Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Wed.’s Devo - The Fulfillment

Read: 2 Samuel 17:1-29; John 19:23-42; Psalm 119:129-152; Proverbs 16:12-13
Ahithophel was Absalom’s counselor. He counseled him to go immediately after David to kill him. Then he could bring his men back alive to serve Absalom. That was good advise but God didn’t want David to be caught so he turned the heart of Absalom to ask Hushai for his advise. Hushai had been David’s advisor and was secretly still on his side. He advised Absalom to wait and gather troops to go after David’s men. God turned Absalom’s heart to listen to his advise instead of Ahithophel’s. This allowed time for them to inform David to get far away. It worked and Ahithophel was so distraught that his advise wasn’t taken, he hung himself.
In John, the soldiers fulfilled scripture by casting lots for Jesus’ clothes. Jesus passed his mom to John to keep so now all his earthly possessions were distributed.
Jesus cried out he was thirsty so they brought a sponge on the stalk of the hyssop plant and lifted it to his lips. As soon as he drank it he died. Jesus was pointing them back to the days of Egypt when the Israelites took the hyssop branch and applied the blood to their doorposts.
The Passover fell on a Sabbath making it a High Sabbath. All the bodies had to be off the crosses not to make the people unclean on the Sabbath. To do this they would break the legs of those still alive. When they came to break Jesus’ legs, he was already dead to fulfill Psalm 34:20 that said none of his bones were broken.
Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus came by night and took Jesus body and laid it in Joseph’s own private tomb which was surrounded by a garden.
Righteous are you, O Lord, and your laws are right. Thank you for fulfilling all of your Word.

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Tues.’s Devo - The Crucifixion

Read: 2 Samuel 15:23-16:23; John 18:25-19:22; Psalm 119:113-128; Proverbs 16:10-11
David used wisdom in fleeing the throne for his life. He was a man of military strategy so he used that knowledge and placed people in his kingdom to keep him informed and to work on his behalf. The priests were on his side, his advisor stayed behind to give Absalom bad advise and others stayed to be his eyes. Ziba lied about Mephibosheth for his own gain which will be exposed later and the prophesy about David was fulfilled. What David did with Bathsheba in private was done with his concubines in public.
David walked the road that Jesus walked to be crucified. To both of them, it seemed, were losing their kingdom when really they were establishing a kingdom that could not be taken. It often looks the bleakest before the greatest breakthrough.
Jesus had been kept awake all night being questioned by Caiaphas at his house. When morning came, he was led to the palace of the Roman governor. The Jews did not do crucifixions so they had to have the Romans charge him. When the Roman officers asked the priests what the charges were against Jesus they couldn’t give them a specific charge. Pilate asked Jesus if he was the king of the Jews. All Jesus could talk about was his heavenly kingdom. Pilate could find nothing to charge Jesus with so he told the crowd. To make it easier for them, he offered to release Jesus as the prisoner that got released every Passover. When they chose Jesus, Pilate would be off the hook. To his utter amazement they chose Barrabas who was probably the worse criminal he had in his jail.
Pilate had Jesus flogged and his soldiers twisted a crown of thorns and put them on his head. They put a purple robe on him and brought him out before the people to present them their king. Once again Pilate told the crowd that he found Jesus innocent.
When the crowd yelled to crucify Jesus, Pilate told them to do it. They explained that they couldn’t under their law and that Jesus had claimed to be the Son of God. This made Pilate even more afraid so be brought Jesus in and asked him where he was from. When Jesus refused to answer him, Pilate was furious. He said, “Don’t you realize I have power either to free you or to crucify you?” Jesus told him that the only way he would have power to do that would be that God gave it to him. Pilate was starting to get the truth and tried everything he could do to set Jesus free. He didn’t want the Son of God’s blood on his hands.
The people intimidated Pilate and accused him of being against Caesar if he let Jesus go since Jesus was claiming to be a king. Pilate was in between a rock and a hard place. He caved to the crowd and turned Jesus over to the soldiers to be crucified. Pilate put a sign above Jesus that read: JESUS OF NAZARETH, THE KING OF THE JEWS.
No one could have stopped God’s plan: not Pilate or any of Jesus’ disciples. This was the plan from the foundation of the earth and as bloody and cruel as it was, it was wonderful - it was the salvation for the world.
Thank you, Jesus for being our Passover Lamb.

Monday, May 29, 2017

Mon.’s Devo - Eyes of Love

Read: 2 Samuel 14:1-15:22; John 18:1-24; Psalm 119:97-112; Proverbs 16:8-9
Joab was a good servant to David and saw David’s grief over the distance between David and Absalom and wanted to help. He hired an actress to bring David a story which paralleled his own. It was easier for David to see what was right about another person’s situation and not his own. How true that is in life. It is much easier to see things from a distance in someone else’s life than up close in our own.
David got the message and allowed Absalom to come back to Jerusalem but he refused to meet with Absalom which led to him losing his kingdom. Absalom used manipulation and flattery to win the hearts of the people. He eventually formed a coup to take David’s kingdom and David had to flee for his life. David told Ittai to go back to the palace and be his spy. “Ittai” means “with me” because he was with David.
In John, Jesus had gone to the garden of Gethsemane to pray. Judas knew the place, so he showed up with a squad of soldiers. When Jesus said, “I am.” they all fell backwards to the ground under the power of God. Peter, in his zeal, took his sword and cut off the ear of the high priest’s servant. In Luke 22:51, we read that Jesus touched his ear and healed him. All these signs and miracles just added to the judgment against this generation.
They led Jesus to Annas’ house first who was the high priest’s father-in-law. Peter and John followed Jesus, and John was able to go into the house since he knew the high priest. Peter stood outside where he denied Jesus three times.
The high priest put Jesus on trial which broke their laws of trying a man in a private place. He struck Jesus with a slap in the face which broke another of their laws. By the time it was over, they had broken 21 of their laws just to get rid of Jesus. They were truly hippocrites. From there he was sent to Caiaphas’ house to be abused even more.
Both David and the Jews were blinded by their own ambitions and offenses to see the truth. That is so easy to do. Only God can open our eyes to see through his eyes of love.
Lord, help us to see with eyes of love instead of eyes of judgment.

Sunday, May 28, 2017

Sun.’s Devo -Jesus’ Prayer for Us

Read: 2 Samuel 13:1-39; John 17:1-26; Psalm 119:81-96; Proverbs 16:6-7
Amnon was David’s first born who would have had the right to the throne by birth. He “fell in love” with Tamar, his half-sister. Tamar was the whole sister of Absalom. The love that Amnon had for Tamar was the Hebrew word “ahab” which means “to have affection for… sexually or otherwise”. I would call what Amnon had for Tamar “lust”. He couldn’t wait to marry her and wanted her right then. That is not God’s love. She was totally devastated after he raped her and ran to Absalom’s house to recover. Absalom waited for the opportune time to kill Amnon. What Absalom not only avenged his sister, but got rid of the first born and gave him a chance for the throne.
If David had stepped up and disciplined Amnon, none of this would have happened. Absalom waited two years before he did anything giving David plenty of time to act. When Absalom did kill Amnon, David should have gone to Absalom and punished him in some way but instead he chose to ignore the deed and Absalom which only made things worse.
David was not only a parent but a leader. He owed it to the nation he ruled to discipline the people in his kingdom even if they were his sons.
In John, Jesus prays for us. His number one desire is that we would be one with God as he was on the earth. This is how the world will believe that God sent Jesus to earth. He wanted the world to know that God loves his people through a demonstration of power. Jesus prayed that God’s love would be in us and that He, Jesus would be in us. This is a supernatural transformation that happens at salvation and is sealed when we receive the Holy Spirit.
Thank you for the glory you have given us to be one with you. May the world see this light we carry and be drawn to you.

