Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Wed.’s Devo - To the Glory of God

Read: Nehemiah 11:1-12:26; 1 Corinthians 10:14-11:2; Psalm 34:11-22; Proverbs 21:14-16
The leaders wanted to fill Jerusalem with people so they asked for volunteers. When they still needed people they casts lots and one out of ever ten was chosen to move to Jerusalem while the others could stay in their towns.
A list was given of the descendants of Judah, Benjamin, the priests and the Levites. Some of the Levites were in charge of the outside work of the house of God. Some led in thanksgiving and prayer and some were gatekeepers who guarded the storerooms at the gates. Others were singers who were responsible for the service of the house of God. Pethahiah was the kings’ agent in all affairs relating to the people. Everyone had their gifts and places in the temple and they all did their work. Nehemiah was the governor and Ezra was the priest and scribe. When they worked together their was unity and joy.
Paul was trying to maintain that same unity and flow that Nehemiah had. It only works when the people are all worshiping the same thing and working toward the same goal. When idolatry slips in, their is division and many lines that should not be crossed are compromised. When we are under Christ we have freedoms others don’t have but that doesn’t mean we can flaunt them or defile their consciences. We have to be sensitive about what we do when it comes to others. If it offends them, then we need to abstain when they are around. This sounds hypocritical but what we do is judged by our heart and God is the judge of our hearts. Everything we do should be done to the glory of God.
Lord, help us to keep our eyes on You. Let the fear of You be on our land.

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Tues.’s Devo - Learn From Their Mistakes

Read: Nehemiah 9:22-10:39; 1 Corinthians 9;19-10:13; Psalm 34:1-10a; Proverbs 21:13
Nehemiah continues his retelling of Israel’s history. God had given them victory over the inhabitants of the land yet they were disobedient and rebelled against the Lord and his law. Even in their rebellion, God remained faithful to Israel. In his goodness, he turned them over to be slaves to other kings so that they could see the error of their ways and turn back to him. So they made a covenant to turn from their past life and follow the law and do what it said. They would give to the Lord what he required and not neglect the house of God.
In the Old Testament disobedience made them slaves but in the New Testament Paul who was free chose to become a slave to Christ that he might win others.
He explained the spiritual significance of the Old Testament. The children of Israel ate the passover lamb signifying salvation and the blood of Jesus. Then they went through the Red Sea which symbolized their baptism. They ate the manna which was their spiritual food like the Word of God is ours. They drank water from the spiritual rock which stood for Jesus. Everything they went through was to teach us spiritual lessons. They were an example for us not to follow. They set their hearts on following evil and it brought them bondage. We don’t have to experience that if we learn from their mistakes. God will make a way of escape from every temptation we face.
Lord, help us to learn from the mistakes of the children of Israel and choose wisely. We are blessed because we take refuge in You. Thank you that our faces are never covered with shame because we walk under the shadow of the most High.

Monday, August 14, 2017

Mon.’s Devo - God’s Selection

Read: Nehemiah 7:61-9:21; 1 Corinthians 9:1-18; Psalm 33:12-22; Proverbs 21:11-12
The priesthood had to be pure and the only way to make sure was to check their geneology. Their blood line had to be proven. It was a picture of God’s selection and predestination. Only those who have been predestined before the sands of time will be able to enter into heaven. They must have Jesus blood. There will be a certain time on the earth that Jesus will come back and judge the earth. It is represented by the Feast of Trumpets which happens on the seventh month the first day. On this day the people assembled (Nehemiah 7:73, 8:2) and read the Law. They met at the Water Gate which represented the Living Water. There, Nehemiah read the Law explaining to the people exactly what it meant. The people realized how far they had strayed from it and began to weep and mourn. Nehemiah told them not to mourn or weep because this was not the time to do that. It was a time of joy and celebration.
The Feast of Trumpets will be a great day for the Christian because our King will be crowned King of Kings but, it will not be a day of joy for those who have rejected Jesus. This was to be a day of joy for them as God’s chosen people. It was a day that God wiped their sins away.
They left the celebration to prepare for the Feast of Tabernacles where they were to construct booths to live in for seven days to represent the fact that this life is temporary and this is not our home. Our home is in heaven with the Lord. Every day during this week they met to hear the word of the Lord being read on the 8th day they fasted and mourned, confessing their sins. This will be the day of judgement where the world will be judged. It will be a day of sadness and mourning for those whose names were not written in the book of Life.
In Corinthians Paul defends the right of leaders in the church to receive a salary from the church. Sadly, Paul did most of his ministry for free because they didn’t value his work. It didn’t stop his preaching because he was compelled to preach and did it out of love for Jesus and the people. Paul will receive his reward in heaven which will be so much more than the world could ever give. This is a good concept to remember when we feel unappreciated. The greatest reward we can get is the one we will get from God in heaven.
Even our Psalms and our Proverbs today, remind us of how the Lord takes note of all that happens on the earth and rewards his children for their obedience and punishes those who reject him.
Lord, may we trust in your unfailing love for us. Great is your name!

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Sat.’s Devo - Spiritual Warfare

Read: Nehemiah 3:15-5:13; 1 Corinthians 7:25-40; Psalm 32;1-11; Proverbs 21:5-7
The rebuilding of the wall is the perfect example of how everyone with totally different gifts can work together on the same task and accomplish it.
When their enemies led by Sanballat and Tobia realized the Jews were still building they came to discourage them. They attacked their goal questioning their strength, their timing, and the power of God. They called the Jews feeble and condescendingly asked if they thought they could build this wall in a day and if they could bring the stones back to life since they were charred by fire. All of these very things had been prophesied about Jerusalem. Yes, God would bring a nation to birth in a day. Yes, God would bring the stones back to life. They were prophets and didn’t even know it.
Instead of giving up, the Jews prayed and worked harder with all their heart.
Now, their enemies decided that words were not enough, they needed to physically foil their plans so they met to attack the Jews. Their mission was found out and the Jews fortified the wall with ammunition and fighting men. The workers worked with a sword strapped to their sides and a weapon in one hand. With the other they built the wall. That is how we are to work, always ready to fight our enemy, the devil.
Their other battle was from within. Some of the wealthy Jews had borrowed money to their brothers and were charging interest and making servants of their children. Nehemiah rebuked them and put a stop to both of these. He lent money to the poor without charging interest.
It is so true that we fight forces without and within. Sometimes we are our own worse enemies. We have to stop listening to the voices of condemnation and intimidation. The attacks we feel from people are not really from them, they are from the devil who is using them. We don’t fight flesh and blood but principalities.
Paul continues his talk on marriage. We live in a world where marriage is a status symbol and if we are not married then we think something is wrong with us. I personally know at least three unmarried women who are beautiful, bright and godly. They all long to be married. I see no reason why they aren’t. Paul is trying to get our attention off of marriage and onto what is most important which is living our lives for the Lord. I think you can do that married or unmarried it all goes back to your heart. I married a man who loves the Lord like I do so we are a team in the Lord. Bottom line is we are to be content whatever state we are in and grow in that place.
Lord, help us to see our status as our platform to do what You have called us to do.

Friday, August 11, 2017

Fri.’s Devo - The Goodness of God

Read: Nehemiah 1:1-3:14; 1 Corinthians 7:1-24; Psalm 31:19-24; Proverbs 21:4
Nehemiah lived in the palace and was the cupbearer to the king of Persia. He was a devout Jew who overheard two men talking in Hebrew about Jerusalem. They told him about how the walls of Jerusalem were broken down and its gates burned. This news was so sad to Nehemiah that he fasted and prayed to the Lord. He reminded God of his promise to gather his people and bring them back to the place he had set for them which was Jerusalem.
When it was time to bring the king his wine, Nehemiah couldn’t put on a happy face and the king noticed. When he asked him why he was so sad, Nehemiah told him his burden for his people in Jerusalem. The king asked him what he wanted and Nehemiah asked for permission to go back and help them rebuild their wall. The king sent him with his blessing, letters to the governors there and supplies to rebuild.
When he got there, he went out at night to see the condition of the wall. Once he saw the damage, he approached the Jews living there and told him his plan. They were delighted with his plan and set out to divide the wall into parts and assigned them to different families. Everyone was glad except for Sanballat and Tobiah who were enemies to the Jews and didn’t want to see their welfare change for the good. Sanballat means “hatred in secret” although he didn’t remain secret about it. Tobiah means “the goodness of God”.
There are always enemies of God’s people and their hatred can bring out the goodness of God. When someone rises up against us and we call out to the Lord, he answers and saves us by his goodness.
Paul speaks on marriage which is always controversial. The bottom line is to let love rule over everything.
Our Psalm speaks of God’s goodness also. It is stored up for us who take our refuge in the Lord.
Thank you Lord. We bless our enemies and turn them over to you. May your goodness flow to your people.

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Thurs.’s Devo - Putting Away Our Foreign Wives

Read: Ezra 10:1-44: 1 Corinthians 6:1-20; Psalm 31:9-18; Proverbs 21:3
Ezra set an example of repentance and intercession which spread to the people causing many to join him. He was distraught that the people of Judah had married foreign wives taking up their religion and idolatry - many of these being priests. God heard their cries and turned the hearts of the people to repent. They sent their foreign wives away even though some of them had had children by them. If you think divorce is wrong under all circumstances, you need to read the scriptures. One of the stipulations is spiritual idolatry and one is natural.
Paul asks his congregation in Corinth why they are taking each other to court to be judged by ungodly judges. It is the church that should judge the church. Since we are dealing with divorce in the Old Testament, it makes me wonder about Christians who divorce. Do they take their disputes to the judge or the Christian counselor? Certainly they should take their matters first to the Christian counselor. If one or both parties are unwilling to align their lives to the Word of God, then they would be like the ones in Ezra who refused to leave their foreign wife. A foreign wife is any ungodly activity or mindset that we have put above God. It can be an addiction, a person, or something intangible like unforgiveness. All of these can be brought under the blood of Jesus and we can be free from them. It is our choice. Paul said it well, “Everything is permissible for me - but I will not be mastered by anything.” He summed it up with the fact that our body is the temple of the Holy Spirit. It is not our own body to do with as we please. We were bought with a price of the blood of Jesus. So, we should honor God with our bodies. Even our Proverb today says that to do what is right and just is more acceptable to God than sacrifice.
Lord, help us to honor you in what we do and what we think. If we have any foreign wives in our lives, help us to send them away.

