Monday, May 31, 2010

+DEV+ It's Personal

Date: May 31, 2010 9:41 PM
Topic: +DEV+ It's Personal

It's Personal

"He was led like a lamb to the slaughter, as a sheep before her shearers is silent, so he did not open his mouth" (Isaiah 53:7).
Scripture Focus: Exodus 12:1-13

The nation of Israel observed Passover each year. It reminded them of how God used a substitute so that death would "pass over" them. Every family selected a year-old, unblemished, male lamb for sacrifice. The family kept the lamb for four days, from the day they chose it to the day it was killed.

Imagine feeding and caring for the lamb, knowing that in a few days it would give its life for you and your family. Your children might even play with it until that day. You'd warn them not to get too attached, knowing that their new playmate would soon be sacrificed for them. It would be a sacrifice that had become personal.

The Passover lamb pointed to another Lamb. God chose a Lamb to pay the penalty of death for our sin. His Lamb, Jesus Christ, was perfect-sinless in every way. His Lamb is also personal-because He has inscribed our names on the palms of His hands (Isaiah 49:16).

God provided our salvation when the Shepherd became the Lamb: a sacrifice that became personal.

Insight: How do you think God felt to see His precious Lamb-His Son-killed for your sin? Know that Jesus Christ's sacrifice is for you.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

+DEV+ Enter Here

Date: May 30, 2010 9:14 PM
Topic: +DEV+ Enter Here

Enter Here

"Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved" (Acts 4:12).
Scripture Focus: John 10:1-9

In Bible times, sheep were kept in pens at night to protect them from thieves and wild predators. Depending on the location, the shepherd might use a cave, or a natural stone formation to form a wall. He might build a sheep pen using branches, thorn-bushes, or rocks for a fence. One opening served as the entrance and exit.

The shepherd would lie across the opening, using his own body as the door or gate to the pen. He put his life on the line to protect his sheep. A predator or thief would have to get past him.

Jesus said of Himself, "I am the Gate." Jesus Christ is the only way to the Father. The only way to God is through God.

The world today accuses Christians of being narrow-minded. How could there be just one way to God? But the more we know of God's holiness, righteousness, and justice, and the more we understand our own sinfulness, the more we realize the extent of God's mercy in permitting there to be a way at all!

Insight: Why do some people find it difficult to believe Jesus is the only way to God? Share the way of salvation with someone today.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

+DEV+ A Familiar Voice

Date: May 27, 2010 10:54 PM
Topic: +DEV+ A Familiar Voice

A Familiar Voice

"I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me-just as the Father knows me and I know the Father-and I lay down my life for the sheep" (John 10:14-15).
Scripture Focus: Ezekiel 34:1-16

If I had to pick any animal to compare myself to, sheep wouldn't come close to making the list. Sheep are helpless, stubborn and fearful. They are weak, frail and require their shepherd's constant care. Not a flattering picture, yet God compares us to sheep over and over again in His Word.

If we are sheep, then the LORD is our shepherd. The 23rd Psalm describes what it means to belong to Jehovah Raah, the LORD My Shepherd. It is a personal relationship-my shepherd-in which the shepherd cares for all the needs of His sheep: food, safety, comfort, correction and security.

When Jehovah Raah sent His Son, Jesus, He sent us a shepherd "with skin on." He's a shepherd whose voice we can recognize and follow...Who fought the wolf and won the victory for His sheep . . . a loving, faithful shepherd strong enough to hold each of us in His safekeeping until the end.

Being compared to a sheep may not seem flattering, but I wouldn't trade belonging to the Great Shepherd for anything!

Insight: Amid the world's noise, how well do you recognize the voice of your Shepherd? Become more and more familiar with His voice.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

+DEV+ His Name Is Not Christ

Date: May 26, 2010 11:58 PM
Topic: +DEV+ His Name Is Not Christ

His Name Is Not Christ

"These are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing, you may have life in his name" (John 20:31).
Scripture Focus: Acts 2:22-36

"Christ" is not Jesus' last name. Actually, "Christ" is His title-the Greek translation for the Hebrew title "Messiah." It means "the anointed one."

