Thursday, December 14, 2017

Thurs.’s Devo - Jonah

Read: Johan 1:1-4:11; Revelation 5:1-14; Psalm 133:1-3; Proverbs 29:26-27
Jonah was a Jew whose name means “dove” who was the son of Amittai whose name means “truth teller”. This tells us that he was probably the son of a prophet since that is what prophets do. He is the only recorded prophet who was sent to a heathen nation giving them the chance to repent. Israel refused to repent after many prophets and yet Nineveh repented after one. Nineveh was a forerunner of the Gentiles who would repent at the words of Jesus.
There are so many parallels to the life of Jesus in Jonah’s. There was a threatening storm and Jonah, who was asleep in the bottom of the boat was the only one who could calm it just as Jesus was asleep in the bottom of the boat and was the only one who could calm it. Jesus cursed the fig tree because it represented Israel who was not ready for his appearance just as Jonah’s vine represented the people of Nineveh who did welcome him. Jonah died in the belly of the fish to resurrect three days later and bring in a harvest of Gentile souls. Jesus resurrected after three days and brought in a harvest of 3,000 souls on Pentecost.
In Revelation we see God sitting on his throne with a scroll sealed with seven seals on it. An angel asked who was worthy to break the seals and open but no one could… not even God. One of the elders told John not to weep because, the Lion from the tribe of Judah had triumphed and he was able to open the scroll and its seven seals.
Instead of seeing Jesus in his glorified state, he saw him as a lamb, the symbol of the Old Testament. He had seven horns and seven eyes which were the seven spirits of God sent out to the earth. The seven spirits of God are found in Isaiah 11:2, “And the spirit of the Lord shall rest upon him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, and the spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the Lord.” These are the seven branches of the menorah with the Spirit of the Lord being the middle candlestick that is raised above the rest. They are grouped in pairs because the two go together. For example, wisdom allows you to gain understanding and vice-versa. Counsel from the Word allows you to act on it and produce might or power. Knowledge of our sin gives us a healthy fear of God.
Lord, help us to acknowledge your holiness and your sovereignty over the earth.

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Wed.’s Devo - The Twenty-Four Elders

Read: Obadiah 1:1-21; Revelation 4:1-11; Psalm 132:1-18; Proverbs 29:24-25
Obadiah sees the fall of Judah because of the relationship of hate between him and Edom, his brother. Edom refers to Esau and Judah refers to Jacob. Esau stood for Israel, God’s first-born who rejected their birthright to be God’s sons for simple worldly things comparable to a pot of stew. Jacob, the second-born refers to the Gentile Church who desired the birthright and was adopted by God to be his sons and daughters. The good news was that God was going to deliver Esau one day just as He is going to deliver the Jews.
In Revelation, John is invited to walk through a door and enter God’s presence. There are 24 thrones where 24 elders sit, a menorah, a sea of glass and the throne in the center with four living creatures. One looked like a lion, one like an ox, the third like a man and the fourth like an eagle who continually worship the Lord on his throne. This looks like the tabernacle in heaven - the Holy of Holies with no partition between the rooms because there is no need. The twenty-four elders probably represent the twelve patriarchs of the Old Testament and the twelve apostles of the New even though John would have been one of them which makes it a little questionable.
The four living creatures represent so many things:
1. the four world powers of the earth
2. the four Gospels, Matthew the lion, Mark the ox, Luke the man, John the eagle which express the personal character of the Evangelists and the way Jesus relates to the world. The lion is a symbol of royalty and Matthew was written to the Jews to show Jesus as the King. Mark represents the ox which was a picture of the suffering servant. Mark was written to the Romans to show that Jesus came to serve. Luke represented by the man was written to the Greeks to show that he was the Son of Man. John was written to the church to show that Jesus was the Son of God and was represented as the eagle who soars majestically over mankind.
3. the four corners of the world
4. redeemed man’s rule over the earth. The lion is the head of the wild beasts of the animal kingdom. The ox is the head over the tamed beasts. The eagle is the head over the birds and the creatures of the water. Man is over all of them. As redeemed kinds and priests we are to take dominion over all creation for the glory of God.
5. the four standards by which the Jewish people camped in the wilderness. Judah, to the north was the lion. Dan, to the west was the eagle, Ephraim, to the south was the ox and Reuben, to the east was the man.
In the midst was the tabernacle was the Shekinah symbol of the Divine Presence. This is a picture of earth in heaven which will come down to earth when Revelation 21:3 is fulfilled. Then the tabernacle of God will be with men. Then all four aspects will be manifest. There will be kingly righteousness (the lion) and just judgment (the man), everyone will work with diligence and excellence (the ox), everyone will be sympathetic toward one another and love and the heavenly truth will be on the earth (the eagle).
All will give glory, honor and power to the Lord who created all things.
Lord, you are beyond finding out. Thank you for your Word. Help us to rightly divide it and understand its meaning.

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Tues.’s Devo - Philadelphia and Laodicea

Read: Amos 7:1-9:15; Revelation 3:7-22; Psalm 131:1-3: Proverbs 29:23
God showed his plan to destroy Judah by locusts and by fire. Each time Amos interceded with God for Judah and God relented. Then God showed Amos how he was going to bring down the high places of Isaac and the sanctuaries of Israel with the sword. Their land would be measured out and divided and the people would die in a pagan land. Worse than that, there would be a famine of the hearing of the word of the Lord. But, the time would come when God would bring his exiled back and rebuild the ruined cities and restore them.
In Revelation we have the last two churches: Philadelphia and Laodicea. Philadelphia was located in the center of Greek civilization and means “brotherly love”. It lasted from 1750-1900. The leaders of the organized church were appointed by the monarch and not usually spiritual men. God began to open the door to other nations and send missionaries to unreached nations like Africa China, Japan, India, North and South America, to name a few. Jonathan Edwards was one of America”s great awakeners. The invention of the printing press and the fact that people started taking the Word of God literally led to America’s Great Awakening to the spirit of God.
The last church was Laodicea which was The Apostate Church or The People’s Church. It started in 1900 and will go through the Tribulation. Laodicea was a wealthy city about 40 miles from Ephesus, a striving center of Greek culture commerce and industry. The apostate church was the Roman Catholic Church and the pope blamed all their trouble on the Protestant Reformation. Liberal theology was gaining momentum in Europe focussing on the present and man, instead of God and eternity. In the meantime, the Charismatic Movement began in California and swept across the nation in America. World War One broke out and many Catholic nations were decimated like Belgium, France, and Italy. Russia became a socialist state and became the USSR. Communism was the most anti-Christian anti-Jewish programs in history inspired by Marx and Engels. W.W.I led to W.W.II. Laodicea is about the prostate church - the world’s religion. It is the spirit behind gay rights, the feminist movements and the left agenda. It is Satan’s agenda which is anything that opposes God’s heart. It is alive and well on planet earth, but it is not close to being as powerful as the Church of Jesus Christ.
God counsels us to buy from him gold refined in the fire, clothes of white, and and salve for our eyes. These are pictures of the wisdom we get from going through trials, a holy lifestyle that we put on every day and spiritual eyes to see from God’s perspective.
Lord, may we walk in wisdom, holiness, and revelation.

Monday, December 11, 2017

Mon.’s Devo - The Churches of Thyatira and Sardis

Read: Amos 4:1-6:14; Revelation 2:18-3:6; Psalm 130:1-8; Proverbs 29:21-22
Amos was speaking to a calloused people who had no compassion for the poor and no respect for God. When they were in need, they didn’t turn to the Lord, and when they were rich they didn’t give him credit for their blessings. Their religious acts were not impressing God because he knew their hearts. God was going to stir up another nation against them.
The fourth church of Revelation was Thyatira which means “the odor of affliction”. It was to be known as the Pagan Church and represented the time of 606- the time of the Great Tribulation. It was condemned for tolerating the misdeeds of Jezebel. Jezebel means “unchaste”. During this time Boniface became the first Pope. They started kissing his feet, worshipping images and relics, using “holy water”, canonizing dead saints, fasting on Fridays and during Lent, praying prayer beads, the sale of indulgences, and many other rituals. The most defiling thing they did was to forbid the people to have a Bible making it impossible for the people to oppose what they were doing because there was no standard except what they said. This became a time known as The Dark Ages and it continues until today.
The fifth church was The Church of Sardis which started in 1520 and will continue till the Tribulation. It is called The Dead Church.
Sardis was the capital of Lydia and was destroyed by an earthquake. It means “escaping ones or those who come out”. These are the Reformers that started with Martin Luther. They opposed “works” as the means of salvation and preached salvation by faith. Martin Luther nailed his 95 Thesis to the door of the church stating the error of their teaching and the truth of the Bible. He was charged with heresy but his teaching spread throughout the world. Other Reformers like Calvin, and Knox
continued his work teaching the Bible and awakening the people to truth. They did come out of the Roman Catholic Church and its organized religion, but then went on to build their own organized religions according to which Reformer they sided with. So now we have Baptists, Methodists, Presbyterians, etc.
Man will never get it right when they try to control and organize the things of God. He never wanted to rule from a box or a building. His kingdom is not one of walls and borders, it fills the earth…every bit of space. We carry the church within us although I love to go to my church and fellowship with my faith family. Sunday worship cannot be contained to a day; it is every day. We take the presence of God everywhere we go. We bring the church to the lost every place we go.
Lord, awaken us to be the church, not just attend one.