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Wed.’s Devo - Walk in Holiness

Read: Ezra 8:21-9:15; 1 Corinthians 5:1-13; Psalm 31:1-8; Proverbs 21:1-2
Ezra had his faith tested and upheld God’s integrity. He knew that they would be traveling with great amounts of gold and silver through hostile and unsafe land. He had told the king that his God could protect them so he had to refuse the offer of the kings soldiers. Instead, they fasted and prayed that God would protect them. God honored their trust in Him and protected them the whole way. After resting three days, they began sacrificing in the temple. The leaders reported to Ezra that many of the leaders, priests, and people had married outside of the Jewish race and mingled the holy race with foreigners. This greatly upset Ezra who grieved and repented for the peoples sin.
In Corinthians, we see the same thing happening. Sin has entered the church through one man and Paul explained how a little sin spreads and affects all the people eventually. Paul told them not to associate with Christians who called themselves Christians yet continues in unrepented sin. He said that is wasn’t the Church’s job to judge those outside the church, but they were to judge those in the church. God is coming back for a holy bride, so it is our decision whether we are the bride. The bride will live a sacrificed life of holiness and self-control.
Lord, help us to judge ourselves first by the Word of God and repent of our own sins then by love help us to admonish our brothers and sisters to walk in holiness.

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Tues.’s Devo- The Favor of God

Read: Ezra 7:1-8:20; 1 Corinthians 4:1-21; Psalm 30:1-12; Proverbs 20:28-30
Ezra’s geneology was given to show that he was a direct descendent of Aaron qualifying him as a priest. Ezra left Babylon on Roshashana and arrived 5 months later. He had orders to pay all the expenses for sacrifices and the operation of the temple. All the priests were tax-exempt and provided for by the king. The king of Artexerxes wanted the law of God followed completely and was funding the whole thing. What favor!
Ezra was to take people with him that wanted to go back to Jerusalem. All the priests had to be able to prove by their genealogy that they were priests. I have heard that Levites can be identified by their DNA but I don’t know if that is true or not.
The priests were entrusted with the sacred things of God just as Paul reminds us that we as Christians are also entrusted with the sacred things of God. Those sacred things are the hidden things of God’s wisdom.
We all see each other in the natural, but God sees our hearts and when it is time, He will expose our motives. We should not exalt man but only God. Things are not always as they appear. One day, everything will be made known. Paul was telling them this because he had heard that some of the people had become arrogant and were exalting themselves above the Lord. Paul reminded them that everything they had came from God; they were nothing without him.
This is a good reminder to us. Everything in the world screams self-exaltation and performance. It is refreshing to see talented people give the glory to God because God entrusted them to carry the gifts they have. God is handing out gifts to us and it is so important to remember who gave them to us and why. Everything is to exalt God’s kingdom.
Lord, help us to do everything for your glory.

Monday, August 7, 2017

Mon.’s Devo - Revival to a Nation

Read: Ezra 5:1-6:22; 1 Corinthians 3:5-23; Psalm 29:1-11; Proverbs 20:26-27
God sent the prophets Haggai and Zechariah to stir up the people to rebuild the temple. When the governor and his officers found out what they were doing they questioned their authority to rebuild. They were given the history of the Jewish nation and the decree of Cyrus giving them permission. The governor sent this information to Darius the king of Babylon. Darius had his men search their archives till they found the decree of Cyrus and the Jews were right. Darius ordered the governor to help them with funds and supplies and threatened them with their life if they didn’t obey.
This was a turn of events! They were able to finish the temple right in time to celebrate the Passover feast. Passover is all about salvation by the blood of a lamb. It is revival of the soul. They shared this feast with all the exiles and anyone who wanted to separate themselves from their gods to follow the true God. It was a great celebration of joy because God had changed the attitude of the king of Babylon to help them in the work on the house of God. We need a change of attitude in America. If God could do it then, he can do it now.
In Corinthians, Paul continues to move the focus off of men in authority and on to the Lord who is the authority. In Ezra, they were building a physical temple for all to see, but now that temple is us. God is putting his presence inside of us to be the light to the nations.
Lord, we do pray for an attitude change in our nation. Give the people a hunger for You and your temple. May the temple you have established in all of us shine brighter and brighter and may revival come to our nation.

Sunday, August 6, 2017

Sun.’s Devo - A New Thing

Read: Ezra 3:1-4:24; 1 Corinthians 2:6-3:4; Psalm 28:1-9: Proverbs 20:24-25
Once the Jews that came back to rebuild Jerusalem were settled in their homes, they set about rebuilding the altar so they could institute sacrifices. They had it finished for the Feast of Tabernacles. It was time for God to tabernacle with his people once again. They did this in spite of their fear of the people around them. Revelation 12:11 says that we overcome by the blood of the Lamb, the word of our testimony and the fact that we don’t love our lives unto death. In other words, we don’t fear what man can do to us. This was the attitude of the Jews.
They gave their money to rebuild the temple. They had a huge celebration when the laid the foundation for the temple. The people that had seen Solomon’s temple wept because it was nothing compared to it but the younger people wept for joy because they had nothing to compare it to.
Every generation God does a new thing. He changes the way we do church, the songs, missions, everything. It is easy to look back and only see the good in the past and wish it was like it was, but that is not profitable. We need to adjust our minds to the new thing God is doing and be a part of it.
We are not the only one who hates change…the devil hates change also when it is God’s changing. Satan raised up adversaries to discourage and stop the work of the Lord. He finally accomplished that and they were made to stop building.
It is easy to let discouragement steal our power and desire to press on, but we can’t let that happen. Satan will always fight God’s moving, but if we contend, we will win.
Paul taught the Corinthians about a wisdom that we have available that comes from God. We can know things that no man can conceive. God’s wisdom looks foolish to the world because they can’t understand it.
Lord, thank you for rebuilding faith in our nation. Thank you for raising up Godly men to rule us and reestablish your truth. May we not be afraid of the threats of the enemy but have your wisdom to see through them.

Saturday, August 5, 2017

Sat.’s Devo - Rebuilding the Temple

Read: Ezra 1:1-2:70; 1 Corinthians 1:18-2:5; Psalm 27:7-14; Proverbs 20:22-23
The book of Ezra is amazing to me. God put it on the heart of a non-Jewish king to send God’s chosen people back to their land to build their temple for God. He even told the people living in their towns to support them with silver, gold, goods, livestock and offerings. Cyrus brought out of his treasury all the articles that had been taken from the temple Solomon had built so they could carry them back. Almost 50,000 people responded and went back to rebuild Jerusalem. Talk about a life change!
To me, this means that during this time in our history there is a major shift in the church. The interesting thing is the outside world is going to fund this next move of God. The things that have been stolen from us like authority, the Holy Spirit, tongues, healing, deliverance, miracles, revelation, holiness, worship… the treasuries of God are going to be restored. We are living in exciting times!
Paul continues to teach the people of Corinth that it is not the wisdom and eloquent speech that has power but the simplicity of the gospel. Paul himself was not an eloquent speaker but he came demonstrating the power of the Spirit and teaching the truth. They needed to get back to the basics.
This is a good reminder to us. Because we have lost the demonstration of power, we have come to rely on people who can entertain us and speak well. I pray for less of that and more of the demonstration of God’s power.

Friday, August 4, 2017

Fri.’s Devo - Bad Kings…then Cyrus

Read: 2 Chronicles 35:1-36:23; 1 Corinthians 1:1-17; Psalm 27:1-6; Proverbs 20:20-21
Josiah follow the law and did everything it said concerning the Passover. The people enjoyed a passover celebration that hadn’t been celebrated in that way since David’s time. Josiah was responsible for setting the temple in order according to what God had written. Then Josiah got involved in a battle that was not his to fight. Neco, the king of Egypt told him so and he refused to listen. It costs Josiah his life, and Judah’s. His son, Jehoahaz became king and he did not follow the Lord. He was dethroned by the king of Egypt and his brother, Jehoiakim became king. He was not a godly king either. Nebuchadnezzar the king of Babylon attacked and bound him in chains and took Jehoiakim to Babylon. His son, Jehoiachin became king. He only reigned for 3 months and King Nebuchadnezzar took him to Babylon also. His uncle, Zedikiah was made king. He did evil in God’s eyes and refused to listen to the words of Jeremiah. He even rebelled against the king of Babylon. God sent them prophets to turn Judah back to him but the people ridiculed them and wouldn’t listen. Finally, God sent the Babylonians to conquer them. They robbed the temple, burned all the palaces and destroyed everything of value. The people were taken captive to Babylon. The land lay dormant 70 years to enjoy all the Sabbaths it had been robbed of and to fulfill Jeremiah’s prophecy.
After the seventy years, God put it on the heart of Cyrus, king of Persia to send Jews back to Jerusalem to build the temple for God.
Many prophets today believe that this king Cyrus is like our president. He has been called to bring the temple of God back into our nation and be built up again. We know that this is not a physical building but a spiritual one in the hearts of all Christians. Our nation was built on the foundation of Christ and is returning to its roots, but not without a struggle.
We begin First Corinthians today. Paul established the church in Corinth during his second missionary trip and stayed there eighteen months. He had left to visit his other churches when he heard news that some of the members in the church in Corinth had become morally lax. Paul penned this letter to admonish them to lay down their differences and stop exalting their leaders over each other. The most important person to follow was Jesus.
We all have our favorite teachers and preachers but the bottom line is that they are only people. Jesus is the only one worthy of our worship and adoration.
Lord, thank you for what you are doing in our nation. Help us to not lose hope or courage. You are establishing your kingdom in our hearts and on the earth. May we look to you as the author and finisher or our faith.

