August 17, 2017

2 Chronicles 20:27 ~ NKJV
“Then they returned, every man of Judah and Jerusalem, with Jehoshaphat in front of them, to go back to Jerusalem with joy, for the LORD had made them rejoice over their enemies.”

Wow I love that verse! Don’t you? I had never noticed it before, but it is awesome! First of all, that’s a lot of J’s in one verse, I always like verses with lots of one letter, it makes them fun to say. But how cool is this?! EVERY SINGLE MAN that went out to battle against THREE ARMIES came back to Jerusalem. EVERY ONE!! They didn’t lose one guy in the battle. Which is a really good thing, seeing as how they didn’t even fight. How do you lose somebody in a battle you didn’t fight? Somebody’s wife would be ticked let me tell you, “You mean to tell me that you didn’t even fight and you still managed to lose my husband out there? What kind of army is this?” It just wouldn’t be good.
The thing I really found cool is that last part. “For the Lord had made them rejoice over their enemies.” It doesn’t say that the Lord gave them victory over their enemies. It doesn’t say that they won the battle. Why? Because they never had to fight a battle! As far as Judah was concerned, there wasn’t a battle, they never fought at all. They just worshipped. Jehoshaphat told some people, “Hey, you’re the praise team for the week, get out there.” And they did! That was the whole battle! Why is that such a big deal? Because they worshipped through the battle and won! They didn’t fight, they didn’t strategize, the only thing they did was fixed their eyes on God and worshipped Him.
In the middle of your biggest battles, what are you doing? When you don’t see a way out, what are you doing? What has your focus when hard times come? Are you looking at the battle, or are you looking at God? It can be hard to focus on God in the battles. There are so many things fighting for our attention. But if we focus on God, and worship even when we are in the middle of the battle, God will get us through it every time.

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August 16, 2017

2 Chronicles 20:12 ~ NKJV
“O our GOD, will You not judge them? For we have no power against this great multitude that is coming against us; nor do we know what to do, but our eyes are upon You.””

Some of y’all thought I was joking, I wasn’t. This is the second of a three-part series I am doing, I probably should have titled it, but I didn’t. Honestly though, this is one of my favorite verses in the entire Bible. The people of Judah had no idea what to do, no idea where to go, and no idea how they were going to get out of the mess they were in. But they knew one thing, “God is good and He does good.” And they had hope that God would deliver them even when it seemed there was no way out.
When you are backed up against the wall, and you can’t see a way out, just remember God is good and He does good. Because if you know that you are a child of the King and that He is good all the time, you will never have to wonder if God is going to save you. Once you grab that knowledge and know it in your heart, not just in your head, watch out world!!
God’s Plans are for your good. (See the period? Good.) There is no fine print, no terms and conditions. Is everything going to be easy? No. Is God’s version of good and your version of good always going to line up? No! But everything God allows to come to you, whether good or bad, is intended for His glory. It may not seem like it, it may seem like God is mad and He is trying to kill you. That’s not true! God is good and He does good! It may seem bad, but it’s not the end. You may never see the good in something that happened to you, this side of Heaven. When you get there, everything will make sense. But on this side of Heaven, you just have to hold on to the fact that God loves you, and you can trust Him. Even in the hard stuff. Because God is good and He does good. You guys might be getting tired of me saying that but I can’t stop saying it, I can’t stop thinking it. It’s just in my heart, I don’t know why. Even when it seems bad, even when it’s dark and it’s not supposed to be dark, God is good and He does good. Focus on Him, and everything else will work out according to God’s Plan. Count on it.

August 15, 2017

2 Chronicles 20:3 ~ NKJV
“And Jehoshaphat feared, and set himself to seek the LORD, and proclaimed a fast throughout all Judah.”

