This is man at his worse state. Without a king means that God was not their god. This is how twisted we can become when God is not our king.
It only got worse as the whole nation of Israel rose up against the whole tribe of Benjamin instead of punishing the people responsible. Fifty thousand Benjamites were killed in battle and four thousand Israelites. All the women and children were killed of the tribe of Benjamin then to preserve their posterity the men had to kidnap wives. I would have hated to have lived in that day as a women. Satan hates women because they represent the bride of Christ. He hates men because they represent Jesus, the bride groom. Satan will do the most vile things through anyone who will allow themselves to be used by him.
Lord, help us to stand against the devil and his schemes. Open our eyes to see through his deceptions.

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Sun.’s Devo - How to Bind a Strong Man

Read: Judges 16-18
Samson was the Biblical Hulk. I can just imagine him getting so mad, trapped in the city that he marches to the gate and rips it out of the ground and carries it on his shoulders to the top of a mountain. No man was going to stop him.
Samson was stronger than a thousand men but one woman brought him down. His weakness was Philistine women…namely Delilah. Her name means “languishing” which means weak and failing in health. From the story of Samson we can learn a much deeper truth. Samson was a strong man and they wanted to bind him and cast him out. If there is a “strong man” in our lives we need to bind him and cast him out. (Matt. 12:29) In order to do that we need to do what Delilah did and find the secret of his strength. The secret is always the source and how it got entrance to our lives. If we have a great fear of people leaving us then we need to learn what makes us afraid of being abandoned. We can get the answer by asking God. I have gotten these answers through dreams and memories God has given me. Then I can go back and deal with the source. It usually comes through forgiveness and understanding. But, you have to watch over your deliverance and not let it gain strength again. That is what happened to Samson. They thought he was taken care of but they allowed his hair to grow back and with it came his strength. For example: if you have been delivered of alcohol you can’t play around with any other drug again.
The next story of Micah shows how far Israel has strayed from the law. Even the priests were doing their own thing and working for money not the Lord.
Lord, show us the secret to the strengths of the “strong men” in our lives that we might bind them and cast them out for good.

Saturday, April 4, 2015

Sat.’s Devo - The Beginning of Samson

Read: Judg 13-15
When God judges a nation he does it for 40 years. The children of Israel wandered in the wilderness for 40 years because they refused to trust in God to deliver them. In today’s reading Israel has followed other gods so God delivered them to the Philistines for 40 years to get them to return to Him. It is now time to deliver them out of their hands so God raises up Samson and brings him into the world with signs and wonders. An angel comes to his parents and foretells his future then descends into a flame of fire. Samson is to be a Nazarite from birth and they were never to cut his hair. His mother was not to eat anything unclean or drink any wine. Seems like strange parenting advise to me but God is beyond our understanding. Then to get even more bizarre, Samson had a crush on a Philistine woman which the Lord set up. When Samson went down to get her he was attacked by a lion and the Spirit of the Lord came upon him and he tore the lion to pieces. I would have loved to see Samson’s face when he realized what he had just done. It’s like he was discovering his super-power for the first time. When he came back by the dead lion he noticed bees had made their hive in the carcass. This gave him his idea for his wedding riddle. All of this was orchestrated by the Lord so Samson could get so mad at the Phillistines that he would single-handedly destroy all their crops for that season and the next and kill a thousand Phillistines with a jawbone of an ass.
The story of Samson could be a Marvel comic it is so amazing.
Lord, You are amazing! Your power and creativity is endless.