Thursday, August 3, 2017

Thurs.’s Devo - Great Epitaths

Read: 2 Chronicles 33:14-34:33; Romans 16:8-27; Psalm 26:1-12; Proverbs 20:19
Manasseh came home a new man. He reversed all the evil he had done and died in peace. His son, Amon became king and followed in the old ways of his father. He fell deeper and deeper into sin until his own officers killed him. The people of the land killed the officers and put Amon’s son, Josiah on the throne. This is the very Josiah that the prophet named would burn incense upon the altar in Bethel. God split the altar as a sign of his displeasure of Jeroboam in 1 Kings 13.
Even though Josiah was only eight years old and had a father that had been evil, he began to seek the Lord. He led a massive campaign to rid the land of idolatry. In his 18th year as king, he collected the offerings and started repairing the temple. One of the priests found a copy of the law and brought it to the king to read. When Josiah read it, he realized how far they had strayed from following it. He asked the priest to find a prophet to ask what to do. They found a prophetess, Hildiah and asked her. She sent word to Josiah that all the curses he had read would come upon Judah because they had rebelled continuously against him, but Josiah would not see this happen because he had humbled himself and his heart was right.
Josiah had the words of the law read to the people and had them make a covenant to God that they would follow him and his laws. All his days were spent serving the Lord. What a great epitaph!
Paul lists, by name, all the people who had been so faithful and helpful in his ministry. This is like their epitaphs. Just like them, our name is written in God’s book along with all the things we have done for him. One day, it will be read for all to hear.
I pray Paul’s blessing over us today…”May the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with us all.” May the mystery of our Savior be made known to all the nations. Amen.

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Wed.’s Devo - How to Lay Waste a Curse

Read: 2 Chronicles 32:1-33:13; Romans 15:23-16:7; Psalm 25:16-22; Proverbs 20:16-18
Hezekiah was such a good king so the Lord gave him wisdom in how to defeat the Assyrians who were on their way to Jerusalem. He took away their water source outside the city and built up the walls around Jerusalem. The leader of the Assyrian army was Sennacherib which means “the thorn laid waste”. So this story is how to stop a curse since a thorn is the picture of a curse. Sennacherib came throwing curses at Hezekiah about his god. He even wrote these curses on paper insulting God. He told the people that no other nation’s god could save them so theirs wouldn’t be able to either. Instead of turning in fear and believing them, Hezekiah had already established the righteousness of God in his kingdom so all he did was find the priests to pray with him.
God’s angel slew all the fighting men and the leaders and officers in the camp of the Assyrian king. Sennacherib went home in disgrace knowing that the God of Hezekiah was no ordinary god. When he went into the temple of his god, his own sons killed him with the sword.
Hezekiah continued to prosper and become very wealthy and his kingdom very secure in the Lord until he died and his son, Manasseh came to rule. Manasseh rebelled against the ways of his father and did everything against the Lord he could do. He restored idolatry of every kind and brought it into the temple of the Lord. He was taken away by the very people his dad defeated. He was lead in chains with a hook in his nose. In prison, in Assyria, he cried out to the Lord and humbled himself. God heard him and brought him back to his land to rule his kingdom.
In Romans, Paul is ending his letter to the Christians in Rome. He loves the people in his churches, but he shares with these his own personal struggles and gives them details of how to pray for him. He shares how the Gentile Christians are reaching out to the poor Jews in Jerusalem. He makes the correlation about the Jews and the Gentiles. The Jews shared with the Gentiles their spiritual inheritance and blessings so it is fit that the Gentiles share with the Jews in their material blessings.
Lord, may we freely give of our spiritual blessings and our material blessings for the kingdom’s sake. Thank you that we are blessed and not cursed.

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Tues.’s Devo - Prosperity

Read: 2 Chronicles 30:1-31:21; Romans 15:1-22; Psalm 25:1-15; Proverbs 20:13-15
Since there was not time to get ready for Passover in that first month they decided to celebrate it a month late. God did not care that they missed the date, it was their heart that was right and acceptable to him. Hezekiah sent invitations to all the people of his nation asking them to join him in Jerusalem for the Passover and imploring them to turn back to God. The people scorned and ridiculed them but some did humble themselves and came to Jerusalem. These people enjoyed two weeks of fellowship, fun, and worship. The rest stayed home and went to work as usual. Sounds like today. God is doing and is going to be doing some amazing things. All are invited, but many will ridicule and stay home doing life as usual. They will totally miss out on the wonderful things God will be doing. But, the ones who hear the call and answer will come and enjoy the fellowship, fun and worship.
There were so many offerings offered the king had to build places to store them. When people’s hearts get turned toward the Lord, they give abundantly and everyone prospers. Hezekiah turned his nation back to God and sought God with all his heart. The last sentence says, “And so he prospered.”
Hezekiah did what Romans tells us to do…bear the weak and make them strong. When the Church walks in unity and love, they are unstoppable and totally blessed and fulfilled. There is no greater feeling than the one you get when you help other people get to where they need to be. Our goal is not to just give to the poor but to enable them to help themselves. Everyone needs to know that they are needed.
Lord, help us to bring out the best in those we are around today. May we use our gifts to help others use their gifts.

Monday, July 31, 2017

Mon.’s Devo - Sudden Change

Read: 2 Chronicles 29:1-36; Romans 14:1-23; Psalm 24:1-10
Finally, a king who does right in the sight of the Lord as David had done. David seems to be the standard that God used to judge the kings. Hezekiah opened the doors of the temple that Ahaz had shut and sanctified it of all the idolatry that had been brought into it. Young men had died on the battle field and the women had been taken captive all because of the nation’s sin of turning from God. The Levites gathered their tribe together and were restored back to their positions as priests. They began cleansing the temple on first day of the month of Passover and had it ready for operation in 8 days. They began by offering sin offerings to atone for the sin of their nation. Repentance must come first. Then they restored the worship and the instruments of worship. They sang the words of the Psalms. There were so many animals offered the priests couldn’t handle all the preparations so the Levites had to help. The writer made a point to say that it was done suddenly. This should be encouragement to us. We are seeing God restore our nation and it is happening quickly. We are about to witness the largest revival that has ever happened in the world. God is putting people in position and restoring people’s gifts. It is happening suddenly.
Paul was trying to get the people to see that everyone has a personal walk with the Lord and just because we feel convicted in an area doesn’t mean God is convicting everyone else in that same area. What might be wrong for one person, might not be wrong for another. God sees our hearts and knows where our weaknesses are and the things that trip us up. He will work on those areas. What a person eats might be a big deal to one person, but not important to another. The bottom line is that we can not judge one another’s convictions or actions, we can only judge our own. Everything we do must be in faith and in right standing with God. If our conscience is clear then we can walk in peace.
Lord, may we live our lives so that they edify you and others. May your change in our nation be sudden.

Sunday, July 30, 2017

Sun.’s Devo. - The Blessings of Allegiance and the Consequences of Turning From God

Read: 2 Chronicles 26:1-28:27; Romans 13:1-14; Psalm 23:1-6; Proverbs 20:11
The first thing Uzziah did when he received the kingdom from his father, Amaziah, was to rebuild Elath and restore it to Judah. Elath means “mightiness”. Uzziah restored the mightiness of God in his nation. You can sum up his 52 year reign with these words…”as long as he sought the Lord, God gave him success.” The nation was very prosperous and mighty during his reign. They build, created, invented new machines, reaped great harvests, won battles, and protected his people from harm during his reign. Toward the end, he became proud and wanted to enter the temple to offer incense himself and was struck with leprosy. He had to separate himself and allow his son to rule the people until he died.
His son’s name was Jotham who followed him in serving the Lord. He only lived to be 41 and when he died, his son, Ahaz ruled. Ahaz was not a good king. He practiced idolatry and in one day, he lost 120,000 good soldiers because he forsook the Lord.
The Israelites raided them and took many captives back to Israel. Oded, a prophet stood up and explained the sin of taking their brothers captive. Many stood with him and when they wanted to bring the captives into the city they protested and won. They fed, clothed, doctored and blessed the captives and sent them home.
Then Ahaz asked the Assyrians to help him against the Edomites. The Assyrians more trouble than help. In his time of trouble Ahaz refused to turn to the Lord, but instead, turned to idols and false god’s. He eventually closed the doors to the temple and built high places to burn sacrifices to other gods which provoked the Lord.
Paul would not be politically correct in our day. He tells us to honor authority because it is God who placed it there. We are to pay our taxes, pay those who work for us, respect those over us and give honor to those God has exalted. Love is to be our law.
He admonishes us to wake up and realize the time is short for us to affect the world. We do not have time to be distracted by the noise of parties and revelry. We are to be sober and diligent, always abounding in the faith with love.
Lord, help us to stay awake and aware of what God is doing in our world. May we be help to the kingdom and not harm.

Saturday, July 29, 2017

Sat.’s Devo - What Will They Say of You?

Read: 2 Chronicles 24:1-25:28; Romans 12:1-21; Psalm 22:19-31; Proverbs 20:8-10
Of Joash it was written that he followed the Lord as long as Jehoiada, the priest lived. He repaired and restored the temple and sacrifices were made daily as long as Jehoiada lived. Jehoiada had raised Joash safely, in secret while Athalia reigned. Joash was alive because of Jehoiada and his wife. Once Jehoiada died, the temple of the Lord was abandoned and the people of Judah worshiped Ashram poles and idols. They refused to hear the words of the prophets God sent them so God forsook them because they had forsaken him. God sent Jehoiada’s son, Zechariah to tell them this and the king had him stoned. Everything went downhill for Judah after that. They lost a crucial battle against a few Armenians in which Joash was wounded. His own men murdered him in his bed for the death of Zechariah.
His son, Amaziah became king. Of him it was written that he did what was right in God’s eyes, but not wholeheartedly. He had his officials killed that had murdered his father. Then he went to battle against the men of Edom. He hired a hundred thousand men from Israel until a prophet came to him and said that if he took the Israelites to war they would not win. He dismissed them to go home but they were so offended they looted their way back home. When the king asked God about the 100 talents of gold he had spent to hire them, God said, “The Lord can give you much more than that.”
I know that I blogged about this last year but it has followed me through the year. When we make a mistake and God shows us his plan, the money we spent foolishly will be given back to us if we repent and do what God is telling us to do.
Amaziah did one fatal thing… he brought back the gods of the Edomites and started worshipping them. God sent him a prophet to ask him why he would worship a god who was not able to protect its people and forsake the one who had given him victory. Amaziah refused to hear this prophet so God stirred his heart to fight against Israel so he would lose. He did and he lost. The king of Israel came in and took down the wall, stole the treasuries in the temple along with the ark of the covenant. I believe this is the last time the ark is seen.
It is easy to see a snapshot of these people’s lives and see where they went wrong and what they needed to do but our lives are in slow motion and it is usually a slow fade away from God and into sin.
That is why Paul urged his followers to present their bodies as living sacrifices holy and pleasing to God. This is true worship. He tells them to look at what they are doing and be humble. Our love to God and to others must be sincere or we will find ourselves in deception. We must not be proud or revengeful. We are to love, feed and take care of our enemy.
I wonder what would be said of us if it had to be reduced to one line. Of Ginny, it is written that she … It is something to ponder. I want it said of me that I followed the Lord wholeheartedly all my life and pleased the Lord in everything I was meant to do.
Lord, help us to be quick to repent and open to love.

