Saturday, June 24, 2017

Sat.’s Devo - God’s Army

Read: 2 Kings 6:1-7:20; Acts 15:36-16:
The king of Syria was stumped because Israel was always one step ahead of him. When he asked his men who the spy was, his men assured him that it was Elisha who told the king of Israel everything their king talked about in his bedroom. The king of Syria was now out to find Elisha and kill him. He found out that Elisha was in Dothan so he sent a huge army to fetch him. When Gehazi woke up that morning and saw them he ran and told Elisha. Elisha wasn’t worried, he prayed that God would open Gehazi’s spiritual eyes to see the huge army of God that surrounded Syria’s army. Elisha prayed for blindness for the army of Syria and then they led them to the middle of Samaria and had their eyes opened. They were in the middle of their enemies city surrounded by Israel’s army. Elisha told the king of Israel to make them a feast and send them home.
This band of soldiers never came back but the king of Syria gathered the rest of his army came back and sieged Samaria just as God had said they would.
When the siege became so severe that women were eating their own children, the king humbled himself in sackcloth, but instead of crying out to the Lord, he wanted to blame Elisha and kill him. Elisha knew he was coming and told his messengers that by tomorrow they would have flour and barley in abundance. One of the king’s men gave a sarcastic answer so Elisha told him he would see it but not be able to eat any. The next day a group of lepers went to the Syrian camp and found it empty and totally furnished with goods. God had scared them away. The lepers hid enough for themselves then ran and told the king. Samaria’s people plundered the camp but the man who didn’t believe was trampled under their feet. Everything that Elisha said would happen happened.
The army of God that Elisha and Gehazi saw is still available to us today. It encamps around us and delivers us. We can command it to fight for us just as Elisha did.
In Acts, Paul encounters the ups and downs of ministry. They had a vision of a man in Macedonia asking them to come and help. They went and many were saved. When Paul and Silas cast the spirit of divination out of a girl and cost her master monetarily, Paul and Silas received a beating and were thrown into the inner part of the jail. The leaders of Macedonia must have heard about what happened the last time Paul was thrown in jail because this time they put them in the inner part of the jail. At midnight, as Paul and Silas were praising God, God caused a great earthquake that shook everyone’s chains off and opened all the doors of the prison. When they didn’t escape, the prison ward fell on his knees and he was saved. By the time they were released from jail, God had saved the man’s household and God got great glory.
Lord, help us to see with our spiritual eyes what you are doing and never be afraid.

Friday, June 23, 2017

Fri.’s Devo - Miracles Through Elisha

Read: 2 Kings 4:18-5:27; Acts 15:1-35; Psalm 141:1-10; Proverbs 17:23
The Shunemite woman understood discernment. She understood that Elisha was a prophet so she build an place for him to stay. She understood that he had power to make her son live again. And, she understood the power of her tongue. When her son died, her confession was that he was alright until she got to Elisha. She did not want anyone to put their words on her son. She wasn’t going to leave unless Elisha came with her. She was tenacious. It took Elisha lying on top of the boy and imparting his life in the boy for him to come to life.
Elisha left there to return to Gilgal where there was a famine. He ran into some prophets and told Gehazi, his servant, to fix them some stew for them. They went to look for something to throw in the stew and came back with an unidentified root. When they began to eat it they realized it was poisoned. The men panicked but Elisha put some flour in it and it became safe to eat. This flour stood for Jesus who is the only one who can bring life from death. When we add him to our situations, bad roots become good.
Next, a man came and brought them twenty loaves from the first fruits of his wheat. This would make it the time of Pentecost. These 20 loaves would be like 20 dinner rolls to us so it wouldn’t be enough to feed 100 men who love rolls. But, God multiplied the bread and there was bread left over. That is what Pentecost is all about. It is about the seed of the Word of God multiplying in the hearts of people and the growth of the Church. It is also about abundant provision.
The next story is about Naaman who was from Syria. God planted his seed in a little maid who was captured from Israel. She was able to lead a mighty man of Syria to the Lord. He had leprosy which is a disease of the flesh and he needed his sin washed away. The man of God led him to believe in God and to be baptized in water even though he didn’t understand what was happening. When he came out clean, he was a believer. What an interesting story.
In Acts, the law is trying to seep back into the church and destroy their faith. The law is contrary and an enemy to grace. Paul and Barnabas shared all the miraculous things God was doing with the Gentiles and finally convinced them when he showed them that this was prophesied long ago. In Amos 9:11-12 it talks about the restoration of David’s tent and the remnant of the Jews and all the heathen that are called by God’s name. They decided to stop making it hard for Gentiles to enter into the church. Once they got this settled they could continue the ministry of building up the body so they sent Paul and Barnabas to Antioch.
Lord, give us some divine appointments today so we can sow seed, water soil and produce a harvest.

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Thurs.’s Devo - God’s Provision

Read: 2 Kings 3:1-4:17; Acts 14:8-28; Psalm 140:1-13; Proverbs 17:22
Jehoram, son of Ahab was king over Israel and he was evil. Jehoshaphat was king over Judah and he was good and honored God. They teamed up with the king of Edom to fight the king of Moab because he had refused to send tribute sheep to Israel. On their way they ran out of water and thought they were doomed. Jehoshaphat knew they needed God’s heart in the matter so he asked if their was a prophet in Israel. One of the king’s servants knew about Elisha and how he had taken Elijah’s place. So the three desperate kings went to find Elisha.
Elisha told the king of Israel that he should ask his false prophets but since Jehoshaphat had asked and he was a righteous man, Elisha promised to help them. He asked for a minstrel because music has the potential to woo the spirit of God. After he soaked in this, he knew what to do. He told them to dig ditches and that God would fill them with water though they wouldn’t see rain. He added that this was a small thing but through this he would deliver the Moabites to them.
The next morning, a meat offering was offered to the Lord and water started flowing from Edom and the country was fill of water. Where this water came…no one knew. When the sun hit the water it looked like blood to the Moabites. So instead of charging for war, they charged for spoil. Israel, Judah and Edom charged for war and totally defeated the Moabites.
In Chapter Four, we transition to the land of the prophets. A prophet’s widow comes to Elisha with her problem. Since her husband died, she had not been able to pay her bills so the creditors were going to take her two sons into slavery. Elisha asked her what she had in her house. She told him she only had a pot of oil. So Elisha told her to borrow a bunch of pots from her neighbors then bring her and her sons into her house, shut the door and start pouring. Her little pot of oil filled all the pots. Then she was able to sell the oil and get out of debt and live off the rest.
God used Elisha to provide for a woman, so God used a woman to provide for Elisha. This woman was a wealthy woman who always had Elisha over to eat whenever he was passing her way. She asked her husband to build an addition to their house for Elisha to stay with them when he passed by. She furnished it with the things he would need. He wanted to bless her back so he asked what she might need. She had the money to buy anything she needed, but what she wanted couldn’t be bought with money. She wanted a son so Elisha told her she would have a son in the time it takes to have a son. It happened just as he said.
When we do the things for others to meet their needs, God will make sure our needs are taken care of too. He will give us the desires of our heart.
Lord, help us to pour out our life as a sacrifice of praise to you.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Wed.’s Devo - From Elijah to Elisha

