Friday, March 31, 2017

Fri.’s Devo - Rules of the Kingdom

Read: Deuteronomy 16:1-17:20; Luke 9:7-27; Psalm 72:1-20; Proverbs 12:8-9
The people were to celebrate Passover in the month of Abib. Abib was the 7th month on the civil calendar but the first on the religious calendar. Remember in Exodus 12:2 God gave them a new first month and this was it. Fifty days after Passover, the people were to celebrate the Feast of Weeks or Pentecost. Passover and Pentecost happened in the spring during the wheat harvest. This was to represent the revival of souls into the kingdom. In the fall, they harvested the grapes and the olives. This also represents a harvest into the kingdom. During this harvest they were to celebrate the Feast of Tabernacles. Three times a year, the men were to come to Jerusalem to present their offerings and celebrate before the Lord: Unleavened Bread, Pentecost, and Tabernacles.
Judges and leaders were to rule over the towns to make sure the people obeyed God’s laws and treated each other fairly. If they decided to set a king over themselves then the king must be a fellow Israelite. He must not accumulate a lot of horses from Egypt, or take many wives, or accumulate large amount of silver and gold. He was to write all the laws down by hand and keep it and read it over and over so that he would learn to fear God and obey him. If he did all these things he would reign a long time over Israel.
In Luke, Herod heard about all the things Jesus was doing and wondered if John the Baptist hadn’t risen from the dead. He tried to see Jesus.
Meanwhile, the disciples had come back from going out and ministering and seeing miracles happen at their own hand. Jesus took them to Bethsaida to rest but the crowd found out and met them there. Jesus was moved to see them and taught the people about the kingdom of God. He spoke all day and when the disciples counseled Jesus to send them home so they could eat, Jesus told them to feed them. This was not what the disciples expected to hear. They only had five loaves of bread and two fish but there were five thousand people to feed.
We all know the story. Jesus fed them and there were 12 baskets of food left over. Twelve stands for government - God’s government. The lessons was: in God’s government there is always more than enough.
After the day was over, Jesus asked his disciples who others thought he was, then he asked them who they thought he was. Peter said, “You are the Christ the Son of God.” Then Jesus told them what was about to happen. He would be turned over to the leaders of the religious order, be killed and then raise to life on the third day. He told them that denying yourself was the way to God’s kingdom.
As you read Psalm 72, I challenge you to put our president’s name in place of the king. Through God, we pray that he does all this for God’s people.
Lord, may we study to know Your promises and your laws that we follow you in wisdom and passion.

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Thurs.’s Devo - God’s Government

Read: Deuteronomy 13:1-15:23; Luke 8:40-9:6; Psalm 71:1-24: Proverb 12:5-7
God warned his children of false prophets who performed miracles. They were a test to see if the people loved the Lord with all their hearts. If anyone, even someone one in their own house tried to persuade them to worship other gods, they were to report them and have them stoned. They, themselves were to throw the first stone.
What do both of these things mean to us now? There are many people in the world with the ability to do miracles who don’t claim Jesus. We can’t use their miracles as signs that they are true. We have to look at the source. If the source is wrong and doesn’t come through Jesus, then we are to speak out against it. Stoning has to do with throwing words at a target. If someone who is close to us is being deceived it is up to us to go to them and teach them the truth. What they do to that truth is up to them. Hopefully the stone or Word we give them will kill their false thoughts.
They were not to cut themselves or shave the front of their heads for the dead. It was a common practice of idolaters, in their worship and at funerals, to make incisions on their faces and other parts of their bodies with their finger nails or sharp instruments. (We see that in 1 Kings 18:28 with the worshippers of Baal.) They also made a large bare space between their eyebrows (Jeremiah 16:6). These degrading practices of hopeless sorrow were not to be practiced by God’s people. We are not to be those who mourn without hope. We know that we will one day see our loved one and that they are in a much better place.
In the things God told them not to eat, there were sanitary, dietary, and spiritual reasons.
God took careful attention to the Levite and the poor. Neither were to be neglected, but those that had were to give to those who had need. Servants and slaves were to be released during the year of jubilee. If they chose to stay the master would take an awl and pierce the servants ear into the door and he would be his for life. This is a picture of the cross. The door is Jesus, and this man is being pierced to Jesus making him a part of the family.
In Luke, we have a 12 year old who is dying and a woman who has been bleeding for 12 years. Twelve stands for government and these two women stand for the picture of the spiritual condition of Israel. They were bleeding and dying with no hope. The young girl died and Jesus resurrected her just as the old government had to die and be resurrected in the power of God. Jesus healed both of them showing that salvation had come to their nation to heal and restore. Jesus then called the 12 together and gave them authority to drive out all demons and cure diseases and sent them out to preach the kingdom of God and to heal the sick. This was the picture of the government Jesus was bringing.
Lord, increase our discernment of right and wrong and increase our compassion for the poor and the ministers of God. Lord, bring in your government of the kingdom.

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Wed.’s Devo - Remember God’s Promises

Read: Deuteronomy 11:1-12:32; Luke 8:22-39; Psalm 70:1-5; Proverbs 12:4
Moses was still talking to the people and he is calling them to remember all the signs and wonders God did and they saw with their own eyes even though they were children. They were to teach these things to their children who wouldn’t have witnessed them.
The land God had for them would not be like Egypt where they had to carry water to their crops from the Nile. This land would be watered from heaven and the land would grow produce year round. This was a land that God cares for continually from the beginning of the year to its end.
God warned them of following the gods of the land. If they did, he would shut the heavens and not let it rain. Rain is a symbol of God’s favor and blessing. They were to bind the word of God around their hearts, their hands and their foreheads. The Pharisees would take this literal and make phylacteries that they strategically bound around their arm and head… but most of them forgot about their heart. God was really saying that their hearts, deeds and mind (body, soul and spirit) were to be totally given to Him and following his Word. They were also to write the words of God on their doorposts of their house and on their gates. They do these with these little boxes that have scripture in them called mezuzah’s. Doors and gates represent openings into our lives. Everything that enters into our lives needs to be filtered through the Word of God.
God set before them the curse and the blessing. The curse was read from Mt. Ebal which means “bald” and the blessings were read from Mt. Gerizim which means “rocky”. Rocks stand for promises.
In Genesis, Adam was told to eat leafy green plants. After the flood, Noah was told he could add to his diet clean meat. Now, God is telling them they can eat any meat, clean or unclean as long as they drained the blood from it. Man was maturing in his walk on the earth. Crossing over the Jordan was to cross into the spirit where God had “meat” which they would need for spiritual warfare against the giants in the land.
Jesus told his disciples across the lake to the place where they would fight the demons in a man. The demons stirred up the lake to keep them from arriving. Jesus calmed the storm and called the demons out of the man. This man’s demons were the principalities over that whole region. The man was so changed that it scared the people and they told Jesus to leave. The man wanted to go with Jesus but Jesus sent him back to the town to tell the people all about what had happened to him.
Lord, help us to remember the things you have done for us and stand upon the promises and not the curses. May we eat your Word and bear its fruit.

