Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Tues.’s Devo - Passover and Unleavened Bread

Read: Exodus 12:14-13:16; Matthew 20:29-21:22; Psalm 25:16-22; Proverbs 6:12-15
Today we have more particulars about the Passover and the instructions about the Feast of Unleavened Bread. Passover is the picture of a person’s conversion. They must be circumcised and prepare the lamb as instructed. These are pictures of preparing our hearts to receive Jesus into our lives. These feasts were to be practiced year after year to show the Lord’s plan. The feasts were to be a rehearsal so that when the real event appeared they would recognize it. Jesus was the fulfillment of Passover and many missed it. The Feast of Unleavened Bread had to do with sanctification. Yeast stands for wrong doctrine and sin and their bread was to have no yeast in it. The bread is the Word of God which is our daily nourishment. Both of these feasts were to remind the people of God’s great deliverance out of bondage and into freedom. That is exactly what salvation is. Many people believe that we as Christians have to sin every day but this is not Biblical. We have all sinned, but our sin was crucified and it is no longer us, but Christ that lives… and he doesn’t sin. We stumble and fall at times but sin should not be a part of our lives. Our sin nature was crucified. (Read 1 John - 3rd John)
They plundered the Egyptians of gold and silver and clothing. They would use these in building the tabernacle. When we leave our lives of bondage, we should plunder the enemy. He is holding our wealth many times and it is rightfully ours. We are to be the ones that should be prosperous so that we can help those in need and use it to build the house of the Lord on earth like it is in heaven.
Jesus entered Jerusalem on the first day of Unleavened Bread. He was the sinless bread of heaven sent to earth. He had followed the path of the Temple or Pascal Lamb which had preceded him. It was customary to lay palm tree leaves on the path of the lamb and to cry, “Hosanna” so the people were still assembled when Jesus rode his donkey down this same path. The people were compelled to worship Jesus as the Passover lamb who was the only lamb who could forever forgive their sins. The Temple lamb was sacrificed for the sin of the nation but Jesus laid down his life for the world.
The fig tree that Jesus cursed was the nation of Israel. They had rejected their Messiah but one day they will receive him. Please pray for Israel. They are our elder brothers and we are responsible to bring them into the kingdom.
Lord, we join with the psalmist in saying, guard our lives and may integrity and uprightness protect us because our hope in is you. Redeem Israel, Oh God, from all their troubles!

Monday, January 30, 2017

Mon.’s Devo - The Judgment of God

Read: Exodus 10:1-12:13; Matthew 20:1-28; Psalm 25:1-15; Proverbs 6:6-11
God explains why he hardened Pharaoh’s heart. God chose a man who did not have a heart after him and would never have a heart after him and he used him for his purposes. God wanted His people to see His power and so they would know beyond a shadow of a doubt that he was God. He wanted it to be memorable so that they would tell their children and grandchildren how God dealt with their enemies and saved them. The next plagues were locusts, darkness and finally the death of the first born.
Locusts are a sign of judgment. In Revelation 9:3, locusts will be released once again on the earth to hurt only those who are enemies of God. In Isaiah 45:7 God says, “I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil; I the Lord do all these things.” We have a hard time thinking that God is anything but loving and kind but he has many attributes which all prove his holiness. God was pouring out his wrath on the Egyptians like he will one day do on the earth. The Egyptians were walking in spiritual darkness, now they had to walk in natural darkness. This darkness could be felt for three days.
The last plague was the passover. The lamb was to be a picture of Jesus and his blood was put on the door in the same places He had blood. The sides stood for his nails in his hands and the top stood for the crown and then they put a basin under the door to catch any blood that dripped down and that stood for the nails in his feet. They walked through the door, which represented Jesus and were safe from the death angel. The death angel came to judge all that were not covered with the blood. That same angel will judge the world in the end of the age.
Jesus told the parable about the landowner who agreed to pay his workers the same amount. At the end of the day, those that worked the whole day were angry that they were paid the same as the ones who had only worked a day. He was referring to those that get saved right before they die as apposed to those that spend their lifetime serving the Lord. Salvation is free and has nothing to do with our works. We will be rewarded for our works but salvation is free.
Lord, thank you that all your ways are loving and faithful for those who keep the demands of your Word.

Sunday, January 29, 2017

Sun.’s Devo The Plagues and Creation

Read: Exodus 7:25-9:35; Matthew 19:13-30; Psalm 24:1-10; Proverbs 6:1-5
On the first day of creation, God moved on the face of the waters and brought forth light. God divided the light from the darkness. This is exactly what God was doing in the plagues; he was dividing light from darkness - his kingdom from theirs. In Moses’ first plague, God touched the waters and it turned them to blood. God was reclaiming the land of Egypt and taking control over it. The magicians could counterfeit his work but they couldn’t reverse it.
The second plague was frogs springing out of the Nile. The Egyptians worshipped frogs so they couldn’t kill them. They were inundated with their own gods. On the second day of creation, God created a firmament which was the sky that divided the waters. Some went above the firmament and some went below. Water stands for spirit. So God was dividing His Spirit from Satan’s. His went up and Satan’s went down. God established domain. Satan was sent below the earth and God the heavens. The battle has been over earth and God was declaring war against Satan’s kingdom. These frogs were manifesting from Satan’s domain since he is the Lord of the Flies. The Egyptian sorcerers could counterfeit this sign also, they just couldn’t reverse it.
The third plague was turning the dust to gnats. On the third day of creation, God created dry ground which he called Earth. He also created seed that would be in the ground and produce grass or fruit according to its seed. Egypt had planted seeds of idolatry and cruelty so their fruit was gnats or lice that stung them. Their sorcerers couldn’t reproduce this sign. They attributed it to the “finger of God”. Still Pharaoh wouldn’t let them go.
The fourth plague was swarms of flies. On the fourth day, God created the sun, moon, and stars to rule over the day and night. They were to bring light upon the earth. God was setting up his government. He was the sun and the church is the moon. Satan is called Lord of the Flies. On this plague, God made a distinction and the flies did not come to Goshen where his people were. The flied ruined the land which is what happens when ungodly people reign. Pharaoh decided that they could sacrifice right there; just don’t leave. Moses explained that their sacrifices would be detestable to the Egyptians and cause them to stone them. God has called us to be separate in our worship of Him. In 2 Corinthians 6:17, we are told to come out from among them and be separate. Pharaoh agreed to let them go but changed his mind as soon as the flies were gone.
The fifth plague was against their livestock in the field. On the fifth day God created creatures in the sky and the water. Livestock were not created until the next day so this one doesn’t seem to fit the pattern but the next one does. The sixth plague was boils upon the people and their livestock. Man and cattle were created on the sixth day.
Then God told Pharaoh that he was about to unleash the full force of his plagues upon him. The seventh plague stood for judgment. God was through playing games with Pharaoh and it was time for judgment. The hail killed everything that was not safe in their houses. It killed all their harvest and stripped every tree. Of course, the Israelites were unharmed. The rest of the plagues are a picture of the end time tribulation that will hit the earth. Notice that God’s people have been exempt for quite a while from the plagues because we are hid under the shelter of God’s wings.
Jesus spoke of the regeneration when Jesus will sit on his throne and we will sit on thrones with him. That is yet to come.
Lord, give us an understanding heart to grasp your greatness and your plan.

Saturday, January 28, 2017

Sat.’s Devo - The Great Shepherd

Read: Exodus 5:22-7:24; Matthew 18:23-19:12; Psalm 23:1-6; Proverbs 5:22-23
Moses had to be discouraged. It wasn’t going like he thought God had said it would. Now the Israelites and the Egyptians were against him and God was telling him to go back and show the Pharaoh the signs God had given him. He did and when his staff became a snake, their sorcerers were able to counterfeit the same miracle only Aaron’s snake swallowed up their snakes. This should have been a sign to the Egyptians of what was in their future. All the plagues that God sent on Egypt were really against the gods that they had chosen to worship. God was showing them that he was above all their gods. He is the only Lord and the only God. They had gods of snakes and they worshipped the Nile. God swallowed their snakes and turned their Nile into blood for seven days.
Jesus told a parable explaining forgiveness. He was the righteous lord who the man owed the ten thousand talents to. He totally forgave him his huge debt saving the man and his family. But the man could not forgive the tiny debt of his fellow servant. God then judged him like he judged his servant. God has forgiven all our sin which was a huge debt and he asks that we forgive our neighbors their small debts. We must learn to forgive. I know that is easier said than done learning to forgive is necessary to our spiritual welfare.
Jesus addressed divorce and explained that they were causing their partners to commit adultery because they wouldn’t divorce them legally. God does hate divorce just like he hates sin but God hates injustice even more. Divorce is an individual matter and we need to learn to forgive and not judge.
Psalm 23 is one of the most quoted Psalm in the Bible for a good reason. It is comforting and empowering. We learn who God is and what he will do for us. We need never be afraid.
Lord, thank you for standing by your word even when we don’t understand what you are doing. You see the bigger picture. Thank your for being our shepherd.

