Saturday, April 30, 2016

Sat.’s Devo - God’s Greatest Victory

Read: 2 Sam. 22 & Ps. 18
I love this passage! It is the same word-for-word except the beginning verse. In Psalm 18, David adds “I love you, Lord; you are my strength.” This is the prayer or song David sung the day the Lord rescued him from all his enemies and from Saul.
Years ago, I was reading about the crucifixion and I read the part of the sky turning dark for 3 hours. I meditated on what they might look like and why the Lord turned the lights out. So I looked up every scripture on darkness and found these. I was intrigued to say the least. Could God have clothed himself in darkness and come down and ministered to Jesus like these scriptures say. For one thing, I don’t think God abandoned Jesus on the cross and turned away because he couldn’t look at sin. That is preposterous to God’s nature. God is omnipotent and everywhere so there is no place he isn’t. Also, God promises never to leave us or abandon us. Also, God looks at sin every day and even meets with Satan so God is not afraid of sin. So… maybe he clothed himself in that darkness and (vs 9-12) came down. There was thunder and a great fight in the heavenlies. God shot arrows and scattered his enemies. God reached down and protected Jesus from the onslaught of the enemy and led him to a place of refuge. Jesus’ righteousness and innocence saved him.
On the cross, when the lights came back on , Jesus cried, “my God, my God, why have you forsaken me” because he was referring to the Psalms that starts with that passage. That is how they named the Psalms in that day - by the first verse. He was referring to Ps. 22. It talks about the crucifixion and everything that went on that day so they could read it and know that he was fulfilling the Word of the Lord. This was God’s greatest victory so he wouldn’t miss it.
Just like God came to Jesus in his hour of great need, he comes to us in ours. We can praise him for his great victory in our life.
Lord, thank you for giving us victory over all our enemies of fear, intimidation, lack, hopelessness, inferiority, addictions and loneliness. You are the cure for everything that ails us!

Friday, April 29, 2016

Fri.’s Devo - What Has God Told You to Do?

Read: 2 Sam. 19:41-end of 22; 1 Chron. 20:4-8; Ps. 7
Yesterday we read where David made Amasa his commander in chief. Amana had led Absalom’s army. I’m sure David did this so that he wouldn’t have another enemy rise us but we see today that there was one man who didn’t appreciate it - Joab. He finds his opportunity and kills Amasa. Joab had been faithful to David from Saul’s reign and thought he deserved to remain the leader of the army.
There was a famine in the land which is alway an indication that sin is in the land. David asked the Lord what they had done and the Lord showed him he had not finished matters dealing with the Gibeonites. The Gibeonites had a covenant with Israel that they would be defended by them but Saul had them killed in his haste to blot out the Amorites. David went to the Gibeonites and asked them what would make up for what Saul did and they asked for 7 of Saul’s sons. He gave them the seven men. This wasn’t enough. David had to see it through to the end. Now he had to bury the bones of Saul, Jonathan and these 7 men. Then he had appeased God and the famine lifted.
Our pastor always asked us if we have done the last thing God told us to do. It is a great question because sometimes we can’t go forward till we finish everything God has told us to do. So if you are caught in limbo you might ask God if there is anything he has told you to do that you haven’t done. I’m going to do that myself.
Lord, thank you for reminders that You are sovereignly in control and you demand obedience instead of sacrifice.

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Thurs.’s Devo - Absalom’s Demise

Read: 2 Sam. 17:15-19:30; Ps. 3 & 63
I can’t help think this is a picture of Satan’s rebellion. Satan rebelled and took one third of the angels with him. I don’t know the percentage that Absalom took but I wonder if it wasn’t a third. It was David’s reaction to Absalom’s death that always impresses me. Did God feel the same way about Satan when he rebelled? Did he cry and mourn for his son? I would think so.
Rejection is a powerful spirit. Ahithophel hung himself when Absalom didn’t take his advise. Absalom rebelled when he was rejected by his father. We have all experienced rejection at some level in our lives and it is painful, so what do we do about it? We fall into the arms of a loving Father that never rejects us. David did that. David prayed, “But you, O Lord, are a shield around me. you are my glory, the one who holds my head high.” I have to remind myself over and over that I don’t fight flesh and blood but principalities and powers in the heavenly realm. We can pray like David did to slap those demonic forces in the face. Victory comes from the Lord who blesses his people with favor and love.
Absalom died because of the thing he was most prideful - his hair. He would have it cut and weighed every year and now it caught him and left him dangling so he could be stabbed. Pride will bring us down every time.
Lord, help us to be humble and have a healthy fear of You. Deliver us from feelings of rejection and fear. We cling to You!

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Wed.’s Devo - Absaolom’s Rebellion

Read: 2 Sam. 15- 17:14
Absalom was a deceiver and ruthless politician. He knew how to win the hearts of the people and use it for his conspiracy plan. Absalom was a type of the antichrist. He wanted to be the highest in the kingdom and have everyone bow to him. He conspired against his own father to reach his goal. Absalom self-proclaimed to be king instead of asking God to give him the throne after David had died. Satan always wants what he wants now! David found out the plan and fled before Absalom could get back. He sent back spies to confuse his enemies’ plan.
Not only did David learn that his son, Absalom had conspired against him but he learned that Mephibosheth also supported Absalom after all David had done for him. Of course, we know that Ziba was lying about Mephibosheth but David didn’t find that out until later. David had a small group of friends who stayed loyal to him. This was a sad day for David. But, David had learned in his dealings with Saul, not to fight back. He didn’t kill the man who cursed him from Saul’s family. He didn’t stay and defend his kingdom. He left it to God to give it back to him.
I had a similar thing happen this week-end. I was misunderstood by three people. It was a hard thing to witness, but I decided not to make a production about it and just let it go. Only God knows who is innocent and He is really the only one I want to please. I pray he works in the heart of all of us and gives us true reconciliation. I have learned that people don’t want you to prove that you are right or that they are wrong but if you let God speak to their hearts then maybe they will soften and see things more clearly. I pray that my eyes would be opened to see their side also.
God was looking after David and made Absalom take Ahithopel’s advice. God will fight for us if we let him.
Lord, help us give you our battles. They are not natural but spiritual and we need the Holy Spirit to intervene. Thank you for the victory!

