Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Wed.’s Devo - Lucifer’s End

Read: 2 Kings 16:19-20 ; 2 Chron. 28:26-27; Isaiah 13-15
It is time for God to take out wrath on the enemy Babylon. They had taken many Israelites into captivity and taught them to worship their gods. Babylon means “confusion”. We can see this god alive and well in America. Confusion leads to sin, mental illness, fear, anxiety, and all kinds of illnesses. God was bringing his army against this enemy of confusion. He was heaping on this nation everything it stood for. Now it would be Babylon that would shake in fear and terror. They would be desolated and destroyed. They would be punished for their evil and sin. This is a picture of the last days judgment on Satan and his kingdom.
The people of God will unite and return to Israel where they will rest from sorrow and fear. They will be released from their slavery and chains and will taunt the devil. Even those who have died before will laugh at the fall of the mighty Lucifer. They will remind him of all his lofty promises of being greater than the Most High God, Jehovah. Satan will be thrown into the bottomless pit and God will administer judgment on all his demons. In this story they are called Assyria, Philstia, and Moab.
Through the blood of Jesus we can break off all the chains and fear the enemy tries to put on us. We can have this freedom now!
Lord, teach us to war and walk victoriously in this life. We have no fear of this defeated foe but wholly trust in the Captain of Heaven’s Army.

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Tues.’s Devo - Repentance and Mercy

Read: Isa. 1:21- chapter 5
As I read about unfaithful Jerusalem, I couldn’t help but see America. I look forward to God refining our nation and building it back to be a Home of Justice and a Faithful Nation.
Isaiah prophesied that in the last days, the mountain of the Lord’s house would be the highest of all, the most important place on the earth. It will be a place people will stream to to worship and be taught the things of the Lord. There will be peace in Jerusalem and no more war.
I long for the day that idols will completely disappear. That will be the day of judgment when God shakes the earth but that also happens when revival comes to a nation. We are seeing the birth of revival in our nation which has come through much shaking. People are learning that they can’t put their trust in their money, other people, or their gods. I pray that we repent before God takes everything away from us. We can repent before judgment like Nineveh did and stay God’s hand of judgment. I pray that we will do just that.
Lord, we ask you to wash the filth from our nation and let us be a refuge for those in need once again.

Monday, June 27, 2016

Mon.’s Devo - A New Heart

Read: Is. 28; 2 Kings 17, 18:9, Is. 1:1-20
Isaiah warned Israel and Judah over and over of the coming destruction because they refused to worship the Lord. Finally the fulfillment of his prophecy came true. Assyria besieged Israel for three years. At the end of the three years, they were marched off into captivity. When Israel is out of her land, their timetable stops.
After a while, the king of Assyria decided to bring dispersed Jews back to Samaria so they could occupy and keep the land. But they still didn’t worship the Lord, so God sent lions to kill them. He also sent a prophet to tell the king of Assyria, why the lions killed them so the king sent them a priest to instruct them in how to worship Him. These people had come from six different heathen lands and they brought all the gods where they had been with them. They added them to their worship of the true God. God sent Isaiah to tell them he was tired of their worship and if they refused to listen to him he would destroy them with a sword. If they repented, he would make their sins as white as snow and in the future he was raising up a standard in Jerusalem who would be a plumb line of righteousness.
So how do we apply this to our lives? Jesus is the plumb line of righteousness. We come to Jesus with all our sins and he washes us and makes us clean. If we don’t forsake the gods of our old man we are as guilty as the Israelites who refused to give up their old ways. There is a reward for righteousness and a consequence for sin. We can live in righteousness and give up our old ways and choose the Lord’s ways or we can hold on to our old gods and try to make them work in our new life. The problem is, it will not work. We have to abandon our old way of thinking and our old desires and let God give us his. They are so much better.
Lord, show us the gods of our past that we still hold on to and give us the strength to throw them away forever. Give us a new heart of righteousness and holiness.

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Tue.’s Devo - The Ascent to the Lord

Read: Ps. 120-126
Today we start reading the songs of ascent or Songs of Degrees as they are sometimes called. They include Psalm 120-134, fifteen in all. The Lord required all the Jewish men to come to Jerusalem and bring their offering at the different feasts three times a year. These were the songs they would sing as they traveled. The first psalm seems to be the song of a person coming from a far off country where their faith is not practiced so widely. He laments that he hates living so far from the presence of God with a people who hate peace.
Psalm 121 seems to be his answer. His help comes from the Lord who watches over him and will not let him stumble or be harmed. The closer they get to Jerusalem, the more excited they seem to become. They keep the mountain of the Lord in their view and continue to encourage one another to look up and trust in the Lord.
In Psalm 125 their faith has grown to proclaiming their security to be in the Lord who will be good to them. They remember the deliverance of the Lord when he brought them back from captivity to Jerusalem and look forward to their fortunes being restored.
How true is this of us when we find ourselves feeling far away from God. We can look to the heavens and praise him as we journey back to the place of intimacy with the Lord. We might weep as we plant our seeds of prayer and faith, but we will sing when the harvest comes.
Lord, we wait for your harvest to come in. Let us be ever walking toward your presence and ever singing your praise.

Sun.’s Devo - Restoration

Read: Hosea 9-14
Israel’s sin was severe so her punishment would also be severe. God had sent them prophets or watchmen to warn them to turn from their sinful ways, but they imprisoned and abused these men of God. Now God was going to treat them like they treated the prophets. The greatest promise God had given them was his presence. Now he was taking that away. Hosea said that it will be a terrible day when God turns and leaves them alone. (9:12)
God said that their wickedness began at Gilgal. (9:15) This was the first place Joshua came to when he passed into the promised land. Here he read he people the law and each tribe brought a rock and placed it to remember the covenant they made to worship only the Lord. It later became one of the centers of idolatry.
Later, Hosea says, “ever since Gibeah there has been sin and more sin!” When Joshua went into the promised land, God told him to utterly destroy all the inhabitants of the land. The people of Gibeah deceived Joshua into making a covenant with them. Joshua used his common sense instead of asking the Lord, so it cost him greatly. Just a simple act of stepping out and making a decision on his own made God say that it was then that he began to hate them. Those are strong words but to whom much is given, much is required. Joshua had seen God do such miraculous things and he had learned that God always has the answer. Gibeah was also the place where Samuel proclaimed Saul king. God never intended Israel to have a mortal king. He was to be their king. Saul ended up being the king God warned them he would be. He led the nation further into idolatry.
But…God always redeems. Gibeah was the place where Solomon built the Temple.
God said that one day he would roar like a lion (Hosea 11:10) and then his people would return trembling from the west. I believe we are seeing the beginning of this in our day. I love reading Hosea 14:4-9 of the Lord’s gentle love and healing. He always ends with an encouraging word.
Lord, may we walk in your paths. Increase our understanding and discernment.