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Tues.’s Devo - Taking the Land and Growing the Seed

Read: Deuteronomy 9:1-10:22; Luke 8:4-21; Psalm 69:19-36; Proverbs 12:2-3
God told the children of Israel about the nations they would meet when they crossed the Jordan. These nations would be stronger than them with walls up to heaven. God promised to go before them as a consuming fire. He made sure they knew that it wasn’t because of their righteousness or integrity that He was doing this but it was because of the wickedness of the nations they were dispossessing. God reminded them that from day one they had been rebellious and angered him: at Sinai, Taberah, Massah, Kibroth Hattaavah, and Kadesh Barnea. Many times it was Moses that interceded for the people and kept the Lord from destroying them completely. Moses laid before them their whole history which was full of rebellion and the long-suffering of the Lord. Moses told them how God chose them out of all the people of the earth to set his affection on and now it was time to possess the land he had given them in spite of themselves.
His last instructions were to fear God, walk in his ways, love him and serve him with all their heart and soul and to observe the Lord’s laws. To do this they needed to circumcise their hearts and stop being stiff-necked.
In Luke, Jesus told the parable of all parables about the seed and the sower. The seed was the Word of God and the soil was the heart of man. The condition of the heart controlled the harvest of the seed. Those with humble hearts would receive the secrets of the kingdom of God. Jesus told them to consider carefully how they listened. All of this constituted how much revelation God gives and how much of it we will be able to understand. Not only do we need to understand the Word, but we have to live it.
Lord, help us to be rooted in your Word. Help us to have humble hearts to receive your revelation and truth.

Monday, March 27, 2017

Mon.’s Devo - True Blessings

Read: Deuteronomy 7:1-8:20; Luke 7:36-8:3; Psalm 69:1-18; Proverbs 12:1
God is always looking ahead to the future. He knew there would come a time that they drove out their enemies out of the land. He wanted them to stay clean and free so he gave them these instructions. First, they must destroy their enemies totally. They were not to make any treaty with them or show them any mercy. They were not to intermarry with them or give their daughter to their sons or take they daughters for their sons or else they would turn them to worship other gods and the Lord’s anger would burn against them. They were to break down their altars and smash their sacred stones, cut down and burn their idols in the fire.
This shows us how God feels about sin. Our enemies are not so obvious. They are not clothed in armor or visible. They are the attitudes of our heart, the fears in our head, the habits we have identified as “that’s just how I am”. That is a wrong concept - not Biblical. We can have the mind of Christ which is not afraid, envious, ashamed, judgmental, hateful, unkind, selfish or haughty. We can…if we choose to.
God gave them the blessings of paying attention to God’s laws and loving Him with all their hearts. The blessings are amazing: God’s love, fruitfulness, prosperity and divine health. The land God was giving them was good: plenty of water, wheat, barley, vines and fig trees, pomegranates, olive oil and honey; a land where there was no lack. In God, there is no lack!
In Luke, we see Jesus eating at the home of a rich Pharisee named Simon. While he was there, a woman with a bad reputation came and anointed Jesus feet with myrrh. Simon judged Jesus in his heart thinking that if he was a prophet he should know that she was a sinner. Jesus, who knew all hearts rebuked him for thinking that way and tried to show him a better way to think. This woman had many sins to be forgiven which made her love Jesus all the more. Simon, who thought he had no sins was not able to love.
I don’t want you to miss the few verses in chapter 8 that tell us the three women who supported Jesus ministry with their money. One was Mary Magdalene who had been possessed with 7 devils; one was the wife of Herod’s manager, and one was
a lady named Susanna. These are the only people mentioned who supported Jesus’ ministry with monetary means.
Lord, help us to live in your blessings and understand that the greatest blessing cannot be measured in monetary means.

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Sun.’s Devo - Don’t Forget

Read: Duet. 5:1-6:25; Luke 7:11-35; Psalms 68:19-35; Proverbs 11:29-31
Moses read again to the people the ten commandments and told them how they came about. None of these people except Joshua and Caleb and Moses were there in person when God gave the law on Mt. Sinai. They were to teach them to their children so that everything would go well with them when they came into the land. He exhorted them to love God with all their heart, soul and strength. They were to talk about the Lord’s laws when they sat at home, when they walked along the road and when they lay down and rose up. That means…all day. They were to write them on the doorframes of their houses and on their gates.
When they settled in the land and became prosperous they were not to forget the Lord and his laws or God would burn with jealousy and punish them.
In Luke, Jesus met a funeral party leaving the city for the grave. The boy who died was a widow’s only son and Jesus had compassion on her. He brought the man back to life and gave him back to his mother. This got the attention of many and some of these were John the Baptists disciples. John sent them to Jesus to ask if he was the Messiah when John had already proclaimed him to be. Jesus discerned John’s real question and answered it. John’s read question was, “why have you not set me free from my prison?” since that was one of the things the Messiah was prophesied to do. Jesus instead told his disciples to notice the things he was doing and the prophecies he was fulfilling and not to be offended if he didn’t do what he wanted him to do. This is such a good word to me. I find myself upset with God because he doesn’t fulfill a certain promise in his Word when he has fulfilled so many others. I need to be thankful for what he has done and leave the rest to him.
Jesus then addressed the crowd about John. He asked them why they went all the way out in the wilderness to see John. The people that had repented under John’s ministry would be able to accept Jesus’, but the Pharisees who weren’t baptized under John and didn’t accept John, would not be able to accept Jesus. Only the children of God can have Godly wisdom.
Lord, I repent of grumbling and complaining about your timing and the way you are moving in my life. I am grateful for all the wonderful ways you have provided and kept us in You. Help me to see your wisdom. Help us to remember all the things you have done for us.

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Sat.’s Devo - Good Fruit

Read: Dueteronomy 4:1-49; Luke 6:39-7:10; Psalm 68:1-18; Proverbs 11:28
Mose gives his last speech to the children of Israel. God told the people not to add to his commandments or subtract from them. By the time Jesus came to earth, they had added so much of their own laws to God’s law that God’s laws were no longer important. Their own laws called the Talmud had taken priority over the Mosaic law. He also exhorts the people to follow the laws God because they will show them wisdom and understanding. He reminds them that no other nation is so great as to have their gods near them the way God was to them. He hears every prayer they pray. Moses told them it was their job to teach what they had seen and learned about God to their children so that they would walk with Him.
He told them that if they ever strayed from Him all they had to do was turn and seek him again and he would be found of them. He also told them that they were to drive out a people that are much stronger than them. They would do that with God’s help and then they would receive their inheritance. Many of us are up against enemies that are much stronger than us. Our nation is fighting enemies that are much stronger than us, but they are not too strong for the Lord. That is why we pray and believe and put our trust in God. Nothing is impossible to Him.
Two of the enemies that the children of Israel faced were Sihon king of the Amorites and Og, King of Bashan. Those kings represented destructive words and shame. They defeated them both. They are still enemies we must defeat on a daily basis.
Jesus taught that if we allow Him to train us in his Word we will be like Him. When we build our lives upon Jesus, the storms of life and the trials will not blow us away but we will stand strong.
Jesus taught about how a good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart. This will be evident by his conversation. Next, he healed a centurion’s servant whom the centurion highly valued. This centurion was an example of a good tree that bore good fruit. He humbled himself before Jesus and realized Jesus’ authority with God. He got his request.
Lord, help us to not fall to the enemies of destructive words and shame. May our hearts be fertile ground that bears good fruit.

Friday, March 24, 2017

Fri.’s Devo - The Spirit Brings Life

Read: Deuteronomy 2:1-3:29; Luke 6:12-38; Psalm 67:1-7; Proverbs 11:27
When God is ready to move us into our promised land he is ready. In today’s reading God said, “you have made your way around this hill country long enough.” I sometimes feel that way about the place I have been in. I have been in the wilderness long enough.
God gave them boundaries to live in. They were not to take land from people he did not tell them to. God even told them to pay Esau to go through their country. He told them whose land they could have and whose they couldn’t. He gave the history of all the people who had lived there. They were all nations stronger than them but God had began to put terror and fear of his people in the hearts of all the nations on the earth. We need the world to hear the reports of what God has done for us and be afraid and run.
Moses begged the Lord to let him go over the Jordan into the land He had promised but God would not listen to Moses. He told him “that is enough”. There are times when God says “no” and he will not change his mind. If anyone could get God to change his mind, I would think it would be Moses. Look at all Moses had done. But, God’s ways are perfect. Moses stood for the law and the law cannot cross over into the spirit. The law brings death, but the spirit brings life.
Jesus didn’t make any decision on his own. I imagine he had met many choice men do be his disciples, but he wanted to make sure he choses God’s men. He spent the night praying over his decision and when he got God’s heart, he acted.
Jesus came preaching a different gospel from that of the Pharisees. They didn’t believe in humility, forgiveness, or grace. Their religion was one of position, selfishness, and law.
Lord, may we learn your ways and choose grace and spirit.