Sunday, December 10, 2017

Sun.’s Devo - The Churches of Ephesus, Smyrna, and Pergamum

Read: Amos 1:1-3:15; Revelation 2:1-17; Psalm 129:1-8; Proverbs 29:19-20
Amos was both a shepherd and a prophet who lived during the reigns of Uzziah, and Jeroboam. He spoke against he sins of Damascus, Gaza, Tyre, Edom, Moab, Judah, and Israel. God was about to punish each of these nations for their idolatry and sin. Amos makes a profound statement that surely the Lord does nothing without revealing his plan to his servants the prophets. That is so true which is why we have Revelation. It is God revealing Jesus and his plan for the church age.
Revelation is a call to the Gentile Church to become the bride. Everyone of the churches that John mentions were Gentile churches. He started with Ephesus which stands for the first church age. It started at Pentecost, fifty days after Jesus death on the cross and lasted about 70 years. Everything that started in the early church continues throughout history and grows. The righteous shine brighter and the evil become more corrupt until the end when God will judge it all.
It is impossible for me to explain all of this in my blog but I will give you the skinny of it.
Ephesus was the Apostolic Age. Ephesus was the largest and finest of the churches of the time. It was begun by Paul who was also the messenger of the age. The world was in turmoil as the Roman Empire was gaining more and more power. Christians were being persecuted and the temple dishonored but they came out stronger. The Nicolaitans completely separated their spiritual nature from their physical nature giving themselves license to sin. Jerusalem fell and most of the Sanhedrin was killed during the war which led to the split between the Jews and the Christians.
The next church age was Smyrna which was known as the Persecuted Church. The established church was becoming religious with all kinds of laws and rituals. Church leaders fell into a hierarchy with popes, archbishops, bishops and presbyters. This is when they started having liturgies, prayers, hymns, baptism. teaching of the Eucharitst, and offerings. Jerusalem had fallen and the Christians and the Jews split into synagogues and churches. Pagan practices seeped into the church and persecution swept the church until 260 when Christianity became popular in Rome again. In 284, Diocletian became emperor and wanted the people to worship him as a god. This caused another sweep of persecution through the church causing the church to grow.
Diocletian became emperor in 284, with about 5 million Christians in his empire. At first he tolerated them but eventually, he chose Jupiter to be Rome’s god and ordered a violent attack on the church. he had their sacred writings burned and many killed.
The third church was Pergamum, the Indulged Church. They represent the time of 312-606. Pergamum was the capital of Asia and completely given over to Greek gods, especially Bacchus, the god of revelry and Asclepius, the god of healing. Constantine became ruler and ordered Christianity to be the religion because of a vision he had seen of a cross in the sky and heard the words, “In this name, conquer.” Even though he was attracted to Christianity, he did not really understand what it was and watered down the meaning of the truth till it looked like Babylonian mysticism. This is when the rosary, celibacy of the priests and nuns, prayers for the dead, making the sign of the cross, worship of saints and angels, mass, worship of Mary, priestly dress, extreme unction, the doctrine of purgatory, services in Latin and prayers to Mary were introduced. Where the church at Ephesus rejected the doctrine of the Nicolaitans, the church of Pergamum accepted it. The lay people were given no voice in church affairs but were expected to blindly agree. God called them to repent.
To those who overcame, God promised to give him hidden manna and a white stone. That is the same revelation and assurance he gives us.
Lord, help us to have ears to hear what the Spirit is saying to us.

Saturday, December 9, 2017

Sat.’s Devo - Know the Times You are Living In

Read: Joel 1:1-3:21; Revelation 1:1-20; Psalm 128:1-6; Proverbs 29:18
Joel gives us a picture of the end judgement on the earth. God urges the people to repent because God is so merciful and always giving his people a way out of judgment if they would only choose it. Judgement is imminent but his promise is that he would pour his Spirit out on his sons and daughters. He fulfilled this the first time on Pentecost but he will do it again.
Revelation is the revelation of who Christ is and it gives the history of the New Testament and of what was to happen soon. God used the churches that had been established to be pictures of the progression of the church to come. John received this vision on a the day of Atonement which was the “Lord’s day”. He was to write what he heard on a scroll and send it to the seven churches so they could repent and grow.
John heard a voice and when he turned to look, he saw Jesus, the Living One who was dead but came alive and holds the keys to death and Hades. Hades is the place of the dead or the grave which we call hell. John saw seven stars and seven lamp stands. The stars are the messengers or prophets of the different ages and the lamps were the churches themselves.
Our Psalm gives us our blessing - it comes to those who fear the Lord. Those who fear the Lord will be blessed in every area of their lives. Our Proverbs tells us what happens when there is no “now” revelation or understanding of the days they are living in; these people have no restraint. But, the people who obey the Lord will be blessed.
We are living in the time of great revelation and truth being exposed - both good and bad. We are in the beginning of the kingdom age where we are learning to walk as Jesus walked on the earth. We are learning our identity in Christ and are getting God’s perspective on life which takes a renewing of our minds. We are embarking on the greatest time for the history of the church.
Lord, help us to know the times we are living in and walk in your Spirit.

Friday, December 8, 2017

Fri.’s Devo - Judgment by Fire

Read: Hosea 10:1-14:9; Jude 1:1-25; Psalm 127:1-5; Proverbs 29:15-17
Hosea gave Israel a picture of their history as a nation. They had grown and prospered. Instead of letting God be their king they had rejected him and made idols out of wood and altars out of mortar. He called Ephraim and Judah back to the Lord so that God could bless them. But, they chose to do evil and believe a lie. They trusted in their own strength and the strength of their army which could not save them.
God had called his children out of Egypt with Moses but the more he called them, the more they ran the opposite direction.
God didn’t want to have to treat them like Admah or Zeboim who were two of the five cities destroyed along with Sodom and Gomorrah. In other words, God did not want to have to judge them and destroy them too. In all their sins, God would rather have compassion. Ephraim had made alliances with Assyria and Egypt, wooing God’s enemies.
God understands man’s struggles with Him as long as man learns the truth and humbles himself before God. Jacob struggled for things that were not lawfully his, like the birthright and the blessing. He got both when he cried out to the Lord, after struggling with the angel all night.
God had led Israel by Moses out of Egypt but they worshiped Baal and the golden calves. When they asked for a king, he gave them one which he had to take away because of his disobedience. Israel and Ephraim stored up their sin until now and God was ready to repay. They will lose it all but one day return to Him and be restored.
Jude is one of the most interesting books in the Bible to me. It gives us a glimpse into the angels who rebelled against God in Genesis 6 and are now being held in chains awaiting judgment. They committed sexual perversion having sex with human women and having offspring with them. God compared their sin to Sodom and Gomorrah’s sin. Both caused the Lord to judge them and destroy them from the face of the earth. They are a picture of the final judgement which will be by fire also.
Jude gives us a picture of false prophets who prophecy their words without any fear of God. They do it for money and man’s worship. Deepest darkness has been received for them. Even Enoch warned of these deceivers. The answer to how to avoid being deceived by them is to build yourself up by praying in the Holy Spirit. God is able to keep us from falling and present us faultless before God.
Lord, help us to be busy building a temple in our hearts for the Holy Spirit to dwell.

Thursday, December 7, 2017

Thurs.’s Devo - Walk in Love 12-7-17

Read: Hosea 6:1-9:17; 3 John 1:1-14; Psalm 126:1-6:Proverbs 29:12-14
These words of Hosea came at the end of their punishment and Hosea was pleading that Israel acknowledge finally, that her punishment was for her sin. God wanted to now have mercy and restoration, but was not able to because of their continued sin. It was not ritual acts that God was after, but love and obedience.
In 6:8, Gilead is mentioned as being a city polluted with blood. Gilead was a city of refuge where men ran for safety. But in 2 Kings 15:25, Pekah conspired against Pekahiah and killed him and took his place as ruler. Also, the priest would kill people coming to the city before they got there further obstructing justice and God’s commands.
Samaria was Israel’s capital. Four kings were murdered and usurped. The sins of Samaria and Ephraim where the priests were were keeping their nation from being restored by God. They had not repented and returned to the Lord after all they gone through.
Hosea rebuked them for their calf. According to JFB, Jeroboam, during his sojourn in Egypt, had seen Apis worshipped at Memphis, and Mnevis at Heliopolis, in the form of an ox; this, and the temple cherubim, gave him the inspiration for the calves set up at Dan and Beth-el. All Israel was to worship these calves which were an abomination to God.
So, instead of God being able to forgive and restore, He would have to send judgment. It is God’s nature to forgive and have mercy but he will judge when pushed to the limit.
John was having to do some correcting himself. There was a man who was head of an ultra-Pauline party that was anti-Jewish named Diotrephes. He was self-centered and wanted the attention John was getting to he stirred up the people against John who only taught about love. John had tried to unify the Jewish and Gentile believers with love. He admonished them to imitate God’s goodness and not man’s sins.
Lord, restore us by your unfailing love.

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Wed.’s Devo - Love and Obey

Read: Hosea 4:1-5:15; 2 John 1:1-13; salm 125:1-5; Proverbs 29:9-11
Israel was in a bad state. There was no faith, no love and no acknowledgement of God in the land. There was only lawlessness, adultery and bloodshed. The land mourned and the animals and fish were dying. The spiritual leaders were just as sinful as the people. The people were being destroyed because they had no knowledge. Their priests were not teaching them God’s laws so there was no foundation. God was going to punish the priests, first, for all their sins. Because they chose to reject God, everything in their lives would be cursed and not prosper. God was holding the priests responsible for the people’s sins. The way the priests lived kept the people from returning to the Lord. They had a spirit of prostitution in their heart and did not acknowledge the Lord. God held Israel’s ignorance against them.
In John’s second letter continues to tell us to love one another. Love is who God is and what Jesus came to show us through his life and his death. If we don’t walk in love then the love of Jesus is not in us.
Lord, may we walk in knowledge of your Word and in love for you and others.

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Tues.’s Devo - Hosea

Read: Hosea 1:1-3:5; 1 John 5:1-21; Psalm 124:1-8; Proverbs 29:5-8
Hosea will stretch your religiosity. It seems so offensive that God would tell a prophet to marry a harlot who has children born out of her sin as a sign to Israel. But, that is exactly what God told Hosea to do. He specifically chose Gomer whose name means “completion”. Israel had come to the end of their sin and was about to be judged for her adultery against God. Homer was the descendent of Japheth who had been one of Noah’s three sons. They came from the time of God’s greatest judgement on the earth and now Israel had come full circle and would be judged again.
Hosea and Gomer had three children. The first was a son that was named Jezebel for the Valley of Jezreel. Jehu had massacred the kings sons there and God was going to judge him for that. Next they had a daughter and God told them to name her Lo-Ruhamah which means “not pitied” because God would no longer show love to the house of Israel. He told them to name their third son Lo-ammi which mens “not my people” because God was no longer their God and they were no longer his people. God is so loving that he would not stay angry with them forever. One day, he would draw them back and call them his people and He would be their God. God showed this through Hosea’s life. His wife had returned to harlotry but God told Hosea to go get her back and love her again. Hosea had to buy her back just like Jesus bought us back from the devil with the price of his blood. He told Gomer that she could not go back to prostitution but he wanted her to be his wife. That is what God says to us. We are the bride of Christ and we can not return to our other lovers, we have been bought by Jesus.
First John continues his sermon on love. Because of God’s great love, we can ask anything in his name and he will hear us. We also know that Jesus keeps us from the harm of the devil because we are children of the living God.
Lord, thank you for your great love. Help us to walk in your will.