Saturday, June 25, 2016

Sat.’s Devo - Make God Your Husband

Read: Hosea 2:14-chapter 8
Hosea was predicting Israel and Judah’s fall. Even though the Lord had given them his laws, they acted like they didn’t apply to them. They thought they could add God in with all their other gods and He would be okay with that.
I wonder if we aren’t guilty of that. Do we think that since we are under grace, that God’s laws don’t apply to us. Do we think we can sin and just ask for God’s forgiveness and it will all be okay? I think that is the same as what they were doing. God sees our heart and responds to a humble repentant heart.
Hosea said that Israel forgot its Maker and built great palaces. Judah fortified its cities. You build great palaces to show off your wealth and to make yourself more esteemed in the eyes of the world. You build fortified cities to show your enemies that you are stronger than them. Both of these are symbols of pride and self-sufficiency. God hates both. He wants to be our husband and our source of supply. He wants us to totally depend on him.
Hosea promised a day when God would become their husband and not their master. One day, God would remove all weapons of war from the land and they would be able to live in peace and safety. Israel could use those words right now.
Yesterday, we read about Hezekiah, who would rule over Judah and destroy idolatry. He would remain faithful to the Lord in everything, and carefully obey all the commands the Lord had given Moses. The Lord would be with him , and Hezekiah would succeed in everything he did. He would throw off his enemies and those he gave tribute to. He would gain back territory that had been stolen from him.
We can live a life like Hezekiah or follow the world’s kings and live for ourselves. We want to live for Jesus like Hezekiah.
Lord, help us see that You are our husband and we can live an overcoming victorious life in You. Empower us with your Spirit to walk in freedom and Your power.

Friday, June 24, 2016

Fri.’s Devo - Promise and Hope

Read: Isa. 12:1-6; Isa. 17:1-17; 2 Chron., 28:16-28; 2 Kings 16:10-18, 115:30-31, 17:1-4 18:1-8; Hosea 1:2-2:13
Ahaz, king of Judah, and Hoshea, king of Israel were both evil kings that led their nation into idolatry. God sent Hosea to be a living word picture of what was going on spiritually. God told Hosea to marry a prostitute, so that some of her children would be children not his, but products of her infidelity. This would be a picture of how Israel and Judah were married to the Lord but chose to give their affection to other gods and the product of their false worship was like these illegitimate children of Hosea’s.
Hosea chose to marry Gomer whose name means “completion”. She was to show God’s people the completion of their sin. She got pregnant and it says that she bore Hosea a son. He named him Jezreel which means “it will be sown of God”. Jezreel was the place where Jehu chastised King Ahab for taking Naboth’s vineyard and prophecied his fate and downfall. Once again, God was warning of judgment to come because of the sin that began with Ahab.
The next child Gomer had was a daughter. It doesn’t say it was Hosea’s so I have to think that it was conceived out of her life of prostitution. They named her Lo-ruhamah which means “not shown mercy” because God was not going to show mercy towards his offspring. The next baby she had was a son which I would think was also not Hosea’s. They named him Lo-ammi which means “for you are not my people”. This son was not Hosea’s and God was saying that these people were not his either.
But….God always gives promise when he brings judgment. One day these people’s offspring would be shown mercy and God would take them as his people. They would be the sons of the living God. The curse would be turned to a blessing.
We have gone through a season of pruning, fire, trials, testing, you name it. We can rest assured that God will turn our curses to blessings and we will come out of the fire because we are sons of the living God and God will have mercy on us and our nation and our posterity.
Lord, thank you that you always end with a promise. We stand on your promises of life and hope.

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Thurs.’s Devo - HOPE!

Read: Isaiah 8-11
There is a basic understanding in understanding the Bible and it is found in 1 Co. 15:46. It says that what was first was not spiritual but natural and afterward that which is spiritual. Today we see that principle. Isaiah prophesied in yesterday’s reading about a son being born named Immanuel, meaning “God with us.” We know that to be Jesus. But, at the time, in the natural it was also referring to a son Isaiah’s wife would have. They named him Maher-shalal-hash-baz which means “swift to plunder and quick to carry away”. When this child would be an infant, God would send a flood that would plunder the lands of Assyria, Israel, and Judah. So this child would be the fulfillment of God’s judgment on the earth, but to the children who trusted in God, this child would be Immanuel, God with them. Jesus is a curse to those who reject him but a blessing of life to those who embrace him.
Isaiah goes on to prophecy that one day the land of Galilee, (the land of Jesus’ ministry) and around the Jordan River will be filled with glory. The people who walk in darkness will see a great light; this light being Jesus, the Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
We often quote the verse that says that we are the head and not the tail and today we see that the head is the leaders of Israel and the tail is the lying prophets. So, we are leaders in Israel, not lying prophets!
God raised up Assyria to bring judgment on his people. Assyria didn’t understand he was being God’s tool to bring his people to repentance. Satan is just a tool in God’s hand. God uses him to bring His people to repentance. When God was through with Assyria, he sent a plague to punish them for their pride. Then he was going to send a fire to destroy them. In the end, God will throw the devil into the lake of fire to judge him for all he has done against God and his people.
Isaiah 10:20 talks about a remnant that will return to Israel. God always has a remnant that is forever his. To this remnant, Isaiah tells them to not be afraid of the enemy because the Lord of Heavens’ Armies will rise up on their behalf and set them free. This remnant will be a new branch bearing fruit from the old root. This new Branch will have the Spirit of the Lord on him and the spirit of wisdom, understanding, counsel, might , knowledge and the fear of the Lord. He will delight in obeying the Lord and bring justice. Isaiah 11 is a chapter filled with hope. We know that this Branch is Jesus, but we are his planting so we should bear the same fruit.
Lord, may we be filled with Your Spirit to go out and shine Your light on the world today.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Wed.’s Devo - The Signs of Obedience and Disobedience -