Friday, July 28, 2017

Fri.’s Devo - The Turning of a Nation

Read: 2 Chronicles 21:1-23:21; Romans 11:13-36; Psalm 22:1-18; Proverbs 20:7
Jehoshaphat passed his kingdom to his oldest son, Jehoram who killed his six brothers who had been greatly blessed by their father with cities and wealth. Jehoram didn’t follow after his father, but the kings of Israel, so he led the nation into idolatry. Edom and Libnah revolted against Judah. Elijah sent King Jehoram a letter rebuking him for his rebellion against God. He told him that his sons and wives would be struck and he would become sick and eventually die. All of this came to pass and he only reigned eight years.
The people made Ahaziah his youngest and only surviving son the king. His mother was Athaliah who was Jezebel’s counterpart. She encouraged Ahaziah toward sin and idolatry.
Ahaziah went to Israel and helped Ahab’s son war against Ramoth Gilead. If you remember, his father did the same thing and was greatly rebuked by the Lord for doing so. This visit led to Ahaziah’s downfall also. He was captured and killed.
When his mother found out her son was dead, she proceeded to kill of all of his brothers or anyone who would be in line for the kingdom. One of the king’s daughters was also the wife of Jehoiada, the priest. She and her husband hid the king’s youngest son in the temple for six years while Athalia ruled Judah.
In the seventh year, the priests all devised a plan to bring the son, Joash out of hiding and give him the kingship. They followed the priest’s plan and when Athalia heard the celebration and saw the boy standing by the pillar of the temple she cried, “Treason!” and tore her robes. Jehoiada, the priest commanded his men to kill her away from the temple so they killed her at the entrance of the Horse Gate.
Jehoiada then led the people in a pledge to follow the Lord and be his people. They took Josiah to the palace, sat him on the throne and peace came to the city.
In Romans, Paul explains the salvation of the Gentiles. The Jews rejected the new covenant as a nation but salvation is personal and individual. The Gentile nation will lead them back to their heritage at the right time. It doesn’t mean that Jews won’t be saved…it is just not their time as a nation to be able to see. God opens the eyes of all who ask him and are willing to see something they may not want to see or agree with. He is doing it today in a big way in the Muslim community through dreams and visions.
Psalm 22 is the chapter that Jesus was referring his disciples to on the cross. He wanted them to read it and realize he was fulfilling it at that very moment.
Lord, help us to have eyes to see even if it changes our perspective and preconceived ideas. We pray for truth. We also pray for peace to come to our nation as we turn back to you.

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Thur.’s Devo - Praise is Our Weapon

Read: 2 Chronicles 19:1-20:37; Romans 10:14-11:12; Psalm 21:1-13; Proverbs 20:4-6
Jehoshaphat returned from fighting with Ahab to God’s rebuke. God scolded him for fighting with his enemy, Israel, and not asking him first, then God commended him for ridding his land of idolatry and for his seeking Him.
Jehoshaphat traveled his land and turned the hearts of the people back to the Lord. He set the Levites and priests as judges and leaders among the cities and warned them to rule fairly and righteously or God would judge them.
The Ammonites and Moabites rose up against Judah and Jehoshaphat inquired of the Lord about what to do. He brought the people together to seek the Lord and fast. Jehoshaphat led the people in prayer for their nation. God spoke through Jahaziel, one of the prophets and told them that they would not have to fight this battle. They were just to stand firm, believing and God’s army would fight it. Jehoshaphat sent his men to face the enemy and appointed singers to sing and praise the Lord. As they began to sing, God’s army ambushed the enemy. They fought and killed one another so when the men of Judah arrived, there were dead bodies everywhere. They left with great spoils - more than they could carry.
The fear of the Lord fell on the other nations and they all left Judah alone. Judah enjoyed peace and rest.
This is a great lesson for us to learn. We are not to fight our battles but allow the Lord to do that for us. Our part is to let go and believe. Our weapon is praise.
In Romans, Paul makes it plain that Israel did not miss the Lord because they weren’t told. They had a very large voice in the mouth of Jesus, himself and yet they refused to believe it. God didn’t reject them all, only those who rejected him. Paul was a Jew and he chose to believe. The elect heard and believed and the others were hardened.
Lord, we give you our battles today and command the army of God to fight on our behalf. We will choose to praise You for your wonderful ways and your majesty.

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Wed.’s Devo - Ahab’s End

Read: 2 Chronicles 17:1-18:34; Romans 9:22-10:13; Psalm 20:1-9; Proverbs 20:2-3
Asa died and his son Jehoshaphat became king of Judah. He began his kingship obeying the Lord. He fortified and cleansed the cities and made them strong and he sent priests throughout the land to teach the people the law. The fear of the Lord fell on all their enemies and they left them alone. His downfall began when he aligned himself with Ahab, king of Israel by marriage. Then he went to visit him. Ahab was about to engage in battle with Ramoth Gilead and asked Jehoshaphat if he would join him. He agreed to join him without asking God but he wanted to know if God would give them victory. Ahab called in all his false prophets and they did their rituals and dances. They all agreed he would win. Jehoshaphat asked for a prophet of God and was reluctantly presented with Micaiah who was not popular with Ahab. He sarcastically agreed with Ahab’s prophets but when asked to speak the truth, he told them they would not win and that Ahab would die. This was not what Ahab or Jehoshaphat wanted to hear so they rejected his word and went to war anyway. Everything that Micaiah had prophesied happened. They lost the battle and Ahab died a slow death. He had plenty of time to contemplate his errors.
In Romans, we see that salvation has always been by faith. The law brought the knowledge of sin but it still took faith to believe the law. Hebrews 11 is full of all the people that understand that works was not what it took to follow God; they needed faith. Salvation is for everyone who will put their faith in the Lord and believe he was who he said he was and that Jesus was the way to him.
Lord, help us to remember to seek you in everything we do. May our faith go before us into victory.

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Tues.’s Devo -The Purposes of God

Read: 2 Chronicles 14:1-16:14; Romans 9:1-21; Psalm 19:1-14; Proverbs 20:1
Abidjan must have raised his son to fear God because Asa feared the Lord and was a good king. He did things than no king had done. He smashed the sacred stones, cut down the Ashram poles and removed the foreign altars and the high places. He took responsibility for the people. When a leader turns with all his heart toward the Lord, the nation changes. I pray that this is where we are in America. When a nation turns, prosperity returns and building begins. There is peace with other nations and God fights for you. God fought the Cushiness for Asa and they received much booty and spoils.
In Chapter 15:17 it says that the heart of Asa was perfect all his days and he gave much of his own wealth to the house of God. He enjoyed 35 years of peace and in the next year Baasha the king of Israel started building Ramah which was a gateway from Israel to Judah. So many people were defecting through it to Judah because they saw how the Lord was with Judah that Baasha wanted to stop them. It was his way of fortifying his boundaries. Baasha means to stink or to be offensive.
Instead of going to the Lord for help, Asa took money from the temple and hired Ben-hadad’s army from Syria to fight Israel. They did stop the building of Ramah but God was not pleased that Asa went to the king Syria for help instead of him. He sent Asa a seer to tell him of his displeasure and Asa took his remorse out on the seer. He put him in prison. Asa’s feet got diseased…his walk had been tainted by the offense in his heart. He eventually died. How sad that he began so well and ended not so well.
In Romans, Paul goes to great expense to explain to us that just because you are a Jew doesn’t mean you are chosen by God. To us that would mean that just because you grew up in church or were born in a Christian family doesn’t mean that you are automatically a Christian. God has mercy on who he wants to have mercy on and compassion on who he wants to have compassion on.
I do understand about God’s mercy. This past week-end our 20 month old grandson, Ezra was found face down floating in the baby pool. His parents were feet away. When their son pointed to him they ran and scooped him up - blue and not breathing. Needless to say, they panicked. It ended well. He was taken to the hospital and is home and well now but it was traumatic and exhausting. Dave and I drove there and spent the night to love on everyone and just be together. We are so grateful that Ezra was saved. The same week-end we heard of another 2 year old who wandered away and was found drown in the lake. How do you come to grips with that? I don’t have an answer. I greatly grieve for those parents.
Paul ends his teaching with the fact that God’s purposes are good and though we might not understand at the time…they are always best.
Lord, I pray for all of us who are going through things we do not understand. May we rest in your love and know that your purposes are for our good.

Monday, July 24, 2017

Mon.’s Devo - God Always Wins

Read: 2 Chronicles 11:1-13:22; Romans 8:22-39; Psalm 18:37-50; Proverbs 19:27-29
Today we do read some of the military wisdom of Rehoboam. He used his forced labor to build up 15 towns which he fortified as strongholds with weapons and walls. He dispersed his sons to live in these towns and rule them. For three years he continued the worship in the temple for the people who wanted to seek the Lord. He even listened when the Lord told him not to war against his own people Israel and obeyed.
After that three years, Rehoboam fell into pride and rebelled against the Lord. God sent Shishak king of Egypt against him. He captured those fortified cities and carried away the treasures of the temple. The temple was only 6 years old and was already being slowly destroyed. What happened to the temple was a direct reflection of what was happening to the temple inside the people’s hearts. God sent the prophet Shemaiah to tell Rehoboam that because he had abandoned the Lord, God had abandoned him. He and the leaders all humbled themselves and repented. This saved them their lives. Rehoboam replaced the gold shields that had been taken with brass ones and continued to rule Judah. When he died, his son, Abijah became king of Judah. Meanwhile, Jeroboam was king over Israel.
There was continual war between the kingdom of Jeroboam and the kingdom of Abijah. It ended in a showdown on Mt. Zemaraim where Abijah was outnumbered 2 to 1. Abijah stood up on the mountain and declared that they had not left the Lord but continued to worship God as He had commanded them. When he finished his speech he realized that Jeroboam had surrounded him on both sides. Abijah called on the Lord and they defeated the Israelites. He chased Jeroboam and took him from the town of Bethel. The Lord eventually struck Jeroboam down.
Romans 8 has some of my favorite verses in it. Paul says that the whole creation is in travail waiting for the birthing of our adoption as sons and the redemption of our bodies. This has to do with salvation and rebirth. Since we do not understand this with our natural mind, the spirit helps us by praying through us and for us. He knows the will of God so our prayers are perfect when we allow him to pray through us. God works everything for our good when we are devoted to Him. If God gave us his only son, Jesus, there is nothing he would withhold from us that is good.
Lord, thank you that nothing can separated us from your love.