Monday, December 4, 2017

Mon.’s Devo - The Antichrist

Read: Daniel 11:36-12:13; 1 John 4:1-21; Psalm 123:1-4; Proverbs 29:2-4
The king is Antiochus which is also a type of the Antichrist of Revelation. He is the seventh head of the seven headed beast and the ten horned beast of Revelation 13:1-18. He will be the beast of Revelation 16:13 and 19:19. The Pope will rise to be the false prophet. Antiochus identified himself as the god, Jupiter Olympus. He forbad the worship of Jehovah and attack the temple of Venus that was worshipped by the women. Rome forbid women to marry.
Verse 38 speaks of the god of forces which was probably referring to Jupiter Capitolenes. Antiochus was erecting a fortress to this god at Antioch. He also honored the god Mahuzzim which was a guardian. The Jews were discriminated against and their land taken and divided. Antichurch invaded Egypt and Judea and took Palestine and devastated all Phonecia. He finally marched against Ptolemy and was side-tracked by his zeal to persecute the Jews. He used Edom, Moab and
Amon who were life-long enemies of Israel to help him against Israel.
Antiochus’ last venture was against the Armenians in the north. He died on his return.
The “tabernacles”of 11:45 have to do with the desolation of the sanctuary by Antiochus, all the Roman symbols place around Jerusalem during the time of Christ and the Islamic mosque placed on the temple mosque that is still there today. The last Antichrist will sit on this mount and be brought down to hell (Isaiah 14:13; 2 Thessalonians 2:8)
The Antichrist will be destroyed at Christ’s return but right before that happens there will be an unleashing of persecution that the world has never seen. God’s people will be refined by fire. Those who have confessed Christ before he comes will live in their glorified body. Those that died in Christ will rise to live the last millennium but those that didn’t know Christ will remain in the grave to be judged in the end.
There are many ideas about the number of days but I can’t say that I agree with any of them nor do I have revelation about them but I believe that the closer it comes to the day of Christ’s return the more revelation we will receive about it.
First John tells us how to tell if a spirit is from God or not. If the person believes that Jesus came down in the flesh then that person has the right spirit. John’s theme is love. He defines love as not our love but God’s. He gave his Son to atone for our sins which is our example of how we should love one another.
Lord, help us to walk in love and truth.

Sunday, December 3, 2017

Sun.’s Devo - Walk in Love

Read: Daniel 11;2-35; 1 John 3:7-24; Psalm 122:1-9; Proverbs 29:1
Daniel saw the future of the next kingdoms. The king of the South was the king of Egypt the king of the North was the king of Persia and the players were the Ptolemies and the men who reigned in these places. To explain everything Daniel saw would take pages to explain but it happened just as Daniel saw in his dream. What is so comforting about prophecy is that it proves beyond a doubt that God is in control and he knows everything that will happen before it happens. He orchestrates the events and works everything for the good of his people who love him with all their heart. In the world, we will have tribulation but Jesus overcame the world.
First John tells us that Jesus appeared on earth to destroy the works of the devil. In the beginning there was a righteous seed and an unrighteous seed. Abel was a picture of the righteous seed and Cain the unrighteous. God has a seed and Satan has a seed on the earth. God’s seed know what is right and love their brothers. Satin’s seed hate and are murderers. True love manifests in acts of kindness and giving.
Lord, may we walk in love and kindness.

Saturday, December 2, 2017

Sat.’s Devo - The Spirit of Antichrist

Read: Daniel 9: 1-11:1; 1 John 2:18-3:6; Psalm 121:1-8; Proverbs 28:27-28
Daniel heard that Jeremiah had prophesied that Jerusalem would be desolated for seventy years and was so upset he set his face to pray for forgiveness for his nation. He had seen how the people of Israel had forsaken the Lord and refused to listen to any of the prophets God had sent them. They were in captivity because of their great sin but Daniel could not stop interceding for them and begging God to forgive them. He fasted and prayed for days and didn’t hear a thing. At the end of his fast, Gabriel appeared to him and explained to him that as soon as Daniel began to pray he was sent to show him how loved he was. Gabriel said that the punishment of their sins would be 69 weeks plus one. At the end of that time the streets and the wall in Jerusalem would be rebuilt but it would happen in troublesome times. This was fulfilled when Ezra came back to Jerusalem and rebuilt the temple. Nehemiah rebuilt the walls.
Two years later, Daniel and some other men were fasting and praying again and had been doing this for 21 days. He had another vision where he saw a man in linen clothed in glory and splendor. The men with him didn’t see what he saw but were overcome with the fear of the Lord and ran to hide. The angel, Gabriel touched Daniel and told him he was loved and wanted him to stand on his feet. When Daniel did, he explained that he had been trying to come to him since he began but the prince of Persia had resisted him. He finally had to call on Michael to help him. He came to tell him what would happen in the last days. When he would leave he would have to fight the prince of Persia again then the prince of Greece would come.
These princes are the powers of the air that guard over countries. They are principalities that determine what comes in and what goes out of that nation. The prince of Persia is the principality that rules the Middle East. It is the spirit behind ISIS and the other sects that hate Israel. It is also the spirit that will rules the antichrist spirit. Jesus is Lord over all and he is stronger than any principality or power.
First John talks about this antichrist spirit. Many men in history have carried this spirit: Nero, Antiachus Epiphines, Hitler, ISIS, Obama, etc. This spirit hates Israel and hates Christians. It is not the man that is our fear, they are only pawns in the hands of this spirit. We can fight hatred with love. John explains that the world cannot understand who we are because they didn’t understand who he was. But he has lavished his love on us and called us his children. Greater is he that is in us than he that is in the world.
Lord, we look to the hills because we know it is in you that we have hope and help.

Friday, December 1, 2017

Fri.’s Devo - Walk in Love

Read: Daniel 8:1-27; 1 John 2:1-17; Psalm 120:1-7; Proverbs 28:25-26
Daniel had a vision where he was standing in the citadel of Susa. This is the very place Esther was queen. He was shown the next kingdoms that would rise up. The first kingdom was represented as a horned ram and it represented Media and Persia. After that the baggy goat with a huge horn which would be Greece with the king named Alexander the Great. After that four kingdoms would arise represented by horns. One of these horns would be a ruthless leader that would hate the children of God. He would be killed but not by human hands. This was Antiacus Ephphanes who marched into the sanctuary and slaughtered a pig on the altar. Everything that Daniel saw was not only for that time but the end times.
First John talks about the commandment of love. It is the only one Jesus gave us. First he told us to love our neighbor as we love ourselves, then when he was about to leave he gave us a new commandment to replace that one. This one was to love one another as He loved us. If we don’t walk in love, then we walk in darkness and cannot clearly see.
John tells us not to love the world because you cannot love the world and love God.
Lord, help us to walk in your love today.

Thursday, November 30, 2017

Thurs.’s Devo - The Four Beasts

Read Daniel 7:1-28; 1 John 1:1-10: Psalm 119:153:176; Proverbs 28:23-24
Daniel is a book that is not in order so we are flipping back in time to the time when Belshazzar was king. David had another dream where there was much wind and turmoil. Out of the sea (of humanity) came four beasts. The first was like a lion with eagle’s wings which stood up and walked as a man and had the heart of a man. The second looked like a bear with three ribs in its mouth. This one was told to eat the flesh of the world. The third was like a leopard with four wings like a bird and four heads. It was given authority to rule. The last beast was terrifying and powerful. It had large iron teeth and crushed and devoured its victims under his feet. It had ten horns. One of the horns started growing and uprooted three of the other ones. This horn had eyes like a man and a mouth that boasted.
Then God sat on his seat of judgment and millions of people stood before him. The court was seated and the books were opened.
The beast with the boastful horn was judged and thrown into the fire. The other beasts were stripped of their power but they were allowed to live for an allotted time.
Jesus, then came through the clouds and stood before God. He was given authority, glory and all power. Everyone worshipped him and his kingdom was established forever.
When Daniel asked about the beasts he was told that they represented the lasts four kingdoms that would arise on the earth. The horn that was boasting would be the Antichrist. He would wage war on God and his people until Jesus returns. Then Jesus would set up his kingdom and everyone would worship him. This is Revelation in a nutshell.
First John talks about this Jesus that came to earth as a token of what life will be like when he reigns in the end. His kingdom will be a kingdom of love and light. We will have intimate fellowship with Jesus, our Father, God and each other.
Lord, what a great hope we have before us! Help us to glorify you in our lives.

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Wed.’s Devo - Walking Unspotted in a Wicked World

Read: Daniel 6:1-28; 2 Peter 3:1-18; Psalm 119:129-152; Proverbs 28:21-22
Yesterday, we read where the Medes and the Persians took over and the king changed from Belshazzar to Darius. Once again, Daniel was exalted to leadership because of his excellent qualities and was about to be promoted to the highest position in the kingdom. His fellow satraps heard about this and wanted to bring Daniel down so they devised a wicked plan. They tried to bring up some filth from his past but could find none so the only thing they thought they could nail Daniel on was his faith in God. They played on Darius’s pride and came up with a law that anyone who didn’t pray to only him for the next thirty days would be thrown into the lion’s den. Darius fell for their scheme and signed it. When they found Daniel praying to God they reported it to Darius. He spent the whole day trying to find a loophole so he wouldn’t have to throw Daniel to the lions. When he couldn’t he told Daniel, “May your God, whom you serve continually rescue you!” The king was so upset when he threw Daniel in the lion’s den that he couldn’t sleep. Early the next morning he ran to the den and desperately called to Daniel asking if his god was able to deliver him. Daniel answered back that his God sent angels to shut the mouths of the lions. Daniel was lifted out unharmed and his false accusers were thrown in with their wives and children and before they reached the floor, the lions overpowered them and crushed all their bones. Darius wrote a new decree that all the people must fear and reverence the God of Daniel.
What a change of events happen when we put our trust in God and don’t worry what man or lions can do to us. God is our defender and he will bring justice.
Peter wants to change our thinking. He reminds us to remember the things spoken by the prophets years ago and not forget them. It is easy to get weary in waiting for God’s promises, but they are as sure as the sun rising every morning. God explains that with him a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day. He is not making a metaphor as much as he is giving us a huge clue about his ways. Every thousand of our years is a day in his calendar. For example, he raised Lazareth on the fourth day because it was the end of the fourth thousand years that Jesus rose from the dead. God’s week ends with rest on the seventh day. It will be rest for the children of God but fire for the world. Sodom and Gomorrah was a picture of the judgment and fire that will fall on the ungodly. We experience the fire of cleansing as we walk through this life striving to be spotless, blameless and at peace with Him. It is possible to walk in holiness, because it was possible for Daniel to walk unspotted by the world. We do this by the power of the Holy Spirit.
Lord, help us to grow in grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Tues.’s Devo - Judgement