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Thur.s’ Devo - Accepting the New

Read: Numbers 36:1 - Dueteronomy 1:46; Luke 5:29-11; Psalm 66:1-20; Proverbs 11:24-26
First, Moses decided a question about the daughters of Zelophehad who received inheritance. What would happen to their land if they married outside their tribe? The answer was simple: they must marry within their tribe, so they did. That was easy because they obeyed. I wonder how easy our problems would be fixed if we just obeyed.
It had now been 40 years since the children of Israel had disobeyed by not believing the reports of Joshua and Caleb. Moses met with them and gave them a lesson of their history because he did not want them to repeat it.
In Luke, tax collectors where considered a publican. The Pharisees were prohibited from eating a publican’s food and were not allowed to invite a publican to their table and now Jesus was not only eating Levi’s food but doing at Levi’s table. They only people the tax-collectors could hang out with were other tax collectors and prostitutes because they had prostituted themselves to money and sold out their own people. So, when Jesus chose Levi (Matthew) as one of his disciples and actually went to his house and ate with his friends, the Pharisees were appalled. Jesus explained that these were the people who needed him so he went to them. He came to call sinners to righteousness. This flew in the face of the Pharisees because their were not allowed to discuss the laws of purification in the presence of a sinner because they didn’t want the sinner to be purified. They were also not permitted to try to be a good example to a sinner lest they repent. What a different gospel Jesus was bringing.
Then Jesus referred to himself as the bridegroom and he gave them the parable about the old patch on a new garment. and new wine being poured into old wineskins. The Pharisees were the old patch and the old wineskins that wouldn’t change to accept the new gospel Jesus was bringing.
When the disciples ate grain on the Sabbath, the Pharisees complained. Jesus reminded them of what David did when he was hungry on the Sabbath. He ate the shewbread that was set aside only for the priest. Jesus was trying to show them that following God was not about religious rituals but walking in obedience by the Spirit. Then Jesus proclaimed himself to be the Lord of the Sabbath. He proved it by healing a man’s shriveled hand in the synagogue in front of everyone. This made the Pharisees furious. They started trying to come up with a plan to stop Jesus.
Lord, help us to walk in Your Spirit today and obey your voice.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Wed.s’ Devo - Dispossess Your Enemies

Read: Numbers 33:40-35:34; Luke 5:12-28; Psalm 65:1-13; Proverbs 11:23
Moses gives us a detailed map of their journey. God told them when they passed over the Jordan they were to drive out all the inhabitants of the land and destroy all their pictures, their molten images and totally destroy all their places where they practiced idolatry. Their pictures were their carvings in the rock and in the walls. They were to “dispossess” the inhabitants of the land. In other words, they were to drive them out and take their land as their inheritance because the land is the Lord’s and he gave it to Israel.
That is exactly what we are to do with the inhabitants of our land. We are born with fear, hate, sin, etc. We inherit the sins of our family and their prejudices but when we give our lives to Jesus, then we have to dispossess our bodies, minds and spirits. We have to change wrong mindsets and put on the mind of Christ. If we don’t, those wrong mindsets will remain and be pricks in our eyes and thorns in our sides and will vex us. A prick in the eye in the Hebrew means a brier as a hedge. It will keep us from seeing the big picture; we will only see the immediate and not through God’ eyes. A thorn in the side is an adversary that imbeds itself in us. Vex means an enemy that oppresses us, shuts us up and binds us up.
God told the Israelites if they didn’t drive out their enemies, He would do to them as he thought to do to their enemies. They would receive what was meant for the enemy. That does not sound good!
Cities of refuge are one of my favorite topics but I don’t have room to explain it in detail. It was a place where innocent people who were accused of murder could flee. The accused would present his case to the Levites at the gate and if they believed his account, he would be free to live there safely until the death of the high priest. Then he would be released to go back to his home.
In Luke, Jesus healed a Jew who had leprosy. This was one of the signs that the priests had decided was a Messianic miracle - one only the Messiah would be able to do. Jesus told the man to go show himself to the priest. Jesus was trying to show the religious leaders that he was in fact the Messiah. Instead, when Jesus pronounced a man’s sins were forgiven they accused him of blasphemy. They just didn’t know what to do with the things that Jesus did. When Jesus healed the paralytic they said, “we have seen strange things to day.” If the stuck around, they saw even stranger things.
Lord, help us to dispossess our selves and take our place in the kingdom. Help us to recognize our enemies and make them flee from us. Thank you that you are our city of refuge and no devil can accuse us of sin. We are safe in your city.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Tues.’s Devo - Crossing the Jordan

Read: Numbers 32:1-33:39; Luke 4:31-5:11; Psalm 64:1-10; Proverbs 11:22
I don’t know what to think about Reuben and Gad’s request; I have so many questions. Had they seen their land yet or were they afraid to take a chance when they had what they wanted already? The fact that God was angry at their decision makes me think that they were settling for what they knew would work instead of putting their trust in the land God had chosen for them. When they promised to help everyone else get their land, God’s heart was appeased but I wonder if things would have been different if they had gone on across the Jordan to their land. God does give us free will, but his plan is always the best. It might not always be the easiest but there is benefit in that also.
I look at the Red Sea as the passage into salvation. The wilderness is that testing time where you grow and mature. The Jordan River is the passage into the spirit-filled life. Many Christians are content to spend their lives in the wilderness and never cross over into the spirit-led life. Over the Jordan is where the promises of God are fulfilled. That is where spiritual warfare is fought and won. That is the land of milk and honey; joy and spirit; battles and victories.
Jesus’ ministry was first to the Jews so that is where he ministered at first. When he cast out a demon from a man in the synagogue, word spread very quickly. Next he rebuked a fever from Simon’s mother-in-law. Many realized that Jesus was the Christ but Jesus told them not to announce that publicly. When they begged him to stay there, Jesus explained that he had to go to other cities also. He preached in the synagogues of Galilee to the Jew first.
Jesus taught by using natural things and turning them into super-natural situations. He wanted to talk about his mission of saving souls so he used fish to stand for the souls. He showed them that where once there was no salvation, now many would be saved. Simon, who had seen Jesus heal his mother-in-law, now saw how Jesus could command nature. Surely this was the Messiah. He forsook everything and followed Jesus.
Lord, we want to be like Simon and forsake all and follow You. We want to cross over the Jordan into the promised land and walk in Your Spirit.