Read: 2 Kings 1:1-2:25; Acts 13:42-14:7; Psalm 139:1-24; Proverbs 17:19-21
Ahab’s successor, Ahaziah fell through the second story of his house and was badly hurt. He sent his officers to ask Baal-Zebub, the god of Ekron if he would recover. The angel of the Lord told Elijah to go and meet the messengers and ask them why they were going to some fake god in Ekron if there wasn’t a god in Israel. Because the king consulted Baal instead of him, he would not recover but, he would die. They went back and told the king and described the prophet. He knew it was Elijah so he sent an officer with his 50 men to go get Elijah. Elijah called down fire on them. He did it to the next 50. The third group was led by a wise and humble officer. He begged Elijah to save his life so the angel of the Lord told him to go with this man. Elijah went and told the king the same thing he had already said three times before. Ahaziah died according to God’s word and had no son so Joram, his brother, ruled in his stead. Jehoram was made king over Judah.
It was time for Elijah to be taken to God and Elisha and all the prophets knew it. They all followed Elijah around that day but, only Elisha walked with him. Elijah walked from Gilgal which means “a wheel”. Next he went to Bethel which means “the house of God”. Then he went to Jericho “place of fragrance” and lastly to the Jordan which means “their descent”. When he got to the Jordan, he rolled up his coat and struck it and it parted so they could walk across. Elijah walked over 20 miles that day. Right before he left, he asked Elisha, who had been trailing him the whole day, what he wanted from him. Elisha said he wanted a double portion of the spirit that he had. Elijah told him it wasn’t his to give but if he saw him leave, it would be God’s “yes”. A chariot of fire and horses came down from heaven and set down right between Elijah and Elisha and took Elijah up in a whirlwind. Elisha saw it so he praised God and picked up Elijah’s mantle. He struck the water with it and the water parted so he could walk across. He retraced Elijah’s steps bringing life to the land that had been cursed and cursing boys that tried to curse him. He went straight to Mt. Carmel, where Elijah had defeated the prophets of Baal.
In Acts, the Gentiles were so hungry, they asked them to come back the next sabbath and teach them again about Jesus. The apostles explained to the people that the Jews had rejected Jesus, so God was turning his attention to the Gentiles who were hungry for him. Some of the “religious” Jews raised up persecution against Paul and Barnabas and cast them out of their cities. They left there for Iconium and the same thing happened. Their reaction to persecution was commendable: they were filled with joy and with the Holy Spirit. They refused to become victums, but counted it a privilege to suffer for Christ.
Lord, may we be like the early disciples who lived to give you honor.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Tues.’s Devo - Truth or Lies

Read: 1 Kings 22:1-53; Acts 13:16-41; Psalm 138:1-8; Proverbs 17:17-18
It has been three years since Ahab let Ben-hadad out of his clutches. He came back to wage war on Israel so Ahab, went to ask help from the king of Judah. Jehoshaphat was the king of Judah. He wanted to ask the Lord if they would win before he committed. The king of Israel gathered his 400 false prophets together who all prophesied that Israel would win. As the two of the kings sat together on their throne listening and watching the false prophets do their thing, the king of Judah asked the king of Israel if he had any prophet of God in his kingdom. He did, but the king didn’t like him because he never told him anything good. When he called the prophet, Micaiah, to require of the Lord, Micaiah told him what he wanted to hear. The king knew he was being sarcastic so he made him tell him the truth. Micaiah told him that he needed to turn around and go home because they would be defeated and that God had sent a lying spirit to deceived his prophets. The false prophet was so mad he slapped Micaiah in the face. Micaiah told him that he would see he was right when he went into his inner chamber to hide himself. This got Micaiah thrown into prison.
So, the two kings ignored God’s warning and went out to battle. Ahab disguised himself as a regular soldier. The Syrian king had told all his men to only kill the king of Israel. One of the soldiers rode up beside the chariot that the king was in but realized it wasn’t the king so he stopped following him. I’m sure, Ahab thought he had tricked him and was safe, but God’s Word never fails. A Syrian soldier shot a random arrow. God directed that arrow straight to the one chink in Ahab’s armor. He was killed and Israel scattered according to what was prophesied. Ahab was buried in Samaria and his son, Ahaziah took his place. He followed the wickedness of his father.
In Judah, Jehoshaphat finally died and his son, Jehoram took his place. Jehoshaphat had followed the righteousness of his father and both were good kings in God’s eyes.
In Acts, Paul was in Antioch preaching to Gentiles and Jews. He realized that they needed a Jewish history lesson to be able to realize who Jesus was. He plainly spells out the gospel to them.
Lord, help us to listen to what God says and obey.