Read: Daniel 5:1-31; 2 Peter 2:1-22; Psalm 119:113-128; Proverbs 28:19-20
Belshazzar was the son of Nebuchadnezzar so he had heard of how God had humbled his father by taking his mind, but it hadn’t affected they way he lived. He had also heard of stories of how Daniel interpreted dreams yet he hadn’t paid attention to them either. He was strictly living in the moment and making his own mistakes instead of learning from the past. He sounds like most of us.
This story gives us the meaning behind the statement “written on the wall”. As Belshazzar’s men were drinking out of the goblets stolen from the temple of the Lord and worshipping the gods of gold and silver, God wrote with his hand on the wall. The wall he chose to write on was the one that had engravings of all the exploits that the Babylonians had accomplished. God was putting his stamp of disapproval on Belshazzar’s reign. He did it by the candlestick that had been taken from the temple of the Lord. The candlestick is a symbol of revelation and God was giving them divine revelation.
The queen mother would have been Nebuchadnezzar’s wife and Belshazzar’s mother so she well remembered Daniel and all he had done. She had him called and God gave Daniel the interpretation. King Belshazzar’s days had been numbered and weighed in a balance. He had been found lacking so God was going to take his kingdom from him and give it to the Medes and the Persians. The Medes and the Persians were the shoulders of silver that Nebuchadnezzar had seen in his vision.
Daniel was clothed in purple, had a gold chain placed around his neck and was promoted to third in the kingdom. Second place went to the son of the king. That very night Belshazzar was killed and his kingdom taken by the Medes and Persians. Daniel’s prophesy was coming true.
Peter warned them of false prophets and of how God judges. He started with the angels that were judged for rebelling with Satan and were put in dungeons in hell. The people of Noah’s day were also judged by the flood for their rebellion and the people of Sodom and Gomorrah were judged by fire. God rescued Lot from the vexation of Sodom’s sin. God knows how to rescue us also from the sins we see every day in our lives. We have to remember that the men who live to sin will be punished and judged one day. They are only slaves of their own sins and they are the ones to be pitied.
Lord, help us to walk with a clean soul and with joy because we know the end reward.

Monday, November 27, 2017

Mon.’s Devo - A Sane Mind

Read: Daniel 4:1-37; 2 Peter 1:1-21; Psalm 119:97-112; Proverbs 28:17-18
The story of Nebuchadnezzar’s insanity is amazing. God took this man’s mind and reduced him to an animal to humble him to acknowledge that God was Lord over all the heavens and the earth. God will go to great lengths to let us come to the end of ourselves. Some people have to lose years of their lives to drugs, alcohol, a bad marriage, a wrong occupation or a prison of unforgiveness just to come to that same conclusion.
The answer to how to avoid falling into the pride that Nebuchadnezzar did is in our reading from Second Peter. Peter tells us that God’s power gives us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him. God has given us great promises that allow us to participate in God’s divine nature and escape the corruption of the world. Peter gives us a progression of maturity. It starts with faith as the foundation and then it adds goodness, knowledge, self-control, perseverance, godliness and brotherly kindness. He explains that if these qualities continue to grow in you they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of Jesus. The world will make us confused and insane but God gives us clearness and truth that we can walk in confidence and balance.
Lord help us to walk in forgiveness and love. Help us to have the mind of Christ today.

Sunday, November 26, 2017

Sun.’s Devo - No Compromise

Read: Daniel 2:24-3:30; 1 Peter 4:7-5:14; Psalm 119:81-96; Proverbs 28:15-16
Daniel went to Arioch, the man who was appointed to execute the wise men and told him to wait because he had what the king wanted - the dream and the interpretation. Daniel was taken to Nebuchadnezzar where he asked Daniel if he was able to tell him his dream and the interpretation. Daniel’s response was that no man could do that but there was a God in heaven who reveals mysteries and he had shown the king what will happen in the future. Daniel’s response gave no attention to himself but exalted God and the king instead.
Then Daniel told him the dream. He had dreamed a huge statue stood before him with a head of gold, shoulders of silver, belly and thighs of bronze, legs of iron and feet of iron and clay. Then a rock that was cut out not by human hands, struck the statue on its feet and smashed them causing the whole statue to fall into pieces on the ground.
Next, Daniel told him the interpretation. He was the head of gold, the king of kings on the earth. The other pieces working down to the feet were other kingdoms that would come. The rock, was the kingdom that Jesus would set up that would crush every man-made kingdom.
The king was so impressed he fell and worshipped Daniel. Daniel was exalted above all the other wise men and given much honor and gifts. Daniel exalted his friends Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego. These three ended up being thrown into the fire because they wouldn’t bow to Nebuchadnezzar’s golden statue he had made of himself. God killed the men who threw them in the fire then came and walked among them in the flames. They were brought out and once again Nebuchadnezzar got to see the power of Almighty God and was humbled again.
First Peter talks about the future also. He says that the end is near so we should watch over our mind and show self-control so that we can pray. We can’t get the heart of God when we have so many things in our minds. Our main goal should be to love others as God loves them. Our service to God should be without grumbling or complaining. We should not be surprised at the trials we face but rejoice that we can suffer for Christ.
We have a real enemy who is looking for someone to devour. Let’s revisit him and stand firm in our faith.
Lord, may we be like the men we read about today that refused to compromise the truth for their lives.

Saturday, November 25, 2017

Sat.’s Devo - From Victim to Victor

Read: Daniel 1:1-2:23; 1 Peter 3:8-4:6; Psalm 119:65-80; Proverbs 28:14
Today we start reading Daniel. Jerusalem was finally besieged by Nebuchadnezzar and the fit people were carried off to Babylon. Daniel and his three friends were singled out because they had been royalty in Jerusalem and they were well educated. They were chosen to be a part of Nebuchadnezzar’s government so they were taught the language and their laws. Daniel excelled in academics as well as revelation. He was given favor with his teacher and asked that him and his friends not defile themselves with the king’s food since it was against the law of Moses. After a ten day trial, the officer obliged them and gave them only vegetables and water. They thrived.
The king had a dream that greatly disturbed him and he wanted to test his spiritual advisors. He not only wanted the interpretation of the dream but they were to tell him the dream also or die. None of them could do this and I love that they said, “No one can revel it to the king except the gods, and they do not live among men.” That is the difference between our God and all the other religions… our God does live among men and he now lives inside of us!
When Daniel found out his life was about to be cut short he went to the king to plead for time. He was granted it and that night God gave him the king’s dream and its interpretation in a vision.
There are so many lessons we can take from just what we read today about Daniel. He was of nobility yet he was humble and put all of his hope in the Lord. He didn’t let the world dictate their standards on him, he stood against the pier pressure and peacefully found a way to honor God. When he was up against the wall, he asked for the impossible and God gave it to him.
Daniel lived First Peter. He tried to live in peace even with his enemies and received great favor. He even saved their lives and won their respect. Daniel gave his opinion with respect and honor to very ungodly men who had done him evil. He chose to bloom in a very unfruitful place and let the glory of God shine in his life. He is a great example to us of someone who chose to live in the spirit instead of in his circumstances. He was a victim who became a victor.
Lord, may we be a victor for you in the midst of our struggles and injustices. We know that you are the ultimate judge who will one day bring total justice to the earth.

Friday, November 24, 2017

Fri.’s Devo - The Living Waters

Read: Ezekiel 47:1-48:35; 1 Peter 2:11-3:7; Psalm 119:49-64; Proverbs 28:12-13
Ezekiel sees this flowing water that started on the eastern side and flowed to the south, and out of northern side. He was told to measure the water. He measured the first thousand cubits and it was ankle deep. He continued to measure every thousand cubits and by the fifth cubit it was over his head. The water brought life and fruit for nourishment and its leaves for healing.
I believe this water began when Moses stuck the rock and water poured from it. This water nourished the children of Israel through their journey. The water stands for the living water of the Holy Spirit and the Word. The thousand cubits stand for years. Every thousand years to the Lord is as one day (2 Peter 3:8). We are now in the fifth thousand that Ezekiel measured and God’s Spirit is filling the earth as the waters cover the seas.
Isaiah 11:9 speaks of the end and says, “They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain; for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea.” When the Spirit is poured out on all flesh, God will give out his inheritance to his faithful children. The presence of the Lord will be in the midst of them just as the sanctuary is set in the middle of all the tribes. The name of the city will be “THE LORD IS THERE.”
Peter is always reminding us that we are aliens and strangers in the world so we are to act like our family. Our father is God and he walks in holiness. So must we. He tells us to honor our leaders as the supreme authority. We should silence the ignorant talk of foolish men. There is certainly a lot of ignorant talk going on. All you have to do is to pick up a newspaper or turn on the news to hear it.
I love what it says about women. He tells women how to be beautiful. It has nothing to do with her clothes or jewelry but what makes a woman beautiful is her inner self, her gentle and quiet spirit and her hope in the Lord. She submits to their husbands and did what is right and does not give way to fear.
Husbands are to be considerate of their wives and treat them with respect as equals and heirs with God.
Lord, may we walk in confidence in You with great hope and love.

Thursday, November 23, 2017

Thurs.’s Devo - Our Inheritance

Read: Ezekiel 45:13-46; 1 Peter 1:13-2:10; Psalm 119:33-48; Proverbs 28:11
I have to remind myself that Ezekiel is seeing all of this in a vision. Today we read the special gift that the princes of Israel are to offer. All of the people of the land were to participate in this offering. They were to give grain, oil, and sheep for the Passover week. The prince would offer these gifts to make atonement for the people. Jesus is our Prince of Peace who invites us to salvation by the sacrifice of his own blood. Our only participation is that we believe and appropriate his blood for our sins. Our sacrifice is ourselves.
I love verse 10 that says that the prince would be among them, going in when they go in and going out when they go out. That is the presence of the Holy Spirit that is with us all the time.
He explains the difference of being a servant or a son. Sons are believers who are born again into the kingdom of God. Servants are people who have not been born again. They still live in the blessings God has created but they won’t receive the inheritance stored up for God’s children. God’s children’s inheritance will be passed down to their children. The gifts God gives you will be passed down to your children and your grandchildren. The blessing of an inheritance is that it grows and becomes more and more valuable with time. I always pray that my spiritual ceiling will be my children’s floor.
Peter tells us to be self-controlled which begins in our conscious minds. We have to decide to make the right choices. He commands us to be holy because God is holy. We are to live as strangers on the earth because our home is not here but with the Lord. We purify ourselves by believing the truth. This will make us love others and we won’t want to do anything to hurt anyone. Our lives are so short so we should want to walk in maturity and do the most we can for the Lord before we are taken to heaven.
God calls us a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God that we may declare the praises of him who called us out of darkness into his wonderful light.
Lord, thank you for your salvation and our inheritance in you.
Happy Thanksgiving! I pray that you have a blessed day with your family being thankful for all God has done for us!