By the time of Jesus' birth, the nation of Israel longed for the coming of the Messiah. The Messiah was to be a descendent of King David, who they thought would throw off the shackles of Roman rule and restore Israel to her former exalted status among the nations of the world.

Scriptures such as Daniel 9 and Psalm 2 spoke of His coming. But a close examination of the Bible shows that God had another purpose for the Messiah. Before Israel could be restored to her position of glory in the world, she needed to be restored to her God. And the only one who could do that was God Himself.

Throughout Israel's history, God's prophets spoke of the coming of His Anointed One-His Messiah. He would first come as a suffering Servant. Then He would return as a victorious King. But Israel did not recognize the One Whom God had sent. Do we?

Insight: What is your motive for following Jesus Christ? Focus not on what God can do for you in this life, but on eternity.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

+DEV+ Speaking Our Language

Date: May 25, 2010 9:00 PM
Topic: +DEV+ Speaking Our Language

Speaking Our Language

"In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us" (John 1:1, 14).
Scripture Focus: John 1:1-18

Sentences...conversation...communication. It all starts with words.

How could a holy, righteous God communicate with sinful man in a way that we would understand? He did it with words-with the Word, to be specific. He sent His Son, the Word who was with Him from before time began, to communicate with us.

He sent the Word, fully God and fully man, to bridge the gap between God and man.
He sent the Word to communicate His holiness by living a sinless, spotless life among us.
He sent the Word to shine His light on people living in darkness.
He sent the Word to pour out His love on the unlovable.
He sent the Word to bring truth to people who have believed a lie.
He sent the Word to give life to those living in the valley of the shadow of death.
He sent the Word to extend His forgiveness to people trapped in sin.
He sent the Word to save those who could not save themselves.

He sent His Word. Why is it so hard for us to understand?

Insight: How has God spoken to you through His Son this week? Communicate the Word to someone who has not yet heard God's message.

Monday, May 24, 2010

+DEV+ Always There

Date: May 24, 2010 9:16 PM
Topic: +DEV+ Always There

Always There

"Now the dwelling of God is with men, and he will live with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them" (Revelation 21:3).
Scripture Focus: Psalm 139:1-12

Feeling lonely is not the same as being alone. We might feel lonely, but Scripture tells us we are never alone. God's presence is always with us.

That wasn't always the case. At one time in Israel's history, her disobedience caused the glory of God to leave. But Ezekiel 48:35 tells us God promised His presence would return to dwell with His people, and Jerusalem would be called Jehovah Shammah-the LORD is There.

The coming of the Savior marked the beginning of the fulfillment of that promise. The gospel of John tells us God dwelt with men in the person of Jesus Christ. After the resurrection, the Holy Spirit dwells in each believer.

Brother Lawrence, a 17th-century monk, encouraged us to practice the presence of God in all we do, no matter how secular or trivial the task may be. Doing so brings a comforting awareness of God's presence. Still we realize that the body used as the temple of the Holy Spirit can dishonor His presence. The choice is ours.

Insight: How can you "practice the presence of God" today? Consider behaviors you should change in light of your awareness of God's presence.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

+DEV+ Don't Try Harder

Date: May 23, 2010 10:31 PM
Topic: +DEV+ Don't Try Harder

Don't Try Harder

"May God himself sanctify you. May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ . . ." (1 Thessalonians 5:23-24).
Scripture Focus: Galatians 5:16-26

God has declared that we are righteous through the finished work of Jesus Christ on the cross. But most of us would admit that our thoughts, words, and deeds don't always match what God has declared us to be.

So we make resolutions to change. We want to be more loving, more patient, more kind, more self-controlled. We purpose to try harder, work smarter, and do better. And...we fail, over and over again.

Just as we can't declare ourselves righteous by our own efforts, we also cannot make ourselves righteous without surrendering to the Holy Spirit.