Read: 2 Kings 15:32-16:9; 2 Chron. 27:1-9, 28:1-15; Micah 1:1-16; Isaiah 7
Yesterday we read in Amos 9:11-15, a promise of restoration for the fallen house of David. One day, the walls Jerusalem would be rebuilt and it will be restored to its former glory. They will have more grapes and grain than they can harvest. The Jews will come back to their land never to be uprooted again. We have yet to see this happen but it will.
Today we read about Jotham, Uzziah’s son and his reign. He showed the signs of obedience. When a king came to rule and followed the Lord we see these signs:
1. They remove the pagan worship. Jotham followed his father in this and did what was pleasing to the Lord.
2. They start rebuilding. Jotham started rebuilding the gates and the walls. These are the security of the nation. He built towns, fortresses, and towers - all signs of prosperity and growth.
3. They conquer their enemies and receive tribute from them. (2 Chron. 27:5)
4. They become powerful. Jotham did this as long as he remained obedient to the Lord.
We can walk in obedience and we will see the same results. Our minds will be renewed and the sins that used to beset us will lose their grip on us. We will start restoring relationships that have been broken, wounds that have been open, and our own spiritual and physical health will improve. Then we can reach out to others and help them be restored. We will be on the offense against the enemy. We will start regaining ground he has stolen from us and he will serve us instead of us serving him and being one step behind him. We need to be starting fires of revival instead of putting out fires of disaster from the devil.
Another important lesson from todays reading is that the nation was only as strong as it’s capital. We are only as strong as what is ruling over us. If God is our king and leader then we are unstoppable, blessed, alive and winning. If our old nature is ruling us or if condemnation, rejection, depression, etc. is ruling us then we will be defeated, cursed, dead and losing. Let’s rise up and let God be King of our lives.
Lord, we are tired of being defeated by the devil so today we will rise up and say that You alone are our King and we will bow to no other!

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Tues.’s Devo - See, Hear, Understand

Read: Amos 7-9; 2 Kings 14:28-29, 15:6-29; 2 Chron. 26:22-23; Isaiah 6:1-13
God promised he would never do anything he didn’t first show his prophets. God showed Amos several scenarios of judgement and allowed Amos to be a part of his decision. Amos was able to talk God out of a plague of locusts and a fire that would both destroy Israel.
How funny that Amakiah would accuse Amos of plotting against King Jeroboam when all Amos was doing was repeating God’s words. He continued to prophesy against Jeroboam because he knew that God’s word would stand and he wasn’t afraid of what mere men could do to him.
I love that Amos was not a “professional prophet”. He had never been trained to hear from God. He was a farmer who God chose to speak through. That gives us hope. We don’t have to be on a church staff to hear from God. The Holy Spirit is available for us all.
God was going to bring judgement to the land and there would be signs in the earth but the famine that was coming was going to be a famine of hearing God’s word. What a terrible thing. People would faint for a word from God and not be able to hear.
Isaiah said that their hearts would be so hard that they would not be able to see or hear or understand. Jesus said the same thing of these people in Matthew 13:15 For this people's heart is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes they have closed; lest at any time they should see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and should understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them.
The worse thing that could happen to us is to have our hearts hardened. But Jesus says of us: But blessed are your eyes, for they see: and your ears, for they hear. (Matthew 13:16)
Lord, I pray that you will keep our hearts soft and our ears attentive to your voice. May we see with your eyes, hear with your ears and understand with your heart so that we might love with your love.

Monday, June 20, 2016

Mon.’s Devo - Love Covers All

Read: Amos 1-6
Amos prophesied during the reigns of King Uzziah of Judah and King Jeroboam 2 of Israel. These are the things he saw 2 years before the earthquake that destroyed parts of Israel and Judah. It was God’s judgment on their sin. The earthquake happened after Uzziah went into the Temple and acted as a priest.
I always look to see how I can relate what was going on there to our present times. Amos was speaking to the people of Damascus, Gaza, Tyre, Edom, Ammon, Moab, Judah and Israel. These were God’s people and their enemies. Their enemies were being judged because of what they had done to God’s people. They had beat them down, imprisoned them, made them slaves, broke their promises with Israel, chased Israel with swords, abusing them with anger. They also stole their property and stole their harvest. They dishonored men in authority and ruined their names. What a description of what our enemy does to us. He beats us down with condemnation and disasters. His goal is to imprison us in guilt, addiction, curses, and depression. He wants to make us slaves to our past. He lies and doesn’t keep his promises. He chases us with words of discouragement and shame. He wants to steal our inheritance we have in Jesus, he will try to take our testimony and our blessing. He will do whatever he can to dishonor our spiritual leaders and tempt them to sin. We have to stand against the devil with the two-edged sword of the Word of God.
To Judah and Israel, God judged them from turning from his Word and refusing to obey him. He also judged them for devaluing their people. We as the church do these same things. We refuse to trust God when we know He is the only one we can trust. We devalue people when we only see them in the flesh and refuse to see them through God’s eyes.
God rebuked Edom for chasing down their own relatives and fighting them with swords, showing no mercy. We do that when we speak against other denominations that trust in Jesus. We all see through a glass darkly but we shouldn’t criticize our own kind. We are all learning and growing at different levels of understanding. Love covers all.
Lord, help us to walk in love.

