Sunday, July 31, 2016

Sun.’s Devo - Josiah’s Revival

Read: 2 Kings 23: 1-28; 2 Chronicles 35:1-19; Nahum 1-3
I love Josiah’s heart and conviction! He stood and read aloud the whole book of Moses. That must have taken all day to do. What Josiah did was a formula for repentance.
1. He read the truth
2. He realized his authority in the Lord
3. He renewed his covenant before God
4. He pledged to obey the Lord’s Word
5. He read again all God’s commands and confirmed them in his heart and before the people
6. He rid the land of idolatry
7. He led the people to repent also
The list of idolatry was pretty extensive. They had picked up the built a place of worship for every false god of God’s enemy. This reminds me of our nation. We have shrines or churches to so many false gods and call it “Coexistance”. It is nothing more than idolatry that is destroying our nation.
The last thing Josiah did was to reinstitute Passover which stood for salvation. He re-established the need to bring a blood offering to the Lord and repent. In our day that would mean he lifted up Jesus for all to come and find him. It says that there had never before or after been a king like Josiah, who turned to the Lord with all his heart and soul and strength, obeying all the laws of Moses. We pray for a leader for America that we could say the same thing about.
During this time, God raised up Nahum which means “comforter”. He was to speak against Nineveh which means “offspring of ease”. He prophesied their destruction for all their cruelty and rebellion. Nineveh was a very rich and thriving city which Jonah had called to repentance many years earlier. They had turned from God and became a stench to heaven. Today they would be the people who go after all the conveniences of life and forget we are in a battle where sacrifices have to be made.
When true revival comes it brings a cleansing to the earth.
Lord, we pray for revival! You are good; a strong refuge in the time of trouble.

Saturday, July 30, 2016

Sat.’s Devo - The Power of Repentance

Read Jeremiah 5:20-6:30; 2 Kings 22: 3-20; 2 Chronicles 34:8-28
God is at the end of his patience with Israel and Judah. He calls them foolish and senseless people with no discernment of right and wrong. He says of their prophets and priests :”They offer superficial treatments for my people’s mortal wound.” Where they thought they were doing okay and God was pleased with them; they were so off the mark they didn’t know what the mark was. God told them to stop and open their spiritual eyes and look around. Ask for the old, godly way and walk in it. They didn’t want that way and wanted their own selfish way that led to destruction. God said that an army was coming from the north that would destroy them. Jeremiah was sent to see what God’s people were made of. Would the be hard as bronze and iron or definable like silver.
In the middle of this time, God had raised up Josiah to be their king. He started reforming the land by preparing the Lords Temple. In the renovation process they found the law written by Moses and started reading it. When Josiah read what God required and saw how they were living, he was distraught. He immediately humbled himself and prayed to God for mercy. God heard his cry and put off his plans for judgment for a later date.
This is where America is now. We can keep on the road we are on or we can repent of our rebellion and turn to Him. We are in very tumultuous times where the Kingdom of God is clashing with the kingdom of Satan. The Kingdom of God will win!
Lord, we repent for our nation and pray that you hear the hearts of your people. Forgive us for our hard hearts and our independence; we know that we can do nothing apart from You. Come to our rescue and save us.

Friday, July 29, 2016

Fri.’s Devo - Turn Our Hearts Toward You

Read: Jeremiah 2:23-5:19
You can feel God’s hurt over Israel’s idolatry. Idolatry is just a word we use loosely for sin but to God it was much more. He had given his name to his bride and she had left him for any man who would look her way. God’s heart was broken as he looked down on the hard heart of his people. I can’t help but relate this to the church. We have turned to pride and our hearts have become hard with religion. We pride ourselves because we have not fallen into the “big sins” but we compare ourselves among ourselves, judge one another, gossip and refuse to see the wrongs we do. I am not preaching to anyone but myself. I am struggling with judgment over things I don’t understand. I would rather give law instead of grace, but I know that is not God’s heart. People need healing, restoration, mercy, and grace. Our nation needs these things. This is a hard time to live in but God is refining his bride through the fire. Weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning. I’m not sure when the morning is coming but it is coming!
Lord, strengthen us to finish our race and not lose heart.

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Thurs.’s Devo - Change and Restoration

Read: 2 Kings 21; 2 Chronicles 33-34:7; Jeremiah 1-2
Manasseh means “causing to forget”. What a fitting name for a man who did such evil things against the Lord, only to be led by a ring through his nose into exile. There he repented and returned and changed everything. He went from being the worse idolator to the most repentant. He reminds me of Saul in the New Testament who became Paul. God did cause him to forget his sin and change his ending. Sadly, his son, Amon didn’t follow in his godly steps, but in his evil ones. He was killed by his own officials after two years. Josiah became the king at the young age of eight. He is one of the only kings who is compared to David in his devotion to the Lord. At the age of sixteen, Josiah began seeking the Lord. At the age of twenty, he did massive reform to the land to turn it back to the Lord. The next year, God sent Jeremiah to stand up against the kingdoms that stood against God. He was to prophecy blessing to the kingdoms God wanted raised and curses to the ones God wanted brought down. The first place he was sent was Jerusalem. Jerusalem had traded Jehovah God for gods that had no power. They had given up living water for no water - life for death.
Next, Jeremiah went to Israel and spoke against their sin. They had made alliances with Egypt and Assyria, the very nations that God had brought them out of. Had they not forgotten that they were once slaves there? How did this happen? This was God’s question to them.
Where the story of Manasseh and Josiah are so inspiring, the nation of Judah and Israel was in disturbing turbulence and sin. It reminds me of what is going on in our nation. God is birthing a revival that is sweeping our nation, but the powers of hell are being roused in defiance. We need to open our spiritual eyes and see the clash of kingdoms that is taking place. We need to repent and change our gods to the God in every area of our lives. Repentance begins in the house of God. God will win and we will be blessed!
Lord, help us to repent of our selfish petty ways and humble ourselves and pray. You are our only hope and you are good!