God first revealed Himself as Jehovah MeKoddishkem, the LORD who Sanctifies us, when He instituted the weekly Sabbath day of rest for His people. It's a reminder to rest in Him as He works in our lives to make us all He intends us to be.

As we surrender to Him, He works on us and in us so that our behavior begins to match what He has already declared us to be: a new creation.

Insight: Which fruit of the Spirit are you lacking? Surrender to the Holy Spirit so that He may produce that fruit in you.

Monday, May 10, 2010

I will be "Off-line" for two weeks

I will be "Off-line" from the Internet for two weeks May 11-21 So
there will not be any devotionals during that period of time.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

+DEV+ Rags to Riches

Date: May 9, 2010 9:54 PM
Topic: +DEV+ Rags to Riches

Rags to Riches

"All our righteous acts are like filthy rags" (Isaiah 64:6). "God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God" (2 Corinthians 5:21).
Scripture Focus: Jeremiah 23:1-8

The nation of Israel had come to depend on religious ritual to remove the stain of sin and provide a righteous covering as they worshiped God. They thought that if they kept His commands, they would earn His favor.

No one can fully keep the law. A chasm exists between sinful men and a holy God. Sacrifices temporarily covered sin, but couldn't permanently bridge the gap. The rituals revealed their need for God's righteousness and the futility of trying to earn it.

The sacrifices also pointed to God's coming Messiah, the only One who could permanently pay for and cover their sin. Jehovah Tsidkenu, the LORD our Righteousness, provided the gift of His Son for them and for us. Through Jesus, God declares us clean by giving us His righteousness.

There is nothing we can do to cover our sin, but at the same time, there is no sin too big for Him to cover. Our only solution is the righteousness God gives us in Jesus Christ-a righteousness that turns our rags to riches.

Insight: Is there a stain of sin in your past that you think God won't forgive? Don't try to cover your sin and earn God's approval.



In a move certain to fuel the debate over Obama's qualifications for the presidency, the group "Americans for Freedom of Information" has Released copies of President Obama's college transcripts from Occidental College . Released today, the transcript school indicates that Obama, under the name Barry Soetoro, received financial aid as a foreign student from Indonesia as an undergraduate. The transcript was released by Occidental College in compliance with a court order in a suit brought by the group in the Superior Court of California . The transcript shows that Obama (Soetoro) applied for financial aid and was awarded a fellowship for foreign students from the Fulbright Foundation Scholarship program. To qualify, for the scholarship, a student must claim foreign citizenship.
This document would seem to provide the smoking gun that many of Obama's detractors have been seeking. Along with the evidence that he was first born in Kenya and there is no record of him ever applying for US citizenship, this is looking pretty grim. The news has created a firestorm at the White House as the release casts increasing doubt about Obama's legitimacy and qualification to serve as President article titled, "Obama Eligibility Questioned," leading some to speculate that the story may overshadow economic issues on Obama's first official visit to the U.K. In a related matter, under growing pressure from several groups, Justice Antonin Scalia announced that the Supreme Court agreed on Tuesday to hear arguments concerning Obama's legal eligibility to serve as President in a case brought by Leo Donofrio of New Jersey . This lawsuit claims Obama's dual citizenship disqualified him from serving as president. Donofrio's case is just one of 18 suits brought by citizens demanding proof of Obama's citizenship or qualification to serve as president.

Gary Kreep of the United States Justice Foundation has released the results of their investigation of Obama's campaign spending. This study estimates that Obama has spent upwards of $950,000 in campaign funds in the past year with eleven law firms in 12 states for legal resources to block disclosure of any of his personal records. Mr. Kreep indicated that the investigation is still ongoing but that the final report will be provided to the U..S. Attorney general, Eric Holder. Mr. Holder has refused to comment on the matter...


Subject: RE: Issue of Passport?

While I've little interest in getting in the middle of the Obama birth issue, Paul Hollrah over at FSM did so yesterday and believes the issue can be resolved by Obama answering one simple question: What passport did he use when he was shuttling between New York , Jakarta , and Karachi ?