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Wed.’s Devo - The Faithful

Read: Ezekiel 44:1-45:12; 1 Peter 1!-12; Psalm 119:17-32; Proverbs 28:8-10
God took Ezekiel to the eastern gate and told him that this gate was to remain shut because the Lord had entered through it. The prince would be the only one who could eat inside and he would do this in the presence of the Lord. He was also the only one who would exit the gate he entered. Everyone else was to exit the opposite door they entered. Only Jesus entered the world without sin and exited it the same way. We came to Christ through the past of our sin and exit through the gates of righteousness.
They were reprimanded for bringing foreigners into the temple along with their sacrifices. This is like us bringing all our unrepented sin before the Lord and praying as if our sacrifices are enough to gain God’s favor. The Levites who had rebelled would have to pay the consequences of their sin but then be put in charge of the duties of the temple and its work. The Levites who remained faithful would be able to minister in the presence of the Lord and enter God’s sanctuary. Just like the Levites who went astray, we must bear the consequences of our sin. The reward for faithfulness is God’s presence. The faithful priests were to wear linen garments so that they wouldn’t sweat because sweat is the result of work. Those who are faithful to the Lord are invited to enter into God’s rest where work is a joy and there is no sweat involved. The faithful priests had more rules to abide by because they were an example of the holiness of God to the people. These priests were not to associate with dead things or sin. They were to be a picture of Jesus, our priest.
For their reward, they got the best of the offerings - the best of the grain, the fruit, the oil, the meat. They even got the best land but everything was a gift and not something they worked to earn or that they could call their own.
It was not theirs but temporarily theirs. Their permanent inheritance was the Lord, himself.
This is to be our attitude toward what we own and all our stuff. If we see it as God’s, it will be so much easier to give away. Our inheritance is God, himself. With him you get the best so it shouldn’t be a hard trade.
Peter explains that we are strangers in the world. They were scattered all around the known earth just as the Levites were given towns in every tribe. God has scattered his body all over the world so that everyone will have a chance to hear the good news.
Lord, thank you for grace. Help us to not take it for granted but cherish the blood that paid for it.

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Tues.’s Devo - The Blessing in the End

Read: Ezekiel 42:1-43:27; James 5:1-20; Psalm 119:1-16; Proverbs 28:6-7
Today we read about the priest’s quarters which were opposite the outer wall on the north side. It was three levels becoming smaller as it reached the third floor. The upper rooms were narrower. The measurement of the area of the temple and its buildings was 1 and 1/7th mile.
Three is the number of conformation. The Father, Son and Holy Spirit all conform as one. On the third day, God created seed that produces fruit that conforms to the seed that was planted. Three has to do with the end of that process. The area was smaller and narrower at the top because the road is narrow which leads to salvation. As we get closer and closer to God we become more and more single focused and the things of the world fall off of us.
In Chapter 43 we see the coming of Jesus to his temple. This is a picture of the last days when Jesus would come to his people and pour out the Holy Spirit on all flesh. It sounds just like the story of the Pentecost in Acts 2. There was a sound of rushing waters and there was glory. In Acts 2, the glory was flames of fire on their heads. In both, the glory of the Lord filled the house. When the glory of the Lord comes there is always repentance because the light of God’s glory exposes the darkness and our sins. When God pours out his spirit on the earth it will bring secret things to light. We are seeing this happen in the earth right now. People are being exposed of things they have been getting away with for decades but God is now bringing their sins to light. It is God cleansing the land.
James gives us a great description of this very thing. When we see injustice, we need to pray and wait. It is God’s job to bring justice and he will use men on the earth to do it. We are reminded of Job who persevered many trials waiting for God to justify him when everyone was accusing him of being at fault. God did justify him and exalt him so that all could see. One day, Jesus will justify us for the whole earth to see. It will be worth every trial and injustice we have endured.
Lord, may we persevere till the end and reap the reward with the faithful. Thank you for our trials because they mature us into warriors for you.

Monday, November 20, 2017

Mon.’s Devo - The Courts of God

Read: Ezekiel 40:28-41:26; James 4:1-17; Psalm 118:19-29; Psalm 118:19-29; Proverbs 28:3-5
Reading about the inner and outer courts and all its decoration and measurements gives us a picture of God and his care about detail. Our inner court is the inner working of ourselves like our mind, emotions, will, heart and spirit. The outer court is a picture of what people can see - our outer man. God gave Ezekiel instruction about every detail of both. There was purpose in direction, size, placement, entrances and exits, and decoration.
We are the temple of the Holy Spirit and God takes that same care for our direction in life and our placement. He cares about every measurement in our lives whether it is the amount of our paycheck or the number of children we have. It is all measured in his plan. The number of our days on earth have been measured before we came here. The doors God opens for us have been chosen and they lay open for us to walk in. The ones we are to exit are also open at the right time. The doors we are not to go through are carefully locked for our protection. We can walk in God’s will if we desire to and trust the Lord. He will lead us down the right path. The way we look and every detail about us has been carefully crafted and planned. The way our body works is like the carrying on of the temple. Every vein, tendon, bone and vessel has a purpose and we are wonderfully made just like the Psalmist so aptly put in Psalm 139. We are wonderfully and fearfully made.
James talks about our inner struggles that manifest on the outside as fights and quarrels. They stem from our desires and wrong motives. He sums it up as being friends with the world. You can’t be a friend of the world and a friend of God because they are at opposite spectrums. To be a friend of the world is to be a friend of Satan’s. A friend of the world only wants what is best for his own selfish pleasure, but a friend of God’s lays down his life for his enemy for the sake of Christ. Christ was selfless where the world is selfish. That can be our litmus test to check our motives. It is like putting your flesh in the fire.
Lord, help us to walk in your will daily; open for us the gates of righteousness.

Sunday, November 19, 2017

Sun.’s Devo - Be

Read: Ezekiel 39:1-40:27; James 2:18-3:18; Psalm 118:1-18; Proverbs 28:2
In Ecclesiastes 1:9 says that everything that has happened has happened before and there is nothing new under the sun. What we read about today in Ezekiel will be repeated in the end of time. According to Easton’s Bible Dictionary, Gog has been supposed to be the name of a district in the wild north-eastern Central Asia, north of the Hindu-Kush, now a part of Turkestan, a region about 2,000 miles north-east of Nineveh.
God said he will bring Gog against Israel to destroy her then He would turn on Gog and destroy her. All her warriors would become food for the wild animals and the birds. You can read about this “Feast of Leviathan: also in Revelation 19:17-21. The tables will be turned and Israel will loot those who have looted her and plunder those who have plundered her. It will take seven months to cleanse the land of the bones of the wicked. Next God would gather his people together and pour out his Spirit on the house of Israel.
All of this happened on the cross. Satan was defeated and the plunder is ours. The bones of the past are still in the land and we have the right to bury them. These bone of the past are anything passed down to us that hinders us from taking our inheritance. We have to throw defeat, discouragement, fear, worry, pain, offenses, curses, anger, etc. into the valley of Hamon Gog. Gog means “to cover” which is exactly what the devil wants us to do with all our sins. He just wants us to sweep them under a rug and deny they exist. There they take root and grow bigger and bigger and produce more seeds. God wants to cover our sins under the blood of Jesus so that they have no more power over us. Only the blood of Jesus can take away our sins. Hebrews 10:4 says that it was not possible that the blood of bulls and goats to take our sins away but, 1 John 3:5 says that Jesus was manifested to take away our sins. We have to throw our sins and weaknesses into this valley and let the blood of Jesus cover them and take them away forever.
This will also happen at the end of time when Jesus returns and fights the final battle at Armageddon. Death will be defeated and we will live the last millennium cleansing the earth of the destruction of that war.
James explains that it is a “be” - “do” religion instead of a “do” - “be” one. The “do” - “be” was the religion of the law. It said that you had to “do” first then you would “be” in right standing with God. Jesus taught that first you must “be” then out of who you are you will “be”. You must first have faith to exercise faith - not the other way around.
Lord, help us to “be” your sons and daughters who have inherited your righteousness.

Saturday, November 18, 2017

Sat.’s Devo - God’s Revenge

Read: Ezekiel 37:1-38:23; James 1:19-2:17; Psalm 117:1-2; Proverbs 28:1
God brought Ezekiel to a valley full of dead bones and told him to prophecy life into them. He witnessed them as an army being transformed back into human beings lying on the ground, but they weren’t breathing. So God told Ezekiel to speak breath into them. He did and they revived and stood to their feet. God explained that this army was the whole house of Israel. Israel had lost hope in ever being a nation again but God wanted them to know that he would bring them back from the dead and put them back in their land.
Ezekiel was next told to take two sticks and join them as one. These sticks represented Israel and Judah. God wanted them to know that one day they would be one nation as they are today. Oddly, they are known as Israelis and Jews but they are one. The best part is the fact that they wouldn’t defile themselves with idols and vile images or the things that so greatly offended God and caused them to sin. God spoke of the day that David would be their king and shepherd… speaking of Jesus.
God told Ezekiel to prophesy against Gog and Magog and the chief prince of Meshech and Tubal. Gog and Magog are probably where Russia is now. Meshech and Tubal are descendants of Noah’s third son, Japheth. Meshech, Japheth’s sixth son and Tubal his fifth. God was going to draw them out of their land and put a plan in their head to attack His people. They would gather other evil nations with them to attack Israel but there would be a great earthquake. Mountains would topple and Gog would die of sword, pestilence, hail and fire from heaven. All throughout Revelation it speaks of earthquakes and scenes just like this one.
James is so rich it is hard to single out one thing to focus on. Today he deals with anger, sin, obedience, caring for the helpless, and sincere love for one another. Our deeds prove our faith.
Lord, help our deeds prove our faith today.