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Tues.’s Devo - The Sins of the Fathers

Read: 2 Sam. 12:26 - end of chapter 14; 1 Chron. 20:2-3
Meanwhile, Joab was out capturing Rabbah which means “great”. So David could have been doing something “great” for his nation and becoming a hero, but instead he was home marring his reputation and hurting his nation. Joab notified him that if he didn’t get there soon and end the battle, he wouldn’t get the credit. So David scrambled a group of fighters and went and closed the deal and got the credit. He put the king’s crown on his head to show that he was now their king and made all the people his slaves.
David opened a door in his family when he slept with a married woman, had her husband murdered and used manipulation to cover his sin. Sexual sin, murder, and manipulation entered his family. It manifested in David’s son, Amnon when he raped one of David’s daughters, Tamar. Murder manifested through Absalom who murdered Amnon in revenge. Manipulation manifested in Absalom and Joab.
What a lesson to learn. When we sin, we open the door to sin that affects our children. We need to learn how to close the door. It is not enough to repent. We need to speak out loud and draw lines in the sand that the devil is not allowed to cross. Lot used to offer a sacrifice every time his children had a party just to be sure they didn’t curse God when they got drunk or do something eternally damaging. We have to constantly fight in the Spirit for our children, especially in the areas that we are weak in. Find some scriptures and quote them over your children daily.
Lord, give us the right prayers to pray for our children to break yokes of bondages and sins we have passed down.

Monday, April 25, 2016

Mon.’s Devo - Forgiveness

Read: 1 Chron. 20:1; 2 Sam. 11-12:25; 1 Chron. 14:3-7; 1 Chron. 3:5-9: Ps. 51
Regrets are hard to get over and today we have to be reading about David’s worse regret. He was in the wrong place at the wrong time doing the wrong thing so the devil seized the opportunity to destroy him. It was the spring of the year when kings were suppose to go out to war. He should have been with his army. Instead he sent Joab to fight his battle for him. Next, he was up on his roof admiring his kingdom which is Satan’s greatest snare: pride. Gazing over his kingdom he sees Bathsheba bathing. I wonder if he had some sort of binoculars. He inquires about who she is and learns that she is married to one of his mighty men. All the red flags are flying and David chooses to ignore them all because, after all, he is the king.
The rest is history. We all have regrets that are part of our history. It is what we do with them that is important. David tried to cover his with manipulation, lies, deceit and murder. God loved David too much to let him get away with his sins so he was exposed in front of all Israel. David had been given great responsibility so his punishment was great. He hurt a lot of innocent people in his kingdom because of this one mistake. It is so hard to see one of our heroes fall. I can think of so many sports figures, movie stars, pastors, and leaders that have fallen from grace over a similar sin. Let’s face it: we may not be famous, but we have all done things that would make other disappointed in us at some time or another. I pray that we would do what David did: he cried out to the Lord for mercy and forgiveness. He didn’t blame anyone but himself and knew that his sin was against God only. He prayed to be cleaned on the inside out.
Lord, this is what we pray, to be washed with your Word and the blood of Jesus that our thoughts and intents would be clean. May our lips show forth praises to You.

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Sun.’s Devo - By Faith

Read: Read: 2 Sam. 8:15-10:19; 1 Chron. 18:15-17; 6:16- end of chapter; 1 Chron. 19
David looked for someone from Saul’s household to honor and found one of Saul’s servants, Ziba. Ziba knows of one person from Saul’s house who was Jonathan’s son who was crippled. His name was Mephibosheth. Mephibosheth means “dispeller of shame”. God was going to dispel the shame from Mephbosheth’s life and give him honor. David gave him the land that was Saul’s and told Ziba to farm it for Mephibosheth and his family and that Mephibosheth was to eat every meal at the king’s table. That was an overnight turnabout for him and his family. One day they are trying to make it with a father who has a huge disability and the next day they are totally provided for, living on more land than they ever dreamed and eating the kings food at his table. That is a picture of what this year is suppose to look like for the children of God that decide to overcome. You have to know you have an inheritance before you can receive it. This is the year of release, the year of Jubilee. Once a year the paper puts out pages and pages of names of people that have never claimed their land or inheritance. We don’t want to be one of those people.
I have tried to sell my shop since September and two days ago, a friend of mine called and her mother wants it! We came to Shreveport for a birthday party for my grand daughter and looked at a few houses. I put a few “dream homes” on the list and one of them just fits everything I dreamed of having. It is out of our price range, but not out of God’s. It might seem presumptuous but I think this is our house. Now is the walk of faith. I asked God to give me a scripture and the only Bible I had at the time was on my phone so I reached it and just turned it to my Bible app. The scripture that popped up was Hebrews 1…”Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.”
We still have to sell our house we live in so this week will be an interesting week. I’ll keep y’all posted. I pray it is a Mephibosheth turn around week for all of us!
Lord, we walk with you by faith!

Saturday, April 23, 2016

Sat.’s Devo - Plan For the Next Generation

Read: 2 Sam. 7 & 8; 1 Chron. 17 & 18; Ps. 60
Today we see a valuable principle that we don’t hear often. David got a burden in his heart to build a temple for God to dwell in. Even Nathan thought it would be a great idea but God spoke to Nathan that night and sent him back to David with a message. He was not to build the temple; he was to prepare for the temple to be built. His job was the defeat the enemies and give his people rest. But, God would establish David’s kingdom and one of his son’s who was not even born yet would build the kingdom in David’s heart.
We all have burdens in our heart and sometimes our lives run out before our vision does. We think we didn’t accomplish all God had for us to do. Maybe, we were to birth the vision and pass it on to our sons and daughters. Maybe we are to do the spiritual warfare it will take for the next person to walk right in and start the ministry or business, whatever it is.
In his battle with the Hadadezer he confiscated large amounts of gold and bronze which would be used to build the temple. Everything David did would be used for his vision even though he was not on earth to see it come to pass. I find this very encouraging. The things we do today count for the future in ways we will never be able to see now. We are living for the next generation and better yet, we are living for eternity!
Lord, help us to be diligent about what you put in front of us to do and not worry about the things that we see that don’t happen in our time table. You are doing a greater work through us that we can see right now!

Friday, April 22, 2016

Fri.’s Devo - Who Are We Pleasing?