Saturday, May 27, 2017

Sat.’s Devo - God’s Redemption

Read: 2 Samuel 12:1-31; John 16:1-33; Psalm 119:65-80; Proverbs 16:4-5
Yesterday we read about David’s greatest black mark in his story. He should have been out to war since it was the season that kings went to war. Instead he was at home getting a tan on his roof. He was the king and could have any virgin in the kingdom but he chose Bathsheba who didn’t have a choice but to go when summoned by the king. Bathsheba loved her husband who was out fighting Israel’s battles. The whole story is sad for Bathsheba and Uriah. David just wanted a night of pleasure then spent months of anguish and cover up. He justified having Uriah killed by saying that the sword devours one as well as another. God saw deeper than that and cut to the core. David had committed adultery with Bathsheba and murdered his own man to cover it up. Now he would have the life of the boy on his conscience also.
David’s punishment was that calamity would come to his household and he would see his wives being taken by some other man and all Israel would see it too. What he did in secret would be shown in public. That is always the punishment for a leader. They can think they are going to get away with their sin but they are responsible to lead others so their sins will get exposed as a lesson to those he leads.
God did redeem things for Bathsheba. She had another son named Solomon and her retribution would be that her son would be the next king even though he was not in line to be. Solomon means “peaceableness” because Solomon’s kingdom would be a kingdom of peace and represent the millennial kingdom. God told Nathan that Solomon’s name was Jedidiah which means “beloved”.
When David had repented of his sin, God gave him the royal capital of the Ammonites and their king. David took his crown. David had won a spiritual battle over his flesh. He never took another man’s wife again.
In John, Jesus is pushing his little birds out of the nest. They don’t think they are ready and he probably is a little tenative, but he knows that the Father said it is time…so they are ready. He realizes that he has to leave so the Holy Spirit can come. It is his time. He speaks to them figuratively but now he speaks to us plainly about God.
The last thing we read is to take heart because no matter our circumstances, Jesus has overcome the world!
Lord, thank you for what you did for us on this earth. Thank you for winning the victory for us that we might walk in peace and victory.

Friday, May 26, 2017

Fri.’s Devo - The Blessing and the Curse

Read: 2 Samuel 9:1-11:27; John 15:1-27; Psalm 119:49-64; Proverbs 16:1-3
David wanted to do something for Jonathan because he had been his closer-than-a-brother friend so he investigated and found Mephibosheth. He was the crippled son of Jonathan who was being cared for by Ziba, one of Saul’s servants. Mephibosheth had one son where Ziba had fifteen sons and twenty servants. David met with Mephibosheth and told him he wanted to give him back all the land that had belonged to his father, Saul and that he would eat at his table always. Ziba was put in charge of keeping the land and harvesting its fruits for Mephibosheth.
David wanted to thank everyone who was kind to him in his long journey to the throne and King Nahash the Ammonite was one of them. He died and his son Hanun was now the king. David sent some of his servants to give him his condolences. Instead of accepting David’s comfort through his servants, Hanun didn’t trust their loyalty and thought they were spies so he shaved them and sent them home half-naked. They returned in shame.
David was greatly offended so he planned revenge on the Ammonites. The Ammonites hired 33,000 Syrians to fight David’s men. David had the Lord on his side so, of course, he won. They made peace with Israel and served them.
Both Mephibosheth and Hanun had reason to fear David, yet Mephibosheth accepted David’s grace and Hanun rejected it. They represent the two types of people in the earth. We all deserve death by the king, God, but he extends mercy and grace to all. Those who accept it receive great blessings and fellowship with God. Those who reject it end up serving God anyway as a slave. I’ll discuss David and Bathsheba tomorrow.
In John, Jesus was given his disciples an analogy. The blessing of Israel was represented by the grape and the olive vineyards. In Psalm 128:3, David prays for those who fear the Lord and walk in his ways. He prays that their wives would be as a fruitful vine and their children like olive plants around the table. So Jesus uses these themes also to speak of himself. He is the source of all Israel and the whole earth. God is the one who watches over it and keeps it. We are all branches of that vine and it is the job of the husbandman to prune the vine to be sure it will produce fruit. The only way we will be productive branches is to keep clean of decay and disease through the cleansing of the Word. We have to abide in the Word and let his Word live in us. If we practice what we read we will find ourselves doing what it says. We will become it. We will love others as Jesus loves us. He who laid down his life for us will help us to do the same for others.

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Thurs.’s Devo - Live For Tomorrow

Read: 2 Samuel 7:1-8:18; John 14:15-31; Psalm 119:33-48; Proverbs 15:33
David is finally settled as the king. He has moved his operations to Jerusalem and built a palace to live in. Now he wants to build a temple for God. It sounded like a great idea until Nathan asked God about it. Nathan was David’s prophet. God told Nathan that he had never lived or asked to live in a house made of cedar. He was not a God who lived in a box. He was a spirit that went everywhere. God would establish the kingdom through David, and his offspring would build a temple. David was pleased with this answer. He now knew the plan for his life. He set out to establish the kingdom and defeat the enemies of God so that his offspring could rest in peace. As David defeated his enemies, he stored up their gold, silver and bronze for the temple. David was a good king.
We are all called to do what David did - to establish peace for the next generation. Maybe that peace needs to be in our own household or with the enemies of depression, hate, envy, lust, or fear. Whatever your generational curses are, you can be the one to stop them. You do that by battling them in the Spirit just like David did in the natural. The people he left living became his slaves. We need to make the devil serve us not vice versa.
In John, Jesus explained to his disciples who the Holy Spirit was and what he will do for them. He will be the counselor of truth. He would be invisible and only available to them. He would teach them all things and remind them of everything Jesus said to them while he was on earth. He would bring God’s peace. The Holy Spirit is all that for us too.
Lord, help us to be an enemy to your enemies and win. Remind us that what we do today affects tomorrow and all who will come behind us.