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Sun.’s Devo - The Revelation of Sonship

Read: 2 Chronicles 8:11-10:19; Romans 8:9-21: Psalm 18:16-36; Proverbs 19:26
I find it interesting that Solomon’s wife was the pharaoh’s daughter from Egypt. (What a picture of the Gentile Bride!)
Solomon did not deviate from his fathers commands to the priests or to the Levites in any matter. That was something no other king would do. Finally the work was done and the temple was finished.
The fame of its splendor and Solomon’s kingdom spread throughout the world. The queen of Sheba heard about it and had to come see herself. She brought spices, gold and precious stone. Solomon showed her his kingdom and sent her home with more than she had brought.
It wasn’t just Solomon who was rich; his whole kingdom prospered. It says that he made silver as common in Jerusalem as stones and cedar as plentiful as sycamore-fig trees in the foothills. He imported horses from Egypt and all other countries.
In all Solomon’s wisdom, you would think he would have passed some of this to his son, Rehoboam. Rehoboam had the opportunity to live as Solomon’s son and bear his fruit but he didn’t choose wisely. When Solomon died, Rehoboam rejected the wisdom of his elders and chose to listen to the advise of those his own age. This caused a split in the kingdom and most of Israel left and all he ruled was the towns of Judah. It almost cost him his life.
In Romans we are reminded that we don’t live out of control but under the control of the Holy Spirit who makes us a son of God. All creation is waiting for us to get this revelation because it will change everything.
We are heirs through Jesus of the glorious kingdom of God but we, like Rehoboam, have to embrace it and choose it. We have to realize we are a son of the king.
Lord, give us this revelation of sonship so that we can bring life to the earth.

Saturday, July 22, 2017

Sat.’s Devo - Choose Life and Peace

Read: 2 Chronicles 6:12-8:10;
Solomon stood and prayed before all the people. He praised God for his faithfulness to keep his word and he prayed a blessing over the temple and asked God’s presence to always be there. He prayed that it would be a place of meeting with God; a place of repentence and restoration. He led the people in rejoicing in God’s goodness and great love. The priests could not enter for the glory of the Lord filled the temple. The altar could not hold the sacrifices there were so many. It was a perfect day of God showing his love toward man and vice versa.
I couldn’t help but notice that the foreigners did the slave labor and the Israelites ruled in the army and in Solomon’s kingdom. That is the way God wants it to be. The body of Christ is to be the leaders in society and the world is suppose to be our slave. We are slowly seeing this shift but it is not coming without opposition. Even as leaders, we are to be servants and carriers of God’s love. Our goal is to make the foreigner a son of God. Spiritually, this means that we are not to be a slave to sin. The “ites” still living in the land were there because the Israelites failed to destroy them. They stayed as reminders of their disobedience. Solomon turned them to work in their behalf. That is what we have to do with our past failures. We use them as a testimony to help others who are facing the same situations.
Romans starts with one of the most important statements: “We know that the law is spiritual.” Just understanding this statement will make the Word come alive for you.
Paul spelled out what Solomon was doing. Paul said that if you live with your mind always thinking about what you want you will only get death, but if you control your thoughts and choose to allow the Spirit to control your thoughts you will find life and peace.
Lord, help us to control our anxious thoughts and choose life and peace.

Friday, July 21, 2017

Fri.’s Devo - Tabernacle to Temple

Read: 2 Chronicles 4:1-6:11; Romans 7:1-13: Psalm 17:1-15; Proverbs 19:22-23
The furniture in the temple was much larger than the furniture in the tabernacle. The altar in the tabernacle was 5x5x3 and the altar in the temple was 20x20x10. The laver in the tabernacle was made of the women’s mirrors. The one for the temple was huge and sat on the backs of twelve metal oxen. Instead of the one menorah in the tabernacle there were 10 in the temple. Ten tables for the shewbread replaced the one in the tabernacle.
The temple was dedicated on the Feast of Tabernacles which represents our continual walk with the Lord’s presence always with us. The glory of the Lord filled the temple and was so heavy that the priests could not even stand up to minister. Solomon spoke to the people and blessed them and told them God’s heart in having a place where his name would be worshiped. Inside the ark would be the covenant of God that he made with his people.
In Romans, Paul reminds the people of the law about the death of the first husband and how it is the dead man’s brother who is to marry her and produce seed on the earth. Paul explains that this is a law to teach us doctrine. We are first married to the law that points out our sin and brings death. It has to die for us to receive the new husband who is Jesus. Only through this husband will we receive life. If you look at all the women listed in Matthew 1 in the genealogy of Jesus, you will see that they all follow this law. Hagar’s husband died with no heir. She had her twins with Judah. Rahab had many husbands as she was a harlot but she didn’t have an heir until she married Salmon and had Boaz. They had Solomon. Ruth’s husband died with no son until she married Boaz and had Obed. Bathsheba is implied in verse 6. She was married to Uriah with no son until he died and she married David. These are all pictures of this law of grace.
We will never be fruitful following the law, but when we die to our own will of trying to be good, and we receive the new covenant of grace through the blood of Jesus, we become fruitful. If we go back to trying to follow the law, we are committing spiritual adultery. When we refuse to allow the grace of God to free us from our past we are going back under the law and committing adultery, spiritually speaking. We have to totally marry Jesus and the new covenant. The law is holy and righteous and good and are our standard. They reveal what sin is so it can die in us and God’s righteousness can grow.
Lord, thank you for your laws and thank you for the better covenant of grace.

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Thurs.’s Devo - God’s Blank Check

Read: 2 Chronicles 1:1-3:17; Romans 6:1-23; Psalm 16:1-11; Proverbs 19:20-21
Solomon was given a blank check by God and he asked for the wisdom to lead the people God had given him. God was so pleased with his answer that he gave him the things he didn’t ask for like wealth and honor along with all the wisdom and knowledge he would need. He showed this wisdom and knowledge in how he went about building the temple. Even Huram was impressed with his maturity. Huram sent him an artist who worked in all the precious metals, stone, wood and fabric, along with engravers. In exchange, Solomon would supply them with wheat, barley, oil and wine. Everything was overlaid with gold and was extremely lavish and glorious. Solomon spared no expense in building God’s temple.
We are the temple of the Holy Spirit and are suppose to shine the glory of God in our lives. We are like that wood that the engravers cover with gold. Gold stands for wisdom…no wonder Solomon had so much of it everywhere since he was they symbol of wisdom. That gold is available for us anytime we ask for it.
God has given all of us a blank check in the spirit. We can write our future with our mouths according to God’s Word. We can walk in peace and love. It is our choice.
Paul wraps his whole teaching on sin with this: “the wages of sin are death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Wages are based on works, but a gift is based on relationship.
Lord, help us to make good choices.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Wed.’s Devo - David’s Charge

Read: 1 Chronicles 28:1-29;30; Romans 5:6-21; Psalm 15:1-5; Proverbs 19:18-19
David gathered all his officers together and gave them the plan for the future. Solomon would be the next king and he would build the temple. He would continue the lineage of the kingship if he followed God’s commands and didn’t swerve from them. David reminded Solomon to serve the Lord with wholehearted devotion and with a willing mind because God searches every heart and understands every motive behind our thoughts. As long as Solomon sought God, he would make himself known to him but if he rejected him, God would reject him. That offer is for us also.
David then told him to to be strong and do the work. He handed the blueprints of the temple over to Solomon as well as instructions about how to implement them. David had saved up everything that they would need to build the temple and presented them to Solomon. Then David praised the Lord because God had provided so abundantly for all God had called him to do.
The next day, there were sacrifices and joy as the people acknowledged that Solomon was the king. David anointed him again in front of the people and Solomon sat on David’s throne. David died at a good old age, having enjoyed long life, wealth and honor.
Romans makes it plain that God did not send Jesus to die for us because we were righteous or even good but because we were sinners. Adam had brought sin that leads to death and Jesus reversed it and gave us death that leads to life. Adam was the pattern of the one to come. He had chosen sin to die with his bride just as Jesus chose sin to die to be reconciled with his bride.
Lord, thank you for your wonderful gift of salvation that leads to life. May we follow David’s instructions and lead a clear path of righteousness for our children to walk on.

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Tues.’s Devo - Prosperity 8-1-17

Read: 2 Chronicles 30:1-31:21; Romans 15:1-22; Psalm 25:1-15; Proverbs 20:13-15
Since there was not time to get ready for Passover in that first month they decided to celebrate it a month later. God did not care that they missed the date, it was their heart that was right and acceptable to him. Hezekiah sent invitations to all the people of his nation asking them to join him in Jerusalem for the Passover and imploring them to turn back to God. The people scorned and ridiculed them but some did humble themselves and came to Jerusalem. These people enjoyed two weeks of fellowship, fun, and worship. The rest stayed home and went to work as usual. Sounds like today. God is doing and is going to be doing some amazing things. All are invited, but many will ridicule and stay home doing life as usual. They will totally miss out on the wonderful things God will be doing. But, the ones who hear the call and answer will come and enjoy the fellowship, fun and worship.
During the celebration there were so many offerings offered that the king had to build houses to store them. When people’s hearts get turned toward the Lord, they give abundantly and everyone prospers. Hezekiah turned his nation back to God and sought God with all his heart. The last sentence says, “And so he prospered.”
Hezekiah did what Romans tells us to do… bear the weak and make them strong. When the Church walks in unity and love, they are unstoppable and totally blessed and fulfilled. There is no greater feeling than the one you get when you help other people get to where they need to be. Our goal is not to just give to the poor but to enable them to help themselves. Everyone needs to know that they are needed.
Lord, help us to bring out the best in those we are around today. May we use our gifts to help others use their gifts.

