Sunday, April 30, 2017

Sun.’s Devo - The Read Underdog

Read: 1 Samuel 17:1-18:4; John 8:21-30; Psalm 111:1-10; Proverbs 15:11
Everyone knows the story of David and Goliath but it is so much more than a story of a giant and the underdog. It wasn’t David that was the underdog and David was the only one that recognized this. He understood who God was and what he was capable of and David knew who he was in God. Goliath means “an exile” which is one that is banished from their own country. Goliath stood for Satan. Satan was banished from heaven and sent down to earth to dwell until his time is over. While he is here he does exactly what Goliath did; he taunts God’s people. He uses fear and intimidation to keep us from getting victory over different areas of our lives.
David spent his time in the fields watching sheep and playing his harp. He spent his day in the presence of the Lord and God was bigger to him than any lion or bear or giant. He had seen God’s power in his life and was not afraid of God’s enemy. We should not be either.
David convinced Saul to let him fight Goliath for the whole nation of Israel. If David lost, then Israel would be subject to the Philistines but if he won, the Philistines would be under Israel’s control. Saul had no other choice and since he wasn’t willing to sacrifice his life to fight Goliath, he sent David. All Israel’s army watched David walk out armed with only five stones and a sling. When Goliath saw David, he taunted him and told him what he was going to do to him. David did not give in to fear, he proclaimed exactly what he was going to do back. He was going to strike him down and cut off his head. Then he was going to throw his body to the birds and beasts to eat because he had defied the army of Israel. But first, David told him the name in whom he was going to do this in - the Lord Almighty, the God of the armies of Israel. Then David ran toward him and sent his stone. His stone was the Word of God. We know what happened.
After Israel won that day, Saul asked what David’s name was. He hadn’t even asked him because he didn’t think it would matter. Saul took David into his family. Saul’s son, Jonathan and David became best friends.
David had eyes to see who God was. Jesus spent his life trying to teach that concept to Israel but they couldn’t grasp it. They were too steeped in tradition and what they thought God was. Jesus concluded that they would die in their sins. Our Proverbs sums this up: “Death and Destruction lie open before the Lord - how much more the hearts of men!”
Lord, open our hearts to see your truths and who you are.

Sun.’s Devo - Our Identity

Read: Judges 11:1-12:5; John 1:1-28; Psalm 101:1-8; Proverbs 14:13-14
Today we read about the Gileadite family. The father of the clan was Gilead who had a wife who had many sons. He also had a prostitute who bore him a son named Jephthah. When Jephthah was grown, his brothers drove him away because they didn’t want to share their inheritance with him. Jephthah went to the land of Tob which means “good”. There he stayed until the Ammonites waged war on the Gileadites. Then, the sons of Gilead wanted Jephthah to come back and lead their army.
Now we see why they drove Jephthah away. Jephthah had leadership qualities that threatened them. God loves the downcast and the underdog. Jephthah agreed to come back and lead them in battle if they would make him their leader when the battle was over. They agreed so Jephthah met with the Ammonite king and asked him why they were attacking them. He told him he wanted his land back that the Israelites had stolen when they entered the promised land. Jephthah might had been the son of a harlot, but he knew his history. He retold the story of Israel taking the Ammonite land. God had given them that land and they were not returning it. Then the spirit of the Lord came on Jephthah and he took his army to meet the Ammonite army. Before he went, he made a foolish vow that if the Lord gave him the victory, he would sacrifice whatever came out of his door first. I guess he thought a pig or a lamb would come out of the door first, but it was his only offspring, a daughter. When Jephthah was distraught, his daughter was only sad but willing to be the sacrifice.
What strikes me about Jephthah is that his own family rejected him yet he knew his place in history. He knew the history of his people and their God-given inheritance. That was his inheritance despite what his circumstances had dealt him. He trusted in the Lord and he gained his identity in Him.
After Jephthah, there were three other judges: Ibzan, Elon and Abdon. Tomorrow we will read about the twelfth son, Samson.
We are in John in the New Testament and John knew who Jesus was. He was the Word that was from the beginning of the world. He was the life that gave men life and light. John also knew who he was. He was the witness to this light. Jesus was the Word that became flesh and blood and dwelt on the earth.
When John entered his ministry and began preaching about the coming of the Messiah, the priests and the Levites came to him to ask him who he thought he was. They asked him if he was the Christ, Elijah, or the Prophet. He denied all these titles and came up with his own. He was a voice. He, like Jephthah knew his place in the world and his place in God.
Lord, we want to be a voice in the world for you. Help us to find our identity in You alone.

Saturday, April 29, 2017

Sat.’s Devo - God Always Has the Last Word

Read: Judges 9:22-10:18; Luke 24:13-53; Psalm 100:1-5; Proverbs 14:11-12
God said that vengeance was his and he would repay. It was time to repay Abimelech and the men of Shechem for killing his 70 brothers. God sent an evil spirit to stir up animosity between Abimelech and the men of Shechem. They started robbing the people. A newcomer, Gael came to town to live with his brothers and the people started trusting in him to help them. Gael got drunk at a party and started bragging about taking Abimelech down, but one of Abimelech’s people heard it and told Abimelech to gather his troops that night and attack Gael in the morning. They did and drove Gael and his brothers out of Shechem.
The next day, Gael attacked from the fields. Abimelech surrounded them and ended up taking the city and burning it to the ground and putting salt over it.
The citizens of Shechem had been hiding in the tower of Shechem. Abimelech torched it killing about a thousand men and women. Then they went to Thebez and the people fled to the temple of El-Berith. It was also a tower. Abimelech went to set it on fire when a woman threw down a millstone and hit Abemelech on the head and busted his skull. When Abimelech’s men saw he was killed they scattered.
Jotham had cursed the city with fire and that is exactly what happened. God revenged the city and Abimelech for what they had done to Gideon’s 70 sons.
We have all had evil done to us by other people, but this story is our reminder that God sees everything and He will punish evil. We are not to do it ourselves. His ways are much better, but they come in His timing.
In Luke, we have the two men on their way to Emmaus. Jesus had died and they were discussing it. Jesus joined them and hid his identity. He explained to them that the cross had been foretold in scripture. He began in Moses and led them through the prophets showing them the scarlet thread that wove through the Bible up to Jesus death. I wonder if from this conversation we don’t get the book of Hebrews. Who knows? He did reveal himself to them when he broke the bread. Then he disappeared. Today, they say when a Jewish person becomes a believer in Jesus his eyes are opened when they take the Seder.
These two men turned around and ran back to Jerusalem (7 miles) and told the disciples what they had witnessed. As they were talking, Jesus appeared and told them the same thing he had told the two men. Jesus opened their minds so they could understand the Scriptures. He told them to stay in the city and wait for a gift the Father was going to send them. He blessed them and was taken up to heaven.
Lord, help us to wait on your answer and your redemption.