Friday, November 17, 2017

Fri.'s Devo - Sowing and Reaping

Read: Ezekiel 35:1-36:38; James 1:1-18; Psalm 116:1-19; Proverbs 27:23-27
Ezekiel speaks against Mt. Seir because she harbored an ancient hostility. I went back and studied the history of Mt. Seir. It was given to Esau for his inheritance. There was defineitly an ancient hostility was between Esau and Jacob and their descendants. These people came against the children of Israel and tried to take their land from them. Mt. Seir was also the place God gave his people the law. Later, when Amaziah conquered the people of Seir, he took their gods and set them up in the temple to worship. The people of Seir had had a vendetta against Israel and were going to reap what they had sown. They had shed blood and now their blood would be shed. They had spoken against God’s people and had been glad when they had been wasted and now people would say and feel the same about them.
God told Ezekiel to speak against the mountains of Israel. Mountains stand for leaders. Israel’s leaders had been very corrupt and sinful but Ezekiel spoke of a day when the leaders would be fruitful and their land would rise up and be a prosperous nation once again. God would bring his people back and cleanse their sins. I have seen that happen in my lifetime.
James is one of my favorite books in the New Testament because it actually explains the benefits of trials and what our attitude should be about them. Trials come to mature us and make us whole. They work on our faith and our perseverance. Our attitude should be one of joy. The reward of trials is the crown of life. Revelation 2:10 explains that the crown of life comes to the person who gives their life for the Lord. It is what we will throw at Jesus feet (Revelations 4:10). First Peter 5:4 says that we will receive a crown of glory that won’t fade. Psalm 116:15 reminds us that the death of his saints is precious to the Lord. It is precious because it stands for their finished life. It is our life that determines the fate of our death. It goes back to reaping what we have sown.
Lord, may we live our lives to receive the crown of life that we can cast at your feet. It is all for your glory.

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Thurs.’s Devo - The Shepherds

Read: Ezekiel 33:1-34:31; Hebrews 13:1-25; Psalm 115:1-18; Proverbs 27:21-22
Ezekiel explains that it is the end of a man’s life that matters. If a man lives in sin and repents he will be forgiven but if he turns from God and ends that way he will be judged for that. If you are thinking this is not fair know that God leans so strongly towards mercy and salvation that he will do everything he can to bring that man to repentance so he can be rewarded and not judged. It is up to the person to chose his fate.
God had caused Ezekiel to be mute for a while until the morning that Jerusalem fell. He got news that afternoon and was able to respond. He told them what they were thinking and what God was thinking. They were thinking that if God would give their land to one man, Abraham, then what would he do for a nation. Surely he would spare their land. God was thinking that Abraham’s righteousness got him the land and their wickedness cost them the land. They were accused of not strengthening the weak or healing the sick or binding up the wounds of the inured. They had not brought back the strays or searched for the lost. The shepherds would be held responsible for the flock and they had not done a good job so God would himself search for the lost sheep. He would rescue them from the places they would be scattered and place over them a shepherd that would tend to them. (We know this Shepherd he was referring to was Jesus.) Then their land would be showered with blessing and they would know that the Lord is God.
Hebrews reminds us to treat everyone with kindness because you never know if they are angels you are entertaining. God is interested in our hearts so he speaks of marriage and money. How you honor your spouse and how you look at money reveals the deepest core of your heart.
We pray with the writer of Hebrews: “May the God of peace, who through the blood of the eternal covenant brought back from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great Shepherd of the sheep, equip you with everything good for doing his will, and may he work in us what is pleasing to him , through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.”

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Wed.’s Devo - The End of Egypt

Read Ezekiel 31:1-32:32; Hebrews 12:14-29: Psalm113:1-114:8; Proverbs 27:1-20
Two months after the prophecy we read yesterday, God speaks again about Egypt. It will not cease to exist like Assyria would but it would surely lose it prominence in the world’s empire. The king of Egypt was prideful and haughty just like the king of Assyria that was overthrown by the Chaldeans and Egypt would fall just the same. Egypt could look at what happened to them and know what to expect. God was sending his conquering force on the earth, Babylon, against her. He also told the king that he would die in the battle.
Hebrews tells us to make every effort to live in peace. Be sure that you don’t let any roots of bitterness grow up which not only cause trouble but defile many. How true that is. Roots of bitterness begin with little offenses that we refuse to forgive. Left to fester, they grow into full-blown disease which affects everyone that comes in contact with that person.
Next he instructs us not to be sexually immoral which will never lead to anything good. Or, to be godless who like Esau, sold his inheritance for a meal. Esau so despised the things of the Lord, he put no eternal value on them. He only cared about his immediate hunger.
We are reminded that we don’t have a god who can’t be reached but we have the King of Kings who through Jesus has made it available for us to enter into his throne room any time and speak to him. God’s kingdom will not topple like Egypt and the kingdoms of the earth. It stands forever!
Lord, thank you for being such a touchable, attainable God. Your loving kindness and mercy knows no end.

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Tues.’s Devo - Judgement and Discipline

Read: Ezekiel 29:1-30:26; Hebrews 11:32-12:13; Psalm 112:1-10; Proverbs 27:17
As Ezekiel brings a prophecy against Egypt, he compares it to a crocodile and its people fish. The greater sin is that Egypt has been prideful and the lesser is that she is unreliable.
His second oracle (17-21) against Egypt came after the fall of Tyre. The siege of Tyre had lasted 13 years but it was economically unfruitful because the wealth had been shipped to an offshore island. So the booty that was deprived of Babylon in that siege would be made up by what they would take from Egypt. It was not just the capital of Egypt but the whole of Egypt that would be spoiled. God was going to strengthen Babylon to use as his tool to judge the earth.
Hebrews continues with a list of men and women who persevered for the faith. Many were made martyrs and they never saw the promise given them fulfilled. They are made complete through seeing that promise fulfilled in our lives. They became the crowd of witnesses that are waiting for us to complete the promise they only saw. I believe that all that have gone before us are in that company, which means our family is watching us fulfill the destiny for our family line.
God judges the world, but he disciplines his children in love. Hebrews teaches us to appreciate God’s discipline for it is for our good. Having our grandchildren living with us, I can attest to that. It is so much easier for me to discipline them out of love and not anger because my only goal is to make godly children out of them. I am not as easily embarrassed of them as I was my own children and I don’t take it personal when they mess up. It is just black and white…I want them to succeed in life. That is exactly how God feels about us. He wants us to succeed in life so he disciplines us so he can bless us.
Lord, thank you for your discipline. Help us to be first time listeners and obey what you say.

Monday, November 13, 2017

Mon.’s Devo - God’s Story

Read: Ezekiel 27:1-28:26; Hebrews 11:17-31; Psalm 111:1-10; Proverbs 27:15-16
Tyre was known for its glass-shops, purple dyeing and weaving establishments and for the engraving of precious stones. It was also known for its wickedness and idolatry which were frequently denounced by the prophets Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Amos and Zechariah. Ezekiel gave a list of all the people who traded with Tyre so great was her wealth. She traded with the whole world, but her wealth could not buy her out of God’s judgment. God compares her to Lucifer in the garden. Just as God bedecked Lucifer with jewels, he had prospered Tyre. They were both the model of perfection, full of wisdom and beauty till wickedness was found in them. So God had to drive them both from his presence because of their pride and corruption. Their sin and dishonesty brought them to ashes and a horrible end. When their time of judgment is over, the people that come back will know the Lord. Interestingly Tyre became the place where a church was founded after Stephen’s death. Paul visited it during his third missionary journey.
We continue in Hebrews down Israel’s history. God lists the patriarchs as he encodes his purpose. Abraham offered Isaac as God offered Jesus to be the atonement for all mankind. Jacob was the righteous offspring of salvation and he started the nation of Israel through his offspring. He blessed his sons just as Jesus blessed his twelve disciples before he left the earth. Joseph was one of Jacob’s sons who spoke of the exodus of Israel out of bondage and into the promised land. He was a type of John who taught us freedom from our sins and who gave us the Revelation of the end. Moses, though raised in the wealthy palace of Egypt, refused to be known as an Egyptian but gave it all up to suffer with God’s people to teach them about the power of the blood. Moses was a type of Paul who gave up his high position with the Pharisees to be known as a Christian. He gave his life to one of suffering that the power of Jesus’ blood might be proclaimed and proved on the earth. Just as the walls of Jericho fell in Joshua, the walls of religion fell in Paul’s ministry and the Rahab’s , the Gentiles and sinners, were welcomed into salvation.
Lord, your story is written over and over in your Word and like the Psalmist we can say, “Great are Your works, they are pondered by all who delight in them. Glorious and majestic are your deeds, and your righteousness endures forever.”

Sunday, November 12, 2017

Sun.’s Devo - The Plan

Read: Ezekiel 24:1-26:21; Hebrews 11:1-16; Psalm 110:1-7; Proverbs 27:14
When Ezekiel wrote today’s scripture he was already exiled to Babylon. He had gone in the second siege on Jerusalem and was warning those left of what was coming. He told them that they would not have the luxury of mourning the deaths that were coming. As a picture, God told him that he could not mourn the death that was coming to him. Ezekiel told the people that in the mourning and in the evening Ezekiel’s wife died. He had been instructed by God not to do the customary things you do when a person dies.
Judah was not the only nation that was being judged. Moab and Seir and the Philistines were being judged for the evils they had done toward Judah. Tyre saw how vulnerable Jerusalem was and planned to pillage her, so God sent Nebuchadnezzar against Tyre. Nebuchadnezzar would do to Tyre what Tyre had planned to do to Jerusalem. Tyre would be flattened to the ground never to rise again.
Hebrews 11 is the “Hall of Faith” of the patriarchs. It is the coded history of God’s redemptive plan. He begins with Abel who gave the perfect sacrifice. Abel was a type of Jesus who was the perfect sacrifice. Next is Enoch who is a picture of those who walk with God and will be raptured to heaven. Noah is the picture of the church who goes through the tribulation but rises above the storm because they are hidden in God. Next is Abraham who was the father of a new nation. He is the picture of the new millennium of people who will live on the earth. Family goes on because family is such a part of the heart of God.
Lord help us to major on the majors and minor on the minors.

Saturday, November 11, 2017

Sat.’s Devo - Confidence

Read: Ezekiel 23:1-49; Hebrews 10:18-39; Psalm 109:1-31; Proverbs 27:13
Today, God gives us the picture of two sisters who are both prostitutes. One is named Oholah who stands for Samaria, the capital of Israel and the other is Oholiabah who stands for Jerusalem, the capital of Judah. They were both lovers of Assyria and her finely dressed army. Oholah was the first lover but Oholiabah took it further and added the Babylonians to her list of lovers which provoked God’s anger even more than Israel did. Now, their lovers would turn on them and be their destruction.
Hebrews uses the word “confidence” many times. Today he speaks of the confidence we have because we know that we are sinless. Before, a sacrifice had to be made every year, but it was not powerful enough to remove the guilt and expired after a year. Now, the blood of Jesus has the power to not only remove the sin forever but also the guilt, and open the curtain between the people and God so that we can all boldly approach God with “confidence”. That is an awesome concept to grasp and keep. I have to remind myself of this many times when the devil comes to heap condemnation on me. We are free from sin! That is something to dance about. Praise God!
Lord, help us to remain confident in your Word because You fulfill every word you say.