Tues.’s Devo - It’s All in the Name

Read: 1 Chronicles 26:12-27:34; Romans 4:13-5:5; Psalm 14:1-7; Proverbs 19:17
I could spend hours looking up all these names and finding out what God is saying through them if I had all day. But… I did look up a few and this is what I found. East stands for beginning because our sins are removed as far as the east is from the west and the sun rises in the east starting our day. The man who was the gatekeeper of the East Gate was Shelemiah whose name means “the peace offering”. Jesus is our peace offering and this is the way into life. But you exit the West Gate which had two mentioned gatekeepers. One was Shuppim which means “bared ones; serpents” and the other man was Hosah which means “covered”. In the end there will be two types of people the naked and the covered. North means the spiritual and South means the natural. The man standing at the North Gate was Zechariah which means “remembered of Jehovah” and the man at the South Gate was Obed-Edom which means “serving Edom” or in other words, serving man.
The officer in charge of the treasuries was Shubael whose name means “the return of God”. In the treasuries were all the spoils of war. They were things dedicated by David, Samuel, Saul, Abner and Joab.
David’s army consisted of 24,000 men who changed monthly according to their time of duty. Then there were officers from each tribe along with men in charge of the storehouses in the towns, villages and watchtowers, and those in charge of farming the fields, the vineyards, the olive and fig trees, the cattle, donkeys, flocks, herbs and all of King David’s property.
This was the time leading up to Israel’s greatest prosperity. We get the picture of how organized God is and how the body of Christ should work when everyone is operating in their gifts.
In Romans, we read that Abraham believed against all hope. Physically, there was no way Abraham could father a son at the age of 100 and that Sarah could have a baby, but Abraham believed if God said it, it would happen. His faith, added with God’s Word brought the promise. His faith also made him righteous with God as a picture to us that our faith makes us righteous with Him. Faith gives us access to God’s grace. So we, like Abraham can rejoice when we have to suffer waiting for the promise to be fulfilled. This waiting developed perseverance which leads to character and character leads to hope which does not disappoint. We know this because we have God’s love poured out in our hearts.
Lord, show us our place of service in your kingdom. May we exercise patience that leads to joy.

Monday, July 17, 2017

Mon.’s Devo - The Offices of the Temple

Read: 1 Chronicles 24:1-26:11; Romans 4:1-12; Psalm 13:1-6; Proverbs 19:15-16
Today we read about the divisions of the sons of Aaron and the leaders who served by lots in the temple. One thing stood out to me and that was there was no partiality. Everything was done by lots and everyone was treated the same. It didn’t matter the importance of your family or the order of your birth. No one was treated with more favor than the other. Theses sons were guided and led by their fathers. This is a great picture of God’s plan.
I couldn’t help but see the blessing of Obed-Edom. He was the one who housed the ark of God for months. He had 62 descendants who were very capable men. He also had 8 sons making him very blessed. Of the 62 descendants, there was not a bad one in the bunch.
In Romans we read that it wasn’t Abraham’s works that made him righteous, but his faith in God. Our works have nothing to do with our salvation, they have to do with our rewards. Circumcism also had nothing to do with salvation, it was the picture or shadow of salvation. Salvation or righteousness before God has always been based on faith. The Old Testament brought the shadow of greater promises. The New Testament brought the fulfillment of these shadows.
Lord, thank you for your plan of grace and salvation by faith. Thank you that there is no partiality with you.

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Sun.’s Devo - Preparation

Read: 1 Chronicles 22:1-23:32; Romans 3:9-31: Psalm 12:1-8; Prov. 19:13-14
David prepared for the next generation which is the parent’s role. We do that by observing what their talents are and moving them in that direction. David knew that God had named Solomon the next king and that he was to build the temple, but he also knew that he was young and inexperienced so he prepared what he would need. Then he called him in and explained his destiny. He charged him with his assignment and prayed over him. David also set up leaders to help him in his task. He told him to devote his heart to serving the Lord so that God’s house would bear His name.
Before he died, David gathered the priests and gave them their assignments according to their families and the way Moses had set it up. So they continued what they had done in the tabernacle now in the temple.
Paul places everyone on the same playing field. The Jews are no better or special than the Gentiles - they are all sinners who need to be saved by grace. The law was never able to save a person from sin but its purpose was to make us aware of our sin. Righteousness comes from God through faith in Jesus. But, Paul made it clear that grace did not nullify the law but upheld it. The law pointed to Jesus and Jesus pointed to the law. They are one and the same although salvation comes only by believing in Jesus as God’s son.
Lord, help us to keep the good news simple and yet holy. Help us to prepare our children and our grandchildren for their destiny.

Saturday, July 15, 2017

Sat.’s Devo - The Counterattack

Read: 1 Chronicles 19:1-21:30; Romans 2:25-3:8; Psalm 11:1-7; Proverbs 19:10-12
I can’t find anywhere where this king was kind to David except here. The Ammonites were always Israel’s enemy. It was this king that came to take Jabesh-gilead. The people of Jabesh told king Nahash that they would serve them instead and the king said that they must gouge out their right eye or they wouldn’t let them live. When Saul heard this he rallied men to fight them and this lead to Saul’s kingship. Nahash means “a serpent” so I don’t know why David would want to show kindness to his son.
This all worked to Israel’s advantage because when the Ammonites hired the Syrians to fight Israel, Israel won. The Ammonites became their slaves and the Syrians learned to never help the Ammonites again.
David’s army went out and slayed giants and took the crown from the Ammonite king which was probably the brother of Hanum. This made Satan so mad that he stood up and convinced David to number the people. Satan is the epitome of pride and that was what he used against David. Maybe, if David had been on the battlefield instead of staying in Jerusalem, he might have seen things differently. Against Joab’s advise, David had Joab number the people. He numbered everyone except the tribes of Levi and Benjamin. God was not pleased so he gave David three choices. David chose to fall under the hand of God instead of his enemies or famine. So his punishment was swift and painful as a plague swept through the land. It stopped at the threshing flood or Ornan which means “strong”. David bought his land from him and it became the place that Solomon would build the temple.
We cannot overlook what happened. David’s men brought down giants and Satan counterattacked. This is his mode of operation. When we win a great battle, he is always going to fight back. He never lets you win without a fight.
Lord, help us to be ready for the counterattack and not be so busy celebrating our victory that we lay our swords down.

Friday, July 14, 2017

Fri.’s Devo - Face Answers to Face

Read: 1 Chronicles 16:37-18:17; Romans 2:1-24; Psalm 10:16-18; Proverbs 19:8-9
David set up the priests in Jerusalem to do all that the law said the priests should do. This is the first time they had obeyed these laws since the time of Moses. David wanted to build God a house to live in but it wasn’t the time to do it. His son would be the one to build the temple. David’s job was to get everything ready for it. His job was also to subdue all his enemies and bring about peace. He did this for the next generation and that is what we are to do for the next generation.
In Romans we read about judging one another. Proverbs 27:19 says, “As in water face answereth to face, so the heart of man to man.” What it means is that when we look at water we see our reflection and it is the the same as when we look at man’s heart - we see our own. So if we don’t like something about someone, the fact that we see it means we are looking at our own heart. It is a reflection. That is why we will run into ourselves over and over in other people. Their faults will irk us because it is what God is trying to show us in ourselves. I have found this seemingly simple truth guide me and it has proven to be valuable. It will definitely change the way you look at people and humble you as you see the truth about yourself.
Lord, open our hearts to see ourselves in the light of your Word. Help us to have mercy and understanding toward one another.

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Thurs.’s Devo - Welcoming the Presence of the Lord

Read: 1 Chronicles 15:1-16:36; Romans 1:18-32; Psalm 10:1-15; Proverbs 19:6-7
David was well established in his kingdom and wanted to bring the ark there. He had a tent made to house the ark and had done research through the law to see why it had been such a failure the first time. He read where the priests had to carry the ark with poles so he brought in the priests from all over the land. He brought in 862 to be exact. He had singers, musicians, gate keepers and door keepers. I noticed that Obed-edom, the one who housed the ark got to be a door keeper.
David dressed in linen as a priest and danced in his linen robe. David was a type of Jesus who was both a priest and a king. Michael, Saul’s daughter watched him from her window and
scorned him in her heart. He embarrassed her because of his abandoned worship to the Lord.
There was a huge celebration and David gave everyone meat, bread and wine. Sacrifices were made with festive music and praise to the Lord. They sang a song that David penned. This was a picture of salvation coming to their land. It was worthy of such a loud and festive celebration.
Romans starts with a bang. Right off it begins with a defense of the gospel. It gives man no excuse to reject God. The godhead: Father, Son and Holy Spirit are obvious in nature. God’s invisible qualities, his eternal power and divine nature are all clear for all to see through His creation. Since they refused to acknowledge God, God turned them over to their own imagination so women became lesbians and men became gay. Their penalty came through their sin which resulted in HIV and other diseases. Their minds became depraved also and they entertained wickedness, evil, greed, and depravity. This resulted in envy, murder, strife, deceit, and malice. They became rebellious, arrogant, and disobedient to their parents. Then, they began to invent ways to do evil. They became faithless, ruthless, heartless, and senseless. Our today’s Psalm describes this wicked man.
Before we point any fingers, this is us without God. Thank God, by his mercy and plan, we are delivered from this way of thought and brought into the glorious liberty of salvation.

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Wed.’s Devo - The Host of Heaven

Read: 1 Chronicales 12:19-14:17; Romans 1:1-17; Psalm 9:13-20; Proverbs 19:4-5
Many men from the tribe of Manasseh had defected to David’s side during Saul’s reign. They formed an army like the host of God. We need to be reminded that God has a heavenly host that is an army. It is ready to fight for us and will go where we send it. To say that David’s army was like God’s army is saying a lot. Every time David had opposition arise, he asked God first if he should go. He waited till he got his answer before he fought. This is a lesson we can learn about prayer and spiritual warfare. We need to ask God what battles he wants us to fight before we start warring in the spirit. He can give us strategy or he might even tell us not to fight at all.
We have a list of all twelve tribes and how many warriors came to make David king. Of Issachar it says that they had understanding to know the times and what Israel should do. They are the prophets that understood what God was doing right then and how to get the people to align with God. Of others it says that they carried sword and shield. These were the ones who knew how to use the Word with faith. Reuben and Gad and the half drive of Manasseh were armed with every type of weapon. These are those who know how to use prayer, the Word, their gifts…all the tools the Word has to offer. These were the mature.
The people’s goal was to make David king over all Israel. David’s desire was to bring the ark back to the land and use it since it hadn’t been used in Saul’s reign. The people agreed and the people brought the ark back on a cart. It was suppose to be brought by the Levites on poles. When Uzzah steadied the shaking ark with his hand, he was struck down. Uzzah’s name means “strength”. When we try to do the Lord’s work out of our own strength we will always be struck down. The whole mission stopped right there and they left the ark on Obed-Edom’s land. David was perplexed and disappointed, but Obed was blessed. David turned to building up his name with sons and fortifying his kingdom.
In the first chapter of Romans we have some of the most powerful statements like: “I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes, first for the Jew, then for the Gentile.” And the verse that began the Great Awakening: “the just shall live by faith”.
Lord, help us to know the times we are living in and prosper both spiritually and naturally. We send out the host of heaven to war for our land and expose all the secrets of darkness and give President Trump strength and fortitude. Be the commander and Lord of our nation.