Monday, June 19, 2017

Mon.’s Devo - Blind the Enemy, Open Our Eyes

Read: 1 Kings 20:1-21:29; Acts 12:24-13:15; Psalm 137:1-9; Proverbs 17:16
When Ben-hadad came up against Ahab he was coming up against the God of Israel. Ben-hadad means “sharp and noisy” which describes him to a tee. He hurled out threats and boasts against Israel. Ahab warned him, “let not him that girth on his harness boast himself as he that putteth it off.” In our terms that means, “Don’t count your chickens before they hatch.” Ben-hadad is a perfect example of the devil who shouts his threats so loudly and can’t follow through. He evokes fear, but when we fight back in the name of the Lord, we will always win.
Ahab could be very humble when he was up against a wall and this was where he was. He listened to what the prophet told him and ordered the battle led by the princes of the provinces. God proved to Ben-hadad and to Israel that he was the God of the hills and the plains.
Instead of killing Ben-hadad, Ahab made a covenant with him. You can’t strike a deal with the devil; he doesn’t play fair and has no problem with breaking his promise. Satan is the father of lies and deception is his character. This covenant that Ahab made cost him his life.
The story of Naboth’s vineyard is such a sad story of an innocent man who had his inheritance stolen because of Ahab’s greed. Naboth is exalted in heaven because he refused to sell his inheritance and Ahab lost in the end.
Our story in Acts begins with…”but the word of God grew and multiplied.” Acts 13 begins with the names of new converts that had become prophets and teachers. One of them, Manaen, had been brought up with Herod the tetrarch which means he grew up in his courts. Herod the tetrarch was the Herod that had John the Baptist killed for rebuking him for taking his brother’s wife. In the midst of all the idolatry and evil this man was saved and became a powerful believer in God’s kingdom. He left the kingdom of disfunction to join the kingdom of order and truth.
Paul took authority over the wizard who was trying to keep Sergius from seeking the truth. God blinded the false prophet named Bar-jesus which gave Sergius his sight. He believed because he saw what happened. We need to blind the eyes of the sorcerers who try to confuse people who are seeking truth.
Lord, blind the eyes of the watchers of Satan that they not be able to pervert your truth.

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Sun.’s Devo - Changing of the Guards

Read: 1 Kings 19:1-21; Acts 12:1-23; Psalm 136:1-26; Proverbs 17:14-15
It is hard for me to understand what happened to Elijah but I will give you my thoughts. Elijah stood up against all the prophets of Baal then he followed Ahab back to the palace. I don’t know if he thought he would be given a place of honor or what, but, when he heard what Jezebel said about him he fled as if he had no power. Everywhere he went God asked him what he was doing there. All Elijah could do was defend his honor. The angel gave him strength to go do one last assignment. He was to anoint Jehu king over Israel and Elisha to take Elijah’s place. Elijah complained that he was the only one who followed the Lord and God opened his understanding. God had reserved 7,000 people who had not bowed to Baal.
It is easy when we are a lone ranger to think that we are the only one in the situation we are in or even that we are the only ones doing it right. God always has a remnant and it is better if we fellowship with other like-minded believers to let our iron sharpen theirs and vice versa.
Elijah was taken to Mt. Horeb, the mountain of the Lord. In this mountain range is Mt. Sinai the mountain that Moses ascended to receive the law and probably the same one that Jesus stood on when he transfigured and Peter, James and John saw Jesus talking to Elijah and Moses. I wonder if the transfiguration wasn’t a hologram of these two events.
The first person he met was Elisha who was plowing his family oxen. He threw his mantle on him which was a sign that he was putting his office on him. Elisha asked if he could bid his parents good-bye, but when he realized Elijah wasn’t waiting, he made an altar right there using the wood from his plow and two of the oxen as the sacrifice. He gave the food to the people and left with Elijah, to be his apprentice.
When there is a shift of power in the natural, it is a picture of the shift in the spiritual also. Jehu was to kill in the natural with his sword and Elisha was to kill spiritually. God’s word would be his sword.
In Acts, James was killed and Peter was put in prison again. The first time Peter was put in prison was in Acts 5:18 where he was put in the common prison which is an open prison that the public can see. God set him free from that one so this time they put him under the charge of sixteen Roman soldiers and chained him to make sure he didn’t escape. That night as they were sleeping, the angel of the Lord came and woke Peter and told him to stand. The chains fell off his hands. He was told to put his sandals on and get his clothes. He followed the angel out of the prison which just opened before them. Once he was a block from the prison, the angel left. Peter realized it wasn’t a dream and went to Mary’s house, then James’, Jesus’ brother.
There was such a commotion in the jail the next day. They looked everywhere for Peter and when they couldn’t find him, Herod had the soldiers in charge of Peter killed.
That same day, Herod met with the men of Tyre and Sidon. When Herod came out to them they praised him as a god and immediately the angel of the Lord killed him for taking God’s glory to himself.
When God begins to move in manifested power on the earth, his judgment comes also.
Lord, cleanse our hearts and make us ready for what is coming.

Saturday, June 17, 2017

Sat.’s Devo - Defeating the Enemy

Read: 1 Kings 18:1-46; cts 11:1-30; Psalm 135:1-21; Proverbs 17:12-13
During the third year of the famine, God told Elijah to present himself before Ahab. Ahab had been searching for him all this time to make him take the famine away. Ahab’s second-in-command was a devout follower of God. (Don’t ever think you can’t work for a non-Christian…it just might be your destiny. Joseph and Esther did it also.) Since Obadiah was in the palace, he was able to know what the king was doing and save all the prophets Ahab was determined to kill. Ahab and Obadiah went searching the kingdom for water when Elijah met Obadiah. He told him to tell Ahab he was ready to meet. Obadiah took some encouraging to believe it but he did. Elijah commanded a meeting with all the prophets of Baal and all of Jezebel’s advisors. You know the story. The prophets of Baal were not able to bring down fire but when it was Elijah’s turn, he dug a trench and had them pour three barrels of water on his altar…during a drought. He waited for the time of the evening sacrifice then in one prayer the fire of the Lord fell and burned up the sacrifice, the wood, the stones, and the soil and all the water. That was some powerful fire to burn up the stones. Then Elijah had the people grab the prophets of Baal and bring them to the Kishon Valley and slaughter them. Once the people realized that the prophets of Baal had no real power, they weren’t afraid of them. Once we realize that the demons that oppress us and our family and our nation have no real power we will rise up and slaughter them ourselves.
Elijah had now gotten rid of the source of the famine so he could intercede for rain knowing God would send it. Once Elijah heard there was a small cloud, he knew he had broken through and he ran faster than Ahab’s chariot for the palace.
In Acts, Peter returned to Jerusalem and was met with criticism for eating with Gentiles. Peter told them the whole story and they praised God that the Gentiles had become believers also.
After Stephen had been stoned many believer scattered all over the land and took the gospel with them. One town that received the good news was Antioch so Barnabas took off to find Paul and go there to build a church. They coined the name Christians as the name of the believers. The church was being birthed. How fitting that one of the first things they did was to give to help their brothers in Judea. That is how the church acts!
Lord, help us to see the weakness of our enemy and stand up against him and kill him. Let the rain of your spirit fall on us in the midst of a drought.