Friday, April 28, 2017

Fri.’s Devo - Signs That Make Us Wonder

Read: Judges 8:18-9:21; Luke 23:44-24:12; Psalm 99:1-9; Proverbs 14:9-10
Yesterday we read where Gideon captured the Midianite kings, Zebu and Zalmunna. When Gideon learned they were personally responsible for killing his bothers he told his young son to kill them. When his son couldn’t do it, Gideon stepped in. God wanted him to fulfill his destiny. Israel wanted to make Gideon their king but Gideon told them that God was their king, then he did a very foolish thing. He asked for the earrings of the plunder from each man. This was the same thing Aaron asked of the people and made the golden calf. They gladly gave them to him and he made an idol. The people worshipped it as their god.
While Gideon was alive, the people were in peace but as soon as he died, so did their peace. Israel went after Baal.
Gideon had had many wives that gave him 70 sons. One of these sons was Abimelech who was the son of Gideon’s servants. He went to his mother’s family and convinced them to make him the leader instead of all the sons. They agreed to help him kill all the other brothers. Jotham, the youngest escaped.
Jotham stood on the top of Mount Gerizim (the same mountain that Israel stood and pronounced the blessings of God) and shouted a parable about four different kinds of trees that had refused to be their king. I think he was referring to the judges Israel had had: Othniel, the olive tree; Ehud, the fig tree; Deborah, the grapevine; and Gideon, the thorn bush. Another clue was that one of the kings that Gideon captured was named Zalmunna and his name means “the shade was withheld”. In Jotham’s speech he say that the thornbush told the other trees if they really wanted him to be their king they could take refuge in his shade. All the other judges had refused to become their king though they had judged Israel well. Jotham was rebuking the people of Shechem for making Abimelech their king after all the other judges delivered Israel, yet refused the office of king. Abimelech had done nothing to deserve kingship yet he was conferring it upon himself. Jotham was declaring the fiery judgment of God to fall upon Abimelech.
In Luke, we have the end of Jesus crucifixion and his resurrection. I want to zoom in on one minor character in the crucifixion and that man is Joseph of Arimathea. We read that he is a member of the council. Joseph did not consent to Jesus’ crucifixion and he was diligently waiting for the kingdom of God to come. He went to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus. He laid his body in linen and laid him in his own tomb. His tomb had been carved out of a rock making it very expensive and fulfilling the scripture in Isaiah 53:9 that “he made his grave with the wicked and the rich in his death”.
Arimathea is the same as Ramah. Ramah was the birthplace of Samuel and where he judged Israel from. Samuel was the last judge. Ramah was the place where David was anointed king. David was a type of Jesus, the suffering Savior.
Matthew 27:47 tells us that Joseph of Arimathea was a disciple of Jesus. Joseph in the Old Testament had to empty his tomb from Egypt to the Promised Land just as this Joseph gave his tomb to lay Jesus. It was emptied as Jesus left the Egypt of this world and went to the promised land of heaven.
Lord, help us to see the mysteries of your Word that your glory may be shown.

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Thurs.’s Devo - God’s Redemptive Plan

Read: Judges 7:1-8:17; Luke 23:13-43; Psalms 97:1-98:9; Proverbs 14:7-8
God was ready to deliver Israel from the Midianites and he wanted them to know it was his power alone. He told Gideon to whittle down his army of 32,000 men. Gideon sent home all who were afraid and only 10,000 remained. It was still too many so God gave the men a drinking test. Those who lapped the water got to stay and the rest went home. God was looking for 300 brave men who he could use. They were going to go up against a multitude of soldiers.
Gideon was the one who was afraid, so God encouraged him. He sent him down into the Midianite camp to listen. He heard a man give his dream and its interpretation. This was the encouragement Gideon needed to attack.
God’s plan was to put his light inside clay vessels. With the blast of a trumpet - God’s Word the victory will come.
When we are fearful or don’t feel comfortable about what God is calling us to do, he will give us confirmations, dreams, encouraging words, signs… anything we can understand.
In Luke, Pilate proclaimed that the lamb of God was spotless. He couldn’t find any reason to prosecute him. He has not broken any law. This was a problem for the priests who wanted him crucified because under their law, they couldn’t crucify anyone. The Roman law was their only hope. They found a loophole when Pilate offered to release Jesus or Barabbas. Pilate chose the worse criminal in his jail thinking there would be no way they would choose him over Jesus. But he was wrong. They chose Barabbas and demanded that Jesus be crucified. To stop a riot, Pilate gave the people what they wanted. Little did they know, they were falling right into God’s plan of redemption.
God delivered Israel through a small army and God delivered the world through one man. Whatever the Lord has called us to do, he can do!
Lord, today we will shout for joy before our king. Help us to put our faith in your plan, because it is always for redemption.

Fri.’s Devo - Men of Valor

Read: Judges 6:1-40; Luke 22:54-23:12; Psalms 95:1-96:13; Proverbs 14:5-6
Israel’s history is like a yo-yo. They sin and fall into the hands of their enemies. Then they repent, cry out to God and God sends a deliverer. Years pass and they repeat the cycle. In today’s reading, they sinned and God turned them over to the Midanites for 7 years. Whenever Israel began their planting season in hopes of a harvest, the Midianites came down and destroyed the seed leaving them no way to survive. God sent them a prophet to remind them why they were in this mess but right behind him came an angel with a message of hope. The angel came to Gideon while he was threshing wheat in a wine press to hide his seed from the Midianites. Wheat is suppose to be threshed out in open air so the wind will blow away the chaff and only the grain will remain. A wine press is dug into the ground where there is no wind.
The angel came to Gideon and addressed him, “The Lord is with you, oh mighty man of valour.” Gideon looked like anything but a man of courage. He was in a hole hiding in fear. But the angel saw what Gideon had to become to do the job God had for him.
God has a plan on this earth for his children, but the devil comes to try to destroy our seed and ruin our harvest. Satan wants us to hide in fear but God wants us to rise up out of our pit and become a mighty woman and man of valor. Valor means a force of strength, power, riches, substance, and virtue.
Gideon needed many confirmations before he would step out but the first thing that had to happen is the altar of Baal had to come down. Did you notice that it was in his own household? It was his father’s altar making his father the Baal priest. Gideon did it at night, but he did it.
If we want victory the first thing that has to come down in our lives is the altars we have built that aren’t around the Lord. To find out what they might be, all we have to do is ask God. He will faithfully tell us.
In Luke, Peter is humbled by his denials. This probably helped him forgive Judas Iscariot. Peter was not the only one who was humbled. Herod and Pilate became friends and laid down their differences.
Lord, help us to be loving and forgiving today. May we be people of valor.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Tues.’s Devo - God’s Seasons

Read: Judges 4:1-5:31; Luke 22:35-53; Psalm 94:1-23; Proverbs 14:3-4
Israel’s second judge, Ehud, died and Israel fell into idolatry. God sold them into the hands of Jabin, a Canaanite king. The commander of his army was Sisera from Harosheth. Jabin oppressed Israel for 20 years until the people cried out to the Lord for deliverance. God raised up Deborah to be their deliverer. She was a prophetess and commissioned Barak to lead an army against Sisera. She would lure his army to him.
Jabin froze with fear and told Deborah he would only go if she was with him. Because he wouldn’t take his orders and trust in the Lord to be with him, Deborah told him he would not get the credit for delivering Israel. Jabin looked to a woman to do his job, so God used a woman to kill Sisera. Jael, a woman along the way lured Sisera into her tent and killed him with a tent peg and a hammer. Jael became the hero instead of Barak.
All the battles in the Old Testament are lessons on spiritual warfare. This one is to show us to have courage when God calls us because if God calls us to do something, He will be with us and make sure it is accomplished. We should never be afraid when God is leading us into battle because the victory will be the Lord’s.
In Luke, Jesus changed his strategy. When the disciples were going out ministering he told them not to take an extra coat or money, but now he is telling them to take any extra money and to do what it takes to buy a sword. Times change with what God is doing. The Bible was written for all times, all seasons, and all occasions so you have to find the verses that fit your circumstance at the moment. The Holy Spirit will highlight verses for you that will minister to your need at the right time.
We are in a season of great warfare and great trials but our God is able to deliver us. We need to be awake and encouraging because we all need it in this transition. The kingdom of God is advancing and Satan is on a mission to stop it. He will not win so we need to take heart and persevere. The victory is coming!
Lord, may we hear your commission for the season we are in.