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Tues.’s Devo - Reward of Being Faithful

Read: 1 Chronicles 11:1-12:18; Acts 28:1-31; Psalm 9:1-12a; Proverbs 19:1-3
All Israel recognized David as their king in Hebron. Hebron was the city that the kings were anointed king but Jerusalem was where David wanted to live. It was occupied by the Jebusites so David proclaimed that whoever led the attack would be his chief commander. Joab was the first to volunteer so he got the job.
Next, we have a list of David’s mighty men and the three mightiest which were Jashobean, Eliazar and Abishai. They were like Jesus’ three: Peter, James and John. These men that were David’s mighty men were the ones that joined him at the beginning, before he was the king… when David was a fugitive and couldn’t even pay his men. These men had proved themselves faithful. Now, their leader was the king and now they would be rewarded for their faithfulness.
This is such a great picture of the Christian life. We follow Jesus and are faithful to him out of love and honor. We don’t get paid for being a Christian but we know that our reward is worth more than all the gold and silver in the world. Our reward is eternal life where Christ is the King.
Paul understood this as he walked on earth. In today’s reading, Paul was shipwrecked on the island of Malta. When a snake bit Paul, the people thought he was cursed, but when he didn’t die, they thought he was a god.
Next he is invited to one of the chief officials house for three days. His host’s dad is sick and dying from fever and dysentery. Paul went in and prayed for the man. God healed him so Paul and his men were honored with supplies and all they needed. They stayed on the island during the hard months of winter then put out to sea again. This is the way we should leave a place - totally blessed and healed.
When Paul reached Rome, no one had sent a statement of charge against him. He was given a platform to preach the gospel. All was well till he threw in the prophecy about the Jews not being able to hear the truth and the Gentiles readily hearing. This lost his Jewish friends, but the Gentiles were open and hungry. He was able to live in peace and boldly able to preach the truth.
Lord, thank you for this land where we are free to live in peace and boldly proclaim the hope that is in us. May we do this with great joy.

Monday, July 10, 2017

Mon.’s Devo - Prophesy Fulfilled

Read: 1 Chronicles 9:1-10:14; Acts 27:21-44; Psalm 8:1-9; Proverbs 18:23-24
Today’s Old Testament reading begins and ends with the consequences of sin. The first verse says, “The people of Judah were taken captive to Babylon because of their unfaithfulness.” The last verse says that Saul died because he was unfaithful to the Lord, didn’t keep the word of the Lord and even consulted a medium for guidance and did not inquire of the Lord, So the Lord up him to death and turned the kingdom over to David son of Jesse. In between those two statements were a list of faithful Levites who obeyed the Lord because God always has a remnant. Phinehas, son of Eleazar was in charge of the gatekeepers. It said that the Lord was with him. These gatekeepers spent the night by the door of the tent protecting the treasures in the temple. The gatekeepers are prophets and intercessors today. They watch over what comes in and out of the church and discern evil and good.
In Acts, Paul had confidence they would make it because he had a word from God about his future. This is the power and importance of prophecy. It builds our faith and sets our course. Everything happened as Paul said it would and the men all swam safely to land. They were preserved because of Paul. We keep back the enemy and protect all who are with us. We are to be a blessing to the earth.
Lord, help us to see the blessings of obedience and the blessing of hearing your voice.

Sunday, July 9, 2017

Sun.’s Devo - God’s Ways Are Always Best

Read: 1 Chronicles 7:1-8:40; Acts 27:1-20; Psalm 7:1-17; Proverbs 18:22
Today we read about the sons of Issachar, Naphtali, Ephraim, Manasseh, Asher and Benjamin.
I thought it was interesting that Benjamin was mentioned at the beginning of chapter seven and again at the beginning of chapter eight. I read a commentary that said of Benjamin’s ten sons that are named in Genesis 46:21, only three must have lived through the wars they fought. These three sons were Bela, Beker, and Jediael. Another fact about Benjamin’s line is that Shaharaim divorced his two wives and married a third. If you remember, the tribe of Benjamin was almost snuffed out because of their sin in Judges 19 and 20. So, their line is a little spotted.
In Acts, Paul is on his travels to Rome. After one day at sea, they landed in Sidon where Paul had birthed churches. So he was allowed to go stay with his friends and be refreshed. After that the sailing was hard because of the wind. It took them much longer than anticipated. When they set out the last time, God gave Paul insight into their trip. He told Paul that they were headed for disaster with great loss to the ship and the cargo and their own lives. The centurion in charge wouldn’t listen to Paul’s warnings and he did what the pilot and owner of the ship said. Their plan was to sail for Phoenix and wait out the winter there.
A hurricane called a northeaster came through causing much damage to the ship. They threw out the cargo and much of the tackle. When the storm continued it became evident that they would perish also. I wonder if they remembered Paul’s warning and wished they had listened.
Lord, how many times to you try to warn us against doing something that we have a strong opinion about. We think our way is best, only to find that You were right. Help us to listen better and obey your warnings.

Saturday, July 8, 2017

Sat.’s Devo - To Caesar!

Read: 1 Chronicles 5:18-6:81; Acts 26:1-32; Psalm 6:1-10; Proverbs 18:20-21
Gad, Rueben and the half tribe of Manasseh were the tribes that wanted to stay on the other side of the Jordan and not pass over and take their lot in the promised land. God allowed them to do this even though it was not his plan. God will give us what we ask for even if it is not the best. They were isolated from the other tribes and on their own for the most part. They made war with the Hagrites and their three kings of which two of them were sons of Ismael. God gave them victory because they called out to him in the midst of the battle. They came away with a huge spoil of goods. Later, they fell to worshipping idols and God sent Pul, the king of Assyria to carry them away captive.
The tribe of Levi had no inheritance of their own so they were to be dispersed among the tribes so that every tribe would have a priest to teach them the law of God.
In Acts, Paul gave his whole testimony to King Agrippa and Festus. As they listened their hearts were pierced but not enough to step into faith. They realized there was no reason to have Paul in prison, but since he had appealed to Caesar, they were obligated to send him. If Paul had not appealed to Caesar, he would have been set free, but Paul didn’t care about his freedom, he cared about his destiny. He was destined to testify to Caesar so this was his free ticket there.
Lord, it is refreshing to read about the boldness and diligence of Paul. He had been given a wonderful testimony and he was determined to tell the world. Help us to be that bold with our testimony.

Friday, July 7, 2017

Fri.’s Devo - Don’t Give Up!

Read: 1 Chronicles 4:5-5:17; Acts 25:1-27;
Looking at today’s date, I pray that this will be a day we complete the things we are working on and enter into God’s rest.
Today, we read about Jabez who just showed up with no announcement. We don’t know for sure who his father was…probably Coz or Kenan but according to Jamison’s Commentary, he grew up to be a leader in teaching the law of Moses. He had such a following that they named a town after him. Although his mother named him according to her grief, he prayed to be free of that pain and of what his name meant and God granted his request. We can do that too. Whatever is in your family line, by prayer and belief in God, you can be set free.
Reuben was the first born of Israel, but because he went into his father’s concubines, he lost his rights of the firstborn. Instead of it going to Simeon, the second born, Israel gave it to Joseph, his first born of Rachel…the wife he loved. From Judah, came the kings and the King of Kings but Joseph was the one whose life was the shadow of Jesus’ earthly life.
In Acts, Festus went to Jerusalem to hear the charges against Paul. They wanted him to turn Paul over to them so they could have him killed along the way. Fetus went back and had Paul brought out to answer to the charges against him. When he was asked if he would go to Jerusalem to be tried, Paul refused. I think he knew there was no way he would get a fair trial in Jerusalem. If they killed Jesus, they would do the same to him. Instead, he appealed to go to Rome and be tried by Caesar himself. When King Agrippa heard about what Paul had said, he decided he wanted to hear him first.
Paul was not afraid to push the status quo button. He wasn’t afraid to fight for the rights of his testimony. It wasn’t that he was afraid of dying that made him fight, it was that he wasn’t going to let Satan win. He felt compelled to go to Rome so he wasn’t going to stop till he made it there.
Lord, give us the tenaciousness of Paul. Let us not give up till we have fulfilled all of our destiny.

Thursday, July 6, 2017

Thurs.’s Devo - Geneology Part 2

Read: 1 Chronicles 2:18-4:4; Acts 24:1-27; Psalm 4:1-8; Proverbs 18:16-18
More genealogy!!! I loved reading about Caleb and his family, but I want to write about is David’s family. David had six sons from six different wives in seven and a half years while he lived in Hebron. That is a lot of babies all under the same roof! His firstborn is Amnon who grew up to be an impulsive self-centered man. He raped Tamar instead of marrying her and doing it right. We don’t hear anything about Daniel, his second-born but his third was Absalom who became his problem child who tried to usurp his kingdom.
David moved to Jerusalem when he was thirty-three and had four by Bathsheba and nine more with concubines. Solomon was the tenth son and the one God chose to wear the crown and carry on the kingly line. Next, we have the list of kings after Solomon. None of their other sons were mentioned until Josiah. Many times the sons of the kings were killed by the one taking the throne to stop any threats of a brother trying to usurp the throne. Josiah was a godly king even though his sons were not.
We all came from a genealogy and it is up to us to decide what we are going to pass on to the next generation.
In Acts, Paul’s accusers have made it to Rome and they are meeting with Felix, the governor. Paul’s accusers are the high priest Ananias, the one who testified against Jesus, his lawyer Tertullus, and other elders. Felix listened as they told of how Paul was an insurrectionist, a rebel and the leader of a cult. Then the governor asked Paul to give his defense. He sounded nothing like what they had accused him of. Paul’s defense was calm, truthful and respectful. He put Paul under the protection of a centurion and put him under house arrest giving him much liberty. He and his wife came to visit with him often to talk about his faith. He stayed this way for two years and when Felix was replaced by Festus, he was left in prison to please the Jews.
God had Paul right where he wanted him. Paul was the man he could place in prison and he would still faithfully proclaim the kingdom. Paul never complained about his lot in life, he counted every day a privilege to suffer or prosper for the Lord.
Lord, help us to see life the way Paul did…it is all for You.