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Sun.’s Devo - God’s Ways are Perfect

Read: 2 Kings 13: 12-13; 14-15:5; 2 Chron. 25:25-26:21; Jonah 1-4
Today is a long reading. You have probably noticed that the book of the Kings is the short version of the kings but the Chronicles add some of the details. For example: today we read in the Kings that Amaziah defeated he Edomites and then went on to attack Israel only to be defeated. In the Chronicles we learn the details behind why he was defeated. Amaziah started his kingship honoring God. He killed only the men who had killed his father. When he hired some Israelites to fight with him against Edom, he listened to the advise of the prophet and sent them home instead. The fighters from Israel went home furious that they had been shamed and not allowed to fight. They should have been happy they got payed for doing nothing.
Amaziah fought Edom and won but he brought the idols back that they had worshipped and started worshipping them himself.
In his pride, he thought he could now defeat Israel. God sent his prophet back to him but this time he refused to listen. Even Jehoash, Israel’s king tried to convince him that this was not a good idea, but he was determined to fight. This time he was fighting against God. He was killed in battle and his army lost. The wall was demolished and the gold and silver and all the articles from the Temple of God were seized.
After Amaziah died, his son, Uzziah became king. He did what was pleasing to the Lord until he, like his dad, let pride blind him to truth. He went into the temple and offered incense on the altar. Only the priests were allowed in the Holy Place to burn incense. He was struck with leprosy.
In the midst of all the stories of the kings we have the story of the prophet Jonah. Jonah was called to go to Nineveh to call them to repentance but instead went the opposite direction because he didn’t want to obey. So we see that the kings were not the only people that struggled with obeying God’s way. Through a series of bizarre circumstances, Jonah learned that God’s ways are perfect and right and it was not up to him to tell God how to be God.
Lord, let us not be drawn away into pride and forget the most important things in life. The most important of those being that You are God and Your are the main thing. Only You are worthy of worship and adoration.

Saturday, June 18, 2016

Sat.’s Devo - Sin Weakens Your Defense

Read: 2 kings 13; 12:17-21; 2 Chron. 24:23-27
Jehoahaz became king of Israel after his father, Jehu died. He worshipped the golden calves that Jeroboam had made and allowed the pole of Ashterah to stand so God reduced his army. Following after other things other than God allows our defense of the enemy to lessen making us more susceptible to temptation and defeat.
When Jehoahaz died, his son, Jehoash became the next king. He was also an evil king.
In Judah, Joash was ruling. When he heard that the King of Aram was coming to attack him he gave him all the treasures of the Lord which saved their lives but not their souls. There is no way to appease the enemy. He will always come back for more. The King of Aram brought his army came back in the spring and because Judah had abandoned the Lord. When we compromise, the next time it will be easier to give in. God let the Armeans defeat them with a much smaller army than Judah had. Joash was wounded in the battle but it was his two advisors who murdered him because he had murdered Zechariah, the priest’s son. Sin only reaps death.
Elisha had an illness that had flared up again so the king of Israel, Jehoash came to see him and grieve with him. Elisha asked him to participate in a prophetic act. He wanted him strike the arrows on the ground as a picture of what he would do to Aram. Since he only struck them three times, he would only defeat them three times. Those arrows are like Scriptures to us. When we use them, they produce results. When we stop using them, they stop producing results.
Lord, help us not to get weary in our fight against sin.

Friday, June 17, 2016

Fri.’s Devo - Joash’s Reign

Read: 2 Kings 11-12:16; 10: 32-36; 2 Chron. 23-24:22
Yesterday we read where Jehu killed Ahaziah and many of his relatives. Today we read that when Ahaziah’s mother found out she killed the rest of the royal family so she could be the queen. The priest, Joaiada took Ahaziah’s infant son, Joash, and his nurse and hid him in the temple for seven years. There he was raised by the priest, Jehoiada. Joash’s name means “Jehovah has become a man.” He represented Jesus. God had to hide Jesus when he was born too. Athaliah’s name means “due season”. She was to rule for a due season so at the end of seven years Johoiada knew that the due time had come and it was time to present the king to the world. At seventh millennium, God is going to present Jesus to the world and he will reign as king over the earth.
Jehoiada had priests and Levites come there from all around and placed them at strategic places. They took Joash to the temple to the spot where kings were anointed king and all the people shouted, blew trumpets and proclaimed him king. Athaliah heard the noise and cried “treason” but no one came to her rescue. She was killed outside the Temple.
As long as Jehoiada was alive, Joash stayed true to the Lord, but when he died and his son, Zechariah, became priest, Joash forsook his counsel and listened to others who led him into idolatry. He ended up killing Zechariah because of his warnings.
How sad that Joash started so well and ended so bad. It proves that we need good mentors who love God to advise us. Thank God, we have his Holy Spirit who is the best mentor and will always lead us to prosper.
Lord, help us to surround ourselves with people who love you and teach us to hear the advise of your Sprit.

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Thurs.’s Devo - The Turning of a Nation

Read: 2 Chron. 21:8-20; 2 King 8:23-10:31; 2 Chron. 22: 1-9
We can see how easy it is for a country to turn. Jehoshaphat and Asa were godly kings in Judah but Jehoram was not. God struck him with an incurable intestinal disease that got worse and worse each day until his bowels came out. So much for God not bringing sickness on people. When he died it says that no one was sorry. What a terrible epitaph.
His son, Ahaziah became king. He was connected to Ahab’s family by marriage. They led him into their idolatrous ways. They also advised him to join Joram, Israel’s king, in battle against Aram. Joram was wounded in the battle so Ahaziah went to visit him.
Jehoshaphat had another son named Jehu. Elisha sent a young prophet to him and anointed him to be the next king of Israel. He also told him to destroy all the family of Ahab. He did just that, then went on to destroy every prophet and follower of Baal. The one thing he didn’t do is to destroy the golden calves that Jeroboam had set up.
This story shows us how quickly God can bring deliverance for a nation. I pray this same speedy deliverance for America.
Lord, may we turn from all our idolatry and deception and turn back to You.

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Wed.’s Devo - Open Our Eyes

Read: 2 Kings 5-8:15
Today’s reading would make a good movie. I am just going to talk about two of the stories. The first one is the story of the healing of Naaman.
Leprosy is a picture of our sinful state - a problem that affects our flesh. The answer for Naaman was to dip in the Jordan River seven times. Our answer is to humble ourselves and confess our sins and our need of a savior. It was a simple thing but he almost missed his healing because of his pride. When he finally lost his pride and obeyed, he got restored. Salvation is so simple many miss it. They miss it because of this and their pride. Restoration comes when we humbly obey.
Ghazi was tempted by the rewards of the flesh and he was rewarded with Naaman’s problem of his flesh. One of the temptations of ministry is to want material reward for spiritual work. God is the one who rewards his servants. Our weaknesses can become our strengths if we give them to God or they can become our stumbling blocks if we actively pursue them.
The other story I want to address is the one in 2 Kings 6:8-23. When Elisha was surrounded by a great army with chariots and horses, his response to Gehazi was, “Don’t be afraid! For there are more on our side than on theirs!” When Gehazi got God’s perspective he could see that surrounding all the enemy was the Lord’s army with horses and chariots of fire.
We may feel surrounded by negative news and discouragement but we need to get God’s perspective. We have the army of God on our side. He will blind the enemy and put them in our hands if we have faith.
Lord, thank you for the free gift of salvation. Help us not to miss the simplicity of the gospel. Give us your eyes to see your army and have hope.

