- Date: October 9, 2015
- Verse: “And Samuel said, Hath the Lord as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the Lord ? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to hearken than the fat of rams.” (1 Samuel 15:22)
We've got a lesson to learn in our midst. We have watched the hand of God dealing with lives over this last number of years - - in my life, personally, us as a fellowship, and many of the trials that you've been through. Some have lost family members, some are battling with diseases and pains, and the economy. We've spent time in the Word of God where we've studied and it said, "We have only one recourse in the midst of all of these trials, to just stand and say, 'The Lord gives and the Lord takes away, blessed be the name of the LORD'" (Job 1:21).
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Devotionals by Date
- Date: March 16, 2004
- Verse: "And the LORD spake unto Moses face to face, as a man speaketh unto his friend. And he turned again into the camp: but his servant Joshua, the son of Nun, a young man, departed not out of the tabernacle."(Exodus 33:11)
Are you confident in where God is leading you today? Are you confident in your steps being ordered by the Lord? Are you at rest today? Are you going to be obedient to do it God's way? Is His way not sufficient, sensible or fast enough for you? Man's wisdom is foolishness to God, and God's wisdom is foolishness to man. Which wisdom are you going to choose? The two wisdoms don't work together; they're totally, diametrically opposed. You can't amalgamate them. The double-minded man is unstable in all his ways (James 1:8).
- Date: March 15, 2004
- Verse: "But lift thou up thy rod, and stretch out thine hand over the sea, and divide it: and the children of Israel shall go on dry ground through the midst of the sea."(Exodus 14:16)
Moses took a little too much upon himself. The people provoked him, continuing to rebel and doubt God. Moses had known the anointing and power of God. It's an amazing thing when you've known the presence of God. You have to guard at times against thinking that your thoughts are God's thoughts. You can hear from God so much that you can begin to think that you're one and the same with Him. That's a dangerous place to be. You need to hear from Him specifically every time, every incident. You need another fresh visitation of God. You need to hear from the Lord.
- Date: March 14, 2004
- Verse: "...O Nebuchadnezzar, we are not careful to answer thee in this matter. If it be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us..."(Daniel 3:16-17)
Don't you love the three Hebrew children in Daniel? Nebuchadnezzar builds his little statue. The trumpets sound, everybody bows, and three guys are standing. I wonder how many professed believers bowed. These were young champions for God that couldn't be swayed. When Nebuchadnezzar hears that they will not bow, he becomes enraged and brings them in before him. They respond with the same spirit that their New Testament brothers would respond with generations later, "Is it better that we obey God or men?"
"King, we want you to know something.
- Date: March 13, 2004
- Verse: "Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen."(Hebrews 11:1)
Faith is the substance of things hoped for. In the Greek, the word "hope" means "to have favorable expectation." Faith gives substance to what you're favorably expecting. It is the evidence--the proof, the title deed, the legal declaration, the assurance--of things not yet perceived by the natural senses. That's what faith is. Without faith it's impossible to please God (Heb. 11:6). God is pleased by a people that are able to live in the spirit realm of trust and reliance upon God regardless of circumstances.
- Date: March 12, 2004
- Verse: "But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you."(Matthew 6:33)
"...When ye pray, [don't] use... vain repetitions" (Matt. 6:7). We won't be heard for any vain and repetitious praying. There's nothing wrong with repeating a prayer, but it's vain (has no power) when you think that the power is in the repetition instead of the relationship. Repeating "Our Father" one hundred times or jabbering in tongues for forty-five minutes will not get anything done. Prayer is vain if you don't have a relationship with Father. The power is in knowing Him, having a relationship with Him.
- Date: March 11, 2004
- Verse: "And this is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask any thing according to his will, he heareth us:"(1 John 5:14)
What is God's will? It's the establishing of the kingdom. If we ask anything that will enhance the kingdom--anything that goes along with kingdom principles or exalts Jesus Christ's lordship--then we know that He hears us. When we pray for God's glory with unselfish motives, we know He hears us. James said, "Ye have not, because ye ask not. [When you ask] ye ask amiss, [desiring to] consume it upon your [own] lusts" (James 4:2-3). Prayer is not to be consumed on self. An effective prayer life has to be invested in the kingdom.