Read: 2 Sam. 6:12 - end of chapter: 1 Chron. 15-16
Yesterday we read where David wanted to bring the ark to Jerusalem but because he didn’t bother to read about how to transport the ark, Uzzah died. The fear of God fell on David and he left the ark where it was - at the house of Obed-edom. When he saw how God blessed Obed-edom, he decided to read about how to move the ark to the City of David which is Jerusalem.
He realized that the priests must carry it on their shoulders with poles; that way they never have to touch the ark with their hands. They brought it with much praise and worship and God was pleased.
Michael, David’s wife who was Saul’s daughter was not pleased. She looked down from her window at David and saw him dancing without his kingly robe on and she was humiliated. Her pride cost her. When she complained about it to David, David gave her his famous response. He assured her he didn’t care what people thought and wasn’t concerned with his dignity. As a result, Michah was barren and had no children.
Michael also told David that the servant girls would find his actions humiliating. David replied that the servant girls would find his actions distinguishing. David and Michah did not have the same spiritual eyes. What is foolishness to the world is wisdom to God. What we think is attractive, the world finds distasteful and vise versa. We are not trying to please the world and get their approval; we want to please God and get heaven’s approval.
Lord, give us your eyes and let us see how you see. May our lives be pleasing to you.

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Thurs.’s Devo - Establishing the Kingdom

Read: 2 Sam. 5-6:11; 1 Chron. 11:1-9; 1 Chron. 12:23-40; 1 Chron. 3:4b; 14: 1-2; 1 Chron. 13:1-5
All I can say is that I hope you have the Chronological Bible because it flips back and forth through Samuel and Chronicles enough to make your head spin. I tried to simplify it a little.
All Israel gathered to make David their king. Judah and Israel are now united into one nation. Samuel’s prophecy comes true and David is the king after all the struggles and battles to get to the throne. God’s Word never fails.
I was intrigued by the number of warriors from the different tribes. The tribes we hear about the most like Judah, Levi and Benjamin had the least number of warriors but the tribes that had the most were Zebulun, Asher and Manasseh. Their names mean “habitation”, “happy” and “causing to forget”. These are the areas we need the most support in. Our habitation is not on this earth but in heaven so we need to battle to stay heavenly minded and not be flooded by the cares of the world. The second is happiness. I think a better word would be joy. The joy of the Lord is our strength. When we lose our joy, we are vulnerable to the attack of the enemy. Laughter is a medicine that can heal our natural and spiritual man. The last one is the most important to fortify and it had the greatest army - that is to forget our past. God will cause us to forget the sins of our past if we let him. If we don’t, the Devil will wreck havvock on our minds. He comes to condemn and torment but in Christ there is no longer any condemnation. Our sins are forgiven. If we live forgiven then we are strengthened and can move in God’s power.
One of Israelites greatest enemies was the Philistines. Philistines means to “wallow”. That is one of our societies greatest enemies. We want to wallow in self-pity, over-indulgence, ego, sin, etc. God told David not to fight them head on but to circle around behind and attack them near the poplar trees. They were to wait till they heard a sound like marching feet in the tops of the poplar trees. That would be God’s signal that He was leading them to attack. Sometimes we need to come in the back door. For example, if you want to go on a diet, you have to trick your mind. To think “diet” only makes me want to eat. I have to think of foods I can eat that will fill me up without filling me out. Sometimes we need to make a new rut right next to the old one that looks a lot like the old one but just different enough to make the difference. I don’t know if this is making much sense so pray about it. Most of all, we need to wait for God to lead us and not do it in our own strength.
Lord, help us to renew our minds in You. Help us to fight the Philistines in our lives.

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Wed.’s Devo - Unity Comes With a Price

Read: 2 Sam. 3:6-4:3
Today’s reading is full of twists and surprise endings. The kingdoms are being united but it comes with a price. Abner deflects to David’s side when accused of having sex with one of Saul’s concubines. David promises to accept Abner only if he brings his wife, Michal with him. Michal was Saul’s wife that he owed 100 foreskins but paid 200. She had been given to another man named Palti. Palti means “deliverance of God”. David had to deliver his wife first, then he could deliver the nation. That is a picture of the end. We, like Michal, have been purchased by Jesus and are waiting his return for us. Jesus will come for his bride first, then deliver the nation.
Abner brings Michal and his men to feast with David in Hebron.
Joab, who was David’s commander and bitter enemy of Abner’s, has been out fighting and comes home to find David and Abner uniting as friends. He is jealous and revengeful because Abner killed his brother, Asahel. He deceitfully goes after Abner and brings him back to the gate where he kills Abner.
David is furious and curses Joab’s family tree with leprosy, crippling, death by the sword and poverty. Then he gave Joab and his brother, Abishai, over to the Lord to punish for what they had done.
David was not as easy on Baanah and Recab. They were brothers who lived in Israel. They rose up and killed Ishbosheth thinking they would be rewarded by David. David was not happy about anyone taking matters into their own hands. He wanted the Lord to run the show. When Baanah and Recab presented Ishbosheth’s head to him, David had them killed.
We can learn much about how God feels about manipulation. He hates it when we try to help him. God has his perfect timing and it is all for a reason. When we get ahead of him we are moving into the next season before we are adequately prepared. It is like landing in Alaska still wearing our shorts. It is so much better to let God bring the next season because he clothes us with the proper clothing so we are ready.
Lord, help us to wait on you for our next season.

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Tues.’s Devo - David’s Sons in Hebron

Read: 2 Sam. 2:1-3:5; 23:8-17; 1 Chron. 11: 10-19; 2 Sam. 23:18-39; 1 Chron. 11:20-47
You have to love David; he asks God about everything and God tells him. This is how we should live our lives. Every decision should be brought before him and we should not move till we get his answer. Even after Saul’s death, David was not king of Israel. Abner, Saul’s army commander proclaimed Saul’s son Ishbosheth to be king. Ishbosheth means “man of shame”. He ruled for two years. David became king of Judah and made his capital in Hebron. David’s army commander was Joab. He and Abner had some face-to-face encounters. Joab lost one of his top men along with 19 others but Abner lost 360 men. That was the beginning of the weakening of Saul’s dynasty and the emerging strength of David’s.
We read the names of David’s sons he had while reigning in Hebron, and here are their meanings:
1. Amnon - faithful
2. Daniel - judge
3. Absalom - father is peace
4. Adonijah - my lord is Jehovah
5. Shephatiah - judged of Jehovah
6. Ithream - remnant or the excellent
It is notable that Absalom’s name means “father is peace”. He would try to usurp the kingdom from his father. His mother came from a king whose name means “proud beholder”. Absalom was a type of the antichrist. Satan’s father is God but he chose to let his pride rise up and take him over. He became the opposite of peace. The son who was the rightful heir was Solomon. His name means “peaceableness”. The Devil is the great deceiver. He can look just like God but his heart is evil throughout. We need to have discernment to know the difference.
Lord, help us to be like Ithream who stood for the remnant. May we be excellent in everything we do. May we seek your direction and wisdom in our lives.