Friday, June 16, 2017

Fri.’s Devo - Refining Fires

Read: 1 Kings 15:25-17:24; Acts 10:23b-48; Psalm 134:1-3; Proverbs 17:9-11
It doesn’t take long to see the kings of Israel had problems. They kept following the root that Jeroboam had planted and God would take their whole family out. God is serious about his leaders; how the leaders went determined how the nation went. Asa, the king of Judah reigned 38 years as a good king while the kings of Israel had many kings, one lasting only 7 days. Israel’s most wicked king was Ahab who married Jezebel which means “unchaste”. That was an understatement to who she was. She brought the worship of Baal to Israel.
God sent the prophet Elijah to tell Ahab that his sin had caused a drought. Then God told Elijah to run and hide by the brook, Cherith. There he would have water and the ravens would bring him food. Droughts lead to famines. When the brook dried up God sent God sent Elijah to Zarephath were a widow would be his supply. When he got there he found her and asked her for water - in a drought. Then he asked her for bread. She only had enough for one more meal for her and her son. I can’t imaging what Elijah must have thought. God had sent him here to be sustained and there was no sustenance. Zarephath means “refining”. God was using this situation to refine him. So Elijah put his faith in what God had told him and told her to make him some bread, that her little flour and oil would not run out till the famine was over. God was working on this woman also. She had to trust what Elijah said was true. What did she have to lose? She was already preparing herself to die. She did it and God came through for all of them.
She had a second test when her son became deathly ill and stopped breathing. She blamed it on Elijah! Elijah interceded for the son and he came back to life. This confirmed to the widow and to Elijah that he was a man of God and that God would back him up.
In Acts, Peter and Cornelius finally meet and share their stories of how God spoke to them. Peter understands in a much larger scale God’s redemptive plan. It is not just for the Jews, but for the Gentiles also. As Peter spoke to them about the good new, they were saved and filled with the Holy Spirit. Peter baptized them and they begged him to stay longer.
God sends many blessing to us disguised as tests and trials. When we begin to see them from God’s perspective - we start to be blessed.
Proverbs 17:9 is a great verse to put to memory.
Lord thank you for sending refining fiery tests into our lives to help us to receive the blessing.

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Thurs.’s Devo - Keeping our Treasures

Read: 1 Kings 14:1-15:24; Acts 10:1-23a: Psalm 133:1-3; Proverbs 17:7-8
Jeroboam’s son was dying so he sent his wife to the prophet, Ahijah to ask him about his son. Jeroboam told his wife to disguise herself so Ahijah wouldn’t know who she was. You can’t trick a prophet of God. God told Ahijah she was coming and what to tell her. Her son would die when she entered her city. Jeroboam was being judged for all he had done against God, but the baby was being taken because God found something good in him. What a different way to look at death. God’s mercy, grace and kindness took this child because he saw something good in him. God promised to take away the remnant of Jeroboam’s house. God also said that He would scatter Jeroboam’s seed beyond the river. Jeroboam’s son, Nadab reigned after him. He continued in the sins of his father. In the meantime, Rehoboam was reigning in Judah. Rehoboam led his nation into sin also so God sent Egypt to come against Jerusalem. They took away the treasures of the house of the Lord and the king’s house. Rehoboam had his men make bronze shields to replace the gold ones.
That is exactly what happens in the spirit when you willfully sin. The devil will steal the things you value the most. You will end up replacing the things of God with counterfeit things that have no eternal value.
In Acts we see God networking the Gentiles and Jews together. Cornelius is an Italian believer who is told about Peter by an angel. He is to send for Peter who is staying in Joppa. Cornelius immediately tells his three servants and they go to Joppa. In the meantime, God puts Peter in a trance and shows him a sheet with all types of unclean animals on it. Peter is very hungry and God’s tells him to kill these animals and eat them. When Peter protests that they will cause him to break the law, God tells him that what He has cleansed Peter cannot call profane or unholy. God was getting Peter ready for his next mission. He is now ready to meet Cornelius’s servants and to go with them.
It is awesome how God prepares us for our next step. He will tear down our prejudices so we can be used to do what he is calling us to.
Lord, help us to keep the treasures you have given us. Help us to lay down any prejudices we might have about any of your creations.

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Wed.’s Devo - Bondage and Freedom

Read: 1 Kings 12:20-13:34; Acts 9:26-43; Psalm 132:1-18; Proverbs 17:6
The kingdom was split. Judah and Benjamin followed Rehoboam and became known as the land of Judah. The rest of the tribes became known as Israel and they made Jeroboam their king. Both kings were evil but none compared to Jeroboam. He was afraid that if the people went to Jerusalem to worship the Lord they might become allegiant to Rehoboam so he built Shechem and Penuel for places of worship. He had two golden calves made and put them in Bethel and Dan. He told the people that these were the gods that delivered them from Egypt. He moved Passover to the eighth month instead of the seventh and allowed anyone to become priests. He built up high places all over Israel for the people to worship false gods.
One day, a prophet of the Lord came to Bethel and prophesied against the altar Jeroboam had made. He said it would split and the ashes would pour out. When Jeroboam heard what he said he raised his hand to have the man killed and his hand withered and stuck. At the same time, the altar split. King Jeroboam had to beg the prophet to pray for his hand to be healed. He asked the prophet to eat with him but he refused because God had told him not to eat or drink in Bethel but to go out a different way than he came in. A false prophet heard what the prophet of God had said and took off to deceive him and curse him. He used lies and deception and caused the prophet to disobey God. It cost him the prophet’s life.
The Bible warns us many times about how in the last days there will be many prophets who will try their best to deceive us. We have to have discernment and not believe every word we hear but test the spirits to see if they are of God or not.
In Acts, Paul escaped to Jerusalem as a new convert. He tried to join the disciples there but they were afraid of him. When he preached boldly about Jesus, Paul put his own life in jeopardy. The disciples had to help him escape to Caesarea helping them trust him. He ended up in Joppa where a devoted disciple named Dorcus had just died. The people were so sad Peter prayed for her and she rose from the dead. All Joppa heard of this extraordinary miracle.
We read about two extremes today. In one, the nation was moving toward idolatry and judgment, in the other they were coming out of idolatry and beginning to walk in the Spirit. Walking in the Spirit is so much more fun and prosperous.
Lord, help us to choose to walk out of bondage and into freedom.