Friday, April 3, 2015

Fri.’s Devo - More Judges

Read: Judges 10-12
There were 13 judges in all. Most of them brought the people back to the Lord and helped Israel defeat their enemies. For example: Jair’s name means “enlightener”. He had 30 sons, 30 colts and 30 cities. As soon as he died the nation of Israel went back into sin. Theses judges brought spiritual revival but as soon as they died, the nation slowly died spiritually.
The story of Jephthah is always a hard one to understand for me. He was the son of a harlot that was exiled from his family until they needed him to lead them when they got threatened by the Ammonites. Jephthah knew Israel’s history and who the Ammonites were. They had refused to allow Israel to pass through their land so God gave them their land. He came back with the stipulation that if he helped them defeat the Ammonites, he would rule Gilead. They agreed and he got them their victory at the expense of losing his only child over a rash vow he made. The thing that surprises me the most is his daughter’s willingness to appease her father’s bad decision. I’m afraid I would have run away instead of coming home to my impending death. She paid the price of her life and never got to experience the joy of having children. Jephthah destroyed his own heritage to preserve the heritage of his brothers. I guess that makes him a hero. Jephthah’s name means “he will open”. He opened a way for his brethren to live in peace.
Lord, help us to be willing to sacrifice our own pleasure for the bigger picture.

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Thurs.’s Devo - The Fall of Israel

Read: Judges 8-9
Gideon seemed to have the same problem many of us have when we feel called to lead. Not everyone gets the e-mail. He had just defeated most of the Midianites and was chasing down two of their kings but none of the cities he passed through would help him. After he caught the two kings he came back to those cities and brought judgment. Israel then made Gideon a judge. Gideon foolishly asked for gold earrings from all the men to make an ephod. He caused all Israel to go into idolatry.
Gideon had 70 sons and a son from a concubine named Abimelech. Abimelech rose up and wanted to usurp the power so he had all the sons killed. Only Jotham escaped out of all the sons. Abimelech was made king of Shechem. Jotham stood up and preached a fiery speech against Abimelech then ran and hid in the desert.
God raised up an adversary to Abimelech to punish him for what he did to Gideon’s sons. His adversary were the men of Shechem. They robbed the people and made Gaal their leader. It ended in a battle. As Abimelech was setting the city on fire, a woman cast a millstone from the wall which hit Abimelech’s head and cracked his skull. God got revenge on the men of Shechem and Abimelech.
In today’s reading there were no “good guys” except for maybe Jotham. This was the spirit of the time they were living - there were few righteous people. People did what was right in their own eyes.
Lord, thank you that we live in a day when righteous people are standing up. Give us strength and fortitude to fight the battles of our day.

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Wed.’s Devo - The Battle is the Lord’s

Read: Judges 6-7
When the children of Israel did evil, God delivered them into the hand of Midian for seven years. Midian means “strife and contention”. The Midianites would wait till their harvest was ready and they would come down and destroy it so Israel had nothing to eat or live by. Isn’t that what strife and contention does? It zaps the life out of you and steals your joy which is your strength. It leaves you impoverished spiritually and physically.
God raised up Gideon to do away with the curse. Gideon means “warrior; feller”. The first thing he was to fell or cut down was the altar of Baal and the grove by it. The grove was the place they met to worship Baal. It was really nothing more than a brothel. Next he was to rebuild the altar to the Lord. He did this at night because he was afraid of the men of the city. When the men of the city found out and came for Gideon, the spirit of God rose up in him and he was no longer afraid. The warrior inside him woke up and he blew a trumpet and Abi-ezer was gathered after him. Abi-ezer means “god of help” and is the Holy Spirit. He called for the help of surrounding tribes and went out against the Midianites and the Amelekites.
Gideon was strengthened by the two fleeces he put out. He would need these confirmations because the next thing God did was to tell him to whittle down his army so it would be obvious to everyone that the victory was the Lord’s. Then God gave Gideon a third confirmation through a dream the enemy had. Gideon and his 300 men went with torches hidden in clay vessels and trumpets. They blew their trumpets, smashed their vessels and shouted their victory. It doesn’t tell us how many they drove out but they slew their two princes Oreb and Zeeb. Their names mean “raven” and “wolf”. What a picture of how to fight spiritually. We are the vessels of clay that have to be broken. The trumpets are the Word of God that has to be proclaimed. When we proclaim God’s Word for the situation and have broken contrite hearts, we can go boldly into any war and defeat the enemy.
Lord, You make our enemies afraid of us when we trust in You. The battle is Yours!