Friday, January 27, 2017

Fri.’s Devo - God Was With Moses and God is With Us.

Read: Exodus 4:1-5:21; Matthew 18:1-22; Psalm 22:19-31; Proverbs 5:15-21
God equipped Moses with the power to do three miracles: turn his staff into a snake and back again, make his arm leprous then clean, and turn the Nile into blood. All Moses could give God was excuses why he was not the right man to send. God had chosen Moses, but he did tell him he would let Aaron, his blood brother go with him. So, Moses left with his father-in-laws blessing, his wife and son. Moses and Zipporah must have had an argument about circumcising Gershom because when God went to kill Moses, Zipporah quickly circumcised Gershom and threw the foreskin at Moses feet which saved Moses’ life.
God also told Moses to tell the Pharaoh that Israel was His firstborn son and if he refused to give him to the Lord, God would take his first born son. We all know that this was the last plague that made Pharaoh finally let them go. God always tells the end from the beginning.
Moses met first with the Israelite leaders. They were impressed with his signs and wonders and agreed to go with him to see Pharaoh. When Pharaoh met with Moses and Aaron it didn’t go like Moses had hoped. Not only was Pharaoh unafraid of God but he ordered them to harder work than before. This made Moses very unpopular with his own people.
When God calls us to a task, we can expect opposition from both sides but that doesn’t mean that it is not God’s will. We have to persevere and keep seeking the Lord for guidance. Egypt and Israel were both operating under their own strongholds. Egypt was operating under gods of this world and Israel was operating under the gods of unbelief and hopelessness. They were both comfortable with their gods. Moses had come to shake things up and bring about a deliverance. This is exactly what is happening in our nation right now. We need to be sure we are on God’s side. Moses never wanted the people to worship him; he wanted to lead them to worship God. That is always the goal.
Jesus explains how he looks at individuals. He sees everyone’s plight and will judge the oppressor and rescue the oppressed. Everyone will be judged according to their works. Proverbs puts it this way, “For a man’s ways are in full view of the Lord, and he examines all his paths.”
Jesus gave them instruction how to deal with offenses within the body of believers. We are told not to judge the world, but we are to deal with matters among brothers in the faith. We are reminded once again about binding and loosing. We can bind good things to our souls and loose bad things and we can bind demonic spirits and loose the angels of God. There is so much to binding and loosing that we are not doing.
Jesus told us to get a prayer partner who has the same heart and agree about things and God will be the third witness and he can act on our agreement.
Lastly, Jesus dealt with forgiveness. He wasn’t telling Peter how many times to forgive but HOW to forgive. “Seven times seven” means completely and thoroughly without any strings attached. God forgives and forgets so we need to choose to forgive and forget.
Lord, help me to forgive like you forgive, and love like you love. Teach us that our battles are not against flesh and blood but spiritual powers in high places and you have defeated all of them.

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Thurs.’s Devo - Our True Identity

Read: Exodus 2:11-3:22; Matthew 17:10-27; Psalm 22:1-18; Proverbs 5:7-14
Moses could not deny who he was. It was time to be a Hebrew and not an Egyptian so God removed him from his Egyptian nest and sent him on the far side of the world to meet with God. He, like Isaac and Jacob, met his wife by a well and had a son named Gershom which means “a stranger there”. In the midst of that foreign land, Moses met God. There he found out his destiny and who God was. God revealed himself as I AM. He sent him back to Egypt to deliver his people. He told him to meet with the elders of Israel and then the king and ask him to let them take a three-day journey into the desert to offer sacrifices to their God. He told him in advance that the king would not let them go until He struck the land with all kinds for wonders. Then he would let them go. God would cause the Egyptian people to have favor on the Israelites and they would give up their wealth causing them to plunder Egypt.
The disciples asked Jesus why Elijah must come first and Jesus explained that he had already come and they killed him. He was talking about John the Baptist. Then immediately they brought to Jesus a boy who was suffering from seizures. The disciples were not able to heal him. Jesus rebuked them then rebuked the demon and the boy was restored. Jesus was upset that he was about to leave and they still hadn’t learned to trust God to deliver the boy.
When the tax collectors came to collect their taxes, Peter asked Jesus what they would do. Jesus explained that really this earth is God’s and since we are his sons we shouldn’t have to pay taxes but since the officials wouldn’t understand that, they had to pay their taxes. He payed them supernaturally.
Moses had to come to grips with who he was. He was an Israelite, not an Egyptian. We have to come to grips with who we are too - we are God’s child and the same spirit that raised Jesus from the dead, reigns in us. God will deliver us because we delight in him.
Lord, teach us to walk as your children and not children of the world. Show us our true identities.

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Wed.’s Devo - God Always Wins!

Read: Genesis 50:1-Exodus 2:10; Matthew 16:13-17:9; Psalm 21:1-13
Joseph’s brothers had a hard time accepting Joseph’s forgiveness and grace just like we have a hard time accepting Jesus’ forgiveness and grace. When Israel meets Jesus, the one they pierced and repents, they are going to struggle with this great love also. He reminded them that what they meant for harm, God meant for good so that he could go ahead of them and prepare a place for them to preserve them. That is exactly what Jesus is doing right now. He is preparing a place for us in heaven.
They carried Jacob’s body and buried it in the same place Abraham and the others were buried. Joseph gave them strict orders that he was to be buried here also. When he died he was placed in a tomb in Egypt. He was to stay there until God sent his people out of Egypt into the place where his father was buried. This would become the promised land.
The next king didn’t know the story of Joseph and how he saved the nation. All he could see was how the Israelites were growing faster in number than the Egyptians and he was afraid they would eventually take his kingdom from him. So, he let his fear make him a tyrant and he put the ones he feared to hard forced labor. When the midwives wouldn’t corroborate with him, he decided to just kill all the boy babies under the age of two. The devil must have sensed that God was birthing a deliverer. The only one who survived this horrific law was the very one he was trying to destroy. Moses was saved out of the waters and protected by the palace - his very enemy. There he would stay until God called him out.
Jesus asked his disciples who everyone else thought he was and was given the wrong response. Then he asked them who they thought he was and Peter got it right. He said, “Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.” Jesus commended Peter and said that upon this statement he would build the church and the gates of hell would not even be able to stop him. Then he gave them the keys to the kingdom of heaven to bind on earth things that were bound in heaven and to loose on earth, things that were loosed in heaven.
Jesus laid out the plan. He was to go to Jerusalem and suffer under the elders, priests and scribes and be killed, but he would rise again on the third day. Peter rebuked Jesus for saying this and Jesus rebuked Peter for acting as Satan. He then explained that they and anyone after them that wanted to be his disciple would have to lose their lives to find them.
Next, Jesus took Peter, James and John to a high mountain and allowed them to see him in his glory. They also saw Moses and Elijah talking to Jesus. When they wanted to elevate Moses and Elijah to Jesus, God spoke to them and said, “This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased; hear ye him.” Moses stood for the law and Elijah stood for the prophets. Hebrews 1:1 says that in the past, God spoke to the fathers through the prophets, but in these last days he has spoken unto us by his son whom he appointed heir of all things…” Jesus was the fulfillment of the law and the prophets but so much greater.
Our Psalm today speaks of the end when God will destroy the earth with fire. All of God’s enemies will be destroyed.
Lord, we rest in your eternal plan. We exalt you as Lord of all!