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Wed.’s Devo - A New Commandment

Read: 2 Samuel 4:1-6:23; John 13:31-14:14; Psalm 119:17-32; Proverbs 15:31-32
It was obvious that Abner was Ish-Bosheth’s backbone and once he was dead, Ish-Bosheth lost courage. Two men of his special forces teamed up to kill Ish-Bosheth when they found out Saul and Jonathan had died. Jonathan had a five year old son whose life would be in danger so his nursemaid grabbed him and ran. In her haste, she fell and the boy became crippled for life. His name was Mephibosheth. Interestingly, Ish-Bosheth’s name means “man of shame” and Mephibosheth means “dispeller of the shame of worshipping Baal”. He would be Israel’s redemption.
Ishbosheth was murdered by his two fighters, Rehab and Baanah who presented his head to David for a reward and promotion. David did not see things their way. He saw that these men stepped in and played God instead of letting God bring revenge and justice. He had the two men killed, cut their hands and feet off and hung their bodies by the pool in Hebron. He took the head of Ish-Bosheth and buried it in Abner’s tomb. David was anointed king over Israel and Judah at Hebron.
David was 30 years old when he began his reign which was the same age of Jesus when he began his earthly ministry. David ruled in Jerusalem for 33 years which was the age of Jesus when Israel rejected him and he went to be with his father in heaven.
God helped David take Jerusalem from the Jebusites. He built himself a house in Jerusalem and it became known as the city of David. There he built up his family.
It was now time to bring the ark to Jerusalem. All was going well until the oxen stumbled and Uzzah, the priest steadied it with his hand. God did not appreciate the help of man to steady his presence so he killed him. The fear of God fell on all the people and the procession stopped right there. They put the ark in the closest house which was Obed-edom’s. After three months, the blessing of God was evident on Obed-edom so David felt it was safe to bring it home. He did with much praise and pomp. His wife, Micah looked out her window and saw David praising God with only a linen garment on and rebuked him. David let her have it and told her he would never be ashamed to praise the Lord. She was barren from that moment on. Stopping the praise of God or making light of any of his worshippers will cause death and judgment to fall on that person. They will become spiritually barren and not able to produce fruit.
In John, Jesus gave his disciples a new commandment. Before, he had told the people to love God with all their hearts and to love their neighbor as they loved themselves. Now it was to love others as he loved them. That was definitely a notch up. The only way they would be able to do that would be through the spirit of God. Which is why they would need the Holy Spirit. He told them that He was the way the truth and the life. He was the way to God; he and God were one.
Lord, help us to let you have your way instead of interfering with your plan to get what we want faster. Your ways are always higher and more perfect. Help us to love other people like you loved people when you walked on the earth.

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Tues.’s Devo - God’s Plan is Always Better

Read: 2 Samuel 2:12-3:39; John 13:1-30; Psalm 119:1-16; Proverbs 15:29-30
The house of Saul, under the kingship of Ish-Bosheth fought the house of David for two years. Abner was Ish-Bosheth’s commander and Joab was David’s commander. Abner killed Joab’s brother, Asahel even though Joab warned Asahel not to mess with him. David’s army became more powerful, and Saul’s kingdom became weaker. Abner disrespected king Ish-bosheth by sleeping with one of Saul’s concubines and Ish-bosheth rebuked him for it. This offended Abner so much he decided to help David become the king. He met with David and promised to persuade Israel to follow David. David agreed to befriend him if he would give him back his wife that he had been promised by Saul. Abner agreed and left just before Joab came back to camp. When he heard what had happened he set out and killed Abner to avenge his brother’s blood.
When David heard about what Abner had done, he cursed Joab’s family with leprosy and crippling diseases. David mourned Abner’s death at his funeral and all Israel took note and it turned their heart toward David.
God can turn every mistake man makes to his glory. Abner was going to be David’s best asset. He was going to draw Israel to him, restore his wife and help him establish the kingdom. When Joab killed him, it looked like everything was lost. At the funeral, Israel saw the heart of David and believed that he had no part in Abner’s death. God always has a plan which is better than our best ones.
In John, we are at the last supper Jesus had with his disciples. He don’s a towel and washes his disciples’ feet. This was such an act of servanthood and humility. Jesus was setting an example to them of what he wanted them to do. Now, he was sending them out to serve others and each other like he had served them. He even washed Judas, his betrayer’s feet! He singled him out and told him to leave which none of the others understood till later.
There are many times God will remove people from our lives that we don’t understand why, but we have to trust him. God knows the heart of all men. Jesus had to leave so they could grow up. Judas had to leave because he was not part of them.
Lord, help us to rest in your plan for our lives.

Monday, May 22, 2017

Mon.’s Devo - The Waiting for Resurrection

Read: 2 Samuel 1:1-2:11; John 12:20-50; Psalm 118:19-29; Proverbs 15:27-28
When the Bible says, “on the third day” I always look to see how this is going to coincide with the resurrection. On the third day, Jesus’ disciples learned that Jesus didn’t die but he resurrected and it gave them hope and life. On the third day in today’s reading, David received word that Saul and Jonathan had been dead for three days. The one responsible gave them the news. He had been fighting on the side of the Amelekites and ran into Saul who was painfully dying. Saul asked him to put him out of his misery so he did. Then he took Saul’s crown and arm band and brought it to David expecting to be rewarded as a hero. Instead, he was killed. I can’t help but think this is how Judas could have felt when he betrayed Jesus. He expected honor and reward but instead he was so tormented he took his own life.
David and his men mourned for Saul then God told David to go to Hebron. Hebron was the place that they anointed kings. He joined with his family and was finally exalted to be the king over the tribe of Judah.
Abner, Saul’s commander took Saul’s son, Ish-bosheth and proclaimed him king. He made him king over Israel. Israel included all the tribes except Judah.
In John, it is time for Jesus to die and he said a profound statement about it. He said that unless the kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies it cannot produce fruit, but if it does, it will produce many seeds.
Jesus had done many miraculous signs and yet, they still would not believe in him and now he was going to die with very little fruit. Even the leaders who did think he was the Messiah refused to stand up for him because they loved the praises of men more than the praises of God. The seed had to fall to the ground and die to produce fruit.
This is a true concept for us in our walk with God. When God puts a seed of destiny in our hearts we have to let that dream die before it will bring life. Many people lose heart and turn away from God during this process because they don’t understand it, but if you will hang on and wait, you will see the resurrection of your dream and destiny.
Lord, help us to hold on to faith even during the death process. Let your resurrection come.

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Sun.’s Devo -God Sees the End from the Beginning

Read: 1 Samuel 29:1-31:13; John 11:54-12:19; Psalm 118:1-18; Proverbs 15:24-26
I find it interesting that the king, Achish said of David the same thing that Pilate said of Jesus…”I find no fault in him.” But, like Jesus, the people and other leaders did. They didn’t think David would retain his loyalty to them but would use the opportunity to deflect to the other side and be a hero to his own nation. It doesn’t let us know if David would have done this or not, but God wanted David to be released so he could go home and save his own household. They had been attacked by the Amalekites and taken captive. David almost lost his men over this. They were so upset over losing their families and had to blame someone, so they blamed David. David sought the Lord. He called his only priest, Abiathar and had him use the Ummin and the Thummin to find out what would happen if he pursued the Amalekites to retrieve his family. God told him to pursue and that he would have victory.
God placed a sick slave on the road they were on so David could save the slave’s life and show them the way to their families. They were able to recover everything that was stolen. That is God’s will. If the devil has stolen your finances, your job, your relationships, etc. you need to ask God about it. He is the only one who will help you recover everything and everyone who has been lost.
Back at the battle between the Philistines and the Israelites, Saul and his sons were killed. God knew that if David had been in that battle, all Israel would have blamed Saul’s death on him and the nation would have been divided. God saved this from David so there would be a smoother transition. God always has a reason for all our disappointments. We just need to trust him.
In John, it is the season of the Passover, Jesus’ last. How ironic that many religious leaders went to the feast early to purify themselves and after they were clean they were waiting to kill the only one who could cleanse their sins.
Jesus showed up six days before the Passover to be anointed for burial by Mary, and to be welcomed into the city by those who accepted him as the Messiah.
It is interesting that Judas Iscariot was stealing from Jesus the whole time and Jesus never confronted him about it. That is something to ponder.
Jesus’ followers didn’t see all the prophecy that was being fulfilled before their very eyes until after it happened. That is usually the way it goes. We see better after we are out of the emotional upheaval and can look back with better perspective when we are more settled.
Lord, help us to see your promises being fulfilled in our lives and rejoice that we are walking out our destiny.