Monday, April 18, 2016

Mon.’s Devo - The Death of Saul -

Read: 1 Sam. 30; 1 Chron. 12:20-22; 1 Sam. 31; 1 Chron. 10:1-14; 1 Chron. 9:40-44; 2 Sam. 4:4; 2 Sam. 1
David and his men were rejected from fighting with the Philistines only to come home to a burnt city and no families. That is a bad day gone worse! David’s men are ready to kill David and David does what he does best - he turns to the Lord for help. God said to go after the raiders and that they would restore everything that was taken from them. These raiders were the Amelekites - the very ones that God told Saul to totally annihilate.
In today’s reading we read of two lone men who gave David information. The first was an Amelekite that was sick and had been left by his master to die. David nursed him to life and he gave David the location of the ones who stole their wives and raided their homes. This man received new life and was rewarded. The next was a man who lied to David and said that he had killed Saul, hopping for a reward. He received death. What a picture of judgment day!
We can see the generosity of the Lord in David. He insisted on giving the 200 men that didn’t have strength to go on some of the plunder as if they had gone to war, and he also shared his bounty with all the towns he had been in that had been kind to him. God’s kindness is just like this and more.
Even though the death of Saul could have been good news to David because that meant that he could now have the throne, David was sad. He had lost his best friend, Jonathan and a man who was like a father figure to him, Saul. I’m sure he would have rather it been different. In a perfect world, Saul would have welcomed David back home and given him the throne himself, but this is not a perfect world. Many times, our lives don’t have storybook endings. We have to rise above what we can’t change and accept the Lord’s wisdom. We can only change ourselves but everyone is given the gift of free will.
Lord, we mourn with David over things in our lives that didn’t turn out the way we had hoped but we trust in your unfailing love.

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Sun.’s Devo - Saul’s Downfall

Read: 1 Sam. 26-27:7; 1 Chron. 12:1-7: 1 Sam. 28-29:11; Ps. 56
Once again, God gives David the opportunity to take the kingdom or wait for Him to give it to him. David passes the test once again. Saul begged David’s forgiveness and begged him to come home but David could see through his fake apology. He knew that the only way he was going to be safe from Saul would be to deflect to the Philistines. Saul would not come into their territory. So, that is what David did. It took him further from his destiny.
He joins Achish and fights with him winning his devotion and favor. But, when it came time to fight the Israelites, other leaders didn’t trust David’s loyalty and refused to let him fight. This offended David greatly and his men.
In Saul’s camp, he is nervous about fighting the Philistines so he consults God. God doesn’t answer through dreams, lots, or the prophets so Saul seeks a medium or a witch. Samuel had Saul outlaw all mediums but his men knew of a witch who lived in Endor. He disguised himself and went to see her. We can learn some keys about the spirit world in this story.
First, we see that the dead went to sleep under the earth. No one went to heaven till Jesus rose. Secondly, we see that she could bring a dead person out of his grave. People see dead people today. It is called necromancy. God told us not to practice this and he wouldn’t have told us not to do it if it wasn’t possible to do. Samuel was able to continue prophesying even after he died. Our gifts are eternal.
What a terrible ending for Saul. He started in the spirit and ended in the flesh. His desperation led to asking the dark side for answers. God was in control of that too. His life could have been so different if he had only obeyed the Lord.
Lord, let us read this with fear and awe. Help us to obey the smallest request of your heart.

Saturday, April 16, 2016

Sat.’s Devo - David's Three Confirmations 4-16-16

Read: 1 Sam. 23: 13-29; Ps. 54; 1 Sam. 24: 1-end of chapter 25
In today’s reading, David receives three confirmations of his destiny. David and his 600 men are hiding from Saul and his 3,000. Only God could have hidden David and he did. In his Psalm he sings, “The Lord keeps me alive! May the evil plans of my enemies be turned against them. Do as you promised and put an end to them.” We need to pray that prayer over the enemy in our own lives. God sent Jonathan to encourage David. Jonathan proclaimed that David would be the next king and that Saul knew it. He told David he would serve with him.
God set up a meeting with David and Saul. He put Saul at David’s mercy and David extended mercy to him. It saved Saul’s life and gave David a few months of peace. It showed David his own heart. He didn’t want to kill Saul, he wanted Saul to repent. He called him his father and Saul called David his son. Saul spoke with his own mouth that David would be the next king.
David’s third confirmation came from Abigail. She lived a secluded life married to an angry ogre but she had heard tales about David. She also knew that he would be the next king.
When God has a plan for us, he will make even our enemies prophesy it. I’m sure David wondered how this would all happen since his life didn’t seem to be going that way but he kept praising the Lord and doing what was in front of him to do. He kept doing the right thing.
God loves to confirm to us what he has told us. He doesn't mind us asking for confirmation. It is just wisdom to make sure before you leap. God loves to do signs - they are part of his language.
Lord, help us in our time of waiting and expectation not to stop doing the right thing. May we be always praising You and putting your agenda above ours. Mold us into your image.

Friday, April 15, 2016

Fri.’s Devo - No Matter What… Trust God.