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Tues.’s Devo - The Sign

Read: Genesis 48:1-49:33; Matthew 15:29-16-12; Psalm 20; 1-9; Proverbs 4:20-27
Joseph learned that his father was ill so he took his two sons for him to bless them. He arranged them so that he would put his right hand on the head of his oldest son and his left hand on the head of youngest son but Jacob crossed his arms making the symbol of the cross, blessing the second son to be greater than the first born. Remember, I taught that the second-born stands for the person who has been born-again since that is our second birth and the first-born stands for our natural birth which is born into sin. So, it is fitting that the second-born would be blessed to rule over the first-born. We are to rule over the sin habits and nature of our old man and be victorious.
Then, Jacob called his other sons and gave them their blessings which would be a blueprint of the future for their particular tribe. It would be interesting to study out the different areas that the tribes settled in the promised land and see what that land is like and how it fulfills these words. We know that Jesus came from Judah so we see so many references to Jesus in his prophecy.
Jacob was buried with Abraham, Sarah, Isaac, Rebekah and Leah so he was gathered to his people to wait for Jesus to come and rescue them.
In Matthew, Jesus healed everyone that came to him and when he realized they were hungry he called his disciples and told them he didn’t want to send them away hungry. His disciples still hadn’t learned from the feeding of the 5,000 and immediately thought in the natural. They only had 7 loaves and a few small fish and there were 4,000 people. This time, Jesus broke the bread and gave it to the disciples and they had to break them and give them to the people so the miracle happened in their hands. They took up 7 baskets of left over food. Jesus once again proved that he would meet our natural needs and our spiritual needs.
The Pharisees found Jesus and asked him for a sign, as if he hadn’t given them enough. He told them that the only sign he would give them was the sign of Jonah. Jonah was in the belly of the whale three days then resurrected on land. He was a picture of the resurrection. When the people of Nineveh saw him, they repented because Jonah was the sign. Jesus was saying that he was the sign and that his resurrection would prove it but they would never see it because their eyes were closed and their hearts hardened.
Lord, help us not to be deceived by wrong doctrine or disappointment. You have promised to bless and keep us and we trust in your unfailing love. You promise to give us the desire our our heart and to make our plans succeed. We shout for joy at the name or our God.

Monday, January 23, 2017

Mon.’s Devo - God’s Provision

Read: Genesis 46:1-47:31; Matthew 15:1-28; Psalm 19:1-14; Proverbs 4:14-19
God encouraged Jacob to go to Egypt and that his lost son
Joseph would be there when he passed to close his eyes. He left with 66 people. They were to live in the land of Goshen which was the best farming land of all Egypt where he would be fed daily from the king’s allowance during a time of famine. This is a picture of God’s people and his provision during times of hardship and famine in the world. In the tribulation, it will be very hard to find food especially without the mark of the beast, but this is the way God is going to provide for his children who trust him. Goshen means “drawing near”. It is the provision for all who draw near to God. If you need God’s provision then you need to draw near to God and he will meet your need.
God gave Joseph incredible wisdom to manage and prepare for the famine. When it came, he was able to sustain the country and prosper the kingdom. That is what should happen during hard times for those who rely on God’s wisdom and trust in Him.
Notice that Joseph made clear instructions that he wanted to be buried where his ancestors were buried because he knew that he would spend his time with them under the earth.
I love the parable that Jesus gave the Pharisees. In our world, everyone wants to get healthy and eating healthy has become a religion in itself. What Jesus was saying was it doesn’t do you any eternal good if you eat the right food and then out of your mouth comes gossip, slander, lies, and crude jesting. It is not what goes into your mouth that will eternally harm you, but what comes out of your mouth will.
Psalm 18 is one of my favorites because the things God made are always a picture of God and his ways. His creation speaks with words that aren’t English but they are powerful if you just listen.
Lord, may our thoughts and words glorify you. Thank you for your provision in the midst of lack.

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Sun.’s Devo - The Great Reveal

Read: Genesis 44:1-45:28; Matthew 14:13-36; Psalm 18:37-50; Proverbs 4;11-13
It was time for the brother’s last test. Would they lay down their lives for Benjamin? Yes, they would. When Joseph saw their hearts had changed and heard their remorse about what had happened to him, he revealed himself to them. Zechariah 12 says that when God pours the spirit of grace on the house of David, that the will look upon the one they pierced and be mournful and feel bitterness about what they have done. This is how Joseph’s brothers felt. This is the picture of Jesus revealing himself to Israel and the nation being saved in a day. Benjamin is a picture of all the Jews that have been born after Jesus died. Joseph told them that God sent him ahead of them to save them and keep them from extinction. Jesus went to heaven to prepare a place for us but he also left his seed on earth and it is the church that will preserve Israel. We are seeing this play out in our own lives. Seventy nations in the UN have voted to split Jerusalem in half and not allow Jewish settlements around Jerusalem. We are one of those seventy nations but, through prayer, we are seeing the outcry of our nation to not be a part of that. We need to continue to be praying for the peace of Israel. As Jerusalem goes, so goes America. Do you realize that God put our name in the middle of Jerusalem? JER - USA - LEM. If you put a long needle through Jerusalem on a globe you would end up in Arizona. We are connected to them in heart, spirit and mind. They are our older brothers. We need to pray that their eyes are opened to see their Messiah.
Today, in Matthew we have Jesus miraculously feeding the 5,000 with five loaves of read and two fish. There were 12 baskets left over. This was a Jewish crowd. Jesus immediately went away to pray. He sent the disciples to the other side of the sea. A storm rose and Jesus was on his way to the other side of the sea, walking on the water when he saw the disciples. They cried out for help and Peter was so excited to see Jesus walking on the water that he thought, if Jesus could do it, he could. That lasted till he got his eyes off Jesus and looked at the storm. Jesus had to rescue him because he lost his faith.
They landed at Gennesaret, the same place that Jesus had delivered the demoniac and was thrown out of town by the people. This time, as soon as they recognized him they swarmed him with their sick and demon possessed so he could heal them. Gennesaret was a Gentile town.
Lord, thank you that you guide us in the way of wisdom and lead us along straight paths. When we run, we will not stumble because we hold to your instruction and guard it as our life.

Saturday, January 21, 2017

Sat.’s Devo - Tests

Read: Genesis 42:18-43:34; Matthew 13:47-14:12; Psalm 18:16-36; Proverbs 4:7-10
God used Joseph to put his brothers through a series of tests to see if they had changed and repented. They passed every test so far, but God would have one final test for them. I think it is interesting to note that Simeon was the one who ended up staying and serving the jail time for the rest of them. Simeon was the second born so it would seem that Reuben should have stepped up to the plate to stand for the family being the oldest. Once again, we see that it is the second born that lays down his life. Simeon means “hearing; harkening”. God took the ability to “hear” and to “hearken” away from the Jews because they rejected Jesus as the Messiah when he came. Now, Simeon is taken from them for a while. He will be restored to them and their ability to hear will return. Joseph, Mary’s husband was from the tribe of Simeon. He was given the ability to hear from God which was why God chose him. He heard to marry Mary even though she was already pregnant. He heard to take Jesus to Egypt and when to bring him back. He heard to live in Nazareth.
In Matthew we have the death of John the Baptist. It was really a murder, a beheading. This is such a picture of how the hard hearts of the world deal with conviction. John condemned the affair that Herod was having with his brother’s wife, Herodias.
Both of their names mean “heroic” because they were the world’s definition of heroic. God is not looking for heroes, He is the only hero. God is looking for passionate lovers of Him. Herod and Herodias were far from that. They dealt with their convictions by killing the source instead of repenting. It is them that will be condemned in the judgment.
Lord I thank you that you reached down from heaven and took hold of us and delivered us from the deep waters of death. You rescued us from our powerful enemies who were too strong for us. You are our hero and our salvation!