Monday, March 20, 2017

Mon.’s Devo - Through Water and Fire

Read: Numbers 30:1-31:54; Luke 4:1-30; Psalm 63:1-11; Proverbs 11:20-21
God gave the women coverings called husbands. I understand this passage because I had to use it once. I had gone to a meeting outside my church and heard a couple speak. They begged for support and I was full of compassion and probably guilt and wanted to help them. It was obvious that they were struggling financially. I pledged a certain amount to give them every month. We were struggling financially also. When I went home and told Dave, he was not so full of compassion. He told me we couldn’t pay that pledge so I had to go back the next night and tell them why I had to remove my pledge. They couldn’t refute the Bible and they were gracious to me but it was a very humbling experience for me. It did help me to understand why God gave it to us. Dave is my balancer and my support. He was my rescuer in that incident.
God told Moses to go against the Midianites who had done everything they could to curse Israel. When Balaam was not allowed to curse Israel he sought another way to curse them…from within. He caused them to enter into idolatry with the women of Midian. God was fed up with it and sent Moses to defeat the Midianites. Moses sent 12,000 men to fight them with the priests and the holy instruments and trumpets. They slew all the males and the five kings of Midian but kept the females and children alive. Wasn’t it the women who led them away from God and caused a plague that killed 24,000 of them? So they had to go through their captives and kill all the male children and every woman who were not virgins. Then they had to purify themselves and all the spoils of war with fire and then with water. God was giving them a way to rid all their spoils of any disease or infections so it wouldn’t enter the camp.
Then they could divide the spoil and give the Levites their part.
In Luke, we have Jesus’ temptations. This was not the only times Jesus was tempted because it says that after this time the devil left him for a season. Jesus was about to start his ministry and God had put his seal upon him at his baptism of water but now he had to go through the baptism of fire. The devil tried to tempt Jesus with earthly things but Jesus saw right through that and went for the spiritual things. Bread was natural, the Word of God was life. The kingdoms of the world were natural but to worship the Lord was worth far more. Proving himself was self-preserving but to tempt the Lord who was the giver of life was totally wrong. Jesus gained authority by not giving into these temptations. He returned from 40 days of not eating or drinking full of the power of the Spirit.
When Jesus began his ministry he was loved and esteemed highly by all who heard him. But he didn’t come for that. He came to test men’s hearts and bring truth. It didn’t take long to make people offended in him. The people in his own home town wanted to stone him after one short sermon.
Lord, help us to walk in boldness and authority, unmoved by the opinions of others.

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Sun.’s Devo - Our Offerings

Read: Numbers 28:16-29:40; Luke 3:23-38; Psalm 62:1-12; Proverbs 11:18-19
Drink offerings and offerings by fire are continuous themes throughout the Bible. Oil and wine are also themes we see. The water stands for humanity, life, baptism, cleansing and repentance. Fire stood for sanctification, refining, zeal and judgment. Oil stood for the anointing of the Holy Spirit and wine stood for the blood of Jesus, joy, and the new covenant. They were constantly making these offerings… on the Sabbath, the first of the month, at feasts and some daily. This is reminding us that at the beginning of any thing we are to offer ourselves anew to the Lord. Sometimes, I find myself having to do this several times a day.
God took his feasts very seriously. I have explained their significance several times before but it is amazing how many times the Bible goes over the feasts and what to do on them. I talked to a man this past week who gave me a booklet explaining how everything is pointing toward Jesus coming back this Roshashana. I tried to tell him that though I found this authors research fascinating, Jesus was not coming back this year. We still have to learn to rule and reign on the earth as sons of God doing the works of Jesus. Do not be deceived about the times we are living in. We are living in the Kingdom age where heaven is coming down to earth. We are not going up to heaven…yet.
Notice that on the feast of Trumpets (the feast of Jesus’ return and the rapture) there is an offering every day for seven days. After Jesus returns, many will be offering sacrifices to the Lord and repenting of their sins. It will be a time of great harvest.
In Luke we have Joseph’s genealogy. He was from the tribe of Judah which was the kingly tribe. Mary was from the tribe of Levi making Jesus both a priest and a king. Luke traces Joseph’s line back to Adam who was the son of God. Adam was a type of Jesus who was the son of God.
Lord, we join with the Psalmist in saying our soul waits upon You. You are our rock and our salvation and we offer ourselves to You today to use however You see fit. We trust in You and we will not be moved.

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Sat.’s Devo - Our Inheritance

Read: Numbers 26:52-28:15; Luke 3:1-22; Psalm 61:1-8; Proverbs 11:16-17
I forget that Moses was a Levite. His father’s name was Amram which means “high people”. His mother’s name was Jochebed which means “Jehovah-glorified”. These are descriptions of the Levites. They were people that God chose to lift up above the people as teachers and leaders that would glorify Him.
The daughters of Zelophehad came to present their cause before Moses. Their father had died in the wilderness and had no sons so they didn’t want their father’s inheritance to be lost. God told him to give them their father’s inheritance. This should be an encouragement to all the single and divorced women. God has an inheritance for you.
Then, God told Moses to go up on mount Abarim and look at the land that God had promised to give the children of Israel. Moses would be able to see the promise from afar and get a glimpse of what he had worked for over 40 years to accomplish. His posterity would take his mantle and continue his destiny on the other side of the Jordan. Once he saw it, God would gather him to his people as he did Aaron. That means that he would meet his ancestors in Sheol.
This is how God works in families. Each family has a destiny and a purpose that they are to carry forth. Their span of life is their baton that they carry to mark their part of the race. It will continue until Jesus comes back.
In Luke, we see all the players in place. The political leaders were Tiberius Caesar, Pontius Pilate, Herod, and Philip (Herod’s brother). The high priests were Annas and Caiaphas. God’s prophet was John the Baptist. All through the ages the prophets were usually not popular with the political or religious leaders so they had to live in the deserts and the hills. They would make calls to the cities only on assignment from God. Jerusalem was responsible for killing many of the prophets so it is no wonder that they killed John the Baptist also.
Another thing about prophets… they were bold and fearless. John hit the scene screaming, “You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the coming wrath!” That explains their lack of popularity with the religious leaders. John the Baptist and Jesus only spoke offensively to the religious leaders because they were responsible for the people’s spiritual awareness and they had failed miserably and used their office to benefit only themselves. John addressed sin because he came to preach repentance from sin. He was paving the way for Jesus to bring the salvation that comes after repentance.
Lord, our inheritance is in You. You are our shelter and our strong tower from the enemy. Hide us in your tabernacle. Thank you for our heritage. Preserve us in your mercy and truth.

Friday, March 17, 2017

Fri.’s Devo - Being About the Lord’s Business

Read: Numbers 26:1-51; Luke 2:36-52; Psalm 60:1-12; Proverbs 11:15
After God cleansed the people by destroying all who participated in idolatry, he told Moses to count the people. In the King James it reads, “take the sum”. That is a term that means to shake the head. It reminds me of threshing the wheat to let the wind drive away the chaff and the good part remains. These people were the grain that remained. These were also just a count of war-aged men. There were 601,730.
It made a special effort to let us know that though Korah and his followers died because of their rebellion in the earthquake, their children remained and continued their line. What happened to Korah and his followers stood as a warning sign of what happens when people oppose God’s anointed. We could use a reminder of that in our country.
Mary and Joseph did all the requirements of the law concerning having a first-born son and as they were leaving the temple, they just happened to run into Anna, the prophetess. She had married a man who died 7 years after their wedding date. She had remained in the temple praying and fasting for the redemption of Jerusalem since then and was now was 84 years of age. She came face to face with the redeemer of the world and gave thanks.
We don’t hear any more about Jesus till his famous line in the temple, “Why were you searching for me? Didn’t you know I had to be about my Father’s business.” I have blogged about this before so I won’t repeat it but this became Jesus motto. He was born to be about his Father’s business which was redeeming the world. They had looked for him for three days and finally found him. When Jesus died, he was “lost” for three days, then appeared to his disciples and calmed their fears.
Lord, we pray with the Psalmist: Give us aid against the enemy. With You we will gain the victory and you will trample down our enemies. Help us to be about your business today.