Monday, April 24, 2017

Mon.’s Devo - The First Judges

Read: Judges 2:10-3:31; Luke 22:14-34; Psalms 92:1-93:5; Proverbs 14:1-2
After the generation that had seen the acts of God all died, a new generation rose up that only knew God through stories. They had not experienced him for themselves. Yesterday, we read a list of tribes that were not able to drive out the enemies from their land. These foreign people did exactly what Moses warned them they would do. They became a snare and a trap to the Israelites. They introduced them to their gods and vile idolatrous worship. They made the Lord so angry that he fought against them. When they became so distressed because of their enemies they would call out to the Lord and he would raise up judges. Judges were men who governed with passion and either vindicated the people or punished them. Once they were delivered, they would turn on the judges and fall back into their old practices of idolatry and sin greater than the generation before. Because of their rebellion, God told them he would no longer drive out the nations before them but leave them to test the people. God sold them over to the hands of Cushan-Rishathaim king of Aram Naharaim for eight years. Cushan-Rishathaim means double wickedness and darkness.
When the people cried out for deliverance, God sent them Othniel, Caleb’s younger brother to be their judge. Through the power of God, Caleb freed Israel and they experienced peace for 40 years. When Othniel died, Israel went back to their sinning so God raised up an enemy to judge them - Eglon, king of Moab. Israel served him for 18 years. God raised up Ehud to deliver them. He delivered them with a two-edge sword - a picture of the Word which is how we fight the enemy. Ehud means “united”. Jesus said that if two of you shall agree as touching any thing they shall have what they ask.
In Luke, Jesus was eating the Passover supper with his disciples. He told them that he wouldn’t eat with them again until the kingdom of God came. They didn’t understand what he meant. He told them that the one who was going to betray him was at the table with them. They didn’t understand that either. Instead, they went to the topic of who was going to be greatest in God’s kingdom. Jesus explained, it wasn’t the greatest that would be exalted in his kingdom but the least - the one who served. Jesus did promise them that they would sit on thrones judging the twelve tribes. Then he spoke personal words to Peter. I wonder if the disciples thought Peter would be the one who would betray him.
Our Psalm is a song they sang on the Sabbath. It is a good thing to give praise to the Lord!

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Sun.’s Devo - Praise Goes First

Read: Judges 1:1-2:9; Luke 21:29-22:13; Psalms 90:1-91:16; Proverbs 13:24-25
After Joshua was gone, the Israelites needed to go up against the Canaanites. They asked God which tribe should go first. The Lord chose Judah because “praise” should always be given first to assure a victory. The Canaanite king was Adoni-bezek who was a very wicked king. When they caught him they cut off his big toes and his thumbs. He had done the same thing to 70 other kings so he was judged in the same way.
They fought against Jerusalem and set it on fire. Then they took Hebron. Caleb promised his daughter, Achsah to the man who would take Kirjath-sepher. Caleb’s younger brother, Othniel took it and got a wife. Not only did Othniel get a wife, but he got the southern land with upper and the nether springs. Othniel means “the force of God”. Othniel stepped out in faith and went under the power of God to risk everything to get a wife. With a wife, he would one day have children to carry on his name - his posterity. Little did he know the inheritance he would get with it also. He is an example to us of fearlessness. Sometimes we have to step out in faith and risk everything to gain what we want. If the Lord is leading us, we will get more than we want.
Yesterday, in Luke, Jesus was prophesying the fall of Jerusalem which happened in 70 A.D. It was a precursor to the end of the ages. History does repeat itself. Ecclesiastes tells us that what has happened will happen again and what has happened has already happened before. It is a cycle that gets stronger and stronger as it spins to the end.
Jesus told Peter and John to prepare the passover meal and instructed them exactly how to do it. Angels were stationed to meet them all the way. I wonder how many angels we meet in our daily walk. I bet we would be surprised.
Lord, teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom.

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Sat.’s Devo - Choose This Day

Read: Joshua 24:1-33; Luke 21:1-28; Psalm 89:38-52; Proverbs 13:20-23
“And if it seem evil unto you to serve the Lord, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods with your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell; but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.” This was the question that Joshua gave the people that required a response.
I used to teach in a Christian school and this was the key verse of the whole curriculum. The first graders started with, “Serve the Lord” and as they got older, the verse got longer and longer. I always wondered why they chose this verse until I read it in context. God asks us all this question…are we going to be a product of our past and look just like everyone else on the earth or whether we are going to be a new creature fashioned after our heavenly Father. It is a question we all have to answer.
Israel stayed true to God until the last witnesses of their great deliverance from Egypt died. Then the story died and the people went after the tangible gods of their neighboring nations.
Before Joshua died, he told them their history one more time. He told them to throw away any false gods they might have and to yield their hearts to the Lord. Joshua renewed their covenant with the Lord on the people’s request. He set up a stone to be their witness against them of what they had promised the Lord. When he died at the age of 110 and was buried in Shechem which became a city of refuge.
In Luke, Jesus and his disciples had a conversation about the temple and its stones. These stones in the temple were each 10-12 feet long The ones on the wall were 25 feet long which meant they weighed 8-10 tons a piece. They had begun building the temple in 20 B.C. and didn’t complete it until 64 A.D. It was destroyed in 70 A.D. which meant they only used it finished for 6 years. The destruction of this temple was what Jesus was referring to in these verses. The disciples, except for John, were all persecuted and martyred for the name of Jesus.
In 64 A.D., Titus and his army attacked the city on orders not to destroy the temple. A soldier with a fire-tipped arrow shot it into the air. It went through a window of the temple catching a tapestry on fire. It spread throughout the temple quickly melting the golden pieces into the crevices between the bricks. The only way they could retrieve the gold was to tear the temple down. When Jesus prophesied that not one stone would be left on another surely the disciples had a hard time imagining it but it happened and everything prophesied about the end will happen just as God said it would.
Lord, you are faithful to your Word. We choose to follow you.

Friday, April 21, 2017

Fri.’s Devo - Remember

Read: Joshua 22:21-23:16; Luke 20:27-47; Psalm 89:14-37; Proerbs 13:17-19
Yesterday we read where the tribes of Reuben, Gad, and Manasseh went back to their homes on the other side of the Jordan. They built a monument of memorial beside the Jordan. When the rest of Israel found out what they had done they were irate. The leaders all met to discuss this abomination. The leaders of Reuben, Gad and Manasseh explained their reasoning. They built this monument to remind the other tribes that they had an inheritance in the Lord just in case they forgot since they were across the river. They promised that they would never sacrifice or worship at this monument but only where God set up his altar. When the other tribes heard their rebuttal they were appeased and all was well.
Years passed and Joshua was very old. Joshua called all the officiating leaders of the tribes together and gave them his farewell speech. He told them to remember all God had done for them and to never forget his laws. He told them not to associate with the nations around them and to never take their gods as their own. If they intermarried with them, God would stop driving out their enemies and they would become a snare to them. He reminded them that God had kept every promise he gave them; now they needed to keep theirs. Most importantly, he told them to always love the Lord.
It is good to place reminders around us of promises we don’t want to forget. I have a board in my kitchen that I attach the “Word of the Day” every day. It is a sentence prophecy about that day. I refer back to it all during the day. When I replace it, I write how that promise was answered and file it away. Then there are notebooks that I have written dreams and promises in that I refer back to from time to time to remind me of what God has done and has yet to do. But, the greatest reminder of what God has done for me is my Bible. It is my constant reminder that God is faithful and just.
In Luke, the Sadducees posed a question about the resurrection to Jesus. Everyone knew the Sadducees didn’t believe in the resurrection so they crafted their question to sound like they were asking about marriage. Jesus answered their question and nailed their motive. He cleared up the fact that there was in deed a resurrection and marriage would not be important then. He warned the people of the hypocrisy and false teachings of the people who placed themselves in the place of religious authority.
Righteousness and justice are the foundation of your throne and love and faithfulness go before you. Let us never forget your promises and your answered prayers.