Friday, January 20, 2017

Friday’s Devo - Pharoah’s Dreams

Read: Genesis 41:17-42:17; Matthew 13:24-46; Psalm 18:1-15; Proverb 4:1-6
Pharaoh told Joseph his dream which was in two parts all meaning the same. They understood that dreams were important and needed to be interpreted. If we had that dream, we would have probably thought we ate too much pizza the night before, but they highly esteemed dreams. We need to also, because it is a very vital avenue God uses to speak to us. Like in Pharoah’s dream, dreams need to be interpreted. They are usually symbolic and many of the symbols can be found in the Bible. I have found that writing my dream down, reading it out loud and sharing it with a person who understands the language of dreams can help me with dreams I can’t understand on my own. Sometimes I will have a dream and years later, God will bring it back to me and give me the interpretation.
Joseph interpreted the dream and the Pharaoh and his officers all agreed to the interpretation. Joseph was elevated from the prison to the palace in one day. That is how quick God can deliver us from our pits. Timing is everything to the Lord. It was time for Joseph to be exalted because his destiny was ready for him and he was ready for it.
This is a picture of the church coming to maturity and being set in its place in the world to rule and reign with wisdom and anointing. This is exactly where we are now as a nation and as a people of believers. We are going to see ourselves promoted to positions we never saw in our wildest imaginations. It will be the Lord’s doing for his purposes.
Back home, Jacob needed grain and heard that Egypt had it so he sent his sons, except Benjamin, to buy grain. They didn’t recognize Joseph but he recognized them. I think that his is a picture of the Jewish nation. They don’t yet recognize Christ, but they surely need our help. We need to continue to pray for Israel and our relationship with them. We are the key to their eyes being opened and recognizing their Messiah.
In Matthew, the religious order has decided that Jesus is not the Messiah and that his power comes from Satan so he only teaches in parables from that time on. He explains the parables only to his disciples. Most of his parables are about the kingdom of God and are self-explanatory but I want to talk about two of them and add some light. When he said that the kingdom of heaven was like a treasure hidden in a field he was talking about the nation of Israel. Psalm 135:4 says, “For the Lord hath chosen Jacob unto himself, and Israel for his peculiar treasure.” God bought that nation with the blood of his son. The merchant looking for fine pearls is talking about God seeking out the Gentiles. The Jews would consider a pearl to be unclean but the New Testament teaches us that what was unclean in the Old Testament, God calls clean in the New. (Acts 11:5-9)
Lord, you are the rock that we take refuge in. Be a shield to Israel and destroy every attempt to divide or destroy them. May their eyes be opened to see their Messiah.

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Thurs.’s Devo - The Power of the Seed

Read: Genesis 39:1-41:16; Matthew 12:46-13:23; Psalm 17:1-15; Proverbs 3:33-35
The life of Joseph during this period is a picture of Jesus living through the church. Egypt stands for the world. Potiphar was a worldly leader in whom Joseph found favor and gained position because of his integrity. The devil couldn’t stand it so he used Potiphar’s wife to try to trip Joseph up. When she couldn’t entice him to sin, she lied about him. He lost his position and was wrongly imprisoned. But, God was always with him, using every trial and test to shape and mold him into the man he would need to bring salvation to the world.
While Joseph was in prison he interpreted the dreams of two of the prisoners who were both accused of plotting to poison the king. One was innocent and the other guilty. These dreams were the verdict of judgment. The innocent man received his reward which was restoration and life. The guilty man received his reward which was death. This is what our presence on the earth does. God’s children are a living reminder of the state. of their heart. They are either drawn to us and receive salvation, or they are repulsed by us and suffer damnation.
Then the king had a dream and it was time for Joseph to be promoted. He made sure that they knew where his wisdom came from. He was brought out of obscurity to rule and reign. This is exactly where the church is in time. We have been hidden in our churches where we have been only a little effective. We are being brought out of the church and into the world to be the light to the world to bring life and judgment. Jesus gave us this picture in today’s reading. The seed of the Word is rising up all over the world. The condition of the person’s soil - their heart - determines the effectiveness of the Word to them. Jesus said that it was this parable that all the parables hung. If they didn’t have ears to hear, and a heart to understand then they won’t be able to understand anything else Jesus had to say. If we do have good soil, then we will yield a crop a hundred, sixty, or thirty times what is sown. This means that we will blessed by the Word abundantly.
Lord, You bless the home of the righteous and we inherit honor.

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Wed.’s Devo - Joseph, the Picture of Jesus

Read: Gensis 37:1-38:30; Matthew 12:22-45; Psalm 16:1-11; Proverbs 3:27-32
There is not another story in the Bible that so adequately depicts the story of Jesus than that of Joseph. Joseph represents Jesus and his brother represent the religious leaders of the day - the Jewish nation. His dreams represent prophecies that foretell what will happen to Joseph just like the prophecies that foretold Jesus life. Like Jesus, Joseph was totally rejected by his brothers who were insanely jealous of his father’s favor and love. Only Reuben wanted to save him who stood for the remnant of the Jews that believed that Jesus was the Messiah. They faked Joseph’s death, which represented the cross. His blood was the proof. The Joseph that was sold to the Midianites who sold him to the Ishmaelites who took him to Egypt.
Next we have the story of Tamar and Judah sandwiched in the middle of Joseph’s story. Tamar was a Canaanite woman who was given to Judah’s son to marry. Judah’s son was so wicked, God killed him. Tamar was given to his second son to carry on the name of the first son. He was wicked and refused to give her his seed so God killed him also. She was promised the third son, but when it became apparent, it was not going to happen, she tricked Judah into giving her his seed. All she wanted was the seed of promise. She got her seed and had twins. He sons were named Perez (a breach) and Zarah (a rising as the sun). She stood for the grafting in of the Gentile nation. Her sons were grafted into the Hebrew line which would give us Jesus. She would be mentioned in the genealogy in Matthew.
The Jewish leaders had rejected Jesus but the Gentiles accepted him and were grafted into the family of God. It had been God’s plan from the beginning.
In Matthew we repeat the miracle in Matthew 9. Since this is one of the miracles the teachers of the law had deemed would be a Messianic miracle, they once again have to make a statement about how Jesus could do this. They declared again that he did it through the power of the devil. Jesus asked them that if he was casting out demons by the power of Satan, then who did they cast out demons by? But, if he cast out demons by the power of God then God’s kingdom was near and they were missing it. Then he explained that anyone could make that statement against him, but if they were making that statement and saying they heard this from God, then they were blaspheming the Holy Spirit and they would not be forgiven. They were a tree with bad fruit making themselves corrupt and one day they would be judged for their belief or disbelief.
Lord, thank you that the boundary lines you have placed in our lives have fallen in pleasant place. We have a delightful inheritance!

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Tues.’s Devo - Name Change

Read: Genesis 35:1-36:43; Matthew 12:1-21; Psalm 15:1-5; Proverbs 3:21-26
Jacob built an altar to the Lord in Bethel which was where Abraham built an altar in Genesis 12:8. It was this place that Jacob wrestled with God and God changed his name to Israel (Gen. 32:28). Once again, God reminds him that he has changed his name. He renews his covenant with Jacob just in case Jacob thinks he has disqualified himself. When God gives a promise, he never takes it away. It is always ours for the taking. Sometimes we need to change the way we see ourselves. Jacob needed to stop seeing himself as a supplanter and start seeing himself as Israel, the prince of God.
Bethel was also the place that Rachel died and Benjamin was born. She called him Ben-oni which means “son of my sorrow” but Jacob refused to let him live with that curse. He changed it to Benjamin which means “son of the right hand”.
Jacob is reunited with his father, Isaac after these twenty years. Isaac soon died at the age of 160 and Jacob and Esau met to bury him.
Esau’s line was a line of dukes from Canaanite wives. Esau was the same as Edom so they were the Edomites.
In Matthew, Jesus plucks ears of corn for his disciples on the Sabbath day. This was a violation to Jewish law - not Mosaic law. Jesus was the new covenant that supersedes the law. There were times to use common sense and not the letter of the law. Mercy is always better to God than sacrifice.
Jesus did his acts of mercy and kindness on the Sabbath to reveal the true heart of the Sadducees and Pharisees. They didn’t care about the plight of people, they cared about their man-made laws and control. Jesus exposed them by defiling their laws.
Lord, you are our confidence and hope.