Can you pray, "Thy kingdom come;
- Date: March 10, 2004
- Verse: "And if we know that he hear us, whatsoever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we desired of him."(1 John 5:15)
Petition has to be in agreement with the established purposes of God. We can pray for certain things in absolute confidence, and then rest. When you pray for a sinner to be saved, can you rest believing that God is not willing that any should perish? If God is not willing that Grandma should perish and yet she perishes, then Grandma wasn't willing. She chose to reject God. Can you see how subtle and how strong your will can affect your prayer life? If you can't pray for Grandma and rest, you're not in faith;
- Date: March 9, 2004
- Verse: "And he said, Abba, Father, all things are possible unto thee; take away this cup from me: nevertheless not what I will, but what thou wilt."(Mark 14:36)
To pray effectively, we must understand that nothing comes upon us by chance. Our steps are ordered of the Lord. We don't pray, "Lord, change my steps," but rather, "Help me to understand why I'm here. What am I supposed to do at this particular time?"
The apostle said, "I think I would prefer to be offered up, but it's better for you that I stay. Not my will; Thy will be done."
What's best for the kingdom? We might think, "What's best for the kingdom is believing God for deliverance, because Paul needs to be on the road preaching and declaring this gospel.
- Date: March 8, 2004
- Verse: "After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven."(Matthew 6:9-10)
Prayer is for the purpose of getting us involved in the kingdom of God. Prayer is for the purpose of making us conscious of God bringing forth the kingdom of His will into this world and how we are to be involved in that eternal plan. We become so short-sided and so focused with tunnel vision because of our natural tendencies and frailties of the flesh. We see from the temporal, but to be successful in prayer, we need to look into the eternal realm. We pray for the will of God and the glory of God.
- Date: March 7, 2004
- Verse: "Pray without ceasing."(1 Thessalonians 5:17)
Diligence is not limited to the method in which we pray, but it's also an attitude. You seek Him early, the Scripture says. In other words, you seek Him first; you seek Him about everything. Diligent pursuit of God is not going to Him when you're having trouble; diligent pursuit of God is fellowshipping with Him on a daily basis--practicing the presence of God. Prayer is twenty-four hours a day, for the Word of God says that we're to pray without ceasing. Prayer isn't what you do in your devotions when you wake up in the morning.
- Date: March 6, 2004
- Verse: "Wherefore he is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them."(Hebrews 7:25)
Satan desires to sift you as a grain of wheat, but the Master said, "I've prayed for you" (Luke 22:32). What an encouragement to each of our hearts! Aren't you rejoicing in that? The Scripture says He ever lives to make intercession for us (Heb. 7:25). Jesus is at the right hand of God in power and all authority; and the essence of God emanates in all of that majesty and splendor. Trying to imagine what heaven and the presence of God is like is so futile and weak, but try for just a moment to imagine the majestic splendor of God. God is Spirit--omnipresent, infinite, and eternal.
- Date: March 5, 2004
- Verse: "If ye love me, keep my commandments."(John 14:15)
Your love directly correlates to your obedience. Do you love your wife and children? You love them and oversee their lives in direct correlation to your obedience to Jesus. Naturally that love is demonstrated by your fidelity, provision, instruction, etc. But everything you do has to be done as a representative of the Lord if it's going to be truly "agape" love. If it doesn't originate from the Word of God, if it's purpose is not to bring about spiritual, eternal and godly seed and fruit, then it's "phileo." What makes it "agape" is when God is the source.
- Date: March 4, 2004
- Verse: "But go your way, tell his disciples and Peter that he goeth before you into Galilee: there shall ye see him, as he said unto you."(Mark 16:7)
"Lord, though everybody forsakes You, don't worry. I'll be with You till the end."
"Really, Peter? Before the cock crows you'll deny Me three times."
Peter heard it, but he didn't believe it. His doctrine said, "If the Lord says it, it must be true, but maybe it's a metaphor of some kind. I mean, you're talking about the 'Rock'!" How do you see yourself today? Do you say, "I'd never do that; I would never act that way; I would never sell out"?