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Thurs.’s Devo - Our Inheritance

Read: Joshua 21:1-22:20; Luke 20:1-26; Psalm 89:1-13; Proverbs 13:15-116
The Levites had no inheritance in the promised land so they brought their case before Eleazar, the priest. The Levites were to be dispersed throughout all the tribes so they would all have priests to teach them the law and perform the sacrifices. Cities of refuge were dispersed throughout the land where the Levites also lived and officiated. Every tribe gave the Levites some of their cities so the Levites would have a place to live. They were the only tribe that was not able to live together.
The Levites stand for the ministry. God disperses his pastors, teachers, prophets, and spiritual leaders all over so they can meet the needs of people everywhere. We are all ministers of the gospel and our home is not on this earth; our inheritance is in heaven.
The children of Israel had withstood all their enemies and taken the land. God did everything he had promised he would do for Israel; he fulfilled every one of his promises. To all the tribes that had land on the other side of the Jordan, God blessed them and sent them home. They had fulfilled their promise to help their fellow Israelites conquer their land. God had blessed them with great wealth so they were to share it with their tribe.
In Luke, the Pharisees were looking to trap Jesus into saying something they could use to incriminated him. When they asked him about John the Baptist, Jesus turned it back on them. Any answer they gave would have incriminated them, instead.
Jesus gave them a parable that spelled out their intentions to kill him. This made them want to get rid of him as soon as possible. Since they couldn’t trap Jesus on spiritual things they turned to political questions, hoping that Jesus would offend the Romans. They asked him about the Roman tax. Jesus’ answer shut them up and astonished them.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Wed.’s Devo - Cities of Refuge

Read: Joshua 19:1-20:9; Luke 19:28-48; Psalm 88:1-18; Proverbs 13:12-14
Yesterday, we read where there were seven tribes who had not received their inheritance so they surveyed the land, divided it and chose lots. The first fell to Benjamin. Today we read about the other six: Simeon, Zebulun, Issachar, Asher, Naphtali, and Dan.
Each tribe was to designate cities of refuge for the person who accidentally killed someone and had no witness or adversary. The Levites were to rule and live in these cities. If a person accidentally killed someone they were to flee to this city and present their case to the Levites sitting at the gate. If the priests believed the man’s story they would allow him to live in the city and be protected against the avenger of blood until the death of the officiating high priest. The avenger of blood was the dead person’s family member who was designated to avenge his kinsman’s blood.
These cities represented so many things. They were a picture of salvation and refuge to the sinner. But even more, they represented specific places under the earth where the righteous who died went to rest in Sheol until Jesus rose from the dead and set them free to rise with him to heaven. Jesus is the High Priest who had to die before they could be set free. All the patriarchs were buried in cities of refuge.
In Luke, Jesus was coming to Jerusalem to die. I can see the angels arranging the props. They put the donkey in the right place so the disciples could find it. They put it on the hearts of the owners to let them have it. They flew to the ears of the people and told them to praise Jesus when he came down it. This was the path of the pascal lamb which would die for the whole nation at the end of the passover sacrifices.
“Hosanna” means “save now”. The people were quoting from Psalm 118:25-26 which beseeches God to save them now. By saying this over Jesus they were proclaiming him to be the Messiah. When the Pharisees told Jesus to rebuke his disciples, Jesus told them that if they didn’t praise him the rocks would cry out. Jesus was being literal and spiritual when he said this. Rocks scientifically hold memory and record sound. They were the same rocks that were there when God said, “Let there by light”. Jesus was there when they were created so they knew him. They could hear the crescendo in the heavenlies and knew who Jesus was. Romans 8 says that the whole creation groans waiting for the manifestation of the sons of God. Psalm 19 says that the heavens are declaring the glory of God; the day speaks of God and the night reveals Him. Nature responds to what God is doing. Nature is one of God’s voices on the earth; it is a window to God’s heart.
Next, Jesus prophesied the fall of Jerusalem because they did not recognize the time of his coming. That will be the same fate for those who don’t recognize his second coming.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Tues.’s Devo - The Kingdom of God is Giving

Read: Joshua 16:1-18:28; Luke 19:1-27; Psalm 87:1-7; Proverbs 13:11
Today we have the inheritance of Joseph which went to his two sons Ephraim and Manasseh. The women of Manasseh’s tribe had a similar case to Caleb’s daughter. They wanted their inheritance. They took their case before the priest and Joshua and they ruled in their favor.
I’ve noticed that every tribe seems to have flat land, watered land, mountainous land, uninhabited land and inhabited land that they need to take. It seems to describe life. The enemies seemed to be in the mountainous land. The mountainous land represents the spiritual and physical ups and downs - the trials. Mountain top experiences are great but the enemy comes right behind it and tries to steal it.
In Luke, we have the story about Zacchaeus. He was zealous to see Jesus. He was also a tax collector which meant that he had few friends and a bad reputation with the Romans and his own people. He was basically the traitor of his own. Jesus saw beyond his reputation to his heart. He wanted to eat with him and satisfy the hunger of his soul. Zacchaeus received Jesus and was so changed he wanted to demonstrate the change in his heart and return with interest all he had extorted from them.
Then Jesus gave them a parable about the kingdom of God. They thought Jesus was about to set up an earthly kingdom soon so Jesus gave them a story to tell them how to live while waiting for his kingdom. The story was about investing what God has given you into the kingdom. God will reward us for what we have done. The one who gives the most will be the one who receives the most. This is a great reminder to us who, like me tend to feel entitled to my stuff.
Lord, help us to give freely what we can’t keep anyway to gain what can’t be taken from us.

Monday, April 17, 2017

Mon.’s Devo - Spiritual Eyes

Read: Joshua 15:1-63; Luke 18:18-43; Psalm 86:1-17; Proerbs 13:9-10
Today we read only about Judah’s inheritance. Remember the land that Caleb specifically asked for yesterday? It was called Kiriath Arba which later became Hebron, a city of refuge. Kiriath Arba means city of the four. The four were Adam, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob who were all buried there.
In Luke, a rich ruler came to him and asked him what he should do to inherit eternal life. He had followed all the commandments but his heart was full of pride and greed. Jesus addressed that. His response gave his heart away. When Jesus said it was hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God he was not saying it was impossible but a rich man tends to trust in his riches and what he has done instead of realizing his need for God.
Jesus explained exactly what was going to happen to him in Jerusalem and the disciples couldn’t grasp it because they didn’t want to believe it. It didn’t fit their thinking. They were a little like the rich, young ruler. They thought that Jesus was going to have an earthly kingdom and they would be his royal subjects.
The one with the clearest sight was the blind man. He called out to Jesus as the Son of David. That was like saying, “Jesus, Messiah”. He received his healing because of his faith and followed Jesus to Jerusalem.
I wonder which one of these people I am most like. Am I the rich young ruler who only wants the blessings but not willing to fellowship in Christ’s suffering or am I like the disciples who believed Jesus was the Messiah out and were living for a promotion. Or, am I like the blind man who has learned to depend on his spiritual eyes over his natural ones and recognizes the presence of the Messiah. I pray I am like the blind man.
Lord, give us eyes to see and an undivided heart today.