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Sat.’s Devo - The Truth is Sometimes Hard to Hear

Read: 1 Samuel 26:1-28:25; John 11:1-53; Psalm 117:1-2; Proverbs 15:22-23
I couldn’t help but notice numbers when reading today’s scriptures. Saul has 3,000 men and David has grown from 400 to 600 men. More and more people were getting disgruntled with Saul’s leadership and moving over to David’s.
David proved one more time that he was not trying to kill Saul even when he could. Saul was brought once more to see the futility of his jealousy and David had to face the danger of Saul’s. Saul was not going to repent or relent and David’s only hope was to join sides with the Philistines. He was in a perfect position to fight battles for Israel undercover. As long as he made sure there were not escapees he was safe. He did this for over a year until it was finally time for the Philistines to fight Israel. Achish was the Philistine king. His name means “only a man” - that is all he was. He called upon David and his men to fight with him and David agreed. Achish told David that he would be his bodyguard.
When Saul saw the army of the Philistines, he was afraid. He couldn’t get a word from God so he decided to consult a medium which he had banned from the land. Once she entered the spiritual realm she discerned who Saul was. He relieved her fears and asked her to bring up Samuel from the dead. Saul had depended on Samuel as his mentor and since God wasn’t listening he needed to know what to do. Samuel was mad that he was awakened from sleep and did not give him the answer Saul wanted to hear. He told him that God had become his enemy and what he had prophesied on earth was happening. God was taking his kingdom away from him and giving it to another person because he refused to kill the Amelekites. Tomorrow he and his sons would join Samuel in death. If Saul was afraid before, he was surely afraid now.
Another man came up from the grave in the New Testament but under completely different circumstances. Samuel came up to pronounce judgment on Saul and his household. Lazareth came up from the grave to declare the glory of God and exalt Jesus. His resurrection pronounced judgment on all Israel.
Caiaphas said it best when he declared, “…it is better of you that one man die for the people than that the whole nation perish.”
Saul told David, “you will do great things and surely triumph.” Even ungodly people can prophesy God’s plan.
Lord, if the ungodly can pronounce truth, we need to much more. Help us to speak truth.

Friday, May 19, 2017

Fri.’s Devo - Sowing and Reaping

Read: 1 Samuel 24:1-25:44; John 10:22-42; Psalm 116:1-19; Proverbs 15:20-21
David had an opportunity to kill Saul and could have seen it as a
God-given opportunity. His men advised him to take it. The truth was, Saul was the man God had appointed the king and only God should take him out of the office. David understood that to interfere would be to go against God. Instead, David chose to face his fear and confront Saul. He did it in a most humble and honoring way. Saul was able to see David’s heart and it changed Saul for a while. It could have gone so differently and so wrong.
David sowed a seed of kindness to Saul and reaped kindness in the next story. David’s men were hungry and had been safeguarding Nabal’s shepherds as they watched over their sheep. They knew it was time to shear the sheep which meant there would be a great festival and asked to be a part of it since they actually played a part of protecting the sheep. Nabal was not kind or giving so he repayed evil for good. He refused to let David’s men be a part of the festival, so David told his men to get their swords and attack Nabal. Abigail, Nabal’s wife was told about Nabal’s mean response to David and set out to make peace. She quickly prepared a feast for David’s men and had her servants accompany her to meet David. She repented for her husband’s cruelty and David’s anger was appeased. God brought vengeance on Nabal and he died as soon as he heard what his wife had done. David heard Nabal had died and took Abigail as his wife. It ended well for everyone…except Nabal. Nabal means “foolish” and Abigail means “father of joy”.
Jesus was at the Feast of Dedication in Jerusalem and the people tried to get Jesus to admit that he was the Messiah. Jesus explained that only his true sheep would hear him and know who he was. At this, they tried to stone him but God didn’t allow that. Then they tried to seize him, but God didn’t allow that either. God has a perfect timing and nothing can change that for those who walk in His Spirit.
Lord, help us to plant good seed and give kindness whenever we can.

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Thur.’s Devo - A Testimony to Us

Read: 1 Samuel 22:1-23:29; John 10:1-21; Psalm 155:1-18; Proverbs 15:18-19
David hid his men in a cave called Adullam. Adullam means “a testimony to them”. It was a testimony to Saul as 400 fighting men came to side with David because they could not pay Saul’s tribute and did not agree with his leadership. David found a safe place for his parents to live in Mizpah. Mizpah means “a watchtower”. That means it was a place that could see the enemy coming and represents the eye of the prophet since they can see into the future and warn the people of coming trouble.
Saul was getting frustrated because his men knew more about David’s whereabouts than him and wouldn’t tell him. Doeg whose name means “anxious” was the only one who told on David and was willing to kill all the innocent priests of Nob. The only priest who escaped was Abithar. David vowed to protect Abithar since he felt responsible for the death of all the priests.
David heard that the Philistines had attacked a small town called Keilah and wanted to help them. When he asked God what to do, God said to go help them. But when he did Saul learned he was there, he planned to come and besiege the town. David asked God if the town would give him over to Saul and God said, “yes”. So David left Keilah and both were saved. Saul didn’t come to Keilah and David escaped.
Jonathan met with David and made a most humble statement. He told David that he knew that David would be the next king and that he would serve in second-in-command under him. This humble statement came from the king’s son who was in line to be the king. He recognized God’s will and submitted to it. Sadly, Jonathan wouldn’t live to serve in David’s kingdom but he will be great in God’s.
John 10 is full of deep spiritual truth. Jesus spoke in their terms which were sheepfolds but that word in the Greek means “a mansion or a palace”. It is referring to our heavenly abode. The only way to get in is through the door which is Jesus. Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life. That sheepfold is also a picture of the spiritual realm. Thieves and robbers climb in other ways. New Age people and spiritualists get into the spiritual realm over the wall but the true way into the spiritual realm is through Jesus. The true followers come through Jesus and they hear God’s voice and aren’t fooled by the false lies of the devil. Only they can walk in the blessings of God. Psalm 115 is full of those blessings.
Lord, may you increase in us and shine to the world.