So how did a young man who arrived in New York in early June 1981, without the price of a hotel room in his pocket, suddenly come up with the price of a round-the-world trip just a month later?

And once he was on a plane, shuttling between New York , Jakarta , and Karachi , what passport was he offering when he passed through Customs and Immigration?

The American people not only deserve to have answers to these questions, they must have answers. It makes the debate over Obama's citizenship a rather short and simple one.

Q: Did he travel to Pakistan in 1981, at age 20?
A : Yes, by his own admission.

Q: What passport did he travel under?
A: There are only three possibilities.
1) He traveled with a U.S. .. Passport,
2) He traveled with a British passport, or
3) He traveled with an Indonesia passport.

Q: Is it possible that Obama traveled with a U.S. Passport in 1981?
A: No. It is not possible. Pakistan was on the U.S. .. State Department's "no travel" list in 1981.

Conclusion: When Obama went to Pakistan in 1981 he was traveling either with a British passport or an Indonesian passport.

If he were traveling with a British passport that would provide proof that he was born in Kenya on August 4, 1961, not in Hawaii as he claims. And if he were traveling with an Indonesian passport that would tend to prove that he relinquished whatever previous citizenship he held, British or American, prior to being adopted by his Indonesian step-father in 1967.

Whatever the truth of the matter, the American people need to know how he managed to become a "natural born" American citizen between 1981 and 2008..

Given the destructive nature of his plans for America, as illustrated by his speech before Congress and the disastrous spending plan he has presented to Congress, the sooner we learn the truth of all this, the better.

If you Don't care that Your President is not a natural born Citizen and in Violation of the Constitution, then Delete this, and then lower your American Flag to half-staff, because the U.S. Constitution is already on life-support, and won't survive much longer.

If you do care then Forward this to as many patriotic Americans as you can, because our country is being looted and ransacked!

Thursday, May 6, 2010

+DEV+ Sign of Peace

Date: May 6, 2010 10:06 PM
Topic: +DEV+ Sign of Peace

Sign of Peace

"Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ" (Romans 5:1).
Scripture Focus: Judges 6:1-24

Gideon was a fearful man. He hid in a winepress to thresh wheat, fearing that marauding Midianite raiders would steal the grain. He was afraid God had abandoned Israel and wondered if the LORD could still be trusted to protect them. When Gideon realized he was speaking directly to God, he feared he would die because he had seen the LORD Himself.

But God told him not to be afraid. Reassured, Gideon built an altar in the place where he met the LORD, calling it Jehovah Shalom, the LORD is Peace. Once he knew he was at peace with God, Gideon was then free to obey.

More than a thousand years later, God once again spoke words of peace to frightened men. Jesus said in John 14:27, "My peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid."
Peace is much more than the absence of hostility. Peace is the presence of God Himself, the result of our reconciliation with Him.

Insight: How are you allowing worry and fear to steal your peace? Tell someone today about the peace that the LORD has given you.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

+DEV+ Living Under the Banner

Date: May 5, 2010 9:18 PM
Topic: +DEV+ Living Under the Banner

Living Under the Banner

"Moses built an altar and called it The LORD is my Banner. He said, 'For hands were lifted up to the throne of the LORD'" (Exodus 17:15-16a).
Scripture Focus: Exodus 17:8-16

Joshua had his hands full leading the Israelite ex-slaves against the Amalekites. But the victory wasn't won on the battlefield. It was won on the hill overlooking the battle as Moses held up his staff.

God had used that staff to part the Red Sea and to bring water from a rock. Now he used it to remind Israel their leader was Jehovah Nissi, "The Lord is my Banner."

In ancient times, a banner was a flag or an ornament held high as an army went into battle. It rallied the soldiers, giving them hope to continue fighting as long as the banner was held aloft. If the banner fell, so did their hope.