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Sun.’s Devo - The Land Divisions

Read: Joshua 13:1-14:15; Luke 18:1-17; Psalm 85:1-13; Proverbs 13:7-8
Joshua was getting very old and there was still land to settle. The land in the mountains had yet to be inhabited so God told them He would go before them and drive them out himself. Joshua was to divide this land among the tribes.
We have a detailed description of the land God gave each of the tribes. I thought it was interesting that Caleb asked for the land that he had spied out 45 years before. It contained the Anakites and their cities. The Anakites were known for their long necks and the chains they wore around their necks. They were very warlike and fearful to look at plus they were giants. They were the nationality that Goliath came from. This shows us how much faith Caleb had.
Jesus told a parable about contending in prayer and not giving up. The story was about a judge who did not fear God and a woman in his town that kept coming to him for justice. She came so many times it finally wore him out and he said to just give her whatever she wanted. He compared that to the faithfulness of God. God will not forget about his children that cry out to him day and night.
Then Jesus told another parable about humility. The Pharisee who lived a self-righteous life was not justified by God but the tax collector who begged God for mercy was. Then Jesus explained that you must come to the kingdom like the little children who just wanted to be near Jesus.
Lord, surely you are near to those who fear you. May your glory dwell inner land.

Saturday, April 15, 2017

Sat.’s Devo - Having Spiritual Eyes

Read: Joshua 11:1-12:24; Luke 17:11-37; Psalm 84:1-12; Proverbs 13:5-6
The other kings heard about Joshua’s great wins so they formed an alliance against Joshua. They came out in a huge army, greater than Joshua’s, but God told Joshua not to worry because by the next day, they would have taken them all. Joshua was courageous and went out against them. God gave him victory and he killed everyone of them just like God had told him. He took the land and divided it up among the tribes and the land had peace. There were 31 kings in all which stood for shame, witchcraft, lust, death, high place, generational, restraint, a wall, just to name a few.
In Luke, Jesus healed 10 lepers and sent them to the priest to do the ceremony to allow them back into the temple. One of them came back to thank Jesus. This man was not a Jew so he wouldn’t have gotten an audience with the priest. By coming back to Jesus he was showing that Jesus was his priest. This was also a picture of all the people that Jesus healed of terrible diseases and demons. About one out of ten actually believed that Jesus was the Messiah. The rest just went back to their lives without a savior.
The Pharisees asked Jesus when the kingdom of God would come. Jesus explained that the kingdom of God was not something they would be able to see with their natural eyes, they would have to have spiritual eyes to see it because the kingdom of God would be inside people. To his disciples, Jesus explained that the big things God does on the earth are missed by the masses but revealed to the remnant.
Lord, give us spiritual eyes to see what you are doing in the kingdom.

Friday, April 14, 2017

Fri.’s Devo - God’s Victories

Read: Joshua 9:3-10:43; Luke 16:19-17:10; Psalm 8:1-18; Proverbs 13:4
Gibson was an important royal city full of good fighting men but even they were afraid of the Israelites and God. They knew they were helpless against Joshua’s God so their only hope was to trick Joshua into making a treaty with them. Joshua didn’t ask God first and hastily decided on his own to believe them. When he realized he had been tricked and they lived in the promised land, he decided then to ask God what to do. God told them to make them slaves and make them carry their water and cut their wood. The other five kings heard about what Gibeon had done and they combined forces against Gibeon. Since Israel had made a covenant to help them, Joshua had to fight for them. When the battle went into the night, Joshua commanded the sun to stand still and it did. They were able to continue fighting and God gave them the victory. God’s army threw down hail stones and killed more than Joshua’s people did. The five kings hid in a cave so the Israelites rolled a stone to keep them there then they hung them on a tree (just the opposite of what happened to Jesus). Then they put the kings back in the cave and put the stones back over the mouth of the cave.
Joshua and his army continued to conquer seven more cities. Remember that kings of the armies of the enemies of God stand for principalities. They have to be put to death. We can’t just hid them away and expect to be rid of them. Keeping those kings in the cave would have been a mistake.
In Luke, Jesus told a story of a rich man and a beggar. The tables were flipped when they died. The beggar was secure and blessed where the rich man was tormented with fire. The gulf between them was even greater than on earth. The rich man asked Abraham to send someone to his father’s house to tell them about hell. Abraham told the man that they had Moses and the prophets to warn them. Then the rich man said that if someone could rise from the dead, they would repent. Abraham disagreed. He told the rich man that if they wouldn’t listen to Moses and the prophets, they wouldn’t believe even if someone rose from the dead.
Jesus was speaking to the scribes and teachers of the law. They refused to believe the law they were so bent on keeping and they killed all the prophets which would include him, so they wouldn’t believe his resurrection either.
Then Jesus turned to his disciples and gave them a lesson on offenses. They should not be the ones who offended people but if someone offended them and asked for forgiveness, they were to give it. When the disciples asked Jesus to increase their faith, he told them that it only took a small amount of faith to move mountains. Then Jesus encouraged them not to stop doing the things they knew to do. All this shows their faith.
Lord, help us to keep doing the things we know to do even if we don’t get the desired results. You are working through our faith.

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Thurs.’s Devo - Learning to Wait on the Lord

Read: Joshua 7:16-9:2; Luke 16:1-18; Psalm 82:1-8; Proverbs 3:2-3
Yesterday we read the great victory of the city of Jericho and the utter defeat of the small town of Ai. Today they find out the reason for their defeat. Achan had lusted after a beautiful robe and some silver and taken it for himself. He had buried it in a hole under his tent. His sin cost the lives of many of his fellow Israelites and his own as he was taken outside the camp and stoned.
Joshua planned his attack on Ai and God told him they could have all the plunder for themselves. If only Achan had waited. Patience is one of the hardest virtues to obtain but one of the most beneficial. Not being able to wait on the Lord has cost the loss of many things. That is why James says to pray for patience that you may be perfect lacking nothing. I know we have been taught not to pray for patience because if we do, we will be tested in that area but that is a very immature attitude. If we want to grow in our walk, we will have to have patience and we need to be tested in patience so we will grow in it. All of Jesus’ temptations had to do with waiting on God’s timing.
Joshua completely destroyed Ai and all its inhabitants including the king. He refused to stop short of his assignment. Joshua had the king’s body hung on a tree to let the birds eat it then threw it at the entrance of the city and piled rocks on top of it. I know this sounds gruesome but this king stood for a demonic principality.
Joshua then read the law, the blessings and the curses to all the people.
In Luke, Jesus tells the parable about the shrewd manager. The moral of the story was that we like the manager need to live for tomorrow. We need to prepare for our eternal home. God is looking for what we do with the small things of this world to see if he can trust us with bigger things in his kingdom.
Lord, help us to walk in patience and wisdom today.

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Wed.’s Devo - God’s Great Love

Read: Joshua 5:1-7:15; Luke 15:1-32; Psalm 81:1-16; Proverbs 13:1
The Amorites had seen God part the Jordan so they were too afraid to come and meet the Israelites. This gave Joshua the advantage and he was able to surround Jericho and follow God’s plan for taking the city. God’s plan was not a military plan that anyone had ever seen. As they executed God’s plan, the enemy became more and more afraid every day. On the seventh day, the walls came down and they were able to take the city with the blast of a trumpet and a shout.
This is a picture of God’s 7,000 year plan. On the seventh day, or the 7,000th year, God will execute vengeance on his enemies and their kingdom will come down.
This city of Jericho was to be a tithe to the Lord. It was the first of ten cities they would take as a nation. All the plunder was to go to the Lord. When some of the people refused to give God the tithe, it hurt the whole nation. Their next battle was suppose to be a given but it was a total defeat.
In Luke, we have three stories. I want to look at these stories differently than we usually look at them. Let’s look at them in turns of numbers. In the first story we have one out of 99. In the next story we have one out of ten and in the last story we have one out of two. It’s like God lets us see closer and closer into the picture he is trying to teach. He is trying to show us the vastness of his mercy and how He loves. He sees us as a son, not just a number. God is very personal and invested in us. He loves us!
Lord, help us to understand the greatness of your love and give it to others.