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Wed.’s Devo - Hope For the Remnant

Read: Isaiah 63:15-66:24; 2 Kings 20:20-21; 2 Chron. 32:32-33
Isaiah cries to the Lord asking why the Lord let them stray so far from his path. He begs God to return and help them. That is our cry for our nation.
God’s response was that he wanted to help but no one asked for his help; he wanted to reveal himself to them but no one was looking for him. He spread his arms wide to a rebellious people who didn’t care. They were bent on evil and idolatry. Our human nature is to worship something; they just didn’t choose God.
God speaks to the remnant and tells them that they will be filled with joy and singing. God is going to give them a new life that will so supersede the old that they won’t be able to remember the past. People will live to be over a hundred - as long as trees, they will live in the houses they build, eat the fruit of their own labor, and enjoy life. Their children will not be doomed to misfortune but be blessed. Twice God says that he will bless those who tremble at his word. The word ‘tremble’ means to be fearful and reverence toward.
God assures us that he sees what the ungodly are doing in secret but we will always be his people and our name will never disappear from before his face.
Lord, thank you that our future is bright and wonderful. May we not get discouraged by what is going on in the world.

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Tues.’s Devo - The Right Heart

Read: Isaiah 58-63:14
Isaiah begins by rebuking the people of Judah for pretending they wanted to be near God and doing righteous acts to look pious when their hearts were hearts of stone. They went through the motions of “church” so they could appease their conscience. It was a total mind thing and not a heart thing. They fasted to look religious when the fast God wanted was of their heart. He wanted them to fast because their hearts were broken over the oppression and poverty in the land. Their poverty was both physical and spiritual. If they would put action to their pious words then God would hear their prayers and come to their rescue. If they would honor God and His Word, then God would honor them and their requests.
They cried out that God was not helping them when it was their sin that was holding back the power of God. So their land was full of darkness, injustice, and gloom. When the Lord couldn’t find an intercessor, he stepped in himself to save. He came as our Redeemer in the form of Jesus of Nazareth. He came bringing the light. He is the everlasting light that shines through us. We can proclaim what they said about Jesus: the Spirit of the Sovereign Lord us upon us. He has anointed us to bring good news to the poor, comfort the brokenhearted, proclaim captives to be released, and prisoners freed. He has sent us to tell those who mourn that the time of the Lord,’s favor has come. God, in return will give the people we pray for a crown of beauty for ashes, a joyous blessing instead of mourning, festive praise instead of despair. Their righteousness will be like great oaks that the lord has planted for his own glory.
When we become the people of the Lord that he can move through then it says that we will drink the wine we have pressed. In other words, we will see the people we invest in go on to invest in others which will be a blessing to us also.
Lord, we trust and believe in your Word. Help us to be oaks of righteousness in a world of sin.

Monday, July 25, 2016

Mon.’s Devo - Jesus in the Old

Read: Isaiah 52:13-57
The end of Isaiah 52 begins the description of Jesus. It and Isaiah 53 are the best descriptions of Jesus in the Old Testament. They are great witnessing verses for the Jewish people. It is hard to read without getting teary-eyed. Jesus was so misunderstood and oppressed for us. How grateful we are!
I had to read Isaiah 54 out loud to my husband because we are praying for one of our sons that needs God to fight for him today. I love the words, ‘God will silence every voice raised up to accuse you.” The accuser of the brethren (the Christian) is the devil. He is the voice that God will silence…we need to hear God’s voice above all other voices.
In Isaiah 55, God asks if we are hungry or thirsty because we don’t have to have money to buy his food and drink. He gives us food that fulfills and water that brings life. He reminds us that his thoughts and plans are so much greater than we can imagine or think. When God says he will do something it will happen.
Isaiah 56 tells us that anyone who commits themselves to the Lord is a part of his people. God will write their name within the walls of his house and this name will never disappear. He will bless the foreigner and give them joy in prayer. He is talking about the Gentile which most of us are.
God rebukes the people who are suppose to be the prophets watching out for the people. They are suppose to be people of prayer listening to the Spirit so they can tell the people what is coming. They are compared to a watchman on the wall who would see the enemy from a way off and warn the people. Then God rebukes the total idolators that are not his people. These people have made their lifestyle of evil to be a stumbling stone to the righteous. He tells them to clear away their false doctrine so his people can return to him.
Then God gives us Isaiah 57 where he promises to restore his people that repent and return to him.
Lord, your Word is always a right word spoken at the right time. It brings life and restoration.