Israel marched out of Egypt under the banner of Jehovah. He led them and upheld them. In this battle their dependence on Him was signified by Moses' staff held high.

In the on-going battle between our flesh and spirit today, God is still the One who leads us in triumph and upholds us. Our banner is the Cross lifted high. Our victory has already been won!

Insight: What competes with the Cross of Christ for preeminence in your life? Remember how Jehovah Nissi has previously led you in triumph in a battle.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

+DEV+ The Great Physician

Date: May 4, 2010 11:32 PM
Topic: +DEV+ The Great Physician

The Great Physician

"I am the Lord who heals you" (Exodus 15:26). "Heal me, O LORD, and I will be healed; save me and I will be saved, for you are the one I praise" (Jeremiah 17:14).
Scripture Focus: Exodus 15:22-27

The human body is truly amazing, but we rarely ponder its intricacy until we suffer an illness or injury. Then our priority is a full and swift healing.

But when God first revealed Himself in His Word as our Healer, He also showed us His priorities about healing.

The Hebrews had endured slavery in Egypt for 400 years. During that time they also adopted some pagan customs. God had freed them from slavery, but the new nation now had to learn what it meant to belong to the one, true God.

Three days after God parted the Red Sea, He tested them. Their response was to grumble about His lack of provision. Then God cleansed the water and taught them the priority of a healed relationship with Him. If they put Him first, He would bless them spiritually and physically. He would be to them Jehovah Rapha, the LORD their Healer.

God cares about our physical health. But He is even more concerned about our spiritual health and relationship with Him through Jesus Christ.

Insight: What is your greater priority-protecting your physical health or developing a healthy relationship with the LORD?

Monday, May 3, 2010

+DEV+ I'll See to That!

Date: May 3, 2010 10:45 PM
Topic: +DEV+ I'll See to That!

I'll See to That!

"God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life" (John 3:16).
Scripture Focus: Genesis 22:1-18

The Bible often describes how God provides for the needs of His children. But the first time the LORD chose to reveal His name as Provider, it had nothing to do with the provision of food, clothing, or shelter.

Abraham had been called by God to make a supreme sacrifice, one that would clearly show his priorities. God had asked him to sacrifice Isaac, the son he had waited twenty-five years to receive.

But as a result of Abraham's total obedience and trust in God, God provided a substitute. Abraham named that place for Jehovah Jireh, The LORD Will Provide. The LORD foresaw Abraham's need for a substitute sacrifice for Isaac, and provided a ram caught by its horns in a nearby thicket.

The greatest need we have is the need for a substitute-someone to pay the penalty for our sin and die in our place. Jehovah Jireh saw to our need before time began, and did what we could not do for ourselves. God has met all your needs in Christ Jesus. (See Philippians 4:19.)

Insight: Is it easier to trust God for your salvation than for today's physical needs? Receive The LORD's provision today for your greatest need.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

+DEV+ No Help Needed

Date: May 2, 2010 11:48 PM
Topic: +DEV+ No Help Needed

No Help Needed

"'My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.' . . . I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me" (2 Corinthians 12:9).
Scripture Focus: Genesis 17:1-8

Superheroes appeal to young and old alike. Who can resist cheering when Superman saves the day?

Abram must have felt as if he was at the end of his resources when God again promised him descendents. He had waited for this son for twenty-five years and his wife was long past her ability to bear children. But God had refused Abram's helpful suggestions to adopt a servant or father a child with his wife's maid.

All he could do was trust and wait.

Now, once again, God promised him descendents. This time, God changed Abram's name to Abraham to confirm His Word. But before He did, God revealed Himself as God Almighty-El Shaddai-the One who is All-Sufficient to carry out His promises.

By God's power and sufficiency Sarah bore a son. Our All-Sufficient God didn't need help to fulfill His Word then, and He doesn't need any help to fulfill His Word today-not from superheroes and not from us.

Insight: Are you trying to "help" God fulfill His promises rather than relying on His sufficiency? Remember that His promises from Scripture are tried and true.