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Tues.’s Devo - Reminders

Read: Joshua 3:1-4:24; Luke 14:7-35; Psalm 80:1-19; Proverbs 12:27-28
Once again, God parted the waters and let his people pass through on dry ground but his commandments to Joshua were different from his commandments to Moses. God told Moses to stretch his rod over the Red Sea but God told Joshua to step into the Jordan. Since the Jordan represents the spirit, it was fitting that Joshua had to step into it. When the priests with the ark stepped into the water the waters would part. The inhabitants of the land had spies watching. I can’t imagine the fear they must have experienced seeing the power of the Israelite’s God.
One man from each tribe was to pick up a stone from the floor of the Jordan and carry it across the river and set it in a pile on the other side. This was to be an everlasting memorial for what God had done for them.
Our rocks that we set in place are our memories of what God has done for us. They are our answered prayers and surprise blessings that God gives us all through our lives. We need to write them down and have them to remind us when we need more faith.
In Luke, Jesus teaches against entitlement. He said that even if you feel entitled to have the best place, take the least, then God can exalt you in front of your friends instead of demoting you in front of them.
Verse 26 says that if you don’t hate your father, mother, etc. you cannot be his disciple. The word “hate” is from the Greek word “miseo” meaning “to love less”. It means that we are to love God more than any human being. Jesus went on to say that to be a follower means that you have counted the cost of following him and you are willing to love Him more than anything on earth. You don’t become a Christian on a whim, you have to first consider the cost. If someone asked you to marry them, you would think about it first and not be hasty. That is the same way with becoming a Christian.
Lord, may we remember the wonderful things you have done for us and may they be stepping stones for our faith to grow.

Monday, April 10, 2017

Mon.’s Devo - Change of Leadership

Read: Deuteronomy 34:1-Joshua 2:24; Luke 13:22-14:6; Psalm 79:1-13; Proverbs 12:26
Moses climbed to mount Nebo so he could get a good look at the land he had spent the last 40 years working to get there. His one act of disobedience caused him to miss entering. He died at the age of 120 even though his eyes were still good and his strength still strong. Moses didn’t die of natural causes, God took him and God buried him in an unknown place in the valley. Jude tells us that Michael and the devil contended for the body of Moses. The children of Israel morned for Moses 30 days and his epithet was that there was not a prophet like Moses who knew the Lord face to face and whom the Lord did such signs and wonders through.
Joshua was full of the spirit of wisdom because Moses had laid his hands on him and conferred his mantle to Joshua. After Moses’ death, God told Joshua to arise and go into the land he had given them. Every place the sole of his foot would tread upon would be his. As God was with Moses, He would be with Joshua and He would not fail him. He commanded Joshua several times to be strong and very courageous and if he obeyed the laws God had given them, they would be prosperous and successful. They were to cross armed and ready for battle because after they had defeated all their enemies they would have rest.
The change of leadership marked a change in their mode of operation. They journeyed through the wilderness but now they would fight for their land. Moses lead them with the law, Joshua would lead them with the spirit of God.
The first city they came to was Jericho. Joshua sent two men to spy out the land Jericho. Rahab, the harlot, hid these men and saved their life. They would, in turn, save hers and her family’s. Rahab feared the Lord of the Israelites and all the stories she had heard about Egypt and chose to live. It was the scarlet cord, the blood of Jesus that saved her.
In Luke, the Pharisees warned Jesus not to go to Jerusalem because Herod wanted to kill them. How ironic because it was them who wanted him dead. Jesus called Herod a fox and explained that he had to die in Jerusalem to fulfill prophecy. No prophet died outside of Jerusalem. Everything in the Bible is strategically laid out and it all fits the master plan.
Lord, you have given us land that we are to take for You. Help us to be strong and very courageous. May we be armed with your Word and your power.

Sunday, April 9, 2017

Sun.’s Devo - The Blessings of the Tribes

Read: Deuteronomy 33:1-29; Luke 13:1-21; Psalm 78:65-72; Proverbs 12:25
Before Moses died, he pronounced a blessing on the Israelites according to their tribes. He pronounced life for Reuben against his enemies. That he would be a tribe with many people. Moses prayed that God would hear Judah’s cry and bring him to his people. He prayed that God would help him from his enemies. Our Psalm today says that God chose Judah to bring forth the first king, David and the last king, Jesus. Of Levi he prayed the ability to hear from God and make righteous decisions for the nation. They were proved when Korah rebelled and their zeal for the Lord gave them this promotion. They would be responsible for teaching the law to the people and interceding for the people. God promised to slay anyone who rose up against them. To Benjamin, God called his beloved who would dwell safely near Him. The Lord would cover him and carry him. (Jerusalem is in the tribe of Benjamin.) He called Joseph’s land, Blessed of the Lord. The land would be blessed with good weather, precious fruit and precious things in its mountains and hills. It’s land would reflect God’s glory. (Remember, Joseph included the land of Ephraim and Manasseh.) Manasseh means “causing to forget” and Ephraim means “double fruitful”. They are a picture of the new covenant of grace that would come through Jesus. He would forgive our sins causing us to forget our past and cause us to be double fruitful. This prophecy figuratively means that the church would be strong with many strong leaders and inherit all the promises that their forefathers longed to see happen. This is a prophecy to the church.
Of Zebulun which means “habitation” he spoke of his dwelling place. They would be wealthy in the world’s sense and in the spiritual sense. They would be the people who made their habitation in the Lord. Gad would be influential with the leaders and a fierce defender of justice. Dan would be as courageous as a lion cub. He would be fertile and produce many lions. Naphtali would have favor and be blessed of the Lord. Asher would be blessed with many children and have favor with his own people. He would walk in the Spirit.
We are all a member of one of the tribes which corresponds with our gifts.
In Luke, Jesus explained that what kept people from God’s kingdom was not the vileness of their sin, but the condition of their heart. There was one litmus test to enter the kingdom and that was repentance of sin and acceptance of Jesus.
Jesus told a parable about a fig tree that didn’t produce fruit after three years. The owner wanted to cut it down but the keeper of the vineyard begged him to let him work on the soil around the fig tree and wait one more year. The fig tree stood for Israel who had rebelled for three thousand years. The keeper stood for the Holy Spirit who wanted to give Israel a little more time. Jesus spoke about this soil in his parable about the seed. Jesus worked on Israel’s soil with all his miracles and healing yet they still refused to produce much fruit. He did find a remnant which would be like yeast and permeate the whole nation.
Lord, may we be like the Lord’s yeast and spread to the nations with the gospel of truth and life.