"Peter, Satan desires to sift you, but I've prayed for you," Jesus said.
- Date: March 3, 2004
- Verse: "Then saith he to Thomas, Reach hither thy finger, and behold my hands; and reach hither thy hand, and thrust it into my side: and be not faithless, but believing."(John 20:27)
To be a Christian means to have allegiance to the kingdom of God and to submit totally to the lordship of Jesus. We pledge allegiance to Him above any flag, above any race, above any natural relationship, and above any blood relative. Until we come to that understanding, we're walking below what He endured on the cross and in the garden, when He partook of the cup, saying, "Father, if it's possible, let it pass; but nevertheless, not My will; Thy will be done." That's what it means to be a Christian--"Nevertheless, not my will; Thy will be done.
- Date: March 2, 2004
- Verse: "So when they had dined, Jesus saith to Simon Peter, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me more than these?"(John 21:15)
Commentators debate over whether the "more than these" are these fish or these other disciples. My answer to that is yes. I see that Jesus can speak truths if the subject is either. Let's for a moment talk about the fish. "Do you love Me, Peter, more than these? You said you'd go a fishing; I called you to be fishers of men. You've now been convinced of My resurrection. I've appeared to you; you've seen the nail scars in My hands.
- Date: March 1, 2004
- Verse: "Simon Peter saith unto them, I go a fishing. They say unto him, We also go with thee. They went forth, and entered into a ship immediately; and that night they caught nothing."(John 21:3)
Religion can't change you; obedience is what changes you. Every time you disobey Him, you deny Him as your Lord. I've never denied Jesus verbally, but far too many times I've denied Him in my disobedience. Knowing to do good and doing it not is sin. All unrighteousness is sin. Transgression of the law is sin. I can really identify with Peter's denial, and I've sold Jesus out like Judas for less than thirty pieces of silver--for just a momentary pleasure. As we contrast Judas and Peter, one wouldn't receive forgiveness, went out, and hung himself;
- Date: February 29, 2004
- Verse: "Surely I come quickly. Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus."(Revelation 22:20)
As we pray, "Come quickly," we're not just praying to escape the hard times; we want to see Him. We want to be like the Lord. We want to know as we're known (1 Cor. 13:12). We want to see Him in His fullness. The little glimpse we've had of Him has brought so much peace, joy, and strength to our hearts! When we look on Him in His fullness, then we'll be alive for the first time! Oh, it's our hearts' desire to see Him and be like Him. We are tired of this life. We're tired of the battles.
- Date: February 28, 2004
- Verse: "In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed."(1 Corinthians 15:52)
Isn't it exciting to refresh ourselves with the doctrine of the blessed hope and the promise that He's gone and prepared a place for us? He will doubtless come again and receive us unto Himself that where He is, there we may be also (John 14:3). It's an exciting time, praise God! He's gone and prepared a place that eye has not seen and ear has not heard. It hasn't entered in the heart of man the things that God has prepared for those who love Him (1 Cor. 2:9).
The external motivation of the blessed hope is not just about the fire escape clause, escaping the judgment of God.
- Date: February 27, 2004
- Verse: "And while they went to buy, the bridegroom came; and they that were ready went in with him to the marriage: and the door was shut."(Matthew 25:10)
In the whole parable of the ten virgins, the most informative thing to us is that the five foolish knew where to get the oil. Then why wouldn't you get it today? You can't say, "I believe that Jesus is coming; I believe that the Bible is the Word of God; I know where to get the oil, but I'm not going to bother. I think I'll take another week off for the flesh." If you know that your flesh is dominating and that you don't have sufficient supply of the oil, then you don't believe--period. That's all there is to it. Jesus said, "Don't say you love Me and not keep My commandments.
- Date: February 26, 2004
- Verse: "...But we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is. And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure."(1 John 2:2-3)
"Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not" (1 John 3:1). You see whether or not you're in right standing with God by whether or not you're in right standing with the world. If you're "one of the boys," then you don't belong to the kingdom of light. If everyone can embrace you at work, in the neighborhood and you're "politically correct," then you're not part of the kingdom of God.