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Sun.’s Devo - Healing and Hope

Read: Isaiah 48:12-52:12
Today’s reading is full of hope and promise but I was drawn to Isaiah 49:1-7. Isaiah gave his personal testimony of how God called him. God told him that he would be His servant that brought him glory but Isaiah replied that he felt so useless. He didn’t think he had purpose because of what he saw with his natural eye. But he decided to leave it in the Lord,’s hand and trust Him for his reward. God’s reply was that he would do more than restore Israel to Him, he will also be a light to the Gentiles and bring salvation to the ends of the earth.
I can’t help but feel like Isaiah did at times. When I look with my natural eyes I don’t see much changing, but when I choose to open my spiritual eyes it is a totally different picture. Isaiah had no idea that one day his words and prophecies would be written a book that we now know as the Bible which has been read by trillions of people down through the ages. We have seen so many of his words come to life and are still encouraged by them today. Our testimony will live on through our children and the people we meet so we need to run a good race.
Israel was in a desperate place when Isaiah began his ministry. They thought God had forgotten them, but God said he could never forget his child, Israel. He promised that even the most desolate parts of her abandoned land would soon be crowded with God’s people. That spoke so loudly to me of people who have desolate areas of their life - those that have been abandoned, abused, not loved, etc. And God wants to fill those areas of our lives that we think are unhealable (I know that’s not a word, but it should be). God wants to fill the empty places with life and healing. God is our healer and nothing is too hard for him. Allow him into those past memories and let him heal you.
Lord, I thank you for your undying love for us. You care about every minute of our lives. Heal your people.

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Sat.’s Devo - Our King

Read: Isaiah 44:6-48:11
Our first verse tells us how God is addressing himself to his people. He is Israel’s King and Redeemer, the Lord of Heaven’s Armies. He challenges their gods and idols they have trusted in. He was the first and the last, there is no other God but him, period. He speaks of the stupidity and ignorance of the whole idea of making an idol from your own hand and expecting it to be supernatural.
God is their king and he is always calling them back to him. He is their Redeemer and Creator and when it is time he will command Jerusalem to be rebuilt and the temple restored. He spoke to the King of Persia and made him a shepherd to Israel. If you can remember in Daniel, Belshazzar had a banquet and saw words on the wall. When Daniel interpreted it, it meant that the Persians would take the kingdom because of Belshazzar’s evil ways. It happened that very night. Babylon fell to Cyrus, King of Persia. Cyrus granted freedom to the Jews and sent money with Ezra back to Jerusalem to rebuild the temple. Cyrus was a king bent on world domination, yet God used him as a shepherd to his people. God promised to give his people treasures hidden in the darkness - secret riches.
This is a great reminder to us. God can put the most ruthless person in authority and give his people favor in their eyes and we can prosper in a seemingly difficult era. So, don’t write off the future of our nation. God is still the one who tells us the future and gives us secret riches. God is still our King and he is the Lord of Heaven’s Armies.
Lord, we lift our heads and worship you. You are our King! Let us put down all the works of our hands and totally trust in Your hand.

Friday, July 22, 2016

Fri.’s Devo- Salvation Has Come

Read: Isaiah 40-43
Isaiah is set up like the Bible. The Bible has sixty-six chapters. Thirty-nine are in the Old Testament and twenty-seven in the New. Isaiah forty starts the switch to the new which is full of grace, mercy, hope and redemption. It starts with words of comfort because the sad days are over. God tells Isaiah to shout the good news, for the Lord is coming with a reward. He is coming to gather and shepherd his people. Those who trust in him will find new strength. They will mount up and be victorious over their enemies and you will rejoice in the Lord. The desert will pool with water and the parched ground will grow trees. When you see this happening you will realize that prophecy is being fulfilled.
In Isaiah 42 we see the promise of Jesus who will have God’s Spirit and bring justice to the nations. They were to sing a new song to the Lord. They had sung songs of sadness and oppression because they were in bondage, but it was now time to sing songs of deliverance and joy. God had ransomed them and called them by name. From now on, nothing would be able to destroy them. Isn’t this the promise of salvation? Everything becomes new…we get a new song of a future and a hope. God will be with us through the deep troubles of life and nothing can harm us or consume us. God is with us. God is the only one who can predict the future because he wrote it. God told them that all the things he did during the great exodus of Moses is nothing compared to what he is about to do for them.
This is our promise! If you are looking at your desperate circumstance and think it is even impossible for God, know that God is saying it is not. He can deliver us from the worse problems. He always knows a way to wholeness and victory. We can trust him.
One of my scriptures I hold on to is found in Isaiah 44:3b-4, “And I will pour out my Spirit on your descendants, and my blessing on your children. They will thrive like water glass, like wills on a riverbank.”
Lord, thank you for your Word which is full of promises for our future. We lift our heads and look to you.