Saturday, April 8, 2017

Sat.’s Devo - Dressed and Burning

Read: Deuteronomy 32:28-52; Luke 12:35-59; Psalm 78:32-55; Proverbs 12:21-23
In Deuteronomy, Moses was still singing God’s song to the Israelites. He told them they had no discernment. If they did, they wouldn’t choose an inferior god to serve. The people they were looking to be like were not connected to God, their vine had its roots in Sodom and Gomorrah which is the symbol of hell. They would be judged in God’s timing. God is the only God of all the earth. His words were their life and the key to living long in the land God was giving them to possess.
In Luke, Jesus told us as his disciples how to be ready for his coming. We are to be dressed for service and have our lamps burning. Ephesians 6 tells us how were are to be dressed for war but to be dressed for service is how Jesus was dressed. He wore the robe of a servant. Jesus wore a white robe which stands for righteousness and holiness. Over this white robe we are to put on the armor of God but most of the armor is not offensive - it is a form of identity. It is things like truth, righteousness, faith, salvation. Our only weapon is the Word of God. The Word of God is not only a weapon but it is comfort, instruction, and our daily nourishment.
What does it means to have our lamps burning? When Daniel saw Jesus in Daniel 10:6 it says that his eyes were as lamps of fire. Our bodies are the temple of the Holy Spirit. He burns out of our eyes. I know this sounds funny but it is the truth. The light of God should be shining from our eyes. I know you have seen a child’s eyes light up when you tell them you are going to give them a present. That is the same way our eyes should be shining because of the gift of the Holy Spirit in us. You can tell the state of a person’s relationship with the Lord by looking into their eyes. The eyes are the lamp to the soul.
Lord, may our eyes burn for you and may we be busy serving in garments of white when you come back.

Friday, April 7, 2017

Fri.’s Devo - The True Riches

Read: Deuteronomy 31:1-32:27; Luke 12:8-34; Psalm 78:32-55; Proverbs 12:21-23
Todays reading, like so many other days, dovetails and says the same thing. Moses was about to die and he instructed the people about their future and God’s laws. He called Joshua the leader and encouraged him to be strong and courageous. He wrote down the law and gave it to the priests commanding them to read it to the people every seven years on the Feast of Tabernacles.
God called Joshua and Moses to the Tent of Meeting and commissioned Joshua to lead the people. God told Joshua what the people would do when Moses dies. They would rebel against Him and fall into idolatry. God gave Moses a song to teach them about their future. I wonder what they thought as they heard this song foretelling their downfall.
Jesus gave his disciples a glimpse into their future. He told them that they will be brought to trial for their faith then he gave a lesson about greed. The Pharisees taught that the favor of the Lord was evidenced in a man’s wealth. Jesus taught that to gain favor in the kingdom, you had to lose it all.
He told the parable about the rich man who stored up all his treasure into a barn and was tearing down that barn to build bigger barns when his life was taken. Jesus called this man a fool for storing up things for himself but not being rich toward God. The way to be rich toward God is to seek his kingdom first, then all the things you need will be given you.
The rest of Psalm 78 was a picture of their wilderness journey and the hard hearts of the people. They daily saw God’s provision and his saving grace. They spoke allegiance to God with their mouths, but their hearts were far from Him.
Lord, may we be rich toward You and may we lay down our lives and all that we have to gain what money cannot buy.

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Thurs.’s Devo - Hidden Things Revealed

Read: Deuteronomy 29:1-30:20; Luke 11:37-12:7; Psalm 78:1-31; Proverbs 12:19-20
At Sinai, God betrothed himself to the Jewish people. The law was the marriage contract. The people broke the contract over and over even though God proved himself to be a great provider and to always be with them. God gave them manna and water. Their clothes did not wear out or their sandals. God fought for them and helped them defeat Sihon and Og and He brought them to the land He had promised them. Yet they broke their covenant with the Lord.
He was now asking this new generation to enter into his marriage contract. If they accepted the contract then decided to go their own way they would bring disaster on themselves. His sin would bring a curse on the land. If they returned to the Lord with all their hearts and soul then God would restore their fortunes and have compassion on them and gather them back together. Then the curses that had fallen on them would be put on their enemies. Today, he was asking them to choose the blessings or the curses - life or death.
In the midst of all that he put a very important nugget found in 29:29 which is, “The secret things belong to the Lord our God, but the things revealed belong to us and to our children forever, that we may follow all the words of this law.” God does have secrets but he also has revelation that is for us if we will search it out.
Jesus told his disciples that man had no secrets. Everything they tried to hide would one day be open and made known. He was specifically speaking to the scribes and Pharisees who were so concerned with looking righteous when inside they were full of all kinds of wickedness and self-centeredness.
Psalms 78 says that God would teach in parables but the hidden things would be revealed to the children of God so they could pass them on to the next generation.
Lord, reveal to us your hidden treasures that we might know you better.

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Wed.’s Devo - Walk in the Blessings

Read: Deuteronomy 28:1-68; Luke 11:14-36; Psalm 77:1-20; Proverbs 12:18
Deuteronomy 28 is the chapter of the blessings and the curses. The blessings are so good and they are to overtake us. You don’t have to read very far to realize which side you want to be on. Amazing to say, Israel chose the curses and truthfully, so do we many times. One of the greatest ways we curse ourselves is with our own mouths. Life and death is in the power of our tongues. When God created the earth, he spoke it and called what he created by a name. Whatever name he gave it, it became. Then he gave Adam the job of naming the animals. Whatever name he gave them, they became. We have that same responsibility. We are to name things what we want them to be called and they will become that. If you want godly children, then name them godly, etc.
In Luke, Jesus did the third Messianic miracle for the Pharisees and they had to come to a conclusion whether Jesus was the Messiah. Everyone was looking to them for the answer. Instead of naming Jesus the Messiah, they said he was doing his miracles through Beelzebub, the chief of devils. With their mouth they cursed themselves and the whole Jewish nation. The Pharisees were always asking Jesus for a sign as if all the miracles he did and the things he said were not signs enough. He told them that the sign for them would be the sign of Jonah. Jonah was in the belly of the whale three days and then reappeared on the earth. Jesus would die and rise from death after three days and appear on earth. The difference between them and Nineveh was that Nineveh repented and they did not. Nineveh was spared but they would not be.
If you are like me, you have to wonder why so many of us are going through such intense trials. The Psalm for today is a good one. The psalmist feels the same way, but causes himself to remember all the good things the Lord has done for him. He chooses to meditate on the goodness of God instead of the lack in his own life. Sometimes we have to dig deep and see that the the seed is inside us. We have to water that seed of faith with praise, worship, hope, joy, and love before it can grow.
Lord, watch over Your Word to perform it and watch over our hearts that we might speak the words of hope and faith.

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Tues.’s Devo - When You Cross Over

Read: Deuteronomy 26:1-27:26; Luke 10:38-11:13; Psalm 76:1-12; Proverbs 12:15-17
Once the Israelites settled in the promised land, they were to gather their first fruits in a basket and bring them before the Lord. They were to rejoice over the goodness of the Lord to them. In the third year, they were to bring a tithe for the Levite so that he would be taken care of.
They were to plaster stones and write all the laws on them. When they crossed over, six of the tribes were to read the curses from Mount Ebal and six of the tribes were to read the blessings from Mount Gerizim. We have to remember that God is not only a God of blessing but of judgment over sin. He wanted his people to hear the laws so they would be accountable for their sins.
In Luke, Martha is up doing all the preparations and she is in her zone. Martha loves to serve and that is her ministry. Thank God for Martha’s. Mary was a seeker and a lover. She could care less if she ate or if anyone ate, she just wanted to hear and spend time with Jesus. Thank God for Mary’s.
Jesus didn’t rebuke Martha for what she was doing until she complained about what Mary was doing. All Jesus told Mary was that she was worried about things she didn’t need to be worried about and Mary had chosen best. We all need to be Martha’s at times but we need to know when it is best to be a Mary.
God really does want to bless us with what is best, we just don’t always know what is best for us. He tells us to ask for what we want. If we ask, we will receive and if we seek, we will find and if we knock on God’s door, he will open it. But…we might not receive what we thought we were asking for and we might not find what we thought we would and the door might lead us into a room we never thought we would be in. God is a good father who doesn’t hold back his treasures.
Lord, help us to see what the true riches are and what you have in store for those who love you.

