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Thursday, April 24, 2014

God's Got Your Back

# 386 - Today's Du-votional comes from: 1Sa 29:1,2, Then the Philistines gathered together all their armies at Aphek, and the Israelites encamped by a fountain which is in Jezreel. 2 And the lords of the Philistines passed in review by hundreds and by thousands, but David and his men passed in review at the rear with Achish. (1 Sam 29:1,2) The Holy Spirit takes us back to the preparations for the great battle between the Philistines and the Israelites. Here we get a picture of the huge army amassed by Achish, and what's this? David and his men have been assigned the rear guard. David has been given the responsibility of covering Achish' back. In military strategy, this is especially important not only for protecting the general, but if things go badly in battle, the rear guard is called upon to engage the enemy and buy time for the retreating troops. This responsibility given to David should remind us that God has our back! There are times in living out our Christian faith that we find ourselves in circumstances that appear very bleak. When that happens, God has given us a great example of this military strategy, that we may look to for encouragement and confidence. This example was given to us when Moses led the people out of Egypt. God led them to a place by the Red Sea, but Pharaoh had a change of heart and set out in hot pursuit of the Israelites. With darkness all around them, and nothing but the Red Sea in front of them, and Pharaoh's army closing in on them, the Israelites were trapped. It appeared that all was lost, but that's when God moved to the rear guard. We read about it in Ex 14:19,20, “And the Angel of God, who went before the camp of Israel, moved and went behind them; and the pillar of cloud went from before them and stood behind them. 20 So it came between the camp of the Egyptians and the camp of Israel. Thus it was a cloud and darkness to the one, and it gave light by night to the other, so that the one did not come near the other all that night.” Friend, know that even in your darkest hour, God has got your back. He is with you. He will keep the enemy at bay as long as you keep trusting Him. It is as the song says, God will make a way, where there seems to be no way, He works in ways we cannot see, He will make a way for me! Father, be with those today, who need that assurance that You have their back covered.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

In the Shadows

# 385 - Today's Du-votional comes from: 1Sa 28:21-25, “And the woman came to Saul and saw that he was severely troubled, and said to him, "Look, your maidservant has obeyed your voice, and I have put my life in my hands and heeded the words which you spoke to me. 22 "Now therefore, please, heed also the voice of your maidservant, and let me set a piece of bread before you; and eat, that you may have strength when you go on your way." 23 But he refused and said, "I will not eat." So his servants, together with the woman, urged him; and he heeded their voice. Then he arose from the ground and sat on the bed. 24 Now the woman had a fatted calf in the house, and she hastened to kill it. And she took flour and kneaded it, and baked unleavened bread from it. 25 So she brought it before Saul and his servants, and they ate. Then they rose and went away that night. (1 Sam 28:21-25) The witch of En-Dor was likely not privy to the conversation between the familiar spirit and Saul, but she certainly was able to witness the effect that the conversation had on Saul. This man of great physical stature lay on a heap on the ground due to the combination of a lack of food and the terrifying word he had just received from God. This is not a good situation for the witch. The king of Israel, passed out on her floor after she had committed a crime worthy of the death penalty. This would not be a good thing come morning light. She needed to get the king out of her house! She then says, “look, I don't want any trouble here. I only did what you asked me to do, now please, grab a bite to eat and get out of here!” Saul, initially refuses, but his servants beg him to eat, (perhaps they sensed that they could be in trouble too for being partners in this ill-fated escapade.) The witch then brings out the celebratory fatted calf! This is now a joyous occasion for her, Saul is leaving...she is off the hook! Ever felt like that? Ever felt that you have sinned and gotten away with it? What a relief right? No one wants to be caught with their hand in the cookie jar. But let me ask you something, “What will you do the next time, or the time after that, or the time after that? How many bullets do you think you can dodge? Why not come to the one who witnesses all your sins anyway? Why not come to the only one who can forgive them? Why not come to the only one who can deliver you from your sins? Why not come to Jesus? Stop living in the fear of the shadows, come to the Light and live free on this day and forevermore! O God, deliver those who are living in the shadows. Set them free from fear through Jesus.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Are You Ready? You Can Be