I want to do a three-part devotional here because this is one of my favorite stories in the whole Bible. And because I can. There are three things I want you to see for today, the first one is the order of events in this verse. There were three armies coming against the people of Judah to engage in a battle. Well, King Jehoshaphat hears about it and gets scared, you would too. Even in that fear, Jehoshaphat still knows what he needs to do, so he talks to God. Perfect ten out of ten response to fear right there. Jehoshaphat gets bad news, he seeks God. It doesn’t say he had a meeting and they decided to seek God, he knew that he had to seek God if he wanted to win the battle. So that’s what he did. Then he figures that he is probably going to need backup so he tells the entire land of Judah to fast and pray while they try to figure this thing out. That’s the first thing I want you to see, the first place Jehoshaphat ran was straight to the Presence of God.
The second thing I want you to see is the words used to say HOW Jehoshaphat sought the Lord. It says in the NKJV that he set himself to seek the Lord. In the ESV it says he set his face to seek the Lord, the meaning is the same. Jehoshaphat SET himself, he was focused, he was all in for the long haul. It wasn’t just a quick five-minute prayer that he said really quick before he started making a battle plan. How often do we say we have prayed about something and mean that we did that? “Oh God, please help me. Amen.” And on to something else? That’s not what Jehoshaphat did, he prayed and he meant business. Why? Because he was desperate. When you get to the point where you are desperate for God to do something, your prayers start sounding different.
Here’s the last thing, Jehoshaphat knew that he couldn’t pray through something this big by himself. Did God hear him? Absolutely! But sometimes, there are things in our lives that we need the support of other believers who are willing to fight with us. Like it talks about in Exodus, we need people who can hold up our hands when we are tired. Don’t try to fight the battle by yourself! Get other people working with you on the big stuff. Well, how do I define big stuff? I’m glad you asked. If you think it’s big, so does God. There you go, that’s the only rule.
So, the quick summary here we go. When you get freaked out, where do you run? Sometimes you have to get desperate with God, not so that He will hear you but so you can hear Him. Don’t fight alone. Three things, one day, and more to come tomorrow.

August 14, 2017

Hebrews 13:5b-6 NIV
“God has said, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.” So we say with confidence, “The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid. What can mere mortals do to me?””

Sometimes, it can be hard to be obedient to what God tells us to do. He doesn’t limit His requests to what fits inside our comfort zone. That is part of what makes it so hard. God will often ask us to do things that are just outside or even quite a distance outside our comfort zones. We worry about what other people will think or say if we step out in faith. But it doesn’t matter what you look like, or what anyone else thinks about you. What matters is that you heard the voice of God and you did what He said.
As hard as it can be, we need to stop being ruled by what others think and start being moved by faith in what Jesus can do through us. I used to go to church every week, scared to death to worship God fully because I was afraid of what other people would think. So, for a long time, I held back. I would worship deep down in my heart and not let anything show to anyone else. But eventually, I started to gradually let some of that passion that had been building up inside of me out for other people to see. Don’t get me wrong, it was terrifying. But all the things that I was afraid would happen, didn’t happen. All the things I thought people would say, weren’t said. I don’t know what people were thinking but it didn’t matter. I realized that when I let myself worship freely, the only thing I was concerned with was praising Jesus.
So what is holding you back? What are you afraid of? What is the worst thing that could happen if you show Jesus to other people? Honestly! So they might look at you funny, they might talk about you but never to you. Okay, that stinks. They killed Jesus. Is it worth it? When you consider the options, do you want to be comfortable? Or do you want to be changed? If you want to be comfortable, by all means, do that. But if you want God to change the world through you, you’d better bust down the walls of that cage we so often call our comfort zone. Following God isn’t always convenient or comfortable, but it is always worth it in the long run.

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August 11, 2017

Psalm 11:1-3 ~ NKJV
“In the LORD I put my trust; how can you say to my soul, “Flee as a bird to your mountain”? For look! The wicked bend their bow, they make ready their arrow on the string, that they may shoot secretly at the upright in heart. If the foundations are destroyed, what can the righteous do?”

This verse is so powerful and so cool to me. Part of what makes it so cool to me is, I don’t think it’s asking God why He would say that to us. God doesn’t ever encourage us to be afraid, the Bible says 365 times to not be afraid. So for God to tell us to flee like birds would be contradicting Himself and God doesn’t do that. I think psalmist is asking those who would try to come against us and discourage us from what God is calling us to do how they would dare say that to us. It sounds so condescending, FLEE like a BIRD? Birds are the second easiest animals in the world to scare (horses take first place in my opinion) they fly away from EVERYTHING like it’s the scariest thing ever! We have our trust in God and the enemy is trying to convince us to run away and hide. Why is that? I think it’s because the enemy is the one who is afraid. He has got all these plans going on in the dark and if God’s kids start sticking up for one another he doesn’t stand a chance!
When it is the most important that we stand firm, that is when the enemy comes to whisper lies right in our ear. He plants seeds of worry, doubt, fear, jealousy, bitterness and tries to get us to feel discouraged. He even stoops as low as to bring up what we did in the past and tell us that those choices disqualify us from fighting on the same side as God. He tells us that what we are doing now doesn’t make a difference and everything we ever have done or ever will do will never make a difference. We start thinking things like, “Well, I’m not that important.” “Maybe God would be better off if I didn’t help with this one.” “God has better people to use than me.” “I’ll just get in the way.” “I’m not changing anything anyway.” Those thoughts are not from God. Whatever you do, don’t give up! Keep praying, you could be one prayer away from the biggest breakthrough you’ve ever experienced! You can’t quit!
Don’t let anything push you off the foundation you have on God’s Love. If you lose your foundation, you’ll lose your focus. And if you lose your focus, you’ll lose the battle. Stand firm on the Promises of God. Write them down, make them your phone lock screen, set an alarm for them every hour if you have to. Do whatever you have to do to remember what He told you. God’s Promises never expire! I don’t care if He told you something this morning, or if He told you fifty years ago, the Promises of God never lost their power. Hold on to Jesus for dear life and He will never let you fall. If God is for you, there is absolutely NOTHING that can stand against you! You cannot give up, you cannot give in! God need you fighting for His Kingdom!! You are irreplaceable!! Just keep going!! If you don’t quit, you win. You have all of heaven cheering for you. You know what to do, trust God and He will take care of everything you need.