Read: 1 Sam. 22: 1-2; Ps. 57; Ps. 142; 1 Chron. 12:8-18; 1 Sam. 22: 3- 23:12
God’s blessing was on David and when some of his army found out where he was they deflected to him until he had a 400 men army. They met at the cave of Adullam. David will come back to this cave and encounter his enemy later. David wrote many psalms during his flight from Saul. He speaks of his great fears but also his great love and trust in God. When he is overwhelmed and doesn’t know which way to turn, he cries out to the Lord and finds his place of refuge in the Lord.
God sent David some of the best warriors to be his commanders. He also found a safe place in Moab for his parents to live till it was all over. A prophet tells David it is time to go back to his homeland. Saul finds out and has a meeting with his soldiers. He gives a speech to turn them away from David and remain loyal to him. It is then that Doeg tells of seeing David in Nob and how the priest, Ahimelech, blessed him and gave him food and the sword of Goliath.
Saul, eaten up with jealousy, has all the priests and their family killed. None of his soldiers will kill a priest so Doeg does it all. One of Ahimelech’s sons, Abihu, escapes with the ephod to tell David. David feels responsible and vows to protect him. David writes Psalm 52 to encourage himself. He reminds himself what happens to warriors who don’t fight on the Lord’s side. He trusts in God’s unfailing love.
Later he finds out that the Philistines are stealing the grain harvest from the people of Keilah. The Lord tells him to go save them. David’s men were afraid to go up against the whole Philistine army but the Lord kept telling David to go. They went and God brought them victory. Saul found out and came for him so David asked the Lord if the men of Keilah would hand him over to Saul and God said ‘yes’. I wonder how discouraging that was to David. He had just saved these people, yet they would betray him. Jesus must have felt the same way when he was betrayed by one of his own.
Lord, help us to be willing to do your will no matter what the outcome. May we be like olive trees, thriving in the house of the Lord, trusting in your unfailing love.

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Thurs.’s Devo - God Protects David

Read: 1 Sam. 20-21:15; Psa. 34
If you have ever been misunderstood or falsely accused you know how David felt. Jealousy is a powerful demon. Saul was consumed with it and David had done nothing but walk his walk with the Lord. I’m sure it was hard to talk to Saul’s son about his own dad but David trusted Jonathan’s friendship and had no one else to turn to. First David had to convince Jonathan it was true that his father hated him and wanted to kill him. That wasn’t hard to do. Saul was out of control and it only took a small thing to push him over the edge.
Jonathan means “gift of God” and is a picture of the Holy Spirit. Even though Jonathan would have been the most likely candidate for the next king being Saul’s first born, he recognized God’s choice. Jonathan knew David was going to be the next king and wasn’t jealous. Instead, Jonathan promoted and loved David. That is how the Holy Spirit feels about Jesus. He doesn’t mind being behind the scenes, misunderstood and hidden. The Holy Spirit knows his role and is content with it. He promotes the other two in the godhead. Jonathan was like that. Jonathan’s natural father was a self-seeking tyrant yet Jonathan was a loyal humble servant. No wonder he and David were such devoted friends.
David fled to Nob and was given shewbread and the sword of Goliath. Anyone else that ate shewbread not being a priest would have died on the spot but David was refreshed. David was a type of Jesus, both priest and king.
Lord, thank you that those who trust in You will not lack any good thing.

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Wed.’s Devo - David’s Climb to the Throne

Read: 1 Sam. 17:32-19:24
When God wants to exalt a person, there is no one that can stop him. Even Saul, the king, could not stop the ball rolling. David was destined for the throne.
When David fought Goliath, he was tenacious. He knew that the power of God’s army was more powerful than any giant from the enemy. Goliath was no more than a taunting voice which is exactly what the devil is. We are the one holding the winning cards. We have the power of God’s army with us. It only took one stone. This stone stands for the Word of God. It only takes one scripture aimed at the target to make it fall.
David struggled to get his kingship. He had to fight many battles. He thought he was going to marry into the royal family only to have that dream snatched out of his hand. His next opportunity came when Michal fell for him. His bride price would be 100 Philistine foreskins. He brought 200. All of these obstacles were suppose to lead to his death, but only led to his success. Saul was more afraid of David than he was the Phillistines. David had become fly paper that Saul couldn’t shake off.
David had one ace in the hole which was Jonathan. Jonathan, Saul’s son, loved David and kept him safe and informed. He was a true friend. When David fled to Samuel’s house the Holy Spirit kept him safe in a very funny way. Everyone who came to get David ended up prophesying - even Saul. I have been in meetings where the Holy Spirit made people do some humiliating things but it was always for good.
Lord, help us to see that exaltation in the kingdom comes through much labor and struggle… but it is worth it.

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Tue.’s Devo - Teachable Moments

Read: 1 Sam. 15-17:31
There are so many teachable moments in today’s reading. God told Saul to completely destroy the entire Amalekite nation - men, women, children, babies, cattle, sheep, goats,camels, and donkeys. This sounds so inhumane but these people and their animals carried in their DNA the very seed of Satan which had to be killed. Saul was okay with killing babies but kept the best animals alive. He was severely chastised by Samuel who gave him some great wisdom: to obey God is better than any sacrifice your can give him. We cannot bribe God. He knows our hearts and the secret motives of our heart. God has a reason for everything he tells us to do and it is for our best, not to withhold anything good from us.
We really see Saul’s heart when Samuel went to look for him and he is setting up a monument to himself. Switchfoot has a song that starts “It’s a race to be noticed.” We all want to know we matter. There is nothing wrong with that but when we build monuments to glorify ourselves instead of God we have crossed the line. Saul had crossed the line.
Samuel gives us some more wisdom. He said that rebellion is as sinful as witchcraft and being stubborn is as bad as worshiping idols. Meditate on that! When we are rebellious we are making ourselves to be God because we are saying our way is better. When we are stubborn we are refusing to bend to God’s way. We are being totally disrespectful to our creator.
Another teachable moment was when Samuel went to anoint the new king. Saul had looked strong and powerful - like a king. Samuel just knew that Jessie’s oldest son, Abinadab, was the one God would choose. But God said He rejected him. God was rejecting the king the people wanted and was choosing a person whose heart was totally his. This king was going to have His heart. He chose the youngest, least likely son.
The Spirit of God came on David when he was anointed by Samuel, but he went back to doing life as usual till God called him up. God arranged just the right moment and circumstance to reveal his new king.
Many of us have promises God has given us that haven’t happened yet but be encouraged, God is arranging the right moment and the right circumstance to bring you forward to your destiny.