Friday, November 10, 2017

Fri.’s Devo - Our Complete Sanctification

Read Ezekiel 21:1-22:31; Hebrews 10:1-17; Psalm 108:1-13; Proverbs 27:12
Ezekiel warns the people that God has drawn his sword from his sheath and it is about to fall on them. Everyone will know and be affected by what is about to happen. The Babylonians and the Ammonites will be coming against them for many reasons which Ezekiel lists. They had murdered each other and they had made idols to worship. The leaders had oppressed the foreigner, the widow and the orphan. They had profaned the things God had called holy and dishonored the sabbath. They had lied to kill others, and committed every sexual perversity they could think of. They had extorted money and killed for it. God was putting them in the fire so all their dross could be burned off and cleansed. Their prophets had behaved like ravening lions preying on souls and making widows of many women. Their priests had no respect for their office, God or the things that were holy. Everyone’s goal was to get ahead no matter who they had to walk on to get there.
God had looked for a man to stand in the gap so that he would not have to destroy it and found none. His mind was made up and judgment was coming.
Hebrews explains that the law could not make the people perfect or complete. The sacrifices of the old covenant only lasted for a year, then they had to do it again. Every year they were reminded of their sins. But we are sanctified through the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross. His death made us perfect and complete once and for all. God doesn’t remember them again. Now that is the good news!
If Israel would have believed our Proverb for today, they might have saved themselves.
Lord, open our spiritual eyes to discern the days we are living in. Thank you for sanctifying us and making us complete through your sacrifice.

Thursday, November 9, 2017

Thurs.’s Devo - God’s Redemptive Plan

Read: Ezekiel 20:1-49; Hebrews 9:11-28; Psalm 107:1-43; Proverbs 27:11
On a certain day, some of the elders came and sat before Ezekiel desiring a word from the Lord. God told them that He would not let them ask him anything because from the beginning they had done nothing but rebel. He took them through the history of Israel and how God delivered them from the bondage they were in because they had cried out to him in their distress. He had done so many things for them but they were bent on disobeying him and worshipping everything but him. So God told them to go and serve their idols because there would come a time when they would repent and turn back to the true and only God.
In Hebrews, Jesus was the final sacrifice for sin. His blood had power to remove the sin and the guilt of that sin. His death brought a new covenant or will that lasts forever.
Reading today’s Psalm I am I am amazed at how many times God took Israel through the story of their history to show his plan for them and how they rejected it. He always reminded them of when they did call out to him and how he came to their rescue. God is always redeeming us.
Lord, thank you for reminding us of your great love for us. You always desire mercy over judgment and redemption over destruction.

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Wed.’s Devo - The New Covenant

Read: Ezekiel 18: 1-19:14; Hebrews 9:1-10; Psalm 106:32-48; Proverbs 27:10
The people had a proverb that said “the fathers eat sour grapes, and the children’s teeth are set on edge?” It meant that what the father did directly effected the child’s outcome. God saw it differently. He said that what the father did would effect his outcome and what the son did would effect his outcome. Everyone was responsible for their own actions. It was the ending that mattered. If a person was wicked and repented then everything they had done in the past would be forgotten and they would be remembered for what they did well.
Ezekiel admonished Israel to get a new heart and a new spirit. Then they would live.
In Chapter 19, Ezekiel took up a lament over the princes of the nation. Judah is the lioness who had cubs. Jehoahaz and Jehoiakim where leaders who both terrorized and enslaved others and now they would be terrorized and enslaved. Judah, a once fruitful vine was about to become fuel for God’s fiery wrath.
Hebrews explains the first covenant and its regulations. It was a visible picture of what the new covenant would be spiritually. The old covenant was natural but the new was spiritual.
Our Psalm tells us how the nation of Israel fell into sin. They didn’t destroy the gods of the enemy like God told them to do but let them slowly creep in to their lifestyle, corrupting their hearts and defiling their souls. This is how sin comes in. When we are saved, we have to allow God to sanctify us or clean us up from our past. If we don’t the same things that tripped us up in the beginning will begin to defile us again.
Lord, help us to desire the true righteousness that comes from obeying your Word and hearing your voice. Help us to stay away from the things that so easily trip us up. Thank you for reminding us that we are not the product of our parents but can choose for ourselves how we will act and what we will become.

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Tues.’s Devo - Our High Priest

Read: Ezekiel 16:43-17:24; Hebrews 8:1-13; Psalm 106:13-31; Proverbs 27:7-9
God was punishing Israel because they did not remember the days of their youth. God was referring to their beginnings as a nation. God had called them in Abraham and caused them to be fruitful and multiply. He blessed them but they continued to sin and rebel. They found themselves in slavery and God delivered them from bondage through the Red Sea. This time period is what the Lord was referring to. God showed them his signs and wonders and miracles of how he would provide and protect them but they forgot that. They chose to run after the lewd practices of other religions and idolatry and now they would pay the consequences of their sins. They had become more vile than Sodom whom God destroyed with fire from heaven. If God would judge them for their sins, he will surely judge Israel for hers.
God gave Ezekiel an allegory of an eagle which came to Lebanon and broke off the topmost shoot of a cedar and carried it away to a land of merchants and planted it there. It was the picture of God transplanting his people from their land to Babylon. God was going to take his seed from their land and plant them where they could eventually prosper and one day return. He was going to bring down the wicked leaders and raise up the lowly to take their place.
In Hebrews we read that our High Priest, Jesus offered himself on the altar of heaven once and for all for our sin. The sacrifices that Moses taught were a type of the sacrifices he was shown that went on in heaven. It was the symbol of the covenant God made with his people. Jesus came bringing a better covenant of grace. Jesus became our mediator between us and God. We have the Holy Spirit who wrote his laws upon our hearts and we can know and walk with God just as Moses did.
Lord, thank you for the covenant of grace and freedom in Christ.

Monday, November 6, 2017

Mon.’s Devo - God’s Judgement

Read: Ezekiel 14:12-16:42; Hebrews 7:18-28; Psalm 106:1-12; Proverbs 27:4-6
God explained how his judgements go toward a nation. A nation is judged by its leaders and the majority of its people. He said that even if Job, Moses, and Noah were living with them, he would still have to judge it for its sins. These three men were men of integrity and faithfulness to the Lord. When God judged Israel, it didn’t mean that there were no righteous people in the land, it just meant that the sin of the people had added up in God’s bowl to the point that it was time to do something about it. God uses four means of judgment: war, plague, wild beasts, and famine.
Israel’s sin was so bad she was compared to a prostitute who paid her lovers to be with her. She welcomed the sins and gods of other nations and participated in the worse of rituals. No matter how many prophets God sent her to tell her to repent, she refused to listen.
Hebrews explains that the law that was given to tell the people how to live didn’t make anything perfect. It had become useless and weak but the new covenant that Jesus brought is perfect and it makes us want to draw near to God. In the old covenant the priests were imperfect and would eventually die, but Jesus, our high priest is perfect and lives forever.
Lord, thank you for being our high priest of a much better covenant that is free of guilt and judgment.

Sunday, November 5, 2017

Sun.’s Devo - The Holy Priesthood

Read: Ezekiel 12:1-14:11; Hebrews 7:1-17; Psalm 105:37:45; Proverbs 27:3
Ezekiel’s life was to be a sign to the people so God told him to pack his bags and walk out of his house like he was being led into exile. He was to do this morning and night. Then he was to dig a hole in the wall and crawl through it with his face covered so he could not see the land. This was to show how the prince of the people would leave. He would try to escape through a hole in the wall but be caught and be taken to a land that he would never see. That sounds very mystic but that was exactly what happened. The prince and his men tried to escape through a hole in the wall and were caught. The last thing the prince saw was his sons being killed, then his eyes were gouged out and he was led to Babylon.
God spoke against the false prophets who had promised peace and safety. They were like white-washed walls that tried to cover up the truth with lies. When these false prophets came to Ezekiel to hear his words, God told Ezekiel not to prophesy good to them because God would answer himself.
Hebrews introduces Melchizedek whose identity has been a question to many scholars. I believe he was God’s high priest in heaven who came to earth and met Abraham. Abraham discerned his importance and gave him a tenth of his spoils. Since Abraham carried the seed of Levi in him, his whole lineage paid tithe to God’s priest. Jesus would be a priest after the order of Melchizedek, not after the order of Aaron. Aaron was a man who lived and died; both Melchizedek and Jesus came from God and lived eternally. Aaron was a priest of the earth; the other a priest both of the earth and heaven.
We are called to be priests to God also. That means we pray for the mercy of other people and we hear what God says and tell the people. It also means that our lives are an offering to the Lord and we are fully his to do his work on the earth. First Peter says that we are a holy nation, a royal priesthood to offer up holy sacrifices to God for the people. Revelation says we are kings and priests of God. We are to rule and reign on the earth as God’s kings and priests.
Lord, may we serve you as your holy nation and royal priests that a dying world might know the truth.

Saturday, November 4, 2017

Sat.’s Devo - Our Hope is in the Lord

Read: Ezekiel 10:1-11:25; Hebrews 6:1-20; Psalm 105:16-36; Proverbs 27:1-2
Ezekiel saw a vivid picture of the glory leaving the temple and the fire of God’s wrath coming on the people. Judgment comes to the leaders first and they would be judged for devising mischief and giving wicked counsel to the people. They had told the people to build houses and plan to stay because no evil would come to Israel. This was totally opposite of what Isaiah, Jeremiah and Ezekiel had told them. Since their fear was war, God would bring war on them.
When Ezekiel prophesied this to them, Palatial, the leader, died. His name means “Jehovah has delivered”. This was a sign to them that their hope of being delivered was dead. Ezekiel was distraught and cried out to the Lord for help. He asked God if he planned on destroying all of the remnant of Israel. God told him that he would scatter them and kill many but many would find him in the places they were scattered. Those that had hearts for God would find a sanctuary in the midst of their captivity and one day be brought back to their land. Then they would have a heart for God and his spirit in them. They will walk in his word and he will be their God.
Hebrews has some very controversial topics today like verses 4-9 but my view is if you stay on fire for the Lord you won’t have to worry about falling away. The writer of Hebrews has faith that God’s followers will go on to maturity and walk in love and the blessing of God.
Lord, we pray for the body of Christ that we will not get distracted or discouraged by the news or the trials of this life but set our hearts on eternity and the prize which is found in You.