Monday, January 16, 2017

Mon.’s Devo - The Justice of God

Read: Genesis 32:13-34:31; Matthew 11:7-30; Psalm 14:1-7; Proverbs 3:19-20
Jacob came back home a humble man ready to pay for his wrongdoings. He blessed Esau with two-thirds of his possessions and made peace with him. God brought justice to Esau. The night before meeting with Esau he fought the spiritual battle and won so the next day was just the manifestation. God changed his name from Jacob - supplanter to Israel - he will rule as God.
When Esau and Jacob parted, Jacob went to Succoth and built as house for him selves and booths for his cattle. Succoth means “booths” which would become synonymous with the Feast of Tabernacle or Feast of Booths. It was the feast to show that the Lord makes his house in us.
From there he went to Shechem where he bought his first parcel of land in the promise land to erect an altar to God. He called it El-elohe which means Mighty God.
Next we have a story about the justice of God. Dinah means “justice”. Dinah was violated by Shechem, a Hittite, who then decided he wanted to marry her. He and the people of his town were tricked into getting circumcised so that they would be easy prey for her two brothers, Simeon and Levi. Dinah had been just like that town - defenseless and easy prey. Simeon and Levi avenged the wrong done to their sister. This is a story to show us that God does watch over his children and he will fight for them and vindicate them. Jacob was upset about what they had done, but I think, God was pleased. There is a time to show mercy and a time to fight.
It is hard to please people, so please God. The people criticized John for being so weird and said he had a demon. John didn’t drink or feast with people. Jesus came drinking and feasting and hanging out with very questionable people. The proof would be in the fruit they bore through others. Jesus rebuked the cities he did the most miracles in because they had decided that his power came from the devil.
He ends by giving them his “yoke”. Every high priest had a “yoke”. It was the law according to him. Every priest would add more definition to laws making them harder and harder to follow. Jesus told them that his yoke was easy and his burden was light. That was certainly good news. Jesus only had two commandments: Love God, love man.
Lord, thank you for your justice, your might and your laws.

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Sun.’s Devo - Facing Our Past

Read: Genesis 31:17-32:12; Matthew 10:26-11:6; Psalm 13:1-6; Provers 3:16-18
Jacob served his father-in-law for 20 long, toilsome years. God released Jacob to go back home but Rachel stole her father’s household gods which gave Laban an excuse to pursue them and start something. God intervened and warned Laban in a dream to not speak evil to Jacob.
Let’s go back to those household gods. They were images of the idols of their land. Rachel was taking idols that would lead her family down a path of idolatry and sin. This was no small thing that she did. We will see Jacob get rid of the idols in his family in Genesis 37. Not only did Rachel steal them but she lied to keep them.
That day, Laban and Jacob made a covenant of peace and they went their separate ways.
Jacob had to part with his past with Laban only to come face to face with his past with Esau. He didn’t turn and run but he did use strategy. God always wants us to have closure with our relationships if possible. It is easy to take flight, but better to end with a covenant of peace. It is easy to want to run from confrontation but better to face it and let God control the outcome.
Jesus hit the nail on the head when he said that there is nothing concealed that will not be disclosed. You can’t just hide your past or your sins and not expect them to show up somewhere. He told us not to be afraid of man who can only kill our physical body, our soul is so much more important. There is not going to be peace on the earth until Jesus comes to reign.
John the Baptist was in prison and was having questions about Jesus being the Messiah. Jesus told him all that he was doing. I think that John knew what the scriptures said about the Messiah and what He was going to do. One of those things was to open prison doors and set the prisoners free. John was in prison and Jesus was not setting him free. Jesus told him to concentrate on what He was doing and not what he wasn’t and he added, “and blessed are those who are not offended in me.” What a reminder to us when we get discouraged because our prayers don’t seem to be answered. We need to remember the things Jesus has done and thank him for those and not let ourselves be offended at what he isn’t doing.
Lord, we thank you for all you are doing. Help us to see with spiritual eyes the wonders of your hand. Help us to face our past and allow you to bring healing and restoration.

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Sat.’s Devo - Let Go and Let God Have His Way

Read: Genesis 30:1-31:16; Matthew 10:1-25; Psalm 12:1-8; Proverbs 3:13-15
I often wonder how the story would have gone if Sarah hadn’t taken things into her own hands and gave her concubine to Abraham and if Leah and Rachel had just waited on the Lord for God to open their wombs when he was ready. God took all their mistakes and used them but I know there was a better way. I wonder the same things in my life that I have been impatient about and tried to make happen.
Through Rachel and Leah’s servants, we have Dan, Naptali, Gad and Asher. God opened Leah’s womb again and she had Issachar and Zebulun. Then God opened Rachel’s womb and she had Joseph. Jacob became restless to get back home so he approached Laban about giving him his wages so he could leave. Laban was deceitful and unfair in all his dealings with Jacob and his two daughters. Rachel and Leah urged their husband to follow God no matter how mad Laban got.
Jesus sent his twelve to do the same works he had done. They were to go to the lost sheep of Israel and heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse those with leprosy, drive out demons and preach the kingdom of God is near. He warned them they would be hated and told they had demons. Some would flog them and hate them without a cause. They would not need to worry what to say in court because the Holy Spirit would speak through them. This offer is still available for us. The rewards on earth don’t sound too appealing, but the rewards in heaven are beyond rewarding.
Lord, let us see your hand and follow where you lead us.

Friday, January 13, 2017

Fri.’s Devo - Jacob Takes a Wife; Jesus is Rejected

Read: Genesis 28:1-29:35; Matthew 9:18-38; Psalm 11:1-7; Proverbs 3:11-12
Isaac must have forgiven Jacob because he called to see him and gave him strict warning against marrying a Canaanite. Esau had Canaanite wives and they led him into idolatry. He sent Jacob to his grandfather, Bethel’s house to find a bride. This was also Abraham’s birthplace.
On his way he slept on a rock and had a vision of heaven. God promised to go with him and bring him back to this land and give him all he had promised. Jacob called that place Bethel which means “House of God”.
Jacob reached the land of his forefathers and saw a well. At this well, he met Rachel, his wife. Rachel was the daughter of Laban. Laban was her mother, Rebekah’s brother. Jacob worked 7 years for Rachel only to be tricked into marrying Leah. Jacob had met someone as crafty as himself. Seven days later he was able to marry Rachel but he had to work another 7 years for Laban. Leah started having children: Reuben, Simeon, Levi and Judah. Rachael was barren.
In Matthew, Jesus had performed the third sign they were looking for - a dumb man could speak. The miracle about the man born blind was not recorded in Matthew, but it had already happened. Now the Pharisees were in a box. They had to make a decision about Jesus. They decided that he must be doing his miracles by the power of Satan. That was the decision that made Jesus change his ministry. The nation of Israel had rejected him and he was rejecting her.
Lord, thank you that you are on your throne and it is your decree that will stand.

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Thurs.’s Devo - New Wine

Read Genesis 26:17-27:46; Matthew 9:1-17; Psalm 10:16-18; Proverbs 3:9-10
We all know the story of how Jacob stole Esau’s blessing which seems so deceiving and wrong to us. God had to put Jacob through some tough trials to humble him and teach him he couldn’t control everyone but this one had God’s name stamped all over it. Jacob was suppose to get the blessing just maybe not that way. What Jacob did stirred up the spirit of murder in Esau that caused Jacob to have to flee to the house of Laban, the place of where his mother grew up. There he will learn submission and hard work.
In Matthew, Jesus went back over to the other side of the lake and was in his own town. They brought him a man that was paralyzed and he was healed. The teachers of the law were always watching trying to decide if he was indeed the Messiah. Because Jesus was so unconventional and didn’t come from their schools are didn’t submit to them they were very jealous and suspicious. They watched his every move and judged it. Jesus always knew their hearts and what they were thinking so he nailed them every time. Today, they accused Jesus of being a blasphemer since he forgave the man’s sins.
Jesus was alway offending the teachers of the law. He chose the outcast and lowly to be his followers instead of them. His choice of Matthew really went against their ideals. Matthew was a tax collector. The Jews were forbidden to eat with him or be his friend. The only people that could befriend a tax collector were harlots and prostitutes. So when Jesus chose Matthew and went to his house to eat, even his own disciples were a little uneasy. Jesus explained that he didn’t come to help people who didn’t think they needed help, he came to help those who knew they needed help. Jesus was pouring his new wine into their old wineskins and it was not holding. Those that allowed the Spirit of God to give them new wineskins could hold this new wine.
Proverbs reminds us that giving our first fruits will also cause us to overflow with this new wine.
Lord, help us to see things in the Spirit and adjust our lives to what you are doing.