Monday, April 11, 2016

Mon.’s Devo - God Will Use the Few

Read: 1 Chron. 9:35-39; 1 Samuel 13 & 14
Saul is a complex character. As he looks for Samuel to come and offer the sacrifice because his army is slipping away he grow impatient and fearful. He failed to keep the command Samuel had given him to wait for him. Instead he did the job of the prophet and priest which was not his office. If he had waited for Samuel, God would have established his throne over Israel forever. We would be saying “the throne of Saul” instead of “the throne of David”. Saul was worried about only having 600 men left and yet God saved the nation with only 2. Jonathan and his armor bearer went out with the zeal of the Lord and watched the Lord fight their battle for them.
All of the battles in the Old Testament are to teach us how to fight in the spirit. Jonathan was moved by the Holy Spirit to challenge the enemy. He waited for God’s okay and attacked boldly. When God is on our side it doesn’t matter what the odds are. Jonathan and his armor bearer killed 20 men themselves then God stepped in and confused the enemies camp so much that they started fighting each other. Saul saw the enemy melting away in every direction. He got involved and even deflectors turned and fought for Israel. This is what happens when we fight under the command of the Holy Spirit; the enemy will melt away in every direction and the prodigals will return.
Saul was very superstitious. He made a rash statement and would not allow his army to eat till they had won. That would be like sending a football team out to play the Superbowl without giving them food that day. When they did win and Saul saw the people eating the meat with blood in it he was upset they were breaking the law. He never took responsibility for his own actions. When Saul asked if they should chase the Philistines, God wouldn’t answer, so Saul looked for someone to blame. He was willing to kill his own son just to be right. Wisdom needs to reign over the law. Jonathan was saved by his own men. Saul was wishy washy in his allegiance to the Lord so his judgments were shaky.
Lord, raise us up to be a people who are steadfast and unmovable in our walk with you. Let us not compromise the truth and our faith.

Sunday, April 10, 2016

Sun.’s Devo - The Ascent to the Throne

Read: 1 Samuel 9:-12
Rarely do we read about a wealthy person being chosen by God but Saul was one of them. Sent to find his father’s donkey, he came back the anointed king. He was not ready for such an assignment and even tried to run from it so God set up a circumstance that would make him step into his next roll.
I can remember a similar circumstance where God wanted me to do something totally out of my expertise. Our children’s leaders had resigned and no one had stepped into their place. I loathed VBS because it took me from my planned schedule and was little more than babysitting to me. I thought this would be a great year to not have it so I started a campaign to take a summer off. No one, I found out was even thinking about VBS, yet, I was consumed with it. I went to a ladies’ retreat and the teaching was perfect for adapting as a VBS curiculum. I ended up realizing that God was calling me to lead it and use the materials I had gotten from the retreat. I tearfully said “yes” to God and He came through in such a grand way. I ended up leading VBS for 4 more years. It was one of the most rewarding and fun assignments I have ever done. So, I can relate to Saul’s reluctance at first. Being the first king had to be intimidating.
I found it interesting that Saul went to see Samuel, the seer and ended up prophesying himself. That is what happens when you hang out with someone who consistently moves in their gift. Samuel’s gift rubbed off on Saul. When people hang out with me they start dreaming since interpreting dreams is one of my gifts. Paul says that we should all prophesy. Prophecy is just hearing what God says and saying that. We are all suppose to do that. There are certain people who have the office of being a prophet but anyone can prophecy. The people asked, “Can anyone become a prophet, no matter who his father is?” The answer to that one is “yes”. And, sadly, it doesn’t matter who your father is. Your father can be the devil, and you can still prophesy. The difference is that if your father is the devil, your prophesy might be truth or it might be a lie since he is the father of lies and deception. If you prophesy by the Holy Spirit it will be true.
Lord, help us to prophesy your word to others. Your word brings hope and life.

Saturday, April 9, 2016

Sat.’s Devo - The Glory Returns

Read: 1 Sam. 4:12-chapter 8
God brought judgement on the household of Eli because of the blatant disrespect his sons, Hophni and Phinehas had for the Lord. The priests were suppose to be the spiritual leaders of the time, but instead, they were gluttons and womanizers. Some of the signs a nation is in sin are lack, war, and the absence of the tangible presence of God. Israel was experiencing all three. They could blame the first two on “circumstances” but when the ark was stolen, it was a wake up call.
Eli fell over backwards and broke his neck when he heard the news. His daughter-in-law went into labor and died but before she died she named her newborn son, Icabod meaning “where is the glory”.
The Philistines quickly learned that the Lord would not share his glory with them. Each of the five cities the ark touched brought plague and curses. Their sorcerers appealed to God and asked him how they could repent and return the ark. He instructed them to make give gold tumors and five gold rats to represent the plague of tumors and the rats that had ravaged them. They were to take two cows that had just had calves and hitch them to the cart holding the ark. If you know anything about mother cows you will know how miraculous this was. Mother cows will knock down a fence to protect their calves; they don’t let them out of their sight. But these cows not only allowed the separation but they carried the ark without a prod or a shepherd leading the way. They took the ark to the field of Joshua and stopped beside a rock. Joshua means “god is our savior” and the rock stands for Jesus. They told the people of Israel to come and get it. They were so ready to be free of something that was so powerfully evil to them. But, what is so powerfully evil to God’s enemies is such a powerful blessing to God’s people.
Samuel called the nation back to the Lord and they positively responded. They enjoyed rest from the Philistines while Samuel was their judge. He had two sons who, like Eli’s sons, were not righteous. They stole from God, so the people asked Samuel for a king instead of his sons to rule them. This made Samuel sad and he told them all the reasons they didn’t want a king, but the people refused to change their mind.
Lord, we are stubborn people who never seem to learn. Thank you for your forgiveness and your patience.

Friday, April 8, 2016

Fri.’s Devo - Our “Babies”

Read: 1 Sam. 1:9-4:11
The hero of today’s reading is definitely Hannah. After years of anguish and intimidation, she gets a word from the Lord that she is going to have a son! How excited she must have been. I wonder how long it took before she became pregnant. The Bible just says “in due time”. I guess that means about 10 months later. God kept his promise and Hannah kept hers. She loved her son for about 2 years then brought him to Eli and left him. Everyone knew that Eli had done a terrible job of fathering his sons, so that was an act of faith on Hannah’s part to leave Samuel there. I can’t imagine, as a mother, leaving my child forever. Especially if I had had so much trouble getting pregnant and waited years for him. But Hannah did, and her son blessed the whole nation. He went on to be one of Israel’s most beloved and greatest prophets who stayed true till the end.
God blessed Hannah for her great sacrifice. She went on to have three sons and two daughters. This story makes me ponder the “babies” I have had that I finally gave to the Lord. One of my “babies” was my book. I finally understood that if it really was the Lord who birthed my book then it was His and not mine. I took 25 boxes of my books and gave them to a ministry that could distribute them to hurting people. I haven’ seen the results but I didn’t do it for personal results. The results are the Lord’s doing.
We are all pregnant from time to time with new ideas, dreams, and ministries that God has given us. It sounds counterproductive, but we have to die to those “babies” and give them back to God before they can be brought to life. It is not always that easy, but I’m sure it wasn’t easy for Hannah either.
Lord, we lay down our dreams and “babies” at your altar. Resurrect what is worth living.