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Thurs.’s Devo The Consequence of Idolatry

Read: Numbers 24:1-25:18; Luke 2:1-35; Psalm 59:1-17; Proverbs 11:14
I love that an enchanter who hated Israel had to give such a beautiful prophecy over Israel. He not only blessed Israel but he cursed Israel’s enemies. Balaam lost honor and riches for obeying God, but he had no choice. He even prophesied the coming of Jesus as a Star out of Jacob and a Scepter that would rise out of Israel.
God saved Israel from being cursed yet Israel cursed themselves by committing idolatry with the daughters of Moab. Worshipping Baal meant participating in all sorts of sexual perversions with temple prostitutes. God became very angry and a plague broke out among the people. When an Israelite brought one of these women into the camp, Phinehas, the priest ran and speared the man and women in the act of their perversion. His zeal for the Lord stopped the plague but not before twenty-four thousand people were killed. Zimri was the name of the man killed. His name means “musical; my psalm” so he was a musician who wrote psalms to the Lord. The woman’s name was Cozbi which means “false”. Her father’s name was Zur which means a rock. So that means that their doctrine was false.
They were Midianites which means “contention and strife”.
The enemies that the Israelites faced are the same spirits and enemies that we face. We cannot afford to make friends with strife and contention. This spirit is trying to consume our land and we have to raise up the banner of love and kindness to defeat it. We also have to war against our enemies.
In Luke, Jesus is born. The heavens proclaimed his arrival to shepherds who were watching over temple sheep. These sheep would be sacrificed for the sins of the people. How fitting. Since he is the first born he is to be presented to the Lord. While they were at the temple, there was a prophet who was there because God had told him to go there that day. When Mary and Joseph came with Jesus, he took Jesus in his arms and prophesied over him with joy. He knew that this baby was the salvation for the world. He would be the light to lighten the Gentiles and the glory of Israel. He would reveal the thoughts of man.
Last night one of our cars was broken into and my daughter-in-law’s purse was stolen. Her purse and all its belonging was strewn all over the street. Psalm 59 has new meaning today.
Lord, I will sing of your power and your mercy that comes in the morning. You are our defense and and refuge in the day of trouble.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Wed.’s Devo - God is All-Powerful

Read: Numbers 22:21-23:30; Luke 1:56-80; Psalm 58:1-11; Proverbs 11:12-13
Balak is bent on cursing Israel and he is bent on Balaam doing the cursing. Balak means “waster” which is exactly what Balak wanted to have proclaimed over Israel. Balaam’s name means “not of the people; a foreigner” because Balaam was not one of God’s people. He was a false prophet subject to God. He is greatly rebuked for not giving up and going home. He played along with Balak maybe hoping to find a loophole.
In Luke we read about the birth of John the Baptist. When Zaccharias wrote John’s name down on the tablet his tongue was loosed and he could talk. The people marveled at the miracle. It had been years since they had seen any type of miraculous act on the earth so this was huge. When God loosed Zaccharias’ tongue he started prophesying about John’s destiny. He was to go before the face of the Lord to prepare his ways. Jesus was the face of God to the world. John was to give knowledge of salvation to his people be the remission of their sins. John preached repentance and baptism as sanctification. John would give light to them that sat in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide their feet into the way of peace. John brought hope and restoration to those that had lost their hope and their way.
Today, we are being attacked like never before because the devil is afraid at what he is seeing. We are actually starting to win! We are learning how to fight and use our authority. We learn by having reasons to use it. That is another reason we are going through so much mess. God is allowing opportunities for us to grow and learn how to rise up and use the authority he gave us through the name of Jesus. This is not the time to give up but to be courageous. The devil’s schemes are just smoke screens. The real is shining behind this smoke screen. We just need to walk through it expecting to see the light on the other side.
Lord, help us to be fearless and offensive. You are with us, so who and what do we have to fear ?

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Tues.’s Devo - The Lord is Victorious

Read: Numbers 21:1-22:20; Luke 1:26-56; Psalm 57:1-11; Proverbs 11:9-11
God had promised Israel that he would go before them and defeat their enemies. The first enemy to come against them were the Canaanites. They took some of the Israelites prisoner. God helped them completely destroy their cities and defeated them.
After their great victory, the Israelites got impatient and complained about the manna. God sent deadly snakes to bite them and many died. When the people repented, God told Moses to make a bronze snake and put it on the pole. If they looked upon it, the people that had been bitten would live. The curse became the blessing. Jesus became the curse that was lifted up on a cross that when we behold him, we will be saved from our sin.
The next enemy they met was Sihon, king of the Amorites. Israel had asked if they could just travel through their land and Sihon said, No. He gathered his whole army to come fight Israel. They had defeated the Ammonites and the Moabites to take their land. God helped them defeat them which made the surrounding people afraid. Og, king of Bashan was so afraid of the Israelites he decided to hire the soothsayer, Balaam to curse them. Every spirit is subject to God so first Balaam had to ask God. God told him he couldn’t curse the Israelites because God had blessed them. The king of Og kept pestering Balaam and offering him a bigger and bigger purse. We will learn tomorrow what happens.
In Luke, Elizabeth was in her sixth month. Six months from the day of Atonement brings us to Passover. Mary was visited by an angel and told that she would have a baby. Elizabeth was too old and Mary was too young - in that she wasn’t even married. Both would be miracles by the hand of God. Mary believed and totally surrendered herself to God’s will. Elizabeth praised for this, remembering what had happened to her husband for not believing. Mary and Elizabeth had a praise meeting then Mary stayed there for another 3 months. She must have left right before Elizabeth delivered.
Our Psalm was written by David when he was in the cave fleeing for his life from Saul. Sometimes I feel like I am hiding out, fleeing from Satan but I want to be fearless and stand my ground. David found his footing in the Lord.
Lord, we pray with David, Our heart is steadfast, awaken our souls to praise You.

Monday, March 13, 2017

Mon.’s Devo - From Death to Life

Read: Numbers 19:1-20:29; Luke 1:1-25; Psalm 56:1-13; Proverbs 11:8
Moses gave the priest a ceremony to do to cleanse the congregation from sin. It included wood, hyssop, and scarlet wool thrown into the sacrifice of the red heifer. We saw all these symbols on the cross. Jesus was the red heifer, the wood was the cross; the hyssop was offered to Jesus to ease the pain but he refused it; and the red wool was a picture of the lamb covered in blood. Jesus’ sacrifice took away sin forever.
Once again, the children of Israel are before the rock at Meribah in the valley of Sin. It is time to cross over into the promised land again. And, once again, they are out of water and complaining. Miriam must die here. She stands for rebellion and rebellion cannot enter the promised land. She was a leader so much more was required of her. She was also leprous making her unclean.
This time, Moses was not to strike the rock but speak to it. The rock stood for Jesus (1 Corinthians 10:4) and he was struck only once for our sins. It was time to speak to him and ask for water. Moses was angry and struck the rock two times which distorted the picture God was trying to paint. Moses’ impulsiveness and anger would cost him his life.
Aaron was punished because of his rebellion. He had to be stripped of his priestly garments and they were given to his son, Eleazar. He died on Mt. Hor. Hor means “forefather” and that is what Aaron was. The law brings death but the new covenant brings life. In the Old Testament we read today of two people who died because of their sin. In the New Testament today we read about the birth of two babies who would bring repentance and salvation to the world.
Luke is the account of the life of Jesus in order (Luke 1:3) so we can use Luke to know what order the events happened. The angel came to Zacharias on the Day of Atonement and Elizabeth became pregnant. She would have a boy named John who would operate in the spirit and power of Elijah to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just and to prepare the people for the Lord. Turning the hearts of the fathers to the children had to do with turning the prophecies of the forefathers to these children. Because Zacharias didn’t believe, he was struck dumb. Elizabeth became pregnant with John the Baptist.
Lord, increase our faith. Prepare us for your next move on this earth. With you nothing is impossible.