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Wed.’s Devo - The First and Second Born

Read: Genesis 24:52-26:16; Matthew 8:18-34; Psalm 10:1-15; Proverbs 3:7-8
Isaac got his wife and he loved Rebekah. Meanwhile, Abraham remarried a woman named Keturah and had six children. Interestingly he thought of them as sons of his concubine. They did not get his inheritance but received gifts of Abraham and were sent away from his son, Issac to the land of the east.
Abraham died and was buried in the same land that Sarah was buried.
Ishmael had twelve sons who became princes and settled near Egypt. They stove amongst one another. So the story continued with Isaac being the star. Isaac and Rebekah had twins that wrestled to come out first. Esau came first, but Jacob was holding on to his heel. These two babies are a picture of two kinds of people in the world. Esau, the first born stands for us when we are born of the flesh. We have a sin nature that rebels against God. Isaac, the second born stands for our second birth when we are born of God. The spiritual birth brings the inheritance but we have to go after it. Isaac valued and went after the inheritance. Esau despised it so God despised Esau. Our natural man is in enmity with God but our spiritual man is a friend of God’s.
Isaac goes back to follow his fathers’ footsteps. There is a famine so Isaac goes to Egypt to the very place his father had gone and does exactly the same thing Abraham did. He told his wife to say she was his sister. God had to rescue Rebekah just like he rescued Sarah. In spite of this, God blesses Isaac one hundred-fold return for his crops and makes him a rich man. Abimeleck had to send him away because he was becoming so prosperous.
In Matthew, we see all these people wanted to follow Jesus. He took his disciples across the sea to deliver a man from many demons. The devil did not want him to come so he caused a storm to steer them away. Jesus rebuked the storm and delivered the man. Satan will set up a smoke screen of storms when you are getting close to wrecking his party. We have to recognize these tactics of the devil and rest in the Lord like Jesus did. We have authority over the storms and the demons.
The people of the town were afraid of the authority Jesus carried but when he returned later, they were ready to receive him.
Lord, help us to learn spiritual strategy as we read through your Word. This year is the year to shut down the devil and his tricks. May we rise up with the authority your have given us and break forth your kingdom.

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Tues.’s Devo - Abraham’s First Land Purchase

Read: Genesis 23:1-24; 24-51; Matthew 8:1-17; Psalm 9:13-20; Proverbs 3:1-6
Sarah died and Abraham knew something about death that we don’t ever hear about. In the Old Testament, the people who died went to a place called Sheol. It is mentioned 65 times in the Old Testament. It was an abode under the earth for the departed. It had different levels and today, God established a city of refuge in Sheol which was an underground city for the righteous to sleep awaiting their resurrection. Sometimes it is described as being dark with prison cells and other times as a place of rest and sleep. Wherever you were buried on earth determined where you would rest under the earth. Abraham bought his one and only piece of land on the earth to bury his ancestors. It was the cave of Macpellah which later became Hebron which became a city of refuge on earth and under the earth.
Isaac needed a bride so Abraham sent his oldest most-trusted servant. This man stood for the Holy Spirit who went out to do his master’s bidding. God worked with this servant to find the right mate for Isaac - Rebekah. She turned out to be Abraham’s great niece. The servant found her beside a well. A well represents a deep place of the spirit. Many things happen in the Bible around wells. The New Testament talks about wells of salvation springing up. This virgin drew water from this well and shared it abundantly. She was blessed abundantly in return.
In Matthew Jesus performed a most significant miracle. The Jewish leaders had agreed that there were three certain miracles that only the Messiah would be able to do. One of them was to heal a man born blind, another was to heal a Jewish leper, and the other was to heal a man who had a dumb spirit. Today, Jesus heals a leper who was a Jew. That is why he told him to go show himself to the priest. He wanted them to know he had done this. There was a certain ritual the priest had to go through when a person was healed of leprosy found in Leviticus 14. It had never been performed and everything about the ritual pointed to the cross.
Today we also see Jesus heal the son of a Gentile. It was always the plan to save the world.
We trust in You with all our hearts and will not lean on our own understanding. We will acknowledge You in all our ways and let you make our paths straight.

Monday, January 9, 2017

Mon.’s Devo - The Child of Promise is Born

Read: Genesis 20:1-22:24; Matthew 7:15-29; Psalm 9:1-12; Proverbs 2:16-22
Abraham had to grow in his faith. He started out asking his wife to lie so that he would not be harmed. God called him out on this and rescued Sarah from Abimelech’s harem. God turned it into a blessing for both Abraham and Abimelech.
Finally came the time for the promise to be born. Isaac’s birth brought new challenges as Ishmael had a hard time accepting a rival. Sarah convinced Abraham to send Ishmael and his mother away. As hard as that was for Abraham, he obeyed God and God supernaturally provided for them. Ishmael married an Egyptian and began his legacy.
God had one final test for Abraham. Would he trust Him with his inheritance? Yes, Abraham would. Right before he was to bring the knife down, God stopped him and provided a lamb in the thicket. This was the complete picture of salvation. Jesus was Isaac, who willingly laid down on the altar, totally trusting his father. Jesus was also the lamb in the thicket who died for us so that we could have life and be spared judgement.
In the meantime, Abraham’s brother, Nahor was building his own family and providing a bride for Isaac.
Jesus warned the listeners on the mountain to be wary of false prophets who say they are speaking God’s word. You can know a true prophet by his fruits. A prophet’s fruits are not only love, joy, peace, etc., but they are seeing what he says come true. A true prophet can be proven by the fulfillment of his words. If they happen like he says then his fruit is good. If the prophet himself is unrighteous and lives a sinful life, then eventually his lifestyle will affect his spiritual ears and his motives will become corrupt. A true prophet is humble and meek, yet mighty in the spirit.
Lord, today we cry out for mercy and truth in our nation and in our hearts. May we speak your words and see your glory revealed on the earth.

Sunday, January 8, 2017

Sun.’s Devo - The Final Judgment on the Earth

Read: Genesis 18:20-19:38; Matthew 6:25-7:14; Psalm 8: 1-9; Proverbs 2:6-15
The angel of the Lord came to tell Abraham what his intentions were for Sodom and Gomorrah. Amos 3:7 says, “Surely the Lord God will do nothing, but he revealeth his secret unto his servants the prophets.” God had heard the outcry against the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah and was coming to see himself. Abraham knew how wicked the city was and he also knew that Lot and his family lived there. He interceded with the Lord to save it if there were only 10 righteous people. When the Lord arrived he saw for himself that they were so evil, the couldn’t recognize the holiness of the Lord when he came. All they could think about was perversion and self-gratification.
There weren’t 10 righteous people, but, God did save three: Lot and his two daughters. The whole cities went up in fire and bituminous smoke and when Lot’s wife turned to lament, she too turned into a pillar of salt. Sodom means “to scorch; burnt (volcanic or bituminous). Gomorrah means “a ruined heap”. The destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah is a picture of the final judgment. God will preserve is own first, then pour down his wrath on the earth.
What happened next was the direct influence of living in such a perverted city. Lot’s two daughters took matters into their own hand and manipulated their father’s seed. They got him drunk, had sex with him and produced offspring to carry his line. Their son’s names were Moab and Ben-ammi which mean “what father?” and “son of my people”. I would have loved to have been a fly on the wall when they tried to explain to their father how they got pregnant. It doesn’t tell us if they ever told him.
Jesus tells us in Matthew that when we need something, all we have to do is ask. History would have been different if the daughters of Lot had just asked God to send their father another wife to carry on his seed.
Proverbs tells us about two different men. One of them receives God’s words and holds them close. This person will grow in knowledge and wisdom and stand in godly confidence against evil. The other man speaks lies, walks in darkness and evil. His ways are perverse and his path slippery.
O Lord or Lord, how excellent is thy name in all the earth!

Saturday, January 7, 2017

Sat.’s Devo - Patient Endurance

Read: Genesis 16: 1-18:19; Matthew 6:1-24; Psalm 7:1-17; Proverbs 2:1-5
What woman can’t identify with Sarai? Women, by nature are “getter-doners”. When we have a task, we are on it. Sarai knew the promise and also knew she wasn’t getting any younger. I think that God gives us trials that try our nature. It was natural to think that time was slipping away and something needed to be done. But God is not in time. Time is something he has control of and He is never late or panicked. He was certainly not in a hurry to bring the promise. Sarai was, so she manipulated the birth of Ishmael. God preserved and protected and even blessed Ishmael, but he was not to be the child God had promised.
God visited Abram again and changed his name from “Father of Nations” to Abraham - “Father of Many Nations”. He reiterated that the child would come from Sarai that very year. I think it is so amazing that God didn’t rebuke them for their impatience and didn’t give up on them and look for someone else to use. God chose them and was willing to suffer long to give them the legacy he had chosen for them. God doesn’t give up on us like we do. He is long-suffering, kind, patient and faithful.
Jesus gave them a model prayer that we call The Lord’s Prayer. It consisted of praise and worship, declaring the kingdom of God, praying for daily needs, forgiveness, and protection from the devil. These are all things we need to be constantly praying about. He put his sermon on the mount in a nutshell when he told them to be single minded and that you can only serve one master. When you set your eyes on the Lord and serve him with your whole heart, you will have need of nothing more.
Lord, help us to store up your commands within us and turn our heart to Your wisdom. Thank you for your patience with us. Help us to walk in the legacy you have prepared for us.