Monday, April 3, 2017

Mon.’s Devo - Beauty and the Beast

Read: Deuteronomy 23:1-25:19; Luke 10:13-37; Psalm 75:1-10: Proverbs 12:12-14
We have to remember when reading the laws of the Old Testament that they are spiritual to us. The bottom line is that God hates mixture and demands holiness among his people. I’m going to get political for a moment so bare with me. I signed a petition boycotting “Beauty and the Beast” because of the “gay moments” I was told it had. After talking to several Christians who saw the movie, they said it was so subtile it would go right over the minds of children and it was a whole lot of hoopla over nothing. That mindset is how Roe vs. Wade became the law of the land. Christians didn’t react to the small subtile ways the devil was coming in the door and didn’t fight back. The truth about that movie is that the director is an openly gay man who had an agenda to put a few subtile gay moments in the film. The devil caused a huge commotion over it so that when we saw it we would think, “oh, that’s not so bad.” Since he got away with this little subtile entry into the door, next time, it won’t be so subtile and it will be a tidal wave that we won’t be able to stop. That is why God seems so strong on his laws. He wanted to stop evil from getting in the camp. Evil has gotten into the church because we don’t want to miss out on a little pleasure. They have now given that a name: FOMO (fear of missing out). Amazing! How about FOMO in regards to the things of God. I don’t want to miss out on anything the Lord is doing even if that means I miss out on a few Disney movies.
I don’t usually use my blog to preach but we as the church have to wake up. We are on the cusp of another Great Awakening in our land and I don’t want God to pass us by because his people cannot agree on what is holy and what is not. God is not judging us by what the world is doing, He is judging us by what his children’s reaction. Let’s stand together for our land and make it holy again.
Jesus cursed Chorizan and Bethsaida for their unbelief. In Bethsaida, Jesus fed the 5,000 and healed a blind man with mud along with many other miracles. Capernaum was also a city that Jesus did many miracles and cast out many devils and yet they turned against him. Jesus explained to his disciples that whoever rejected them was really rejecting him and whoever rejected him was rejecting God.
One of the leaders of the law wanted to test Jesus so he asked Jesus how to receive eternal life. Jesus turned it on him and asked him what the law said. He answered correctly - Love God and love your neighbor as yourself. (He must have heard Jesus earlier sermon.) So to trick him, he asked Jesus who his neighbor was. Jesus gave him the story of the good Samaritan. It was a slap in the leaders face because the one who was the hero was not the priest or the Levite in the story. The one who loved his neighbor was a Samaritan. He was the neighbor to the Israelite. Jesus asked him who was the neighbor and he said the one who showed mercy. Jesus told him to go and do the same. I wonder if he did.
Lord, we don’t want to miss out on our destiny for today. May we be attentive and have our ears open to your cry.

Sunday, April 2, 2017

Sun.’s Devo - Restore

Read: Deuteronomy 21:1-22:30; Luke 9:51-10:12; Psalm 74:1-23
It doesn’t take long reading today’s scripture to see how far we have strayed from them. God’s law are God’s wisdom and his heart. He wanted Israel to be set apart and holy. He made us to be sexual people but he gave us definite guidelines and boundaries for our good.
If a warrior sees a woman who is a virgin in the country they are attacking, he can take her home. He is to trim her nails and shave her head and give her new clothes. She is to live with him and his parents for a month. During this month, she will learn the lifestyle of the Israelite that she is expected to live. Her true colors should emerge during this time. If he still wants to marry her, then he can. If after they are married for a while, he is not pleased with her, he can set her free. This is a picture of someone who falls for an unsaved person. This is the only one, that he is told he can divorce her. In the other situations, God tells him he must stay married for life.
The next scenerio (21:15-17) of the two wives is exactly what happened with Jacob and Rachael and Leah. Jacob loved Rachael more. He was tricked into marrying Leah and making her son the firstborn. When Rachael finally had Joseph, Jacob treated him with more favor than all his other sons. In his eyes, he was the first born. He had a robe made for him to show his affection toward Joseph. Needless to say, this did not go over well with his brothers, but God had the last word. Joseph did go to rule over all of them. If we don’t get in the way, God will restore things as they should have been.
A woman was not to wear men’s clothing or vice versa because God detests this! That wouldn’t fly today.
I want to talk about one other law. If a person was to see a stray ox or sheep, he was not to ignore it. He was to take it home and keep it till he found the owner or help it get to its feet if it has fallen. What a picture of what we are to do when we see someone who has strayed from their walk with God. We are not to ignore it. We are either to take this person on as we would want someone to do to our son or daughter or we are to help that person get back on their feet. We are not to just ignore them. This is a conformation to me about what we are doing. We have brought our youngest son and family back to live with us to help them get on their feet. It is involving mentoring, schooling, and much of our finances… but we can’t ignore them. We want to be able to turn them back over to the Lord restored.
As Jesus was traveling to Jerusalem to die, he encountered three men who wanted to follow him. Jesus answered them according to their heart. They wanted to follow Jesus with their words but when it came down to acting on it, they weaseled out. Jesus appointed 72 others and sent them out. He explained exactly how it was going to be for the ones who “followed him”. They would be lambs among wolves. It would be a total walk of faith.
God is not into numbers but into the few that are totally sold out. He can work with them.
Lord, help us to walk in your shoes in faith and courage. Help us to be totally sold out.

Saturday, April 1, 2017

Sat.’s Devo - God’s Concepts

Read: Deuteronomy 18:1-20:20; Luke 9:28-50; Psalm 73:1-28; Proverbs 12:10
God wanted the people to take care of the Levite’s needs. They were not to be poor but to have the best because they stood for the Lord on the earth. Since the people were afraid of hearing God’s voice for themselves, God promised to raise up prophets that would speak for him. They were to listen to what the prophet said and test his words to see if they came true.
They were to set up cities of refuge in the middle of their lands so that the innocent would have a place to be safe.
They were to treat each other fairly and not steal each other’s land. It took two witnesses to condemn a person or set them free.
When they went to war, the priests were to stand before them and command them not to be afraid or terrified or panic because it is the Lord their God who goes with them to fight and He will give them victory. If they had distractions or fears then they were excused from battle so that they wouldn’t distract or spread their fear to their fellow soldiers. When they went against their enemies they were to totally destroy anyone that had breath because if they were allowed to live they would become a snare to them.
All of these laws pertain to us. We are to pay our pastors and ministers well and we, as ministers, are to have our needs met. We can enjoy the best God has if we have faith.
When Jesus died, God tore the veil that separated man from God. We can hear the voice of God ourselves.
Jesus is our city of refuge and we are safe from the accuser of the brethren when we run to Him.
We are to love one another as we love ourselves.
Our war is not against flesh and blood so when we go to battle against the spiritual demons and principalities we need to pray with like believers who are not afraid of them. We are not to be intimidated or terrorized by any spirit but we are to take authority over him because God has placed him under our feet and we do have the victory.
In Luke, Jesus and his disciples were in Jerusalem for the Feast of Tabernacles. To celebrate this feast, everyone made temporary tabernacles to live in for a week. This was to remind the people that they were sojourners on the earth and their true lasting home was in heaven. So when they saw Moses and Elijah on the mountain they wanted to erect a tabernacle for them. We don’t know what Jesus, Moses and Elijah talked about, but as soon as Jesus got alone with his disciples, he told them he was going to be betrayed into man’s hands. I wonder if he didn’t hear this from the Old Testament prophets.
The disciples and Jesus experienced a “mountain-top” experience and as soon as they got down, the devil was there waiting and mad. Jesus was presented a boy who manifested demons in a most demonstrative way. I have found that the devil screams loudest when he has been hit the hardest.
Lord, help us to obey all of your precepts and may your law be in our hearts always. Help us to remember that this is not our home.