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Sun.’s Devo - God is a God of Justice

Read: Numbers 16:41-18:32; Mark 16:1-20; Psalm 55:1-23; Proverbs 11:7
Yesterday, we read where God killed the men who opposed Moses. Today we read that the people were mad at Moses and gave him the credit for killing Kohath and his followers. That was the core of their sin - they wouldn’t give to God credit for what he did and the fact that they didn’t approve of who God chose to lead them. (That sounds familiar.) So, the whole camp rose up against Moses and blamed him. God wanted to kill them all so Moses told Aaron to run and take a burning censor of incense and make atonement for the people before God could kill them all. God had already killed 1,400 of them.
Then God told Moses to tell each of the heads of the tribes to present a rod that they themselves had carved their name on. The one that sprouted would be the one God chose. They each brought their staff and Moses laid them before the Lord. In the morning, Aaron’s staff had not only budded but it had bloomed and had almonds on it. That was supernatural proof that God had chosen him and his family to be their ministers. Anyone else that came near the sanctuary would be put to death.
Then, God gave them detailed instructions about what theywages for being Levites and working for Him would be. They were to be well taken care of but even they had to tithe. This is a good reminder to us of how God is our employer and he will take care of us and bless us.
Mark gives us the resurrection in a nutshell. The women went to the tomb to anoint Jesus body and found the stone rolled away and an angel who told them to tell the disciples to go to Galilee and there they would see Jesus.
Jesus appeared to the two men on the road to Emaeus and the disciples didn’t believe them. Then Jesu appeared to the eleven disciples and this time they did believe. He commissioned them to go preach the good news and baptize the believers. Then he listed the signs that would accompany them. They would drive out demons, speak in new tongues, pick up poisonous snakes, during deadly poison and none of this would hurt them. They would also lay their hands on the sick and heal them. (In the book of Acts, they did every one of these things.)
Lord, thank you that you sustain us and you never let the righteous fall. We pray for our nation that you would put an end to your enemies and that the deceitful men would not live out half of their days. Put a hedge about the bodies and hearts of your leaders and make them strong in You.

Saturday, March 11, 2017

Sat.’s Devo - Offerings and Fringes

Read: Numbers 15:17-16:40; Mark 15:1-47; Psalm 54:1-7; Proverbs 11:5-6
God explained the different offerings the people were to bring. The heave offering was to be brought when they eat the bread of the promised land. It was to be a first fruit offering. The heave offering was to be waved up and down by the priest signifying the God of heaven. The wave offering was waved side to side signifying God was also God of earth. When offered together it made the sign of the cross.
God gave them many types of offerings, even offerings to offer for their ignorance of breaking his laws. We do many things out of our lack of knowledge. This offering showed that they acknowledged God’s holiness and their own sinfulness. But, to sin willingly and knowingly was to despise the word of the Lord. This person would be cut off and would bear the consequence of his actions. That happened to the man who gathered the sticks on the Sabbath. He was stoned.
God told them to make fringes in the borders of their garments with a blue ribband. If you study this it, you will find that tying these fringes became a very intricate law of tying and braiding and ritual. The Talmud added all kinds of rules to tying these tassels. These tassels were to remind them to bind the Word of God to their hearts but they eventually became a symbol of religious social status.
Then the clan of Kohath and a few Reunites rose up with 250 others to oppose Moses as their leader. Moses tried to have a meeting with them but they refused so God told him to call a meeting with Him and for them to bring burning censors. These censors represented their request to God. They came to that meeting. God opened the earth and swallowed them and their families.

Mark gives us a descriptive narrative about the crucifixion. Jesus took the place of Barabbus. “Barabbus” means “son of Abba”. Barabbas stands for all of us. He was the scapegoat that deserved death just as we are the scape goat that deserve judgment. Jesus took our place and died for us that our sins would be forgiven and not held against us. I wonder if it changed Barabbas’ life.
Jesus’ accusers called him the King of the Jews and he was not only their king but everyones’ king. He was taken to the Praetorium which was the judgment hall where they put a purple robe on him and a crown of thorns. They hailed him their king and mocked him by bowing down to him. They hit him on the head, and spit on him. They brought him to Golgotha which means “place of a skull” and crucified. I can’t help but see the many references to Jesus’ head. He is the head over the church and the ruler of heaven and earth.
After he was crucified, he was laid in a rich man’s tomb (Is. 53:9).
Lord, Lord, thank you for dying for us and taking our sin.

Friday, March 10, 2017

Fri.’s Devo - Die to Live Another Day

Read: Numbers 14:1-15:16; Mark 14:53-72; Psalm 53:1-6; Proverbs 11:4
It is a sad day in Israeldom. The people received the bad report of the ten spies and rejected the good report of Caleb and Joshua. Because they rebelled and chose not to have faith in God, God sentenced them to death and their children to 40 more years of wandering in the wilderness. Those that had any remembrance of Egypt would be dead and the new generation would enter God’s promised land. God said that only Joshua and Caleb would enter the land - he didn’t mention Moses because He knew. God called them an evil generation because they could not see the promise standing before them. Jesus called the generation he came in an evil generation also (Luke 11:29). They couldn’t see the Messiah standing before them.
Some of the people decided to go in anyway without Moses’ blessing and without the ark of the covenant of the Lord and were killed by the Amalekites.
God did leave them with hope. He told them that when they did enter the land they could offer Him the same offerings as before.
…On to Mark. The Jews have to have two or three witnesses in order to kill a person (Deuteronomy 17:6). The leaders of the law couldn’t even get two false witnesses to agree so they asked Jesus if he was the Christ. Jesus answered, “I am.” At his own confession he was sentenced to death. “I am” is sacred words to the Jewish scholars. “I am” was a name God gave to himself when Moses asked him his name. For Jesus to use this term was blasphemy to them. He added, “and you shall see the Son of man sitting on the right hand of power, and coming in the clouds of heaven.” It was then that the high priest said, “need we any further witnesses?” So it was by his own words that Jesus was condemned. They didn’t take his life - he laid it down.
Our Psalm and Proverb for today were very timely of what was going on in both our other readings.
Lord, may we be of the righteous that deliver from death. May we be like Jesus who saw death as a means to life.

Thursday, March 9, 2017

Thurs.’s Devo - The Light of Truth

Read: Numbers 11:24-13:33; Mark 14:22-52; Psalm 52;1-9; Proverbs 11:1-3
God anointed the 70 elders with his spirit and they all prophesied unceasingly. Two of the men went into the camp and took their gift of prophesy. Someone reported it to Moses thinking they were stealing Moses thunder. But Moses said he wished that all of them prophesied. Moses realized it was not his power but God’s power and God could give it to whoever He wanted.
Later, Aaron and Miriam jealously judged Moses for having an Ethiopian wife. God judged Aaron and Miriam and Miriam became leprous.
It is easy to see the weaknesses in our leaders but it is never our responsibility to judge them or be jealous of their position. God places people in authority as he wills, not because they are perfect. God uses all our circumstances to shape us into the person he can use.
Even after Miriam became leprous, Moses cried out to the Lord for healing. Moses wouldn’t leave till she was well.
The people got their meat. Quail blew in with the wind and fell in piles two cubits high everywhere. Before they could even eat them, God got angry at their greed and smote the people with a plague that killed many. Miriam’s name means “rebelliously” which was how the people were. Her rebellion had to be judged.
Jesus didn’t worry about offending people with the truth. He knew that even if his disciples didn’t understand at the time, they would later. Judas, however, betrayed Jesus with a kiss. The devil uses cunning deceitful kindness to do his dirty work. He is the master of passive aggressiveness. He also does his work in the dark at night. Jesus did his work in the light of day with nothing to hide.
Lord, help us to be children of the light bearing Your truth without shame or fear.