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Wed.’s Devo - Believing is Seeing

Read: 1 Samuel 20:1-21:15; John 9:1-41; Psalms 113:1-114:8; Proverbs 15:15-17
Jonathan is my hero. His name means “God is giver” and he was the perfect picture of a giver. He was next in line for the kingdom and yet he saw the gift that God had given David and the anointing that David carried and Jonathan honored the gift and feared God above his father. Saul was bent on using his carnal strength to make sure Jonathan became the next king. Jonathan relied on God and his will. He made sure that David’s life was spared and that justice was given him. Jonathan saved David’s life from his own father.
David fled Saul and went to Nob which means “fruit or empty” which sound like an oxymoron. David came their empty and received sustenance - fruit. He actually ate the holy bread that only the priests were allowed to eat. It was last week’s bread, but it sustained them and they were not struck down by God for eating holy bread. David, like Jesus, was both a priest and a king before God. The priest gave him what was left over which was 5 loaves - the number of grace.
David lied to the priest and told him he was on a secret mission for the king instead of the fact that he was running from the king. It cost the priest his life fulfilling Samuel’s prophecy that all of Eli’s offspring would die in the prime of their lives.
When you are in survival mode you do crazy things to survive like lying to a priest and acting like you are insane. Both of them worked and helped David to live another day.
In John, Jesus came upon a man that had been blind from birth. The Jews believed that if you had a child born with a defect it was because of your sin, so that is why the disciples asked Jesus if this man had sinned or his parents. Healing a man born blind was one of the three miracles that the leaders of the law had decided would be something only the Messiah would be able to heal when he came. Jesus told the disciples that this man’s condition was not because of anyone’s sins but because God wanted to say something. He wanted to show them that his son was the Messiah, so Jesus healed the man. He created eyes from the dust since the man had never had ones that worked and he told him to rinse the mud off in the Pool of Siloam and he would be able to see. It happened just as Jesus said it would and the man could see. The Pharisees did not know what to do with this miracle since it cornered them into making a statement about who Jesus was. The blind man found Jesus and salvation. The Pharisees questioned Jesus and the miracle and became more blind.
Lord, help us to see clearly and believe the impossible is possible with you.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Tues.’s Devo - Jealousy Leads to Murder

Read: 1 Samuel 18:5-19:24; John 8:31-59; Psalm 112:1-10; Proverbs 15:12-14
Saul had nothing but jealousy for David. It was obvious to Saul that God’s favor was on David and that God’s spirit had left him and sent an evil spirit instead. Jealousy is a powerful demon and ends in murder. Saul tried to physically kill David with his spear twice but David escaped. When Saul realized he wouldn’t be able to kill David he sent him on the battlefield hoping that the Philistines would kill him. David had victory after victory making him even more loved and honored by the people and Saul’s men. Even Saul’s family was on David’s side which drove Saul to hate him more. Saul finally sent his army after David to kill him. Saul’s daughter saved David’s life and helped him escape.
Jealousy leads to murder. When Jesus was teaching on the mountain he explained that the law said not to murder but he said not to even curse a person with your mouth. Our mouth is our sword and with it we can murder a person or bring them life.
In John, the people’s words condemned them. They questioned Jesus’ authority and every thing he said. Jesus was telling them spiritual truths that could not be understood with carnal reasoning. Jesus knew they wouldn’t understand what he was saying but he was saying it for us and anyone who had spiritual ears to hear.
Psalm 112 has many promises for us. It says that we will be blessed if we fear the Lord and take delight to do his will. Our children will be mighty in the land and be blessed. Wealth and riches will be in our house and even when it is dark in the world, His light will shine around us. If we lend to people and are generous, then we will not be shaken when bad news comes. Our heart will be secure and we will not fear.
Lord, we trust in you! Help us to guard our tongues and speak only what you want us to say.

Monday, May 15, 2017

Mon.’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.

Sunday, May 14, 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.

Saturday, May 13, 2017

Sat.’s Devo. -The Spirit of Power

Read: 1 Samuel 13:23-14:52; John 7:30-53; Psalm 109:1-31; Proverbs 15:5-7
Today, we can learn some principles that God puts out in his Word. Jonathan’s armor bearer is a type of the Holy Spirit that is our helper and fights our battles with us. Their victory came because they agreed. When what we are doing agrees with the Father, nothing is impossible for us. Jonathan went down a pass with a cliff on either side. One of the cliff’s name was Bozez which means “surpassing white; glistening”. It was a picture of the glory of God. The other cliff was named Senah which mean “thorny” which is a picture of the curse. They had a choice which one they would side with but Jonathan went straight for the win. His zeal for God caused God to respond. God shook the earth and caused such panic that the whole army fled before Jonathan and his armor-bearer. That can be us. We can go out in the power of the Holy Spirit and cause the enemy to run if we go in the agreement of heaven.
Saul made a vow which affected his whole army even if they didn’t hear the vow. Jonathan didn’t hear the vow, yet God held him accountable. That is the importance of the things we say from our mouth. We can curse or bless. Saul caused a curse to fall on his own son, Jonathan and if it hadn’t been for the defense of his men, Jonathan would have had to die.
We see the same principle in our reading in John. Jesus walked in the power of the Holy Spirit and nothing could harm him until God said it was time. Jesus was in Jerusalem for the Feast of Tabernacles and it was the last day of the feast. On this day, the priests would draw water from the Pool of Siloam and bring it to the Temple and pour it out on the altar. The Pool of Siloam was known as the “living water”. This was when Jesus stood up and said, “if anyone is thirsty, let him come to me and drynk. Whoever believes in me as the Scripture has said, streams of living water will flow from with in him.” Jesus was speaking of the Holy Spirit that would be given after he left.
When the Pharisees asked the temple guards why they didn’t arrest Jesus, they said that no one spoke like he did. How true a statement.
Lord, You alone have the words of life. Thank you for your Word.

Friday, May 12, 2017

Fri.’s Devo - The People's Choice

Read: 1 Samuel 12:1-13:22; John 7:1-29; Psalm 108:1-13; Proerbs 15:4
Samuel gave Israel his last speech at Saul’s dedication as king. He reminded them of his reign as their judge and prophet. He had not taken any money or done anything deceitful. Through the judges, God had given them peace on every side but when the king of the Ammonites came against them they cried out for a king. So here was the king God gave them. This was not God’s will but there’s and just to let them know that God sent thunder and rain. The people were afraid but it was too late to change what they had set in motion. They had a king and his name was Saul. He was 30 years old and served as king 42 years.
Six thousand of the men that came to Saul’s dedication were chosen by Saul to stay and fight the Ammonites. The Ammonites assembled 9,000 men to fight Israel. Saul waited for Samuel to come and bless his battle with sacrifices to God but Samuel was late and Saul’s men were quaking in fear and dropping like flies. Saul was also afraid and decided to take matters into his own hands. He offered the sacrifices and as soon as he was finished, Samuel showed up. Samuel rebuked Saul and told him that his decision would cost him the kingdom. God would give it to someone who had a heart after God and would obey him.
Saul’s army had whittled down from 6,000 to 600 and because the Philistines had taken all the blacksmiths out of Israel no one had a weapon except Saul and Jonathan, his son.
Once again, it was the time of the wheat harvest which has to do with Pentecost (spiritual warfare, betrothal and the Holy Spirit). Israel had betrothed themselves to a king and the Holy Spirit had left. They were in the midst of a war they had no way of winning.
In John, it was the Feast of Tabernacles. The fulfillment of this feast will be Jesus coming back to earth in the clouds on a white horse. He will be the King of Kings and Lord of Lords and everyone will see and know who he is. So it is no wonder that the disciples were wanting Jesus to become public and exalted in the earth. Jesus told them that this was not the time for that. Instead he waited till a few days into the feast and showed up teaching them publicly. He read their thoughts and spoke directly to their questions in their heart.
Lord, help us to know the season we are in and respond to what your heart is saying.