Thursday, April 7, 2016

Thur.’s Devo - Our Geneology

Read: Ruth 4:13- 1 Sam. 1:8
Reading genealogies remind us of how quickly our families grow. One day, we will be a name in our genealogy. I pray that our legacy of faith in God will pass down through our generations.
One man, Jabez was remembered for his honor and his prayer. Jabez means “mire is swept away.” Apparently his brothers were not so honorable so he was to sweep the sin out of their family. His prayer has become famous in our generation. He prayed to be blessed and his territory or ministry to expand beyond its borders. He also prayed to not cause pain. He had caused pain in his delivery and he prayed to stop that curse. Many of us are born into rejection, pain, etc. We are all born into sin; but we can stop the curse. We don’t have to continue it or pass it on. Jabez didn’t.
On that same note, our next story is about the birth of Samuel. Hannah felt rejected and “less than” because she couldn’t have a baby. No amount of love and encouragement could soothe her pain. She allowed Elkanah’s other wife, Peninnah to taunt her to tears. One of the greatest pains for a woman is the inability to get pregnant. I know, because I have dealt with that myself. Your whole life and identity becomes entangled in getting pregnant. I wish that every barren woman could be healed but if they aren’t, I wish they could open their hearts to adoption. Adoption is the heart of salvation. It is what God did for us and He can give us so much fulfillment if we walk where He leads us.
Lord, thank you for our families. May we leave a legacy of honor and the fear of God.

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Wed.’s Devo - The Story of Redemption

Read: Ruth 1-4:12
I love the story of Ruth. It is such a heart-warmer in the midst of the weird and outlandish stories of the judges. Ruth was a Moabite which is the seed of Lot’s incestrial relationship with his daughter. Naomi and her family move to Moab because of the famine in Israel where they meet Ruth who marries Naomi’s son, Mahlon or Chilion. Both son’s names mean “sickness”. Ruth sees in Naomi’s faith in God something that she is missing in the gods of her idolatrous nation. When both of Ruth’s sons die from sickness and she hears that the famine is over and wants to return to her land. Ruth insists on going back with her. Ruth can not be talked out of it so Naomi brings her home. While gleaning wheat, Ruth meets Boaz who was from a similar background. His mother was the harlot, Rahab, who had hid the spies in Jericho. Rahab, like Ruth, saw the God of the Hebrews as a better god than the ones her people served. She left her people to become an Israelite and serve the one and only God. Boaz understood what it was like to be an alien grafted in to a new people.
Another interesting reference is made. The elders of the city blessed Ruth and Boaz saying, “may the Lord give you descendants who will be like those of our ancestor Perez, the son of Tamar and Judah”. Of all the patriarchs they could have said, this was the most interesting. Tamar was married to Judah’s son who was evil and died. His next son was suppose to marry her and was also evil and died. Judah’s third son was promised to Tamar when he became of age, but when that didn’t happen, Tamar disguised herself like a harlot and enticed Judah to have sex with her. Perez was the son. So here is another rejected woman that God redeemed and blessed. Perez grew up to be a mighty warrior with many descendants. In 1 Chro. 27:3, it says that Perez was the chief of all the captains of the host of the first month during David’s reign. He had 468 sons that came back with him from captivity with Zerubbabel. So he was a much honored and blessed man who had a very shaky start.
The Bible is the story of redemption. We never have the right to be a victim because God always redeems the broken and rejected and will honor them if they rise above their past and press on.
Lord, we are just like the ones we read today. We are a broken, rejected people that have been grafted into your family. We have nothing but prosperity and blessing ahead!

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Tues.’s Devo - No King

Read: Judges 19-21
Today’s reading begins and ends with the statement, “Israel had no king.” God was to be their king but they had rejected him and did whatever seemed right in their own eyes. The only time they called out to the Lord was when things got over their heads and they couldn’t solve their problems in their own strength. It hurts to read the story of the Levites concubine. There are so many things that are so wrong about that story it makes my stomach turn. How ironic that this happened in Jerusalem. It was called Jebus at the time which means “he will be trodden down”. It was more like Sodom and Gomorrah. It was trodden down and Jerusalem was built in its place. Jerusalem means “lay double peace.” The first city, Jebus had to be trodden down so that God could lay peace in its place.
Even though it was the time of the judges, it was not the time of righteous justice. Where was justice for the concubine? Where was judgement for the Levite for giving her to the men of the city? Everything seemed so twisted and wrong during this time because it was. When God is not ruling and men are, there is perversion and confusion. About 60,000 men died because of this one event. God put forth his pruning fork and reaped a huge number of souls out of his garden.
Benjamin came close to being wiped off the face of the earth, but God’s mercy saved them and allowed them to continue on. God always spares a remnant when he judges. What a picture of the end of days.
Lord, may we remain the remnant that refuses to follow the pressure to conform to this world. Thank you for Your faithfulness to us. You are our King.

Monday, April 4, 2016

Mon.’s Devo - How to Bind the Strongman

Read: Judges 16-18
The story of Samson is such a sad story to me. Samson never realized who his enemy was and what his destiny was. He spent most of his time with the enemy and when he did fight them it was to avenge himself. He never saw the bigger picture. He was too busy taking selfies. His story is a picture of how to bind a strong man. He stood for lust and vanity but God used his weaknesses to do amazing things in His kingdom. Delilah stood for the person who is trying to bind the strong man. It is a real-life parable. To bind him she had to find the secret of his strength then she could address it. When she found out the strength was in his hair she was able to cut his hair. He didn’t even recognize that God had left him. He was put in prison but that was not the end of Samson. It is not enough to bind and cast out a demon. You have to watch over that weakness and not allow it to gain strength. That is why God told us to bind on earth what is bound in heaven and loose in heaven what is bound on earth. We have to bind the evil and loose its counterpart. If we bind lust, we need to loose holiness to fill its place.
The Philistines thought that binding Samson was enough. They didn’t keep his hair cut so it grew back out. He did more harm then than in all his life before. That is a law in the kingdom. You have to watch over your swept areas and make sure you are filling them with the Holy Spirit.
Next, we have the story about Micah and his Levite. This gives us a good picture of how dysfunctional and unscriptural the people had gotten. They had a mixture of idolatry and scripture. These religions are the most dangerous. They have a form of godliness but deny the power of God. That is a description of the days of the judges.
Lord, help us to guard ourselves and not allow the enemy to slip back in when we have cast him out. Wash us with the water of Your Word.