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Wed.’s Devo - Rise Up

Read: Numbers 10:1-11:23; Mark 14:1-21; Psalm 51-19; Proverbs 10:31-32
God told Moses to make two silver trumpets to be used for assembling the people and marching forward. Each leaders groups were given a certain trumpet blow to summon them. Another alarm was blown to call them to war. The leaders were Judah, Reuben, Ephraim and Dan.
When the tribes traveled they traveled according to families in this order:
(the Levite clan - Gershon)
(the Levite clan - Kohath)
When they went forward, Moses would announce, “Rise up, Lord, and let thine enemies be scattered; and let them that hate thee flee before thee.” (That is a good prayer to pray every morning.)
The people complained and God sent fire that consumed those on the outskirts of the camp. God gave them manna which was a sweet tasting seed that could be made into bread. They complained because they didn’t have meat.
Moses was so exhausted with the people and their grievances that he went to the Lord. God told him to appoint 70 leaders to act as judges over the people. He also told them that he was sending the gripping people some flesh to eat for a whole month. Moses wondered how many flocks and herds it would take to feed so great of a crowd but God told Moses that his arm was not short, he would do it.
Moses appointed the 70 men and God filled them with his Spirit
In Mark, it is two days before Passover and the chief priests and scribes tried to devise a plan to kill Jesus. They planned to wait till after the feast days to keep the crowds happy but we know that didn’t happen. Meanwhile, Jesus was at Simon’s house when Mary came in and anointed Jesus body for burial. When the disciples complained about the expense she was waisting, Jesus rebuked them. Jesus understood the importance of what she was doing.
Judas left to sell Jesus out. Jesus sent his disciples to find the man with the water pot and follow him. How interesting that Jesus would end his ministry with a man carrying a water pot. Remember his first miracle? He put water into pots and it turned to wine. The clay pots stand for humanity. Water stands for the Holy Spirit, and wine stands for the joy of the Holy Spirit. Jumping ahead, Jesus told his disciples that he would not drink at the Lord’s Supper because he said that the next wine he would drink would be new wine drunk in the kingdom of God. It was not the time for joy, but it would be when he rose.
Lord, may we drink of your water and your wine and always be full.

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Tues.’s Devo - Rules for the Passover

Read: Numbers 8:1-9:23; Mark 13:14-37; Psalm 50:1-23; Proverbs 10:29-30
The Levites were to minister to the Lord and obey God so that there would not be any plague among the children of Israel when they came to the sanctuary. The priests were free of serving at the age of 50. Fifty speaks of jubilee where people are set free to enjoy their inheritance.
Moses instructed them again about keeping the Passover every year. If they were unclean for any reason the first month, then they were to observe it the second month. The Passover was of utmost importance since it was the picture of salvation through the blood. If someone refused of observe it and had no excuse then he would be cut off from his people and bear his own sin. This is the same of a person who refused to accept the blood of Christ for their sins.
If a stranger wanted to observe the Passover, they were to let him follow the same rules they did. Everyone is welcome into the kingdom of God but we all have to come through Jesus.
How nice would it be to have a cloud that led you through life. We actually do have a cloud that leads us through life and that cloud is called the Holy Spirit. It covers us in the day seasons and is a fire during our night seasons.
Mark 13 is about the end of time. One thing that Jesus warns about over and over is being deceived by others who can do miracles and signs and wonders. We all like the miraculous and the spectacular and God is all of those things but the root and the heart is what Jesus warns about. The motivation is the key. Jesus did all his miracles to glorify God and help people. He never charged a penny or wanted attention. We need discernment in the days we are living in because there are plenty of people that are rising up doing great things. We are suppose to do the works that Jesus did and even greater…I just pray that we do it in the same humility and love that Jesus did.
Lord, may we be set apart for your good works.

Monday, March 6, 2017

Mon.’s Devo - The Nazarite Vow

Read: Numbers 6:1-7:89; Mark 12:38-13:13: Psalm 49:1-20; Proverbs 10:27-28
The word for Nazarite in the Hebrew is naziyr which means consecrated as a prince. Figuratively it means an unpruned vine. If a person wanted to separate himself to the Lord he was to abstain from wine or other fermented drink and not eat anything from the fruit of the grape. He was not to shave his head and was to be holy until his vow was over. He could not go near a dead person.
The two people that were named in the Bible for being Nazarites were Samuel and Samson. Both became a Nazarite because it was decided before their birth they would be Nazarites. Both of their mothers were barren until God touched them and both were prophesied over before their birth. This gives us a better picture of what a Nazarite might mean spiritually. It is a person that was chosen before their life and set apart by God for a particular purpose. That is the definition of all of God’s chosen people.
When I read in Mark today, I couldn’t help but think that Samuel and Samson’s mothers were like the widow who gave her two mites. It was all she had. Hannah and Samson’s mother had waited for years to have a baby and when they finally did, they gave their sons to the Lord. Those are the sacrifices that please the Lord - the ones that cost us the most and come from grateful hearts.
Lord, bless us and keep us; make your face shine upon us and be gracious to us. Turn your face toward us and give us peace. May we freely give you everything we own for your glory.

Sunday, March 5, 2017

Sun.’s Devo - Producing Life

Read: Numbers 4:1-5:31; Mark 12:18-37; Psalm 48:1-14; Proverbs 10:26
Moses was told to count the Levites from the different clans. Every family clan within the Levite tribe had a different office concerning the tabernacle. Aaron and his sons were to tend to the taking down and setting up of the curtains and the coverings of the furniture. They were to cover most of the pieces with a blue cloth to signify these pieces are a copy of ones in heaven. The burnt altar was covered with purple. This is piece stands for the cross. This is one of the most important pieces. It was covered with purple because the king of heaven would die on that altar and purple is the color of royalty.
Once covered, the Kohathites were to carry the furniture.
The Gershonites were to carry the curtains and the coverings. The Merarites were to carry the frames and all the foundational things.
Only Aaron and his sons could see the pieces of furniture and the ark of the testimony. They alone could touch the holy things. It was Aaron’s son, Eleazar who tended to the oil, the incense, the meat offerings and the vessels. Aaron and his sons were over the other clans to oversee and instruct them in their office.
They were to send away from the camp anyone who had an infectious skin disease or a discharge of any kind, or was ceremonially unclean. Sin, wrong motives and attitudes will spread through our churches like the flu. We have to put these things out or they will infect the rest of the congregation. We have to do the same thing with wrong thoughts and temptation.
Then, God told them what to do when you suspect someone one of having another lover. This has to do with adultery but it also has to do with spiritual adultery. If there is someone we know that is toying with another lover other than Christ, we are to confront them and give them the Word. If the Word makes them sick and they react negatively to it then we will know that our suspicion was right. The woman had to drink the water with the ink of the words of her wrong mixed in it. If it caused her abdomen to swell and her thigh to rot then they knew she was guilty and she would not be able to bear a child. Her abdomen swelling and there not being a child there means that that person will not produce life again because they have chosen to walk away from the truth and righteousness. Her thigh rotting means that her strength is taken from her and her walk will always be with a limp and not upright. These are the consequences of sin.
Jesus reiterated this to us when he told the Sadducees that he is not the God of the dead but the living. Everything we do in him produces life.
Lord, help us to be quick to repent of wrong attitudes and sin. Help us to walk in life.