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Thurs.’s Devo - Be a Righteous Leader

Read: 2 Kings 20; 2 Chronicles 32: 24-31; Isaiah 38:9-39:8
The way the leader goes is the way the country will go unfortunately. King Hezekiah brought blessings and curses to his nation. He brought great blessings when he trusted God to deliver his land from the Assyrians. Everyone prospered including himself. When he got struck with a fatal sickness, he reminded God of his faithfulness and God extended his life fifteen more years. What he did in those fifteen years cost his nation dearly. He became proud and showed all his treasures to the enemy, Merodach-baladan whose name means “Baal is lord”. Because he did this, God said that everything he showed them and all his people would be taken to Babylon one day. Some of his sons would be made eunuchs in the palace of Babylon. Hezekiah had the audacity to rejoice that it wouldn’t happen in his life time. It would have been better, in my eyes if Hezekiah would have died when he was suppose to have. Aren’t you glad I’m not the judge! The Bible has much to say about ending well.
We are all leaders of something, even if it is in our own family. What we do does affect the future of those around us. Today’s reading is a great one to reflect on. We do want to leave a legacy of blessing for our posterity.
Lord, test and try our hearts to see if there is any wickedness in us and deliver us from evil.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Wed.’s Devo- “Why should you be any different?”

Read: 2 Kings 19; Isaiah 37; 2 Chron. 32:9-23
The Assyrian army, which was the most powerful and ruthless army in the world at the time was threatening King Hezekiah and Judah. The Assyrians boasted of all the nations they had defeated and how Judah’s god couldn’t save them. Then they asked, “Why should you be any different?” That was the question of the hour. It really wasn’t a contest of military might because Judah was no match for the Assyrian army. It was a clash of kingdoms. Was the God of Judah able to win when other gods couldn’t? Hezekiah knew the answer to that. He humbled himself and bowed down before the God of Heaven and beseeched his help. He knew that God was not a god of wood and stone but the living God of the whole universe.
The Assyrians tried to terrorize Hezekiah’s men with threats and insults but God told Hezekiah to not be disturbed by their blasphemous speech against Him. The battle was a spiritual battle, not a battle of human strength so God fought the battle for them. God spoke through Isaiah and said that He had planned this a long time ago and it was time to manifest on the earth.
That night the angel of the Lord went to the Assyrian camp and killed 185,000 soldiers sending King Sennacherib home in shame. When he got home his own sons killed him with a sword. As for King Hezekiah, he gained the respect of all the nations around him and they blessed him with gifts which were able to preserve and prosper his nation once again.
You may be asking the same question about your circumstance, “Why should you be any different than all the other people on the earth that are suffering from financial, physical, and family troubles and I would give you the same answer. The God you serve is not wood or stone but alive and ready to deliver. It doesn’t matter if you prayed before and got no answer, this is the day of salvation. We can stand on what God said to King Hezekiah, “I decided this long ago, long ago I planned it, and now I am making it happen.” Lift up your head, your redemption draws near!
Lord, You are our defender and our victory. We trust in your unfailing love.

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Tues.’s Devo - Don’t Compromise

Read: Micah 6-7; 2 Chron. 32:1-8; 2 Kings 18:13-37; Isaiah 36
Judah had slowly drifted into idolatry and forgotten God. God sent them Isaiah and Micah as his prophets to turn them back to Him. God wants to know what he has done to make them tired of him. He reminded them of all the times he watched over them, saved them and extended his faithful love to them. But instead of remaining faithful to honor and thank him, they went after deplorable gods who could do nothing good for them.
So God sent the Assyrian army to draw them back to Him. Israel had been subject to them for years, but Hezekiah decided it was time to break their yoke of bondage off so he made a stand not to send them tribute. This made the Assyrians angry and they came to destroy them. Hezekiah caved and gave them the gold and silver they want which he had to take from the temple. The king of Assyria was not content with just gold and silver - he wanted total control. He promised the children of Israel that he would take them to a place where they will have all their needs met if they came with him peacefully. King Hezekiah is in a hard place where he has to decide whether he is going to trust God to deliver him or listen to the lies of the king of Assyria.
This is the best picture of how the devil works. He will try to strike a bargain with us making us think that is as far as he will go. It starts as a small compromise like not reading your Bible for a week while you’re on vacation, then things get real busy when you get back because you have to make up for the time you are away and before you know it you are a month or so down the road and you haven’t opened your Bible. Just like with Israel, the king of Assyria didn’t stop with the tribute they owed, he wanted to own them and take their inheritance which was their land. The devil won’t stop at your small compromise, he wants your marriage, your children, your finances, your reputation, your testimony…all of you. He wants to kill, steal and destroy us. But we can stand up and say, “NO MORE!” We can pick back up our swords and start swinging. No weapon that the devil can forge can stand up against the weapon we have which is the Word of God.
Lord, help us to recognize the enemies strategies and raise up the standard of the Word against him. We will win! When you are on our side, nothing can stand against us.

Monday, July 18, 2016

Mon.’s Devo - Deliverance for the Remnant

Read Isaiah 34-35; Micah 2-5
In both of these books the chapters are diversely different. They start out with nothing but curses on the land and judgment for the sins of the people. People stole one another’s inheritances, they sinned against their families, and devised iniquity. God was tired of putting up with their sins and it was time for justice to be paid. These scriptures point to the last days when evil will be so great and God will come down and destroy the earth. When he does it will be by fire. Isaiah 34:8-10 talks about this fire. Then it talks about all the different kinds of birds that will possess the land. Birds are a picture of spiritual beings because they fly. Some birds are a picture of God’s spiritual beings like the dove, song bird, etc. Others like the ones mentioned in Isaiah 34 are pictures of Satan’s spiritual beings. They are vultures, cormorants (probably the pelican because it vomits), owls, ravens - birds that feed on dead things and come alive during the night. In Revelation 19:17-18, God calls the fowls that fly to gather to eat the flesh of the kings, captains, military men and horses of the Antichrist.
God always has a remnant and he says that they will take their place among the nations and be like dew sent by the Lord which no one can hold back or restrain. For these people, God will come with vengeance to deliver.
Lord, it is an awesome privilege to be a part of your remnant. We patiently wait for your deliverance.