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Thurs.’s Devo - Saul’s Rise to Kingship

Read: 1 Samuel 10:1-11:15; John 6:43-71; Psalm 107:1-43; Proverbs 15:1-3
Saul was invited to eat and stay with the prophet of Israel. He had no idea what Samuel was about to tell him. Saul was just an ordinary young man. Saul took him aside to anoint him king. He anointed him with a flask of oil pouring it over his head. He kissed him and told him some things that were about to happen so Saul would believe that Samuel heard from God about the kingship. Israel had never had a king so there was no palace or throne. Saul just went home, but on the way, everything that Samuel said would happen did.
Days later, Samuel called the people of Israel to Mizpah which was their sacred meeting place. There he proclaimed Saul their king in the presence of the people. Saul had to be found because he was hiding. Saul had been called to the highest position of the land, so no wonder he was intimidated and afraid.
Once again, Samuel explained all the regulations of the king, but the people weren’t listening, they were shouting “Long live the king!” Saul didn’t have the heart of all the people; he had a few enemies among the people.
It didn’t take long for the people to need Saul’s leadership. The Ammonites came against Saul’s town to make them tribute slaves. The only way they would make a treaty of friendship with them was if Saul’s people agreed to gouge out their right eyes. Saul cut up and sent pieces of oxen to the tribes and told them that if they didn’t help him he would do the same to their oxen. Three hundred and thirty thousand men showed up to help and they won. Now, the people were convinced Saul was a worthy king and they wanted to kill all the men who had opposed Saul at first. Saul refused to retaliate against them because God had given them victory.
Saul started out as a very good king.
In John, Jesus made a very important statement. He said that no one could come to him unless God drew them. He told them that he was the only one who had ever seen God. Then he explained that he was the bread of life. He was the fulfillment of the manna from heaven. Whoever eats of his bread will live forever. His bread was his flesh. When the religious people questioned how they were suppose to eat his flesh Jesus threw an even greater analogy at them. He told them that if they didn’t eat his flesh or drink his blood they would not have life. The only way anyone could understand this would be to have spiritual understanding, which they didn’t. Jesus was whittling down his followers and looking for those who would follow even if they didn’t understand. These would be those who chose to walk by faith. Jesus will offend our flesh to speak to our spirit.
Lord, help us to walk by faith even when it doesn’t make sense to our carnal understanding.

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Wed.’s Devo - Israel's First King

Read: 1 Samuel 8:1-9:27; John 6:22-42; Psalm 106:32-48; Proverbs 14:34-35
Samuel and Eli both had sons that were evil. Samuel’s sons, Joel and Abijah took bribes from the people and distorted justice. Samuel was the last judge and the people were demanding a king since Samuel’s sons were not like Samuel. Samuel took their request before God who told him to listen to all the people were saying because they were not rejecting Samuel but they were rejecting God.
Samuel warned the people of what a king would require of them. He would take their sons and make them serve in his army. Their men would serve him as gardeners and women as perfumers, cooks, and bakers. He would take their best vineyards and olive groves for himself and a tenth of their grain and vintage for his officials and attendants. He would take from the people their best servants, cattle, flocks, and donkeys. They would all become his slaves in the end.
The people refused to listen and wanted a king so they could be like all the other nations. They wanted a king to lead them and fight their battles.
When we walk out of God’s will for us and choose what we think is best or what we want it always starts out looking great. Little by little, we lose ground until one day we wake up and realize the devil has taken everything from us. This is just how he works…it’s a slow decline from light into darkness. Our Psalm for today explains the whole rebellion in the wilderness. They rebelled against the Spirit of God and refused to kill the people in the land. Instead they mingled with them and adopted their customs and their gods. They wanted to be like all the other nations which is a temptation we still fight today. The temptation to “fit in” is in opposition to God. God set us apart for God’s workmanship. We are never to look like the world.
God sent what they asked for. He gave them a king that looked just like they would want. Saul was taller than any other man and handsome. His name means “requested” - the people requested him.
In John, we find the people totally perplexed that Jesus would be on one side of the lake that night and the next day be on the other side. They had just witnessed Jesus make a feast to feed a multitude from a single sack lunch and were ready to make him king. He could end poverty and the food shortage for sure. Jesus explained to them that he was the bread of life and that if they came to him they would never be hungry. The people had a hard time with this saying because they only had natural eyes and heart. They were spiritually blind and depleted.
Lord, help us to seek your kingdom over the one we can see with our eyes.

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Tues.’s Devo - Walking in the Power of the Holy Spirit

Read: 1 Samuel 5:1-7:17; John 6:1-21; Psalm 106:13-31; Proverbs 14:32-33
Today’s reading gives us a picture of how God feels about other gods. The Philistines had put the ark of God in Ashdod in the temple of Dagon. I guess they were going to add God to their gods. The ark of God’s covenant made a mockery of Dagon’s power. Dragon was the fish god. God is the creator of all the fish in the sea so Dagon had to bow before his creator. God’s judgment on the people of Ashdod was tumors. The Hebrew word for tumor is “ravager”. What a description of cancer!
The ark of God was in Ashdod for 7 months before they decided to do something about it. The ark had to be returned and their priests told them not to send it back without a guilt offering. Since their were five Philistine rulers from five Philistine towns that had been affected by God’s plague, they sent five gold tumors and five gold rats with the ark. They knew that if they did this it would assure their healing and the plague being lifted. Sometimes the world catches on to God’s dealings faster than the church. We seem to forget that God is a God who chastens and disciplines those He loves. God requires the enemy to pay back what he steals and more.
Next the priests of Ashdod told his people to take two cows that that just given birth and never been yoked and yoke them to the cart that would carry the ark. They were to put the guilt offering and the ark on the cart and just let it go. There are so many supernatural things about what happened. Cows that have just given birth would never have left their calves. Cows that have never been yoked would have put up a fight. And… how did they know where to go? God defied natural instincts and had the cart go straight up to Beth Shemesh. Beth Shemesh means “house of the sun”. When they got there it was wheat harvest making it the season of Pentecost. Pentecost represents spiritual warfare and the bringing in of the Holy Spirit. Through spiritual warfare the Presence of the Lord was coming back to the people.
When the ark got to Beth Shemesh, they set the ark on a rock which represented Jesus. Jesus would be the one God would place his spirit in and send to earth. Seventy of the men of Beth Shemesh were killed because they looked into the ark. Next came the victory. Now that Israel had repented and had God’s presence back, they were able to fight and win against their enemies, the Phistines.
Jesus, as our example, walked in the presence of the Lord and nothing about his life was natural. He healed the sick, fed the multitudes, walked on the water and translated his disciples out of a storm safely to the other side. We are to walk in this type of power. In our Psalm we read that God gave the Israelites what they asked for; it was calamity.
Lord, we don’t want calamity, we want the power of the Holy Spirit to live a supernatural life. We ask for that!