# 384 - Today's Prime Time Devo comes from: 1Sa 28:19,20, “Moreover the LORD will also deliver Israel with you into the hand of the Philistines. And tomorrow you and your sons will be with me. The LORD will also deliver the army of Israel into the hand of the Philistines." 20 Then immediately Saul fell full length on the ground, and was dreadfully afraid because of the words of Samuel. And there was no strength in him, for he had eaten no food all day or all night. (1 Sam 28:19,20) God continues to speak to Saul through the familiar spirit who has taken on the form of Samuel. He tells Saul that the Philistines will conquer Israel in battle and the battle will cost Saul and his sons their lives. This news caused Saul to be dreadfully afraid. He was so afraid that he literally fell to the ground. What would that kind of news do to you today? What if God told you that tomorrow you were going to meet Him face to face? Most people would say, “well, I'm not concerned, basically, I've been a good person, I'm not as bad as some.” That may be true, but that is not the measuring stick that God uses. The Bible says, “Be ye perfect as your Father in heaven is perfect!” Only Jesus has met that standard, and therefore it is only those who have put on Christ through faith that will be able to stand before God! Friend, there is no more important business on earth than this matter of where will you spend eternity! We read in Ps 139:16 Your eyes saw my substance, being yet unformed. And in Your book they all were written, The days fashioned for me, When as yet there were none of them. (Only God knows the length of our days.) Heb 9:27 reminds us, “And as it is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment,” (When those days are ended, our fate will be sealed. Are you ready? You can be.) 1Jo 5:13 says, “These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, that you may KNOW (my caps) that you have eternal life, and that you may continue to believe in the name of the Son of God. Trust in the good works of Jesus Christ and not your own! Believe in the the Lord Jesus Christ and all that His life, death and resurrection accomplished and you can know for certain that you will pass judgment and have eternal life! Father, keep pursuing those who are not yet saved with your relentless grace.

Monday, April 21, 2014

You CAN Lose Your Salvation

# 383 - Today's Prime Time Devo comes from: 1Sa 28:15-18 Now Samuel said to Saul, "Why have you disturbed me by bringing me up?" And Saul answered, "I am deeply distressed; for the Philistines make war against me, and God has departed from me and does not answer me anymore, neither by prophets nor by dreams. Therefore I have called you, that you may reveal to me what I should do." 16 Then Samuel said: "Why then do you ask me, seeing the LORD has departed from you and has become your enemy? 17 "And the LORD has done for Himself as He spoke by me. For the LORD has torn the kingdom out of your hand and given it to your neighbor, David. 18 "Because you did not obey the voice of the LORD nor execute His fierce wrath upon Amalek, therefore the LORD has done this thing to you this day. ( 1 Sam 28:15-18) It is at this point that God exercises His Sovereignty in the situation. The familiar spirit becomes nothing but God's mouthpiece to Saul. Don't be surprised that God is able to do this. We read of Jesus' power over demons tongues in Mr 1:34, “Then He healed many who were sick with various diseases, and cast out many demons; and He did not allow the demons to speak, because they knew Him.” And in Lu 10:17, we read, “Lord, even the demons are subject to us in Your name." So why doesn't God put them under His control all the time? I have no answer for that question. But I do view these isolated examples in Scripture as further evidence that God is ultimately in control. Evil will not win out in the end. And it would be wise for us to listen to what God speaks to Saul through this familiar spirit. The Lord is capable of tearing the kingdom from us through our obstinate disobedience, which springs from a lack of true faith in Jesus Christ. We can lose our salvation! 1Ti 4:1says, “Now the Spirit expressly says that in latter times some will depart from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons,” God, help us to finish the race, guard us from deceiving spirits and let us continually look to Your truth, trusting Jesus to gain the final victory over death and the devil.

Friday, April 18, 2014

A Good Friday Thought

On this Good Friday, the Prime Time Devo is a repeat from the Gospel of Mark as we remember the price our Lord paid for our sins. It comes from: Mr 15:34 And at the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying, "Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani?" which is translated, "My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?" As the supernatural darkness comes to a close at 3 in the afternoon, Jesus cries out: “My God, My God, why have you forsaken Me?” During these 3 hours, Jesus was made sin for us, “For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, (2 Cor 5:21) and He became a curse for us: Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law, having become a curse for us (for it is written, "Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree" (Ga 3:13) God turned completely away from Jesus (forsook Him) because He embodied every sin that has been or will be committed. Jesus was forsaken because God is too holy to allow sin in His presence. Hab 1:13a says, “You are of purer eyes than to behold evil, And cannot look on wickedness.” Think of it. Every single sin ever committed. That lie you told last week? Paid for. That adulterous glance at pornography? Covered. That abortion. On Jesus' tab. Because Jesus became forsaken, you and I are not forsaken. Because God looked away from Jesus, He will not look away from us. Is it any wonder then, that God insists that no one can come to Him except through His Son Jesus? Do you really think that God is going to allow some other way to heaven after what happened on Calvary? Repent and believe the gospel! Think differently about God and believe that full payment of sin was made on Calvary, then receive His free gift of forgiveness through faith in His Son. It's the only way! Joh 14:6 Jesus said to him, "I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.” And now you know one of the reasons why.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