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Sun.’s Devo - Send the Teachers

Read Isaiah 30-33
God was about to judge a people who were rebellious and seek answers, but didn’t seek him. They looked for safety and defense but not from the Lord. They heaped sin upon sin. They looked to the powers of the world to solve the problems that only the Lord can solve. So God was going to let their pride and their wisdom do them in. They sought mediums that would only prophecy good things. Because they hated the Word and put their trust in oppression and perverseness, they would be broken.
But to those who cry out to the Lord and wait for his deliverance, they would be saved. God would send them teachers who could teach them wisdom and the right way to go. These people would prosper in what they did. God would heal them and bind up their wounds. They would have songs in the night and their hearts would be happy and relieved. They would hear God’s voice and see God’s deliverance.
Woe to them that went down to Egypt. This was a warning to people who looked to the world for answers. Egypt was a place of discipline and godlessness. It was the hard path for those who chose to stay in their rut of sin. It was the place where the flesh is in control. God put his people there to test them and try them in hopes that they would come to their senses and come back to him.
This scenario sound so like what we see around us but, in the midst of all the chaos, Jesus reigns in righteousness and we can choose to live under his loving rule, in his kingdom. In this kingdom there is peace and the effect of righteousness, quietness and assurance for ever. That makes me want to breathe in relief and peace and breathe out fear and worry.
When the world gets out of control, we can rest in the knowledge that our king is ruling us and all is well in his kingdom.
Lord, we choose quietness and rest in your arms.

Saturday, July 16, 2016

Sat.’s Devo - The Very Last Days

Read: Isaiah 24-27, 29
I have been reading the “Left Behind” series and am on the next to the last book, “Armageddon”. Reading these scriptures today is just a continuum of what I have been reading. Isaiah is speaking of an event that began around 740 B.C. but he is also speaking prophetically about the end of the age. He says that the Lord will devastate the surface of the earth and scatter the people. It will be completely emptied and looted. The earth will suffer for the sins of its people because they have twisted the Word and violated its laws and broken God’s covenant. This is the price they must pay for their sin.
In the last day, God will punish the gods in the heavens (Satan and his demons) and the proud rulers of the nations on earth (the unbelievers who hated God).
To God’s people, he will be a tower of refuge to the poor, a refuge from the storm and a shelter from the heat. He describes a banquet he will spread for all His people. This could be the Banquet Feast of the Lamb. Death will be swallowed up forever which was the last enemy Jesus would defeat.
We will be so glad that we trusted in the Lord, even when it seemed he had forgotten us. He was saving the best for last! In the last verse of Isaiah 27, he speaks of the great trumpet that will sound.
In Isaiah 29, God pronounces a curse on the false church who had a form of godliness but denied the power behind it. They worshiped God their way and saw him through their unsanctified eyes. They never knew Him. They didn’t know he was all-seeing, all-knowing, and all-powerful. They will on that day.
The flip side of that day is that the blind will see, the deaf will hear, and joy will fill the humble. Justice will be meted out to the sinner but grace will be extended to the children of God. All will stand in awe of God’s holiness.
Lord, we look forward to the day when we will be forever with you but we pray that our days left on this earth will be filled with pouring our lives out for those that are lost.

Friday, July 15, 2016

Fri.’s Devo- God Establishes

Read: Isaiah 18 - 23
Today’s reading was long and sad. The nations were being judged for their sin and God used Ethiopia and the Assyrians to do it through. The people of Ethiopia were a dark-skinned people and Ethiopia means “black”. They were sent to judge Egypt for all its idolatry. I found it funny that God sent Egypt a “spirit of foolishness” that made their politicians make foolish decisions. Then I related it to America and didn’t think it was so amusing.
I want to concentrate on Isaiah 22 about Jerusalem since they would be a type of God’s people today. The people are in a panic because God had sent confusion and terror. He calls Jerusalem the “Valley of Vision”. God accused them of never asking him for help or considering the One who planned this long ago. When God asked them to repent and cry out to the Lord, they danced and partied instead. So God said they would not be forgiven and their life would be one of judgment.
Then God spoke out against the king’s treasurer, Shebna. His name means “who built”. He spent his life building monuments to honor himself but God was going to violently relieve him and have him replaced by Eliakim. Eliakim means “God built”. It is God saying that he is going to tear down everything made with human ambition and establish his plan on the earth. He would going to give to this man, Eliakim the key to the house of David and he would be able to open doors, no one would be able to shut and close doors, no one would be able to open. His family would have honor and position, even the lowest of members. What a picture of what God is doing now in the land. He is tearing down the financial and political system and building his standard on the earth. He is giving his true church the key to the house of David. So we need to allow God to establish our future and plant us where he wants us to be.
Lord, we want to be like Eliakim. Help us to not trust in what we can do, but wholly trust in your hand to build and establish us.