Monday, May 8, 2017

Mon.’s Devo - The New Order

Read: 1 Samuel 2:22-4:22; John 5:24-47; Psalm 106:1-12; Proverbs 14:30-31
Eli heard rumors of all the wicked things his sons did and tried to warn them they were sinning against God who would punish them. But Eli continued to let them serve as priests and didn’t command them to stop what they were doing. God sent Eli a prophet to rebuke him. He told him that since Eli honored his sons over God, then every one of his descendants would die in the prime of their life. God would raise up someone else who would be faithful to him and have God’s heart and mind. This person was growing up in his house.
Samuel had not learned to hear God’s voice so when God called him, he thought it was Eli. It took three times before Eli realized it was God speaking to Samuel. God told Samuel what would happen to Eli and his family and that there was no atonement left for the house of Eli.
As Samuel grew in the Lord, the people recognized him as a prophet and Samuel taught the people from what God told him. The Philistines came to conquer the Israelites. They killed both of Eli’s sons, Hophni and Phinehas and took the ark of the covenant. By this time Eli was 98 years old and his natural eyes were as weak as his spiritual eyes. He was told that both his sons had died and the ark was taken. When he heard the ark was taken he fell back and died. Phineas’s wife was pregnant and went into labor. The labor was so hard, she died but not before she could name her son, Ichabod. Phineas means “mouth of pity” and Ichabod means “woe, the glory”. The glory had departed from Israel.
In John, Jesus talked about eternal life and his second coming. At that time, all the dead will rise from their graves and go to judgment. Some will enter into life and some will be condemned. Jesus explained that John testified of him but Jesus’ testimony was even greater than John’s. Jesus’ miracles were the proof that he came from God. Then Jesus rebuked the leaders and told them that they diligently studied the scripture but they didn’t understand them because if they did, they would realize they spoke of Jesus. They didn’t have the love of God in their hearts which made them blind to the truth.
Both Eli and the priests of the New Testament were blind to the truth. They were so caught up in their traditions, they couldn’t see the new thing God was bringing to the world. God is bringing a new order to the world today. He wants the church to rise up and do the works that Jesus did and not be afraid of the devil and his threats. We are to rule and reign on this earth as kings and priests of the Most High God.
Lord, help us to be bold and courageous for You!

Sunday, May 7, 2017

Sun.’s Devo - The Truth

Read: 1 Samuel 1:1-2:21; John 5:1-23; Psalm 105:37-45; Proverbs 14:28-29
Infertility in our day is devastating enough but it was even worse in those days. A woman’s whole worth was in her offspring…mainly a son. Hannah did the only thing she knew to do and that was pray. There were no fertility doctors or medical breakthroughs. She needed a miracle and God gave her one. She got pregnant and had Samuel. She kept her promise and gave him to the Lord which had to be the hardest thing she had ever done. She only got to see him once a year and she was giving him to a man who had raised two sons who had turned out totally wicked. Eli’s son’s, Hophni and Phinehas were bad to the bone. They were priests who ate the meat that people brought to the Lord and tomorrow we will read how they also had sex with women who sat at the entrance to the Tent of Meeting. Hannah did not give her son, Samuel to Eli as much as she gave him to the Lord. God watched over Samuel and he did not turn out like Eli’s other sons. Samuel grew up in the presence of the Lord and loved the Lord and learned to hear his voice.
In John, Jesus healed a man who had been an invalid for thirty-eight years. Jesus asked him if he wanted to be healed. That sounds like a silly question, but some people like their illness and own it. The man’s answer was an excuse of why he couldn’t be healed. Jesus cut to the chase and told him to stand up and take up his mat and walk. It was the Sabbath, so this broke the law of the Pharisees about the Sabbath, giving them one more reason to hate him. The man didn’t even know that it was Jesus who healed him until he met up with Jesus later. Jesus told him to stop sinning or something worse would happen to him.
Jesus healed many people because of the compassion in his heart toward hurting people. They had the choice to follow him or not. But Jesus warned them if they didn’t follow him and went back to their sins, they would also lose their healing. The same is true today. People can be healed of cancer, but if they keep doing the things that brought the cancer in the first place, it will return. We have a commandment to walk in truth. Once we know truth, we are held accountable for it.
Lord, help us to walk in your truth and not get slack or give up.

Saturday, May 6, 2017

Sat.’s Devo - Redemption

Read: Ruth 2:1-4:22; John 4:43-54; Psalm 105:16-36; Procervs 14:26-27
The story of Ruth is a story of redemption. Ruth was a Moabite who was redeemed by Boaz, her kinsman redeemer who was a type of Jesus. The story has more meaning when you realize that Boaz was the son of Rahab the harlot in the story of the Hebrew spies that spied out the promised land in Joshua 2. She was the one who hid them and saved her whole family. She was an outcast who Salmon married and made her part of the family of Israel. Boaz had a heart for Ruth because her story was much like his mother’s.
Another interesting tip about Ruth is found in Ruth 4:12. When Boaz purchased Ruth, the elders proclaimed a blessing on them. They said, “…let thy house be like the house of Pharez, whom Tamar bare unto Judah.” Tamar’s story was the same as Ruth’s. Her husband had died and she needed a kinsman redeemer. She had to take what was hers, but she got her redeemer in Judah. Tamar, Rahab and Ruth are all three mentioned in the lineage of Mary in Matthew 1. They were the only women mentioned by name; Bathsheba was alluded to. We all need a kinsman redeemer to rescue us and make our seed righteous. We find him only in Jesus.
In John, Jesus came back to Galilee. Now the people were anxious to see him because they had seen the miracles he did in Jerusalem. God gives us a glimpse of the millennial reign in the story of the royal officer and his son. This man’s son was dying and he heard Jesus was in town so he found him and begged him to come to his house. Jesus made the statement, “unless you people see miraculous signs and wonders, you will never believe. Then he told the man that his son will live. The man did believe and went home. On the way he was met with one of his soldiers who told him his boy was alive. When he asked him when he got better, the man told him at the seventh hour. The seventh hour is another term for the millennium. In the millennium, all sickness will be healed. The man realized it was the exact hour Jesus told him his son would live.
All you have to do is read the first statement of our Psalm for today and realize that God is in total control of disasters and famines and storms, etc. People have such a hard time realizing the bigger picture about God. God uses everything he created to speak to his people. He uses good and bad things to get our attention. It is all for redemption. As soon as he brings disaster, he also brings the hope of restoration. God called a famine on Israel at the same time that he sent Joseph before them to be the answer out of the famine.
Lord, thank your for being our kinsman redeemer.

Friday, May 5, 2017

Fri.’s Devo - 5-5-17 - Looking for a Bride

Read: Judges 21:1-Ruth 1:22; John 4:4-42; Psalm 105:1-15; Proverbs 14:25
Today we have three stories of brides. The first one tells the story of the brides of Benjamin. The tribe of Benjamin was under the hand of judgment by the other tribes because of how they had rebelled. Since all the tribes had vowed not to let their women marry Benjamites they had a problem. There were 600 who needed brides to keep the tribe alive. They came up with some creative ways to find them brides. They did it their way.
The next story was of Ruth. Ruth was a Moabite who only knew of God and his ways through Naomi, her mother-in-law. Ruth’s husband died in Ruth’s land and Naomi found out the famine was over in Israel and wanted to go home. Ruth was determined to go with her and live with her people and worship the god Naomi worshipped. Little did Ruth know, God had a husband waiting for her.
The last story was the woman at the well. She had had 7 husbands and the man she was living with wasn’t her husband. The true husband, Jesus, sat with her and spoke of living water. She asked him about the Messiah and Jesus told her that he was it. She was one of the only people Jesus spoke his true identity to. She immediately went and found others to come meet Jesus.
The first story was about the Israelites who had the truth yet they kept rejecting it for their own ideas. The second story was about a Moabite who saw truth and wanted more. The third story was about a Samaritan woman who was also thirsty for truth. Jesus then told his disciples that the harvest was ripe. Sometimes the field looks different from what you would want or assume.
Lord, open our eyes to the harvest around us and help us not to judge who you choose to save. Jesus is looking for a bride that is looking for him.