There Will Be No Disturbing of the Peace

# 382 - Today's Du-votional comes from: 1Sa 28:11-14, “Then the woman said, "Whom shall I bring up for you?" And he said, "Bring up Samuel for me." 12 When the woman saw Samuel, she cried out with a loud voice. And the woman spoke to Saul, saying, "Why have you deceived me? For you are Saul!" 13 And the king said to her, "Do not be afraid. What did you see?" And the woman said to Saul, "I saw a spirit ascending out of the earth." 14 So he said to her, "What is his form?" And she said, "An old man is coming up, and he is covered with a mantle." And Saul perceived that it was Samuel, and he stooped with his face to the ground and bowed down. ( 1 Sam 28:11-14) Saul has requested a séance with the medium. The King James version of the Bible puts Saul's request this way: “divine unto me a familiar spirit.” In other words, put me in contact with a spirit familiar with my situation. I don't for one minute believe that this was really Samuel. Samuel had passed away and was enjoying the absolute comfort and peace of resting in the bosom of Abraham spoken of by Jesus in Luke 16:25, “but now he (Lazarus the beggar, or in this case, Samuel) is comforted.” It would be a terrible thing to think that God would allow the comfort of His departed saints to be interrupted by seances! No this was a spirit who was familiar with Samuel and therefore familiar with Saul as well. This familiar spirit tipped off the witch of En-dor as to who she was really dealing with and she was frightened out of her wits because she felt she had just been caught practicing the dark arts and had signed her own death certificate. Saul assures her that he will not harm her and asks her to press on with the séance. Note that the familiar spirit uses it's power to disguise itself even as an angel of light ( 2Co 11:14b “For Satan himself transforms himself into an angel of light” and takes on the form of the beloved Samuel. This was so convincing that Saul falls to the ground and worships the familiar spirit.” My friend, do not toy with the supernatural in such a way. That dearly departed soul you want so much to contact in the here and now will have to wait. God loves them too much to disturb their comfort. Rather seek to finish the race in the faith and look forward to that great reunion when the Lord calls you home. Father, thank You for the promise of eternal comfort for those who die in the faith. Help us all to finish the race and be with You in Paradise. .

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

The Doctrine of Two Witnesses

# 381 - Today's Du-votional comes from: 1Sa 28:8 So Saul disguised himself and put on other clothes, and he went, and two men with him; and they came to the woman by night. And he said, "Please conduct a seance for me, and bring up for me the one I shall name to you." 9 Then the woman said to him, "Look, you know what Saul has done, how he has cut off the mediums and the spiritists from the land. Why then do you lay a snare for my life, to cause me to die?" 10 And Saul swore to her by the LORD, saying, "As the LORD lives, no punishment shall come upon you for this thing." Saul, desperate for supernatural direction, decides to turn to a medium for advice. As we have seen, the practice of necromancy (calling up the spirits of the dead) is strictly forbidden by God, and availing oneself of their services is also forbidden. Le 19:31 says, “'Give no regard to mediums and familiar spirits; do not seek after them, to be defiled by them: I am the LORD your God.” It's interesting that Saul brings two men with him for his encounter with the witch of En-dor. Why would he bother to do that? One of the recurring themes found in Scripture is that a matter is established by at least two witnesses. It starts with the witnesses of the Trinity itself, (although God certainly doesn't need witnesses, He is not a man that He should lie, Num 23:19) and we see it on the fourth day of creation when God created the two great lights, “And God made the two great lights, the greater light to rule the day and the lesser light to rule the night,” (Gen 1:16) These two lights serve to remind us that nothing is hidden from God. Everything is witnessed by Him. And the use of two witnesses also shows up in the Book of Revelation (See Revelation 11) So from Genesis to Revelation we find mention of this doctrine of two witnesses often! These witnesses are God's method of establishing the truth of a matter among lying sinful men. These witnesses were necessary for Saul, because the witch of En-Dor would not tell him a thing without some sort of a guarantee. So Saul swore to her in the Name of the Lord and in earshot of these two men, that he would not rat on her and turn her in to face the death penalty. These two witnesses were for her protection and necessary for Saul to get the information he wanted from the medium. The doctrine of two witnesses is important for us in the church today, because it helps ensure justice in a matter. 2Co 13:1says, "By the mouth of two or three witnesses every word shall be established." Thank You Lord for providing this system of checks and balances for us today, as lying sinners....we need it!