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Thurs.’s Devo - His Faithful Love Endures Forever!

Read: Ps. 136, 146, 148, 149, 150
I hope you read every “His faithful love endures forever” in Psalm 136. That line literally means, “because forever is His lovingkindness.” The writer remembers one thing God did and has to stop and praise Him for it. We could tell our story and interject that line after every sentence because it has been God’s love that has led us this far and it will be his faithful love that will take us to the last chapter of our lives.
Psalm 146 tell us not to put our confidence in powerful people because they can’t help us. Joyful is the person who puts their hope in the Lord because He will help us. Psalm 147 tells us that God delights in us who put our hope in his unfailing love.
When you read the lists of all the wonderful things God does for his people, it makes you so glad you are on His side. We can rejoice because God chooses to honor us, heal us, give us victory. No wonder the last psalm is one of total praise.
Let everything that has breath praise You Lord!

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Wed.’s Devo - Hope and Praise

Read: Ps. 127-135
Our ascent to Jerusalem continues today and ends with Chapter 134. They are filled with joy as they sing about the benefits of obeying the Lord as they are doing by coming to Jerusalem. The thing that is most important to them is their family. That is their heritage. Their greatest blessing is to have a fruitful wife and many children - the more the better. God’s continued blessing would extend to their grandchildren. The blessing was that they would enjoy the fruit of their labors - meaning their children. To have them is one thing, but to enjoy them is so much better.
We tend to put the cart before the horse. We have children when and if we can afford them, they had them knowing the Lord world provide.
They had their scars of persecution but God set them free. They returned a curse on their enemies and blessed the Lord. I love the words, “I am counting on the Lord.” They were putting their hope in the Lord no matter what they saw with their eyes. They even sang a song about David and his long wait for God to give him the kingdom. David fought and waited for the Lord to move. Finally he was put on the throne and he could bring the ark of the Lord to Jerusalem. David’s life was an example of praise and worship to the Lord.
We all have things we are holding on to in hope and counting on the Lord to do. They sang all these songs as they were bringing their gifts to sacrifice on the altar. These sacrifices would cleanse them from sin for another year. Let’s hope in the Lord as we bring him our sacrifice of praise. Jesus’ sacrifice was eternal and forever.
Lord, may we choose to sing rather than be depressed; and praise you rather than complain. We put our hope in You.

Tuesday, July 12, 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.

Monday, July 11, 2016

Mon.’s Devo - The Power of the Word

Read: Ps. 119
Psalm 119 is a very strategically written psalm. It is divided into twenty- two parts or stanzas which are titled with the twenty- two letters of the Hebrew alphabet. Each stanza contains eight verses, and the first letter of each verse is the letter by which it is named. Its main theme is praises of God's Word. It tells us how to use the Word, and gives prayers for using it correctly. It also talks about the wicked who despise it. There are only two verses (Ps 119:122, 132) which do not mention God's Word.
Samuel had told Saul when he became king that he and all the kings after him were to write the whole law out as a way of learning what it said. I can’t think of a more powerful tool God has given us than his Word. It is our instruction and according to John 1, it is Jesus.
We should treasure this book. I can’t imagine what it was like before the printing press when people didn’t own a Bible. They had to rely on the reading of the Word in the sanctuary. I am so thankful for the age we live in where we can pick up our phones and read the Word. It is in easy-to-read versions, on tape, put to movies…it’s everywhere. We are truly without excuse to read God’s Word. It is our life manual. It is so powerful, you don’t have to understand it with your mind to benefit from its promises. If you are having trouble reading it, try reading it out loud. That way you have more than one sense working for you. It is the spirit of the Word that breathes life in us so don’t worry if you don’t understand it in your mind; your spirit will be nourished. God is so much higher than us and He is constantly baffling me. He is truly a mystery worth seeking out.
Lord, help us to have a hunger for your Word. Open our spirits to understand what you are trying to speak to our hearts. We love your Word.

Sunday, July 10, 2016

Sun.’s Devo - Our Great Savior and Deliverer

Read: Ps. 115, 116, 117, 118
In Psalm 115, the psalmist describes the idols that the people worship. They sound like things we worship in our society. Things that aren’t alive like television, our phones, computers, etc. “And those who make idols are just like them, as are all who trust in them.”
In our world, it is easy to want to live someone else’s life or get so drawn into video games that you lose time you could be creating or thinking or doing. I wonder how much time we waste a day. I wonder what we could be doing in that time.
Our next psalm talks about being saved from death. He is talking about a literal death and real chains. God has delivered us from a spiritual death and spiritual chains which is eternal.
You can almost imagine Psalm 118 being sung. It has so many lines that are repeated. “His faithful love endures forever.” “It is better to take refuge in the Lord.” “I destroyed them all with the authority of the Lord.” Things that are repeated in songs are repeated so we will meditate on those words. These lines are great for meditating on. He cries to the Lord for salvation and success and ends in exalted praise.
Lord, we give thanks to You, for You are good. Your faithful love endures forever.

Saturday, July 9, 2016

Sat.’s Devo - Praise the Lord!