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Tues.’s Devo - Closing Doors

Read: 1 Kings 11:1-12:19; Acts 9:1-25; Psalm 131:1-3; Proverbs 17:4-5
Today’s Old Testament reading is a sad one. Solomon let the things he loved turn his heart to idolatry which affected the whole nation. God always has a remnant and this time the remnant was Hadad. He was allowed to live to be used by God to bring judgment on the house of David. Rezon was also raised up as an adversary to Solomon to bring judgment over his life. Both of these were princes that were like strings Solomon had left untied. That is how principalities rise up. They come through doors we leave open. Sometimes they don’t even show up till the next generation. We have to go back to where we opened the door and repent, then command the devil to leave and shut the door.
Solomon recognized leadership in one of his soldiers so he made him ruler over the house of Joseph. This man’s name was Jeroboam. When he was traveling out of Jerusalem one day he was met by the prophet Ahijah whose name means “fresh, new thing.” He was there to birth in Jeroboam a fresh, new idea. Ahijah took Jeroboam’s garment and tore it into 12 pieces to represent the 12 tribes of Israel. He gave 10 of the pieces to Jeroboam. The rest would be for David’s seed. Jeroboam took his word and waited.
Solomon died and the nation crowned his son, Rehoboam king. They petitioned him about what kind of king he would be. They begged him to take the heavy yoke of taxes off of them that his father had put on them. Rehoboam asked for three days to ask his advisors their wisdom. His young, new advisors told him to be strong and tax them even more. His older advisors told him to be kinder and win their hearts. He heeded the advise of the younger men and lost all his kingdom except Judah, fulfilling Ahjah’s prophecy.
Our New Testament reading is an exciting one. Saul, the persecutor of the faith is blinded by the light of God. Jesus encounters him and he is forever changed. He begins to pick up Stephen’s mantle. God sends Ananias to him, risking his life to go meet the Christian persecutor. God tells Ananias what His purpose for Saul is. This gives Ananias the courage to face Saul and pray for him. Saul is saved, receives his sight, and goes immediately to the synagogue and starts preaching that Jesus is the son of God. The persecutor becomes the persecuted. The disciples had to lower him in a basket to get him out of town safely and unnoticed.
Lord, help us to see doors we have opened so we can close them.

Monday, June 12, 2017

Mon.’s Devo - Accessing the Secrets of the Kingdom

Read: 1 Kings 9:1-10:29;
It took Solomon 20 years to build the temple and the palace and when he was finished, God appeared to him again. God told him that he had heard his prayer about this temple to put his name there forever. If he continued to walk before God in integrity of heart and doing God’s commands, then God promised to establish this place forever and always have a descendent of David on the throne. But, if they disobeyed, then he would cut Israel out of the land and cast them out of his sight. This happened in 70 A.D.
We have an account of all Solomon’s forced labor and we see that none of the slaves came from the Israelites, but they were all from the conquest of their enemies. We are never to be slaves of sin; demons are to be our slaves. We are to be in control of our habits, sins, addictions, etc; they are suppose to be under our feet. We can defeat them.
When the queen of Sheba came to visit Solomon, his pride got the best of him and he showed her everything he had. That was a mistake. We are to guard the things God has given us and not throw them out to everyone. We are to hold them near and covet God’s gifts. He will show us who to share them with.
Interesting that we are reading about the eunuch from Ethiopia today. I have heard someone preach that this man was the offspring of the union of King Solomon and the Queen of Sheba. If that is so, then it is pretty amazing that he would come back and get the secret to the real treasure of God’s temple. God’s Word is full of secret treasures and mysteries left to be revealed and they can be ours for the asking. Solomon held nothing back from the Queen of Sheba and God will hold nothing back from us if we would take the time to spend with him and in his Word.
Lord, show us the secrets of the kingdom and share your mysteries with us.

Sunday, June 11, 2017

Sun.’s Devo - The Feast of Tabernacles -

Read: 1 Kings 8:1-66; Acts 7:51-8:13; Psalm 129:1-8; Proverbs 17:1
Every main event in the Bible is set around one of the feasts. Solomon brought up the ark to the temple on the feast of Tabernacles. This is the feast that commemorates the children of Israel living in tents during the wanderings in the wilderness. They were living in hopes of a permanent home. The Feast of Tabernacles represents our heavenly home in the future and our present walk in God’s presence here on earth.
The ark was brought into the oracle of the temple which means the innermost part. That is where God wants to rule - in our innermost part. The only thing in this room that the ark was put was the ark itself and the two tablets of stone that the law was written on. The only thing that needs to be in our heart is the presence of the Lord and the Word. When the priests came out from the holy place, the glory of God filled the house. When we come out of our secret place with the Lord we will be filled with the glory of God.
God made sure everyone knew that this house Solomon had built would not be able to contain him. The heaven and heaven of heavens would not be able to contain him. Because it was in David’s heart to build God a house, he let him and promised to bless it with his name. This would be the place the people could pray in and ask for forgiveness.
In Acts, Stephen is at the end of his speech. He has come to the part where he personalizes his speech and points the finger at them. He calls them stiff-necked and uncircumcised in heart and ears. He told them they always resist the Holy Ghost just like their fathers did. He accused them of killing the prophets and the Messiah. The straw that broke the camel’s back was when he told them he saw the glory of God and Jesus standing on his right hand. They took him out of the city and stoned him. They threw his clothes at the feet of Saul. It was as if God was laying Stephen’s mantle for Saul to pick up.