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Tues.’s Devo - Elijah’s Ascent

Read: 2 Kings 2, 4
Elijah’s time on earth is over and Elisha perceives this. Elijah tries to get alone but Elisha is determined to see him leave. Elijah knows that he is going to be taken up to God so he is looking for the right place. The first place Elijah goes is Bethel. Bethel means “house of God”. It was the place God spoke to Jacob twice and he saw heaven open up. Apparently this was not the place so he goes to Jericho. Jericho was the first conquest of the Israelites when they came into the promised land. It is also the opening to the valley of Achor. The valley of Achor symbolized a place which had been a source of calamity that would become a source of blessing. Hosea also (Hos. 2:15) uses the expression in the same sense:"The valley of Achor for a door of hope;" in other words trouble would be turned into joy, despair into hope. This was one of the last places Jesus went before he died.
The last place Elijah went was the Jordan River. The Jordan River means “descender” since it starts at the top of Mt. Hermon and flows all the way down the mountain and ends in the Dead Sea. The children of Israel went across two main waters on their way to the promised land. The first was the Red Sea which represented their salvation. The second was the Jordan which represented their cross into the Spirit. No wonder it would be here that Elijah would be taken by the Spirit into his eternity.
Elijah parted the water, just as Joshua had and went to the other side. There he was taken to heaven by the charioteers of heaven. Elisha picked up Elijah’s mantle and struck the waters of the Jordan with it and it parted. He had asked for a double portion of God’s spirit on Elijah and he got it.
The first thing he dealt with was purifying the water. He had to bring new life to the city. They needed their spirits made pure.
Then he had to deal with rejection and insecurity. It came from a group of young boys who were making fun of him. He had to deal with them to be able to do what he was called to do. He cursed them in the name of the Lord and the Lord took care of them.
Next he brought in the oil, the Holy Spirit. The woman stood for the barrenness and husbandless of the land.
He brought the woman of Shunem her lost dream of having a son. When her dream died, he brought it back to life.
The last story was about making the poisonous food healthy. Our food is the Word of God. If we see it as a law to follow to get to God it will be death to us. If we see the Word as Jesus and grace then it is life to us.
These are all processes we go through if we want to mature in the Lord.
Lord, help us to move nearer to maturity where we bring life to those in need.

Monday, June 13, 2016

Mon.’s Devo - Jehoshaphat's Death

Read: 2 Kings 1, 3; 1 Kings 22:41-50: 2 Chron. 20:31-37; 2 Chron. 21:1-7; 2 Kings 8:16-22
Ahaziah, king of Israel, fell and was ill so he sent messengers to Baal for answers. Elijah answered instead. He sent word to Ahaziah that since he required of Baal and not God that he would die. Ahaziah sent a commander with 50 men to kill Elijah but fire came down and killed them all. This happened again so the next commander didn’t stand at the bottom of the hill Elijah was roosted on, he humbly climbed the hill and bowed before Elijah pleading for his life. God saw his humility and allowed Elijah to go with him.
Elijah went to the king and personally gave him the same prophecy. The king died and his brother, Joram became king. He tore down his fathers pillar to Baal, but continued in other idolatry.
After Ahab had died, the king of Moab decided he didn’t want to pay Israel his yearly tribute. Mesha, king of Moab gathered his troops and came against Israel. King Joram asked Jehoshaphat if he would join him in fighting Moab. He agreed and so did the King of Edom. They traveled into the wilderness to meet with the army of Moab and ran out of water. Ahaziah panicked, but Jehoshaphat searched for a prophet. Elisha was with them but he was hesitant to speak. He told them to ask their pagan prophets since that was who they relied on. King Joram blamed the Lord for bringing them there to die but Elisha asked for a harp player. As the harp was being played, Elisha saw what God was going to do. He would fill the valley with so much water, the enemy would think it was blood. They would be able to ambush them and win. It happened just as he said and God gave them victory.
Jehoshaphat had seven sons that he blessed with cities and authority. He passed the kingdom to his oldest son, Jehoram. He should have passed him his faith in God instead. Jehoram did not follow in his fathers’ footsteps, but followed in the footsteps of evil Israel and killed all his brothers. This was the beginning of his downfall. Other kingdoms that were aligned with him, rebelled and his kingdom became weak.
How sad that Jehoshaphat’s son chose not to rule as his father did. He had seen the mighty things the Lord did for his father, but chose not to follow.
Lord, we pray that our children will choose to follow in the Lord,’s footsteps all the days of their lives.