August 10, 2017

Genesis 6:8 ~ ESV
“But Noah found favor in the eyes of the LORD.”

So here’s the story, the world is messed up with a capital MESS. They have completely turned against God, nobody is listening to Him anymore, and they’ve gotten themselves into all kinds of trouble. What started out as “no big deal” turned into a monster and now nobody can control it. But if they’re honest? They kind of like it. I mean, what’s so wrong about what they’re doing? It seems right to them, why wouldn’t God let them do things their own way? Sound familiar? I know it does to me. In the middle of all that, God has gotten to the point that He is sad that He ever made people because they aren’t listening and they’re making a big, big mess and they don’t want to have anything to do with Him anymore.
Even through all of that rebellion, God can’t bring himself to kill all the people. All because of one guy, Noah. You know the story. The part of this story that I never thought about before is what the Bible NEVER says about Noah’s sons. Oh yeah! They were on the boat too. It never says anything about them being righteous. It only mentions Noah. We know that later on in the story his one kid makes some mistakes, but that happens to everyone. When they were chosen to build a boat, however, nobody knows if these kids were righteous or not. Hmm. Am I the only one who finds that thought provoking?
God saved an entire family, based on the father’s righteousness. What does that say to us? A lot, but it tells us about one thing that’s really cool to say and even more cool to learn about: legacy. You see, God honored the faithfulness of Noah throughout his entire family because Noah was doing a good job. Legacy can begin anywhere. You can be the one who decides, “This is not how my family’s story is supposed to go.” At any point, it doesn’t matter what your parents did, it doesn’t matter what your siblings did, it doesn’t even matter what you did in the past. Nothing matters except your decision to do what is right. Right now, you can decide to break the chains and the cycles of brokenness in your family and start living your life in a new line of freedom.
Why not today? What is stopping you from living a life full of God’s love? If there is something standing between you and your relationship with God, claim the blood of Jesus over it! The freedom for your entire family was bought and paid for on the cross. So claim it! Don’t let anything stop you! Jesus life was worth too much for brokenness to be passed on from generation to generation, but it’s up to you to say, “This ends now.” So do it, I dare you, let God break in on your family! He’s big enough, but are you willing to stand up and say, “This ends now,”? That’s up to you.

August 7, 2017

Leviticus 10:7 ~ NKJV
“You shall not go out from the door of the tabernacle of meeting, lest you die, for the anointing oil of the LORD is upon you.” And they did according to the word of Moses.”

This is really cool. In the day where this was written, the tabernacle was the only place for the Presence of GOD among the people. Now, in this day, GOD’s Presence can be anywhere, we can enter into GOD’s Presence whenever we make our hearts right and make an atmosphere for Him. So, in my understanding, what this verse would be saying to me and you in this day is something like this: “Don’t leave the Presence of GOD. Stay centered in His Presence because His anointing is on you, and if you try to walk in anointing without the Presence of GOD you will die.”
If we try to take the gifts that GOD has given us and use them in our own strength and our own power, bad things are going to happen. Why? Because GOD knows what this world needs, and what you are ready to do better than you ever will. When we try to do it ourselves and force GOD’s hand we end up making huge messes, people get hurt, and all that effort is wasted. You see, sometimes we walk in our own strength and we pray and stuff goes wrong and we wonder if we don’t actually have GOD’s Favor. No! The point is, YOU did it, and you didn’t leave room for GOD to work in your life. So yeah, you made a mess it happens. GOD is still with us, He is still for us, and He still wants to use you. You just have to get on the same page with Him and be willing to do it His way, with His power instead of making it about you. As hard as that is, it is so worth it when you begin to see the fruit of walking in the Presence of Almighty GOD.
So that’s the point, just stay in the Presence. Do whatever you need to do to make sure that your connection with GOD is clear, then step back and let Him do the hard part. Once we get out of the way is when GOD is free to work in our lives.