Saturday, June 10, 2017

Sat.’s Devo - God’s Building Project

Read: 1 Kings 7:1-51; Acts 7:30-50; Psalm 128:1-6; Proverbs 16:31-33
From what I can understand about today’s reading, we are reading about different building projects of Solomon - his own house, the house of the forest of Lebanon, an house for Pharaoh’s daughter and the house of God. His own house took 13 years to build.
Solomon sent for Hiram who worked in brass to make the pillars for the temple. He made two special pillars for the porch of the temple. The one on the right was called Jachin which means “God will establish” and the other named Boaz. Jachin was the name of three Israelites. Boaz was the name of a half Jewish, half Caananite who was grafted into Jewish culture and the family. He became a direct descendant of David and thus, Jesus.
These pillars had a chain of pomegranates on the top. Pomegranates stand for the Word since there are the 613 seeds each fruit which is the same number of laws in God’s word. Everything in nature gives glory to God. He created everything with a purpose and a plan in mind.
In Acts, Stephen continued building his defense telling them about Moses. He was stressing the propensity of the Jews to fall away after idolatry and what God’s plan really was. All through their history, they kept getting it wrong. They tried to mix their plan with His and it doesn’t work that way. Solomon built God a house even though God had made it plain he didn’t want to be put in a box. The whole cosmos is his throne.
To sum today’s readings up, God never wanted a physical representation in a building. He wanted his building to be in us. We are to be the temple of the living God. We are God’s building project. He allowed man to build a temple to show his glory in since we were such obstinate people who needed a sign.
Religion always wants proof but truth is Spirit and intangible and must be accessed by faith.
Lord, help us to embrace your Spirit and your way.

Friday, June 9, 2017

Fri.’s Devo - Living for Tomorrow

Read: 1 Kings 5:2-6:38; Acts 7:1-29; Psalm 127:1-5; Proverbs 16:28-30
God blessed Hiram with an understanding heart and discernment to know who to trust and Hiram was one of them. Hiram was the king of Tyre who had a land full of pine trees and men that knew how to fell them. It was time to build the temple of the Lord so Solomon traded wheat and oil for lumber. His men worked with Hiram’s to cut the trees that were floated down the river to Jerusalem. Thirty thousand men were chosen to do the work of the temple. Some of them worked with Hiram’s men to fell the trees and some carried the stones for the foundation. Thirty-three hundred men supervised the work.
The temple was built with timber and stones. Timber stands for men and stones stand for the Word of God. The temple of God is built of the Word and people. We are the temple of the Holy Spirit. In 2 Corinthians 6:16 it says…”for you are the temple of the living God; as God has said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.”
In Acts, we hear Stephen’s testimony for his false charges. His charges were blasphemy against the temple and the law. He was accused of wanting to change the customs of Moses and destroy the temple. Stephen’s defense began with an account of the history of the nation of Israel starting with Abraham. He was trying to open their eyes to their destiny.
It is good to know our history and our heritage to know where we were from to know where we are going. Gifts and talents are inherited and passed down. How we live will determine the future of our posterity.
Lord, help us to live for our future generations.

Thursday, June 8, 2017

Thurs.’s Devo - Understanding and Discernment

Read: 1 Kings 3:4-4:34; Acts 6:1-15; Psalm 126:1-6; Proverbs 16:26-27
Everyone knows Solomon as the wisest man on the earth but what he asked for was an understanding heart to judge the people fairly and discernment to see evil and good. He used understanding and discernment to gain wisdom. Wisdom comes from experiencing your understanding. He used discernment and understanding to know how to bring the truth out about the babies real mother. From the experience he gained wisdom. Experience is the way we get wisdom. Solomon was asking to bypass the mistakes it takes us to gain wisdom by given him God’s heart on the matter.
Revival presents its own problems. The disciples had never set up an organization but they had to learn quickly to be able to better serve the people. Everyone had to learn their part. They had to appoint servants to help the widows, and the teachers had to spend their time in prayer and study so they could adequately teach and lead the people spiritually. Stephen was one of the leaders chosen to be a minister of the people’s needs. Stephen was full of faith and the Holy Spirit. The apostles laid hands on them and commissioned them for ministry. Stephen was used to do many miracles and wonders among the people and the leaders of the synagogue were jealous of his wisdom and the spirit of God in him so they brought false accusations against him. As he sat before the Sanhedrin, his face lit up as an angel.
God will proclaim the gifts inside us and manifest his glory through us if we just yield to the spirit. When we manifest God’s glory, the devil will be right there to try and stop us. We have to realize he is just a smoke screen and his power is not real unless we give it reality.
Lord, help us to discern the real and understand how you see and feel.

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Wed.’s Devo - Passing the Torch

Read: 1 Kings 2:1-3:3; Acts 5:1-42; Psalm 125:1-5; Proverbs 16:25
David was knew he was about to die and called Solomon in to do the things he left undone. He was passing his torch to Solomon to continue his mantle. David had completed everything he was to do and the next steps were for Solomon to complete. He had completed his job for his generation which is evident in the 40 years he reigned. Forty is the number of a generation. He reigned seven years in Hebron which means he completed his reign. He reigned 33 years in Jerusalem which was the age of Jesus when he died. David, as a type of Jesus had finished his course. He was turning over a kingdom to Solomon that was safe and secure from enemies. Solomon would be able to do what he was called to do. David was a warrior king and Solomon was a king of peace. David had paved the way for Solomon to build and establish the house of God on earth. We are right at this place in the timing of the Lord. We are transitioning from a time of great upheaval and spiritual warfare to a place of rest. Solomon still had people to bring to justice, but he did it from a place of rest. This is what God is calling us to - warfare from a state of rest. It is the assurance of who God is and that nothing is impossible; unmeasurable faith. It says that when Solomon sat upon David’s throne that his kingdom was greatly established.
As soon as Solomon had his kingdom, his adversary came to him and tried to trick him into an alliance. Adonijah asked for
Abishag, who was the young woman who was chosen to lay with David in his last days and keep him warm. This was a strategic move to get his foot in the door of Solomon’s government. Solomon discerned its wickedness and had him put to death. Solomon also sent away Abiathar, the priest that was from the house of Eli. Joab, the army commander who had murdered Abner and Amasa for killing his brother was also dealt with. Then, Solomon set his men in their places of authority. He had to “drain the swamp” first.
He made peace with his enemy, Egypt, and married the Pharaoh’s daughter. He build his house, God’s house, and the wall around Jerusalem. This is the order in which we do it. We build our own house first. We establish God’s kingdom in our hearts. Then we build the Lord’s house; we start living for the kingdom. Next we establish our borders with a wall of protection against our enemies.
In Acts, we see the judgment of God on Ananias and Sapphire. When God’s spirit starts moving in power, the fear of God falls on the people. Ananias and Sapphire did not fear God and he fell on them in judgment.
This caused a disturbance in the demonic kingdom and they attacked Peter. God was using Peter in power and demonstration and Satan filled the leaders of his religious order carry out his assignment. They had Peter thrown into the common prison. God trumped him and set them free that night and told them to go to the temple and preach! They found the prison still locked and secure. What does the religious system do with miracles? They don’t know what to do with them so they try to control them.
Lord, we give your Holy Spirit the room and authority to rule in our lives.