Read: Ps. 107, 111, 112, 113, 114
In Psalm 107 the psalmist encourages us to speak out about how the Lord redeemed us. He gives us several scenarios that we might relate with. The first is those who walked in wilderness. This refers to the helpless state a person is in when their life is empty and their spirits are hungry for God. The next is the ones who are deep in depression and despair. The third is the rebellious who reaped the consequences of their sinful actions. The last group were the ones who tried to escape their problems only to end up with worse ones. All these people cried out to the Lord and he rescued them and redeemed them. He turned their barren lives into fruitful ones. These are the ones who should speak out the goodness and the faithfulness of God. We are these people.
In Psalm 111 we read that all God does is good and everything he said he would do will be done.
Psalm 112 is a read-out-loud proclamation! “Our children will be successful everywhere; an entire generation of godly people will be blessed. They themselves will be wealthy, and their good deeds will last forever.” On and on the blessing go.
Here’s a great promise for someone praying for a baby: Ps. 113:9 “He gives the childless woman a family, making her a happy mother.”
Psalms 114 reminds us that nothing on earth can stand in the way of God’s plan.
Lord, help us to be generous people who honor you with our substance and our lives. Thank you for the confidence you give us to stand and proclaim your redemptive power.

Friday, July 8, 2016

Fri.’s Devo - Remember

Read: Ps. 105, 106
Psalm 105 is all the things the Lord did for Israel. It is their story of deliverance - their salvation experience. It is a call to remember all God did for them in the past. God took one man, Abraham and made a mighty nation from him. God preserved his seed through famine and gave them provision through Joseph. When they were oppressed, he sent them Moses to deliver them with great show of God’s power. God did all this so they would follow his decrees and obey his instructions.
Psalm 106 is all the things Israel did to the Lord. They were not impressed with God’s great show of power and soon forgot his many acts of kindness. They chose to rebel at the Red Sea, but God chose to save them anyway. They quickly forgot what God had done during their walk through the wilderness and wouldn’t wait for his counsel. They refused to enter the promised land because they wouldn’t believe his promise to care for them. They chose to worship Baal. They refused to destroy the nations in the land, as God had told them to do, but instead they joined in their evil customs and religions.
Again and again God rescued them but they chose to rebel which ended in their death.
It is easy to sit in judgment of Israel but I have to point the finger at myself. How many times do I stumble and lose my hope when all I need to do is to remind myself of what God has done in the past and encourage my spirit. How many times do I refuse to destroy the demons of doubt and fear from my heart when God has told me over and over not to be afraid. I am just like the children of Israel in so many ways.
Lord, I repent of my doubt and unbelief. I totally rely on you to provide and move. I know what you have done for me in the past and I will dwell on those things.

Thursday, July 7, 2016

Thurs.’s Devo - A New Song

Read: Ps. 98, 99, 100 102, 104
Over and over in the Psalms it tells us to sing a new song to the Lord. I take that as a personal word to us. We need to change our song, our worship, our praise, the way we pray, the way we see God. We need a new song! God is always transitioning us to new heights with him and every promotion needs a new outlook or song. What is your song for today? It might be different than yesterdays. The Psalms are perfect examples of that change. Some of them are sad, some full of praise, others are warfare songs, some songs of remembrance and some are cries for deliverance. Todays are all of the above. God is the answer to every mood, cry, victory, and event. He is the event.
I love Psalm 104. It is so upbeat. It is a song of gratitude for all the great and small things God has made. His conclusion is that everything God has made depends on Him. God is the source of all our needs. If he gives food, water and shelter to the least of the creatures, how much more will he provide for us.
Lord, let all that we are praise you and thank you for your great love. Let us sing a new song to you today.

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Wed.’s Devo - Sing to the Lord

Read: Ps. 92-97
We are living in a time that we need to keep our hopes high and our trust in the Lord, no matter what. I love what Psalm 92 says about the godly. They will flourish and be transplanted to the Lord’s house where they will thrive in God’s courts. Even in old age they will still produce fruit and remain vital and green. I love that! I want to be vital and still producing fruit all the days of my life.
Psalms 94, God says that we should be joyful if we are disciplined by the Lord because that is how we are taught his instructions. He gives us relief from troubled times and will never abandon us. Even when we feel like were are slipping, God’s love is our support. When we are tempted to doubt, God comforts us and renews our hope and joy.
How can we not help but sing to the Lord. He is a great God above all gods! All of God’s creation joins us in worshipping and praising God.
Lord, may we remember to have praise on our lips all the time. Thank you for songs of praise and deliverance.

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Tues.’s Devo - Our Hope is in You

Read: Psalm 1, 2, 10, 33, 91
Psalm 1 paints the scene for the other psalms. It admonishes the joys of the people who delight in the Word over the world’s wisdom. In Psalm 2 we see that God laughs at the nations that plot against him. To us he tells us to only ask, and he will give us the nations as our inheritance, the whole earth as our possession. He offers joy to all who take refuge in him.
God frustrates the plans of the nations and thwarts all their schemes. But His plans stand firm forever and his intentions can never be shaken. What a promise! He watches over those who fear him and rescues us. He is our rock of safety, our fortress, our hope, our strength.
Psalm 91 says it all. If ever there was a chapter to put to memory it is this one!
Lord, we put our hope in You. You are our help and our shield. In You our hearts rejoice, for we trust in your holy name. Let your unfailing love surround us, Lord, for our hope is in you alone.