Sunday, June 12, 2016

Sun.’s Devo - Ahab / Jehoshaphat

Read: 1 Kings 22:1-40; 2 Chron. 19-20
Once again, the kings of Israel and Judah are going to war together against the people of Ramoth-gilead. Ahab, the king of Israel asks his false prophets and with much pomp and circumstance they proclaim victory. Then, for the sake of the king of Judah, Jehoshaphat, they ask God’s prophet, Micaiah. First, they prep him with the prophecies of their prophets and warn him to agree, so he sarcastically agrees. The king sees through his sarcasm and asks for the truth. The truth is Micaiah saw all Israel scattered like sheep without a shepherd. He explained to them that God sent the false prophets to trick him into going to war and dying.
Zedikiah, the false prophet that made a helmet with iron horns to give them a picture of their victory slapped Micaiah on the cheek and Micaiah was sent, once again, to the prison to wait for the kings return. Micaiah told Zedikiah that he would find himself hiding in an inner chamber but the king would not return.
Ahab thought he could trick the enemy, and God, so he disguised himself and went into battle. A random arrow was launched by the enemy and it found its way right to the very joint in his armor. (God is a perfect shot). When they washed his blood from his chariot, the dog’s licked it up. It was in Naboth’s vineyard thus fulfilling Elijah’s prophecy.
Ahab was one of the most notably wicked kings of Israel, and Jehoshaphat was one of the most godly kings of Judah. Amazingly they made peace with one another. After Ahab died, Ahaziah reigned over Israel. He followed in his father’s footsteps.
Jehoshaphat was the total opposite of Ahab. When his enemies came against him, he cried out to the Lord, called a fast, and reminded the Lord of his promises. The Spirit of the Lord fell on one of the people as Jehoshaphat was praying and told them not to be afraid because the Lord was with them. He told them where the enemy would come from so they could be ready and waiting. Jehoshaphat even humbled himself to ask the people what to do. They decided to send out the singers first. They sang, “Give thanks to the Lord; his faithful love endures forever!” The moment the enemy heard them they started fighting each other and by the time Jehoshaphat’s army reached them, they had killed each other.
What a strategy for spiritual warfare. When we are up against unbeatable odds, we need to sing praises to the Lord, Demons hate to hear the Lord’s name praised and it confuses them so much they destroy each other.
Lord, thank you for the power of praise. Help us to remember to sing when we feel like crying.

Saturday, June 11, 2016

Sat.’s Devo - Payday Some Day

Read: 1 Kings 20:23-22:9; 2 Chron. 18:1-8
Yesterday, we ended with a battle between the king of Aram and King Ahab. God sent Ahab a prophet that told him He was going to hand them over to him by using the troops of the provincial commanders. They won, but the prophet told Ahab to be ready in the spring for another attack.
Today’s reading starts at the spring and they are coming back just as was prophesied. Israel was ready but Ahab foolishly made a covenant with Benhadad and let him go.
God sent him a prophet to show him the error of letting Benhadad go. He was to totally annihilate him, and not spare him because he looked repentant. This would cost Ahab his family and his kingdom.
Ahab went home depressed but it didn’t take him long to get back to life as usual. He wanted to start a vegetable garden and Naboth’s vineyard was the ideal spot for him. He went and tried to buy him out but Naboth refused because it was his inheritance for his heritage. When Naboth pouted, his wife, Jezebel was furious. She went and deceitfully had Naboth killed so Ahab could have his garden.
As Ahab was going to claim Naboth’s land for himself, God sent him a prophet to tell him that because he did this, he would die the same place Naboth died and Jezebel would die on the land of the vineyard. Dogs would lick their blood which is the fate of a cursed person. Once again, Ahab was depressed so much that he wore sackcloth and ropes even to bed. It got God’s attention so God prolonged his sentence and put it on his sons.
We end with a meeting between Jehoshaphat and Ahab, kings of Judah and Israel. They are planning a truce to fight together against the king of Aram. First, Jehoshaphat wants to ask the prophets. Ahab brings in his false prophets who all agree they will win. Jehoshaphat asks if there are any prophets of God in which Ahab reluctantly calls for Micaiah. Tomorrow we will learn his prophecy.
Ahab was the most immature, spoiled brat king Israel had seen. I think he was mentally ill. His wife was a controller that was right up there with Satan himself. Google a Jezebel spirit and you will be enlightened. Trouble is, we can see our old nature in both of them at times. Thank God for the cross!
Lord, help us to learn from the mistakes of the kings and their wives. Help us to submit to You and to others you have put over us.

Friday, June 10, 2016

Fri.’s Devo - The Acts of Elijah

Read: 1 Kings 17:8-20:22
Yesterday, we read the introduction of Elijah who was a major prophet to Israel. His name means “my god is Jehovah” and that was what he proclaimed to Israel. Ahab and Jezebel were reigning and it was a very idolatrous evil time in history. He had told King Ahab that there would not be any dew or rain for the next few years until he proclaimed it. Then he had fled. King Ahab had looked for him everywhere because of the great drought and famine but God hid him.
Today we see that he landed in Zarephath which means “place of refining”. It was that for him and for the nation. There he was fed by a widow who was fixing her last meal. Because she fed Elijah first, her flour and oil refreshed itself every day. That is what I call daily provision.
While he was there he prayed this woman’s son back to life and stayed in this place of hiding until set time in the third year. Then God told Elijah to go meet with King Ahab.
I think it was funny that King Ahab missed the whole reason for the drought and blamed it on Elijah. Anytime things go wrong in a nation, people blame the Christians. How twisted. Elijah set Ahab straight and told him it was his fault because he worshipped Baal and caused all Israel to join. He told him to have all of the Baal worshippers meet him on Mt. Carmel for a show down. We all know how that ended but the sad part of it was when Elijah ran from the threats of Jezebel. He had been protected by God for these three years, seen the miracle on Mt. Carmel and called down the rain and yet he ran from Jezebel. No wonder God told him to anoint his successor.
When we are shown the mighty hand of God do the miraculous, our faith has to rise to a new level. Elijah saw all this and yet feared a woman. How tragic. To whom much is given, much is required. Elijah lost his position because of this but not before he was sent to anoint new kings for Aram and Israel.
Lord, help us to always remember what you have done in the past and launch from that level of faith.