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Tues.’s Devo - We Will Win!

Read: 1 Kings 1:1-53; Acts 4:1-37; Psalm 124:1-8; Proverbs 16:24
God’s kingdom is not established easily. It always comes with opposition from our enemy - Satan. This time Satan used Adonijah to try to usurp the kingdom from God. Adonijah had his followers met at the Stone of Zoheleth which means the Serpent’s Stone. Nathan found out about because the prophets see things first. He informed Bathsheba, Solomon’s mother about Adonijah’s plan. He reminded her that her son was to be the next king. She went before the king and got his backing. While she was speaking, Nathan came in and confirmed it. David had Solomon and his officials meet at Gihon Spring which means “breaking forth”. Anything God has planned has to break forth from the clutches of the enemy who will try to abscond your promise. Solomon had been promised the kingdom as a baby and Satan never wants to let God’s will be done. So if you are having trouble breaking into what God has called you to do you must fight in the spirit against the powers of the enemy. You will win!
In Acts we have the aftermath of the hand of God working through his disciples. The devil couldn’t stand it so he stirred up the hearts of the same people who crucified Jesus. They couldn’t deny the miracle of the lame man healed so they tried to silence God's voice. The disciples told them they couldn’t be quiet, they had to obey God. Their accusers couldn’t find anything to hold them for so the let them go.
If we would stop being afraid of unrighteous government and stand up for what we know and act like God is our king, then it will intimidate the devil and we will win. God wants us to have victory and power in Him. He wants us to display this on the earth through faith. Our Psalm says it so well; God is on our side and our help is in his name.
Lord, may these words of encouragement be as honeycomb, sweet to the soul and health to our bones.

Monday, June 5, 2017

Mon.’s Devo - Righteous Judgment

Read: 2 Samuel 23:24-24:25; Acts 3:1-26; Psalm 123:1-4; Proverbs 16:21-23
We are not told exactly why God was mad at Israel but I’m sure it had to do with their hearts. God wanted to have a tangible reason to judge them so he had David count the people. It wasn’t numbering the people that was a sin, but when they were numbered they were suppose to give a half a shekel to the sanctuary. (Ex. 30:13) David’s pride had gotten the best of him. Joab didn’t think it was a good idea so he didn’t complete the task but it was enough for God to judge. David knew when the numbers came in that he had sinned and repented of what he had done. God sent Gad, the prophet to give David his consequences and gave him a choice: seven years of famine, three months of war or three days of pestilence. David chose to fall into God’s hand of pestilence banking on God’s mercy. He chose wisely and God did relent right at the place where the temple of Jerusalem would be built. This sin cost Israel 70,000 men and the piece of land cost David 50 shekels of silver. Fifty is the number of grace tested and silver stands for redemption. Israel was redeemed.
In Acts, God gave Peter another platform and he took it. Peter and John were on their way to the temple and passed by a man who begged by the temple every day…but today was different. The spirit of God was present to heal and they felt it. When the beggar asked for money, Peter told him that he didn’t have money but something so much better. He gave that. He told the man to stand up and walk and he did. This gave Peter the crowd he needed to preach what God wanted said to all the people.
God does that for us too. He presents a situation where we will have an opportunity to proclaim his name. If we take it, he will do the rest. All we need is to hear, respond and watch.
Lord, help us to hear, respond, and watch what you are doing.

Sunday, June 4, 2017

Sun.’s Devo - God’s Ways are Not Ours

Read: 2 Samuel 22:21-23:23; Acts 2:1-47; Psalm 122:1-9; Proverbs 16:19-20
Second Samuel 22 is the Messianic chapter of Jesus’ three hours of darkness on the cross. It coincides with David’s last words. Jesus proclaims his works on the earth and how God fought his enemies and strengthened him. David proclaims that his enemies are the sons of Belial - the wicked ungodly men which are to us demons, powers and principalities. Then David honors, by name, his mighty men, his faithful protectors and followers. Notice that Uriah is the thirty-seventh one mentioned. He was the husband of Bathsheba who David had murdered. Out of tens of thousands of men, these men were worth mentioning. These men were warriors, the elite of his team. Killing Uriah was a great price to pay for sin. That is how sin is; it costs you much.
In Acts, men from all over the inhabited world had come to Jerusalem to celebrate the feast of Pentecost. Some were proselytes which are those that had converted to Judism. God had called them to a celebration where he would show up and manifest his power. They were to hear the gospel in their language and carry it back to their home land. Only God could have come up with such a powerful way of evangelism. When God wants to touch a people, he has a way. We are just to be the willing vessel. The disciples were obeying their one command - to go to Jerusalem and wait. They did and God did not disappoint. God made them irresistible and bypassed all their natural boundaries. He put a flame of fire on their heads drawing attention to them, then gave them the tongue of the nations attending. They didn’t have to worry about what to say, the Holy Spirit said it through them. I wonder if they knew what their mouths were speaking. When Peter stood up, he had to be speaking his language which was being interpreted into the ears of the hearers. How wonderful is that! The United Nations has nothing on God!