Monday, July 4, 2016

Mon.’s Devo - Shout to God with Praise

Read: Ps. 47-49; 84,85,87
Praise is one of the most powerful thing we can do, especially when we don’t feel like it. There are so many things to praise God for and these psalms give us so many reasons. Psalm 48 tell us to inspect the city of Jerusalem - to walk around it and count the many towers, its walls, and all the citadels so that we can describe them to future generations. He said this thinking they would always be there but God knew that one day they wouldn’t and they would need to remember what it was like when God’s glory was there. We need to take note of all the trials we go through and how God delivers us so that we can describe them to future generations. We need to remember what God has done for us so when we need faith to go on we can remember what he did in the past. He is our God forever and ever and he will guide us until we die.
Psalm 84 reminds us of how lovely God’s dwelling place is. We don’t have to visit Jerusalem to experience God’s dwelling place because it is in us. His courts are open for us to enter them and we do that with praise. If God can restore the blessings and beauty to Jerusalem, he can do that with our lives.
Lord, we praise you for being so wonderful and such a great father to us. Thank you for inviting us to be citizens of your city and children in your family. You take care of us with your unfailing love.

Sunday, July 3, 2016

Sun.’s Devo - Our Heart’s Desire

Read: Psalms 42-46
The Psalms we read today are specifically written by David and members of the Levite family, the Korahites. They are in exile reminiscing about the days when they could be in the house of God in the presence of the Lord. Everything God has created is meant to worship Him and sound is no exception. Tones, notes, triads are all important to the spirit and mood of a song. They were to be sung at certain frequencies that would evoke different things in the spiritual realm. For example, Ps. 46 was to be sung by the sopranos.
These are some of the most poetical of the Psalms. You feel their intense intimacy they have with the Lord. In the midst of their despair, they put their hope in God and worship him where they are.
In Psalm 44, they are recalling all the things God did for their people in the past. They remind God of where they are now and of their faithfulness. They cry out to the Lord for help.
Psalms 45 is one of the most beautiful poems. It is an allegory about the Lord and his Bride. Jesus is our mighty warrior, glorious and majestic who rides out to defend truth and justice. His Word is sharp and pierces our enemies.
The song encourages us to abandon everything in the earth and give ourselves to this worthy bridegroom. He is worthy. When we do, our whole family comes in line and it passes down from generation to generation.
We need to read Ps. 46 when we get discouraged at what is going on in the world around us. God is our refuge always there to help. We have Heaven’s Armies on our side so there is nothing to fear.
Lord, truly you are our hope and our heart’s desire.

Saturday, July 2, 2016

Sat.’s Devo - The Bride of Christ

Read: Pr. 30-31
Even Solomon in all his glory felt totally insignificant compared to God. Solomon was the richest man in the world and yet he prays that God would give him neither poverty nor riches but just enough to satisfy his needs. He then gives us the cons of being either. He gives us his wisdom on things that are never satisfied, things that amaze him, things that make the earth tremble, things that are small but wise, and things that are proud. These all came from him spending his days observing his surroundings and learning wisdom.
He spends his last proverb talking about the virtuous woman. It is hard for us to read this and not feel like we lack…a lot! But, this chapter is not just setting a standard for the perfect wife, it is describing the body of Christ as the bride of Christ. We are to be a body that God can trust will enrich the kingdom. We are to be busy using the gifts God has given us to bring in the harvest of souls. We are to be mature enough to cloth them with clothes of righteousness. We are to be the counselors with the wisdom that comes from above. We are to be clothed ourselves with strength and dignity. We should be able to laugh and look forward to the future with joy and expectation. We are to speak the truth and instruct with kindness. When we stand in the end, our spiritual children will be our reward. Our Lord should be pleased with our lives so great will be our reward.
Lord, this is the bride we aspire to be. Conform us, prune us, and purify us to be your holy spotless Bride.

Friday, July 1, 2016

Fri.’s Devo - Discover God

Read: Prov. 25:1-29:27
When Hezekiah became king, he not only cleaned up the priesthood and reestablished Passover, but he also went through Solomon’s writings and ordered the priests to use them. Today, we read some of the ones he picked out.
The first verse is one of my mottos. I love the way this version reads: “It is God’s privilege to conceal things and the king’s privilege to discover them.” Solomon realized that God hid his wisdom in nature and if plain sight, but if you were not looking you could totally miss it. Everything in God’s kingdom that he created speaks a deeper truth. Solomon spent his days observing. If we want to learn to hear God’s voice this is a great way to start. God speaks through numbers, nature, sound, art, names, people, movies, songs, sports, etc. The list goes on and on because God is always speaking. Sometimes it is still and quiet and other times it is a roar. It is up to us to position our ear to the ground to hear it.
Today, he spoke a lot about quarreling, dishonesty and gossip which means he also spoke a lot about peacemakers, honesty and words of life. It is our decision which list we will be on. We can choose life and abundance or death and destruction. The choice is ours to take.
Lord, today, we choose life. Help our words and sprit to flow out to others that they might have joy also.