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Wed.’s Devo - Geneologies

Read: 1 Chronicles 1:1-2:17; Acts 23:11-35; Psalm 3:1-8; Proverbw 18:14-15
I love to read the genealogies…I know I’m probably the only one that does but I always gain new insights by reading them. The first thing I noticed is that Cain is not mentioned as Adam’s son…only Seth. Seth means “substituted” and I used to think that he substituted Abel who Cain killed, but he substituted Cain. The first time the word “kingdom” is mentioned is in Genesis 10:10 talking about the kingdom of Nimrod which means “I will rebel”. No wonder, his father was Cush which means “black, terror”. His father was Ham which means “tumult, rage; father-in-law”. This was the picture of the demonic kingdom on the earth after the flood. Nimrod had Babel which we get Babylon from and it means “confusion”. This is the opposite kingdom of God. God is truth and the narrow path that leads to life. God is not the author of confusion, but of peace as 1 Corinthians 14:33 says.
Another interesting thought is that Abraham had other sons through his concubine, Keturah once Sarah had died. If you read the meanings to these sons they also seem to be a picture of Satan’s kingdom. Here are some of the meanings: a pit, crafty, contention, strife, musical, and disertion. No wonder Isaac’s name means “laughter; a mockery”. God’s promises are a mockery of what Satan says. Isaac was the son of promise where the other sons were the picture of the curse.
Another fact is that Jessie’s sons are numbered so we would understand that David was the seventh, standing for Jesus the perfect one. I could spend hours looking up the meanings of the names of the people and learning all kinds of secrets…one day, I will!
In Acts, Paul got a promise from God that he would testify of Him in Rome. This was all Paul needed to know that God would safely get him there. The devil did everything he could to stop it, but you can’t stop God when he has an appointment. God keeps his appointments. God unearthed a plot to kill Paul and got the information to the Roman commander in charge of Paul. God moved on the commander of the Roman army to make it his responsibility to get Paul to Rome. God uses whoever he needs to get his will done.
Lord, help us to see that our days are planned out by you and Satan has no power over what God has decreed.

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Tues.’s Devo - Death to a Nation and Alive to God

Read: 2 Kings 23:31-25:30; Acts 22:17-23:10; Psalm 2:1-12; Proverbs 18:13
Today we read the slow demise of Judah. Josiah did radical reforms then his sons went back to the sins of their fathers. God started systematically tearing down Judah, taking what was left of the temple and its treasures and scattering the people in Babylon. Only the poor were left to farm the land. The temple, the king’s house, and all the houses of Jerusalem were burnt by the king of Babylon. The Chaldeans broke down the walls. Such a sad thing to see all because they rebelled against God. God had given them years to repent and turn and even when they were given a godly king, they couldn’t change in their hearts so they were soon returning to their own vomit. True repentance has to be of the heart, not just in word and deed.
In Acts, Paul had an audience and was boldly giving his testimony. He had them captivated till he mentioned that God told him to leave because He was sending him to the Gentiles. This went against all they had been taught about clean and unclean. They couldn’t make the transition into the new thing God was doing. Salvation was open to the Gentile as well as the Jew and this was always the plan. Paul was arrested but gained the opportunity to speak to the chief priests and their council. When he told them his conscience was clear it was like saying he was sinless. Paul understood that he was righteous before God because of the blood of Jesus, but they didn’t understand that concept so they thought he was proclaiming himself to be God. He got slapped on the mouth for that. Paul called the man who had him slapped a white washed wall until he found out he was the high priest, then he repented. I can’t help but laugh at Paul’s boldness. Paul saw that he had in his audience both Sadducees and Pharisees which had vastly different views on the resurrection so he brought it up to stir them to be divided against each other. That is a tactic Satan uses against us so I love that he turned it on them. Now, half of the crowd loved Paul and half of them hated him. Paul was not afraid of conflict. We need to be more like him. He didn’t care if he suffered pain or faced death. He was sold out for the sake of the gospel.
Today we read about the death of the nation Judah in the Old Testament but the life of a born again warrior of the kingdom in the New Testament.
Lord, help us to be more like Paul who lived to lift Jesus name. As we celebrate our independence day help us to remember to pray for our nation and our leaders that they be filled with wisdom, discernment, the spirit of God and protection. Thank you for this great nation of America that was founded on God's principles to be a light to other nations. Let our light shine brighter and brighter for Jesus.

Monday, July 3, 2017

Mon.’s Devo -Our Identity

Read: 2 Kings 22:3-23;30; Acts 21:37-22:16; Psalm 1:1-6; Proverbs 18:11-12
Josiah was a good king in the midst of such decay. He found his name written in the ancient scrolls and found his identity. Then he was able to fulfill his calling. He just happened to pick up the scroll that had 1 Kings 13 and read it. In it a prophet had come to Beth-el and cried against the altar. He said that a child would be born unto the house of David whose name would be Josiah. He would clean up the altar and offer sacrifices that pleased God. When Josiah read this years later and realized how far they had fallen away from God as a nation, he repented and did major reform in the land.
When we read God’s Word, we get our identity because our name is written in the Word. We will become what it says we will become.
Paul knew his identity in Christ and in his birth. The fact that he was a Roman citizen kept him from being scourged and freed him of his bindings. It gave him a voice and he was able to speak before the high priest and all the people. Paul was sent to stir up the hearts of men. He did not always get the results he wanted, but he didn’t worry about that. He took every available opportunity to teach truth and proclaim the gospel. He loved not his life unto death.
Lord, help us to find our identity in you.

Sunday, July 2, 2017

Sun.’s Devo - Leave a Legacy of Good

Read: 2 Kings 20:1-22:2; Acts 21:17-36; Psalm 150:1-6; Proverbs 18:9-10
Isaiah was sent to tell king Hezekiah that his illness would end in death so he needed to put his things in order. Hezekiah cried to the Lord and god repented of his death sentence and told him he could have 15 more years. What would you do if you knew you only had 15 more years? Apparently he had no son so he made sure he did in that fifteen years. He had a son three years later named Manasseh. Instead of training his son to follow after the Lord, Hezekiah was too busy showing off his accomplishments to the Babylonians.
God told him that the men from Babylon would go home and tell the king of all his riches and when he was gone, they would come get them.
Hezekiah did die after his 15 years and his son, Manasseh became one Judah’s worse kings. He reversed all the good that Hezekiah had done in the land and profaned the temple and the people. Because of all his wickedness, God said he would wipe them out of the land, forsake the remnant and deliver them to their enemies. Manasseh died and his son, Amon reigned only two years. He followed in the footsteps of his father and was killed by his own servants. His son, Josiah ruled and he was a good king.
In Acts, Paul entered Jerusalem and was encouraged by what God was doing there. He encouraged them of all that he had seen God do. Just like the man had prophesied in yesterday’s reading, Paul was bound by chains to be thrown into prison because of the uproar of the people. He used every opportunity to preach the gospel so he asked to speak to the people. He proceeded to give his testimony of how God saved him.
Paul realized that life is a gift you can give back. He did things that no one else would think to do with no regard for his own comfort or safety. He wanted everything he did to count for God.
Lord, give us the zeal and courage that Paul had.

Saturday, July 1, 2017

Sat.’s Devo - God Will Establish His Word

Read: 2 Kings 18:13-19:27; Acts 21:1-16; Psalm 149:1-9; Proverbs 18:8
Hezekiah, king of Judah was a good king who had rid the land of the high places and told the people to serve God in Jerusalem and he had told the king of Assyria he would not pay him tribute. The Assyrians had taken Samaria, the capital of Israel and now they wanted Jerusalem. Assyria good all their fenced cities first, and once they were taken, Hezekiah decided to buy them out to save Jerusalem. He gave them the gold from temple doors and the pillars but the Assyrian king wanted more. He wanted the city. He sent back three men: Tartan which means “release the dragon”, Rabsaris which means “chief eunuch” and Rab-shakeh which means “chief cup-bearer”. They came with a host of soldiers. Hezekiah sent three men to meet them: Eliakim which means “God will establish his portion”, Shebna which means “wait, I pray to those who built” and Asaph which means “their brother is a gatherer”. So, God was saying by sending these men that the ones who built this city just needed to wait and see that their brother, Jesus is a gatherer, not a scatterer and He had established his name in this place.
The three men from Assyria spoke very intimidating words in their Hebrew tongue so all the soldiers could hear. When they asked him to speak in a language only the officers knew, they refused. They knew what they were doing and they wanted to weaken their army so they wouldn’t be able to fight. They had the gall to say that God had sent them to destroy Jerusalem.
When Hezekiah heard he humbled himself and went into the temple to pray and sent his priests to the prophet Isaiah to find out what to do. Isaiah told him that the Assyrians would hear a rumor and leave and be killed in their own land.
But, things didn’t change and their threats became worse. Hezekiah received a letter naming all the nations they had brought down and were now serving them. Hezekiah took the letter and spread it out before the Lord in the temple. Isaiah sent him another word. God knew that the Assyrians had destroyed other nations and burned their gods, but Judah didn’t serve a dead god, they served the living God. They might have been strong against these nations but they will be no match for God’s army. Then he gave king Hezekiah a sign. They would eat crops that grew of their own the first and second year, then they would plant in the third and reap the fruits of it. And about the king of Assyria…he will not enter Jerusalem or shoot one arrow against it. He will lead the way he came because God would defend this city.
God sent his army and they killed 185,000 men that night. The king of Assyria was killed by his own people in the house of one of his gods.
This is a long story but we see how the devil uses intimidation and threats to weaken our defense. We have to stay strong and hear God’s heart. In Acts, it was the Christians who were trying to dissuade Paul from going to Jerusalem because of the hardship they saw he would have to face. Paul refused to be intimidated or pampered. He was not afraid of a little persecution. He walked toward the roar.
We need to be like Paul and face the devil unafraid.
Lord, help us to do that in the face of uncertainty and fear. You have a whole army ready to fight for us.