Friday, January 6, 2017

Fri.’s Devo - Abraham and Lot

Read: Genesis 13:5-15:21; Matthew 5:27-48; Psalm 6:1-10; Proverbs 1:29-33
Anytime there is growth, there is struggle. Abram and Lot were both growing and the struggle came between their herdsmen. To bring peace, they decided to split and go separate ways. Sometimes, it is necessary to do this even though it is painful at the time. Churches split, health clubs split, even families split. Hopefully, it brings about a peaceful ending. Lot took the best land with the cities near Sodom and Abram chose the plains of Jordan. When Lot had gone, God told Abram to look north, south, east and west because all the land was going to one day be his. He was to walk the land and where he walked would be his.
Meanwhile, Lot found himself in the middle of a battle between kings. All of these kings were part of evil kingdoms. Lot was taken captive and all his possessions were taken. Abram, with only 318 men went and recovered all that had been taken and brought Lot back. On the way back, Abram met Melchizedek, the high priest of the Lord. Abram recognized that Melchizedek was a powerful holy man so he gave him a tenth of his spoil and had communion with him. Once again, God spoke to him and told him that he had a great reward for him. Abram wondered what reward could be better than an inheritance and he had no children. God promised him that he would have a seed from his own body that would be his heir. Abram believed God and his faith was counted as righteousness to him. Then, God cut a covenant with Abram to seal the promise.
In Matthew, Jesus told the crowd how to really fulfill the law. It was not by just following the commands but by letting the spirit of the command change their hearts. He told them to love not only their neighbor, but their enemies, and to pray for those that persecuted them. Proverbs reminds us that we will eat the fruit of our ways. If we listen to God we will live in safety and be at rest without fear of harm.
Lord, we trust the changes you bring in our lives. We know that you are building an eternal building in us that will not fade away.

Thursday, January 5, 2017

Thurs.’s Devo - The Entrance of Death and Life

Read: Genesis 11:1-13:4; Matthew 5: 1-26; Psalm 5: 1-12; Proverbs 1:24-28
When we think of the early men who were on the earth during this time, we think of them as being ignorant and not well advanced but that was far from the truth. Adam used 100% of his brain and after the fall this started diminishing but they were still very smart. When they began to build the tower of Babel they were not just building a tower to heaven, they were opening a portal to heaven… and they were succeeding because they were all of one language and one mind. If the church would ever get this unified, nothing would stop us either. God had to come down to stop them. Man was not the way to heaven, Jesus was to be the only way into heaven and his time was not yet..
This event marked the entrance of Babylon on the earth which means “confusing”. It will be the same spirit that will be around till the end. It is the spirit that tries to exalt itself against the power of God. It is the Mystery Babylon that John talks about in Revelation.
God called Abram out of his family to go to a country God would show him and become a great nation where God would bless him, make his name great, and he would be a blessing to all the families on the earth. What a promise! That is exactly what God calls us to do when he calls us out of the world and into salvation. We are to be blessed, make a name on the earth for the Lord and be a blessing to the whole earth.
Abrams took Sarai as his wife and along with Sarai, he took Lot, his nephew with him. He pitched his tent between Bethel which means “house of God” and Hai which means a “heap”. They are the total opposite of each other. It was like he was standing between heaven and earth. There he built an altar and called upon the name of the Lord.
Sarah was one of a long list of barren women in the Bible. Barrenness has to do with not being able to bring forth life. They were barren until God touched them. They were to show us that the only way we can really bring forth life is to have God overshadow us and breath life in us. Once God brought the Word to Sarah, she would be able to bring forth life.
Matthew was the gospel written to the Jews to highlight that Jesus was the king of the Jews. Today we see him teaching the crowds about the kingdom of heaven. He taught that we are to be the light of the world, the salt of the earth, and blessed. He gave them the spirit of the law. At this time, the leaders of the law had so added to Moses’s law that they had made their new laws more important than the original Mosaic law. Jesus always took them back to to the law of God and taught them what the spirit of that law meant.
Lord, let us who put our trust in you rejoice; let us ever shout for joy, because you defend us . Let us be joyful in You. Your favor covers us with a shield.

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Wed.’s Devo - Rest

Read: Genesis 8:1-10:32; Matthew 4:12-25; Psalm 4:1-8; Proverbs 1:20-23
Noah’s name means “rest”. Jesus is to be our rest in the midst of all our storms and trials. When the storm was over, the ark rested on the mountains of Ararat. Ararat means “the curse reversed”. That is what resting in the Lord will do. It will reverse our curse. The curse on man and woman was toil and labor; Jesus came to bring us grace and rest. The ark rested in the 7th month on the 17th day of the 1st month. Seven means to rest and one means a new beginning. This year is a new year with a new beginning so let’s rest in the Lord to bring our curses into blessings.
When Noah exited the ark, the first thing he did was to sacrifice the extra birds God had told him to bring for that purpose. He was acknowledging his thankfulness and dependence on God. How incredibly awesome to think that you have been spared to begin a new posterity and legacy on the earth. But, just like Noah, our lives are just that important to God’s plan.
God gave Noah several promises. The first one was that
while the earth remained there would always be planting and reaping, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night. In other word, there will always be trials and God’s work to be done. The next one was that he would never destroy the earth by a flood. He set the rainbow in the sky as a reminder.
He then told Noah that before, the animals were tame and friendly but God was putting fear in their hearts toward man because now man could eat animals. Before, all they ate were plants. They were like a baby being taken off of baby food and now could eat meat. They were warned not to eat meat with blood still in it because the blood was its life. God was trying to teach them that blood was powerful and would one day either save them or condemn them.
Jesus began his preaching ministry preaching “repent, for the kingdom of heaven is near.” It was the same message John the Baptist was preaching. He chose two sets of brothers to be of his close followers: Peter and Andrew, James and John. They were all fishermen who were about to learn how to fish for a new kind of fish. What made them just leave their livelihood to follow Jesus? The Holy Spirit.
When a rabbi moved into his office, he alway chose followers to mentor. It was a great honor to be chosen for this and Jesus was a rabbi from heaven. He didn’t choose like the Pharisees and Sadducees. He didn’t get the men with the greatest degrees or greatest worldly esteem. He chose hearts that could be taught and melted into his image. Psalms says that the Lord has set apart the godly for himself. He tells us in Proverbs that if the religious leaders would have responded correctly to His rebuke, then He would have poured out his heart to them and made his thoughts known to them. But they chose to reject Jesus.
Lord, thank you for choosing us to carry your Word and grace into a world that desperately needs you. May we rest today in your presence.

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Tues.’s Devo - The Final Judgment

Read: Genesis 5:1-7:24; Matthew 3:7-4:11; Psalm 3:1-8; Proverbs 1:10-19
Yesterday we read that when Seth had Enos that men began to call upon the name of the Lord. When Enoch had Methuselah he began to walk with God. Methuselah’s name means “after this, it will come”. Lamech was Methuselah’s son whose name means “the harvest was full and complete.” God was ready to judge the earth because of Genesis 6: 1-2. The fallen angels came down to earth and took wives of the woman of the earth. Their off-spring were a cross between supernatural evil and man. They had polluted God’s blood line. Noah had kept his generation pure so God was able to save the human race through him. The story of Noah is the picture of the final judgement. Noah was told to build an ark to save the righteous people and carry them through the judgment. As soon as Methuselah died, Noah and his family entered the ark because it was time for judgement. Enoch walked with God and God took him. Enoch is the picture of those who are raptured.
The story of the flood is also a picture of baptism. The whole earth was being baptized with God’s water. In Matthew, John was sent to baptize the ones who would be able to receive God’s gift of his son. Even Jesus was baptized to be an example to them of what they needed to do. He was to baptize them with more than just water. He was coming to baptize them with fire and the Holy Spirit. It isn’t enough to just know the Word of God. The Pharisee’s and the Sadducee’s were great students of the Word but they lack the revelation of the Holy Spirit. We have to have both of them. Then we will be able to stand when the devil tempts us just as Jesus knew which Word to use against the devil.
Lord, help us to walk in righteousness today and in your Spirit of truth.