Friday, November 3, 2017

Fri.’s Devo - The Priesthood

Read: Ezekiel 7:1-9:11; Hebrews 5:1-14; Psalm 105:1-15; Proverbs 26:28
God declared two words over the land of Israel: The end! He describes it as a rod budding, but not like Aaron’s that budded to show God’s acceptance of him, but their rod of arrogance which would turn into God’s rod to punish their wickedness. No one who was guilty would be exempt from God’s wrath. Ezekiel gave them a detailed picture of what it would look like and it was not a pretty picture.
In Chapter 8, Ezekiel was sitting with the elders when he was suddenly transported in the spirit to Jerusalem where God showed him the hidden idolatry that was going on in the most holy places of the temple. God was letting Ezekiel see how and why the glory had left his temple and the reason for his wrath. Ezekiel watched as God sent his angels to mark the ones who had kept their hearts true to the Lord. Those who didn’t have the mark were shown no mercy. It reminds me of the ones who didn’t have the blood applied to their doorposts when the death angel passed over in the days of Moses.
Hebrews explains that a high priest is someone who understands his own weaknesses so he can mercifully represent the people. God was the one who appointed priests and in the beginning, he called Aaron and his family. Now, he was calling Jesus his priest after his heavenly order. Jesus had learned to obey by the things he suffered just like we do. And, Jesus had to learn to distinguish between good and evil just like we do. He is calling us to be kings and priests and to represent him on the earth.
Lord, help us to be merciful priests unto you.

Thursday, November 2, 2017

Thurs.’s Devo - God’s Rest

Read: Ezekiel 3:16-6:14; Hebrews 4:1-16; Psalm 104:24:-35; Proverbs 26:27
Ezekiel came on the scene during Jeremiah’s last seven years. Ezekiel was from the Zadok priestly family. He had trained in the priesthood during the reign of Jehoiakim then deported to Babylon. His message was to the remnant of Judah in Babylon who were living in moral decay.
Seven days after the vision of the creatures, God spoke to Ezekiel again. He told him that if he didn’t speak the words he told him, their blood would be required of him. If he spoke the words God gave him then he would be free of their sin. That is the responsibility of a prophet. He has to say the words God puts in his mouth. It is not his responsibility how the people react to it, that is their responsibility. God even prepared Ezekiel ahead of time and told him that they were a rebellious house.
Prophets also tell us the future and warn us of what is coming. God had Ezekiel build a fort and act out a siege to show them what would happen to Jerusalem. He was to lie on his left side with their sins laid on him to show how the sins of Israel were laid on him. Israel had lived in iniquity 390 years so he was to lay one day for every year. Judah had lived in iniquity 40 years, so Ezekiel would lie 40 days on his right side. He was to measure out his food to weigh 10 shekels a day. Ten is the number for a test or a trial to determine whether the person has learned what they were suppose to learn.
The worse thing about what God told Ezekiel to do was in the preparation of the bread. He was to cook it over human excretion to be a picture of the defiled bread they would eat when they were taken to Babylon. Ezekiel begged God not to make him use human dung so God allowed him to use cow’s dung instead.
Next he was to shave his head and beard and divide it into three parts. One part was to be burned, another cut with a knife and the last part scattered to the wind. This would be the fate of the people.
The fourth chapter of Hebrews is all about God’s rest. There is no way to enter into the rest Hebrews was talking about apart from faith. It has nothing to do with circumstances or emotions. It has to do with a state of being. It comes when we realize there is nothing we can do to earn God’s favor; rest comes from trusting totally in God.
Jesus, thank you for being our great high priest who understands our weaknesses and temptations. We come boldly before your throne for mercy and grace.

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Wed.’s Devo - The Spirit of God

Read: Ezekiel 1:1-3:15; Hebrews 4:1-19; Psalm 104:1-23; Proverbs 26:24-26
Ezekiel saw some creatures that would compare to x-men by today’s standards. We see these same creatures in Revelation 4:7. These creatures seemed to each have wheels that accompanied them full of eyes. These wheels represented the spirit of the living creatures that go observing throughout the earth. The living creatures where God’s messengers as angels are. They have four distinct personalities and gifts. They are intelligent like man, bold and strong like lions, diligent like the ox and swift and far-seeing as the eagle. They are attendants of God. God is revealed in Ezekiel’s vision as half shining metal and half fire. God is both - a glorious god and a consuming fire.
God appeared in his glory to Ezekiel to strengthen him for the mission he was sending him. He would go to his own people who were stubborn and obstinate and give them a message of repentance. Because they would oppose him God made Ezekiel as stubborn and obstinate as they were. God gave him a scroll to eat which were God’s words to him. He extends that same scroll to us which is not only his written Word but his commission he gives us in our secret place of prayer. He will strengthen us with his presence for the assignment he has for us to do just as he did for Ezekiel.
Hebrews compares Moses and Christ. Moses was the one God gave the law to but Jesus was the one God sent much higher than Moses with a covenant that was much higher than Moses’. The people of Moses day were hard of heart and couldn’t receive the truth just like the people of Jesus’ day. So the writer of Hebrews encouraged his readers to not be hard of heart but to hear God’s voice and obey it.

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Tues.’s Devo - Jesus Our High Priest

Read: Lamentations 4:1-5:22; Hebrews 2:1-18; Psalm 103:1-22; Provers 26:23
Jeremiah describes the condition of Jerusalem. The city is dying from starvation, the once rich are destitute and homeless, children beg for food and no one gives them any, loving mothers have cooked their own children for food. It couldn’t get any worse. No nation would come to their rescue because God was against them. Their sin and wickedness was being exposed and there was no more hiding or hoping. One day, their punishment would be over and God would be able to bless them once again.
Hebrew warns us to pay attention to what God has told us in the past because if God punished his angels, he will punish us. One third of heaven’s angels rebelled with Lucifer and fell. They were banished to earth until creation. That same punishment will be given to all who refuse to accept the great salvation God sent through his son, Jesus Christ.
Jesus, who was so much higher than the angels humbled himself to come down and become a man. God sent him to do his works on the earth and made everything subject to him. He was to experience death so he could destroy the devil who had the power of death, and deliver us who were in bondage to death. He also chose to become a human so he could experience temptation and pain so he could one day be a merciful high priest who understands the frailty of man.
Our trials are not a punishment from God but a way for us to learn our frailty and learn to have compassion on others when they go through trials. Jesus experienced all the pains of life that he might be merciful to our weaknesses. He is the perfect high priest.
Lord, help us to be compassionate towards others going through difficult times remembering our own experiences. You are the one who can comfort and help us in our struggles.

Monday, October 30, 2017

Monday’s Devo - Jesus, the Son of God

Read: Lamentations 2:20-3:66; Hebrews 1:1-14; Psalm 102:1-28; Proverbs 26:21-22
Jerusalem wails in anguish because of the siege. They are starving to the point of eating their own children. They finally realize their prophets have lied to them, except God’s prophets. Jeremiah is suffering with them but his hope is in the Lord’s love. He is living one day at a time through the power of what he knows of God’s compassion. He encourages others to examine their ways and return to the Lord. He reminds them that God’s anger will last for a while, but his compassion for ever.
Jeremiah uses his own experience as a picture of hope for the people. He retells when he was thrown into the cistern and given up for dead. But in that pit he cried out to the Lord and the Lord heard him and delivered him out of it. God will do the same for them if they would cry out to Him. And, God will do the same for us when we cry out to Him for help.
I love Hebrews! In the Old Testament, God is revealed, but he can’t stop talking about his son, Jesus; but in the New Testament, Jesus is revealed but he can’t stop talking about his Father. Hebrews comes along and melts both of them together. Jesus is the glory of God exalted as his son. No angel has ever been called this intimate name of “son”. Jesus is the exact representation of God. Hebrews explains how Jesus and God created the heavens and the earth together and one day it will be time to roll them up and create new ones.
Hebrew also says much about angels. They are to minister to the ones God has chosen to inherit salvation. That is us!
Hebrews draws scripture from all over the Bible to bring it all together. Even our Psalm today is quoted in Hebrews.
Lord, help us to be your representation on earth as Jesus was when he walked the earth.

Sunday, October 29, 2017

Sun.’s Devo - The Gospel

Read: Lamentations 1:1-2:19; Philemon 1:1-25; Psalm 101:1-8: Proverbs 26:20
Lamentations is just sad and depressing. It begins while Josiah is dying according to 2 Chronicles 35:25. Josiah was such a good king but his death was more than his own death; it signified the death of the nation. Judah went quickly downhill after that and was judged for their sins. Lamentation is an interestingly written elegy penned by Jeremiah who did many prophetic acts to give pictures of what was happening in the nation. In Lamentations there are five elegies (chapters) which are poems or songs of lament or praise for the dead. All of Lamentations are acrostic which means they are in a particular order. The first three elegies consist of three to four lines each beginning with the letters of the Hebrew alphabet in order. (There are 22 letters in the Hebrew alphabet.)
According to Jameison, Faust and Brown Commentary, in three instances (La 2:16, 17; 3:46-51; 4:16, 17) two letters are transposed. In the third Elegy, each line of the three forming every stanza begins with the same letter. The stanzas in the fourth and fifth Elegies consist of two lines each. The fifth Elegy, though having twenty-two stanzas (the number of letters in the Hebrew alphabet), just as the first four, yet is not alphabetical; and its lines are shorter than those of the others, which are longer than are found in other Hebrew poems, and contain twelve syllables, marked by a c├Žsura about the middle, dividing them into two somewhat unequal parts. The alphabetical arrangement was adopted originally to assist the memory. GROTIUS thinks the reason for the inversion of two of the Hebrew letters in La 2:16, 17; 3:46-51; 4:16, 17, is that the Chaldeans, like the Arabians, used a different order from the Hebrews; in the first Elegy, Jeremiah speaks as a Hebrew, in the following ones, as one subject to the Chaldeans.
This might seem confusing but I am in awe of the wonder of God and his wisdom and knowledge. Today’s Lamentation tells of the destruction of Babylon and Israel. Sin is being judged and there is no stopping God’s judgment; it has to be done.
Paul’s letter to Philemon is one to a true friend and fellow minister in the faith. Paul admonishes his work and faith. He sends his letter by the hand of Onesimus. Onesimus had once been Philemon’s slave but had stolen from him and fled to Rome. There he was converted to Christ through Paul’s ministry and become a spiritual son and attendant to Paul while he was in prison. Paul sends him back to Philemon and offers to pay for what Onesimus stole from him. He is not sending him back as a slave but as a dear brother. Is that not the picture of what happens when we become a Christian? We were slaves to sin and disobedient to Christ, but when we meet Christ as our savior we are restored as a member of God’s family.
Lord, thank you for salvation. You are truly a matrix of wisdom and knowledge. There is nothing too difficult for you!