Saturday, March 4, 2017

Sat.’s Devo - The Sign of the Cross

Read: Numbers 2:1-3:51; Mark 11:27-12:17; Psalm 47:1-9; Proverbs 10:24-25
The tribes camped in the sign of the cross with the Levites in the middle. So, when God looked down from heaven he was the sign of the cross. They all had flags or banners that they marched behind called standards. God told them to number each tribe. Before, God had told them that the first born were his possession, but now he told them that the Levites were going to be his in place of the first born. There were only 22,000 Levites and 22,273 first born so they had to pay for the extra 273 people. Each person was to pay 5 shekels so they had to collect 1,365 shekels from the first born to pay for the extra ones (273 X 5 = 1,365).
God was teaching them that every one of God’s people must be redeemed. Now, we can be redeemed by applying the blood of Jesus to our hearts. It is our faith in Jesus as the Messiah and God as our father that makes us a child of God.
In Mark, Jesus entered Jerusalem and was challenged by the chief priests over his authority to do things. The problem they had was that they were the religious authority and thought that everything must come through them. Jesus did not even ask them if he could do what he did which offended them. It made them look bad to the people. They were all about outward appearances and personal position.
When challenge, Jesus answered them with a question which was the way the religious people always did. He asked them about John the Baptist. He backed them in a corner with no way to answer. Since they wouldn’t answer him, he didn’t have to answer them. Then Jesus told a parable about them. God was the man who planted the vineyard and put a wall around it, build a pit for the winepress and built a watchtower. God’s vineyard was his plan of salvation. The wall was the law and the watchtower were the prophets. God rented his vineyard out to the farmers which were the Levites. They were to tend the vineyard and make sure it produced fruit. When the owner sent servant after servant to collect some of its fruit, they abused some and killed others. They represented the prophets that God sent to warn Israel to turn back to God. Finally, the man sent his son. They killed him and threw him out. He was speaking of himself. He was the stone that the builders rejected that became the capstone.
The scribes and Pharisees knew he was talking about them so they left to come up with a way to trick him in his words. They came up with a plan to attack his political views. They asked him about paying taxes to Caesar. Jesus asked them who’s inscription was on it. Then he told them to give to Caesar was was his and to God what was His. His wisdom shut them up and amazed them.
Lord, I thank you that you put your wisdom in us. Give us the right words to speak when we are challenged for our faith or in questions of our political views. May we answer in truth and authority.

Friday, March 3, 2017

Fri.’s Devo - Spreading the Gospel

Read: Leviticus 27:14- Numbers 1:54; Mark 11:1-25; Psalm 46: 1-11; Proverbs 10:23
Everything that is devoted to the Lord must first be judged. If the person who owned it wants to redeem it back he must pay a fifth to its value except in the case of the firstborn or the one devoted to destruction. The first born are the Lord’s and the ones devoted to destruction are Satan’s. Anyone in between can be saved by a fifth which stands for grace. The Jews believe that there are three groups of people: the chosen totally righteous, the totally evil and the in-betweeners which could go either way. We don’t know which are which so we listen to God’s Spirit who leads us. It is not up to us to save the world, that is the Lord’s business. It is our job to listen and obey. Every man must be accountable for what he has heard so we might be sent to tell a totally evil person about Jesus so that when he stands before God he can’t say that no one told him. Or we might be sent to talk to a person who is in the middle and could go either way. Our testimony might be the one that shifts them to the side of salvation. Or we might be sent to spread seed into the life of the chosen person who hasn’t seen the light yet. Our seed may be the one that one day causes them to turn. The results are not up to us. Our obedience is what God is looking for.
God told Moses to count the children of Israel and find out how many men from each tribe were army aged. There were 603,500. Only from the tribe of Levi were they not counted because the tribe of Levi were to handle the tabernacle and the holy things of God.
Jesus entered Jerusalem on the tenth day of the month. This was the day that the priests selected the Pascal lamb - the lamb that would die for the sins of the nation on Passover. The Pascal lamb would be examined for 5 days to make sure it was spotless. Jesus was entering his 5 days of examination also. He rode down the same path the Pascal lamb had just walked down and the crowd was still there. They did to Jesus the same thing they had done to the Pascal lamb. They laid down their robes and waved their palm branches and cried out, “Hosanah, Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.”
Jesus cursed the fig tree because it was not bearing fruit. It had leaves but no fruit. Fig trees get fruit before the leaves appear so it should have had fruit. The fig tree stood for Israel. Israel should have had fruit of faith and expectancy for the Messiah but it was steeped in the tradition of man and couldn’t make the leap to the spirit. Israel rejected Jesus so Jesus cursed that generation like he did the tree.
He then went and turned the tables of the merchants selling sacrifices for the Passover. He was cleansing his temple. Once Jesus comes into our lives he cleanses our temple and makes us holy.
Lord, help us to be ready and fruitful during our season. This is the season to manifest your glory and your works on the earth. Make us ready.

Thursday, March 2, 2017

Thurs.’s Devo - It’s an Upside Down Kingdom

Read: Leviticus 25:47-27:13; Mark 10:32-52; Psalm 45:1-17; Proverbs 10:22
God proclaimed that the Israelites were his servants so if an Israelite becomes poor and works for an alien who has become rich then he can be bought back by one of his own family in jubilee. I think that this has to do with a family member who has become a slave to sin. A family member can buy him back from that lifestyle through prayer and love. Jubilee means “a continuous blast of a horn, the signal of the silver trumpets.” The blast of the horn was to call the people to assemble for a meeting or for war. Silver is the color of redemption. A person who has been a slave to sin needs us to come together as the body and war for them until they are redeemed. We do this by gathering prayer warriors to pray for our family and those God has put on our hearts.
If we redeem a father or a mother, we will get the whole family. (Leviticus 25:54)
In Leviticus 26, the Lord gives strict commands regarding making a graven image of Him. He didn’t want them to make anything that they could imagine to look like him because Jesus was going to be the exact image of God according to Hebrews 1. They would have never made an image as a servant to be their God. Then God gave them the blessings of following his laws and the curses of not. It’s a no-brainer as to which is more beneficial.
In Leviticus 27, God give the taxes that are to be given for each person. It is ridiculous to think that God is weighing your worth in terms of shekels so that is not what he is doing. He is weighing their amount they owe to society based on their work they will do. When they are young, they can’t work so their taxes are small. During their prime, they can work so their taxes are more. People over sixty have paid their due and their taxes are less. Jesus was a son of the king so he said he didn’t owe taxes but just so they wouldn’t be offended, he paid them. We are to pay the taxes the government requires of us but know that as a child of the king, he has paid it all for us.
Jesus’s disciples were arguing over which was more important to Jesus and which one would have the highest honor when Jesus came to his kingdom. Jesus told them the one who suffered the most and gave up the most. That was not what they wanted to hear. At that time, a blind man came and begged for his sight. He was humble and just wanted to see. Jesus healed him then he followed Jesus. His humbleness and hunger was what Jesus was looking for in a follower. I hope the disciples got the connection. It is not about being exalted, it is about being humble.
In Psalms we see that Jesus is exalted through his children. We bring glory to him on the earth.
Lord, may our lives be humble and full of love. Be exalted in our lives on the earth today.

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Wed.’s Devo - The Oil and the Bread

Read: Leviticus 24:1-25:46; Mark 10:13-31; Psalm 44:9-26; Proverbs 10:20-21
God told Moses that the oil for the menorah in the Holy Place must be made of clear olive oil. It was to stay lit continually and never go out. Also, the bread for the Table of Shewbread was to be replenished every week. It was to be lined with incense because the Word is holy and sweet.
Right after that we see a fight between an Israelite and a half Israelite/half Egyptian because the latter blasphemed the name of God. He was to be stoned to death. God was showing them how important what he was saying was to him.
God also gave them other laws. Death was to be punished with death. Whatever you did to another must be done to you. This man who blasphemed God brought death to his name so God had to reciprocate and bring death to his name. His name is not even mentioned.
God gave them a special jubilee year every 50 years. This was to be on the fifteenth day of the seventh month. All possession except other specified went back to the original owner. The value of everything is around the nearness to or the distance from the next jubilee. The sixth year is to produce enough to make it through the next three years. We are in the sixth year, spiritually so we can expect great fruit and blessings.
Jesus used a rich man’s question about entering the kingdom to expose his heart. The man wanted to be in the kingdom but he wasn’t willing to give everything. It wasn’t a matter of being rich but a matter of trusting in those riches.
Lord, help us to trust in the true riches of the kingdom of God.