Thursday, June 9, 2016

Thurs.’s Devo - End Well

Read: 1 Kings 15:16- chapter 16; 1 Kings 15:23-24; 2 Chron. 16:11-14- end of 17; 1 Kings 17:1-7
It always amazes me how we can call on the Lord to help us one time and not the other. God had defeated the Ethiopians when Asa asked him for help and now Asa takes the gold from the temple to pay an enemy to help him defeat Israel. It would have been so less costly to ask God to help.
God sent a prophet named Hanani to Asa to show him his error. and just how much it would cost him. Hanani means “my grace” even though he was called to give Asa a hard word. It was meant to turn Asa’s heart. If he would have repented, God would have repented his sentence of continual war. Instead of accepting God’s grace, Asa threw Hanani in prison and put him in stocks.
Notice what happens to Asa when he refuses God’s grace, he becomes mean and cruel. That is what happens to a person who refuses to repent.
Hanani’s son was sent to the king of Israel, Baasha to rebuke him. He didn’t repent either so his family and friends were wiped out by Zimri who killed Baasha and reigned 7 days. He died in a fiery suicide. (What a picture of judgment!)
This split the nation of Israel between Omri and Tibni. Tibni was killed by Omri’s supporters so Omri reigned in Israel and was an evil king. He died and gave us his son Ahab as a king. Ahab is synonymous with evil and to make things worse, he married Jezebel who introduced the nation to Baal and Ashtoreh worship on a scale it had never reached.
Back in Judah, Asa was old and had disease in his foot which spiritually speaking it means his pure walk became contaminated. He had started out walking with the Lord but had turned. What a sad ending. His son, Jehoshaphat became king and he must have learned by watching his dad that following God was better. He chose to follow God. He sent teachers and priests throughout Judah to teach them the Word of the Lord. What a great start!
Lord, help us to end well. Let us not get sidetracked with the trappings of everyday life and disappointments. Let us stay true to you.

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Weds.’s Devo - The Army of the Lord

Read: 1 Kings 13- ; 2 Chron. 11:18- chapter 13; 1 Kings 14:25- chapter 15; 2 Chron. 14- 15:19
Today’s is a long reading so I’m going to only write about the portions that stood out to me. I love the prophet that prophesied about the altar and Josiah. It all came to pass but I don’t get the old prophet deceiving him and costing him his life. What a shame!
Jeroboam had a son he named him Abijah. That is one letter away from Ahijah, the prophet that prophesied his kingship. The son became sick so Jeroboam sent his wife to the prophet to see if he tell them if the child would live. Ahijah not only prophesied the child’s death but the death of Jeroboam’s whole lineage.
Rehoboam has a favored son who is also named Abijah who becomes the next king over Judah. To confuse us even more, Abijah is also referred to as Abijam. He has constant war with Jereboam during his reign. Abijam’s son, Asa becomes the next king and follows the Lord. During his reign there is prosperity and building. He rids the country of much of its idolatry and reestablishes the worship of Jehovah God.
Meanwhile in Israel, Jereboam finally dies after twenty two years and is replaced by his son Nadab. Nadab only lasts two years and is as evil as his father. He is killed by Baasha, who immediately killed all in his family fulfilling the prophecy of Jereboam’s linege. He rules for twenty-four years but was also evil.
Asa was attacked from an outside enemy, the Ethiopians with one million men. They only had 580,000 men in their entire army. Asa called out to the Lord and God’s army fought the Ethiopians and killed them. God sent them a prophet to tell them that as long as they stayed with God, he would be with them. They made a covenant to stay true to God.
God still has that army at out disposal and we need to be calling out for that army.
Lord, we ask your army to fight against the deception in the minds of our youth that are being deceived about their sexual identity, their minds and their souls. We ask you to intercede in our politics, economics, education, entertainment, and every other arena in our nation. We ask you to fight for your standard of righteousness to be raised in our nation.

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Tue.’s Devo - The Counterfeit

Read: Ecc. 11: 7-12:14; 1 Kings 12; 2 Chron. 10-11:17
Solomon can be pretty depressing. He concludes that everything we do is meaningless so fear God and obey his commands for this is our duty. Solomon needed the joy of the Lord and Jesus. LOL.
In the Kings and Chronicles we read of the split of Israel. I think it is interesting to note that though Rehoboam didn’t choose the wisdom of the aged but foolishly chose the advise of his young friends, he was still a king of David’s lineage. Jeroboam was also raised up by God as his adversary. He was a type of the Anti-Christ. Look at how closely he tries to imitate the real. His name even sounds like Rehoboam’s.
He establishes his own place of worship with priests who were not Levites. He makes golden calves which he sets up at the gates of the entrance and exit of his capital city. He tells the people that these are the ones that delivered Israel from Egypt. Anyone who knew the real story would know that was not true. This tells me that no one was retelling the story of their deliverance and since the people didn’t have a copy of the book of Moses, they would believe anything they were told. How important it is to know scripture! He also built pagan shrines to accommodate those who didn’t want to worship God so they could all coexist in harmony. Sound familiar? And, to make it official, he imitated the Feast of Tabernacles with his own festival in the eighth month instead of the seventh. The devil is so uncreative, he only counterfeits the real.
The Levites left their land in Israel to move to Judah to serve the Lord. For three years they maintained the right kind of worship.
Lord, may we know your Word so we aren’t deceived by the devil’s counterfeit.

Monday, June 6, 2016

Mon.’s Devo - Life and Death

Read: Eccl. 7-11:6
Solomon sobers us up with his talk of death. He wants us to realize that life is short and we should live with eternity in mind. He says that sadness refines us and if we are wise we live knowing life is short.
Solomon gives us many nuggets today. I underlined a few like this one. “Those who are wise will find a time and a way to do what is right, for there is a time and a way for everything, even when a person is in trouble.” I have seen this happen so many times in my sewing. I will make a mistake and miss cut the fabric and am momentarily devastated. That is when I start praying and asking God for mercy and a way to make it work. Sometimes I have to just walk away for a while and calm down so God can speak to me. When I come back, I get an answer and it always amazes me the wisdom of God. He can get us out of any problem we get ourselves into because he can! All we have to do is humble ourselves and ask.
Solomon spent his lifetime seeking and observing life trying to find wisdom. He realized that you are not always rewarded for your good deeds or your righteous life here on earth, but God is in control and we can trust him. He says that it is all decided by chance and being at the right place at the right time, but we know that it is God that puts us in the right place at the right time. God is our chance and our hope. In all Solomon’s searching he realized that God is beyond all human reasoning and finding out.
Lord, we praise you because You are above all.