Saturday, June 3, 2017

Sat’s Devo - God of Justice

Read: 2 Samuel 20:14-22:20; Acts 1:1-26; Psalm 121:1-8; Proverbs 16:18
God never forgets an injustice. When there was a famine, there was always a reason. David understood this and asked God what the reason was for the famine. God told him it was something Saul had done which had cursed the nation. It was up to David to atone for Saul’s sin. Saul had recklessly killed the Gibeonites without doing a study of their history. They had helped the Israelites when they came out of Egypt and were to be forever their friend. So David went to them and asked them what they would want to make things right. They did not want to be bought, they wanted justice. They wanted seven of Saul’s sons to kill. Seven means completion and that was what would complete their case. David agreed but saved Jonathan’s son, Mephibosheth. The seven sons of Saul died in the season of passover. They hung on crosses on a hill to cover the sin of their ancestor at the same time that Jesus died on a cross to cover the sin of the world. Rizpah which means “glowing” took sackcloth and spread it on a rock to keep the birds of the air from eating their flesh. She did this until the rain began to fall. This is a picture of the glowing angels that folded Jesus linen grave cloth on the rock grave to keep Satan from devouring Jesus flesh. The vultures in Jesus story were the scribes and Pharisees. David then buried Saul and Jonathan’s bones in a grave. It was then that God was satisfied. When God gives us a task to do, we are to carry it through to the end. He will not allow us to keep strings untied lest we trip and fall.
The rain we read about in the Old Testament was a picture of the rain of the Holy Spirit that we read today in the New Testament. It came 50 days after Passover. It was give to give the disciples power to be witnesses. Jesus told them about this again as he rose up into heaven. Two angels told them that Jesus would come back the same way he left…in a cloud. The disciples left for Jerusalem and went into an upper room where they hid out waiting for this promise to come.
Lord, rain down your Holy Spirit on your people today.

Friday, June 2, 2017

Fri.’s Devo - Establishing God’s Kingdom

Read: 2 Samuel 19:11-20:13; John 21:1-25; Psalm 120:1-7; Proverbs 16:16-17
David was waiting for Judah to ask him to come back and be their king. They sent word for him to come back and alerted everyone of his return. All Judah went out to meet him. Along with those people was the very guy who cursed him as he left. He sent his fifteen sons and twenty servants to help David and his men cross over the Jordan. He begged forgiveness from David and David was gracious to him.
Ziba had lied about Mephibosheth and told David that he had deflected to the side of Absalom when he was lame and couldn’t go with David. Mephibosheth was able to clear his name and tell David the truth.
An argument rose up about why Judah made all the decisions about David since he was suppose to be everyone’s king. Things got out of hand and a man from Benjamin named Sheba stood up and declared that they had no part in David and took a huge following with him. David appointed his cousin, Amasa to gather the men of Judah to go after Sheba. It took Amasa longer than David thought it should so he told Joab to take his servants and defeat Sheba. Joab met up with Amasa, who he saw as his rival and killed him.
I can’t help but relate this great upheaval and confusion to how it is right now trying to bring God’s kingdom down to earth. Everything is changing in the earth and in the spiritual climate. Some are welcoming what God is doing and some of his own people are resisting it. David waited for the priests to get the people to want him to come back to his place and God is waiting for the spiritual leaders to lead the people to want this new change.
In John, Jesus appears from time to time with his disciples. Today, he comes to them while they are fishing and not catching anything. He told them to change the side of the boat they were fishing from. That small thing changed everything but it wasn’t the place they put their nets that made the difference it was Jesus telling them to do it and what they would find. He was trying to show them the difference of doing things routinely in their own strength or doing things according to his word and in his strength. Our lives would be much easier if we called on the Lord for help and relied on his strength first.
Jesus asked Peter three times if he loved him and gave him the same request each time. He wanted Peter to see that to love him means to love his people. Then he told Peter the same thing he said to him when he called him: “Follow me.” In Matthew 4:19 Jesus had found Peter and Andrew fishing and said, “Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.” This was the same scene and Jesus was telling them that it was now time to become a fisher of men. I don’t think they fished again.

Thursday, June 1, 2017

Thur.’s Devo - The Outcome

Read: 2 Samuel 18:1-19:10; John 20:1-31; Psalm 119:153-176; Provers 16:14-15
David was going out against Absalom and all he could think about was Absalom. He divided his people into three divisions and was planning to go with them to battle. His men talked him out of it because if he died then the whole reason for fighting was David. David told his men to save Absalom’s life.
They fought on land covered in woods and the terrain was so dangerous it killed more than the sword did. In fact, Absalom was one of those wood casualties. His hair, that he was so proud of, got caught in the branches of an oak tree. His horse kept riding leaving him suspended in air. One of David’s men saw him and told Joab what he saw. Joab asked him why he didn’t kill him and the man reminded Joab of the king’s request that Absalom not die. Joab went back and shot three darts into the heart of Absalom and blew the trumpet of victory. The battle was over.
Absalom was a type of the anti-christ. He had erected a monument in his name since he didn’t have a son to carry on his name. The Anti-christ won’t have a son either and will erect a statue of his own. Joab understood that as long as Absalom was alive, David’s kingdom would not be safe. He did what he thought was right.
Joab sent Cushi to tell David about the outcome of the battle. Ahimaaz begged to run also and finally Joab let him. He took a short-cut and beat Cushi. He wanted to give David the news in pieces and prepare him to hear about his son’s death. He told David that they had won the battle, but when David asked about Absalom he told him he saw a commotion and wasn’t sure what it was about. Cushi came right behind him and delivered the rest of the news.
David was immediately sad and his soldiers crept into town in shame. They had risked their lives for a leader who showed he was more interested in the enemy than his friends. Joab rebuked him and told him to get out to his men and thank them for fighting for his kingdom.
When you are a leader, you have to realize that your family is the kingdom, not just your immediate family. It can be a hard thing to juggle but your vision has to broaden with your heart.
Jesus was able to do it, so it is possible.
In John we read about Jesus first appearances to Mary and the disciples. I can’t imagine the joy Jesus had in coming back to see his spiritual family. Jesus did many miraculous signs in their presence and breathed on them to receive the Holy Spirit.
Breathe on us your Holy Spirit today.