Thursday, May 4, 2017

Thurs.’s Devo - Life Without God

Read: Judges 19:1-20:48; John 3:22-4:3; Psalm 104:24-35; Proverbs 14:22-24
I think this is my least favorite story to read. I can’t comprehend it. I think you can sum in all up in the first sentence of Judges 19:1. “In those days Israel had no king.” God was suppose to be their king but they had rejected him so they were left to figure out life on their own. So we have this unbelievable story of unfaithfulness, disrespect for human life…especially women, lack of self-control, perversity, and barbaric behavior, just to name a few. This is how man figures out life with out God. The number of Israelites who were killed because of this is over 50,000. Staggering! And this was a civil war. Only 600 Benjamites escaped. Almost a whole tribe was wiped out because of this one act. Actually, it was because of a whole mind set that had crept in because they had not let God be their ruler.
In John, John’s disciples complained to John that many of his disciples were going to follow Jesus. John explained that he was not the Messiah, he was like the friend of the bridegroom. He was excited just to hear Jesus’ voice. Jesus was the fulfillment of John’s message. He was the proof that John was hearing God’s voice. He said that because Jesus had appeared on the scene his life was now complete. Little did he know he was speaking prophetically. John didn’t live much longer. He had finished his destiny.
Lord, may we find our purpose and be excited when others complete their destiny. Our desire is to hear the voice of God and lead others to the Messiah.

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Wed.’s Devo - Reaping and Sowing

Read: Judges 17:1-18:31; John 3:1-21; Psalm 104:1-23; Proverbs 14:20-21
Micah is a story of reaping what you sow. Micah stole his mothers silver and the Danites stole his ephod, priest and household gods. Micah repented and gave the silver back to his mother but he still reaped his sin. This is something we tend to want to forget. What we do matters. We will have to pay for what we have done even when we repent. God forgives us and we have peace with him but the cycle we started by sinning has to complete its cycle.
Another lesson from this story is that there is no replacement for God’s way. Micah tried to make his priest and idols his god. Everyone was doing what was right in their own eyes. Even the priests didn’t know the law of God. Only doing life God’s was will reap reward.
In John, Nicodemus came to Jesus at night. He had questions for Jesus. He understood that Jesus was from God and Jesus understood that he was genuinely interested so he gave him another clue. He told him that he must be born again. This called for more questions. Jesus told him that unless he was born of water and the Spirit he could not enter the kingdom of God. When Nicodemus didn’t get that, Jesus told him that if he couldn’t understand earthly things, how would he be able to understand spiritual things. Then Jesus gave him the gospel. God didn’t sent his son to condemn the world but to save it. Whoever lives in the light will be able to see the truth. Jesus left Nicodemus with plenty of food for thought.
Lord, help us to walk in your truth.

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Tues.’s Devo - Pentecost

Read: Judges 15:1-16:31; John 2:1-25; Psalm 103:1-22; Proverbs 14:17-19
God does things around the harvests and his feasts. It was the wheat harvest and Samson went to get his bride. She had been given to his best friend so Samson took 300 foxes and tied every two foxes together. Then he let the foxes free in their wheat fields and they burned their entire harvest. Then 3,000 Philistines came to the Israelite camp demanding they turn over Samson. Samson let his people tie him up in ropes and turn him over to the Philistines. They took Samson up on a rock where he killed 1,000 of them with the jawbone of an ass.
Here is the picture. The wheat harvest has to do with Pentecost. At the first pentecost at Sinai, God betrothed himself to Israel. At the second Pentecost, Jesus betrothed himself to the Church. At the first Pentecost, 3,000 were killed when they made a golden calf. At the second Pentecost, 3,000 were saved when Peter preached his first sermon. Pentecost is all about the harvest of God. There are two different harvests: one is God’s and the other is Satan’s. Samson set fire to the devil’s harvest and Peter set God’s people on fire. Samson’s gift to the enemy was death and God’s gift to the church was the Holy Spirit that brought new life.
Samson was brought to his knees by a woman who through deceit found the secret to his strength. We can use this same tool to bind the strong men in our lives. A strong man is a principality that manifests in a sin that so easily besets us and makes us fall. Once we find how it entered and how it got so strong in our lives, we can bind it and cast it out.
In John, it was the third day which means something that was dead is about to resurrect and change. Jesus put water in 6 clay pots which stood for man since man was created on the 6th day and we are called earthen vessels made from dust. Jesus turned their water into wine and made it the best wine ever. That is the resurrection power of Jesus in a person’s life. This was Jesus’ first miracle and his first Passover of his ministry. He was in Jerusalem for the Passover as the law required and cleansed the temple. When they asked him on what authority he did this, he said, “Destroy this temple, and I will raise it again in three days.” They didn’t have a clue what he was talking about until he actually rose from the dead.
Lord, make known your ways to us. Thank you for your forgiving grace.

Monday, May 1, 2017

Mon.’s Devo - Our Mission

Read: Judges 13:1-14:20; John 1:29-51; Psalm 102:1-28; Proverbs 14:15-16
Israel had sinned and fell into the hands of the Philistines for forty years. God chose a man from Zorah to father the deliverer. Zorah means “she was smitten with leprosy”. Leprosy was a picture of sin since it is a disease of the flesh that slowly eats away your body till you die… just like sin. This was the state of Israel. The man God chose was Manoah which means “rest”. God was going to bring Israel rest. His wife was barren which was also the state of Israel. They had no hope. God came to her barren body and put a seed of hope there and the seed brought forth the deliverance for the whole nation.
The name of their son was Samson which means “little sun”. God is the big sun - Samson was just a small picture of him. A small light of hope.
Right away, Samson showed no godly desires, only the desire for foreign women which the law warned against. But, God was going to use Samson’s miss-placed passion for his purposes and for Israel. Samson had found a Philistine woman he wanted to marry. On the way to her house, he discovered his gift - his strength. From this event, he made up a riddle which was the custom of the Philistines to bring before his brides men. When the Philistines coerced Samson’s bride into finding out the answer to his riddle, Samson started his mission. He killed 30 Philistines to pay them back. His bride was given to his best man.
In John, Jesus entered the scene at the Jordan River. John the Baptist proclaimed his mission: “The Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!” Then he baptized Jesus and witnessed the Holy Spirit ascending on Jesus and remaining. Andrew and Peter were John’s disciples until John told them Jesus was the Messiah, then they followed Jesus. The next day, Jesus picked up Philip and Philip got Nathaniel and they all followed Jesus to Galilee.
Samson and Jesus both began their mission with an anointing from the Holy Spirit. But Samson’s mission was to bring judgment to the Philistines and deliverance to Israel. Jesus mission was to bring judgment to Israel and deliverance to the world.
Lord, help us to know our mission. Our number one mission is to love you and to love others like you have loved us.