Sunday, June 5, 2016

Sun.’s Devo - Happy People

Read: Ecclesiastes 1:12-chapter 6
We know that Solomon wrote Ecclesiastes at the end of his life and his wives had led him into so much idolatry and wickedness. In the end of his life he must have repented and came back to God but he tried to find God in life and by observation rather than looking into scripture. Solomon was a philosopher so this is his thesis of life. It reminds me much of how the native indian found God.
These scriptures also give us insight into Solomon’s past and why he did what he did. Because he was so brilliant he was always looking for reason and purpose. He found little in life that seemed to have any substance. He tried pleasure and wickedness but found that wisdom was better, just as light is better than darkness. He observed those who worked hard and found that if you don’t enjoy your work and eat the fruits of your labor it is all for nothing. He went so far as to say that there was nothing better for people than to be happy in their work. How true!
He makes a very important statement: “God has made everything beautiful for its own time. He has planted eternity in the human heart.” We are especially crafted for our generation to bring beauty to the world. Everyone is born with the knowledge that there is something more to life than just our lives. We instinctively know there is a God and there is eternity. Atheists try to ignore this but it is born inside them.
Another topic of today was wealth. Solomon said that those who love money would never have enough to be satisfied. How foolish of us to think that wealth will bring happiness. He added, enjoy what you have rather than desiring what you don’t have.
He concludes that God has decided the fate of the world and the destiny of every person long ago. It is futile to argue about your destiny. I agree with that. We should be happy in our work God has given us on the earth. It goes back to what Solomon said about who the happy people are.
Lord, give us joy in the road you have put us on to travel. May we find joy in our journey.

Saturday, June 4, 2016

Sat.’s Devo - The Fall of Solomon

Read: 1 Kings 11; Ecclesiastes 1:1-11
We hate to see it, but Solomon didn’t stay loyal to the Lord. He had one vise which was women. He was told not to marry foreign wives because they would lead him to worship their gods but he insisted on loving them anyway. He had 700 of them and 300 concubines. I can’t even fathom that, but of course, they led his heart astray. He accommodated them and their gods and built temples to Ashtoreth and Molech where he worshipped also.
God was not happy and raised up three adversaries against him. They were Hadad, Rezon, and Jereboam. Each had their own story of why they wanted revenge on Israel. This was the beginning of the split of the kingdom. Jeroboam would rule over 10 of the tribes and be called Israel, and Rehoboam, Solomon’s son, would rule over the other two which included Jerusalem. It would be called Judah.
Ecclesiastes is another book of Solomon’s wisdom about life. He is a little cynical as he gets a glimpse of the whole picture. He sees everything as a circle. Everything repeats itself in history which is true if you study history. What is so great about that is we can live a life that we would want to be repeated in our generation. Maybe our future generations won’t know us or what we did but we can leave them a spiritual legacy that will be repeated over and over.
Lord, let our cycle in our family be something we want repeated in history. Let us leave a lasting legacy.

Friday, June 3, 2016

Fri.’s Devo - The Song of Solomon

Read: Song of Solomon
Most people don’t know what to do with the Song of Solomon and yet it says that this is Solomon’s song of songs, more wonderful than any other. It is a song about a beautiful romance between a young man and a young woman. God loves romance since that is what this world is all about - finding a bride for his son. I read it as Jesus love and pursuit of me. It is a very personal and intimate story that would make me blush to read out loud but it warms my heart to read it to myself.
The woman is a who has had to work in the sun and doesn’t feel pretty or worthy of such a man. The man, however, absolutely adores the woman and thinks she is beautiful. He lavishes her with praises and gifts and they enjoy the presence of one another.
At one point she loses her lover but knows that he has gone to walk among the lilies. She goes there and finds him where they continue their romance. Jesus is the lily of the valley.
This is a song about a fresh young love. When we first meet Jesus, we are giddy about him. He is our first love. We need to return to our first love and fall back in love with him like this Shulamite woman. Then we can say like her, “I am my lover’s and he claims me as his own.
Lord, may we linger in the gardens of your love and hear your voice there.

Thursday, June 2, 2016

Thurs.’s Devo - The Friends You Choose

Read: Pr. 22-24
Solomon gives us thirty bits of advise that he is passing on to his sons and daughters. Many of them have to do with who you eat with. It is not as simple as just having a meal with a person but it means being an intimate friend. It is someone you would have into your house and share your secrets with. Make sure the person you don’t choose to be one of your close friends is not an angry person. They are the people who never have anything nice to say about anything - the “Debbie-downers”. Their bad attitude will rub off on you and their perspective will be come yours.
Another person he warns us not to eat with are stingy people. These are the reluctant givers who are always thinking about how much you are costing them. What they do for you will always be brought back up and used against you and any compliment you give them will be a wasted.
When you dine with someone who is someone with power be very discerning and hold back from taking too much because it might be a bribe that will be used against you. The next sentence has to do with wearing yourself out to get rich. Even rulers have discernment to know who is trying to use them for their personal gain.
Changing topics, I was reading about he result of a study on today’s parenting. Most parents today disagree with spanking and do “time out” instead. Proverbs 23:13-14 specifically says: “Don’t fail to discipline your children. The rod of punishment won’t kill them. Physical discipline may well save them from death.” The King James says “beat him with a rod”. I looked up ‘beat’ and it meant to strike lightly or severely. Instead of “save them from death”, the King James says “deliver his soul from hell”. I don’t see any “time out” in that scripture.
Solomon instructs the child to listen to his father and mother and to keep his heart on the right course. He warns them of carousing with drunkards and eating with gluttons who are on their way to poverty and ruin.
Lord, help us to be good friends to wise people, to listen attentively to our elders and to discipline our children rightly.

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Wed.’s Devo. What to Avoid and What to Embrace

Read: Pr. 20-22
Proverbs was written to make us wise and it gives us plenty of things to avoid like drunkenness, angry people, fights, laziness, false and double standards in business, stolen goods, gossip, getting wealth too quick, pride, lies, violence, mocking, complaining and injustice.
Instead, we are given many rewards for avoiding these things: a mark of honor, a walk of integrity, a clean heart, ears to hear and eyes to see, plenty to eat, wise words, good counsel, the unfailing love and faithfulness of God, God’s pleasure, a straight road, wealth and luxury, life, righteousness, and honor. Some of our characteristics will be that we love to give, we will think before we act, we will have victory. We will foresee danger and be able to avoid it. Our children will stay on the right path. Our plans will be preserved.
One of my favorite quotes from today is: “The Lord directs our steps, so why try to understand everything along the way?” Isaiah 55:9 puts it this way: “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.” We will never figure out God or his ways because he is God and we are man but we can trust in everything he does.
Lord, help us to avoid the things we read about today and help us to run after you trusting your every decision.