Monday, January 2, 2017

Mon.’s Devo - The Fall of Man and the Redemption of God

Read: Genesis 3-4:26; Matthew 2:13-3:6 Psalms 2:1-12; Proverbs 1:7-9
The serpent was the most crafty and cunning of the animals so Satan used him to prey on Eve. He convinced her that the fruit from the forbidden tree would actually help her and prosper her understanding. She tried it and when she didn’t die, she handed it to Adam who also ate of it. First Timothy 2:14 says that Adam was not deceived, but the woman was the one that transgressed. Eve stood for the church. The devil is out to deceive the church. Adam stood for Jesus who would never be deceived. He chose to take that apple to die with his wife so that one day he might die for her and redeem her back to righteousness. The Bride is the purpose that God made the earth. Jesus had no helpmeet suitable for him in heaven so God made the earth to form a bride for his son.
Notice that when God showed up and the blame game started with Adam, who blamed Eve, who blamed the serpent; God went first to the root - the serpent - and cursed him. He was cursed to crawl on his belly and eat dust (man is made of dust). There would always be enmity between him and the woman and his offspring and hers. So we see that the devil has off-spring and the church has off-spring. Her off-spring, Jesus would bruise Satan’s head, and the devil would one day bruise Jesus’ heel. That happened on the cross.
To the woman, God cursed her with labor in pregnancy. Her longing would be toward her husband and he would rule over her. To the man, God said that the ground would be cursed and his labor would be to provide for his family from a ground that would produce thorns and thistles.
They were then sent out of the garden of Eden and placed at the east of the garden. He protected the tree of life with Chreubims armed with a rotating flaming sword. God sacrificed animals and made Adam and Eve clothes to cover their nakedness - their sin.
They had offspring - Cain and Abel. Cain represented the off-spring of the serpent and Abel the offspring of God. Cain brought a sacrifice to God from a cursed ground where Abel brought God a blood sacrifice. Cain murdered Abel over the same jealousy that made the Pharisees want to murder Jesus. Only, Jesus wasn’t murdered, he laid down his life.
Cain was sent to wander in the land of Nod which means “vagrancy”. The definition of vagrancy is idle wandering without means or provision. There he started his legacy.
Meanwhile, Eve had another son to take the place of Abel. His name was Seth which means substitute. He was God’s plan of redemption for Eve’s line. When Seth had offspring, they began to call upon the name of the Lord. Eve had lost two sons but she needed a substitute only for Abel. Abel brought to God the accepted sacrifice and he stood for Jesus who was the accepted sacrifice. Seth was his substitute on the earth and Seth stands for Jesus also. His offspring was called Enos which means “mortal man”. We are the offspring of Jesus.
In Matthew, we read that when Jesus was born, Satan tried to kill him but God supernaturally protected Jesus through warning dreams to Joseph. They plotted in vain like Psalm said. God only laughs at man’s attempt to thwart his plans.
So Lord, we ask you for the nations as your inheritance and the ends of the earth as your possession. We take our refuge in You.

Sunday, January 1, 2017

Sun.’s Devo - Kingdom Authority

Last January first I shared with you that the word the Lord gave me for this year would be “mark”. It would be a year that God did some landmark things that we would mark on our calendar. As the year went by, I saw God do just this. In my own life I saw so many prayers for my family get answered. I saw them grow in amazing ways in their walk with the Lord. God gave us two new grandchildren, Ezra and Stella Jean. Ezra was named for the scribe and prophet in the Bible. The scribe writes down what the Lord is saying, he marks it on paper. Stella was named for grandmothers on both sides. I don’t know one of the grandmothers, but I do know my mother, who was a soul-winner and an intercessor. God is restoring prayer in a big way to the body which will usher in a great end-time harvest.
One of the most landmark miracles was in our government. We watched in awe as God shocked every news commentator and broke every poll prediction. God had already started his kingdom age but this put the ball in momentum like never before. We will see such positive things happen for the “Church” of Christ, but it will not come without a struggle. The devil is a wounded snake and he is not happy and he is not going down without a fight. We need to learn how to use the weapons of our warfare. We need to get authority in the spirit. We get that by using it. In other words, we pray for the impossible and we pray in faith. We act on that faith, no matter what we see. We keep acting on our faith and we keep fighting the devil. WE DON”T GIVE UP! That is how we gain authority. When we start seeing our faith manifest in answered prayers our faith grows and we get stronger and stronger and our authority grows. The words God gave me for 2017 is “Kingdom authority”. We are going to learn how to live as sons and daughters of the King of Kings. We are going to learn how to bring heaven down to earth. Many people will have dreams of things in heaven that they will develop and sell here on earth. It will prosper them and in turn they will use that money to further the kingdom.
We are going to see the reversal of many evil laws and ideoligies that have operated in our country. Christians are going to rise up and take the lead in every area of life.
We are going to walk without fear with such authority, it will make the devils tremble. We are going to be unstoppable in what God tells us to do. We are going to be the head and not the tail. We are going to be the ones setting the styles, making the deals, prospering, and being the example everyone wants to be like. I don’t say that arrogantly, it is just what happens when the king’s children come out of the palace and walk the streets. Everyone looks at them and wants what they have. It is going to be easier and easier to share the gospel because we are actually going to look like we have something people want to have. The church is coming alive and taking the world by force! I could shout! We win!
For the last few years I went through the Bible chronologically but this year I’m going back to my One Year Bible so we will be mixing the Old with the New. I will be using several translations at times but mainly the King James. So here is today’s reading:
Read: Genesis 1:1-2:25; Matthew 1:1-3:12; Psalm 1:1-6; Proverbs 1:1-6
Wow! I could spend weeks just in Genesis 1, so I’m going to give you a blitz of all of this. From the very start, God gave us a peek into his spiritual realm. Everything he made describes him and his ways. The first thing God did was to bring light to a dark world. In Genesis, this light was brought by God’s Word, in Matthew it was brought by Jesus, in Psalms it is brought by the righteous man, in Proverbs it is brought by wisdom. It’s source is always God and his son, Jesus.
God divides light from darkness on the second day. God told Joseph to take Jesus out of Bethlehem because the darkness was coming to destroy him. God calls us to walk away from the counsel of the wicked and to delight in the law of the Lord. We are to listen to the wise to understand the mysteries of God.
On the third day, God brought grass and herbs which yielded fruit after the kind of seed they had. Mary carried the very seed of God and we do too so our fruit should conform to the seed inside us. We are to be a tree planted by streams of water which yield its fruit in the proper season. The water is the water of the Word inspired by the Spirit of God. Wisdom will allow us to understand what we read.
On the fourth day, God made the sun, moon, and stars. God is the sun, the church is the moon and the stars are individual saints. Jesus came bringing the light, we should reflect that light which will make us shine as individual stars where we are. We are to prosper wherever we are and do what is right and just and fair.
On the fifth day, God made creatures in the heavens and under the earth in the seas. This is a picture of the spiritual realm, both of them. We see both of these realms in the early life of Jesus. The dark world wanted to kill him right away. The wicked are like the chaff that the wind blows. They will not stand in the judgment.
On the sixth day, God created man and beast. He made man in his image and gave him dominion over the two spiritual realms. He gave him the seed and the fruit of that seed for his food. It was to be his meat. Mary was impregnated by the Holy Spirit with the seed of God. It brought forth Jesus. We have been impregnated with this same seed. We have the same power in us that Jesus had in him because he is the seed in us.
On the seventh day, God rested and we can enter into that rest whenever we want to. It just means seeing our lives from God’s perspective. He has already won the battles in our lives and we are seated with him in heavenly places.
Adam was the very picture of Jesus who needed a helpmeet. Jesus needed a bride. Adam was put to sleep so that Eve could come from his rib. Jesus was put to sleep on the cross to bring forth the Bride from his side.
Lord, open our eyes to see the bigger picture of your plan. We lay down our cares and worries of tomorrow and gladly trust in your unfailing love.