Sunday, April 3, 2016

Sun.’s Devo - Jephthah and Samson

Read: Judges 11:29-chapter 15
The period of the judges is the most dysfunctional time for Israel. Most of the time they were “doing what was right in their own eyes” instead of doing what God said was right. Sometimes the judges brought a spiritual revival but sometimes just a military deliverance. Samson was the latter.
But, first I want to talk about Jephthah. How silly of him to vow to sacrifice the first thing that came out of his door. He said “whatsoever” came out first. I don’t think he thought it would be a “whosoever”. Apparently there were many animals that roamed in and out of his door and he was thinking a lamb or a bird would be the first thing out of his door. Whether she was sacrificed or just not allowed to marry, commentaries differ. Any way you look at it, Jephthah made a rash and silly vow.
Now, on to Samson. Samson was given to a barren woman just like Sarah, Rachael, and Hannah. These women were all older than the normal age of having babies. How opposite from Mary who was barely old enough and not even married. All these women were to have extraordinary children and the timing was the Lord’s timing. Ever feel pregnant with your next step? I feel like I have been pregnant forever with a dream but it’s actually only been eight and a half months.
God did some strange things to stir Samson to fight the Philistines. It took a girl to push him out to use his gift for God’s purpose. Samson’s destiny was to defeat the Philistines for Israel. He was selfish and did it for his own purposes but the end was the same. The woman he wanted to marry betrayed Samson’s trust to save her and her father. In the end, her own people killed her and her family.
Another thing I have said before: the enemy is always after the harvest. Samson burned up their harvest when he tied the foxes tail together and set them on fire. He burnt up their vineyards and olive groves. That harvest is during the time of Roshashana and Feast of Tabernacles. It is a symbol of the last ingathering of people. How important it was for Samson to destroy that harvest. We are embarking on that harvest in God’s timetable. It will be a great ingathering of souls. We need Samson’s to rise up and defeat the enemies’ harvest so the harvest of souls into the kingdom can grow.
Lord, thank you for your Word that never looses its power.

Saturday, April 2, 2016

Sat.’s Devo - God’s Ways

Read Judges 9:22-11:28
It is so important to read the Old Testament to understand God’s ways. When we look at circumstances we can’t just say if it is bad it is the devil and if it is good it is God. We start our reading today seeing that God sent a spirit that stirred up trouble - an evil spirit. That will mess with our theology. Satan’s demons are at God’s command. They are his servants just like the Gideonites were suppose to serve the Israelites. God used demons to bring division between Abimelech and the citizens of Shechem. God was avenging Gideon’s seventy sons that were murdered by Abimelech. Many times in the Bible God turned his people over to the enemy to discipline them. He turned Israel over to the Philistines and the Ammonites in our reading today. It was because they had abandoned him and stopped serving the Lord all together. They needed an intervention.
God raised up a man named Jephthah who was the son of a harlot whose dad ruled the city. This man’s real sons threw Jephthah out of town because they didn’t want him to get any of their inheritance. Jephthah was a warrior so when their town was attacked by the Ammonites, these mean brothers came looking for Jephthah. They promised him that if would just come help them secure their land, he could be their ruler. He agreed to come.
Jephthah sent messages to the King of Ammon asking him why they were attacking his land. The king replied that the Israelites had stolen the land from him when they came from Egypt. Jephthah knew his history and told them how the Israelites got the land. God had given it to them because their king refused to let the children of Israel pass through it peacefully. Then he asked him who was stronger God or him? That is what it all comes down to. When God gives us a territory the devil will always come and try to take it back. We have to know the Word and what our inheritance is. We also have to stand up in the power of the Holy Spirit and stand our ground.
Lord, help us to hide your Word in our hearts that we would know our territory and how to defend it.

Friday, April 1, 2016

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

Read: Judges 7-9:21
Gideon which means “cutter downer” also had another name Jerub-baal which means “Baal will be contended with”. He was sent to do this very thing. Our natural battles always have spiritual significance. Every battle is a war against a power of the devil and it helps if we know who we are fighting.
God wanted Gideon and all Israel to know that this was not a military battle but a spiritual battle that He was going to fight and win. God wanted the victory to be in His name. So he whittled down Gideon’s army from 30,000 to 300. Then to encourage him, God told Gideon to take his servant Purah and go down to the Midianite camp and listen to what they were saying. God can use the enemy to prophesy and that is what happened. One of the Midianites had had a dream about barley bread falling into their camp and knocking it flat. They attributed it to Gideon’s army defeating them. This was the encouragement Gideon needed to fight. God gave him specific strategy.
He was to surround the Midianite camp with his men armed with a trumpet, a clay jar and blazing torches under the jar and a sword. When they broke their jars, blew their trumpets and shouted the Midianites flew into a panic and fought each other. We are the clay jars that were broken as we allow Jesus to break us for him. When this happens our light shines. When we shout, we get the victory. They shouted before they had the evidence; it was a shout of faith that God would do what he said he would. Their sword was the Word of God. As soon as they won this incredible battle and cut off the heads of the kings, they were faced with an internal battle. The people of Ephraim didn’t like being left out of the battle; they were jealous and questioned Gideon’s authority. Instead of being defensive, Gideon humbled himself and made his great victory seem small. His refusal to fight back brought peace.
Next Gideon could’t even gain the support of the people of Succoth or Penial. They paid heavily for not helping him. It seemed like no one had much respect for God’s chosen servant. This is a good lesson to us who might not agree with who God chooses to exalt. God has his reasons and it will go better for us if we support God’s choice. One day, it might be us.
Lord, help us be broken vessels that let our light shine. We shout Your victory.